Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zero Hit Points/Real Hit Points

Today's Post: Death and Dying...

Death's Door: at 0 hp, PCs roll on the following table. If they survive, the roll (that is, don't roll a 2-4 which have their own rules for what follows), the PC falls unconscious (if not using the CP idea below - if using that...then when CP reaches zero, do this - though that makes things more complicated). They begin to lose one hp per round thereafter. When the PC reaches a negative number = to their CON score, they die.

(The following chart is taken directly from Trollsmyth's Blog):



2 or lower

instant death (decapitated or other grevious wound).


fatal wound (gutted, stabbed through lung, broken back, etc.) die in 1d6 turns.


severed limb (DM's choice or roll randomly) will die in 3d6 rounds unless tourniquet applied, wound cauterized with fire, or Cure Serious Wounds cast (CSW used for this will not restore lost hp).


broken bone (DM's choice), 2d4+9 weeks to heal.


knocked out for 2d6 rounds, unless wearing a helm. With helm, only stunned for 1 round.


stunned for 1 round, unless wearing helm. With helm, only knocked down.


knocked down.


no effect.


a surge of adrenaline returns 1d4 hit points per every other level (1d4 at 1st and 2nd, 2d4 at 3rd and 4th, etc.) At the end of the combat, the adrenaline drains away, hit points are reduced to zero, and the PC faints for 2d6 rounds.

NOTE - additional attacks on "death's door" PCs are automatic hit... So, not only do fallen PCs have to be tended to - they have to be defended, too... AND, additional attacks are rolled on the table again...but with a SINGLE d6. The reverse holds true, too - NPCs who use the death's door rule (classed NPCs, I suppose) can automatically be hit when at death's door...


Now, I really like the idea that HP represent something like LUCK or ENDURANCE or whatever - that is, they are really abstract, so the reduction of HP doesn't affect your ability to fight...until you reach zero. But someone had a post about using something like CON for "real" HP, after HP run out, or something. So the HP regenerate at a quick rate (say 1/Turn or something) and quaffing some ale can boost HP since they are an abstract of bravado, luck, experience, etc. or whatever. CP (that would be Constitution based Hit Points) regenerate very slowly (say the standard of 1/day or whatever). And what if HP don't regenerate before CP?

PROBLEM: First and foremost - PCs are unkillable...Think about this: level 1 fighter 6 hp, CON of 15 (okay, so he was honest in his rolls) would give him, essentially, 36 hp til he dies. Admittedly, "only" 21 til he falls unconscious... and maybe rolls on the above table...but still. That's a pretty powerful first level character. Even the lowly MU at level 1 has 2 hp, CON of 9 - still has 11 hp before he falls unconscious...

What I like about this idea is that it delays death enough that a combat can be finished and the PCs can tend their wounded (staunching wounds, etc). I also really like the fact that this doesn't "scale" - that is, it's a real boon for low level characters, but as PCs gain in levels (and HP), they still retain the same "death's door" abilities (they have the number of rounds = to their CON to be tended to or they die, assuming the roll on the table wasn't deadly...) and the same number of CP (CON based HP). So, really, it's not the death's door rule that I need to fix (I rather like that even during a long combat, it would be possible to save a fallen comrade) but the CON based HP that I need to figure out if it's too overbalancing. I DO like the idea that characters are more survivable at early levels. I'm concerned that they'd be TOO survivable...


Timeshadows said...

Your method is a quick way to determine maximum damage.

I wouldn't be too worried about survivability, as unconscious characters left in the Underworld (as it were) will likely be dragged off by its denizens, to a fate possibly worse than death.
--If it is a low-level D&D game, then the means to heal characters who have gone into the 'meat' of their person will still be rather minimal (potions are likely to be rate at those levels of play), and it will be a burden on the party and their resources, which becomes its own challenge.


Daen Ral Worldbuilder said...

Under the "death's door" system I have here, unconscious only lasts the number or rounds = to CON, so they'll likely bleed out and die before (or at least AS) they're dragged off into the underworld.

I'm starting to dig the whole "resource management" idea of adventuring - do you have enough torches, rations, etc.? Healing potions and the like should be in that list too...

Timeshadows said...


How long are the Rounds you are using?
--1 Minute?

Daen Ral Worldbuilder said...

Yep - one minute. I really think combat in RPGs ought to be very abstract. I think I'm less a "role-player" and more a gamer, if you know what I mean. I like to roll dice to decide things...

Timeshadows said...

:: nodding ::
--I can respect that, and certainly am in that mode at times.

It's all good. :)

bighara said...

Were you referring to this post by me on GG's forums?

One of the reasons I made the PCs so "tough" was the campaign I was pondering had no clerics, thus magical healing was far rarer (though it did exist). I also was considering various critical hit systems that would make it more likely to do greater amounts of damage, or even bypass HP entirely, dealing damage straight to CON.

It's true that a more "standard" campaign with a cleric in every party and normal damage rules would make such PCs much tougher.

Blogger said...

Did you know you can shorten your urls with LinkShrink and make dollars from every visit to your short urls.