Using hit points to fuel abilities?

Sacrosanct

Legend
With the OGL mess over the past two months, I started going away from D&D mechanics and started thinking again of alternate systems.

What's a chief complaint of hit points in D&D? Creatures are simply bags of hit points and the attrition is boring.
What's another complaint? Too many classes are boring and don't have enough choices in combat other than to take away from that giant bag of hit points.

So I've been thinking. Keep in mind this is very rudimentary and just rough ideas, but I'm leaning more and more towards something like this:

Battle Resilience
This value represents your fighting staying power. Think of it as what most HP are in other games. BR can be determined by using a die type per level. I.e., a 5th level character might have 5d6 BR.

Health
This is your actual life. It's represented by a much smaller number than hit points have traditionally been viewed. This is determined by level and endurance. so that 5th level character with a +2 endurance modifier will have 7 health.

When your BR is reduced to zero or less, you remove one health, take one level of fatigue, and roll your BR die type add that + your endurance modifier to your BR.

Example of how they work together
5th level PC with 17 BR and 7 health. They get hit by an ogre and take 12 damage, so they reduce their BR by 12. Just like hit points in this regard. Let's say they get hit again for another 11 damage. That's more than the 5 remaining, so BR drops to 0, health is reduced by 1, they take one level of fatigue, and roll 1d6+2, adding that as their new current BR value.

So the longer combat takes and the more damage you take, the more fatigued you become, which enforces cumulative penalty.

But wait, there's more
As is, that's a bit different than bags of hit points, but not by much. So here's the key part: you can use BR to fuel maneuvers. Want to get a bonus to hit or damage? Spend BR to increase it. Want to increase movement or improve your chance to avoid something really bad (like a spell)? spend BR to increase your odds. As you get higher up, you can spend BR on more epic moves. Because it's the same metric (BR), there is a cost you have to weigh. You could never be actually hit in combat, but if you keep over-exerting yourself, you will still become fatigued to the point of collapse.

Thoughts?
 

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Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
I'm not fully sold on the idea as a player, but then I think that as levels get higher and HP totals skyrocket it makes more sense to weigh using HP as a resource like that.

Honestly though, I think moreso than HP, Hit Dice are incredibly under-utilized as a resource both in- and out- of combat. I'd be more down with spending an HD or two to power an ability than HP.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I'm not fully sold on the idea as a player, but then I think that as levels get higher and HP totals skyrocket it makes more sense to weigh using HP as a resource like that.

Honestly though, I think moreso than HP, Hit Dice are incredibly under-utilized as a resource both in- and out- of combat. I'd be more down with spending an HD or two to power an ability than HP.
Fair enough. It's hard to really sum up the mechanics in one post lol. Here is a pdf of a couple pages that hopefully adds context. Also, a few others have mentioned the risk of death spirals, and I want to avoid that. So I have plenty of options to avoid taking fatigue when you get wounded, but players have the option of going full out and taking that fatigue if they want to use their resources more aggressively or for other things. I've also got the template for the 3 warrior class specialties to give an idea of the approach I'm taking for class design.
 

MacDhomnuill

Explorer
I did this using hit dice to refill spell slots and class features instead of getting everything back on a rest. Players had to decide between healing and getting their special stuff back. I liked it a lot as a GM the players were unsure lol.
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Yeah burning hit dice to power stuff would be my way forward

That reminds me of a house-rule that I spitballed for my campaign, but ended up scrapping. The premise was that wands, staffs, and certain other magic items don't have charges; they use Hit Dice instead. The upside was that it was one less thing to track on the character sheet, especially for characters who carry several magic items. Unfortunately, it created even more of an incentive to take a Long Rest after every battle. And after about the 4th or 5th Long Rest in the same gaming session, that "recharge at dawn" mechanic in the rules-as-written started to look pretty good.

The lesson I learned is that using Hit Points or Hit Dice to power certain abilities and items will have a disproportionately-high impact on the amount of rests that the party "needs" to take. Maybe that's good for your group, or maybe that's bad, but it didn't fit for us.
 


Using spell points generally doesnt work since most people just spend their points on the big castings. But, if your spell points were also your HP, a spellcaster would be much more careful with what they do with spells. And you end up with the whole Raistlin thing where the wizard is slowly getting fatigued as they cast.
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
Using spell points generally doesnt work since most people just spend their points on the big castings. But, if your spell points were also your HP, a spellcaster would be much more careful with what they do with spells. And you end up with the whole Raistlin thing where the wizard is slowly getting fatigued as they cast.

The old CRPG Betrayal at Krondor combined this with a Vitality/Wounds system, making Vitality much easier to restore than Wounds.
 


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