First level starting hit points

Ahhh... I remember the time I was one experience point away from level 2 and decided that I wanted to hunt squirls to avoid anything dangerous. I LOST! Squirl kicked my a%% and left me for dead as he went to gather nuts. 

Farmers in the field should be hearty enough to band together and fight off squirls too. They have to tend the fields and scare off wolves and stuff. Adventures should be the same. Would it be too much to ask to allow the characters at first level the full constitution score plus their hit dice, rather than the constitution bonus. This would mean that your basic farmer would have an average of 10 hit points since that is the level of an average ability score. And once trained as a class would benefit from a hit die at reaching 1st level.

It would also help characters get over that awkward hump of first level where a stray dagger or tripping might kill your timmid little mage. And combat is more of a sense that you must hit them before they hit you because everything is a one hit kill. If people were that fragile in real life no one would have ever left home. Mountain lions would waist farmers in groups of 8 or less. Wolves would not need to fear towns. Even stray dogs would kick humans when kicked. LOL!  
Mage hits himself on the thumb with a hammer while hanging a picture in his study. DEAD!

Thief punched in the face while trying to pick pocket a farmer. DEAD!

 People should not be that fragile...
I think getting hit in the face with a maul for 1d6 damage is different than hitting your thumb while hanging a painting. In actual plat test I have not seen any problem with the current HPs method. Being able tos spend hit die during short rest has been a great mechanic.
The first essential checkpoint of character toughness that Next must pass:

What's the minimum possible HP that a level-1 character can have?

What's the maximum possible damage an ordinary housecat can do to one PC in one attack?
 
That minimum HP must be greater than that maximum damage.

Yes, some previous editions failed this test. Which is why a VERY common houserule was that first-level PCs got an automatic maximum on their HP "roll". Sometimes this was extended to second-level as well.

Next needs to pass this test without houseruling. Preferably without making a special case either. 
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
The first essential checkpoint of character toughness that Next must pass:

What's the minimum possible HP that a level-1 character can have?

What's the maximum possible damage an ordinary housecat can do to one PC in one attack?
 
That minimum HP must be greater than that maximum damage.

Yes, some previous editions failed this test. Which is why a VERY common houserule was that first-level PCs got an automatic maximum on their HP "roll". Sometimes this was extended to second-level as well.

Next needs to pass this test without houseruling. Preferably without making a special case either. 



Well, the rule right now is you basically get your max hp roll +con at first level, and at each level you get at least half your hd+1 as minimum. So, sounds like it passes....

I agree that in previous editions, a cat doing a d4 damage against a mage with 4hps was rather silly. But so far it looks like Next has a good hp system going. Oh, and mages did get bumbed to 6+con instead of 4+con, and 4+con per aditional level instead of 3+con. So far the hp levels have been pretty good in my play tests. The question is, how much damage can a house cat do? If it does 3d12, yeah, thats a problem. It probably should just do 1 point of damage per hit, and have a terrible to hit bonus. I think a house cat doing 1d4 damage, the same as a dagger plunged into you up to the hilt, was more of the silly part.  

IMO a house cat should do zero damage... maybe 1 on a critical hit. The monsters in the bestiary are things like goblins with swords/spears at level 1. These are deadly, and can easily kill an adventurer who is unprepared/unlucky.


I agree that it sucks to worry about your character dying... but going down to zero hit points doesn't kill you anymore so keep that in mind.

You do not get at least half your hit die. you either get half or roll. you can't do both
I like H.P. the way they are. Besides you only have to survive till 160 xp. j/k. I prefer a grittier game. oh and O.P. That was one bad squirrel. And your thief got punched to death? That's what you get for messing with a Monk. Otherwise all damage would have been halved.Tongue Out

IMO a house cat should do zero damage... maybe 1 on a critical hit. The monsters in the bestiary are things like goblins with swords/spears at level 1. These are deadly, and can easily kill an adventurer who is unprepared/unlucky.


I agree that it sucks to worry about your character dying... but going down to zero hit points doesn't kill you anymore so keep that in mind.




0 hp doesn't automtically kill you, but you are out of the fight, vulnerable to a coup de grace which is an insta-kill, and possibly "bleeding" to death if you fail enough death saves. So you twiddle your thumbs and hope nothing bad happens... lots of fun, and I speak from expeirence

This isn't to say I'm not happy with the new Hp numbers, I just dislike that arguement and have since the first time I heard it.

I like H.P. the way they are. Besides you only have to survive till 160 xp. j/k. I prefer a grittier game. oh and O.P. That was one bad squirrel. And your thief got punched to death? That's what you get for messing with a Monk. Otherwise all damage would have been halved.Tongue Out



Why would it be halved? All unarmed strikes are a 1d4+strength weapon. Meaning most strength fighters can deal 5 damage at minimum, 8 max.
Actually we figured that a Squirl could do as much or little damage as any simular sized creature cut in half. As my mage only had a d4 hp to start with a low enough constitution that he got no bonuses I thought it would be the safest thing to hunt. 1d4 divided by two means that I could survive 2 to 4 hits before surcuming. We had just finished a dungeon and I was still at full hit points but needed a single XP to level up to second level. 

Option 1: Get the party back together and run an encounter just for my character...
Option 2: Rest up while the rest of the party was training and try an encounter the next day
Option 3: Just go smack something releatively small and harmless that could count for 1 XP

Turns out option 3 was too much for my poor mage who woke the next day after getting his @$$ handed to him by a stupid squirl. I missed, he hit, I missed, he hit and I fell down. Classic kindergarden playground rules and I got the smack down.

Even in 4th edition, how many hit points would an average townsperson have. They are not fighters or even mages who have trained. How many hit points would they have withouth the hit die from training? Some would argue that every farmer is the same as a first level fighter but that can't be true if the fighter had to train to get to that level. (Otherwise every mage would have fighter HP because they are people too) So what is the average NPC townsperson HP? And shouldn't an adventurer have enough HP that they could win in that fight? 
I guess taking that first level in adventurer means retraining your one level in commoner.

The bestiary lists a human commoner has having 1d8 (or 4) hit points. Oddly, non-adventurers get one less hit point per level than adventurers, even though rolling HP would yield the same average. That oddity equalizes wizards with commoners, except in healing. With the larger hit die, commoners have a slight edge.

The bestiary doesn't mention squirrels. The least terrifying monster in the bestiary is the cave rat. Despite being a tiny beast, it has a five foot reach with its bite attack, making a tiny rat's teeth as long as a sword. The cave rat's bite deals 1d4+1 damage and has +1 to hit.

An unarmed human commoner deals 1d4 damage at +0 to hit. Picking up a club, axe, or knife does nothing to improve the commoner's unarmed strike.

In a fight between a tiny rat and a knife-wielding human commoner, the rat hits on a 9 and has a 50% chance of killing the human in one vicious chomp (not counting critical hits, which would help the rat more than they help the human). On average, the rat deals 2.1 damage a round.

If the human survives the initial onslaught of a tiny rat, the human hits on a 12 and kills the rat 75% of the time. On average, the human deals 1.1 damage per round. The observant will note that a crazy lady with a knife is much less threatening than her pet rat.

In a fight between a tiny rat and a human, both sides will usually kill the other within two hits. The fight is decided by who goes first. With a Dexterity of 12, the rat has initiative of +1, so the rat goes first 55% of the time (assuming all initiative ties are decided by a coin toss). The tiny rat makes mincemeat of the knife-wielding human in slightly over half of all encounters.

Housecats hunt tiny rats.

I think it's fine to say that certain common animals are below the threshold of D&D's ability to model. Most small animals do less than one point of damage, and they survive because their prey has less than one hit point.
   My very first D&D character, back when it was still AD&D, was a 1 HP elf ranger.  I rolled really low, but rules as written, that 1 HP was completely within the realm of real possibility for every class. The fact that the game had to be so commonly houseruled to prevent that kind of thing really seems like a flaw in the game.

What I'm getting at is that I'm kind of in agreement with CGilmore here.  One of the things that sold me on 4E was that no character was ever a weakling.  When it came to HP, they were just varying degrees of awesome (even the wizards). I feel like adventurers should be tough as nails, able to take a couple hits the common rabble couldn't, but neither do they need to immortal.  At first level, I think 4E really got that balance right. Constitution score + die roll or Constitution score + flat number certainly wouldn't be hard to houserule into Next, but it seems to me that it's a little sad that it has to be houseruled.  The only thing I worry about is HP bloat at higher levels since Next damage doesn't always scale.  That's certainly something 4E got wrong, with players eventually becoming walking bags of HP.

I am, however, not unsympathetic to the crowd that wants gritty style HP.  I think it would be awesome if Next had rules for Heroic HP and Gritty HP balanced and fun from the beginning.  I think that would go a long way to satisfy the most number of people.  Even better if it were possible to convert from one system to the other on the fly when the narrative required it.



The first essential checkpoint of character toughness that Next must pass:

What's the minimum possible HP that a level-1 character can have?

What's the maximum possible damage an ordinary housecat can do to one PC in one attack?
 
That minimum HP must be greater than that maximum damage.

Yes, some previous editions failed this test. Which is why a VERY common houserule was that first-level PCs got an automatic maximum on their HP "roll". Sometimes this was extended to second-level as well.

Next needs to pass this test without houseruling. Preferably without making a special case either. 



Well, the rule right now is you basically get your max hp roll +con at first level, and at each level you get at least half your hd+1 as minimum. So, sounds like it passes....

I agree that in previous editions, a cat doing a d4 damage against a mage with 4hps was rather silly. But so far it looks like Next has a good hp system going. Oh, and mages did get bumbed to 6+con instead of 4+con, and 4+con per aditional level instead of 3+con. So far the hp levels have been pretty good in my play tests. The question is, how much damage can a house cat do? If it does 3d12, yeah, thats a problem. It probably should just do 1 point of damage per hit, and have a terrible to hit bonus. I think a house cat doing 1d4 damage, the same as a dagger plunged into you up to the hilt, was more of the silly part.  


Ah the housecat myth. The creature doing 1d2-4 with 2hp that someone decided was the equal to the wizard...

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Option 4 : the DM gives 1 free xp
Option 4 : the DM gives 1 free xp


+1

I wouldn't give xp to someone who 'hunted' a squirrel for xp anyway.
Unless of course, that squirrel could eat your face . . .
oh wait it did. 
Currently running a playtest, weekly, online D&D Next Session using a virtual table system called roll20.
Squirrels aside... I think the problem in most D&D editions was:
- too few HPs when you were 1st Level
- too many once you started advancing after 10th

I  would propose:

a) Starting characters should get their Constitution *Score*+Full Hit Dice
b) No Hit Point advancement (or limited advancement) after a certain level (eg. (1+CON) HPs per Level
Squirrels aside... I think the problem in most D&D editions was:
- too few HPs when you were 1st Level
- too many once you started advancing after 10th

I  would propose:

a) Starting characters should get their Constitution *Score*+Full Hit Dice
b) No Hit Point advancement (or limited advancement) after a certain level (eg. (1+CON) HPs per Level



Sounds a bit like a Dave Arneson house rule I once heard about .. his earliest game idea was everyone started as 4HD range. And the house rule element I heard of included Armor class increasing in place of hit points increases. 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I could dig a higher initial hp w/ slowly increasing amounts. I'd expect 3+con mod for fightertypes, 2+con mod for clerics, rogues, and monks, then 1+con mod for wizards. But, I know some people really like rolling for hp, so I don't know if this idea would float.
AC by level is an interesting idea, but having limits on accuracy (like in a bounded accuracy system) makes me guess it would be unlikely to see.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
I could dig a higher initial hp w/ slowly increasing amounts. I'd expect 3+con mod for fightertypes, 2+con mod for clerics, rogues, and monks, then 1+con mod for wizards. But, I know some people really like rolling for hp, so I don't know if this idea would float. AC by level is an interesting idea, but having limits on accuracy (like in a bounded accuracy system) makes me guess it would be unlikely to see.



Oh I agree quite unlikely... it seems in fact to have gone the opposite direction with everything being progressive hit points (well maybe the monsters dont seem up to there purported snuff) and progressive damage with PC to hit remaining high and unfrustrating.. so I cant totally complain about that 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

The first essential checkpoint of character toughness that Next must pass:

What's the minimum possible HP that a level-1 character can have?

What's the maximum possible damage an ordinary housecat can do to one PC in one attack?
 
That minimum HP must be greater than that maximum damage.

Yes, some previous editions failed this test. Which is why a VERY common houserule was that first-level PCs got an automatic maximum on their HP "roll". Sometimes this was extended to second-level as well.

Next needs to pass this test without houseruling. Preferably without making a special case either. 



Well, the rule right now is you basically get your max hp roll +con at first level, and at each level you get at least half your hd+1 as minimum. So, sounds like it passes....

I agree that in previous editions, a cat doing a d4 damage against a mage with 4hps was rather silly. But so far it looks like Next has a good hp system going. Oh, and mages did get bumbed to 6+con instead of 4+con, and 4+con per aditional level instead of 3+con. So far the hp levels have been pretty good in my play tests. The question is, how much damage can a house cat do? If it does 3d12, yeah, thats a problem. It probably should just do 1 point of damage per hit, and have a terrible to hit bonus. I think a house cat doing 1d4 damage, the same as a dagger plunged into you up to the hilt, was more of the silly part.  


Ah the housecat myth. The creature doing 1d2-4 with 2hp that someone decided was the equal to the wizard...

Ah, the housecat-myth myth. Some people think other people thought that a housecat was equal to a wizard.

Sorry, no. That never happened.

What DID happen was a housecat single-shotting a first-level character. 

But go read the description. It took the character having the minimum legal HP, and the housecat doing the maximum possible damage. Or very close to that.

And if the PC happened to win initiative, he had a good chance to single-shot the housecat. He could single-shot creatures rather tougher than a housecat.

Now turn to reality. A housecat can't single-shot even a half-grown child, let alone a healthy adult.  
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
I, too, have had a problem with the low initial HP. I built a cleric and a monk, and while both were no slouch to AC (17 and 16 respectively), both had 10 HP maximum.

And the cleric had the misfortune of being taken down in about 2 hits (the monk only slightly lucker with 3). As little as 5 extra HP would have made a big difference in survivability, by granting each one about 1 extra turn each (during which the cleric could heal).

Yes, technically, right now HP is greater than the average attack of most level 1 monsters. But not by that much, and certainly not enough to make things frustrating for both player and DM. I like challenging; I don't like frustrating, and I don't think I'm alone in that.
I like it the way it is now
Yes, technically, right now HP is greater than the average attack of most level 1 monsters. But not by that much, and certainly not enough to make things frustrating for both player and DM. I like challenging; I don't like frustrating, and I don't think I'm alone in that.


I'm with you on that one!

For what someone said about "Gritty and heroic" versions of HP: I think this is needed if WotC want to have the shadow of a chance to cater both playstyles. Personally I would probably not consider it worth it to take the time to give a character in a gritty game a personality to make it fun to play when it might easily die any encounter. Therefore it would probably not be fun to play outside combat, while combat would not be fun because I would just be frustrated. Obviously however there are a lot of players who love the gritty version, and at the moment those seem to be the kind of players that WotC tries to cater to in D&DN.

Obviously, having a "Gritty mode" and a "Heroic mode" would in some or many ways make it different systems, and it might be hard to balance two diffrent modes against each other and within each mode.

It would also help characters get over that awkward hump of first level where a stray dagger or tripping might kill your timmid little mage. And combat is more of a sense that you must hit them before they hit you because everything is a one hit kill. If people were that fragile in real life no one would have ever left home. Mountain lions would waist farmers in groups of 8 or less. Wolves would not need to fear towns. Even stray dogs would kick humans when kicked. LOL!  


While I am not the biggest fan of modeling D&D after realism, just thought I might point out that one dagger stab can very easily kill you.  Both mountain lions and wolves are extremely capable and dangerous animals.  

Humans are very fragile and easily killed. 
I've played all editions and 4e is the only one I will willingly start at first level. For RL games, I fight tooth and nail to start @ 2 or higher. For PbP games, I skip 1st level games unless there's a houserule. 

Add me to the chorus for Gritty and Heroic options for 1st level HP. I'm not sure how to balance the two though.

Maybe bump HP (equally) with Backgrounds or Specialties since WotC already says to drop them for an Old School playstyle?


 
I've played all editions and 4e is the only one I will willingly start at first level.
 



This.  Characters shouldn't be able to be flattened by a single attack from an on-level or slightly-above-level opponent, even on a crit.  It makes combat far too swingy.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I've played all editions and 4e is the only one I will willingly start at first level.
 



This.  Characters shouldn't be able to be flattened by a single attack from an on-level or slightly-above-level opponent, even on a crit.  It makes combat far too swingy.


  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

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