What do Hit Points represent?

So, in the most recent podcast, Blood of Gruumsh, Mike Mearls talks about healing and strongly suggests that Warlord-type Fighters should not be able to heal wounds by inspiration (magically your wounds stitch together because he shouted at you).  

I would agree with that; that's magical and doesn't belong in the Fighter or any purely "Martial" class.  However, traditionally, Hit Points have been an abstraction, representing whatever you need them to be: yes, they could represent actual damage, but then you get the awkward state where you have fifty arrows in you, but you're okay because you still have 1 HP.  That's incredibly non-realistic, unless you're a hero who pushes on despite all that, like Boromir in the end of Fellowship of the Ring.

Instead, they could be your luck points – your ability to say, "oh, that didn't actually hit me," but overtime you're slowing down and not as affective at avoiding it and thus, eventually, you do get a significant injury (when you're BLOODIED at half-HP in 4e).  But that brings the problem of, if it didn't hit you, why did the second effects, like being put to sleep or charmed or stunned or whatever happen?  Again, it's problematic. 

I want to know what you all think HP should represent in DDN, and start a movement for an active definition of it beyond "whatever you want it to be," because this is really a core point of design that has rammifications throughout the system.  Should HP be actual wounds?  Is healing always magically causing someone's arm to grow back or something like that?  What does that mean for Bards who inspire people to get back up?  Should Warlord healing have a place in 5e D&D?  What about herbalism and the heal skill?


IMPORTANT NOTE:  The purpose of this thread is to discuss what Hit Points represent; it is not to discuss whether or not the designers know what they're doing or whether or not they're doing the right thing. 

I just want to know what people WANT out of Hit Points, and what you all think the game should be designed around.


Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

So, in the most recent podcast, Blood of Gruumsh, Mike Mearls talks about healing and strongly suggests that Warlord-type Fighters should not be able to heal wounds by inspiration (magically your wounds stitch together because he shouted at you).

Like the "turnip truck" objection he brought up earlier, this is a crock.  Hit points have never been purely physical, and the idea that being "Inspired" to fight on in spite of wounds can only be magically stitching them together is ...

I have to look up a college word for this.

"Disingenuous."
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I want them to be consistent. Either they're physical meat, being wounded reduces your abilities, wounds need treating or they can become infected, natural healing takes a lot of time, permanent injuries are possible, and people don't end up harder to chop up than elephants. Or they're the mix of things they're usually described as in editions of D&D, in which case there's absolutely no reason why inspiring leadership shouldn't get people to do more than they think they could, people can be harder to reduce to a state where they can't fight back, and other people will give up as soon as it seems dangerous. I prefer the second, but I'll tolerate the first if it's actually implemented.

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To be blunt it is quite clear from the latest podcast that they don't know what they are doing except that if it is tainted with 4th ed ideas then it is bad and must die in a fire. Once you understand this you realise that they will grab at any straw-man (and that's what that statement is) to justify thier hatred, effect on the rest of the design and consistancy be damned.
Please no vitriol, the purpose of this thread is to discuss what YOU think Hit Points should mean, not whether Mearls and team KNOW what Hit Points mean.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Please no vitriol, the purpose of this thread is to discuss what YOU think Hit Points should mean, not whether Mearls and team KNOW what Hit Points mean.

Mike's slander about warlord inspiration IS "vitriol."



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To be blunt it is quite clear from the latest podcast that they don't know what they are doing except that if it is tainted with 4th ed ideas then it is bad and must die in a fire. Once you understand this you realise that they will grab at any straw-man (and that's what that statement is) to justify thier hatred, effect on the rest of the design and consistancy be damned.

I've not wanted to believe that, but I'm afraid you're probably right.

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Instead, they could be your luck points – your ability to say, "oh, that didn't actually hit me," but overtime you're slowing down and not as affective at avoiding it and thus, eventually, you do get a significant injury (when you're BLOODIED at half-HP in 4e).  But that brings the problem of, if it didn't hit you, why did the second effects, like being put to sleep or charmed or stunned or whatever happen?  Again, it's problematic. 




three big problems with abstracting it that way,
1)  that sort of "damage" would be fixed up by catching your breath at the end of a fight
2)  Monks and Rogues would need a larger hit die to represent the fact that they are based on avoiding blows
and
3)  the mentality that having 1hp left means your perfectly fine is so deeply ingrained in gaming culture that there's nothing "unrealistic" about it any more 

"Trying to run gritty gothic horror with 4e is like trying to cut down a tree with a hammer, likewise trying to run heroic fantasy with 1e is like trying to hammer a nail with a chainsaw."

 
 

 This is what i get when i hit the Quote button:  http://community.wizards.com/%23

 

  

But "whatever you want it to be" really does best describe what I view HPs as.

Because I don't care what they represent.  I never have.  For 30some years all a HP pool has been to me is a measure of "Standing/Active" or "Down/In-active".  That's it, that's all.  And more skilled or just plain tougher creatures have bigger HP pools.
Sometimes HP loss is best described in terms of physical "meat" damage.  Othertimes not.
But in the end it always translates to: Still up?  Or down? 
You get hit by a sword, you take damage and that damage takes away from your Hit Points. Its pretty clear to me what Hit Points represent.

I don't see why we need to mix moral and mental resolve into Hit Points simply because we want to add 'martial' healing into the mix.

- - -

So what does Hit Points mean to me?

Physical Health and Physical Fortitude... if it were something else then you would add your Wisdom to HP and not Constitution.

- - -

That being said, I can live with something like a 'Second Wind' (1/day) for regaining Hit Points, but I just can't imagine for the life of me how a person can bring you back to health by using a few inspiring words.
There is a part that is vitality and a part of Hp that are wounds.
4th edition was the clearest in saying where this boundy is in that edition, just the name bloodied sugested that the top 50% was vitality and the lower 50% wounds as blood started to flow when this treshold was reached.

If you used this treshold it is still kind of strange that a warlord can heal you when under 50% HP.
in the same way that you can wonder that how much does a healing spell help you when you are above 50% and not realy wounded.

Very early in the 5th edition discusion i sugested splitting hitpoints in vitality and wounds with this 50/50 split.
Where damage would be delth to vitality first and only when you ran out of vitality damage would be aplied against wounds.
And during a short rest you would regain all vitality, but wounds would take long to heal or take magic to be healed.
In that setup a warlord/bard would restore vitality and the priest/druid would heal wounds, this would lead to 2 difrent styles of healing.

The warlord using many smaller heals trying to prevent party members ever taking wound damage.

The priest would only start healing when a character had taken wound damage and then use the bigest heal availeble, if he would heal more then the maximum wounds of the character the "over" healing would still be gained as vitality


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

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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."

 

But "whatever you want it to be" really does best describe what I view HPs as.

Because I don't care what they represent.  I never have.  For 30some years all a HP pool has been to me is a measure of "Standing/Active" or "Down/In-active".  That's it, that's all.  And more skilled or just plain tougher creatures have bigger HP pools.
Sometimes HP loss is best described in terms of physical "meat" damage.  Othertimes not.
But in the end it always translates to: Still up?  Or down? 



That's great, and I would agree with that, to an extent, but the problem with this is that it makes healing, both magical and non-magical, problematic. 

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Hit points is an abstract mechanic that indicates when your character is rendered unconscious. 
I generally describe it as general battering and bruising, minor cuts, that kind of thing. It's definitely not broken bones and severed limbs, since, despite what Mearls might think, those things do not fix themselves as a result of napping. (Or even Cure spells, for that matter.) I do use a certain amount of action movie license in terms of the degree to which a human can get beat up and be more or less fine in the next scene, and I'm more liberal with descriptions of monsters getting hurt, since it doesn't really matter if a random brigand's ribs are fractured, since he's (in most circumstances) either going to die in a minute anyway or be vanquished and not matter any more after this fight ends.

But really it's just a matter of "Can you still fight? Check One Yes/No"
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If you get "hit by a sword" in the traditional sense, you're dead or at least dangerously wounded. After one swing.  You're no longer fighting at peak efficiency.  

HP are abstract because "you" aren't taking sword wounds, you are wearing out parrying, take nicks, pommel punches, etc. You can also take mental/psychic damge, fore, cold, lightning, whatever.
HP loss is most unrealistic as any sort of meaningful actual wounds or other physical injuries.

Until you hit 0 (or go negative depending on edition), you never suffer any dibilitating effects; you don't move more slowly, lose range of motion or suffer any other negative effect other than the loss of the HP.

Until you hit 0 (or go negative depending on edition), you don't suffer any ongoing damage from aggravating wounds or blood loss.

If you wake up or are healed after being brought to 0 HP, and have just 1 HP, you suffer from no physical limitations or restrictions.

A human being that can suffer wounds and injuries and that would fell a grizzly bear or an elephant doesn't make sense.

HP are plot armor.  They can involve nicks and scratches when secondary effects require, but HP loss as significant gross trauma is ridiculous. 
If you get "hit by a sword" in the traditional sense, you're dead or at least dangerously wounded. After one swing.  You're no longer fighting at peak efficiency.  

HP are abstract because "you" aren't taking sword wounds, you are wearing out parrying, take nicks, pommel punches, etc. You can also take mental/psychic damge, fore, cold, lightning, whatever.



This is closer to the definition a friend of mine uses when he is the DM.
where most of it is parrying, take nicks, pommel punches, etc only the the blow that reduced you below 0 actualy couses a wound.
Hit points is an abstract mechanic that indicates when your character is rendered unconscious. 



If that's the case, then non-magical healing should be available, inspiring someone to stand up and keep fighting, despite the injuries. 

However, I believe that also is one of the contributing elements to 4e feeling to some people as lacking a specialness of magic (Magic feels non-magical).  I have never felt that particularly, but then again, I think of martial characters as almost super-heroes, and thus beyond the mundane themselves.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

HP loss is most unrealistic as any sort of meaningful actual wounds or other physical injuries.

Until you hit 0 (or go negative depending on edition), you never suffer any dibilitating effects; you don't move more slowly, lose range of motion or suffer any other negative effect other than the loss of the HP.

Until you hit 0 (or go negative depending on edition), you don't suffer any ongoing damage from aggravating wounds or blood loss.

If you wake up or are healed after being brought to 0 HP, and have just 1 HP, you suffer from no physical limitations or restrictions.

A human being that can suffer wounds and injuries and that would fell a grizzly bear or an elephant doesn't make sense.

HP are plot armor.  They can involve nicks and scratches when secondary effects require, but HP loss as significant gross trauma is ridiculous. 



It's not rediculous... its simplified , yeah we can introduce modular rules to realistically represent trauma, pain, lost limbs etc... but that's not part of the basic game.

Hit Points works just fine to represent your health in a very simple (although unrealistic) way.

- - -

And even if Hit Points also represent something else, how does a guy some thirty feet away from you regain your resolve round after round by simply uterring a few words... that to me just doesn't make sense unless magic is involved, I'm sorry but nobody is that inspiring.
I think that you might be underestimating the ability for someone to fight on, despite their battle-wounds. 

I think I'd prefer to represent that as something akin to Temporary Hit Points, so that you might keep fighting, but at the end of the encounter, or if you get hurt harder, you still fall – much like Boromir who keeps fighting despite having 3 arrows in him.  He eventually fell (no magical healing to bring him back to life in this case – no Gandalf at hand), but he was able to keep on fighting despite essentially having dropped to 0 HP (mortally wounded).

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Hit points is an abstract mechanic that indicates when your character is rendered unconscious. 



If that's the case, then non-magical healing should be available, inspiring someone to stand up and keep fighting, despite the injuries.


Sure.  I really never saw the problem Mearls sees.  It seems absolutely bizarre that anybody could equate hit point loss to physical trauma, since you don't suffer blood loss, concussions, broken bones,  slowed movement, slowed reaction time, limping, nerve damage, loss of limbs, dizziness, or any other symptom of physical wounds.

Hit points are simply a way to add some arbitrary granularity to a binary condition: conscious/unconsconious.

The problem is the idea of "healing" at all.  It makes absolutely no sense.  How can a Cure Light Wounds spell heal one person (Jack Apprentice Wizard who has 6 of 12 hp left) entirely and yet not heal another person noticeably (Jill 20th-level barbarian who has 75 of 150 hp left)?  

Cure spells are one of those things that is knowable in the game world (you have to prepare the spell and it can even be found on scrolls) that peels away the abstract veneer of the game to reveal the Matrix-like mechanics.

Fighter: Hey, there's a scroll in this hoard!
Cleric: Lemme see.  A scroll of Cure Moderate Wounds!
Fighter: What does it do?
Cleric: Well, it heals wounds.
Fighter: Like you do?
Cleric: Oh, no.  I can only Cure Light Wounds
Fighter: Um... what?  But You brought Wrigley the Wizard back from unconsciousness. That was no ligth wound!
Cleric: Sure, but he's pretty weak.  On you, susch a wound would barely phase you.
Fighter: True. So if I was unconscious, this Cure Moderate Wounds spell would bring me back?
Cleric: Well, maybe a few adventures ago, but you're much healthier now.
Fighter: No, I'm not.  Remember, I had that bout of mummy rot?  We had to pay your mother superior like half our treasure to get that removed.
Cleric: Right, I don't mean disease healthy.  I mean like wound healthy.
Fighter: Yo mak no sense.
Cleric: Look, Bill.  I'm trying to say that you gained two levels and like 13 hp.  Sheesh!  Lay-off
Fightr: Well excuse me for not breaking character!  Some of us actually roleplay around here.

"What Do Hit Points Represent"

The best topic to start an argument, if politics and religion are off the table.
Hit Points are obviously meat.  They could be renamed Meat Points, but that (MP) would be too confusing for players of console video game RPGs.



That Fighter who has lost a quarter of his hit points?  A quarter of him is gone!  It might not all be contiguous (luckily), but still, he's now swiss-cheese.  How you describe it might change depending on your style of game - a "gritty" take on hit points would obviously describe the organs and tissues and chunks all hanging out of those holes, while a more "heroic" take just wouldn't mention that.

That a character is able to fight at full strength even when at 5% of his hit points - when he may be nothing more than a floating pair of eyeballs and some fingers or something - is just necessary abstraction.



(I'm... kind of ashamed of the developers at this point.  Like, not really angry, just sad at them.)
              
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HP loss is most unrealistic as any sort of meaningful actual wounds or other physical injuries.

Until you hit 0 (or go negative depending on edition), you never suffer any dibilitating effects; you don't move more slowly, lose range of motion or suffer any other negative effect other than the loss of the HP.

Until you hit 0 (or go negative depending on edition), you don't suffer any ongoing damage from aggravating wounds or blood loss.

If you wake up or are healed after being brought to 0 HP, and have just 1 HP, you suffer from no physical limitations or restrictions.

A human being that can suffer wounds and injuries and that would fell a grizzly bear or an elephant doesn't make sense.

HP are plot armor.  They can involve nicks and scratches when secondary effects require, but HP loss as significant gross trauma is ridiculous. 



It's not rediculous... its simplified , yeah we can introduce modular rules to realistically represent trauma, pain, lost limbs etc... but that's not part of the basic game.


You can go the long route and say that they are meaningful physical wounds that don't in any way resonate with the way our bodies work in the real world.  OR you can realize that HP are abstract and plot armor.  They mostly represent a character avoiding being hurt in any significant way.  HP damage never in and of itself causes significant hurt so long as the player is left with at least 1 HP.


Hit Points works just fine to represent your health in a very simple (although unrealistic) way.


You can either choose to label HP loss as real wounds that fail to behave in any way like real wounds, or you can choose to adapt your view of HP to how they actually function in the game.  I'd rather play a game where HP are not physical wounds, but are a realistic guage of how close to defeat a character is.
And even if Hit Points also represent something else, how does a guy some thirty feet away from you regain your resolve round after round by simply uterring a few words... that to me just doesn't make sense unless magic is involved, I'm sorry but nobody is that inspiring.



The warlord can heal for the same reason that a coach on the sidelines can inspire his players to heroic effort.  The coach is the one convincing a player that he can walk it off after a hard hit or a bad fall.  The player CAN walk it off because it is only HP loss, and HP loss isn't ever real debilitating injury (or HP loss would have some kind of debilitation attached)  A Warlord can likewise cause recovery of the fighting resolve that keeps a hero on his feat when a lesser man would fall in battle.
Should HP be actual wounds?  Is healing always magically causing someone's arm to grow back or something like that?  What does that mean for Bards who inspire people to get back up?  Should Warlord healing have a place in 5e D&D?  What about herbalism and the heal skill?

 I prefer to view HP as actual wounds. A sword-hit causes 1-8 damage (or more, depending on strength), which is frequently enough to kill someone on a solid hit (5+ damage). Increasing maximum HP (with level) represent your ability to not die from your wounds - that's the only part that's mental/luck/etc. High-level fighters can take a lot of punishment before dying, because Boromir (and LotR in general) is an example of something that should be possible in D&D.

Actual healing represents the wound closing, which is much faster in the game than it would be in real life (days, rather than weeks/months), but is recognizable as an obvious simplification of a real-world process. The warlord is very good at getting you to stay up instead of succumbing, which makes the most sense to translate as an increase in current and maximum HP (temporary HP), that should keep you up for the rest of the fight and long enough to get real medical attention, but shouldn't allow you to thereafter ignore the fact that you've actually been stabbed pretty badly.
It's not ridiculous... its simplified, yeah we can introduce modular rules to realistically represent trauma, pain, lost limbs etc... but that's not part of the basic game.

Hit Points works just fine to represent your health in a very simple (although unrealistic) way.

This, pretty much. It is a ridiculous simplification, but it's consistent (within the narrative - not between the story and the real world), and it works (mechanically). The simplest explanation that is also consistent should be more than enough for the basic game, with optional rules for those things that increase realism at the cost of either consistency or complexity.

Of course, everyone has a limit. I'm willing to accept the simplification because it doesn't harm my personal sense of verisimilitude too much to just not go into wound penalties, or to let people heal from being porcupined over the course of a week, but I would draw the line at healing from that overnight. I fully understand that other people have different tolerances for breaks in realism, and may not be able to just ignore wound penalties, which is why I am thankful for modularity, and I am fully confident that it will be possible to play with either extreme view, even if I end up needing to ban the warlord at my table (because individual classes are modular, just like healing rules are modular).

The metagame is not the game.

Zim provides an adequate example of how characters "gain 'hit points'" in D&D.

Link (because the embed lost the "start at X" thing).

Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
You get hit by a sword, you take damage and that damage takes away from your Hit Points. Its pretty clear to me what Hit Points represent.

I don't see why we need to mix moral and mental resolve into Hit Points simply because we want to add 'martial' healing into the mix.

- - -

So what does Hit Points mean to me?

Physical Health and Physical Fortitude... if it were something else then you would add your Wisdom to HP and not Constitution.

- - -

That being said, I can live with something like a 'Second Wind' (1/day) for regaining Hit Points, but I just can't imagine for the life of me how a person can bring you back to health by using a few inspiring words.



Your definition is a house rule. HP have always represented moral and resolve. Since 1974, this is what they have meant. Getting hit with the sword doesn't have to mean you took physical damage. It could be a glancing blow, or didn't penetrate the armor but still hurt, it could have been a really close shave that rattled you a bit, etc. It was enough to take your hp down in whatever fashion you choose to describe it in.

It does not, nor has it ever been purely physical damage. Unless you think you gain an extra 5 liters of blood and meat every time you level up.
While my opinions fall in line with Saelorn, THP don't currently exist in the Playtest rules. 

I think they should, since they'd represent a lot of what I think "inspiration" should mean, as opposed to actual healing.

That said, yeah, Gary Gygax himself spoke of HP as an abstraction.  If that's the case, then the design needs to feature inspiration as equivalement to healing an abstraction, since healing and HP are two sides of the same coin.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Should HP be actual wounds?  Is healing always magically causing someone's arm to grow back or something like that?  What does that mean for Bards who inspire people to get back up?  Should Warlord healing have a place in 5e D&D?  What about herbalism and the heal skill?

 I prefer to view HP as actual wounds. A sword-hit causes 1-8 damage (or more, depending on strength), which is frequently enough to kill someone on a solid hit (5+ damage). Increasing maximum HP (with level) represent your ability to not die from your wounds - that's the only part that's mental/luck/etc. High-level fighters can take a lot of punishment before dying, because Boromir (and LotR in general) is an example of something that should be possible in D&D.

But did he stay up with all those arrows in him because he was a mutant with extra vital organs or had more than the usual ration of blood, or did he do it because he was determined to save his annoying little hobbit friends?

Even the kind of hit points you describe argue for the Warlord being able to restore hit point damage.  They also argue for him being able to give you temp hit points, of course.  Temp hit points, as they work in 4e, alone don't cut it, though, because they're not cumulative.


However, what you describe would be a major change.  Hit points in D&D have always been about turning deadly wounds into minor ones or even into misses and getting slowly ground down by the fatigue and death of a thousand cuts, not about enduring multiple fatal wounds for an extra few moments before bleeding out.

And, you /can/ do the Boromir scene without having to change the definition of hit points, Boromir just needs a way of staying up and fighting below 0, when the hits become real, life-threatening wounds.   4e had multiple ways of doing that, including a few martial utilities.



 
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Agreed.  But that was always a balance sort of thing, and TPH could be done differently in 5e. 

I think my issue would be if, HP are actual wounds, then being non-magically inspired should not be alone to cause my wounds to patch up.  It should keep me up and awake (it should prevent me from falling unconscious), but it shouldn't make everything better once the adrenaline stops pumping. 

Healing is partly believing in yourself and your ability to not die, but that alone can't cure a would, unless magic is involved (Bards infuse their inspiration with magic, thus it actually does close your wounds as it inspires you to keep fighting).

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

Agreed.  But that was always a balance sort of thing, and TPH could be done differently in 5e. 

I think my issue would be if, HP are actual wounds, then being non-magically inspired should not be alone to cause my wounds to patch up.  It should keep me up and awake (it should prevent me from falling unconscious), but it shouldn't make everything better once the adrenaline stops pumping. 

Currently there's no differentiation between having hps restored when your above 0 or when you're below zero.  Though, you do heal 'from 0,' which implies something, I'm just not sure what?

If the game were to have some sort of rule for taking mortal wounds that are much harder to heal than normal, taking heal checks to stabilize or healing rituals to regenerate, it would make sense for the warlord's inspiration - and most classic 'cure' spells - to restore hit point, not make wounds vanish.

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I would like 2 sets of hit points (actually this is what I am doing in my game).  I call them tactical hit points (THP) and bloodied hit points (BHP).

THP  desribes luck, skill, dodging and parrying, etc.  These increase with level and can be healed through a surge type mechanic (inspiration, magic, rest - any of these).  "Parry" applies to this type of damage.

BHP describes physical damage.  These do not incerase normally and are based on your size and Con (can be increased through boons, magic, etc.).   These can be healed through medical attention (heal skill), rest, and magic depending on the extent of the injuries and the time available.

The PC decides which damage to take when they are hit, unless the are out of THP then it goes directly to BHP.  Also, crits damage THP and BHP.   Additionally, ceratin attacks, maneuevers, whatever could attack BHP directly - but I haven't gotten that far yet. 
Your definition is a house rule. HP have always represented moral and resolve. Since 1974, this is what they have meant. Getting hit with the sword doesn't have to mean you took physical damage. It could be a glancing blow, or didn't penetrate the armor but still hurt, it could have been a really close shave that rattled you a bit, etc. It was enough to take your hp down in whatever fashion you choose to describe it in.

It does not, nor has it ever been purely physical damage. Unless you think you gain an extra 5 liters of blood and meat every time you level up.



This thread is about what do want HP to be, not what it has been historically.  I wish more participants in this thread would realize that.
HP have always represented morale and resolve. Since 1974, this is what they have meant.

Since 1974, HP have been defined only in extremely vague terms, which is the only reason why there's any debate on it. There are many interpretations, most of which can be supported perfectly well from what little definition we have to work with.

I choose to have the damage all be physical, with morale and resolve explaining why you don't die. The model, as a whole, still accounts for all of those things in the description. I think it's a simple and consistent way of handling the whole matter, which is why I hope the designers allow for this interpretation to hold in the future as it has in the past.

The metagame is not the game.

Your definition is a house rule. HP have always represented moral and resolve. Since 1974, this is what they have meant. Getting hit with the sword doesn't have to mean you took physical damage. It could be a glancing blow, or didn't penetrate the armor but still hurt, it could have been a really close shave that rattled you a bit, etc. It was enough to take your hp down in whatever fashion you choose to describe it in.

It does not, nor has it ever been purely physical damage. Unless you think you gain an extra 5 liters of blood and meat every time you level up.



This thread is about what do want HP to be, not what it has been historically.  I wish more participants in this thread would realize that.



Hitpoints also hang together with hit percentage and damage.
 
If hitpoints would represent pure bodely wounds I would want a low hit percentage and quite high damage a equal level oponents being able to take you out in 2 max 3 hits 

if only stamina is drained and you sufer your first wound with the blow that reduced you to 0 or less hp I want high hit percentage with low damage, as stamina would be drained by almost every attack by dodging or blocking them. 
Isn't it great that HP are not precisely defined ?

That way, everyone can define them as they like in their game!
And it gets to spark discussions where we get to argue ad nauseam 
 
I think the fact that HP are not clearly defined is a strength of the game.
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Isn't it great that HP are not precisely defined ?

That way, everyone can define them as they like in their game!
And it gets to spark discussions where we get to argue ad nauseam 
 
I think the fact that HP are not clearly defined is a strength of the game.

I can see that.

Instead, they could be your luck points – your ability to say, "oh, that didn't actually hit me," but overtime you're slowing down and not as affective at avoiding it and thus, eventually, you do get a significant injury (when you're BLOODIED at half-HP in 4e).  But that brings the problem of, if it didn't hit you, why did the second effects, like being put to sleep or charmed or stunned or whatever happen?  Again, it's problematic. 

three big problems with abstracting it that way,
1)  that sort of "damage" would be fixed up by catching your breath at the end of a fight
2)  Monks and Rogues would need a larger hit die to represent the fact that they are based on avoiding blows
and
3)  the mentality that having 1hp left means your perfectly fine is so deeply ingrained in gaming culture that there's nothing "unrealistic" about it any more 

I've never really given "what are HPs" much thought. But if I were to define it, I'd probably do it this way:


  • first 50% - non-physical damage unless a critical hit is delivered (the crit is "real" damage)

  • second 50% (= 4e "bloodied") - physical damage


Non-physical damage can be restored by inspiration, a short rest, etc. Physical damage would need to be addressed by healing kits, Cure spells and potions, and a long rest.

How to factor in a crit delivered in the first 50%? I dunno yet, but if my gaming group likes the idea we'll figure it out.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

the problem i've always had with describing every hit against AC as an actual 'hit' is that it quicky turns the game into celebrity death match mixed with itchy and scratchy.

i don't want to waste my time trying to give interesting narrative description to combats in a world where a fighter can get stabbed 50 times by a peasant and not die. 
Allow the player to describe how they are effected by HP loss. Get everyone involved in the storytelling!

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 thread again????



Yes, this thread again.  


Guys, guys! Can't we all see how hit points truly respresent? 

There a reason why fighters and barbarians get mor hitpoints and Con effects our 
hitpoints. Hitpoints represent physical wounds. 

Dex only effect AC and no amount of Wisdom, Cha, or Int can stop blood loss. 



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