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D&D 3E
Hit Points. 
9th-Jun-2005 10:33 am
How do you handle them?

I treat hit points as the abstract figure they are. For the most part, a successful 'hit' doesn't actually hurt the character at all, but still subtracts from their hit point total. Grazing blows are landed once then player is below double their first-level hit points. Wounds start actually being inflicted once they go below their first-level hit points (this is when blood is drawn, so fights until first blood and so forth last more than a single swing).

This causes issues, of course, with injected poisons and so forth, but for those I just wing it. If the blade is coated in an injection poison, I'll have the hit that delivers the poison draw blood. If something falls on someone pinning their leg, I'll have them actually get hit despite their hit point total.

I just think it adds a little more to the game, and doesn't mean that a tenth-level fighter can take a sword to the gut moreso than a first-level fighter -- but that first-level fighter who's got some amazing toughness and a hardy constitution can still run around with a huge gaping wound in his chest, whereas the tenth-level finesse fighter can duck and weave like mad but that one blow does him in.

Do you do something similar, or do you treat them as they are classically handled?
9th-Jun-2005 01:36 pm (UTC)
Hit Points in D&D 3 were supposed to be abstract - but this has become less and less the case with supplements (even WotC's own). I think there's something about the average D&D gamer mind set which needs something concrete and tangible.

I think they work best on the abstract - it allows you to describe combat and events with more cinematic flare. It lets you move away from "you hit it, it hits you, you hit it" (as the damage suggests) and lets you describe scenes where burning torches, falling rubble, cutlery kicked up from the table, etc, get invovled.
9th-Jun-2005 02:46 pm (UTC)
I think there's something about the average D&D gamer mind set which needs something concrete and tangible.

Thats ironic considering that D&D is a game that theoretically is absract and based in imagination, which by no means uses a concrete thought process.
9th-Jun-2005 02:50 pm (UTC)

But the idea of drawing tarot cards and extrapolating the success of actions based on the reading is an example of a RPG style which wouldn't appeal to many D&D gamers.

I'm not insulting D&D here (heck, I'm on this community).
9th-Jun-2005 02:53 pm (UTC)
Is that why a majority of the gamning community outside of those who are hardcore 3rd ed addicts reffer to this as the "Special ed"?

9th-Jun-2005 01:40 pm (UTC)
The problem with that approach is that it means that, unless someone goes down to minimal hit points, they'll never need healing; a few minutes rest to get their composure back, and they're fine.

Also, I don't think that fights to first blood become more difficult; a decent fighter can do far more than 8 hp damage in a single blow, so that the hit that inflicts first blood may also be the killing blow. Unless you're doing subdual damage, which kinds of defeats the point.
9th-Jun-2005 10:21 pm (UTC)
Sounds like the Vitality point system
9th-Jun-2005 01:47 pm (UTC)
Although I generally don't play with them, I prefer a wound&(other) system (the optional one from UA, for instance). Similar systems are used in other RPGs (HERO/Champions, Palladium, etc.)

UA's is, if I recall correctly, crits do wounds and all other hits come off the 'other' set (I don't recall what UA calls it). Wounds are some small number based on your character's con, the rest are calcualted like HP. This makes critical hits much mopre deadly, but it works. (I don't recall how higher crit multipliers are handled.)

It is, however, a lot more bookkeeping and a lot easier to kill PCs.
9th-Jun-2005 02:20 pm (UTC)
Probably "vitality". They used that in D20 Star Wars. Wounds were equal to CON, Vitality was tracked like classic hit points. Critical multipliers were, if I recall, done away with entirely. I'm not sure if they used something similar in D20 modern or not. There were some other funky effects involved, but I don't remember them.

I was in a Forgotten Realms DnD3E game when our DM, who'd just gotten SW D20, tried implementing the wounds/vitality system, but it kind of got confusing where healing was involved; I don't know if the UA addresses that, I haven't seen the book. We ended up going back to classic HP system, but the DM kept track and described the effects of wounds to us; if we wanted to know numbers, we'd have to take a standard action and a Healing skill roll to examine (self or other). I liked that because it made combats seem more immediate and visceral and serious when you hear things like, "Bethany now has a big gash in the left side of her chest, blood is bubbling around her collapsed lung and you can see arterial spray... oh and her face is turning grey," rather than "Oh, critical hit! Bethany, take 55 points of damage..."
9th-Jun-2005 10:24 pm (UTC)
d20 Mod uses straight HP system, to make itself near-fully backwards compatible with D&D. Really big on importing monsters that way. Does use class Defense bonuses though . . .
10th-Jun-2005 06:44 pm (UTC)
I just played some Fading Suns for the first time a couple of weeks ago and liked how that system worked HP. It's dealt with through check boxes (or circles, really) that look like this:

-10 -8 -6 -4 -2

You get to have the first five circles automatically, and then a number of circles to the right of that equal to your Con, I believe. You draw a line after your last one (or I suppose you could grey the extra ones out or something). Then every time you take a point of damage you cross off one of the circles; when the circle about "-2", for example, is crossed off, you take a -2 penalty on all checks.

I like the way it's both relatively streamlined and fairly realistic- the beefier you are, the more hits you can shrug off, but no matter who you are if you take enough damage you'll start to perform poorly. (And, if you keep taking damage, you die, obviously...)
10th-Jun-2005 06:49 pm (UTC)
Ack, that didn't work right at all. Let me try that diagram again:

  O   O   O   O   O   O   O   O   O   O   O   O   O   O   O
-10 -8  -6  -4  -2
9th-Jun-2005 02:12 pm (UTC)
Recently I've been using HP as written. Combat in D&D is intended to be oversimplified, with the idea that you can hit an AC which is a combination of other factor, and then you can take a certain number of hits before you die. The simplicity can be a good thing, and as I've been playing with a larger group and a couple newbies, it helps.

However, in my old 3-person group (which was 2e so didn't have some elements of the 3e combat system) we did away with HP (and AC) entirely. We developed a wound-based system where whenever you were hit you took what we called "Stun" damage and what we called "Blood" damage in a ratio of about 3:1 (so take written weapon damage in stun, then a third of that in blood). Stun measured how much abuse you could take before you were knocked unconcious (kind of like subdual damage). It healed real fast by resting, so just taking a minute to sit would fix that. Blood damage was the measure of how much blood you could lose before you died. Blood damage healed more like normal HP (which as it was a pretty low-magic game was difficult). So basically the system looks like the wound&(other) systems, with the numbers tweaked.

My favorite part was on top of that, every hit that did Blood damage results in an individual wound, which would inflict penalities and stuff (so being hit in the leg would give you minuses to move and so forth). It made combat much more interesting I thought, but was quite slow, and I don't know if it would work well with more than a couple person game. So again, there's the advantage of Wizard's simplicity method.
9th-Jun-2005 02:28 pm (UTC)
we generally go with the i hit you you hit me method,,,our dm does have a little fun with it at times causeing wounds that give you penaltys but it all depends on whats going on in the game,,theres no real system for it but if it fits the story or someone lands a solid hit causing a good bit of damage it can get quite discriptave. once you get into wounds and stuff it becomes warhammer if you ask me. plus how do scars ,limps and the like effect your charisma? does apearance and grace factor in ,if you have an 18 cha before a battle and when its done theres a nasty gash across your face and you walk with a noted limp,,are you as charismatic or is there a penalty there too?
9th-Jun-2005 05:16 pm (UTC)
I'd say if the person's looks were the only factor in his/her Charisma, then yes; however, the Charisma score also represents presence, poise, etc. so if it doesn't faze him/her, I don't think s/he'll let it be a factor.
9th-Jun-2005 04:32 pm (UTC)
My group uses normal HP rules, but we often call critical hit special rules into play. We mostly use Bastion Press' Torn Assunder. We also sort of fake it too. If you're hit really hard (like 25% of your max) with a blunt weapon, you might be stunned, or make a Fort save to avoid dropping a weapon. We're big about little on-the-fly rules. It keeps the dice rolling and doesn't confine you to any set of rules.

I'm not always a fan of 3E's AC system, but I/we usually stick to it because it is easy.

I rather like Palladium's SDC/HP rules. I like Warhammer Fantasy's location hits and essentially damage reduction as armor (similar to UA's rules).

In the end, we keep combat simple. We don't do a ton of it anyway.
9th-Jun-2005 05:14 pm (UTC)
I view any "hit" that reduces HP as a hit of some sort - it might be as simple as a solid blow on your shield, rocking you back and disorienting you. It might be a scrape on the cheek. It might be a rap on the helmet that will cause a headache later.

As for an actual "wound," I save those for critical hits. If the ogre slams you for 20 damage that's not a critical, it would be something along the lines of "The beast slams its club down on your shield with crushing force that sends flares of pain up your arm and into your shoulder, driving you to your knees. You can already tell that you won't be able to block a second such blow..." If a goblin pings you for 15 that IS a critical with his crossbow, it's something along the lines of "the bolt bites through your chainmail and passes through the meat of your leg. Make a Fortitude save of DC 15 or have your speed reduced by 5'!"
9th-Jun-2005 08:10 pm (UTC)
I tend to make it up as I go and try to come up with reasonable effect based on damage and how much HP the person getting hit. One thing I do take into account is blood loss. If you take a serious wound (max damage or worse a natrual 20) then you will loose a die roll in damage till you stop the bleeding. Having 3 feet of steel ramed into your body tends to have bad effects like that. I also throw in some mods to dice roll.
9th-Jun-2005 10:30 pm (UTC)
I just try to be colorful describing the wound based on damage inflicted with what sort of weapon. Magical healing usually clears up anything nasty anyhow.
10th-Jun-2005 12:53 am (UTC)
The problem with viewing them as abstract comes in with healing, especially natural healing.

I mean, it doesn't make sense that someone has to rest to make up for almost getting hit.
10th-Jun-2005 10:39 am (UTC)
Yeah, that was my only concern, but I was considering upping the rate of healing.
10th-Jun-2005 05:57 pm (UTC)
There is another way to go about it. I know in Star Wars rp and Spycraft you have 2 sets of hp. One is Vitality points which go up at each level, and wound points and that are always equal to your constitution score. Vitality are like near hits, wounds are when you really start to take damage. once you have -10 wounds you are dead. once your vitality hits 0 you start to get wounded.
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