What kind of resource should HP be?

HP represent an interesting resource management challenge. There are two main groups of thought regarding HP. One thinks that HP should be a "daily" resource that is drained over the course of many fights. The other thinks HP should be an "encounter" resource that start at or near full for every fight.

If HP are supposed to be a resource that is slowly depleted over the course of a day no single fight can be threatening. In this set up no player can be expected to take more than 25% of their max HP in a given fight or the group will never make it past 4 fights per day. This was the case more or less in pre 4e D&D (ignoring wands of cure light that turned HP into an encounter resource here). To make fights deadly the game either had to be played at low levels where HP is low and damage can 1 shot you or random SoD effects had to be added into the encounters. If fights drained too much of the party's healing resources (Max HP, potions, spells, etc) the group would have to stop and rest. This sometimes created the necessity to bring along a healbot in order to maintain proper adventure pacing. In this method monster HP must be very high and damage must be very low when compared to the PCs.

In 4e there was a shift to encounter based healing. This meant the party entered every fight at or near full fighting capacity. Because of this fights felt very binary to some. Either the players will win or the players will lose. To make fights deadly each hit an enemy dealt would do about 25-35% of a players max HP. SoD effects were rare because they were no longer needed to make fights deadly. Adventure pacing was maintained because a group could usually go for 5+ encounters before being depleted of healing surges. Parties also were more willing to challenge themselves because they started every combat at full HP. In this method monster HP and Damage can be roughly equal to the values of the PCs.

Now both methods definitely have their advantages and disadvantages. What method would you prefer to see in D&D next and why?

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I like HP as an encounter resource that reflects your Staying power or endurance in a fight. People used to describe a fighter as good-winded or strong breathed. I like that.

I prefer a longer-term "wound" thing that reflects longer-term consequences of fighting. Your adrenaline has worn down and now you're feeling the pain and are limping, etc.
that's the reason why i like the surge mechanics or wounds systems.
you have encounter hp, and daily hp as well.

4e took it a bit too far, but in 3e it was even more an encounter ressource as wands of lesser vigor were like your daily morning coffee.
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I, personally, would have liked to see D&D go to a purely, or nearly so, encounter-based resource system.  It would make encounters far easier to balance, as the party's capabilities would be roughly the same at the start of every encounter, and it would eliminate the five-minute-workday issue because one encounter or ten wouldn't make a difference.

The one caveat would be going to a system that differentiates 'knockout damage' versus 'lethal damage' by making them separate numbers.  Knockout damage would recover quickly, lethal damage slowly (barring magical intervention, of course).  However, we already know that's not going to happen.
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Tiredness, shield of karma or vitality?

In the past I thought it was the third, but when the hitpoints can be healed by no magic powers (4th Edition) now I´m not so sure. I can´t imagine a character who has lost lots of blood and almost die can be as fresh as a daisy with only a day of rest.

* I don´t know if we will some module about aggravated damage and undead powers of draining life.

If aggavated damage is a special type that it isn´t so easy to be healed, the gameplay could be too different. 

 

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The challenge with encounter-based resources (more accurately described as short-rest refreshed resources) are when the chain-encounters occur. Sometimes that runner gets away, and the logical conclusion is help comes very soon (no time for a short rest). Those characters with primarily daily resources aren't really affected at all (the entire day is all one "encounter" for them), while the encounter-based characters are left with at-wills. The reverese is also a real issue. A daily resource character is pretty much gimped the remaining part of the day once all of their resources are spent.

IMO, both designs include significant flaws that are difficult to balance. Daily-centric characters need a partial-refresh mechanic for extended "days", and encounter-centric characters also need a partial-refresh mechanic for the chain encounters.

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I like hit points as an encounter resource. Hit points are just so important that if they're supposed to deplete, PCs are going to pretty much use every means necessary to get more.
I've always been a fan of HP as an adventure-based resource.  If you get injured by a stray arrow on day one, then maybe you won't be up to full when you come across that band of orcs on day three.  Sure, magical healing can help, but it's not going to be able to get everyone up to full all of the time.

The benefit of this model is that no single fight is going to be super lethal.  A fight where everyone loses a third of their HP is bordering on Pyrrhic victory.  If everyone gets injured, you might have to hole up in a cave for a few days while you recover, but you'll know going into a fight if you should probably run rather than try to swing it out.

You could also go into the den of evil, or the tower of ominousness, and know that doing it all in one go wouldn't be that much harder than if you spread out your incursions over the course of a week - it might even be easier, since they won't have so much warning that you'll be coming.

The metagame is not the game.

I've always been a fan of HP as an adventure-based resource.  If you get injured by a stray arrow on day one, then maybe you won't be up to full when you come across that band of orcs on day three.  Sure, magical healing can help, but it's not going to be able to get everyone up to full all of the time.

The benefit of this model is that no single fight is going to be super lethal.  A fight where everyone loses a third of their HP is bordering on Pyrrhic victory.  If everyone gets injured, you might have to hole up in a cave for a few days while you recover, but you'll know going into a fight if you should probably run rather than try to swing it out.

You could also go into the den of evil, or the tower of ominousness, and know that doing it all in one go wouldn't be that much harder than if you spread out your incursions over the course of a week - it might even be easier, since they won't have so much warning that you'll be coming.



Well, my only comment on this is that D&D has never been this game out of the box.  Clerics and other classes can heal too much for this to work.  I guess it was a bit more like this in 1st and 2nd edition, but only a bit, imho.

I'd rather go with a Surge system like 4th Edition, but with fewer surges -- perhaps 4 per person.  I don't see why each class would have different numbers when the hit points already make a big difference.  In combat, I'd lean towards Surge effects only working if you are up and able.  Once you go down, you are unconscious for the rest of the fight.  However, at any point during this time you can take an Injury and go to 0 + Surge Value hit points -- this doesn't cost a surge.  You can even take an injury to stay up upon sustaining a blow that would down you.  An injury would give you a -1 penalty to AC and all d20 rolls, stacking with any other injuries you have.  To remove the latest injury, you have to rest for a number of days equal to the total number of injuries you have.

Of course, there'd be a limit to the number of injuries you can have at once...somewhere between 3 and 5 seems to be about right.  As long as you can take an injury, you can't bleed to death, but you can suffer a coup de grace and die if you don't get up.

Obviously that's just a sketch of a system, but if you want something where people can take a while to heal, I think a system like this will work better than trying to adjust the healing in the game.  It even works without healing surges (I just like surges as they make more sense).  There are lots of ways to modify the above system too, such as making different sorts of injuries that you can pick from with the possibility that further injuries are more serious.

It has the nice side effect of making it so that running away is more of an option.  Injuries would be bad enough that you'd want to avoid them, but if you decide to run away late then you can still get away..you just suffer some longer-lasting damage.  I think it avoids the death spiral by generating HP when used and it is something a player opts into.
My preference is for 'volatile' HPs, meaning they recover after each battle., but lasting injuries, represented by surges, or some for of leathal damage.
The 4E model basically works for me, but I find that being able to recover all surges with just an extended rest is too forgiving. 
I also like the fact the HPs are a scaling value, but surges are pretty much a constant one, which is very useful for when normalised damage is needed.
@Saelorn: I think what you are looking for is a HP/Wounds system where wounds represent the long term injuries players sustain.

The problem wih treating a pure HP system as wounds that you suggest is that:
A) Monsters and players must be built wildly differently. Monsters must have very low damage when compared to players or players will die in every fight.
B) Only the last fight is challenging. Players will only lose 10% or so HP a fight or they will have an adventure day that is only 1-2 encounters. This means even though players lose HP every fight, there is rarely danger of death from any fight.
I suppose I'd prefer some combination.  I don't like being 100% for every single fight.  It bores me.  It doesn't make a lot of sense to me, either.  However, I don't like not feeling like pushing on because the first encounter saw a lot of bad rolls by me and a lot of good ones by the DM.  So, I'd like to see some after encounter healing.  Not nearly as much as 4e, though.  That's too ... heroic, for my taste. 
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What if the 4e Healing Surge method was used but surges only recovered at a rate of 2/day?
What if the 4e Healing Surge method was used but surges only recovered at a rate of 2/day?



That's about our 4E house rule. Base recover per day is 1 surge+Con mod.
Then you get one more if you sleep comfortably (like in a tavern) or anywhere with endurance trained (rolls may be required).
Also one more surge is given if there is someone trained in heal in the party (rolls may be required).

I like plain hit points.  Then provide a variety of healing systems that fit the campaign you are running.  

Personally I prefer a hit point daily (or longer) resource.   But I don't mind it becoming less so as the group gains ever high levels.

I think an encounter only system takes a lot away from the game.  But I would say that for those that want that, it should be pretty easy.  Allow for short rests to restore healing or give out lots of healing wands.   Whichever approach seems most appropriate. 

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What if the 4e Healing Surge method was used but surges only recovered at a rate of 2/day?



I think it'd be easier to just grant characters less surges that heal less HP.  Tone it down a bit is all.  Sorta like 5e's proposed Hit Dice system ... but, you know, effective. 
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My thoughts. Hp should be encounter based but with a risk of obtaining lasting wounds.

crits rather then just spiking damage could leave lasting wounds  that take far more time to heal (mechanically lowering your max hitpoints until you fully recover). On your average day you will bounce back from minor cuts and scrapes you earn but occationally a stray arrow or spear can cause a serious injury that may force the party to reevaluate plans.

The system has the benifets of the per encounter system while also allowing for the potential for dramatic story beats in a campaign

another option would be rather than have crits cause lasting wounds have one occur anytime a player is reduced to below 0 hp.  
@Saelorn: I think what you are looking for is a HP/Wounds system where wounds represent the long term injuries players sustain.

To me, a long term injury is one which will never heal right.  The ogre shattered your kneecap, and you'll still walk with a limp a few years later.  A more traditional vitality points -style variant might work okay in that regard, but I'm honestly not too interested in that sort of thing.

I think HP are fine for modeling regular old wounds.  It fits well with my definition of HP, where each hit represents an actual wound, with the severity of the wound toned way down because of luck/timing/skill/etc.  The way I mentioned is exactly how it worked in AD&D 2E (in my experience), and it doesn't fall apart too badly in 3.x until late game.

The problem wih treating a pure HP system as wounds that you suggest is that: A) Monsters and players must be built wildly differently. Monsters must have very low damage when compared to players or players will die in every fight.

You could also have most of the monsters be chumps.  Imagine a world where a PC has HP 60 and deals 10 HP with an attack, while a random monster has HP 30 and also deals 10 HP with an attack.  In that way, it's kind of like you had just taken the extra healing that normally goes on in the middle of combat and added it ahead of time as bonus HP, except it averts the mandatory healbot thing and prevents yo-yo syndrome.

B) Only the last fight is challenging. Players will only lose 10% or so HP a fight or they will have an adventure day that is only 1-2 encounters. This means even though players lose HP every fight, there is rarely danger of death from any fight.

I could see this as a real problem if combat drags on a while, which I have heard was an issue with 4E (though I cannot really speak from experience).  It might seem like a poor use of play time if an encounter took up an hour of time and nobody was near death.  For a faster system (AD&D - 3.5), it might just depends on what your definition of a challenge is.  It's entirely possible to lose the boss fight down the road because you were wounded by the goblin a few days ago, but stopping to rest might mean the bad guy gets away with something far worse because the players weren't there to limit her success.

It's just a playstyle preference.  It appeals to me, personally, but apparently not very many would agree.

The metagame is not the game.

Saelorn: While I do not agree entirely with you in regards to what HP represented and how they worked in past editions, I do think we have similar goals for HP overall. I would prefer if in combat healing was exceptionally rare and players HP totals accounted for this. I want every fight to be dangerous though with the risk of dropping a player if they get reckless.

The compromise I put forth of 4e surges but slow surge recovery means a fully rested warrior can go for a few days but then may need a week to fully recover. It combines the "full HP every battle" with the "every fight slowly drains your HP resource" ideologies.
My thoughts. Hp should be encounter based but with a risk of obtaining lasting wounds.

crits rather then just spiking damage could leave lasting wounds  that take far more time to heal (mechanically lowering your max hitpoints until you fully recover). On your average day you will bounce back from minor cuts and scrapes you earn but occationally a stray arrow or spear can cause a serious injury that may force the party to reevaluate plans.

The system has the benifets of the per encounter system while also allowing for the potential for dramatic story beats in a campaign

another option would be rather than have crits cause lasting wounds have one occur anytime a player is reduced to below 0 hp.  



I prefer the below zero option (as I posted).  Crits are just too random.  You could easily get two on the same character in one fight even though the overal damage was minor.  I like HP more as a consistent "shield" against real damage.
HP represent an interesting resource management challenge. There are two main groups of thought regarding HP. One thinks that HP should be a "daily" resource that is drained over the course of many fights. The other thinks HP should be an "encounter" resource that start at or near full for every fight. If HP are supposed to be a resource that is slowly depleted over the course of a day no single fight can be threatening.

I think hp recovery - healing - needs to go on some sort of 'dial,' not only that, but it needs to go on a great big dial that also tells you how often the Vancian caster can re-memorize his spells, or the dragon use his 3 breathweapons, or whatever other traditionally-per-day things 5e brings back.

The reason being, it would give the designers a shot at balancing the game regardless of campaign pacing.  A DM who wants a 'low-combat' campaign with long periods of time between encounters could turn the dial up to some non-specific "story" recovery horizon.  One that just wants to run exciting, high-power combats with no accounting in between can turn it all the way down to 'encounter.' 

'Lasting injuries' - things beyond the basic war of attrition that hps represent - could be handled by an optional module or modules.  Something like the way 4e tracks diseases, for instance, could be used to handle wounds, curses, and other aflictions, as well, with different skills/rituals/whatever governing recovery.

 

 

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Saelorn: While I do not agree entirely with you in regards to what HP represented and how they worked in past editions, I do think we have similar goals for HP overall. I would prefer if in combat healing was exceptionally rare and players HP totals accounted for this. I want every fight to be dangerous though with the risk of dropping a player if they get reckless. The compromise I put forth of 4e surges but slow surge recovery means a fully rested warrior can go for a few days but then may need a week to fully recover. It combines the "full HP every battle" with the "every fight slowly drains your HP resource" ideologies.



My only problem with that is that it's a bit of a boring and abstract system.  A guy might get more and more worn down, but the system doesn't reflect it much except when it comes to AFTER a combat.  Kind of odd, imho.

I rather like my system (big surprise!), which I based off FATE, that keeps Surges for normal healing seperate from injuries.  I think there's a difference between getting worn a bit thin and getting an outright injury that must be healed.

Though, they might work well together.
X healing surges, recovery at 2 per day.
Say 5 injury surges, usable in combat when you drop to 0 or less, giving you an Injury when used.  (These can be viewed as a sort of reserved hit points that can be voluntarily accessed at a penalty).  An injury takes a full rest to recover from, but if you have more than one it takes days before you can remove one.

The more worn and tired you get, the easier it is to get injured since healing is becomes less available.  Hmm, though I can't help but feel awkward about the "suddenly you have no healing" bit.  It feels somewhat artificial....I think in the sense that it comes up like a cliff.  I'd probably want to mess around with having more surges with limited recovery while making surges give diminishing returns on healing.

That is, you might have 8 surges, that return 40%, 40%, 35%, 35%, 30%, 30%, 25%, 25% of your total hit points (numbers are negotiable of course).  You have to use the higher ones first and recover them last.  So when you start to get worn down, you'll be getting healed for less and less.  I'd keep combat healing with a varient like this.
I feel like HP should be split, potentially, into a Daily and an Encounter Resource. Let's say that the standard, non-modulated, distribution would be that half HP would be actual wounds that the character could absorb, and half would be their ability to avoid damage. The former would be a daily resource (or, if the DM wanted, it could recover less often than that), and the latter would be an encounter resource, and would recover whenever the character had a chance to rest for a minute or two and catch his breath. The encounter resource would be like Temporary HP, and gets removed first, and once it's all gone, the wound-variety HP would be removed. Warlord-healing and other types of martial healing could recover the first variety, and potentially even allow it to go over capacity, while magical healing would heal the wound-type HP, and that type of healing would be capped.

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Personally I'm a fan of separating HP/wounds. There's no problem with making hit points basically infinitely refreshing if wounds still exist as a separate mechanic that recover much slower. So a character who is low on hp can recover with a 5 minute breather, but a character who is severely wounded might be taking some sort of penalties until he gets a few days of rest in.
I can't support anything that would let you shrug off an actual, physical wound and let you return to an undamaged state.  That's actually not such a huge limitation, though.

Similar to previous suggestions, I think it makes sense to separate the actual injury from the vague whatever-ness of not being injured by an attack.  For the sake of simplicity, I think the easiest way to represent this is through real HP and temporary HP.  In this example, real HP cover only the real injuries, so it's different from the definition that a lot of people use.

Divine magic only recovers real HP.  You do not invoke the power of the gods to make someone slightly less tired.  If you don't have spells or potions, this recovers slowly.

Warlord inspiration and second wind only recover temporary HP.  No amount of shouting or determination will patch up an arrow wound.  After combat, your temporary HP go back up to max.

Most attacks would have to go through your temporary HP before hitting your real HP.  Some things, like falling, go straight to your real HP.

The metagame is not the game.

@Seerow: I have actually suggested a very similar mechanic in other threads. HP recovers fully durin a short rest. Any attack that brings you below 1 HP or does more than 1/4 your max HP causes a wound. Wounds recover slowly without magical healing rituals.
@Seerow: I have actually suggested a very similar mechanic in other threads. HP recovers fully durin a short rest. Any attack that brings you below 1 HP or does more than 1/4 your max HP causes a wound. Wounds recover slowly without magical healing rituals.



Yeah this is more or less in line with what I have in mind. Except with the possibility for a single attack to cause multiple wounds (basically I classify your 1/4 max hp as "Damage Threshold" and say for every 10 points of damage above it, deal an extra wound damage. So hitting the Fighter with 30 DT for 35 points deals 1 wound, hitting the Wizard with a 15 DT deals 3 wounds. 


It's a bit less lethal than the normal vit/wound systems (which typically have anything that deals wound damage go 100% to wounds, so if your wounds ever get touched past level 1 or so you're basically going straight from perfectly fine to dead, with no in between), but captures the feel of being worn down that I think a lot of people are typically looking for in their hp systems.  
Yeah this is more or less in line with what I have in mind. Except with the possibility for a single attack to cause multiple wounds (basically I classify your 1/4 max hp as "Damage Threshold" and say for every 10 points of damage above it, deal an extra wound damage. So hitting the Fighter with 30 DT for 35 points deals 1 wound, hitting the Wizard with a 15 DT deals 3 wounds. 

Out of curiosity, is there any particular reason you wouldn't just deal an extra wound for every full multiple of damage threshold?  I'm concerned for your level 1 wizard who gets wounded with each dagger scratch (one greivous hit isn't nearly as bad as three minor ones), or the level 20 barbarian with 300 hit points who gets hit for 200 - thereby suffering thirteen wounds at once.

The metagame is not the game.

Yeah this is more or less in line with what I have in mind. Except with the possibility for a single attack to cause multiple wounds (basically I classify your 1/4 max hp as "Damage Threshold" and say for every 10 points of damage above it, deal an extra wound damage. So hitting the Fighter with 30 DT for 35 points deals 1 wound, hitting the Wizard with a 15 DT deals 3 wounds. 

Out of curiosity, is there any particular reason you wouldn't just deal an extra wound for every full multiple of damage threshold?  I'm concerned for your level 1 wizard who gets wounded with each dagger scratch (one greivous hit isn't nearly as bad as three minor ones), or the level 20 barbarian with 300 hit points who gets hit for 200 - thereby suffering thirteen wounds at once.




Mainly because multiplication/division take longer to resolve. Just about anyone can count by 10s in their head easily. Asking them to figure out how many wounds are dealt if they deal 1 per 27 points and take 82 damage is just going to slow the game down.

The system does require damage to be relatively well tuned, so hitting for double your damage threshold at high levels basically shouldn't be happening unless you're extraordinarily squishy.

As for the wizard being hurt more by 3 small dagger cuts than a single grevious hit, I'd imagine something like a crit hit deals 1 free wound damage, and the wizard's DT being high enough so not every attack is going to be a wound. (Assuming you go with Lawolf's 1/4th hp then the wizard with 16 hp has a DT of 4, letting him resist most dagger attacks, but if it's a high dex guy he has a chance of getting past it and dealing a wound. Or if he gets a crit he's basically guaranteed 2 wounds.)

Edit: FWIW with damage tuned tightly in this manner, you could also use the "Gain extra wounds at a muliplier of DT", but that's more because you would never get hit with enough damage to qualify for an extra wound, so in the end it would be basically just an excess rule that's never used. 
I have just altered my 4e game due to complaints about the healing surge mechanic feeling unrealistic, so I implemented a wound system.  My blog about it is located here if anyone is interested.  I'm hopeful that there will be a module that supports wound systems in D&DN as it does "feel" more realistic.
I think campaigns should have a HEAL Number based on the amount of HP/Healing modules. The games starts at 5 and you can add to get to 10 (full HP every encounter, rare deaths) or subtract down to 1 (HP Daily, HP values low, many deaths).

Second Wind (+3 Heal)
Vitality/Wounds (+1 Heal)
Health to full after night rest (+3 Heal)
Health to half after night rest (+1 Heal)
No Health after night rest (-1 Heal)
Gain full HD after short rest (+1 Heal)
Gain rolled HD after short rest
Full HD on HP(+2 Heal)
Half HD on HP (+1 Heal)
Con mod HD minimum (+0 Heal)
Roll for HP only (-1 heal)
Spontanous Heal spell (+2 Heal)
Massive damage (-1 Heal)
Injuries (-1 Heal)
Healing Surges Limit (-1 Heal)

Mix and match and follow the guidelines.

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I don't think one number can fairly distinguish between the various goals of different healing/wound/hit point schemes.

Should death be rare?  Resurrection?  Should it be random?  Sudden?  (different things a bit).  How much reaction time should players get to prevent it?  Etc.

Should wounds exist? How easy should they be to get?  Should they give a penalty to actions?  No penalty?  How many can you get?  Should they be random? Sudden?  Etc.

Is healing HP hard?  How often can you do it?  Does it use up daily resources?  Do the resources take longer to recover?  Etc.

Each of these is somewhat independent of each other.  I've proposed a fairly non-gritty system that has death be rare, healing pretty easy, but wounds can and would crop up and stick around for a time (though they are voluntary).  Others have proposed wounds that have no mechanical penalties other than a loss of resources, with healing being harder to get, and death probably more common (with lack of combat heals).

You could easily vary all over the spectrum in these matters.

Edit:  It might more sense to try to codify different end goals and see how they affect these and other factors.
I think campaigns should have a HEAL Number based on the amount of HP/Healing modules. The games starts at 5 and you can add to get to 10 (full HP every encounter, rare deaths) or subtract down to 1 (HP Daily, HP values low, many deaths).

Second Wind (+3 Heal)
Vitality/Wounds (+1 Heal)
Health to full after night rest (+3 Heal)
Health to half after night rest (+1 Heal)
No Health after night rest (-1 Heal)
Gain full HD after short rest (+1 Heal)
Gain rolled HD after short rest
Full HD on HP(+2 Heal)
Half HD on HP (+1 Heal)
Con mod HD minimum (+0 Heal)
Roll for HP only (-1 heal)
Spontanous Heal spell (+2 Heal)
Massive damage (-1 Heal)
Injuries (-1 Heal)
Healing Surges Limit (-1 Heal)

Mix and match and follow the guidelines.

The problem I see with this, is that certain combinations don't really work well together. If you have a healing surge limit, on its own, it's not that limiting, and may be only worth -1 Heal. But a Second Wind-healing surge limit combo feels like it shoud be a total of a +1, not a +2, since the healing surge limit provides much more of a limit on the Second-wind, than second-wind without the healing surge limit, and perhaps another -1 Heal selection, like rolling for HP only.

I like the idea somewhat, although more of a guideline, than anything codified with mechanics. 

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HP represent an interesting resource management challenge. There are two main groups of thought regarding HP. One thinks that HP should be a "daily" resource that is drained over the course of many fights. The other thinks HP should be an "encounter" resource that start at or near full for every fight. If HP are supposed to be a resource that is slowly depleted over the course of a day no single fight can be threatening.

I think hp recovery - healing - needs to go on some sort of 'dial,' not only that, but it needs to go on a great big dial that also tells you how often the Vancian caster can re-memorize his spells, or the dragon use his 3 breathweapons, or whatever other traditionally-per-day things 5e brings back.

The reason being, it would give the designers a shot at balancing the game regardless of campaign pacing.  A DM who wants a 'low-combat' campaign with long periods of time between encounters could turn the dial up to some non-specific "story" recovery horizon.  One that just wants to run exciting, high-power combats with no accounting in between can turn it all the way down to 'encounter.' 

'Lasting injuries' - things beyond the basic war of attrition that hps represent - could be handled by an optional module or modules.  Something like the way 4e tracks diseases, for instance, could be used to handle wounds, curses, and other aflictions, as well, with different skills/rituals/whatever governing recovery.



Thumbs up on the dial affecting other dailly effects .. basically it wires the healers ... in to the same campaign pacing.
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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
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I've always been a fan of HP as an adventure-based resource.  If you get injured by a stray arrow on day one, then maybe you won't be up to full when you come across that band of orcs on day three.  Sure, magical healing can help, but it's not going to be able to get everyone up to full all of the time.

The benefit of this model is that no single fight is going to be super lethal.  A fight where everyone loses a third of their HP is bordering on Pyrrhic victory.  If everyone gets injured, you might have to hole up in a cave for a few days while you recover, but you'll know going into a fight if you should probably run rather than try to swing it out.

You could also go into the den of evil, or the tower of ominousness, and know that doing it all in one go wouldn't be that much harder than if you spread out your incursions over the course of a week - it might even be easier, since they won't have so much warning that you'll be coming.


+1
@Saelorn: I think what you are looking for is a HP/Wounds system where wounds represent the long term injuries players sustain.

To me, a long term injury is one which will never heal right.  The ogre shattered your kneecap, and you'll still walk with a limp a few years later.  A more traditional vitality points -style variant might work okay in that regard, but I'm honestly not too interested in that sort of thing.

I think HP are fine for modeling regular old wounds.  It fits well with my definition of HP, where each hit represents an actual wound, with the severity of the wound toned way down because of luck/timing/skill/etc.  The way I mentioned is exactly how it worked in AD&D 2E (in my experience), and it doesn't fall apart too badly in 3.x until late game.

The problem wih treating a pure HP system as wounds that you suggest is that: A) Monsters and players must be built wildly differently. Monsters must have very low damage when compared to players or players will die in every fight.

You could also have most of the monsters be chumps.  Imagine a world where a PC has HP 60 and deals 10 HP with an attack, while a random monster has HP 30 and also deals 10 HP with an attack.  In that way, it's kind of like you had just taken the extra healing that normally goes on in the middle of combat and added it ahead of time as bonus HP, except it averts the mandatory healbot thing and prevents yo-yo syndrome.

B) Only the last fight is challenging. Players will only lose 10% or so HP a fight or they will have an adventure day that is only 1-2 encounters. This means even though players lose HP every fight, there is rarely danger of death from any fight.

I could see this as a real problem if combat drags on a while, which I have heard was an issue with 4E (though I cannot really speak from experience).  It might seem like a poor use of play time if an encounter took up an hour of time and nobody was near death.  For a faster system (AD&D - 3.5), it might just depends on what your definition of a challenge is.  It's entirely possible to lose the boss fight down the road because you were wounded by the goblin a few days ago, but stopping to rest might mean the bad guy gets away with something far worse because the players weren't there to limit her success.

It's just a playstyle preference.  It appeals to me, personally, but apparently not very many would agree.

I think you're under estimating how many people actually agree with you, Saelorn.

I rather like my system (big surprise!), which I based off FATE, that keeps Surges for normal healing seperate from injuries.  I think there's a difference between getting worn a bit thin and getting an outright injury that must be healed.


I don't understand this way of thinking. "Worn down a bit" might be losing less than half of your HP; but losing more than that would be worn down a lot, getting exhausted. Being exhausted is not something that a five minute rest offers recovery from.

I have broken my ankle and been able to push on better than if I were simply tired out/worn down to the point of exhaustion (although I did tire out much quicker). The same goes for other wounds, I get bandaged up and I press on; it is usually not as bad as just plain being worn out, in regard to being able to function "up to par".

Unless the wound disables you in some manner - such as dismemberment, muscle damage that prevent the use of a limb, having your guts spilling out, a severe head wound causing paralysis or imbalance, etc.; in which case there is no chance of non-magical healing getting you on your feet again for the next fight.
Just give the characters a 100 HP campaign account balance.  Then have a wound system that is independant of HPs.  Something less abstract and more damage focused. 

Vigor spells restore hit points. Healing spells heal wounds.

crazy huh?

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My suggestion: 


Classic hitpoints = fatigue -> Encounter recourse (A short rest is enough) .


Aggravated damage (the type of damage that can break thinks like stone, metal, bones or wood)
-> Daily recourse.   


But the idea of aggravated damage would be from a module, I suposse.

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I'm of the opinion that they should use the 4E hit point system which would give all the characters a good starting point. For instance 4E fighter 15 + CON score (15) = 30 HP at first level depending on stat generation system (4D6 drop the lowest, Standard array or point buy).

 
I think campaigns should have a HEAL Number based on the amount of HP/Healing modules. The games starts at 5 and you can add to get to 10 (full HP every encounter, rare deaths) or subtract down to 1 (HP Daily, HP values low, many deaths).

Second Wind (+3 Heal)
Vitality/Wounds (+1 Heal)
Health to full after night rest (+3 Heal)
Health to half after night rest (+1 Heal)
No Health after night rest (-1 Heal)
Gain full HD after short rest (+1 Heal)
Gain rolled HD after short rest
Full HD on HP(+2 Heal)
Half HD on HP (+1 Heal)
Con mod HD minimum (+0 Heal)
Roll for HP only (-1 heal)
Spontanous Heal spell (+2 Heal)
Massive damage (-1 Heal)
Injuries (-1 Heal)
Healing Surges Limit (-1 Heal)

Mix and match and follow the guidelines.

The problem I see with this, is that certain combinations don't really work well together. If you have a healing surge limit, on its own, it's not that limiting, and may be only worth -1 Heal. But a Second Wind-healing surge limit combo feels like it shoud be a total of a +1, not a +2, since the healing surge limit provides much more of a limit on the Second-wind, than second-wind without the healing surge limit, and perhaps another -1 Heal selection, like rolling for HP only.

I like the idea somewhat, although more of a guideline, than anything codified with mechanics. 



Well that is just number tweaking.
Something playtesting can fix.

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