In the heat of battle, is hit point loss a wound?

In your mind, in the heat of a battle, what do hit points represent?


Uller

Adventurer
Those who are content with abstract hit points don't need a more elaborate wound tracking system. Adding such a system for everyone is an unnecessary complication.

That's not to reduce it's usefulness to those who do want such a system.

But the simplicity of the hit point mechanic shouldn't be casually discarded without a clear idea of the desired result. While abstract hp lack the detail some people obviously crave, they have served D&D well for decades, and are sufficient for most games IMO.

A more complex system will need extensive testing to shake out any bugs and discover and deal with any unintended side effects. And it will need to be strictly optional.

Right. The game designers have to create a game that attracts new players AND maintain old ones. New players (and lapsed players who return) are going to play the 'default' game and they are going to come at it with an expectation of a hit point model that matches what they have experienced in pretty much any other popular game (a character is alive and once it sustains a certain amount of damage it is dead). They will look at systems that simulate wounds or have extended healing times as punishment for participating.

Experienced players such as Derren who want something a bit more robust will house rule to suit their needs or pick up optional systems suggested in the core books.
 

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Derren

Hero
they are going to come at it with an expectation of a hit point model that matches what they have experienced in pretty much any other popular game (a character is alive and once it sustains a certain amount of damage it is dead). They will look at systems that simulate wounds or have extended healing times as punishment for participating.

Quite some divinations skills from your sides. How do you know that this is what new players expect? Becuse thats how it works in reality?
Unless you set their expectations with sentences like "Its like WoW with dice" I don't think many new players will see a rule the mimicks reality (when wounded you perform worse) as punishment but see it as normal.
Anf when they come from other systems, well, I spontaneously can't name any other system where there are no wound penalties. Imo systems without them like D&D are the minority. Maybe some supers games don't have them either but thats all.
 
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Obryn

Hero
I dunno about you, but I find it a lot more damaging to versimilitude that a single dagger-strike can't kill anything except a low-level commoner unless they're sleeping, or the wielder has a special ability.

Figure that part out with D&D's default HP rules, and I'll take these sorts of arguments a lot more seriously. :)

-O
 

Viktyr Gehrig

First Post
I would love to have a system in which hit points are entirely abstract-- in which strikes that deal hit point damage are negligible wounds, until the strike that reduces you to zero-- and recovered at daily intervals or even faster, but which also contained real injuries for certain grievous attacks and for those strikes which did reduce you below zero and had 'realistic' healing times (adjusted for superhuman healing factors) and required healing magic to recover from instantly.

I'm actually working on that system now. But you know that that system is? Not D&D.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I would love to have a system in which hit points are entirely abstract-- in which strikes that deal hit point damage are negligible wounds, until the strike that reduces you to zero-- and recovered at daily intervals or even faster, but which also contained real injuries for certain grievous attacks and for those strikes which did reduce you below zero and had 'realistic' healing times (adjusted for superhuman healing factors) and required healing magic to recover from instantly.

I'm actually working on that system now. But you know that that system is? Not D&D.
Sure it is. :)

Start with a body point/fatigue point h.p. system (another bang on the drum!) - f.p. are relatively easy to recover and-or cure, b.p. are harder as they represent actual injury.

Lanefan
 

Obryn

Hero
Sure it is. :)

Start with a body point/fatigue point h.p. system (another bang on the drum!) - f.p. are relatively easy to recover and-or cure, b.p. are harder as they represent actual injury.

Lanefan
Well, sure - any problem is solvable via house-rules. (I used the VP/WP house rules for d20 Call of Cthulhu, fwiw, so I saw them in play. They tended to make healing longer, but characters last longer in a fight since you were generally conscious up to that -CON point.)

I don't think that tells us anything about what HPs represent in baseline D&D, though, so I think "not D&D" is a fair assessment.

-O
 

pemerton

Legend
Players will sit their character's out a day if they know they will be at full capacity and "insta-healed". They won't sit out 9 days though and instead they'll seek their nearest depository of magical healing. The end result is that both groups will be ready to go the next day. However, the first will be "magically" healed while the latter group will be magically healed and feel like they've spent resources to get back in the action. The feel of each scenario is quite different. One feels like healing for free but the other feels like healing has at least been paid for; and that some sacrifice to the god of resource management performed.
This is an interesting point, and I think this thread is the first time I've heard it (from you and [MENTION=37277]Mercutio01[/MENTION]) - so there can be something new in a hit point thread!

That "sacrifce to the god of resource management vibe" doesn't do a lot for me personally, but I can see that others might find it important.

In D&D you do not loose HP when something lowers your morale
That's not true. In 4e some psychic damage is loss of morale (eg when you take 1d6 psychic damage from the Horrid Visage of a Deathlock Wight). You can also deal hit point damage via socia skill checks that demoralise a foe (see eg Heathen in Dungeon magazine, or Cairn of the Winter King in the Monster Vault boxed set).

9 days or longer is downtime from adventuring for the characters to recover which is most of the time only possible when they currently do not have a quest as in 9 days the PCs will have missed a deadline.
It also gives the PCs time to do something else than constant dungeon crawling. YOu know such things as social contacts etc.
Just as in the real world, so in my game - the PCs are capable of engaging in social activity, and setting aside time for it, without being injured.

1 day means its just a matter of locking the doors and posting a guard and on the next day the party continues to hack their way through hordes of XP bags. That leads to non stop dungeoncrawling reducing the PCs from characters to robots.
Its more a question of "I want the PCs to be hack&slash machines who clear dungeons non stop" or "I want PCs to be (very powerful) humans who still need resting and down time between adventures and thus have to manage the "resource" healing and time.
When the quest has a strict time limit it just becomes another obstacle to overcome. The PCs have to press on even when not at full HP or with some empty spell slots. That imo adds challenge to the game
These comments read to me like some sort of projection of your own concerns about D&D play. Not everyone is playing D&D as a gritty challenge game. Or as a dungeon crawl game. The default mode of 4e, it seems to me, is heroic, mythic fantasy. As in (for example) LotR, the protagonists mostly avoid injury, rather than having to recover from it.

And yet those injuries bring you close to death so that only outside intervention within seconds can save you.

No, there is no way to describe something as this as not an injury.
It's actually not true that there's no other description available. From many threads, it seems to me that the most common way of narrating this in 4e play is to be reasonably non-commital in the narration of the blow that drops a PC to 0 hp (a bit like Tolkien is with the spear thrust that drops Frodo) and then to render the description more precise (as a serious, mortal wound, or as a less serious blow that caused temporary reeling/swooning) once the mechanical resolution is complete: 3 failed death saves, stability but unconsciousness, or a quick recovery when inspired by a leader or drawing on one's own inner reserves.

Slow healing doesn't fit a more dramatic genre, and that genre doesn't result in a party that mechanically hacks through dungeons, as they have more personal and plot based motivations.

Whereas I can see slower healing and hp management can be a better fit for more player driven games, depending on tastes in the group concerned.

The can't be a "one size fits all" answer to this conundorum.
There a lot of possibilities. Burning Wheel has slow recovery, is dramatic and is player driven. My 4e game has fast recovery, is dramatic and is player driven. Rolemaster has slow recovery, is often gritty rather than dramatic, and can be player or GM-driven depending on other variables. Etc etc.

You are right that there is no "one size fits all".

Those who are content with abstract hit points don't need a more elaborate wound tracking system. Adding such a system for everyone is an unnecessary complication.

<snip>

A more complex system will need extensive testing to shake out any bugs and discover and deal with any unintended side effects.
I agree with this.

[MENTION=87792]Neonchameleon[/MENTION] has been posting for at least a while now that spell recovery and hit point recovery should be on the same cycle (so spellcasters and warriors are on a common resource recovery cycle).

Burning Wheel links its health recovery cycle to its lifestye maintenance cycle, its training rules and other longer-term aspects of gameplay.

A well-designed game will take account of how all these aspects of play fit together.
 

Hypersmurf

Moderatarrrrh...
I would love to have a system in which hit points are entirely abstract-- in which strikes that deal hit point damage are negligible wounds, until the strike that reduces you to zero-- and recovered at daily intervals or even faster, but which also contained real injuries for certain grievous attacks and for those strikes which did reduce you below zero and had 'realistic' healing times (adjusted for superhuman healing factors) and required healing magic to recover from instantly.

I could support an Injury system which stole from FATE - the idea that the player can elect to soak X points of hit point damage by the character incurring an injury of some sort.

Hypothetical example:
A character can at any given time have one Light, one Moderate, and one Serious injury, which carry with them certain mechanical consequences and certain healing requirements.

A Light Injury can be incurred instead of [Character Level + CON Mod] in hit points, a Moderate twice that, and a Serious three times that.

Tim the Fighter is 3rd level and has a CON Mod of +2. His Max HP is 30, but he's currently on 9 hit points. An orc attacks him with a greataxe, and hits for 15 damage.

"That'll put me well negative," Tim's player says, "so I'll take a Moderate Injury of Lacerated Thigh to soak 10 points of damage - that leaves me on 4 hit points." Until he can get the injury healed, he'll be at -2 on attack rolls and all Dex checks.

In the next round, the orc hits him again, for 11 damage. "Even soaking with a Light Injury will still leave me unconscious, and I can't take a second Moderate Injury," Tim's player realises. "I can only stay conscious if I take a Serious Inury - that will soak all 11 with some left over! But we don't have a cleric who can cast Cure Serious Wounds, and I don't want to be carrying a -3 penalty to all my attack rolls for a month while the injury heals naturally! I guess I'll take the 11, and Tim's unconscious."

After the combat, once Tim's been stabilised, the cleric can use Cure Moderate Wounds to fix the Lacerated Thigh... otherwise he'll need a week or two to get rid of it, and he'll continue to take the Moderate Wound penalties until it's gone.

(While the numbers work for this example, it'd need tinkering to be workable across a range of levels. Character level probably needs to be a multiplier in whatever formula it ends up being, rather than just being added on, for example.)

-Hyp.
 

Derren

Hero
That's not true. In 4e some psychic damage is loss of morale (eg when you take 1d6 psychic damage from the Horrid Visage of a Deathlock Wight). You can also deal hit point damage via socia skill checks that demoralise a foe (see eg Heathen in Dungeon magazine, or Cairn of the Winter King in the Monster Vault boxed set).

So how much HP do you loose when your liege lord falls in battle? How much HP do you loose when your dog runs away?
 


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