First Level Hit Points Need to Increase

First level HP are just too low right now. I recommend that they be increased to Constitution score + hit die. Right now, it's just too easy for a first level character to be one-shot. I realize that 1st level characters aren't exactly epic heroes, but this is ridiculous. For example, 1st level combat spells do more than enough damage to outright kill a 1st level character with ease. Magic Missile does 3d4+6 (avg. 13.5) damage and always hits. Inflict wounds deals 4d8 (avg. 18) damage. Burning Hands and Thunderwave deal 3d8 (avg. 13.5) damage to an area.

A first level fighter has at most 10-15 hit points. Any of these spells could kill him in a single hit. It's even worse for other classes with smaller hit dice. Even with the change I am suggesting, these spells would still be quite deadly, but not ridiculously so. And it's not just spells. Weapon attacks can easily do damage in the teens. While first level characters should be relatively fragile, I don't think it's too much to ask that they be able to survive one non-critical hit, maybe two, before dropping!
I think the solution is more lower spell damage than increased hit points.
I think the solution is more lower spell damage than increased hit points.



No, spell damage for 1st level spells is fine right now. If you lowered their damage, they'd be weaker than basic at-will weapon attacks, and that would be ridiculous. They'd also be weaker than cantrips at higher levels. In other threads, I've suggested that they change cantrip scaling to match cleric and rogue deadly strike (2[W] at 9th level and 3[W] at 19th). If cantrips followed this progression, they'd still be a bit weaker than 1st level spells. If you nerf the 1st level spells, cantrips end up getting better, and that's a bit absurd. Even if you did nerf the 1st level spells, it does nothing about regular weapon damage, which can still easily do damage in the teens. The most simple and elegant solution is to give characters more hit points.
Front loaded hp are the way to go for me (Con score or half Con score), probably alongside one of the reduced healing options.  In fact, wizards can suvive just fine with d4 hp if they are front loaded.  The Con bonus is more of a concern for me.  I'll probably just cap it at level 10 since PCs will still benefit from the bonus by way of healing even at higher levels. 

The rules don't really need to be fine tuned to satisfy me.  They are straightforward enough that I can do it myself.
I think the damage is fine the way it is. According to the encounter builder, you won't have to
worry about that til 2nd or 3rd. Also you get a chance to half the damage which is not bad.

One more thing why I support this hitpoint and damage scale.
 
First level HP are just too low right now.



I think it must be some kind of typo.

First level hit points were constitution score + maximum hit dice in the last packet.

It is unplayable at 1st level as it stands now.

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I just checked the last packet, they were the same as this one.
First level HP are just too low right now.



I think it must be some kind of typo.

First level hit points were constitution score + maximum hit dice in the last packet.

It is unplayable at 1st level as it stands now.



It hasn't been like that since the first or second packet...
I'd rather not. I like first level hitpoints low. 

This is a hard debate as there are two camps: ones who want 1st level characters to have low hitpoints and those who want 1st level characters very survivable.
And the difference between the options is huge. 12 hp veruses 18 hp (Con + hp/level) verus 22hp (Con + starting hp) for the fighter w/ 12 Con and for a wizard with the same it's 7hp vs 16hp vs 18hp. 

It's also very easy to fix. Don't want fragile characters? Start at third level. 
And there is bound to be a module for this eventually. Something where you add a couple hit dice and gain a slight damage boost and you're a first level character with survivability that can face slightly higher level monsters. 

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I absolutely agree. I would offer the following changes.

Hit Points = Constitution score + your level in hit dice (all rolled or averaged, even at 1st level)

Hit Dice/Day = Your level + Con mod

With these changes, a 1st level fighter with Con 15 would have 21 hp (a nice compromise between 3E and 4E starting hp) and could heal an average of 8 hp up to 3 times a day.

The advantages of this approach are lower level PCs have some much needed durability boosts while we avoid the obscene hp bloat of 3E's higher levels. It  also reduces the importance of Con, whereas right now its pretty much everyone's second highest stat.

Thoughts?
I'd rather not. I like first level hitpoints low. 
It's also very easy to fix. Don't want fragile characters? Start at third level. 



This is a viewpoint I've never gotten.  So 1st Level is only for people who want gritty, Death-Is-Certain, Fantasy Effin' Vietnam play, and if you don't want that, start at 3rd? 

I figure a better way is to use something like Hackmaster's HP Kicker.  Hey, if you want, add your Con Score (not mod, score) to your starting HP, or some sort of set value per class.  There, everyone can start at 1st level, and people have the choice of small number of HP or a bigger amount.
This is a viewpoint I've never gotten.  So 1st Level is only for people who want gritty, Death-Is-Certain, Fantasy Effin' Vietnam play, and if you don't want that, start at 3rd?



The alternative is that 1st level is for people who want cinematic heroes, and if you want Fantasy Vietnam, play a different game. And no "just houserule HP down" isn't a satisfying alternative anymore than "just houserule HP up" would be for people who don't want Fantasy Vietnam.

The first level should be the hardest to survive IMO. By definition, rolling up a new first level character is easier than rolling up a new character of a higher level. Ideally, I'd like something like a 30% expected death rate for 1st level PCs--meaning in a party of 5 characters, following standard dungeon and encounter guidelines, before they got to 2nd level you'd expect at least 1, maybe 2 of them to die. Making it to 2nd level should not simply be a given, nor should dying at 1st level be some vanishingly rare phenomenon. 
This is a viewpoint I've never gotten.  So 1st Level is only for people who want gritty, Death-Is-Certain, Fantasy Effin' Vietnam play, and if you don't want that, start at 3rd?



The alternative is that 1st level is for people who want cinematic heroes, and if you want Fantasy Vietnam, play a different game. And no "just houserule HP down" isn't a satisfying alternative anymore than "just houserule HP up" would be for people who don't want Fantasy Vietnam.

The first level should be the hardest to survive IMO. By definition, rolling up a new first level character is easier than rolling up a new character of a higher level. Ideally, I'd like something like a 30% expected death rate for 1st level PCs--meaning in a party of 5 characters, following standard dungeon and encounter guidelines, before they got to 2nd level you'd expect at least 1, maybe 2 of them to die. Making it to 2nd level should not simply be a given, nor should dying at 1st level be some vanishingly rare phenomenon. 

I know that when I personally think "hard to survive" I think kobolds and goblins, not Balors and Pit Fiends. ;)
I know that when I personally think "hard to survive" I think kobolds and goblins, not Balors and Pit Fiends



well, yes. High level monsters are not as threatening to high level PCs as low level monsters are to low level PCs. Thats been the nature of the game all the way back to Basic.  
And having played all the way back to basic I can say with honesty that I've NEVER enjoyed single digit starting hit points.  The 1e ranger was much better.  Incidentally, 2xHD + Con bonus can work too but 1 x HD plus Con Score gives a bit more edge and makes your actual Con score more relevant.
HP at level 1 are fine.  The OP's argument is a straw man.  

Arguing that level 1 cast spells can kill a level 1 character in one cast is irrelevant, as level 1 spellcasters are not suggested to be enemies for level 1 parties.

As has been stated, if WotC goes with 4th edition style hp from level 1 onward they will get 4th edition players, and nobody else.  It's much easier for a DM to start PCs off at level 2 or 3, rather than it is to completely rework the hp scale.

 If you don't want to play dungeons and dragons, then don't play dungeons and dragons.  These threads petitioning to change it into a different game are pointless.
I disagree with the OP, and anyone else wanting to change the way hit points are calculated. The current system is the best.

If you don't want to start the game weak and frail, start at a higher level, you always have that option.
Ah, I see we're back to One True Way to play again, eh?

Nobody is suggesting using 4E's hit point algorithms. We're suggesting a reasonable compromise between "gritty" and "cinematic". After all, this is supposed to be the unity edition, right? It makes more sense to establish a midpoint as the baseline and dial up or down as needed.

I would also like to point out that this attitude (just play a higher level!) is extremely hostile and dismissive toward new and inexperienced players who would be well served by the simplicity of 1st level. Why is it so wrong to have a reasonable compromise as the baseline with dials for "gritty" and "cinematic" play as suits particular groups?

Is compromise that foreign to some of you? Are some of you secretly members of Congress or something? ;)
I'd rather not. I like first level hitpoints low. 
It's also very easy to fix. Don't want fragile characters? Start at third level. 



This is a viewpoint I've never gotten.  So 1st Level is only for people who want gritty, Death-Is-Certain, Fantasy Effin' Vietnam play, and if you don't want that, start at 3rd? 

I figure a better way is to use something like Hackmaster's HP Kicker.  Hey, if you want, add your Con Score (not mod, score) to your starting HP, or some sort of set value per class.  There, everyone can start at 1st level, and people have the choice of small number of HP or a bigger amount.


As I also said in my post, starting with the HD of 3rd level characters but having everything else be 1st level is a super-simple module. And works better than the Hackmaster variant by not just increasing the flat number of hitpoints but also more Hit Dice, which helps for healing.

And as the game should have set expected-damage-by-level math for characters, it's easy to add a flat damage bonus on top of the extra Hit Dice, so the characters can face higher level opponents and not just fight unchallenging goblin hordes that cannot penetrate their massive meaty wall of hp.  

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There's not much point debating this issue since the sides are polarised.  Starting at level 3 is the real straw man argument since you would also be starting with level 3 abilities, 3 hit dice, higher attack rolls, and level 3 spells, which is nothing like starting at level 1 with more hp.  The options are clear, just pick the one you prefer and have fun.
I'd rather not. I like first level hitpoints low. 
It's also very easy to fix. Don't want fragile characters? Start at third level. 



This is a viewpoint I've never gotten.  So 1st Level is only for people who want gritty, Death-Is-Certain, Fantasy Effin' Vietnam play, and if you don't want that, start at 3rd? 

I figure a better way is to use something like Hackmaster's HP Kicker.  Hey, if you want, add your Con Score (not mod, score) to your starting HP, or some sort of set value per class.  There, everyone can start at 1st level, and people have the choice of small number of HP or a bigger amount.


As I also said in my post, starting with the HD of 3rd level characters but having everything else be 1st level is a super-simple module. And works better than the Hackmaster variant by not just increasing the flat number of hitpoints but also more Hit Dice, which helps for healing.

And as the game should have set expected-damage-by-level math for characters, it's easy to add a flat damage bonus on top of the extra Hit Dice, so the characters can face higher level opponents and not just fight unchallenging goblin hordes that cannot penetrate their massive meaty wall of hp.  

Interesting proprosal. But if you begin hit points and hit dice as if the characters were 3rd level how would you handle hit point and hit dice gains when the characters reach 2nd and 3rd levels? Would they keep advancing or would their hit points and hit dice remain unchanged until 4th?
There's not much point debating this issue since the sides are polarised.  Starting at level 3 is the real straw man argument since you would also be starting with level 3 abilities, 3 hit dice, higher attack rolls, and level 3 spells, which is nothing like starting at level 1 with more hp.  The options are clear, just pick the one you prefer and have fun.

My issue is that from a game design standpoint it just make more damn sense to begin from a median baseline (between "cinematic" and "gritty") and provide dials for drifting to either option as suits your group. 

Having the game's baseline at either "gritty" or "cinematic" is going to be a monster of a headache when it comes to balancing monsters and encounters. However, if monsters are designed under the presumption of a compromised median baseline then it becomes far less of an issue and its more likely monster stats could remain as is and you'd only have to adjust expected XP tables for the PCs.
I'd rather not. I like first level hitpoints low. 
It's also very easy to fix. Don't want fragile characters? Start at third level. 



This is a viewpoint I've never gotten.  So 1st Level is only for people who want gritty, Death-Is-Certain, Fantasy Effin' Vietnam play, and if you don't want that, start at 3rd? 

I figure a better way is to use something like Hackmaster's HP Kicker.  Hey, if you want, add your Con Score (not mod, score) to your starting HP, or some sort of set value per class.  There, everyone can start at 1st level, and people have the choice of small number of HP or a bigger amount.


As I also said in my post, starting with the HD of 3rd level characters but having everything else be 1st level is a super-simple module. And works better than the Hackmaster variant by not just increasing the flat number of hitpoints but also more Hit Dice, which helps for healing.

And as the game should have set expected-damage-by-level math for characters, it's easy to add a flat damage bonus on top of the extra Hit Dice, so the characters can face higher level opponents and not just fight unchallenging goblin hordes that cannot penetrate their massive meaty wall of hp.  

Interesting proprosal. But if you begin hit points and hit dice as if the characters were 3rd level how would you handle hit point and hit dice gains when the characters reach 2nd and 3rd levels? Would they keep advancing or would their hit points and hit dice remain unchanged until 4th?



They gain HD and everything normally, they just start with two extra Hit Dice. 

I don't see this as being limited to just 3rd level.
If the math is solid and the game works, you should be able to add 10 Hit Dice and an equivalent flat damage bonus and have players face much, much higher level threats with the simplicity of first level characters, and continue to advance normally. So if you wanted to play Hercules and Xena and have the characters fight epic monsters and gods but in a level 1-10 campaign, that's how you'd do it. 

There's likely a finite amount it could be increased before other things cause it to break - such as not having expected spells to counter a monster's abilities, and the limited number of daily use powers. So level 10 would likely pushing it, but in theory it's possible.

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I'd rather not. I like first level hitpoints low. 
It's also very easy to fix. Don't want fragile characters? Start at third level. 



This is a viewpoint I've never gotten.  So 1st Level is only for people who want gritty, Death-Is-Certain, Fantasy Effin' Vietnam play, and if you don't want that, start at 3rd? 

I figure a better way is to use something like Hackmaster's HP Kicker.  Hey, if you want, add your Con Score (not mod, score) to your starting HP, or some sort of set value per class.  There, everyone can start at 1st level, and people have the choice of small number of HP or a bigger amount.


As I also said in my post, starting with the HD of 3rd level characters but having everything else be 1st level is a super-simple module. And works better than the Hackmaster variant by not just increasing the flat number of hitpoints but also more Hit Dice, which helps for healing.

And as the game should have set expected-damage-by-level math for characters, it's easy to add a flat damage bonus on top of the extra Hit Dice, so the characters can face higher level opponents and not just fight unchallenging goblin hordes that cannot penetrate their massive meaty wall of hp.  

Interesting proprosal. But if you begin hit points and hit dice as if the characters were 3rd level how would you handle hit point and hit dice gains when the characters reach 2nd and 3rd levels? Would they keep advancing or would their hit points and hit dice remain unchanged until 4th?



They gain HD and everything normally, they just start with two extra Hit Dice. 

I don't see this as being limited to just 3rd level.
If the math is solid and the game works, you should be able to add 10 Hit Dice and an equivalent flat damage bonus and have players face much, much higher level threats with the simplicity of first level characters, and continue to advance normally. So if you wanted to play Hercules and Xena and have the characters fight epic monsters and gods but in a level 1-10 campaign, that's how you'd do it. 

There's likely a finite amount it could be increased before other things cause it to break - such as not having expected spells to counter a monster's abilities, and the limited number of daily use powers. So level 10 would likely pushing it, but in theory it's possible.

Very cool. I hope something like that makes it into Next but thus far I have doubts in the design team's ability to get the math down.
There's not much point debating this issue since the sides are polarised.  Starting at level 3 is the real straw man argument since you would also be starting with level 3 abilities, 3 hit dice, higher attack rolls, and level 3 spells, which is nothing like starting at level 1 with more hp.  The options are clear, just pick the one you prefer and have fun.

My issue is that from a game design standpoint it just make more damn sense to begin from a median baseline (between "cinematic" and "gritty") and provide dials for drifting to either option as suits your group. 

Having the game's baseline at either "gritty" or "cinematic" is going to be a monster of a headache when it comes to balancing monsters and encounters. However, if monsters are designed under the presumption of a compromised median baseline then it becomes far less of an issue and its more likely monster stats could remain as is and you'd only have to adjust expected XP tables for the PCs.



I'm not so sure.  The starting point with level 1 hp is so low, it's really not hard to dial up from there.  We had a ton of fun in the Caves of Chaos in the first packet and that was nowhere near balanced against level 1 hp.  With single digit hp it would have been TPK every time.
I absolutely concur that level 1 hit points need to increase.  The one encounter work day at low levels was something that DnD players and DMs complained about since 1st edition.  4E moved away from that and actually made it possible to have sustained encounters even at level 1 and to go back in the direction fo the one encounter work day is a mistake.
I'd like to point out that for those that desire more lethality or grittiness in their games, there are other ways to accomplish that than making starting hit points so low that I'd have to houserule or use a module just to ensure that new players won't get frustrated and quit the game.

How about alternate critical hit rules? Alternate death and dying rules? Alternate rules for long rests? "Death spiral" like penalties for being bloodied? 

13th Age has an interesting "lingering wounds" optional rule, where any battle in which you are dropped to 0 hp your max hp are reduced by your level + 2 (these stack and last until you reach a full heal-up). You could have something like that in Next, basing it off 4E's disease track model.

I think they are many acceptable ways of making Next more lethal or gritty without screwing over everybody that doesn't want to play that way. 
The main trouble with lower hps at lv 1 is that many pcs end up unconscious/dead before ever being able to act at all, being 1-2 shot out of the fray before their initiative even comes around, really lackluster for having built up a nice character with a fleshed out backstory.

My proposal has been frontload a little bit of hps, but slow down the progression as follows:

@1st level, you get 2 maxed out HD + Con Modifier
@ each Even level, you get another HD + Con Modifier

this way, you get decent HPs at levels 1 and a boost right away at 2, but then only every other level after that to slow the progression. You also start with 1 more HD for healing purposes at 1st, but slow down HD progression as well after 2nd. In general then, every PC can take 1-2 Avg hits at level 1 for appropriate level challenges, but a really lucky shot (Crit) or Double teaming might still risk dropping them quickly 
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Want more survivable characters? start at higher level. Done.
My two copper.
Want more survivable characters? start at higher level. Done.

Want less survivable characters? Half starting hp. Done.

This game is fun! :p
Ah, I see we're back to One True Way to play again, eh?

Nobody is suggesting using 4E's hit point algorithms. We're suggesting a reasonable compromise between "gritty" and "cinematic". After all, this is supposed to be the unity edition, right? It makes more sense to establish a midpoint as the baseline and dial up or down as needed.

I would also like to point out that this attitude (just play a higher level!) is extremely hostile and dismissive toward new and inexperienced players who would be well served by the simplicity of 1st level. Why is it so wrong to have a reasonable compromise as the baseline with dials for "gritty" and "cinematic" play as suits particular groups?

Is compromise that foreign to some of you? Are some of you secretly members of Congress or something? ;)



The problem with that is how do you know what an inexperienced player will like?  Maybe they will end up liking the grittier version, not the cinematic version.  You see, by using this argument you are making the assumption that your way is better for newbies. 

I think it would be best to simply have three starting HP's.  One, as they are now.  Two, add con.  Three, add con times three.  The last would be for those players that don't want to die.  They just want to experience the story without its threat of death or suspense.   
Of course, having different starting dials would wreak havoc with balance...
In 30 years I can't think of a single player that waas happy with starting hp pre 4e.  We just didn't know any better.  Now we do, we don't want to go back.  We're talking three to four extra hits before death.  It really doesn't affect balance long term and it increases fun by lots.
In 30 years I can't think of a single player that waas happy with starting hp pre 4e.  We just didn't know any better.  Now we do, we don't want to go back.  We're talking three to four extra hits before death.  It really doesn't affect balance long term and it increases fun by lots.



I don't see how it doesn't affect balance.  Fun, I can definitely see some tables enjoying it more than others, but balance?  For the DM building an encounter using the suggested guidelines, it's a nightmare.  It will be even worse if one or two of the players choose gritty while the others choose cinematic.
I don't like either option. Starting with Con HP plus Max HD roll just makes 1st Lv character to powerful for my tastes ("too Heroic"). Starting with the current HP, however, leaves 1st Level characters with a low survivability rate that magically doubles (almost) at Level 2. As an old school gamer, I often didn't put too much interest in my 1st Lv characters until they survived to Level 2. Personally, I would make the following changes:

All creatures start with HP equal to half the Con Score.
Most low level monsters, as well as common members of PC races, will have 0 HD.
When you gain a HD, you roll, even at 1st Level.
(I also like the idea of it being HD [minimum Con Mod +1] rather than HD + Con Mod, but whatever.)

This sets up the PCs to be "a cut above" the average person (as they have a HD from their Class), but it does not make them any better than any Classed NPC.
Of course, having different starting dials would wreak havoc with balance...

That's why it is important to begin with a median baseline (roughly halfway between starting hp in 3E and 4E). It makes drifting in either direction less cumbersome and easier to adjust monsters/xp/encounter frameworks for.

As to your question, I can only attest to my experiences from playing 3E for roughly 10 years. In the 5+ groups I was a part of, virtually nobody wanted to begin play at 1st level (some even begged the DM to allow them to start higher) and the newcomers in particular were extremely frustrated at the high frequency with which their characters (some of whom had detailed backstories and campaign hooks) were dropped or killed at low levels. When I contrast this with games that have more generous starting hp --- 4E, SWSE, Dragon Age, 13th Age, among others --- the experiences (especially among the newbies) was considerably more positive.

I will restate my previous point. There are other ways to make the game lethal or gritty without making hit points so low. I think the "lingering wounds" optional rule in 13A is a great sort of thing for creating that kind of atmosphere.
     
Your starting hp become a smaller proportion of the whole long term but you can apply half con score if you prefer less of a boost.  There is also an issue of adding con bonus per level causing too much disparity over 20 levels as levels increase and adjusting that can bring hp back into line if you prefer.

I've rolled up my old adventuring group at level 8 and the system from the first packet has them at very similar hp to the later packets by that stage.
A very simple fix would be to use the hit point algorithms from the 1st packet (Con score + hit dice) but for groups that want a more "lethal" campaign, simply treat the party as 1 level higher for the purposes of XP budgeting for encounters. You can use things like the "slow healing" experimental rule to further accentuate the lethality/grittiness of the campaign if needed.
The risk of death causes Drama, which is why as a DM I don't fudge dice rolls and actively 'try' to kill the PCs but in a balanced and interesting manner, not weighted against them. However, dying/going unconscious before ever getting to act doesn't build drama for that character...mayhaps for the ones still up and moving and able to act, but for the guy who just spent an hour or more rolling/building up a new PC, bright and shiny, with every intention of playing his character from 1st level til the end of the Campaign, that 1-2 hits down before their initiative comes around is the biggest bore or the most crushing feeling of "I just wasted all that time" They can now sit around watching everyone else have fun, start building another character, hope for healing to bring them back up, or go play something else.

In my almost 36 yrs of playing the game, the most common response to that is the last option, go play something else.
Starting at a higher level is a viable option for some, but many people want to actually build their character and go through its progress from level 1, not starting at level 3 or level 5 or whatever.

This is why my baseline is Maxed 2HD + Con Mod at 1st level.
If you make HD the following: (Core 4 is all I'm detailing here for brevity) with an assumed 14 Con (+2)
Cleric: 1d6 (Warcleric 1d8):  14 (18) @ 1st with 2HD for healing (avg heal of 4 each/5 each at d8)
Fighter: 1d10: 22 @ 1st with 2HD for healing (avg heal of 6 each)
Rogue: 1d8: 18 @ 1st with 2HD for healing (avg heal of 5 each)
Wizard: 1d6: 14 @ 1st with 2HD for healing (avg heal of 4 each)

This way, even with no Con bonus, the lowest starting HP is 12 (Wizard/Cleric) so 2 avg hits can be survived from a 1d6+1 attack (4.5 each) but semi-decent rolls can still reduce to 0 or less in 2 hits, and a heavier weapon/attack can do it in 1. The overall max a starting PC could have in this system is the Fighter with an 18 Con (Maybe a 20 if all things line up) of 24 (25) so the fighter can take 5 avg 1d6+1 hits, and even take almost 3 avg hits from a 1d12+2 attack from a more militant opponent. There is still the risk of a one-shot via a crit, good rolls, or the chance of a doubleteam/doubletap situation dropping someone, but in general, everyone manages to make it to their first round of actions...after that if they go down, they can say they got a chance to do something and maybe whatever they did might be what put them at more risk. No sense of being totally powerless to keep your character alive at all.

In D&D Encounters this season, the very first session, my Cleric went down before ever getting to do anything, and I was the only healer in the group, so no chance of getting back up until after combat was over really. Disappointing!

I still see the problem with mega-packing HPs, especially at higher levels, so to compensate for frontloading the HPs, you only grant additional HD/HPs at Even levels, limiting both the overal hitpoint totals, and the potential non-magical healing overall. Of course, I would also base magical healing around the HD of a character, so it can be randomized but proportional healing. The HD determines the die used for healing spells if a die is used, so there is at least a chance that a Cure Lt type spell can heal both the Wizard and the Fighter proportional to their relative maximums, for those who like randomizing, there's a random factor, for those who like fixed amounts, you can use either the weighted avg (d6=4, d8=5, d10=6, etc..) or the Max for the die.

This can also be scaled up or down as a dial, but makes a nice baseline! 
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The best of both worlds would be following:

1st level PCs a lot more powerful offensively than in previous editions.

First level spells are actually useful. Wizards cast them a lot more times. Fighters have expertise dice, rogues get bonus feats. 3 of them.

So first level is actually not first level. It is just the base level. Make it secretly level 2. Let everyone start with two or even 3 hitdice + con bonus. Or 10+hd or whatever.

Then add a level 0, or two level 0 (like the cavalier of 1st edition had) With limited offense, fitting for the low hp everyone has.
This way, you can easily play oldschool, starting at level 0. And everyone else starts with level 1.

That would be my perfect D&D.

This is easy modularity, they could have suggestions for several ways to generate 1st level HP.

-Con score + 1 HD.

-1 HD + Con mod.

-2 or 3 HD + Con mod.  


And for really brutal, 1 HD, rolled, no mod, yeah, take it! 




Great point Vic! 

Just like there's currently several natural healing options to mirror a grittier campaign or something less lethal, you can capture the same sort of theme with a starting hit points modularity.  Simple, quick, elegant, love it.

That way, it's much easier to approximate the grittiness and rareness/slowness of natural healing and 1st level characters in 2e, for example, compared to the near-polar opposite styles of both in 4e.


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