Mathmatical Musings: On Con HP and HD

5e has made a huge mistake with HP math. I am fearful of the designers having any modicum of sense when it comes to HP or if they are simply pandering to tradition. HP is a very important factor in the game, but must be dealt with carefully or you create disparities too wide in monster design. Anyway, let us look at some basics here.


For me, an ideal situation is one where a low HP class like the wizard goes down in 2-3 hits from equal "challenge level" foe. A high HP class like the fighter should survive 3-4 hits from such an enemy. This will keep combats relatively quick and deadly.

Let us say the wizard gains d6 (or 4) HP per level. The fighter then gains d10 (or 6) HP per level. The fighter has roughly 50% more HP than the wizard, and the ratio of hits to KO remains constant. This also means that monsters must gain +1 to 2 damage per "challenge level" to remain relevent. If monter damage increases at a rate slower than this, HP inflation will occur and high level battles will devolve into slugfests.

Well, that math works all fine and dandy except for one problem...the Constitution modifier. In the current packet, a level 16 fighter can have a 20 Strength and Con and a few feats increasing his toughness giving him almost 14 HP per level on average (15 if a dwarf). At the same time the wizard or rogue might be looking at 3.5 - 4.5 HP per level (those classes having many more abilities key off Dex, Wis, and Cha making Con a tertiary stat at best). Yes this is an extreme example, but the game should be able to support 20 Con PCs in the party with 10-12 Con PCs without having 300% HP disparity. Any attack which is challenging to Mr High HP is auto kill on the wizard an rogue. Any attack that is challenging for the wizard and rogue is little more than a scratch to the Mr High HP. The game needs to narrow the range for HP overall.

So, how do we do this? Remove the Con bonus from rolled HP. A fighter gains a flat d10, a rogue or cleric d8, a wizard d6. For those who do not like to roll they can take the average rounded up (fighter 6, cleric/rogue 5, wizard 4).

At level 1, PCs add their entire Con score to HP (+ their class HD - either rolled or average rounded up). For example: a level 1 fighter with a 16 Con will have 22 HP while a level 1 wizard with an 11 Con will have 15 HP.

Monsters should also add their Con score to HP. Level 0 monsters such as rats, goblins, kobolds, etc do not get a HD. Yes kobolds and goblins with 10 con will have more HP and are not garuanteed auto kills on hit. Yes it will be harder to kill level 1 PCs from a lucky roll by joe-schmoe with a 1d8 - 1d12 damage weapon. Yes, this is good for the game overall. HP is still low enough that taking more than a few hits could still prove lethal, but lethality no longer hinges on a single die.

Now Constitution might need a slight boost if if is no longer adding HP per level. Here are some thoughts on how to boost Con. We could have HP play a significant role in daily healing. Right now they play this roll by being added to each HD rolled from HD healing. I loathe HD healing. HD healing took everything bad about 4e surges, made it 5x as complex, and regurgitated it into an awful mess.

What if instead of HD healing, PCs had Stamina. Stamina would be similar to 4e healing surges, but with a few differences. The amount of stamina you have is 3 + your Con mod. After an extended rest you regain all of your stamina. During a short rest you can spend any amount of stamina to recover HP. Each point of stamina spent heals 25% of your max HP. This is where the similarities between healing surges and stamina end.

Stamina could also be spent for other benefits. Once per encounter (ie you need a short rest to recover this ability) you can spend a point of stamina to gain one of these benefits:

Action Surge: Spend a point of stamina as a free action during your turn to gain an extra action
Heroic Exertion: Spend a point of stamina as a free action to reroll any d20 roll you have just made
Second Wind: As an action you can spend a point of stamina to heal by an amount equal to 25% of your max HP

Stamina being based on Con combined with these abilities would help Constitution remain useful for all classes without contributing to the HP disparity it currently causes.

Last note: For more cinematic/heroic games there should be a 3 "rests"

Short - 10 minutes, can spend stamina to recover lost HP
Medium - 1 hour, gain benefits of short rest and recover 1 point of stamina
Long - 8 hours, recover all stamina

My 5e Homebrew Material

The Warblade: A Mythic Fighter

The Hero: A Modular Class

Is there a particular reason that everybody who gets into this HP vs. Damage thing ignores Hit Rate? That's kind of important unless everybody's supposed to have the same AC.
Is there a particular reason that everybody who gets into this HP vs. Damage thing ignores Hit Rate? That's kind of important unless everybody's supposed to have the same AC.



I'm assuming the relative difference in accuracy doesn't change. For example a fighter might have 2 more AC than a wizard at level 1 and at level 20. As such accuracy doesn't matter as it affects the PCs equally. That is also why I said "hits". Having the fighter go down in 3-4 hits requires roughly 6-8 attacks in total. For the wizard 2-3 hits requires roughly 4-5 attacks. Two (un)lucky hits could drop the wizard though so the wizard will still need to be careful.
isn't this an exteme situation if you stick to dice rolling for ability generation it goes away?
isn't this an exteme situation if you stick to dice rolling for ability generation it goes away?



Not at all.  Standard array 15 14 13 12 10 8 is generally about the same as rolling. Human can start out with 16 Con and 16 Str at level 1 so he can bump it up to 20 at level 16. His friendly elven wizard goes for Dex and Int and has 16 Int 15 Dex so he can pump up to 20 Dex and Int by level 20. The HP disparity only grows with level. It easily reaches the point where the fighter has 3-4x the HP of the wizard. That makes monster and encounter design very difficult. Rolled stats can make this worse though as someone who rolls 2 17s, then 10-12 down the line can end up being hugely over (or under) HP compared to the party.
It will become an issue as levels increase.  Options include:

1. Akin to first playtest, where you front load with your Con score (or half your Con score) and Con ups your average rolls slightly.
2. Con bonus only applies to the first 10 levels.
3. Apply half Con bonus rounded down (+0 to +2) or up (+3 at Con20) - and you can also restrict it to the first 10 levels.
4. Apply nothing to hit points from Con (bit boring)

Static hit points cause problems of their own so option 1 just doesn't work for that scenario, although you could use full Con score plus rolled hp or static hp plus half Con I guess.
@Lawolf: I've also held this opinion about hitpoints in 5e. For similar reasons I've been designing a mechanic similar to your stamina system for another game. It's still too early in playtests to give much feedback on its other possible ramifications.
I worry a bit about the 5mwd ramifications of letting you convert healing surges into action points/rerolls.  Also, renaming healing surges (and then giving them a few other uses) doesn't really fix the verisimilitude issues with them, or the hard day length cap, or make them /encounter limit on healing they way they kind of needed to be (although I suppose abstracting HP to the point of complete and utter meaninglessness and bringing back clerics who can't do anything else if they heal solves a few of those problems... yay...).  
Didn't the early editions of the game stop or limit HP progression at 10th level? Wisdom of the ancients...

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

This is predicated on the idea that fights will focus on Con and Wizards won't. That just wasn't a reality in the groups I played in before 4th ed.

Three of the most memorable wizards I've ever played with all had cons of 18.
Didn't the early editions of the game stop or limit HP progression at 10th level? Wisdom of the ancients...



Yes. And a certain recent edition had the Con value adding just once at level 1, but after that HP progression was a flat number for each class, in order to keep the HP pools within a reasonable range. 

HP/HD as it is appears to be one of the areas where 5E is picking the worse from different editions.

Regarding the action sourge idea, I like the principle. But I'm not keen to link gaining/recovering active resources to any measure of game time.
I worry a bit about the 5mwd ramifications of letting you convert healing surges into action points/rerolls.  Also, renaming healing surges (and then giving them a few other uses) doesn't really fix the verisimilitude issues with them, or the hard day length cap, or make them /encounter limit on healing they way they kind of needed to be (although I suppose abstracting HP to the point of complete and utter meaninglessness and bringing back clerics who can't do anything else if they heal solves a few of those problems... yay...).  



Well for the 5MWD worry I had already included an "hour long" rest as a method to regain a point of stamina without the need of a full nights rest. This should allow PCs to adventure for as long as they wish during a single day. Also, because a PC can only spend 1 stamina in an encounter (on rerolls, second wind, or action surges), PCs would be unable to Nova and blow all their stamina at once (the other cause of the 5MWD). The healing portion of stamina allows for more total healing per day than the current 5e HD healing, so PCs will be able to push on for much longer than the current rules allow for. The hour long rest also removes the hard day length cap, while still allowing for story driven reasons to cause PCs to advance without resting.

As for cleric healing, I would much rather see cleric heals restore stamina than HP. This way in combat healing would be a very rare occurence. This makes balancing a group with and without a cleric much easier. A cure light wounds ritual might be able to restore a point of stamina out of combat and a cure light wounds spell could restore one in combat. This would make in combat healing much less mandatory for group succeess. Warlord healing could provide temp HP to differentiate the class from the cleric.

As for V-tude isses: well 5e's HD are way worse than my suggested stamina so I see my suggestion as an improvement on this front. For those who want to throw more "realism" at things though, there could be a gritty wounds module added to the game just for them.

Of the top of my head: Wounds Module
When you are dropped below 1 HP or when you suffer a critical hit you receive a wound. Each wound reduces your maximum stamina by 1. When youn maximum stamina is reduced to below 0 you die. Only magical healing and rest can restore wounds. Special: some poisons, attacks, or environmental conditions (such as falling) can cause wounds too.

Ex: Fighter has 6 stamina. He suffers 5 wounds. His maximum stamina is reduced by 5 to 1. He then suffers another critical hit that also drops him below 1 HP for 2 more wounds. His maximum stamina is reduced to -1 and he dies.

This is predicated on the idea that fights will focus on Con and Wizards won't. That just wasn't a reality in the groups I played in before 4th ed. Three of the most memorable wizards I've ever played with all had cons of 18.


I've seen pre-4e wizards with 18 Con myself, but that's part of the gamble.  In those editions, wizards were boss if you survived to high levels.  Going with an 18 Con, even at the expense of a non-optimal Int, increased the odds that you'd survive to high level.  In 3e having an optimal Int out of the gate was even less important because of the proliferation of attribute boosting magic items.  With a 15 Int, and a +3 Int item, you can still learn and cast Wish to bump your Int by as much as another +5.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I see HD as stamina. It seems to already do what you suggest, gain back HP with short rests.
What I really like is the idea of clerical healing adding to HD rather than HP! Forces rests to recover and makes the heat of combat more deadly.
As to a wounded condition I like the idea of an ongoing penalty if you drop below 0 HP.  

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

I agree that the Con bonus to hit points adds too much, but what I'm most worried about is that in the current system, nearly every class has an incentive to begin the game with a 14 Con to get the +2 bonus at every level.   In all of the games I've DMd or played in, it is rare that a player ever chooses less for the Con score...so there is far less variability in character building.

Perhaps the answer is just starting all classes off with CON score hit points like the first playtest package and then let them add HD based on class as they gain in levels.   With this, I could see some PCs beginning with 10, or 11 or 12 in CON..making it slightly more varied.   Some brave soul may even take an 8 in CON.

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I agree that the Con bonus to hit points adds too much, but what I'm most worried about is that in the current system, nearly every class has an incentive to begin the game with a 14 Con to get the +2 bonus at every level.   In all of the games I've DMd or played in, it is rare that a player ever chooses less for the Con score...so there is far less variability in character building.



Yup, this is how I see it too.  +Con is a problem, but the issue isn't that fighters get more HP than wizards; wizards can boost Con too.  The issue is that everyone has way more HP if they boost con.  A wizard with 18 con using the flat-4-per-level will have nearly twice as much HP as one with 10 con (1.67 times as much at level 1 and 1.93 times as much at level 20).  That's crazy!
I agree that the Con bonus to hit points adds too much, but what I'm most worried about is that in the current system, nearly every class has an incentive to begin the game with a 14 Con to get the +2 bonus at every level.   In all of the games I've DMd or played in, it is rare that a player ever chooses less for the Con score...so there is far less variability in character building.

Perhaps the answer is just starting all classes off with CON score hit points like the first playtest package and then let them add HD based on class as they gain in levels.   With this, I could see some PCs beginning with 10, or 11 or 12 in CON..making it slightly more varied.   Some brave soul may even take an 8 in CON.



Yep, that is why I suggested exactly that.
Level 0 (for optional level 0 module and some level 0 monsters) - Start with just Con Score HP
Level 1 - Con score and Roll HD (Or take average rounded up)

You no longer need to start at maxed HP at level 1 due to the buffer from your Con score. HP per level will also advance better overall. Taking the average, fighters gain 6 per level wizards gain 4, so fighters have 50% more HP not 300% more.
This is predicated on the idea that fights will focus on Con and Wizards won't. That just wasn't a reality in the groups I played in before 4th ed. Three of the most memorable wizards I've ever played with all had cons of 18.




This, exactly this.

There are a couple scenarios I can see.

Scenario 1- HP is super important.   In this case, every class will take Con as a secondary or maybe even primary stat.  Con actually helps REDUCE the HP disparity between classes, such that fighters actually have a smaller bonus over other classes.  IMO, no problem at all in this scenario.

Scenario 2- AC is more important than HP.  This is the case where the wizard decides to take Dex as secondary stat instead of Con, because HP are not as valuable in your camp[aign for whatever reason, maybe your GM doesn't like to use area damage and he allows the tanks to hold mobs solid.  The HP disparity problem, as you stated it, isn't really a problem, because the wizard doesn't care about HP, otherwise he would have taken a higher Con.  Also, he has a very significant AC bonus for having such a high Dex, in fact mage armor + 20 dex is basically in line with heavy armor AC, so the lack of HP might not be so bad if it means monsters have trouble even hitting the wizard.  IMO, no problem at all in this scenario.

Scenario 3- HP is very important in your campaign, but your players REFUSE to treat Con as an important statistic, and instead use it as a dump stat.  The players get the extra extreme challenge they deserve for purposely nerfing themselves, and either have an exciting campaign or die quickly and learn a valuable lesson.  IMO, no problem with this scenario.

 
I just can't see a situation where HP is so super important that this is a big problem, but at the same time HP is unimportant enough that your wizards and rogues are using Con as a dump stat.  Con is an important statistic for all classes, a player who chooses to ignore it in favor of some silly glass canon build DESERVES to have a fragile character.


There is no HP/Con problem.  You can go about your business.


Didn't the early editions of the game stop or limit HP progression at 10th level? Wisdom of the ancients...



Yes.  I like this idea.  It doesn't effect the OP's argument in the slightest though, because a character with a large con will still have double or triple the HP of a character who uses con as a dump stat.  Of course my opinion is that this is working as intended.

The players get the extra extreme challenge they deserve for purposely nerfing themselves, and either have an exciting campaign or die quickly and learn a valuable lesson.  IMO, no problem with this scenario.

 
I just can't see a situation where HP is so super important that this is a big problem . . .



There, I bolded the part in your post where it is super important. You're welcome. Not everyone who has a character with low constitution "deserves" that sort of gaming experience. In one of the most recent 3.5 games I played in my friend made an elven bard. We were rolling attributes and bards have ability score dependency for so many abilities that Con ended up his fourth priority. He ended up with a score below 10 and anything that moderately threatened our more optimized party would immediately kill his character. This was a problem for him, for his friends, and for the GM who didn't want to be randomly killing a player character with damage that would barely scathe the rest of the party. 

There are many reasonable of ways to fix this problem, but it is a problem to be fixed.

The players get the extra extreme challenge they deserve for purposely nerfing themselves, and either have an exciting campaign or die quickly and learn a valuable lesson.  IMO, no problem with this scenario.

 
I just can't see a situation where HP is so super important that this is a big problem . . .



There, I bolded the part in your post where it is super important. You're welcome. Not everyone who has a character with low constitution "deserves" that sort of gaming experience. In one of the most recent 3.5 games I played in my friend made an elven bard. We were rolling attributes and bards have ability score dependency for so many abilities that Con ended up his fourth priority. He ended up with a score below 10 and anything that moderately threatened our more optimized party would immediately kill his character. This was a problem for him, for his friends, and for the GM who didn't want to be randomly killing a player character with damage that would barely scathe the rest of the party. 

There are many reasonable of ways to fix this problem, but it is a problem to be fixed.




Yep, going Con tertiary or lower usually only results in a +1 bonus...at most. Many PC concepts just can't afford to boost con past 10-12.

Elven wizards (Int Dex) - notice how this allows the wizard to have AC almost as good as the fighters, great initiative, and a bonus to many good skills.

Swashbuckler Rogue (Dex Cha)

Scout Ranger (Dex Wis)

Monk (Dex Wis)

Paladin (Str Cha) 

Notice that there are no skills based on Con. So any class that gains a lot of skills is making a poor use of their abilities investing heavily in Con.

Notice that many classes need AC in light armor so must invest in a non-Con secondary.

Notice that wisdom is generally considered the second most powerful ability score due to its bonus to perception skills and that the "worst" spells tend to have wisdom saves.

Now we have the fighter who gets his heavy armor so he doesn't need Dex, he gets the least amount of skills, and no abilities keying of his other ability scores. Fighter's have the most incentive to invest Con out of anyone. Seems rather silly.
1- Bards don't yet exist in Next.  They may or may not still need multiple abilities.

2- "Need" in this case is obviously relative.  Your friend thought his bard "needed" a high Cha Wis Int and Dex (I'm assuming).  Would his character still be alive if he instead took a higher Con and had to deal with a lower Int bonus or whatever stat he was forced to compromise on?  If so, he obviously didn't need the stats that badly.  He needed Con, and choose to ignore that need, and suffered appropriatly.

I mean, I get what you are saying, but it's not a problem with the game.  It is a problem with your players.

What if I want to role-play a super smart and wis fighter who refuses to wear uncomfortable armor?  I'm going to be running around with the worst possible AC and low HP and will most certainly die to any threat designed for a proper fighter.  Should the game be adjusted so that intentionally gimped characters can compete with real characters built correctly?  I don't think so, it's a waste of resources and removes options.

What if I actually want to play a character who is supposed to be a frail weak mage, with low Con and single digit HP?  Under the existing system, you can choose to do so.  It's risky, but the kind of player who chooses to play that way should know what he is getting into.  Under the OP's "fixed" system, you lose that option.  Your choices don't matter anymore, even if you try to play a frail fragile character you will actually be almost as tough as a character with a high Con score.  That just isn't right.

Now we have the fighter who gets his heavy armor so he doesn't need Dex, he gets the least amount of skills, and no abilities keying of his other ability scores. Fighter's have the most incentive to invest Con out of anyone. Seems rather silly.



Why does that seem silly to you?  The Fighter is the character who is supposed to be in the front of the fight, taking the brunt of the enemy attacks, with the worst possible position to run away if things turn ugly.  You really think it is "silly" for the Fighter to be the class with incentive to invest in a higher Con?

Also, I should point out that your argument is flawed on the basis that you assume a Fighter doesn't want Dex.  With existing rules in Next for finesse and ranged weapons, A Dex based Fighter is just as viable if not more viable than a Str based Fighter.



Yep, going Con tertiary or lower usually only results in a +1 bonus...at most. Many PC concepts just can't afford to boost con past 10-12.

Elven wizards (Int Dex) - notice how this allows the wizard to have AC almost as good as the fighters, great initiative, and a bonus to many good skills.

Swashbuckler Rogue (Dex Cha)

Scout Ranger (Dex Wis)

Monk (Dex Wis)

Paladin (Str Cha)  

Notice that there are no skills based on Con. So any class that gains a lot of skills is making a poor use of their abilities investing heavily in Con.

Notice that many classes need AC in light armor so must invest in a non-Con secondary.

Notice that wisdom is generally considered the second most powerful ability score due to its bonus to perception skills and that the "worst" spells tend to have wisdom saves.



I feel like you purposly ignored everything in my post.  You are writing towards Scenario 2, in a case where HP is not imortant I agree that other stats such as Dex can be more valuable.  However, this is given that in the campaign HP isn't as important, so that the lack of HP due to low Con isn't a severe drawback.  There is no problem with this situation.  The game is working as intended, you picked a statistic over Con because that statistic is stronger for your character, congratulations.

If, on the other hand, your campaign is so deadly and dangerous that a player with a Con of 10 or 8 is in serious danger of dying in every encounter, everything you wrote above is irrelevant. It doesn't matter that Dex gives bonuses to more skills, or that Wis is used for more saving throws.  If a low Con means you die, Con is your second most important stat, period.  If you choose to ignore this, you only have yourself to blame.


You can't have it all.  You act like you should be able to have the best possible skill bonuses and AC of Dex, the spell saves of Wis, a high primary statistic, and you also want to have lots of HP even though you ignore Constitution.  No.  Nope.  No way.  It's not what the game is about.  Try again.

What if I actually want to play a character who is supposed to be a frail weak mage, with low Con and single digit HP?  Under the existing system, you can choose to do so.  It's risky, but the kind of player who chooses to play that way should know what he is getting into.  Under the OP's "fixed" system, you lose that option.  Your choices don't matter anymore, even if you try to play a frail fragile character you will actually be almost as tough as a character with a high Con score.  That just isn't right.




Lets look at my suggestion.

Level 1 Wizard 8 Con and rolls a 1 for HP has 9 HP. Joe schmoe the 14 strength farmer with a greataxe kills you 50% of the time if he hits you. That seems pretty risky to me. Hell, your 8 Con wizard has only 2 stamina so his total endurance is much less as he can only heal up to 50% of max. Yes your 8 Con wizard is less likely to drop in one hit (THAT IS A GOOD THING) but 2 hits almost garauntees death. That actually makes play scarier as you know after being hit once that the next will drop you. Compare to your desired goals of saying "oh a butterfly laned on you...you die".

Now you say this 8 con wizard is almost as tough as the big burly fighter. Again...learn to math. Lets say the wizard used average HP instead of rolled so has (8+4) 12 HP. Now 16 Con fighter here also uses average and has (16+6) 22 HP. So at level 1 the wizard is about 1/2 as tough...

By level 20 your 8 Con wizard has 88 HP and the fighter has 136. So the fighter has 54% more hp than the wizard (right around my stated goal of fighters should have about 50% more HP than wizards).

Level 1 Wizard 8 Con and rolls a 1 for HP has 9 HP.



You call that frail?  The worst possible roll (you are not supposed to roll hp at level 1 by the rules, btw) and you have 9 hp with an 8 Con?  Are you joking?

By the rules, an 8 Con wizard starts with 5 HP.  Using your "roll for hp at level 1" house rule, you could be starting with 1 hp, 2.5 on average.  9 is not frail at all, 9 is Fighter territory. 

NOTHING a level 1 party is going to face can kill a 9 hp character in a single hit.  A frail mage doesn't take an arrow to the gut and continue fighting.

I'm sorry, you have a totally different expectation for this game from what is actually intended.  You are not trying to fix an HP disparity, you are trying to make level 1 characters invulnerable.


your 8 Con wizard is less likely to drop in one hit (THAT IS A GOOD THING) but 2 hits almost garauntees death. That actually makes play scarier as you know after being hit once that the next will drop you. 



Who can argue with this guy?  Dying in two hits is apparently scarier than dying in one hit.

Okay, whatever :/


In all seriousness, I see exactly what you want.  You want no character to ever be in danger of dying in 1 or even 2 hits, it should take 3 or more to kill anyone.

Easy solution: houserule, your characters get double HP.  That is what you want, you are just afraid to come out and admit it.  
I don't think the game should regress to the past where a pissed off badger with a bit of luck could kill 2-3 characters.
I don't think the game should regress to the past where a pissed off badger with a bit of luck could kill 2-3 characters.



Or where your typical housecat could kill a level 1 wizard no problem.
I think the core issue here has to do with HP (and damage) as the primary scaling mechanism for defining basic power. Hit points have always been important, but DDN is elevating them to one of the most (if not the most) important derived stat. This puts much more pressure on Con. Getting the balance right, on the one hand, of HP progressions, and on the other, of the relative importance of Con (in comparison to the other 5 attributes) is going to be tough.

Under the OP's "fixed" system, you lose that option.  Your choices don't matter anymore, even if you try to play a frail fragile character you will actually be almost as tough as a character with a high Con score.  That just isn't right.



And that's the crux of our disagreement. I don't think trap choices that haunt your character forever should be "options." Beyond that, large hitpoint variance has huge ramifications in system design. It's just bad design.
If you really want a character that folds up in a stiff breeze that strikes me as the perfect opportunity for house rules. The base rules should not make it possible for designing overly fragile characters by accident - nothing is more offputting to a newbie than getting squashed in the first sessions play because they do not have the necessary system mastery.
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Level 1 Wizard 8 Con and rolls a 1 for HP has 9 HP.



You call that frail?  The worst possible roll (you are not supposed to roll hp at level 1 by the rules, btw) and you have 9 hp with an 8 Con?  Are you joking?

By the rules, an 8 Con wizard starts with 5 HP.  Using your "roll for hp at level 1" house rule, you could be starting with 1 hp, 2.5 on average.  9 is not frail at all, 9 is Fighter territory. 

NOTHING a level 1 party is going to face can kill a 9 hp character in a single hit.  A frail mage doesn't take an arrow to the gut and continue fighting.



So a level 1 party facing joe the farmer/blacksmith/soldier/etc with 14 strength and a pitchfork who does 1d10+2 damage isn't a level 1 challenge?  A single 16 strength Orc with a greataxe for 1d12+3 damage isn't a level 1 challenge?

Really, nothing level 1 PCs will face at all  can do 9 damage...What are you smoking?


I'm sorry, you have a totally different expectation for this game from what is actually intended.  You are not trying to fix an HP disparity, you are trying to make level 1 characters invulnerable.



So a 14 dex short sword wielding goblin does 1d6+2 damage. That drops our level fragile 1 wizard in 2-3 hits and our tough fighter in about 4 hits. You call that invulnerable. Learn to math. Hell 4 PCs vs 4 goblins, the goblins could easily kill the wizard in 1 round and have a good chance of killing the fighter by round two if they gang up.  You call that invulnerable. That word, I do not think it means what you think it means.


your 8 Con wizard is less likely to drop in one hit (THAT IS A GOOD THING) but 2 hits almost garauntees death. That actually makes play scarier as you know after being hit once that the next will drop you. 



Who can argue with this guy?  Dying in two hits is apparently scarier than dying in one hit.

Okay, whatever :/



Yes dying in 2 hits is scarier than 1, it creates tension that dying randomly in 1 hit does not. Tension is proven to be scarier, just look many psycological studies or even at scary movies. This tension is the same reason SoD effects are scarier in 4e than in previous editions. Instead of "BOOM you die randomly!" 4e had the "You are slowly turning to stone, don't fail these two saving throws in a row or you die". The threat of the possibility of death is scarier than randomly dying out of the blue. Every SoD in 3e and earlier only caused our table to laugh at how ridiculous D&D is.

In all seriousness, I see exactly what you want.  You want no character to ever be in danger of dying in 1 or even 2 hits, it should take 3 or more to kill anyone.
Easy solution: houserule, your characters get double HP.  That is what you want, you are just afraid to come out and admit it. 



I have already stated that I want wizard to drop in 2-3 hits and fighters 3-4. Did you actually ever read anything I typed or are you just making things up?
 
What I actually want is for the game to have workable mechanics. No amount of houseruling can get a game to work well that can account for a 70 HP wizard in a party with a 300 HP fighter. If monster average damage is 35 a hit it takes 2 hits to drop a wizard but 9!!!! to drop the fighter. If monsters do an average 75 damage a hit it drops the wizard by sneezing and still takes 4 hits to drop the fighter. The HP variance is too damn high.

Removing Con Mod to HP per level leaves the HP variance at a decent level without breaking the system. Fighters have about 50% more HP than Wizards. Wizards drop in 2-3 hits, Fighters drop in 3-4. Monster damage can scale up at +1 or 2 points per level (not the +4 or +5 that would be needed to account for the high Con PCs).

Your suggested houserule actually exacerbates the problem. It solves none of the issues I have set out to solve. 

A much easier solution would be to use what I have suggested for HP, but you have to houserule and say all PCs get 1/2 HP. Then you can have your game where level 1 PCs die in 1 hit from commoners and even high level PCs can die in 1 hit from a monster.

At least with my suggestion the core game would have math that worked...
If you really want a character that folds up in a stiff breeze that strikes me as the perfect opportunity for house rules. The base rules should not make it possible for designing overly fragile characters by accident - nothing is more offputting to a newbie than getting squashed in the first sessions play because they do not have the necessary system mastery.



I can't say I agree.  Most new players that I have introduced to the game are perfectly okay with the concept of dying in the game.  A player new to RPGs in general is usually perfectly familiar with other games, board games & video games both, where it's often very easy to "die" or lose.  P&P RPG are actually the odd situation, being that in many games the players generally always "win", so a player coming from any other sort of game where winning tends to be a 50/50 shot at best a death doesn't actually seem like a bad thing "Oh, I guess we lost this time, lets play again!"

 In fact, dying the first night playing can be a great learning opportunity with little real loss- with no time invested in the character it's not hard at all to let go and reroll a character for the next session.



HOWEVER, having said all that, the odds of a player dying is very much in control of the DM.  The DM has far more influence than anything else, including game mechanics such as HP or Con bonuses, or player choices, or anything else.  A cruel evil DM who puts the 1st level adventurers up against enemies with 1d10+2 damage attacks is causing his players to die, you can't blame the system for the foolish choices of the DM in this case.  This is something that can not be fixed by any mechanical change- if you start characters with 50 HP there are still monsters or NPCs that the DM could use to kill those characters instantly, if he wanted to.

Ultimately the  danger level of the game is comletely under the DM's control, regardless of the mechanic used to determine HP.
Joe schmoe the 14 strength farmer with a greataxe





Wait... what?



 
= Str 14 ???


  
Joe schmoe the 14 strength farmer with a greataxe





Wait... what?

= Str 14 ???




If we assume 3d6 is the standard distribution of ability scores for a population (we shouldn't) then 14+ strength occurs 16% of the time. If they are human they need a roll of 11-12+ jumping to 30%+ (depending if farmer grants +1 str or not). If they get to choose where each of their ability scores go, you are looking at farmers having 14 strength roughly 90% of the time.


P.S. The 14 str farmer was hyperbole but it proves the point nonetheless. Kranos said 9 HP PCs were indestructable. I showed that a simple peasant/soldier/blacksmith with 14 strength could kill 1 50% of the time. Even a 10 Strength average mundaneling could do so just by using a greataxe 33% of the time.

Then Kranos said DMs shouldn't put high damage weapons and monsters with average ability scores against level 1 parties. So all of level 1 monsters must be watered down and can't use two handed weapons or the game breaks?

It is much easier to just design a good system rather than make concessions to fit a sqaure peg into a round hole for a bad system. 




Yes but D&D specifically states that:

1- Players roll 3d6. Important NPCs might, too. All the rest of the population don't.
2- The average human score is 10, and there couldn't be a better example of an "average" human than a farmer.

Your farmer should be hitting the mage for 1d4+0 (from his sickle or hoe), not 2d6+2.
14 is the strength of a common riding horse in 3.5 for example. A person with that strength is already very strong.
And why would a farmer be wielding a greataxe against you?
Unless it is under some special circumstances, then maybe you ought to be a little more careful.


By the way, I'm not arguing the topic's point per se, neither saying I disagree with your view of how HD/Con should be handled.

I just thought your example was kinda... off. 

DMs shouldn't put high damage weapons and monsters with average ability scores against level 1 parties. So all of level 1 monsters must be watered down and can't use two handed weapons or the game breaks?



Show me the 1d10+2 damage level 1 monster in the beastiary.

They do not exist.  It's not "watering down" when you use monsters by the book without modifying them.  Your example is actually the opposite, you are creating a new monster by taking an existing "monster" type and increasing it's strength and giving it an arbitrarily strong weapon.  You created a broken system to try to prove your point, nice try but I saw right through it.

No 1 hit die monster does enough damage to kill a 9 hp character in one shot, sorry.   Even bugbears, a 4 hit dice monster, do 1d8+2 damage.  1d10+2 for a 1 hit die monster is plainly absurd.

 
What I actually want is for the game to have workable mechanics. No amount of houseruling can get a game to work well that can account for a 70 HP wizard in a party with a 300 HP fighter. If monster average damage is 35 a hit it takes 2 hits to drop a wizard but 9!!!! to drop the fighter..



Here is the main thing.  It's impossible to take you seriously when you exagerrate and use hyperbole instead of making an accurate truthful post.

Wizard base hp is 6 before con, plus 4 per level. 82 hp at level 20 with 10 con, or 62 hp with 8 con.  But lets be honest here.  Wizards have basically zero incentive to raise Cha, Str, or Wis.  Using standard array, 3rd score is a 13.  After racial mods and level stat bonuses, I can't understand how a Wizard could reach level 20 with less than 16 Con, rasing the hp to a much more realistic 142.  Now I would also like to stress that perosnally, in my experience Con is such a nice stat for Wiozards that they will take it over Dex in most cases, but I am doing the numbers here based on your opinion that a Wizard (hurting for hp already) would willingly take a lower Con in order to increase Dex a little higher.  

Fighter base hp is 10, plus 6 per level. 124 with 10 con, 224 with 20 con.  Even with toughness AND the dwarf hp racial bonus, the Fighter tops out at 264 hp.  Note that using standard arry, even using Con as second highest score, reaching a Con of 20 is impossible.  You can only get your primary stat up to 20, so realistic hp is 244.  And that is still assuming the Fighter went Hill dwarf and took toughness to maximize HP.

Given these actual realistic hp values, the fighter with Con as secondary stat has 244 hp to the Wizards 142 (w/ Con as 3rd highest stat).   Your hypothetical 35 damage attacking monster takes the Wizard down in 5 attacks, and the Fighter in 7.    Now, IMO 35 damage is nothing at level 20, so lets boost it up to 50.  The Wizard now falls in 3 hits, and the fighter in 5.  

This is PERFECTLY IN LINE with your "optimal" HP ratio, and this is how the game already works.  

The problem here is you are trying to fix something that you don't fully understand.  If you actually do the math and work it out like a real player would, you will see that the difference in HP between classes is right where it should be.  The only way it gets "silly" is if you intentionally use Con as a dump stat and actually reduce it down to 8 and then compare to a Fighter who literally ignores everything else to maximize HP, quiet literally as you can't reach 20 Con unless you sacrifice your Str or Dex primary stat down to 18.
I find it strange some someone might think that 9hp at level 1 is fighter territory when in the current playtest, a level 1 wizard will have 6hp.  Plus 9hp is not fighter territory in a system where level 1 fighters have 20+ hp is it?  No point comparing apples with oranges.  We should also remember that the experience of the playtests is that level 1 wizards are fragile becauise of their poor AC compared to other classes as well as their low hp.  A level 1 wizard is not going to be armoured and is very vulnerable.

Would I lose sleep if my level 1 wizard managed to take out a kobold on his own with nothing but his trusty dagger?  No I would not.  In my view 9hp is still low, and plenty low enough for that wizard to be at serious risk in a dungeon crawl.  If he can last 2 rounds against an angry badger, so much the better.

And with respect, my wizard doesn't have zero incentive to raise strength, charisma, and Wisdom because my character used to work as a woodland scout, from a noble background, and training with the scimitar from the Zashassar of Ekbir.  My character is not a collection of numbers on a page for mechanical benefit and my Con is, and will remain 12 - 13.  I'm far more likely to increase Charisma to improve my ability to control my followers  and henchmen from the Keep of Adlerweg.

The issue here is not second guessing how player will build their characters, it is making sure that the extremes are not so extreme that the characters could not work together and the Con gap is simply too wide.  Don't forget to add your con bonus to your healing benefits into your hp calculations - your fighter's hp gap just got a hell of a lot wider than your wizard's.

DMs shouldn't put high damage weapons and monsters with average ability scores against level 1 parties. So all of level 1 monsters must be watered down and can't use two handed weapons or the game breaks?



Show me the 1d10+2 damage level 1 monster in the beastiary.

They do not exist.  It's not "watering down" when you use monsters by the book without modifying them.  Your example is actually the opposite, you are creating a new monster by taking an existing "monster" type and increasing it's strength and giving it an arbitrarily strong weapon.  You created a broken system to try to prove your point, nice try but I saw right through it.

No 1 hit die monster does enough damage to kill a 9 hp character in one shot, sorry.   Even bugbears, a 4 hit dice monster, do 1d8+2 damage.  1d10+2 for a 1 hit die monster is plainly absurd.



Umm...any humanoid with a 2h weapon.  You basically just said PCs can never fight humanoids who might use 2h weapons (like orcs, barbarian invaders, militia soldiers, etc) until the party reaches level 3+.

Also, the numbers in the bestiary right now are bunk. I'm not basing my math on them at all, but on what they should be.

Ideally light weapons would do d6, 1-handed d8, and 2 handed d10. Simple weapons would be reduced 1 step. Most monsters would tend to have between a 10-16 in their attack stat for +1 to +3 bonus damage on top of their weapon bonus.

This gives us somethign along these lines.
Level 0 monster such as a dire rat, a goblin or kobold. 1d6+0 to 1d6+2 damage.
Level 1 monster such as a human soldier or Orc. 1d8+1 to 1d10+2 damage.
   
My method allows PCs to face other humanoids at level 1. Fights will be deadly for sure as two good hits can drop any PC. My method has the benefit of making PCs who drop in just one hit reduced, and doesn't require the DM to handhold the level 1 PCs by only sending them against 10 strength barbarians who use shortswords instead of greataxes for some inexplicable reason. My method also has much smoother scaling overall.

Now you will probably argue that I am just inflating HP and Damage, but you would be wrong. I didn't touch the top end damage of a level 1 monster (like an Orc with a greataxe). In fact I reduced it because I reduced 2h weapon damage to d10. Also, that argument would show a complete lack of understanding of basic math. All my method is doing is allowing DMs to create more organic challenges for level 1 PCs (such as humanoid enemies with two handed weapons). My method also allows for much cleaner scaling of monsters and HP growth overall.

I find it strange some someone might think that 9hp at level 1 is fighter territory when in the current playtest, a level 1 wizard will have 6hp.  Plus 9hp is not fighter territory in a system where level 1 fighters have 20+ hp is it?  No point comparing apples with oranges.  We should also remember that the experience of the playtests is that level 1 wizards are fragile becauise of their poor AC compared to other classes as well as their low hp.  A level 1 wizard is not going to be armoured and is very vulnerable.



10 is base hp for Fighters, so yes 9 hp is aproaching that.  I was talking about D&D Next, you know, the system we are discussing in this forum, not some hypothetical edition with fighters starting at 25 hp.

Wizards are supposed to be fragile, yes, but lets not exagerrate too much.  As Lawolf repeats over and over, lets assume the Wizard takes Dex as secondary stat, so his Dex is 14-15 depending on race.  Mage Armor is basically a given, since it's a cantrip, so a 14 Dex Wizard is running around with an AC of 14.

A heavy armor fighter can afford chain mail at best at level 1, for 16 AC.  With a shield, he can be at 17.  That is only 3 points better than the wizard, not the kind of difference that makes one character "very vulnerable" compared to the other, especially since the Wizard can do his stuff from range while the fighter needs to get into melee range.

Lets try to tone down the exageration, a difference of 2 or 3 points of AC isn't huge. 
Then you are comparing apples and oranges since we are indeed comparing the current system to a hypothetical system which we feel would be an improvement.  You are also saying that 9hp is fighter level hp in a system where a fighter would have 18hp compared to a system where a wizard would have 9hp when a fighter would have 13hp.  Your wizard is much closer to fighter hp than mine.

Actually, that's not true since my wizard would have 12hp and the fighter with equivalent Con weould have 18hp.  However, the fighter will not only have AC16-17 s/he will also have parry to reduce damage plus better healing with higher hit dice.  A wizard with 9hp (or 12hp) is plenty fragile in either version, hypothetical or not.