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

Im not sure why being able to spend the resource on defense is necessary to such a system working, but I certainly like being able to spend resources on defense.
If the costing was right it would help prevent the death spiral potential of a HP-based resource. Obviously you can't spend it 1-1 that way because why bother, but something. I also like the idea of being able to spend hit dice in such a system, at the cost of future fast healing.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
If the costing was right it would help prevent the death spiral potential of a HP-based resource. Obviously you can't spend it 1-1 that way because why bother, but something. I also like the idea of being able to spend hit dice in such a system, at the cost of future fast healing.
sure, but the idea here is that the point resource and the model for how you deal with taking damage are entirely different models. You have stamina or morale or whatever, and spend that to do things.
Then, when you get hurt, damage is rolled to see how hard you’re hit. If it’s over a threshold, it’s basically 2 hits, if it’s a crit, it’s 3 hits. Normal damage/hits are a single hit. 3 hits puts you down the condition track. Bottom of the condition track is unconscious and potentially dying.

now, maybe you can spend Morale to push yourself back up the track, or turn an attack into a less powerful attack or even a miss, etc, but the death spiral never interacts directly with your ability to do things.

unless you mean the death spiral of having penalties, in which case, yeah that’s what healing does, it pulls you back out of the spiral.
 
No, I was specifically talking about using HP as the model, which is perfectly possible. There's nothing wrong with those resources being separate though. I may have misread how separate you were envisioning those being.
 
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!
Seems like it would be difficult to balance.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
No, I was specifically talking about using HP as the model, which is perfectly possible. There's nothing wrong with those resources being separate though. I may have misread how separate you were envisioning those being.
Ah, okay! Yeah, my idea would be to just get rid of health points altogether, which may be somewhat radical.
 
It's an interesting concept for a general game - and in the General RPG Forum I'd welcome it. In D&D? Healing magic has been a huge thing from the very start, and this makes Cure Light Wounds and the like effectively getting magic from nothing or close to useless - and neither is good.

So it's a very nice concept for a magic system - and very much not D&D.
 

Tun Kai Poh

Explorer
I've had some fun with Gumshoe and Cypher, more with the former than the latter, although I'm not sure why. Ablative skill points seems to work quite well when there's a large pool of them like in Gumshoe. Not so much in Cypher where they seem to run out a lot faster.

Oddly I like one game where the number of points is actually quite low.

G. Michael Truran's Ghost Orbit space survival game treats every part of your character sheet as having hit points (usually 2 or 3 points). Every risky roll is a PbtA-style 2d6 roll that can yield a success (no cost), partial success (lose a point of something) or failure (lose a point of something). You can get an extra die roll if you risk TWO traits.

What this means is that players are in constant survival mode. Their Vitals (Calm, Face, Vigor) are always in danger of being dropped to zero, with varying results (unable to think, unable to persuade, unable to physically move and will die without aid). Their equipment gradually runs out of ammo, charge or just plain breaks. Augments (cyber implants) and Training can be bid instead of one of your Vitals if they apply, so they basically act as ablative armor for those traits...until they run out, when your core Vitals start getting risked instead.

It's actually quite stressful for players and is a lot of fun to run.

In Ghost Orbit, everything is hit points, and everything breaks. Your spacesuit. your skills. Your mind.

 
It's an interesting concept for a general game - and in the General RPG Forum I'd welcome it. In D&D? Healing magic has been a huge thing from the very start, and this makes Cure Light Wounds and the like effectively getting magic from nothing or close to useless - and neither is good.

So it's a very nice concept for a magic system - and very much not D&D.
I'm actually not as worried about healing because all healing in such a game would essentially cost you hp to give someone else hp.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm actually not as worried about healing because all healing in such a game would essentially cost you hp to give someone else hp.
The healing is one of the few things that works okay in such a system. You just have to ensure that you get more healing than you spend hp, and then limit the frequency of healing. Using hit dice for all healing would probably work, in that regard.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
I've played games like this, and I hate them. It feels like there's a trade-off between staying alive and doing cool stuff, and that's not a fun trade-off to me.

I realize that this is all in my head, but since I play games to have fun, I don't like to argue against my head too much.
 

Aldarc

Hero
It might work for Cypher system, but it doesn't for D&D because of the whole "run out of hit points and die" concept. Since hit points are tied directly to character death, anything reducing hit points effectively becomes a cause of death. Special/cool maneuvers should be an extension of life - not a cause of death.
This would be a bad idea. It puts your "action resource" under the enemy's control. Every time the enemy hits you, your ability to act is reduced. This promotes a death spiral: When you are in a bad situation, and need to break out the big guns, you can't, because using the big guns will kill you.
Except that's also how exactly it works in the Cypher System too, which works totally fine without the aforementioned problem, and this feeds into the next point.
What is it like in general?
In the Cypher System, characters have points in three stat pools: Might, Speed, and Intellect. Your baseline for these stats are determined by your starting Type, and you typically will get these boosted through your Descriptor, a handful that you can allocate of your choice, and maybe your Focus. These points are used to fuel your special abilities or to lower the TN of a check, which include Attack, Defense, or Skill rolls. This is called Effort, and there is a cap on how much Effort you can spend based upon your level/tier.

Enemies (or the Environment) may also cause damage to these tracks, with most physical attacks typically targeting Might. When any of these three Pools get to zero, then the character becomes Impaired. When any two of these Pools get to zero, then the character becomes Debilitated. When all three of these Pools get to zero, then the character is Dead.

So how can characters manage their Pools? One of the biggest methods is through Edge. When a character spends points from their pool, they can reduce the cost if they have the relevant Edge. For example, a Tier 1 Warrior would have a Might Edge 1, Speed Edge 0, and an Intellect Edge 0. This means that when they spend Might points a Might-based ability or Effort, they can reduce the Might cost by 1 point. But they would not have an Edge for Speed and Intellect based abilities or Effort. Characters get to increase the Edge of their choice by 1 every time they advance to the next Tier. A character's type, focus, or descriptor may also confer additional bonuses to one or more of their Edges.

Also, Armor serves as damage reduction. There is no AC in the game, because the characters make Defense rolls against enemies based upon the enemy's Difficulty: e.g., a character must roll a TN 15 or higher against an enemy with a Difficulty of 5 out of 10 (DC 5 x 3 = TN 15). The enemy's difficulty also determines damage, unless state otherwise. So a Difficulty 5 monster would deal 5 damage on a hit.

Characters can also make Recovery rolls where they can recover points for their Pools, but each time they make this check, the time before they can make their next Recovery roll becomes longer.

In play practice and not white room theorycrafting, the use of cool abilities in the Cypher System has never been the cause of death. In my 5 years of experience of running the Cypher System, I have not seen a player who felt force to choose between life and fun as described or play descend into a death spiral.
 

JeffB

Legend
I've been enjoying the discussion. Certainly this system would require some things balanced. But assuming the vast amount of Hit Points and commonality of Surges/Rests and HD/HP recovery in 4/5E, I don't see it being that big of a deal- It would certainly make for a more gritty game- but people have been complaining on these boards for years that 4E and 5E were not deadly enough and at a certain point, character death becomes a rarity unless you throw the books out the window and Go Evil DM(c) on the PCs.

Though not a fan of Monte's design work generally I might have to check out Cypher system for kicks.
 
My biggest issue with hp as resource and "toughness to kill" is that a fighter who swings his sword a whole lot and gets hit none - shouldn't be nearly dead by the end of the day.
 

JeffB

Legend
My biggest issue with hp as resource and "toughness to kill" is that a fighter who swings his sword a whole lot and gets hit none - shouldn't be nearly dead by the end of the day.
If you look at HP as "meat" then yes that makes sense.

If you look at HP as effort ,luck, determination, which is really what HP were designed to be in D&D- then it makes complete sense. The Fighter is exhausted and off his game by the end of the day swinging his sword. It would be very easy to take him out if he has hasn't "recharged" by resting/spending HD/recoveries, etc.
 
If you look at HP as "meat" then yes that makes sense.

If you look at HP as effort ,luck, determination, which is really what HP were designed to be in D&D- then it makes complete sense. The Fighter is exhausted and off his game by the end of the day swinging his sword. It would be very easy to take him out if he has hasn't "recharged" by resting/spending HD/recoveries, etc.
The issue here is that you are saying that depleting 1 thing - stamina will imply the fighter is almost dead (the next hit will kill him) - but survivability (hp) can also include luck and it's hard to believe that was depleted by swinging the sword.

So why is the fighter almost dead when he still has his luck?
 
So I'm envisioning a system with 2 parts.

Hp that is luck, divine favaor and meat combination.
Stamina - that is effort and determination combination.

Abilities run off stamina.
Everything else comes off your hp.

Damage could potentially come directly off stamina - following the notion that the player expends effort to get out of the way of the hit.

I think I actually like the dynamics of this 2 part system.
 
That seems far more flexible and sensible than HP equals meat, a reading I've never found convincing. The idea of expending extra heroic effort at some cost to the character has a place in D&D I think. Very heroic.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
So I'm envisioning a system with 2 parts.

Hp that is luck, divine favaor and meat combination.
Stamina - that is effort and determination combination.

Abilities run off stamina.
Everything else comes off your hp.

Damage could potentially come directly off stamina - following the notion that the player expends effort to get out of the way of the hit.

I think I actually like the dynamics of this 2 part system.
New to the conversation, so forgive me if I am covering old material. :)

This sounds a lot to me similar to the SWSE Vitality/Wounds system. IMO, the best ever.

We adopted it to D&D for a while and I loved it, the only problem was the constant booking for the homebrew we used. I made a lot of sense, but ultimately dropped it in favor of simplicity.

That is my only argument when looking at a new system: does any added complexity make worth the effort for the fun gained?
 
New to the conversation, so forgive me if I am covering old material. :)

This sounds a lot to me similar to the SWSE Vitality/Wounds system. IMO, the best ever.

We adopted it to D&D for a while and I loved it, the only problem was the constant booking for the homebrew we used. I made a lot of sense, but ultimately dropped it in favor of simplicity.

That is my only argument when looking at a new system: does any added complexity make worth the effort for the fun gained?
Did it require stamina resources to cast spells and attack? Were there defensive maneuvers that ultimately resulted in less stamina loss than just taking the hit on your stamina?
 

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