Class Hit Dice vs Racial Hit Dice

Looking through the latest playtest a familiar thought struck my mind, one I have had probably though most iterations of D&D that I have played. Since this is about creating the next version of D&D I thought I might as well bring it up.

I believe one of the most common feedback issues is a concern over certain classes having too few hit points. In my mind, this brings up the question "Why are Hit Dice/Hit Points soley a result of a character's class?" Sure, race affects Constitution which in turn directly affects Hit Points, but having HP tied to class seems a bit counter intuitive.  

For example, the idea of a Dwarf being a d6 creature (Wizard) is almost as silly as a d12 Hobbit (Barbarian).

I understand that it is a balancing tool to help prevent uber builds from being created, but at the same time can't we come up with a more logical system?  Perhaps base Hit Points on race but have maximums or minumums for a class to demonstrate the type of training and conditions a character goes though. 
 
Example: A Dwarf may be a d10 creature, based on racial sturdiness, but a Dwarf Wizard is a d8 (the hypothetical maximum hit dice that class can have.) 
             
               A Hobbit may be a d6 creature, considering they may be quick but still kind of squishy, but that Hobbit Barbarian is a d8 as well (hypothetical minimum for the class.)

This method doesn't give a large enough bonus to truly inspire an uber character, and at the same time enables more idealized builds to be created.

Definitely not a perfect solution, any thoughts?
Hit Points are not Meat Points.
Hit Points are not Meat Points.



Nice concise feedback, not very helpful but concise. ;)

Didn't mean to imply they were "meat points", I always considered them an combination of more esoteric things like durability, endurance, luck, will and the like.  Basically your ability to keep going. A big part of that would be genetics, in many cases.  So my point is still applicable.
Its a very similar idea to what AEG did with their Farscape RPG, and one I liked very much. Hit Dice (thus base Hit Points) was determined by species instead of class. For instance, I think Hynerians were a d6 species and Luxians a d10 or d12. Each class would then include a modifier, say +4 for a Warrior class and less for others. I don't remember specifics. 

I found it worked out well and balanced well with other similar systems in that game... Something that could be worth exploring. 
He who should not speak...
Hit Points are not Meat Points.



Nice concise feedback, not very helpful but concise. ;)

oh fine.

The big issue I see you running into, is grognards pitching a fit because dwarves would be the best wizards.

Its a very similar idea to what AEG did with their Farscape RPG, and one I liked very much. Hit Dice (thus base Hit Points) was determined by species instead of class. For instance, I think Hynerians were a d6 species and Luxians a d10 or d12. Each class would then include a modifier, say +4 for a Warrior class and less for others. I don't remember specifics. 

I found it worked out well and balanced well with other similar systems in that game... Something that could be worth exploring. 



i'll have to check out Farscape and see how they do it.

Hit Points are not Meat Points.



Nice concise feedback, not very helpful but concise. ;)

oh fine.

The big issue I see you running into, is grognards pitching a fit because dwarves would be the best wizards.




Not necessarily the best, just a little tougher which is not much diffrent from now considering a Dwarf Wizard starts out with more armor and weapon proficiencies than other types.  Depends on the type of Wizard you are attempting to make, for example, High Elves get an extra cantrip and the intelligence bonus.  The difference would be in having a choice of HDs to begin with. 
I looked up my copy of farscape. A characters race provides the Would Die type (Hit Die) and a modifier for Control rolls. Class provides a Wound bonus and Determines the character's Control Die Type.

The control die was used with magic and similar systems. Often, but not always the toughest species were weaker spell casters and vice versa. Species who bucked the trend typically had other elements, positive and negative to balance them out. Class balanced these elements out between themselves, attack, defence, skills, saving throws and features.

As you can guess, Farscape was a variation on the d20 System OGL. 

I very much liked attaching health/toughness to species and it suited Farscape in particular... being a big spiney alien with a carapace made a difference, just like being an invertabrate worm... so to speak. I'd love to see a similar approach here, but I expect no such change is likely.
He who should not speak...
No thanks. We don't need further constraints on racial diversity. If halfling barbarians only have d8 hit dice, then no one will want to be a halfling barbarian. Same issue with racial penalties (-2 STR, favored classes, etc.). Glad to see those gone too.

Racial bonuses should open up new options for players, not cut down on them.
Keep in mind that Hit Points aren't just a measure of your life force, they are also a measure of how tough you are. A Barbarian is out in the wild all the time wrestling bears and punching camels, thats where he trains. A Wizard spends all day in a library reading books and wiggling his fingers and learning how to write poetry in Latin so the girl wizard across from him in class will think he's cool.

The Barbarian whether a Dwarf or a Halfling is just going to be tougher than the Wizard because of where he got his "learing" at.

I use the 4e method of thinking of hit points which was similar to the d20 Star Wars method. At above 50% HP any hits your taking are being deflected, dodged with great effort, turned into glancing blows. This all tires a guy out, and when he gets below half, suddenly he's no longer turning the attacks he's getting nicks, cuts, cracked ribs because he's tired, then when he drops to 0 he just took a mortal wound that could make him bleed out and kill him.
Hit points is not really health. HP measures how much some one has been conditioned to avoid serious injury. The halfling barbarian may be tough and wary. The dwarven wizard may be out of shape and practice.
Hit points should be a combination of class+race+con+level, with only the level portion raising after character creation.
Useful ideas but if you lower halfling fighter hp, you should give different abilities like sneak attack or something else. Similarly if you give hp bonus to dwarf ranger, you should replace some ranger powers for dwarflike abilities...
Hill dwarf already adjusts Hit Points maximum and gain.
Just a weird idea maybe. But why not add a new hit die at character creation based on its race. Let's say elves and halflings 1d6, human 1d8 and dwarves 1d10. Then you add the hit die of your class. So you start with a bit more hit points at level 1.

A level 1 dwarf wizard could potentially have similar hit points to an elf fighter. But then at level 2, the fighter takes the lead.

Now races could give even less hit points at character creation. Maybe elves and halflings +2 hp, humans +4hp and dwarves +6hp.

Just a random thought... 

i am hoping someone in the session can help me on this....i have a dragon companion....i have the wild cohort feat to have this companion....i am leveling him up to 7th level....with the wild cohort feat it says my companion gets +3 on hit dice....the MMI says my dragon gets 6d12+6 for hit dice...so does that mean my companion gets 9d12+6?...does it mean my companion gets 6d12+9 for hit dice?....or what does it mean exactly?....and that would go to my next question....how exactly do i roll hit dice for my companion to find out how many hit points he should have at 7th level?...i have read the MMI on Hit Dice and I have also read the Savage Species and I am confused on how it works exactly...anyway i hope someone can help me with this please...thank you

Qmark wrote:
Hit Points are not Meat Points.

 

I'd normally agree with you but for the Barbarian, example given by the original poster, I think they can easily be seen that way...

 

There is a fine line between these items and when you have a d12 hp and a seperate ability with Thick Hide adding to AC you are clearly drawing a line between the difference between "health" and "avoiding harm".  Otherwise Thick Hide would provide additional hit points or temporary hit points.  Personally, for something described as "Thick Hide" I'd question why its not Str + Con instead of Dex + Con since dexterity is avoidance not material or tensile strength that one would associate with a degree of "thick" protection.

 

Where Barbarian Rage itself adds Temporary Hit points not a bonus to Armor Class... Rage isn't about avoiding or dodging but absorbing or buffering damage.  

 

While you'd expect to see something like Reckless Attack follow the same logic which when you don't care about being hit and just hitting you are debuffing your Armor Class by giving the opponent two chance to score a hit, rather than taking additional damage from hits.

 

Furious Resilience follows a similar logic only because you are buffing saving throws it covers damage avoidance and resistance/reduction at the same time.  While seemingly most damage reduction from spells comes in the form of a Dexterity Check its more heavily on avoidance.

 

Now looking at the Path's you have something like Brutal Rage, where you are sacrificing hit points to do additional damage.  Surely this is "health" transferance  as its described... lower yours to take more away fromt he other guy.  Again leaning more towards hit points being meat otherwise you are trying to explain how that reduction in hit points somehow includes avoidance when the ability itself says it can't be prevented.  Spirit Vitallity heals you every turn for hit points and doesn't boost your armor class, and the "Bear" powers directly provide additional hit points back...

 

Some simple definitions:

Armor Class - represents either a character's protective equipment, ability to dodge attacks, or a combination of the two.

Hit Points -  a finite value used to determine how much damage (usually in terms of physical injury) a character can withstand

 

Early version of D&D it was described that characters were not actually gaining Health as they went up in levels but that they were just getting better at mitigating damage by shrugging off blows, learning to take a hit, and other items of that nature and the easiest way to represent that was applying more numbers to health instead of decreasing damage into fractions of numbers.  This logic isn't however in line with the Coup de Grace rules, of DnD Next, which only let you score a critical hit instead of outright kill someone when they can't defend themselves... in this case almost exclusively defining  Hit Points as Meat Points as a result.

 

So there is plenty of room as a result for folks to see hit points as Meat Points, regardless of what past editions have defined them as... and most particularly around Barbarians abilities which skate a very, very thin line in representing a wide range of ways to mitigate damage and in the effort very closely categorizing hit points as health.

 

I kind of wish that race would matter more, but if halflings don't even suffer a penalty to Strength, then it would be inconsistent to give a penalty on Hit Points.

The metagame is not the game.

Veggie-sama wrote:
No thanks. We don't need further constraints on racial diversity. If halfling barbarians only have d8 hit dice, then no one will want to be a halfling barbarian. Same issue with racial penalties (-2 STR, favored classes, etc.). Glad to see those gone too.

Racial bonuses should open up new options for players, not cut down on them.

 

My thoughts 110%.

IMO, this is what was really boggling/infuriating about AD&D was the racial restrictions for classes. "Oh Im sorry, only humans show the fervent devotion to become a Paladin, Dwarves simple can't be one." "Oh I'm sorry, You're want to be a gnome wizard? Well, I hope you like Illusion magic, because we're really going to push for you to be an illusionist".

 

3.x was... better... about it. It didn't outright restrict races, but it did penalize you with negative stats, which I found frustrating. It promoted archetypes and punished people for trying to make a unusual classes, like a half-orc wizard, ect...

 

After 4e's racial accessablity with classes, i really don't want to go back to restrictions. It's a interesting idea but in practice people are going to look to exploit it.

Materiam wrote:

 

Veggie-sama wrote:
No thanks. We don't need further constraints on racial diversity. If halfling barbarians only have d8 hit dice, then no one will want to be a halfling barbarian. Same issue with racial penalties (-2 STR, favored classes, etc.). Glad to see those gone too.

Racial bonuses should open up new options for players, not cut down on them.

 

My thoughts 110%.

IMO, this is what was really boggling/infuriating about AD&D was the racial restrictions for classes. "Oh Im sorry, only humans show the fervent devotion to become a Paladin, Dwarves simple can't be one." "Oh I'm sorry, You're want to be a gnome wizard? Well, I hope you like Illusion magic, because we're really going to push for you to be an illusionist".

 

3.x was... better... about it. It didn't outright restrict races, but it did penalize you with negative stats, which I found frustrating. It promoted archetypes and punished people for trying to make a unusual classes, like a half-orc wizard, ect...

 

After 4e's racial accessablity with classes, i really don't want to go back to restrictions. It's a interesting idea but in practice people are going to look to exploit it.

I very much agree with the both of you. There are already things that make races generally better at some classes than others without railroading them. Bringing back detractions from races just seems unneccessary and something we can move on from.

The Smithy Knew He'd Lost His Groove When Scalding Sparks Left His Chin Too Smooth Dwarvenshave

Qmark wrote:
Hit Points are not Meat Points.



Nice concise feedback, not very helpful but concise. ;)


oh fine.

The big issue I see you running into, is grognards pitching a fit because dwarves would be the best wizards.

 

They already are.

Praise the Sun.

 

Also, class hit dice are based on your character devoting their lifestyle to the class.

 

A wizard spends literally all his time reading books and learning spells, so his body deteriorates to a d6.

 

A barbarian spends literally all his time surviving in the wilderness, chasing down deer and manhandling bears, so his body evolves to a d12.

 

 

At least that's how I've thought of it.

Praise the Sun.

 

Agree with Thunderspear. And although I like what the OP says as an idea, I think it would create a huge problem in balance. Character strength is measured primarily by their class and secondarily by their race. So changing the hp from being class-dependent only, would result in trouble. Besides, the WOTC guys have repeatedly said that what they are spending a lot of time at, is seeing how different features, spells and such, all interact with one another. Don't want to play their advocate, but a change like this would result in many major changes to races and classes in order to bring balance back, and several more days (maybe months) of testing. That's why I think it will be reasonable if it won't happen. They would also need to come up with new stuff just for the ''weaker in hp'' races. Doesn't seem right, as the principle is that all races have about the same number of benefits, so that they will be equally fun to play and have the same level of complexity (that is not a big number of features that a player has to remember). I think we are good at where we stand now.

 

And something for the example of the barbrian halfling, that sounds a bit silly to have a d12 hit dice. Being a halfling barbarian has enough other drawbacks. Yes, you don't get a str penalty, but since you selected a halfling and not another race that will get you a str bonus, is pretty much like getting that penalty (since you don't get the bonus that a more conventional choice would give you). Besides, why discourage someone who wants to play a halfling barbarian more? Have you seen many of those? http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0132.html