Hit Point Thresholds and Totals as "Tiers of Toughness"

I know there is issues Hit Point totals, Hit Dice size, and HP thresholds.

I think one of the ways to alleviate the problem a little is to be frank with hit point totals.

If you have ~10 hit points, you are a tough guy. Where people under your total would be completely lucky to survive a hit, you are living through better odds. You typically can take a hit from an at-will attack from most enemies and still be standing. Attacks from strong enemies or from limited resources will off you in one go on a success.

At ~30 hit points, you are heroic. It typically takes 4 normal swats or 2 powerful ones to bring you down. You are still very much mortal and should still be afraid of normal dangers. Low magic bounces right off your heroic mind and body.

At ~50 HP, you are superheroic. You will survive things that will make others double take. You are still killable but you somehow find a way to survive some of the deadliest traps, spells, and strikes. Only the strongest spells even phase you.

At ~100 HP, you are pass the point of believability. It takes a barrage of blows or a flurry of magic to take you down normally. You can shrug off all but the most powerful spells and attacks.


With thresholds less abstract, it doesn't matter if you are a high level wizard or mid level fighter. 30 HP means you ignore the effects of the sleep spell. 50 means you are safe from most death magics. HP/level is just your speed to get to the next tier of toughness. Fighters and barbarians get to fighting 3 guys and knocked through a wall quicker than wizards and rogues.

This would also help with modules and variants. If your group uses Max HP for PCs, you know your PC will hit the heroic mark of 30HP quick and survive a lot of hits. But with a grittier HP variant, everyone is in danger always.

It would also help with balance. It 30 is the Heroic threshold, then the designer know to limit stuff that deal damage over 30 and not to design spells with thresholds over 30 until the game is at the level considered heroic. And it would aid DMs so they know if they should add or allow things with over 30 damage or threshold. If half your party has heroic HP, then the DM will know in an instant that a heroic level dragon will melt half the party with its 6d6 acid breath.

Emphasize the current status over the journey to get there.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I partly like this partly dont.

I still don't like HP thresholds for spells..   defining the ranges like this does not help. Better to remove or totally rework spells that need a hp threshold.

I do like to put in game numbers up against world references, so on that account I am all for labeling of the HP ranges.
It will become a bit odd with some elites.. having immense hp.. and how does heroic HP for a human relate to normal HP of an elephant?
I prefer the old "cannot affect a creature with more than X hit dice" version.  Dying from less damage is already enough of a penalty from small hit dice; we don't need to compound that by also tying HP directly into immunities.

The metagame is not the game.

I know there is issues Hit Point totals, Hit Dice size, and HP thresholds. I think one of the ways to alleviate the problem a little is to be frank with hit point totals. If you have ~10 hit points, you are a tough guy. Where people under your total would be completely lucky to survive a hit, you are living through better odds. You typically can take a hit from an at-will attack from most enemies and still be standing. Attacks from strong enemies or from limited resources will off you in one go on a success. At ~30 hit points, you are heroic. It typically takes 4 normal swats or 2 powerful ones to bring you down. You are still very much mortal and should still be afraid of normal dangers. Low magic bounces right off your heroic mind and body. At ~50 HP, you are superheroic. You will survive things that will make others double take. You are still killable but you somehow find a way to survive some of the deadliest traps, spells, and strikes. Only the strongest spells even phase you. At ~100 HP, you are pass the point of believability. It takes a barrage of blows or a flurry of magic to take you down normally. You can shrug off all but the most powerful spells and attacks. With thresholds less abstract, it doesn't matter if you are a high level wizard or mid level fighter. 30 HP means you ignore the effects of the sleep spell. 50 means you are safe from most death magics. HP/level is just your speed to get to the next tier of toughness. Fighters and barbarians get to fighting 3 guys and knocked through a wall quicker than wizards and rogues. This would also help with modules and variants. If your group uses Max HP for PCs, you know your PC will hit the heroic mark of 30HP quick and survive a lot of hits. But with a grittier HP variant, everyone is in danger always. It would also help with balance. It 30 is the Heroic threshold, then the designer know to limit stuff that deal damage over 30 and not to design spells with thresholds over 30 until the game is at the level considered heroic. And it would aid DMs so they know if they should add or allow things with over 30 damage or threshold. If half your party has heroic HP, then the DM will know in an instant that a heroic level dragon will melt half the party with its 6d6 acid breath. Emphasize the current status over the journey to get there.



My issue is that it makes a L5 hill dwarf fighter a superhero (50 hp with a 14 Con) while a level 5 wizard with no Con Bonus would barely make "tough guy" (16 hp).  It really stacks the game in favor of the fighter.

If this is intentional - fine.  But you are totally removing level from the calculation and making constitution and class the key determinants.  


Carl
The problem is that level and HD is a poor mechanical indicator of anything defensive.

A level 5/5HD character can have 5-50 HP.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

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