D&D 5E Take Out Hit Points and Replace It With... (wild ideas thread)

BookTenTiger

He / Him
What would happen if we took Hit Points out of D&D?

Before you tell me to go play a different system, I'm not saying this is a good or advisable idea. It's just something I'm interested in playing around with and discussing. Note that I'm not making this a + thread, I don't think we all need to agree with the premise, but I am hoping folks will feel like being creative rather than reductive.


Okay, back on topic:

What is HP used for in 5e D&D?

It's a resource that counts down to a defeat condition.

One thing I find interesting about Hit Points as a resource is that they can't be used for anything else. You can't sacrifice HP to gain back a spell slot, or add to an attack roll, or raise your AC. They're used occasionally in Exploration (especially with traps), and almost never in the Social Column.

So what would happen if we cut them out of 5e D&D?

Well first off we would need a new way to track how close a combatant is to defeat. Could we use Conditions for this? An Exhaustion-style track?

Also we would need to figure out what the Damage Dice of weapons and spells does.

Would we need a Damage Threshold? Or change damage altogether to Conditions?

Here's one wild idea:

Instead of Hit Points, all combatants have a Damage Threshold. If you successfully hit with an attack or spell, you roll damage as normal. If you roll the Damage Threshold or above, or the maximum number on the die, you damage your enemy.

When an enemy is Vulnerable to your damage type, you double your damage roll. When your enemy is Resistant, you halve it.

Maybe I'd you successfully attack but don't surpass the Damage Threshold, you lower the Threshold by 1.

Each time a combatant takes on damage, they receive the Damaged Condition. This would have some kind of track, like the Exhaustion Condition. One cool idea would be that each Class and Monster Type would have a different Damage Track with different effects. For example, a Barbarian might get more reckless and dangerous as they get damaged, while a Wizard might have some sort of risk of Magic Surges.

A combatant is defeated when they reach the last stage of their Damage Condition track.


Anyways, that's just my wild idea. What's yours? If you took HP from 5e D&D, what would happen? What would you replace it with?

Have fun and be creative!
 

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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
yeah, I'd go with a few conditions tables going from 1 to 6 ranks, where 6 is ''You Die''.
  • Poisoned/Diseased
  • Wounded (from weapons or damage spells)
  • Exhaustion
  • Fright/Morale
  • Doom/Corruption

Different ''attacks'' deal one or more rank from one of those charts.

Poison
RankEffect
1Poisoned. You have disadvantage on all ability checks and attack rolls. You can't benefit from a long rest if you are poisoned when the long rest ends.
2Sickened. You have disadvantage on all Intelligence and Wisdom saving throws. You also make Constitution saves to maintain concentration with disadvantage.
3Affliction. When you deal damage or regain hit points, roll all dice twice, taking the lowest result.
4Wracking. You are vulnerable to all damage and you have disadvantage on Dexterity and Strength saving throws.
5Pestilence. Your speed becomes 10 feet. Any creature that ends a rest within 15 feet of you must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or gain one level of poison. The target can make the save again after each hour. For each save failed, the creature gains another level of poison.
6Bout. You die.

Fright
RankEffect
1Frightened. You have disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls while the source of your fear is within line of sight and you can't willingly move closer to it.
2Fear. You can’t maintain Concentration on a spell or any feature while the source of your fear is within line of sight.
3Panic. While the source of your fear is within line of sight, you can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents you from moving. If there's nowhere to move, you can use the Dodge action.
4Torpor. While the source of your fear is within line of sight, creatures other than the source of your fear are invisible to you while beyond 5 feet of you.
5Forfeit. While the source of your fear is within line of sight, you must make a DC10 Wisdom save at the start of your turn or your speed becomes 0 and you are incapacitated until the start of your next turn.
6Shock. You die.

Doom
RankEffect
1Doomed. You make death saving throws with disadvantage.
2Malaise. You make all Charisma and Constitution saving throws and ability checks with disadvantage.
3Apathy. You can’t benefit from advantage on any attack rolls or ability checks.
4Frailty. You lose all resistance to all damage types.
5Abandon. Whenever you attempt an action in combat, you must make a DC 10 Charisma saving throw. On a failed save, you lose your action and can't use reactions until the start of your next turn.
6Demise. You die.
 

What would happen if we took Hit Points out of D&D?

Before you tell me to go play a different system, I'm not saying this is a good or advisable idea. It's just something I'm interested in playing around with and discussing. Note that I'm not making this a + thread, I don't think we all need to agree with the premise, but I am hoping folks will feel like being creative rather than reductive.

Okay, back on topic:

What is HP used for in 5e D&D?

It's a resource that counts down to a defeat condition.

One thing I find interesting about Hit Points as a resource is that they can't be used for anything else. You can't sacrifice HP to gain back a spell slot, or add to an attack roll, or raise your AC. They're used occasionally in Exploration (especially with traps), and almost never in the Social Column.

So what would happen if we cut them out of 5e D&D?

Well first off we would need a new way to track how close a combatant is to defeat. Could we use Conditions for this? An Exhaustion-style track?

Also we would need to figure out what the Damage Dice of weapons and spells does.

Would we need a Damage Threshold? Or change damage altogether to Conditions?

Here's one wild idea:

Instead of Hit Points, all combatants have a Damage Threshold. If you successfully hit with an attack or spell, you roll damage as normal. If you roll the Damage Threshold or above, or the maximum number on the die, you damage your enemy.

When an enemy is Vulnerable to your damage type, you double your damage roll. When your enemy is Resistant, you halve it.

Maybe I'd you successfully attack but don't surpass the Damage Threshold, you lower the Threshold by 1.

Each time a combatant takes on damage, they receive the Damaged Condition. This would have some kind of track, like the Exhaustion Condition. One cool idea would be that each Class and Monster Type would have a different Damage Track with different effects. For example, a Barbarian might get more reckless and dangerous as they get damaged, while a Wizard might have some sort of risk of Magic Surges.

A combatant is defeated when they reach the last stage of their Damage Condition track.


Anyways, that's just my wild idea. What's yours? If you took HP from 5e D&D, what would happen? What would you replace it with?

Have fun and be creative!
it's cool and I like it. It feels like the old White Wolf system but I have heard alot of complaints about death spirals
 


TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
The proposal is not bad. It capture the idea that some hits are just flesh wound, scratches, or near near misses, while others really hurt. It should also involve slightly less math. Implementing a bunch of special effects could be a challenge.

You want to allow for big hits--the damage track could keep combatants in the fight for too long. But as noted you want to avoid death spirals. Lots of more "realistic" systems with out HP have come out over the years, and they tend to mean bad luck early loses the fight.

Also, I think Savage Worlds has a similar system, as do others with damage "soak". I think SWs is especially swingy (think a very short track) which can be a feature of bug depending.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
My preference would be to roll things back to the beginning, pre-OD&D. Each hit you take is a major wound that deals...1 hit point. Normal humans have 1 hit point. PCs have 4 hit points. Take 3 hits and you're unconscious. Take a 4th and you're dead. That's it. Use something like splintered shields to mitigate damage. You can sacrifice a shield to ignore 1 hit. You can sacrifice light armor to ignore 1 hit, medium armor 2 hits, heavy armor 3 hits. But once it's used up those hits, it's destroyed. PCs make defense checks instead of having static ACs. Crits do 2 hits. Monsters have natural armor or they can sacrifice minions, features of the area, etc instead of armor. Some monsters deal 2 hits automatically, 3 if they crit. Simple, basic, and quick. Tracking huge piles of HP along with rolling a bunch of dice for damage is just busy work. Just in case, I view this as creatively reductive. I want a minimal amount of cruft between the players and the fiction.
 

Plot Agency

You have a certain number of points you spend to negate injuries or to succeed checks or to activate powerful effects like teleportation.
 



Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
What would happen if we took Hit Points out of D&D?

Before you tell me to go play a different system, I'm not saying this is a good or advisable idea. It's just something I'm interested in playing around with and discussing. Note that I'm not making this a + thread, I don't think we all need to agree with the premise, but I am hoping folks will feel like being creative rather than reductive.

Okay, back on topic:

What is HP used for in 5e D&D?

It's a resource that counts down to a defeat condition.

One thing I find interesting about Hit Points as a resource is that they can't be used for anything else. You can't sacrifice HP to gain back a spell slot, or add to an attack roll, or raise your AC. They're used occasionally in Exploration (especially with traps), and almost never in the Social Column.

So what would happen if we cut them out of 5e D&D?

Well first off we would need a new way to track how close a combatant is to defeat. Could we use Conditions for this? An Exhaustion-style track?

Also we would need to figure out what the Damage Dice of weapons and spells does.

Would we need a Damage Threshold? Or change damage altogether to Conditions?

Here's one wild idea:

Instead of Hit Points, all combatants have a Damage Threshold. If you successfully hit with an attack or spell, you roll damage as normal. If you roll the Damage Threshold or above, or the maximum number on the die, you damage your enemy.

When an enemy is Vulnerable to your damage type, you double your damage roll. When your enemy is Resistant, you halve it.

Maybe I'd you successfully attack but don't surpass the Damage Threshold, you lower the Threshold by 1.

Each time a combatant takes on damage, they receive the Damaged Condition. This would have some kind of track, like the Exhaustion Condition. One cool idea would be that each Class and Monster Type would have a different Damage Track with different effects. For example, a Barbarian might get more reckless and dangerous as they get damaged, while a Wizard might have some sort of risk of Magic Surges.

A combatant is defeated when they reach the last stage of their Damage Condition track.


Anyways, that's just my wild idea. What's yours? If you took HP from 5e D&D, what would happen? What would you replace it with?

Have fun and be creative!

Hits = there is no damage just successful hits, a minion gets 1 hit before dying, then +1 per level/HD

Con save, if you fail you take Exhaustion levels

or a called shot to Stat damage (Con = Health, Dex = Crippled Mobility, Str = Disability, Wis = Perception, Int = Head injury, Cha = Disfigurement)
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
What would happen if we took Hit Points out of D&D?
Well, every game has some way of monitoring damage. You mention HP isn't used for anything else, but condition monitors/ wound levels/ and similar mechanics are really just their version of levels of exhaustion-type penalties or static penalties for each level of sustained injury.

I've had homebrew systems using the Damage Threshold concept where when you took damage exceeding it, you gained a level of exhaustion, similar to something like you suggested.

Personally, I've always liked games like Shadowrun and Vampire. Shadowrun because it had a Stun and Physical condition track and Vampire differentiated between stun (IIRC correctly)/ lethal/ and aggravated damage.

One of the failings of HP in D&D is it is used for all types of damage. Even in AD&D, non-lethal damage only did 25% "real" damage and 75% temporary (faster healed) damage IIRC.

Personally, I like the Vitality / Wounds system of d20 SW, but Vitality is really just hp. However, Jedi spend it for force powers and we toyed with having casters spend hp for spells in a similar manner.

I agree with @Tonguez using attribute damage would be interesting, or any system which handles different forms of damage differently.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
@vincegetorix Too many things to track, IMHO. Also all track, are a death spiral.

@BookTenTiger Hit points in modern D&D is plot armour. It can be thought of a fight stamina, a resource that, when you run out of it, you loose a fight. There is a feeling that once a character is reduced to zero hit points they should have some king of wounded condition. Which is why there are a lot of proposals to introduce wounded or other conditions on characters that go unconscious and there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the bobbling fighter, that is down and up every other turn.

So the real question is: How do you decide when a fight is lost? And what should be the fate of the PCs as losers of a fight.
I think that hit points are pretty good at determining when an individual character is out of the fight. It is what happens next that tends to be narratively unsatisfying.

Lingering wound systems tend to be unsatisfying because, if they are severe they tend to lead to death spirals. If they involve permanent damage that reduces fighting effective, people do not what the because they see themselves playing John Rambo/John McClane or some other such character type that keep going no matter how bloodied.

In a movie or story when things go wrong the characters run away, but can you get that in and RPG, in general, much less in D&D? 40 years of D&D and video games has trained the player base otherwise?
I think if you were to do that, it would have be explicitly built into the rules, and need player buy in.
 

What would happen if we took Hit Points out of D&D?

Before you tell me to go play a different system, I'm not saying this is a good or advisable idea. It's just something I'm interested in playing around with and discussing. Note that I'm not making this a + thread, I don't think we all need to agree with the premise, but I am hoping folks will feel like being creative rather than reductive.

Okay, back on topic:

What is HP used for in 5e D&D?

It's a resource that counts down to a defeat condition.

One thing I find interesting about Hit Points as a resource is that they can't be used for anything else. You can't sacrifice HP to gain back a spell slot, or add to an attack roll, or raise your AC. They're used occasionally in Exploration (especially with traps), and almost never in the Social Column.

So what would happen if we cut them out of 5e D&D?

Well first off we would need a new way to track how close a combatant is to defeat. Could we use Conditions for this? An Exhaustion-style track?

Also we would need to figure out what the Damage Dice of weapons and spells does.

Would we need a Damage Threshold? Or change damage altogether to Conditions?

Here's one wild idea:

Instead of Hit Points, all combatants have a Damage Threshold. If you successfully hit with an attack or spell, you roll damage as normal. If you roll the Damage Threshold or above, or the maximum number on the die, you damage your enemy.

When an enemy is Vulnerable to your damage type, you double your damage roll. When your enemy is Resistant, you halve it.

Maybe I'd you successfully attack but don't surpass the Damage Threshold, you lower the Threshold by 1.

Each time a combatant takes on damage, they receive the Damaged Condition. This would have some kind of track, like the Exhaustion Condition. One cool idea would be that each Class and Monster Type would have a different Damage Track with different effects. For example, a Barbarian might get more reckless and dangerous as they get damaged, while a Wizard might have some sort of risk of Magic Surges.

A combatant is defeated when they reach the last stage of their Damage Condition track.


Anyways, that's just my wild idea. What's yours? If you took HP from 5e D&D, what would happen? What would you replace it with?

Have fun and be creative!
How would this idea work for monsters? It seems solo monsters in particular would get screwed over by this concept. Interest though it is, I thing it breaks down on the other side of the screen
 

Take out hit points and replace it with essence.

Essence can do anything: cast spells if you know how, add to a saving throw, hide a bit better, keep from getting stabbed, or a power swing. If you take damage when you run out, you start rolling those death saves.
That is really just hit points and then apply hit points to other things. Which I am fine with, but it is not really replacing hit points - it is extending how you use hit points
 





I'm kind of occasionally working on my own fantasy RPG rules, and one of the primary ideas I have floating around is limited wound levels(no exact number yet, but I'm thinking maybe a maximum of 5) with stress points being both an HP substitute (but still more limited than D&D) and a currency for certain class features. Especially, I'm planning on magic requiring expenditure of stress, making it much more important to keep caster primaries out of melee range. It still needs a lot of tweaking to find a balance between being challenging and being fun.
 


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