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D&D 3E/3.5 Point me towards an alternate Hit Point system for Pathfinder/D&D3.5

Vyrolakos

First Post
I'm after something that gives wounding results while characters AND monsters are losing Hit Points. The whole, 'you're fine until you hit 0 HP', is just killing me. Excuse the pun.

So far, I'm looking at a 1/3 (total) HP Wound Threshold system, where taking 1/3 of your (total) HP's in one single damage source requires a DC 15 (20?) Fortitude Save to avoid a wound effect.

What optional wounding rules have you come up with?
 

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Penthau

Explorer
You could use something like the consequences from FATE. It would let them avoid a HP loss to accept a consequence that has long term affects. So for instance, they could "soak" up 20 hp and take a minor consequence, which would give them some combat penalty (like -1 or -2 to hit) and have some description like pulled muscle. They would have 4 levels (minor, major, severe, extreme) and each severity would absorb more damage (maybe % or absolute hp) and they would last longer as they became more serious (end of combat, end of day, 1 week, 1 month). They are harder to heal than hp.
 

3catcircus

Adventurer
How much crunch are you willing to work with?

Here is a previous post I made about a wound-based system.

It is an attempt at describing the damage system used in Twilight:2013, but would require some modification to fit within the bounds of a genre where magic exists.

Essentially, it uses a condition track that includes some linear effects, as well as the chance for a rapid death spiral.
 

Vyrolakos

First Post
Food for thought, thanks. :)

My main goal is to try to keep it compatible with the current mechanics. I don't want players to have to learn completely alternate damage rules, just have some possible extra effects when they take a certain percentage of their current HP's from one single source.

I like the idea of suffering penalties from wound thresholds, but it needs to be kept simple so that both the characters and the opponents they fight can use the same system.
 

darjr

I crit!
How about this?

Every wound is a -1 to all d20 rolls. A wound happens on a critical hit, when a character drops to half HP and at zero HP.

A healing spell either does hp healing or heals the number of dice used in would points.
 

Vyrolakos

First Post
Yeah, I was thinking this sort of thing, not sure about the half HP threshold though. I was wondering whether having an escalating wound severity or a random wound severity is the way to go.

Minor - Light - Moderate - Severe - Critical, or just randomly determine severity on each occurrence, based on the DC15 (20?) success/failure result maybe?

Also, with a wound 'severity', you can theoretically require the correct heal spell to heal the severity of wound.

Cure Moderate Wounds to cure a moderate wound result, and such like.

Trouble is, it's already getting complicated. :)
 

darjr

I crit!
Yea, it's hard to keep a wound system simple, thus hit points.

Another option that comes to mind. If the to hit roll is over the to hit DC (AC or Touch or Flat Footed) by their con bonus they take a wound.

So a fighter with an AC of 19 and a con bonus of 3 would take a wound if the Ogre got a 22 or higher, plus what ever HP in damage. A 19-20 would just be the HP damage.

A -1 to to d20 rolls for every wound is probably to harsh here.
 

Vyrolakos

First Post
Maybe I should just dig out my copy of Rolemaster Arms Law & Claw Law? :lol:

... or maybe not. :)

I'm beginning to see why WotC never messed with the HP system.
 


darjr

I crit!
Aside from the complexity, death spirals can be infuriating for most players. That's reason enough for WotC to shy away.
uh what?

This was for his game or own edification. Alternate home rules, that's all. And actually I know players that actually like playing under that kind of in game stress. Each to their own.
 

3catcircus

Adventurer
Aside from the complexity, death spirals can be infuriating for most players. That's reason enough for WotC to shy away.

At least in my experience, games using death spiral mechanics are generally only infuriating for players who haven't really come to terms with the type of game that uses them.

Another type of "death spiral" example would be Call of Cthulhu - every character either ends up dead or insane so why would anyone want to play such a game?

If you are looking for crazy Wuxia style combat or minimal complexity, then hit points are ok. If you want something more simulationist, complex or gritty (especially for modern genre), then a wound system with the possibility of shock, bleeding out or "lights out" one shot-one kill mechanics is a necessity.
 

darjr

I crit!
Another idea. Every con score of damage is a wound. So a con 12 character would get a wound every time they had gotten 12 HP in damage. It would kind of even out the low HP low level folks with the high HP higher level folks, plus higher level folks could put points in con. But what would a wound do?
 

Enkhidu

Explorer
uh what?

This was for his game or own edification. Alternate home rules, that's all. And actually I know players that actually like playing under that kind of in game stress. Each to their own.

My comment was in response to "I'm beginning to see why WotC never messed with the HP system," so that's the context in which it was meant. WotC has actually flirted with different HP systems, but keeps coming back to good ol' hit points because there's a vocal plurality that doesn't like the death spiral effect that wounds come with.

At least in my experience, games using death spiral mechanics are generally only infuriating for players who haven't really come to terms with the type of game that uses them.

Another type of "death spiral" example would be Call of Cthulhu - every character either ends up dead or insane so why would anyone want to play such a game?

If you are looking for crazy Wuxia style combat or minimal complexity, then hit points are ok. If you want something more simulationist, complex or gritty (especially for modern genre), then a wound system with the possibility of shock, bleeding out or "lights out" one shot-one kill mechanics is a necessity.

Oh I absolutely agree, which is why I said what I did - people looking for bog-standard D&D tend to dislike things that skew the default assumptions (which lean more toward minimal complexity and heroic surges than grittier systems/setting).

And since I realize that I just managed to inadvertently thread-crap, I'll bring it back on track...

One of the wound models WotC played with was the (seemingly much reviled) Wound Point / Vitality Point system. It would be relatively straightforward to use that as a baseline and then apply specific wounds (and conditions) when taking wound points.
 



3catcircus

Adventurer
Oh I absolutely agree, which is why I said what I did - people looking for bog-standard D&D tend to dislike things that skew the default assumptions (which lean more toward minimal complexity and heroic surges than grittier systems/setting).

And since I realize that I just managed to inadvertently thread-crap, I'll bring it back on track...

One of the wound models WotC played with was the (seemingly much reviled) Wound Point / Vitality Point system. It would be relatively straightforward to use that as a baseline and then apply specific wounds (and conditions) when taking wound points.

No worries - I didn't take it as thread-crapping. I've played Spycraft, which also used VP/WP. I didn't really see any particular value to using VP/WP vs. hp since it was essentially a "lose all your hp - I mean - VP and then go down to 0 in your Con-disguised-as-WP." The only benefit I saw was that crits went directly against WP rather than doing additional damage, which allows for "one shot-one kill" scenarios.
 

3catcircus

Adventurer
Oh I absolutely agree, which is why I said what I did - people looking for bog-standard D&D tend to dislike things that skew the default assumptions (which lean more toward minimal complexity and heroic surges than grittier systems/setting).

And since I realize that I just managed to inadvertently thread-crap, I'll bring it back on track...

One of the wound models WotC played with was the (seemingly much reviled) Wound Point / Vitality Point system. It would be relatively straightforward to use that as a baseline and then apply specific wounds (and conditions) when taking wound points.

No worries - I didn't take it as thread-crapping. I've played Spycraft, which also used VP/WP. I didn't really see any particular value to using VP/WP vs. hp since it was essentially a "lose all your hp - I mean - VP and then go down to 0 in your Con-disguised-as-WP." The only benefit I saw was that crits went directly against WP rather than doing additional damage, which allows for "one shot-one kill" scenarios.
 

doghead

thotd
You might take a look at one of the versions of Ken Hood's Grim and Gritty hit point rules, a thread about one version can be found here.

Seconded.

Ken Hood's alternate combat system is outstanding. It has been well play tested and is relatively simple to implement. The rules also do a much better job of incorporating common narrative elements in combat mechanics: wounds slow the character down, tough and/or armoured combatants can shrug off damage that would slow others down, and big creatures are scary. Despite its name, I also think that it makes lower level characters less fragile.

thotd
 

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