5E ludonarrative dissonance of hitpoints in D&D

what i said
your response
my retort
your rebuttal
Don't care.

you've created an abstraction "ball" and in the abstraction "ball" you listed the definition of what it "can be" which you stated as "any roughly spherical object" (2 related concepts; 1 abstract "object" and 1 specific "spherical" based on the definitions of those words) "used in" (a related concept and abstract) "a game" (a related concept and abstract) "whether made from" (a related concept and abstract), "synthetic or natural rubber, leather, or even horsehair" (a list of subordinate concepts of the "made from" abstraction).
Congratulations, you just parsed natural language as if it were code.

the reason why the subordinate concept of "pingpong ball" can not be added to the abstraction of "ball" is because you state that what the ball can be "made of" is any of those subordinate concepts listed by "made of" though im not sure if plastic counts as a specific concept under the abstract "synthetics" or not.
It wasn't an exhaustive list. A ping-pong ball totally belongs.

This is the mistake you're making with the explanation of hps. It's written in natural language, there's nothing to indicate the '4 things' you've been over-analyzing are an exhaustive list, and not just examples.

if you create associations that conflict with each other than your statement about those associations must change or your wrong
But what's "wrong" in the context of understanding an abstraction like hit points? As we're talking RPG rules that are /barely meant to be rules/, ("they're a starting point!") written in natural language, that're meant to be read for comprehension, not parsed in search of technicalities, "wrong" would mean misunderstanding them, not disproving them.

what this means for hitpoints is that anything stated about damage is a statement about hitpoints
Again, no, anything stated about damage is a statement about the attack that does that damage, which happens to be denominated in hps, so it can conveniently applied to creatures, who's abstract resistance to lethal attacks (and hazards, whatever), is also denominated in hps.

if a statement about hitpoints conflicts with a statement about damage, then that statement is wrong. hitpoints and damage might be correct in isolation, but if they depend on eachother, they must also not conflict with each other.
If a statement about hit points of damage denominating the lethality of an attack conflicts with a statement about hit points denominating a creature's resistance to lethal dangers, that's because one is a statement about an attack, and the other a statement about a creature.
 
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so i've said this a few times now after my last long reply to tony but this is it in a concise chunk

i came up with an explanation for hitpoints where any type of damage in any context of damage can still mean all 4 subordinate concepts of damage are at play at the same time. all you have to do is say that if a character takes any damage, regardless of source, regardless of context, that damage has an net effect where all 4 concepts of hitpoints are lowered. so say you have a blind deaf character who is stabbed. while they technically cant mentally react to damage before it happens, they can mentally react to losing physical durability by losing mental durability, will to live, and luck as a reaction to it, in fact its forced on them. this basically defuses any arguments i can make about how damage has to be one thing at any one time, but on the same token it means that the only way for damage to only apply to one subordinate concept of hitpoints is by being inconsistent with the idea that any form of damage applies to all 4 subordinate concepts of damage at the same time regardless of context.
You could do that but that’s changed the abstraction again.
 

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Don't care.

Congratulations, you just parsed natural language as if it were code.

It wasn't an exhaustive list. A ping-pong ball totally belongs.

This is the mistake you're making with the explanation of hps. It's written in natural language, there's nothing to indicate the '4 things' you've been over-analyzing are an exhaustive list, and not just examples.

But what's "wrong" in the context of understanding an abstraction like hit points? As we're talking RPG rules that are /barely meant to be rules/, ("they're a starting point!") written in natural language, that're meant to be read for comprehension, not parsed in search of technicalities, "wrong" would mean misunderstanding them, not disproving them.
if you want to argue that your abstraction or hitpoints are open ended and thus anyone can add or subtract concepts from them any way they want to then first i would ask you to point out where the definition of these terms in the game state this but additionally id point out you dont state this in your own abstract. if someone was meant to take your definition of your abstract at face value and use it without ever being able to consult you on it, then your definition can not change (like i said it either has to change or its wrong, because your language does not presume to a reader that it is open ended, the term "whether" when applied to "made of" does not denote an open ended statement, it denotes a list of possibilities.

though honestly if you consider hitpoints open ended then frankly i dont know what your even arguing against me about, ultimately what i think about hitpoints doesnt matter if hitpoints can mean anything, sure you can say then if hitpoints means anything that when i say to someone else "this doesnt make logical sense within the context of the game" that you can point out the game doesent have logical limitations to the subject, but beyond that i and anyone else can say whatever hitpoints are for our own use when hitpoints subordinate concepts and damage's subordinate concepts are purely interpretive.

Again, no, anything stated about damage is a statement about the attack that does that damage, which happens to be denominated in hps, so it can conveniently applied to creatures, who's abstract resistance to lethal attacks (and hazards, whatever), is also denominated in hps.

If a statement about hit points of damage denominating the lethality of an attack conflicts with a statement about hit points denominating a creature's resistance to lethal dangers, that's because one is a statement about an attack, and the other a statement about a creature.
damage isint a statement about an attack, because damage does not only occur from attacks, damage occurs when something lowers a characters hitpoints, would you argue that a pit trap attacks a character? would you argue that the ground attacks the character when they fall? when a character is poisoned, is it attacking them or is it just doing damage? can you also prove that these are attacks by the games logic providing a source stating these are attacks?

if not, then damage is not a statement about an attack, damage is a statement about how hitpoints are lowered, we know this because the definition of hitpoints never mentions attacks. now the definition of damage does state attacks, but we know that other sources of damage exist in the game that arnt associated with attacks, not to mention damage isint specified as being defined as the result of attacks where its mentioned in its definition, what it states is that attacks do damage, that is an open ended statement because it doesn't state what damage is, it simply states where it can come from.

so far this leaves us with the conclusion we started with. damage is the related concept to hitpoints for hitpoints, and that because hitpoints is defined without open ended interpretation (until you can quote otherwise) as being an abstraction of the concepts "physical and mental durability, will to live, and luck" while damage has its own subordinate concepts. hitpoints and damage are representatives of those subordinate concepts, they can not be divorced from them in the statements about what these abstracts are defined as, and these concepts define that hitpoints are lowered by damage. if hitpoints cant divorce its subordinate concepts and damage can not divorce its subordinate concepts (specifically damage is never done without a type of damage specified) then it must be assumed that how damage lowers hitpoints is a defining characteristic of hitpoint's subordinate concepts. something like IRV (immunity, resistance, vulneribility) in this analysis is important to help clarify "how" as extra contexts, the same way my "blind and deaf" conditions on the character or "invisible and silent" conditions on the attacker are just extra context to clarify hitpoint's relationship with damage.
 
if you want to argue that your abstraction or hitpoints are open ended and thus anyone can add or subtract concepts from them any way
Just not an exhaustive list, so add to them, sure. Subtract from them? Not s'much, no.

if someone was meant to take your definition of your abstract at face value and use it without ever being able to consult you on it then your definition can not change
Y'mean, like if the guy who wrote the latest D&D hp blurb didn't have a twitter account?

though honestly if you consider hitpoints open ended then frankly i dont know what your even arguing
That they shouldn't be narrowed down to just one thing, perhaps?

And, of course, that, as 5e gives the DM unlimited narrative freedom, any dissonance between the mechanics and his narrative is on him. ;P

would you argue that a pit trap attacks a character?
(Actually, D&D has often had traps make attack rolls, but that's not important right now...)

would you argue that the ground attacks the character when they fall?
Well, if were the other-way round, the falling character might intentionally miss, and begin flying. (Apologies to the late, great Douglas Adams.)

damage isint a statement about an attack, because damage does not only occur from attacks, damage occurs when something lowers a characters hitpoints,
Yeah, I've been mostly pretty careful to say "attacks or hazards" or "lethal dangers" or other broader things. None of which are creatures, so the quibble is pointless. (though, it serves, ironically, as another example of taking, a, well, example as an exhaustive list)
Hit points may be a common, abstract measure used by the game to describe either the resilience of creatures in avoiding death or the lethality of the dangers they're avoiding. But, creatures (& things, when given hp) and attacks (and other deadly dangers) remain in different categories.
 
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The traditional hp abstraction has important properties that your modified hp abstraction does not possess.

Unless you can show a mapping of the important properties in the traditional hp abstraction onto your modified hp abstraction then structurally they are different abstractions.

Perhaps a similar mathematical example will help...

Consider the set of all positive integers. Now consider the set of all positive even integers. The properties of set of all positive integers are different than the set of all positive even integers. Consider division by 2. Fact: There exists some integer A in the set of all positive integers such that A divided by 2 is not an integer. This is not the case with the set of all even integers. Thus there is an important difference in the properties of the sets of all positive integers and all even integers.

The point of this exercise is to show you that a subset of a set can exhibit certain properties that are different than the original set. This is also the case with abstractions of hp. Just because you are picking some of the properties of the original hp abstraction doesn't mean that the properties of the new hp abstraction based on that subset of properties is the same.

Perhaps a similar computer science example will help....

In code you have a class. That class gets called in your actual program and it instantiates an object based on that class. There can be any number of objects created all with different parameters defined by the class. However, changing the code for the class to allow for some subset of objects to be instantiated that included in the possible objects instantiated by the original class doesn't make the 2 classes equivalent.
 

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Just not an exhaustive list, so add to them, sure. Subtract from them? Not s'much, no.

Y'mean, like if the guy who wrote the latest D&D hp blurb didn't have a twitter account?

That they shouldn't be narrowed down to just one thing, perhaps?

And, of course, that, as 5e gives the DM unlimited narrative freedom, any dissonance between the mechanics and his narrative is on him. ;P

(Actually, D&D has often had traps make attack rolls, but that's not important right now...)

Well, if were the other-way round, the falling character might intentionally miss, and begin flying. (Apologies to the late, great Douglas Adams.)

Yeah, I've been mostly pretty careful to say "attacks or hazards" or "lethal dangers" or other broader things. None of which are creatures, so the quibble is pointless. (though, it serves, ironically, as another example of taking, a, well, example as an exhaustive list)
Hit points may be a common, abstract measure used by the game to describe either the resilience of creatures in avoiding death or the lethality of the dangers they're avoiding. But, creatures (& things, when given hp) and attacks (and other deadly dangers) remain in different categories.
if A - B, and A=C,D,E,F while B= a stand in for any 1 or multiple of a longer list of letters which are used in context to what causes B. then A - B is an expression of C,D,E,F - anything which can be B. this assumes that B can be applied to C,D,E,F and my entire point has been exploring if anything else applied to A before - B which changes how - B applies to A would conflict with what we know about C,D,E,F as despite C,D,E,F not being defined in the game further than they = A, those terms have their own meaning and its implied we are meant to use them for their meaning otherwise they wouldnt be used at all as they serve no further purpose than to specify what A is representing. also A happens to be hitpoints and a property of creature's and B happens to be damage if that wasent obvious.

The traditional hp abstraction has important properties that your modified hp abstraction does not possess.

Unless you can show a mapping of the important properties in the traditional hp abstraction onto your modified hp abstraction then structurally they are different abstractions.

Perhaps a similar mathematical example will help...

Consider the set of all positive integers. Now consider the set of all positive even integers. The properties of set of all positive integers are different than the set of all positive even integers. Consider division by 2. Fact: There exists some integer A in the set of all positive integers such that A divided by 2 is not an integer. This is not the case with the set of all even integers. Thus there is an important difference in the properties of the sets of all positive integers and all even integers.

The point of this exercise is to show you that a subset of a set can exhibit certain properties that are different than the original set. This is also the case with abstractions of hp. Just because you are picking some of the properties of the original hp abstraction doesn't mean that the properties of the new hp abstraction based on that subset of properties is the same.

Perhaps a similar computer science example will help....

In code you have a class. That class gets called in your actual program and it instantiates an object based on that class. There can be any number of objects created all with different parameters defined by the class. However, changing the code for the class to allow for some subset of objects to be instantiated that included in the possible objects instantiated by the original class doesn't make the 2 classes equivalent.
could you find anything in the statement you are replying to with this where what i said is in conflict with what you outline in your reply? pick something specific out of what i said, tell me where its an example of changing the abstract, if you cant do that i have no way of knowing what you are referring to.
 
i came up with an explanation for hitpoints where any type of damage in any context of damage can still mean all 4 subordinate concepts of damage are at play at the same time. all you have to do is say that if a character takes any damage, regardless of source, regardless of context, that damage has an net effect where all 4 concepts of hitpoints are lowered.
In response to your previous question. You have created a situation where the properties of the original abstraction are different than the properties of your new abstraction. In the original abstraction the subordinate concepts don't all need to be equal or even present in any instance of losing hp. In yours they do. Your additional property that all subordinate concepts are always equal in hp loss has thus changed the actual abstraction into a new one that is not equivalent, nor isomporphic to the original.

Keep in mind while we've been coliqually referring to this as equivalence the actual concept is isomprphism.
 

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In response to your previous question. You have created a situation where the properties of the original abstraction are different than the properties of your new abstraction. In the original abstraction the subordinate concepts don't all need to be equal or even present in any instance of losing hp. In yours they do. Your additional property that all subordinate concepts are always equal in hp loss has thus changed the actual abstraction into a new one that is not equivalent, nor isomporphic to the original.

Keep in mind while we've been coliqually referring to this as equivalence the actual concept is isomprphism.
i haven't created a new abstraction, if you do not quote what you are referring to i can not tell what of the 23 pages of my replies you are referring to as my new abstraction. in the post i think you are referring to i still don't see what your referring to.

are you saying that the 4 subordinate concepts of hitpoints do not all have to be equally effected by an attack? because i agree with you, but i stated that they can be regardless of what context damage takes if you interpret what damage means with regard to lowering hitpoints in that way.

again because i dont know exactly what your saying is a new abstract that im saying i dont really know how to reply to your accusation.
 
That's some pretty weak set theory - or was it meant to be symbolic logic? - but even were it solid it'd have no applicability to understanding the natural language explanation of hit points found in 5e.
(Let alone the original, more verbose, one)
 
i haven't created a new abstraction, if you do not quote what you are referring to i can not tell what of the 23 pages of my replies you are referring to as my new abstraction. in the post i think you are referring to i still don't see what your referring to.

are you saying that the 4 subordinate concepts of hitpoints do not all have to be equally effected by an attack? because i agree with you, but i stated that they can be regardless of what context damage takes if you interpret what damage means with regard to lowering hitpoints in that way.

again because i dont know exactly what your saying is a new abstract that im saying i dont really know how to reply to your accusation.
I quoted precisely what I was referencing.
 
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but mechanically hitpoints are a number of points that characters gain through the classes they take and the level they achieve in those classes plus a characters bonus from constitution, an ability statistic that is representative of endurance, which also applies itself to holding ones breath, march or labor for hours, go without sleep,
I would think of the con bonus as representing endurance even for the extra hp it gives.
 

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I quoted precisely what I was referencing.
ok so, what i say is that hitpoints where any type of damage in any context of damage can steal mean all 4 subordinate concepts of damage are at play at the same time. all you have to do is say that if a character takes any damage regardless of source, regardless of context, that damage has a net effect where all 4 concepts of hitpoints are lowered.

your response is that i have created a situation where the properties of the original abstraction are different than the properties of my new abstraction. in the original abstraction the subordinate concepts don't all need to be equal or even present in any instance of losing hp. in mine they do.

can you explain how the abstraction where all subordinate properties of hitpoints being lowered evenly by damage whenever hitpoints are lowered by damage is a different abstraction than the abstraction for hitpoints in D&D? additionally can you explain where in the rules of the game that it implies that is not how the subordinate concepts of hitpoints are reduced by damage when hitpoints are reduced by damage? can you then explain how a character who is blind and deaf who is stabbed with a piercing weapon that hits them and deals piercing damage CAN NOT lower a character's physical durability? can you then explain how a character who takes psychic damage that lowers their hitpoints can not have their mental durability reduced? can you then explain how it changes the abstraction of hitpoints if a character who takes piercing damage while deaf and blind has their mental durability, luck and will to live lowered at the same rate as their physical durability as a reaction to having their physical durability lowered?

finally what use is hitpoints as an abstraction if as a gm or player we have no way of using hitpoints as an abstraction to describe how damage narrative effects our characters without changing the nature of the original abstraction because we decide the damage lowers all subordinate concepts evenly or not? can you tell me what the point of listing subordinate concepts to hitpoints is if we can not decide ourselves how it does then without changing the abstract into a new abstract?
 

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*
but mechanically hitpoints are a number of points that characters gain through the classes they take and the level they achieve in those classes plus a characters bonus from constitution, an ability statistic that is representative of endurance, which also applies itself to holding ones breath, march or labor for hours, go without sleep,

I would think of the con bonus as representing endurance even for the extra hp it gives.
the bonus that hitpoints gets from con is probably best understood as being a measure of endurance as most of what con describes itself as in other contexts (its use in checks) are all things related to our understanding of endurance, however what endurance translates into when increasing the subordinate concepts of hitpoints is a matter of what you think that endurance applies to, physical durability, mental durability, will to live, and luck. all the more theres no saying that the way hitpoints increases through con bonus has anything to do with how they increase based on experience through your class or creature type. the game just doesent flat out say what the hitpoints gained from class levels means other than whatever hitpoints are already defined as.
 
ok so, what i say is that hitpoints where any type of damage in any context of damage can steal mean all 4 subordinate concepts of damage are at play at the same time. all you have to do is say that if a character takes any damage regardless of source, regardless of context, that damage has a net effect where all 4 concepts of hitpoints are lowered.

your response is that i have created a situation where the properties of the original abstraction are different than the properties of my new abstraction. in the original abstraction the subordinate concepts don't all need to be equal or even present in any instance of losing hp. in mine they do.
Yep that's a recap.

can you explain how the abstraction where all subordinate properties of hitpoints being lowered evenly by damage whenever hitpoints are lowered by damage is a different abstraction than the abstraction for hitpoints in D&D?
Yes. The explanation is what I gave you in the post above. To summarize,
In the original abstraction the subordinate concepts don't all need to be equal or even present in any instance of losing hp. In yours they do. Essentially, that difference has a direct impact on narratives that can be established with each abstraction.

additionally can you explain where in the rules of the game that it implies that is not how the subordinate concepts of hitpoints are reduced by damage when hitpoints are reduced by damage?
Kind of. I shouldn't have to emphasize this fact but I guess I do. Game rules aren't typically written to tell you how things don't work. The most I can provide you are the rules for the abstraction 5e is using - which make no mention that all the subordinate concepts of the systems hp abstraction must be equal in every instance of hp loss. In fact we can find rules that suggest but never explicitly say the exact opposite - such that creatures normally show signs of battle when below half hp.

can you then explain how a character who is blind and deaf who is stabbed with a piercing weapon that hits them and deals piercing damage CAN NOT lower a character's physical durability?
Why would I need to explain that? Physical durability is included in the abstraction of hp. Characters most certainly can have their physical durability damaged as part of their hp loss.

can you then explain how a character who takes psychic damage that lowers their hitpoints can not have their mental durability reduced?
Same explanation as above.

can you then explain how it changes the abstraction of hitpoints if a character who takes piercing damage while deaf and blind has their mental durability, luck and will to live lowered at the same rate as their physical durability as a reaction to having their physical durability lowered?
That doesn't change the abstraction.. A single instance of hp loss can be narrated using any part of 5e's abstraction.

finally what use is hitpoints as an abstraction if as a gm or player we have no way of using hitpoints as an abstraction to describe how damage narrative effects our characters without changing the nature of the original abstraction because we decide the damage lowers all subordinate concepts evenly or not?
You are mixing up 2 concepts.

1. There is the concept of a specific abstraction, which has a specific structure and specific properties itself and includes specific subordinate concepts.

2. Then there is the concept of using one of those subordinate concpets to narratively explain an instance of the abstract hp mechanic.

You seem to be conflating these two things quite a bit. For example, the portion of your post I quoted right above this - you are asking why we can't 2 without changing 1. But no one is saying that 2 can't be done without changing 1. In fact, That's what's making this so hard to discuss, you keep bringing up examples of changing 2 as if it has anything to do with 1 at all.

can you tell me what the point of listing subordinate concepts to hitpoints is if we can not decide ourselves how it does then without changing the abstract into a new abstract?
We can decide that ourselves (in the context of the narrative, not in the context of the abstraction). What we cannot do is eliminate a unique subordinate concept from the abstraction without changing the abstraction. But that doesn't mean that in each narrative instance of hp loss that every subordinate concept must be present, only that they exist as possibilities that can explain any instance of hp loss.

In Conclusion,

I guess it might be best to explain it this way. The HP Abstraction includes all subordinate concepts and combinations of those concepts. Some subset of those concepts and combinations of them can be used in narrative to explain the hp loss.

To remove subordinate concepts or combinations of concepts from the abstraction then changes the abstraction - essentially reducing the set of possible explanations that can be used to narrate hp loss. To remove them in a specific narrative explanation has no effect on the abstraction.

To add a subordinate concept to an abstraction still allows for the subordinate concepts (and combinations of them) that were available before but also new ones that weren't available before. To add a subordinate concept to a specific narrative explanation has no effect on the abstraction (unless it was a concept not originally included in the abstraction to begin with).
 
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Just my, probably marginally useful, commentary. I think there are 2 basically disjoint things here. First is the game and it's rules, second is the narrative.
In rules terms HP represent a fairly abstract assessment of 'nearness to defeat'. Any factor related to that could be reflected as 'damage'. All versions of d&d are fuzzy here because they have other measures as well. 4e has conditions and effects for example. There is also inevitably fictional position as well.
Fiction/narrative is its own thing. There must be some concordance with mechanics to produce outcomes we expect but the nature of the coupling depends on goals, taste, style, etc. You can't discuss hit points in a vacuum. You can't even generalize across editions really.
 

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