Gameplay is an abstraction for all the mechanical properties of a game. the mechanical properties of a game are those which variables are compared against each other to express a change in stats. This entire process is often to express a narrative no matter how simple, even a game like pong, has a narrative between "you're winner" and "you're not winner" that while we have to interpret that way in order to have that conclusion make sense to us, the game does spell it out for us. I cant think of a way to actually craft a ludonarrative dissonance in pong however due to how simple its narrative is, if you switched the values around then having the pixil that the other pixils are reflecting at each other fall into the goal would make you a winner rather than not a winner, which is narratively consistent if unsatisfying.Here's a few definitions I found:
"Ludonarrative dissonance is the conflict between a (video) game's narrative told through the story and the narrative told through the gameplay"
"dissonance between what it is about as a game, and what it is about as a story"
Note "gameplay," which is an emergent quality of the system, not just a given mechanic.
Also worth noting that, outside of more linear pre-packaged adventures like APs, there may or may not be a "story" being narrated in a TTPRG that's separate from the gameplay. There can certainly be themes or genre tropes, though, and the gameplay of an RPG can stray very far from those, indeed.
So, I hope this isn't offensive (clearly I understand I'm taking that risk), but, I'm going to snip out all the bits where you go on about what you or someone else said or argued or proved, and just reply to what you have to say about the above concept, or about the game in question...
So whats the narrative of D&D? well as you put it, the game can be played with minimal narrative pitting numbers that are assigned to entities the game describes against each other. However the game does imply narratives, hitpoints are definitively physical durability, mental durability, will to live, and luck. A loss of hitpoints is a representation of getting closer to death told through these 4 subordinate concepts, and hitpoints are lowered by damage. Damage has its own meaning as it is divided into several types, and those types of damage have the related concepts such as the source they come from, which for 3, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing, are represented by natural and manufactured weapons. the entire abstract of damage is also a related concept to immunity, resistance, and durability.
The most simplistic narrative of playing the game still requires all concepts that the game itself puts forward as being connected to each other. My argument has been that this alone is enough to make some accurate and telling comparisons and interpretations of the relationships between these gameplay mechanics and what the most simplistic narrative presented by the game can/should be.
You make a good point about how D&D's description of what hitpoints is, is unsatisfying given what we know it depends on, which it never mentions, being that of experience as a related concept to class, class granting hitpoints at every level with verying degrees. Likewise anyone trying to make the arguments i've been trying to make would be dismayed that there's no good distinction as to why one class grants more than another. Im sure older editions have mentioned it, but that's not relevant here. you would likely suppose that this is where the abstraction of hitpoints picks up the slack which you kinda have by making reference to 2 concepts that it could relate to, but then finally adding that even though you could make that argument, because there is no definition then no interpretation could be correct as to what is really happening.So, there isn't one specific narrative of hit points. A point of damage is not a 'flesh wound' for instance. Instead:
"Hit points represent a combination of physical and mental durability, the will to live, and luck. Creatures with more hit points are more difficult to kill. Those with fewer hit points are more fragile."
"Dungeon Masters describe hit point loss in different ways. When your current hit point total is half or more of your hit point maximum, you typically show no signs of injury. When you drop below half your hit point maximum, you show signs of wear, such as cuts and bruises. An attack that reduces you to 0 hit points strikes you directly, leaving a bleeding injury or other trauma, or it simply knocks you unconscious."
And, that's about it.
Really, the omission of skill is mildly appalling considering hps increase dramatically with level. I suppose you could fold it into physical & mental durability, which are both very vague - 'physical durability' could mean anything from structural resistance to damage, systemic tolerance of damage, & just plain mass to endurance and even reflexes, natural or honed by training, like rolling with a blow or fall. Likewise, the divine favor and 'sixth sense' EGG mentioned could fit under luck.
"More difficult to kill" sums it up, really. Anything that might make you harder to kill gets abstracted together into a single maximum hit point score.
That leaves us, really, nothing solid to work with.
But bringing skill, experience, and class is a non-sequitur. You know that none of this is mentioned in the definition of hitpoints, so your completely correct that level and class do not help in the definition of hitpoints very well, because they clearly dont, they arnt even part of the conversation, and there inclusion into the conversation would be adding nothing to it which you've posed as being conclusive. Thus we are going to have to dismiss that.
So now i will address the first part of your comment
You've outlined the definition of hitpoints, in playing the game with the most bare presentation of narrative possible the narrative of hitpoint are described by its definition when it refers to subordinate concepts and related concepts which do not have any direct in game comparisons, in this instance every subordinate concept of hitpoints is not accounted directly for by a veritable, which at this point shouldnt be lost on anyone and im sure thats your point. However several of hitpoint's related concepts are referenced elsewhere in the game as other mechanics. Related concepts to hitpoint's are "creatures", "kill" "healing" (you omitted this one to shorten your definition of hitpoints), and "damage" (omitted again for brevity).
The point ive been trying to make is that we can better define the subordinate concepts you rightly point out as being vague, because they too are abstractions. The reason i argue that the related concepts to hitpoints can be used to better define the subordinate concepts is because while the subordinate concepts are vague, the subordinate concepts of "creatures" "kill" "healing" and "damage" are not as vague. i've mostly been arguing from the perspective of damage though each of these related concepts give context that change the narrative of hitpoints.
At this point you might ask why this is important? Well its not important for those who want to simply play the game with the bare minimum narration as possible, while there may be a connection between the concepts in the gameplay of D&D when played at the bare minimum narration, theres no room for further interpretation, further interpretation is the realm of the players who want to describe the game as a roleplaying game. Further interpretation is the subject of this topic, and how 100% adherence to the rules limits interpretation.
Con may be abstract on its own but its actually defined far better than hitpoints due to it being an ability score that applies itself to multiple activities described by the game. Now the game also says that the gm can come up with activities for con to be applied to, but it gives a picture of what con is. Additionally some of the picture of con can be made out from its association with hitpoints, and thus all of hitpoints' subordinate concepts and related concepts. To what degree constitution can be applied to any of hitpoint's subordinate concepts cant be said as hitpoints are rather vague, but we can assume that it is related to what characteristics that con has, i suppose as much as can be said about levels.Con increases your hps - CON, also fairly abstract, measures endurance, which contributes to your physical durability. Level represents skill, and, amusingly, increasing importance in the story, which could translate to increasing luck (author force/'plot armor').
Why not? The requirements of an abstract is that its related concepts must have a relationship with all of its subordinate concepts. damage must relate to hitpoints by definition, what damage says about hitpoints relates to hitpoints. creatures must relate to hitpoints by definition, what hitpoints says about creatures is related to creatures by definition, creatures have immunity, resistance, and vulnerability, those concepts relate to how damage applies to hitpoints of the creatures. There is a direct line of effect that goes through immunity, resistance, and vulnerability as a related concept to creatures between damage and hitpoints. immunity, resistance, and vulnerability as characteristics of creatures has a baring on what hitpoints mean in relationship to that specific creature and the type of damage it has those characteristics as related concepts. thus damage type has a meaning for hitpoints of that creature. This finally means that there is something about that creature which effects how many hitpoints it loses due to a damage type and that poses the questions; How can any creature lose hitpoints due to this damage type? Within context of the rest of the games mechanics what can immunity, resistance, or vulnerability represent? What subordinate concepts of a creatures hitpoints do the representations that immunity, resistance, and vulnerability apply to given this damage type? That tells you how the damage type lowers that creatures hitpoints.I think there might be a category error going on here.
Creatures are measured in hit points.
Damage is measured in hit points.
But creatures aren't damage and damage isn't a creature. So expecting what hit points represent, narratively about an attack or hazard, to be the same as what hit points represent, narratively, about a creature is not tenable.
Also im not sure you'll do this or not, but you might say that in hitpoints definition it doesn't have immunity, resistance, and vulnerability listed as related concepts, that is because those are related concepts to creatures and damage, they only relate to hitpoints when present in creatures and present in damage.
What doesn't sound quite right is you implying that hit points are an abstraction used to denominate every possible thing that might kill a character. Thats only what hitpoints is in relation to the related concept's of "damage" and "kill". its subordinate components are physical durability, mental durability, will to live, and luck. Those subordinate concepts have meaning, you wouldn't say physical durability and mental durability are the same, thus when i question how the concepts of damage apply to hitpoints I'm questioning how it applies to its subordinate concepts based on the subordinate concepts of damage and the related concepts of damage. However you could say that the entire mechanic of hitpoints, and damage is an abstraction used to denominate every possible thing that might kill a character (unless there are other ways to die). Maybe thats combat, not sure.That doesn't sound quite right. I mean, that'd be a contradiction, sure. If one system element said hit points were your character's resistance to damage, and another said hit points were your character's ability to score hits, that'd be a contradiction. But that's not happening. Rather, hit points are an abstraction used to denominate every possible thing that might kill a character, toted up against every possible factor that might save him, to determine whether he's defeated & dying, yet.
2 abstractions interacting to form something more abstract? Well let me try. lets say we take 2 abstract concepts, "properties" and "verb:use". If you create an abstraction between "properties" and "use" whats you get is an abstraction that only applies to them. However damage isint quite like that because damage has types, and while the game says the followingWhen you have two abstract mechanisms that can be imagined various ways, and they interact, producing an equally (more? I feel like the level of abstraction would increase when you combine abstractions? Less? Is it like a Venn Diagram, A intersect B of abstraction?) abstract result. The more abstract, the greater your freedom to visualize what has happened in the narrative rather than be told by the system what happened. So, you simply imagine something that makes sense.
Sure, that meaning just happens on one, relatively 'high' level, what happens below that level isn't a concern. Hit points tell you if your character has been defeated or can keep fighting at full power.
If there's a dissonance, it's that (and it's in a sidebar, and up to the DM, so hardly counts) idea that you show 'signs of wear' at 1/2 hps, yet that generally carries no mechanical significance.
That doesn't mean that when a type of damage is applied without damage resistance, ect being present on a creature that the type of damage is no longer there. Damage type is still present. thus when damage is done to a character its not the abstract damage applied to them, its one of the subordinate concepts applied to them. So back to our "properties" and "use" abstractions, its more like a type of use is applied to the properties, now we have to pick one, how about "verbunch"? So when damage is applied to hitpoints it is like "punch" being applied to properties.Damage types have no rules of their own, but other rules, such as damage resistance, rely on the types.
This is still pretty vague, but damage as a concept related to hitpoints is not purely a matter of assigning "what happens" its also a matter of assigning "what it means for a character" which is to be closer to being killed. Character is a vague term but is used to denote an individual in an instance so in that way while it is an abstract, its use here isint. Killed is actually a pretty specific term, its still an abstraction, technically every word we use it, but we understand that killed or death is a new state of being for the character. So to add to our analogy a stand in for character will be "this ball" which is a specific that could be an abstract but is still specific when given "this" and for killed we go with "moving" so applying a type of damage to a creatures hitpoints is like comparing to abstracts within the following narrative. Punching this ball's properties to move it.
However there is one more characteristic in damage and hitpoints that hasent been adressed, they are measurements. Hitpoints is a measurement for a creatures distance from being killed, the closer to killed a creature is then the less hitpoints a creature has. For hitpoints this describes not only a measurement for hitpoints but what it is doing in the state a creature is in before they are killed. For damage's measurement, its an action which reduces a characters hitpoints in order to get that character to the state of being killed. When applied to our abstract comparison narrative. hitpoints represent a measure of "this ball's properties preventing it from being moved" while damage represents a measure of "punching this ball in order to move it" thus the higher this ball's properties are the further it is from being moved while the higher the punching this ball is the closer it gets this ball to move.
This is the narrative of damage being applied to hitpoints of a creature in order to kill them. when i compare damage to hitpoints it is to understand how this narrative changes depending on the type of damage and to which subordinate concept of hitpoints that type of damage applies to. whatever a type of damage is, the higher it is the more likely it is to overcome the hitpoints of the creature to kill it. Whatever hitpoints is (and it can only be 4 things), the higher it is the more likely it is to prevent a character from being killed due to a type of damage and when exposed to damage whatever hitpoints is, decreases. Throwing immunity, resistance, and vulnerability into this we have an abstract that stands in the way of whatever type of damage reducing whatever hitpoints is or an abstract making it easier for whatever type of damage reducing whatever hitpoints is. Additionally what immunity, resistance, and vulnerability is, must be something that applies whether a character is aware of what is happening to them or not.
SO a creature which has resistance to piercing damage which is dealt piercing damage by an invisible and silent creature that they have no awareness of takes less damage due to their resistance, taking less damage means that one of the 4 subordinate concepts goes down putting them closer to death. Of the 4 subordinate concepts of hitpoints, which ones can be reduced for a character with absolutely no idea what the source of damage is that is reducing their hitpoints? Cant be mental durability because something had to happen to a character still for them to lose hitpoints but be from a source they can not see meaning any mental reaction they might have has to be in reaction to losing hitpoints, this likewise applies to will to live. so all that remains is luck and physical damage. BUT a character is aware of being damaged unless some other property is in effect to render them unaware, so whatever damage done to them must be something they personally can be aware of due to taking damage, so unless in your setting a character knows that they are less lucky because someone swiped at them while invisible and silent then they have no way of knowing they just took damage, unless its physical. And this event informs you on what their resistance to this kind of damage has to be, one that fortifies physical durability.
yes that is what i am sayingWhen I see "my main question" I think, "wow, I should try to understand this."
Are you saying that there are things in the potential narrative that are represented /both/ by the abstract hp mechanic, /and/ by other mechanics?
I suppose there still may be. There aren't as may or precipitous save-or-else mechanics as there used to be in 5e, for instance, but you can probably find some. Missing an attack roll by 1 and therefore, say, failing to penetrate armor (AC's own bizarre little abstractions), and succeeding on an attack roll, but not inflicting enough damage to reduce the target's current hps below half their maximum, and therefore 'showing no visible signs of wear,' could both look /very/ similar in the hypothetical narrative.
But not the same. The former didn't put you at a disadvantage going forward, the latter did.
i believe i have, but more abstractions lay underneathYou can't really pick apart an abstraction, or it wouldn't be abstract anymore.