5E The "everyone at full fighting ability at 1 hp" conundrum

Saelorn

Adventurer
The damage that I've seen people take and survive doesn't match up with what you're suggesting. If they are wearing plate armor they can take hits all day. Chainmail: maybe they'd get some bruises I wouldn't call it significant.
The premise is that a "hit" on the die reflects a significant hit within the narrative, so all of those hits that don't even leave a bruise would still be considered a "miss" within the mechanics, since they aren't significant.

There's a reason why plate gives you +8 to AC, after all. It's hard to hurt someone through armor.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
If you follow the guidelines for encounters per adventuring day, and the guidelines for building easy, moderate, difficult, and deadly encounters, and follow also the guidelines for how often each of those types of encounters should occur, my point is simple: 5E is not deadly once you reach a certain point.

One of the biggest complaints is it is too easy. Of course, the DM can adjust whatever they want to make it more challenging, but the base design presented in the core books is such that the players should win.
In fairness, this has more or less been true since the days of 0e: once you get to a certain level, things are generally tilted in the party's favour assuming a competent DM who reads and follows the game's designed intent.

The difference lies in how severe the tilt is, and at what level it tends to manifest, and how.

In 1e it's not until about 3rd-4th level that things tend to start really favouring the party - and note I said the party; individual characters are always at risk. At 9th when you start seeing Raise Dead in the field, death becomes much less of a concern (though you still have to make that resurrection survival roll; and you'd come back down a Con point). Also, long-term attrition was in play - a party had to manage its resources wisely, and those resources included hit points and cures.

In 3e, if a DM followed the CR-EL guidelines carefully, the party was favoured right from level 1 on up; though again just the party as a whole was favoured, individual characters were again always at risk. Attrition was still a thing, but revival from death was made automatic (no res. survival roll) and with a reduced penalty.

In 4e the tilt was also there right from the start, assuming again that the guidelines were followed, but here came a difference: individual characters weren't at nearly as much risk as before. From all I've seen here, 4e parties tended to rise and fall as a unit; probably an effect of the much-greater availability of in-combat healing. Long-term resource management largely went away due to full overnight recovery. Revival from death still automatic but all penalizing after-effects are gone.

5e has mostly followed the 4e model in this respect; but added Revivify - a low-level, zero-cost revival-from-death spell that made death even less likely to be permanent.

Some say an "easy" low- or no-death game is more fun. Personally, I'd probably enjoy the hell out of it for the first half-dozen sessions and then find it incredibly boring, knowing I was almost invulnerable.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Slightly tangentially, I've been giving some thought to making Cha the key stat for revival from death rather than Con, for just the 'Spiritual Strength' reason.
But only slightly sounds reasonable wait arent you doing a quest ( at least for the first time raise dead)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You chose for that to be what you imagined happening... so that you get a disparity out of not being out of it for months after that is your own choice.
Er...wha?

You used the words "horrible wounds" - that gives the imagination some pretty clear guidelines as to what's happening to this poor guy. He's not being fatigued to death; and "horrible wounds" should take longer to recover from than just one overnight rest.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
But only slightly sounds reasonable wait arent you doing a quest ( at least for the first time raise dead)
Sometimes I have characters come back to life with a quest on them.

It's one possible result on a home-brew table I've got called "Death Effects" - changes that might happen while dead. Some are beneficial, some aren't, some are neutral; and there's a 50-50 chance nothing unusual happens at all.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
You used the words "horrible wounds"
It was the thing it seems like people are choosing to imagine character is facing its still a choice. The game says not really and the default mechanics treat even a fallen as the hero temporarily succumbing to something that turns out "not as bad as it first looked"

I will resist linking TV tropes ... yay rolled awesome.

"horrible wounds" should take longer to recover from than just one overnight rest.
I think when you hit death save territory regardless of the inducement I maybe I kind of agree ... before that point not so much. I do think there may be some fun to be had which is missed without any long term implications at all.
 
The premise is that a "hit" on the die reflects a significant hit within the narrative, so all of those hits that don't even leave a bruise would still be considered a "miss" within the mechanics, since they aren't significant.
There's a reason why plate gives you +8 to AC, after all. It's hard to hurt someone through armor.
That's the premise of armor making you harder to hit. Which is also pretty weak, of course, but a whole 'nuther sub-topic among the many deficiencies of D&D decried over the decades and done better by other games since the late 70s.
:🤷:
OTHO, the premise of hps making you harder to kill is that whether a "hit" actually so much as touches you or musses your hair - or scratches you, or impales you fatally - is all dependent on the damage roll relative to your hps (and maybe even a poison save).
 

3catcircus

Explorer
That's the premise of armor making you harder to hit. Which is also pretty weak, of course, but a whole 'nuther sub-topic among the many deficiencies of D&D decried over the decades and done better by other games since the late 70s.
:🤷:
OTHO, the premise of hps making you harder to kill is that whether a "hit" actually so much as touches you or musses your hair - or scratches you, or impales you fatally - is all dependent on the damage roll relative to your hps (and maybe even a poison save).
I guess my ideal would be the hit points as injury trip points, using hit locations, combined with armor as DR and weapons possibly having a penetration value that either offsets the DR or acts as a multiplier to damage. Every hit is a hit - armor makes some of them glancing blows or cushions the impact or prevents penetration (which is historically why there was an armor vs weapon arms race). It makes helmets useful again. It eliminates the hand-waving of hit points as not really physical damage and the hand-waving of whether or not an attack roll that is successful is a culmination of a bunch of hits of which only one is significant enough to cause damage.

It makes no sense whatsoever that hp can somehow represent a combination of meat, luck, karma, etc. since poisons, environmental damage and energy attacks all currently subtract your hp the same as weapons. Suffocation drops you right to 0 hp, for example. That is totally at odds with poisons that subtract hp or weapons that subtract hp. The suffocation rules in my mind work the way you'd expect - you are instantly incapacitated after you've run out of air and lapse into unconsciousness.

If like to also see about applying the 3ed supplement on poisons that took a real world approach.

Burns, acid, freezing - they ought to have effects you'd expect rather than "the dragon breathes on you, take 60 damage or 30 if you save."

Dragons, giants, a pack of wolves, or a horde of ghouls ought to be a terrifying encounter for low level parties and still be a challenge for high level parties.

The ease of restoring your health through short and long rests after dropping to 0hp quickly becomes boring.

I want mechanics that support things like a PC getting separated during combat, getting knocked senseless and subsequently being drug off screaming by a ghoul dragging him back to his den to eat while the combat is still ongoing. Those same mechanics also need to support a party working together to gang up on an unwary giant, or a fight where either side runs away instead of fighting to the death more often. A goblin raiding party or a hungry tiger ought to run away after taking a few good hits and deciding there are easier pickings elsewhere.
 
I guess my ideal would be the hit points as injury trip points, using hit locations, combined with armor as DR and weapons possibly having a penetration value that either offsets the DR or acts as a multiplier to damage. Every hit is a hit - armor makes some of them glancing blows or cushions the impact or prevents penetration.
So, GURPS, then?

Armor has both a PD and a DR. Damage types multiply the amount that gets through armor. You roll to hit and to parry and passive defense. IIRC there were hit locations, though I don't recall if they were optional or standard.

So, yeah, prettymuch a home run.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Sorry for quoting an old post, but I just saw this now, and I don't think this has been mentioned yet:

IRL, one successful sword hit will kill many people who aren't wearing armor, with little regard for combat experience. Against someone wearing armor, a solid impact from a sword will cause a significant amount of bruising.

If you have to choose between "every hit is a solid impact" and "the first solid impact is probably fatal"; then the former is much more realistic than the latter, given the sorts of characters we're trying to model - characters wearing armor, and characters who use magic. It only really fails when you take it outside of its assumed context.
Sorry, I meant your average person, not taking training, armor, and other factors into account. Given those things, I completely agree.

Actually they could simply be different classes within the same party; and-or have rolled well/poorly for hit points during their careers.

This is why I suggested it be variable - instead of [5 + Con mod] body points, make it 2d4 + Con mod (and if results of 2 and 8 are too extreme, rule that any such rolls become 5 instead) - to account for different bodies having the same Con score.

You could then also vary it by race: spindly Elves and little Hobbits might only be 2d2 + Con mod, for example.
Even if they are different classes, they will be a few levels apart (I think at least two, and often 3 or 4).

You could use a variable, of course, but we're happy with the base 5 since CON really becomes the variable.
 

3catcircus

Explorer
So, GURPS, then?

Armor has both a PD and a DR. Damage types multiply the amount that gets through armor. You roll to hit and to parry and passive defense. IIRC there were hit locations, though I don't recall if they were optional or standard.

So, yeah, prettymuch a home run.
I like the rules concepts contained in GURPS, but not their particular implementation.

I'd like to see a d20 dice pool roll under your target number based core mechanic. The use of skill ranks to determine quantity of dice in your pool when making skill checks. Encumbrance directly affecting initiative. The combat mechanics and hit points as injury thresholds I previously discussed. Healing taking a lot longer for major wounds unless you have the right healing spells.
 
I'd like to see a d20 dice pool roll under your target number based core mechanic.The use of skill ranks to determine quantity of dice in your pool when making skill checks.
I think I've considered something like that - so you'd count up a number of successes, and naturally have degrees of success?

Healing taking a lot longer for major wounds unless you have the right healing spells.
Really kinda moot. If you don't have the healing magic, you won't be able to handle much of anything. You might as well just not have characters heal without magic. All that kind of rule says, ultimately is "Healbot Required to play."
 

3catcircus

Explorer
I think I've considered something like that - so you'd count up a number of successes, and naturally have degrees of success?
Yep. You'd compare your die roll to a target number. The amount you roll under is considered your margin of success and the amount you roll over is a margin of failure. A margin of 5 or more is akin to a crit or fumble. For multiple dice, you'd pick the best roll and then add 2 to the margin of success for each additional die that is also a success.

Really kinda moot. If you don't have the healing magic, you won't be able to handle much of anything. You might as well just not have characters heal without magic. All that kind of rule says, ultimately is "Healbot Required to play."
Not really. Because you have rules for recuperating during down time, they can be tweaked to consider chirurgeons and extended care - non magical healing would work fine for all but the most serious of injuries. This is really no different than 1e AD&D's rules that dropping to our below 0 hp and surviving requires a week's bed rest even if you were magically healed using a potion or cure spell. The only exception being a heal spell.

I like the idea of the following:

1. Battlefield stabilization and/or last-ditch resuscitation.
2. First Aid immediately after combat - i.e. cure spells or natural healing kits.
3. Trauma chirurgeons (somebody call a cleric - get him to the temple!)
4. Extended Care - the AD&D week's rest with possibility of skill checks to reduce the duration.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
This is really no different than 1e AD&D's rules that dropping to our below 0 hp and surviving requires a week's bed rest even if you were magically healed using a potion or cure spell.
That was another rule that to me very much implied that cure spells were not really patching wounds. You could have full hit points AND still be incapacitated.
 

3catcircus

Explorer
That was another rule that to me very much implied that cure spells were not really patching wounds. You could have full hit points AND still be incapacitated.
I disagree, depending upon your definition of wounds. It implies that the cure spells were stitching up the holes in your body or setting your fractures, but the feeling of just having gotten a mudhole stomped into your butt remained. You may have gotten the necessary repairs done, but the healing process needs to continue...
 

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