What if Hit Points were the currency of the game rules?

JeffB

Hero
A few months ago, I came across a Dungeon World hack that was designed for Kids and people new to RPGs

The "Dungeons RPG" free download can be found HERE . It has proven itself in providing a non intimidating RPG experience for my wife and young daughter where other games such as very basic versions of D&D have failed. But on to the main point-

In "Dungeons"- Hit Points are not just traditional hit points but are also "effort" used to fuel die rolls, spells, etc. For example-. The spellcasters have "at wills" but spend hit points to fuel more powerful spells. Fighters can spend a HP to fuel great feats of strength , or a Thief on "sneaky" abilities (and the HP provides a bonus to the roll that will eliminate complete failure). Druids spend a HP to shapeshift, etc etc.

Personally- in play I find it far more interesting than typical "resource management" like Vancian Casting, or per X rest, etc. It's much more simple, and the resource pool is much more valuable to players and raises the dramatic tension "I can spend a HP now to make sure I do X, but I'm going to be lower than I want for that fight I know is coming"

So what do folks think about a D&D game where class abilities/maneuvers/feats/stunts/ spells etc were all fueled by ONE easy to track resource- Hit Points? Then certainly the "idea" of hit points as drive/luck/endurance and their loss and quick return upon resting would make compete sense in the context of the game (though the term "hit" still does not).

P.S- Happy New Year all!
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
A few months ago, I came across a Dungeon World hack that was designed for Kids and people new to RPGs

The "Dungeons RPG" free download can be found HERE . It has proven itself in providing a non intimidating RPG experience for my wife and young daughter where other games such as very basic versions of D&D have failed. But on to the main point-

In "Dungeons"- Hit Points are not just traditional hit points but are also "effort" used to fuel die rolls, spells, etc. For example-. The spellcasters have "at wills" but spend hit points to fuel more powerful spells. Fighters can spend a HP to fuel great feats of strength , or a Thief on "sneaky" abilities (and the HP provides a bonus to the roll that will eliminate complete failure). Druids spend a HP to shapeshift, etc etc.

Personally- in play I find it far more interesting than typical "resource management" like Vancian Casting, or per X rest, etc. It's much more simple, and the resource pool is much more valuable to players and raises the dramatic tension "I can spend a HP now to make sure I do X, but I'm going to be lower than I want for that fight I know is coming"

So what do folks think about a D&D game where class abilities/maneuvers/feats/stunts/ spells etc were all fueled by ONE easy to track resource- Hit Points? Then certainly the "idea" of hit points as drive/luck/endurance and their loss and quick return upon resting would make compete sense in the context of the game (though the term "hit" still does not).

P.S- Happy New Year all!
Totally intriguing, I worked on a spell casting system back in early 80 where hit points were used for spell casting this is better
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
As a spin-off, I was considering home-brewing using Hit Dice to fuel features such as Second Wind (would cost you 1 HD per use) and Action Surge (2 HD per use), and not having such features recharge on short rests. Monks would use HD as Ki, Sorcerers would use HD as Sorcery Points, etc. IMO spending HD is an under used mechanic and could have been incorporated into many features.

Also, this is how SWSE powered Force abilities, with Vitality points (a.k.a. hit points for the most part).
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I remember the old pocket games like Melee and Wizard (?) - casting was from HPs.

When 4e introduced Healing Surges, I thought they should be just called Surges power more than just healing, which is indirectly HPs for powers.

In a system designed for it, I'd be down with that.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
I've tinkered with a system like this. In it, mages and fighters had essentially equivalent HP, but magic cost considerable HP so any mage functionally had less. I think I had it that HP started quite high (around 100) but grew very gradually with level. There needed to be space for both using abilities and taking damage. It's no fun if using a single ability puts you on death's door (or at least, such an ability ought to be the exception rather than the rule).

That said, I never got very far with it. IMO, it's definitely an interesting design space, but probably too big of a shift for D&D.
 

Big J Money

Adventurer
Rather than just ask a question, I should also share. Five Torches Deep has the most innovative inventory system I've seen of the various indy or OSR games:

1. You state that you will buy at least 1 of any item you want to bring (arrow, torch, ration, etc)
2. Now you can spend gold on "Supply". Supply is a currency that covers all of the above. As long as you state that you have purchased it, it's a part of supply now.

5 supply = 1 load. Encumbrance is determined by load. So not only is inventory currency easy to track, but encumbrance is also.

Back to my question, I'm curious if you would use HP also for material currency such as these things (even gold?) or if the game adds more currencies for these things, and HP is only for currency that is inherent to a character (skills, abilities, etc).
 

Big J Money

Adventurer
Heck, I'll also add my 2 cents.

I'm intrigued by such a system, however for deungeoncrawl games, I want to point out that something is lost if you equalize currency between the classes.

One thing that has been a part of D&D from the begining is that Fighters don't worry about currency as much as Mages. Actually, it's a spectrum:

<- Fighter / Thief ----- Cleric ----- Mage ->

Playing mage means three things: 1) you will one day be more powerful than anyone else in the party, 2) but you are squishy and need defending, and 3) you also will have to manage your spell resources, which are the source of your power.

So the fighter is at the end of the spectrum where resources are the least concern. His superior melee weapons and armor don't need resources, and he has the most HP of any class.

The mage is at the other end of the spectrum where resources are the most concern. Her primary weapon is her magic, which costs resources, and she has the fewest HP of any class.

If you equalize these resources you lose this feature of D&D, but I'm sure a lot of people would not care. Personally this is pretty foundational to how I view the classes, but I'd still be willing to try something different.

Edit: The above almost doesn't apply to 4th edition, but I'm never referring to 4E when I'm talking about D&D.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Totally different game, but betrayal at krondor crpg used hitpoints to fuel spells.
That system was intriguing. Combined with not being able to rest above a certaintreshold without use of herbs or tavern rests made it a great resource management system on who to keep how much alive.
 

Gadget

Adventurer
I find the system intriguing, especially for a beginner's RPG where things are kept very simple. I've often thought about similar Hit Point cost for martials to accomplish great feats of arms.

I wonder about the viability of using it for more complex systems, as using it HP as a resource for everything would lead to certain exploits and imbalances, I would think. How would 'healing' abilities (spells, potions, etc.) work? Would they restore abilities to provide more healing and spells? It would require a complete system rewrite, I would think.

That said, it could be combined with other resource management systems to reduce the over all clutter and give interesting abilities.
 

hawkeyefan

Adventurer
I think it's an interesting dynamic that has the potential to really open up some interesting play elements....some meaningful decisions for players to make. Do they spend HP to make a potentially fight ending attack against their foe, or do they keep the HP in case they get hit again?

There are some games out there with similar mechanics, and I tend to really like them.
 

JeffB

Hero
What about consumables?

Potions, rations, torches, arrow, etc
It is not meant as actual currency- I should have used quotes around the word. Since HP represent grit, luck, endurance- they would fuel your class abilities- not used for purchasing equipment (see The Black Hack RPG for some other cool ways of tracking/using Inventory i.e. the usage die)

My first thought was "if they're a currency, they can be exchanged between players".
Not exchanged, however one could certainly burn their own HP as an "aid another" action if it were relevant to the task at hand

e.g.
Helping the fighter lift the portcullis
Causing a distraction for the thief so they can lift the key ring from Hobgoblin Guard
Sacrificing some of your own personal power to help the Wizard fuel the ritual he is too injured to complete himself.

etc.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
There would be some little quirks with healing spells when you are healing yourself, forex: cast Cure Wound for 4 hp, then heal yourself for 1d8?

There also the fact that using HP to fuel spells means that, say a Wizard, can cast many more spells if there's a dedicated healer in the party than in regular D&D, since Heal/Cure Wound/Regenerate would give me give you the equivalent of more spell slots.
 

Nebulous

Hero
I really like it. I'm tempted to print off those little cards and show it to some newbies. I played Dungeon World once long ago and liked it, but it was just a one-off.
 

Harzel

Adventurer
It's an interesting idea in the abstract, and if you built a game from the ground up to work that way, it seems like it could be ok. But in converting 5e to such a system I think it would be very challenging to tune the costs of using various features appropriately. Using spell points instead of slots is a similar change (though much smaller in scope), and certainly a major tension that arises there stems from using a common resource pool for features of greatly differing power - in the case of spell points, low-level spells vs. high-level spells. If high-powered features are not expensive enough relative to low-powered features, then you'll enable the high-powered features to be used much more than intended. OTOH if you make the high-powered features too expensive, then by foregoing a few uses of high-powered features, the low-powered features become effectively at-will. And, at least in the case of spell points, (IMO) no middle ground is satisfactory because in the middle you have both problems at once, that is, as you tune to alleviate one problem, the second rises up before you have gone far enough to tamp down the first.

With all features working off a common resource pool, it seems like you would just have this problem in spades. To be workable, it seems like features would need to be much less disparate in power level than 5e's are.
 

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