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Brainstorming r.e. Wounds after a D&D Next article on Hit Points


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#1 Amehdaus

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 08:14 PM

 A link to the article itself: Hit Points, Our Old Friend

In the article, they address the physical manifestation (roleplay aspect) of the mechanical loss of hit points which I find intriguing. The article has me brainstorming a number of house rules I would like to attempt at my gaming table, the foremost of which I wish to run by many minds of this forum. In a nutshell, the basic rule change would be:

When a character suffers a wound that brings him more than halfway to his Wound Threshhold, he flips one of those wounds face-up as a critical.

The timing makes sense around the description of wound states outlines in the article. I would apply this rule to both players and enemies. What I am considering is what other changes might need to be made to accommodate such a rule, if any. For players, I would still want to allow eagles and comets to trigger critical effects, as core. The strength, I think, is for the many monsters that lack critical effects (or chances for such critical effects). I think, it will positively increase the odds that a given player will see 1 critical wound over the course of a fight, without that critical being the first of many as seems to be the case during play sessions -- though that may just be players unwilling to accept tactical withdrawal as an option.

Does anything strike you, as DMs and Players about unforeseen consequences or benefits of such a rules change? Does this seem like an accurate portrayal of the damage concept outlined in the article, converted to the WFRP3 system? Did the article spur any other WFRP-related brainstorming in anyone else?

I do highly recommend the Wizards articles regarding 5e D&D. They are being very transparent about design goals and process in articles that address roleplaying as a whole. Obviously, it is spun within the language of D&D, but the concepts they are addressing are quite universal.



#2 Nishra

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 09:16 PM

I think hit points are a concept to decide how much punishment you can take before you get knocked down or have to yield and thus agree with you and your article.
I don’t know how much you know about fighting or going k.o but as a full-contact martial artist I can tell you there is something as fatigue (well covered by the rules) and even stress (also covered). There are indeed critical wounds in combat, that is if something gets twisted in a nasty way or even broken.
BUT this doesn’t mean that you get these kind of injuries in every fight and they don’t stop you from fighting on at all. The rush of adrenalin and the primal instincts which make you want to win in sports is powerful but in Warhamer ?! Were the fight is about life and death? It’s a lot stronger!

If you’d like to make the combat more "real" you could give PC´s an amount of fatigue that equals the severity-rating of the critical wounds they get believe me a broken arm really makes you ache! But don’t push criticals into every fight for PC´s can go down really fast if they don’t have much HP and soak. The current combat system is a lot faster then in the 2.ED and even faster then most systems I played until today. A PC with a total soak of 5 will win or loose a fight in matter of 2-3 Rounds of Initiative most of the time. Consider that PC´s start with 12-15 HP and only gain 1-3/Rank so a Rank 3 combat oriented character got around 20~ HP and will go down in 4-5 good hits which can occur easily in 2-3 rounds.

In conclusion I wouldn’t temper with the rules in any way. Fatigue, stress and critical wounds are all there and for PC´s they are wonderfully covering the different injuries and effects that happen in a fight indeed. Coming from a systematical approach criticals wont matter for "NPC´s" as they might not life through the encounter but if they do critical wounds will affect their life’s as well i.e. A Beastman comes home with one ear ripped off…nasty and he wont hear well anymore but maybe cheered at for winning a fight, we as the playgroup wont see that happend…but it does ;)

 

 

 



#3 phild

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:29 PM

I too wouldn't make this change. The current damage system is actually a very clever variant on the dual-damage system used by games from Hero System to Torg and many others in between.

Wounds are Stun damage, Shock damage, Hits to Concuss (HTC) etc.. They are not killing blows. They may represent minor blood loss, severe fatigue, bruising and light wounds. Wounds do not kill you. Ever*. They simply knock you out.

Critical Wounds are Body damage, Wound levels, Hits to Kill (HTK) etc. They are killing blows. They represent significant and severe injury. Everyone can see when you have a critical wound. Critical wounds don't bother knocking you out, they just kill you.

If you want normal wounds to have a critical-type effect, something like adding a misfortune die or increasing action recharge values by 1 at certain wound thresholds might be simpler, reflecting a build up of minor injuries starting to slow the character down. However, be careful, as too much of this can lead to a death spiral which some players really hate.

*Yes, I know wounds turn into critical wounds once you're unconcious, but the point is it still isn't the wounds that kill you. You can have 120 wounds and 2 criticals, and your long-term prognosis is fine. You're just in a year-long coma. Good luck with that…



#4 BigKahuna

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 01:54 AM

I agree with the above poster and while I try not to poop on D&D as it is a classic for many of us so some might take it personally I think that the abstraction of hit points has always been a major problem with the presentation of D&D's health system.  Its abstract in both an unrealistic way in terms of it not really representing any differentiation between any kind of specific injury and mechanically flawed in terms of trying to come to grips with the true status based on "your current hit points".

The articles explaination is an attempt to "rationalize" this old sacred cow.  Personally I think the vitality system they used in the Star Wars edition of the D20 rules (and D20 modern if I recall) was a better system and gave you at least something to go on.

I think D&D's narrative suffers because of hit points.  After all, how do you describe a loss of 20 hit points?  Did you get bashed real bad?  Or was it just a scratch barely worth mentioning?  How does a level 1 character die from a 20 hit point attack and a 20th level character able to completetly ignore it?  Its all very fuzzy and while I don't demand "realism" I do demand a reliable way to identify injuries and effects.

WFRP has done what many systems have done before.  Given us a health score that acts as the narrative equivilant of "this is an average persons health and here is how yours compares".  Hence the number 10 for example might be average and a 15 means you are sturdier than most.  When the discrepency goes from 10 to 250 … it becomes harder to work with.  Finally the critical hit system gives us detail to which we can relate a story… A concosion! Ok that means you got hit on the head, or fell down and hit your head… its an injury with an effect that is linked to the injury type… it all works in the narrative and thats exactly what a role-playing game needs. 

So ya.. I would avoid trying to copy D&D in regards to the health system, its one of its major flaws.



#5 phild

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 02:38 AM

BigKahuna said:

Its abstract in both an unrealistic way in terms of it not really representing any differentiation between any kind of specific injury and mechanically flawed in terms of trying to come to grips with the true status based on "your current hit points".

Mileage always varies, and I don't want to wander off topic (inevitably a precursor to doing exactly that!), but imo D&D's abstract hit points model a lot of heroic or cinematic fiction extremely well and thus in the sense of genre-simulation is very "realistic". But I do agree, it doesn't work at all well if you want to create a more gritty, real-world type setting or if you're looking for greater granularity. Hitpoints measure how close you are to death; they don't indicate how badly wounded you are. A subtle but important distinction.

Lecture over :-)



#6 Yepesnopes

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 03:09 AM

 I am not a fan of the D&D HP system (and I am being kind). My heart lies with Rune Quest hp system, where in every combat the chances to see heads, arms, or even legs flying away where very high! 

I like the system in WFRP 3rd ed, combats are fast and dealy. If there is something I miss, is the concept of hit locations as it was treated in Rune Quest, but the critical wound system covers that issue quite good enough without slowing down combats.

Could it be more realistic? Yes, sure! In my opinion is not needed though, and mixing both systems (D&D and WFRPG) can be a bit dangerous due to their different approaches.


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#7 valvorik

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:52 AM

I'm with the don't tamper crowd.

Speeding up critical aquisition will make it a DEADLY grim and perilous world as the chance of dropping with too many increases.  Between critters or attacks that are good at stacking up criticals and other ways to stack up fatigue and stress (and let us not forget conditions, corruption and disease - most every rat swarm and undead attack in my campaign is a chance to "catch something")  there are already lots of ways to model the fact the world can hurt you in lots of ways abstract hit point/wound loss does not itself reflect.



#8 BigKahuna

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 12:25 AM

phild said:

BigKahuna said:

 

Its abstract in both an unrealistic way in terms of it not really representing any differentiation between any kind of specific injury and mechanically flawed in terms of trying to come to grips with the true status based on "your current hit points".

 

Mileage always varies, and I don't want to wander off topic (inevitably a precursor to doing exactly that!), but imo D&D's abstract hit points model a lot of heroic or cinematic fiction extremely well and thus in the sense of genre-simulation is very "realistic". But I do agree, it doesn't work at all well if you want to create a more gritty, real-world type setting or if you're looking for greater granularity. Hitpoints measure how close you are to death; they don't indicate how badly wounded you are. A subtle but important distinction.

Lecture over :-)

I understand what your saying and I definitily don't want to turn it into a debate, I honestly stopped playing D&D all together after 4th edition was released and Hit Points really were just one of many awful implementations in that game that I couldn't get past.  Suffice to say however they (WOTC) already had better working examples with systems like the Vitality system found in Star Wars D20.  Everyone actually believed that this would make it into 4th edition as that game system was in many ways expected to be the future of D&D.   It is also one of the most commonly used house rules in 4th edition, in fact, I have never played 4th edition without it, GM's always insisted on it.  One of the key reasons was that there was no sense of "status" of a person making narration of your condition and role-playing extremly difficult and effectively becoming what D&D really used as an execuse to an absence of supporting system for role-playing… you are what you decide you are and in the case of hitpoints you are as healthy as you want to be.  So a player was at 1 hitpoint could be 100% healthy or he could be on the brink of death, it was up to the player.  Which to me lacked sufficient direction to properly role-play.  It required too much guess work and its why 4th edition is by most reviewers to severly lack in the role-playing department.. its not that people can't role-play its that the game is designed to give you so little to go on, that people just stop trying.

 

 

 

 



#9 Emirikol

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 10:43 AM

I picked up their 5e playtest rules (I've playtested 3e, 4e, and now 5e as well as the Conan rpg).

There's always something to take from it.

Considering all the rules-incest that goes on in the hobby, my guess is that even D&D designers have seen the light in regards to making an RPG tabletop game that is a bit more immersive (hence their design where classes have "themes" now ..what we in WFRP call careers to some extent).  Hopefully the rest of their rules-intensive systems will follow suit and ditch "tracking inane things" for "immersion."

They're still stuck in the dungeon as a tabletop miniatures game though..until they grow out of that, they'll always be "just another RPG."  Funny, the best minds in the industry, over-paid, to produce a boardgame with too many rules (IMO) for people who drink the cool aid and refuse to step out of the fog  (IMO).

 

Anyways, "Bloodied-at-half hp" concept in D&D just seemed like more unnecessary accounting.  IN WFRP it's simpler because we're not talking about 1000's of hp's, but ask yourself if it's 'really' necessary to improve the game…

jh






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