A Wound system.

For the record, I don't care for hp/wound systems that operate on the same scale, but this one came to me, and I thought I'd share it.  It works as an optional module adding granularity to the current 5e aproach to hps, with said aproach assumed to be ultimately inclusive.

Basic/Standard:  PCs have hps, and are dying below 0.  Attacks inflict hps and, regardless of how hps are inflicted, effects that restore hps 'heal' them.  This is an over-simplification for purposes of playability and inclusiveness.


Now, the Module:


Fatigue/Wounds Module



In this module, a distinction is done between hp damage that degrades a PC's ability to avoid taking wounds, and hp damage that actually inflicts wounds.

Fatigue:  A character's fatigue is equal to his positive hp maximum, and take the place of hit points.

Wounds:  A characer's wounds are equal to his CON score + level, and take the place of "negative hps" and "dying" rules.

Damage Threshold:  A character who takes fatigue damage in excess of his damage threshold also takes 1 wound.  Damage threshold = 3 + CON mod + (Fatigue/Wounds).

Hard & Fast RULE :  Attacks always inflict fatigue damage first.  No form of damage bypasses fatigue.  No source of damage can inflict more wounds than it does fatigue.  (this is important: if you can bypass fatigue, combat becomes all about doing so.)

Taking damage:  When a character takes damage it is deducted from his fatigue, to a minimum of 0.  If his damage threshold is exceeded, he also takes 1 wound.

Effects of damage:  When a character's fatigue is reduced to zero, he is helpless, and takes one die of wounds (a /single/ die of the type used to determine the fatigue damage that reduced him to 0, if no dice or different types were used, it defaults to 1d6).  There is no "negative fatigue."  When a character's wounds are reduced to zero, he is dead.  There are no "negative wounds."

Optional Rule:  Critical Hits:  Critical Hits do maximum damage.  Whether the critical hit reduces the target to 0 hps or not, it also inflicts one die of wounds (as with being reduced to 0 fatigue, this is a single die of the type maximized by the critical, or 1d6 if that is unclear).

Damaging 0-fatigue characters:  A helpless character takes one die of damage from any effect that does damage.  The die type is the same as the effect normally uses, but only one die is rolled, and no modifiers are added.  If the die type is in question, or the effect does not inflict dice of damage, but inflicts at least 6 damage, use 1d6.  If the effect does fixed damage less than 6 points, it inflicts 1 wound.

Coup de Grace:  A Coup de Grace does its full damage to a helpless target as wounds, generally killing it.  To adiminster a Coup de Grace, the target helpless, and any of its allies present either helpless or unable to act.

Fighting wounded: A character who has fatigue left but has taken wounds can still act.  Any round that he takes an action, he must make a CON save or take fatigue damage equal to the die type closest to his total wounds without going over (a character who has taken 7 wounds will take 1d6, one that has taken 12 or more wounds will roll a d12).

Fighting dead:  A character who is at 0 wounds but has fatigue left can can continue to act while he has fatigue remaining, but cannot re-gain fatigue once his fatigue has reached 0.  

Bleeding out:  A character who is at 0 fatigue and has taken wounds must make a CON save each round.  On a failure, he takes a wound.  On an easy success he doesn't.  On a hard success, he stabilizes and does not need to roll again until he takes more wound damage.  On a Formidable success, he regains 1 fatigue and may regain additional fatigue depending on campaign tone (spending HD, for instance, if they are in use). (obviously, the DM could adjust the difficulties, too)

Recovering Fatigue:  Characters naturally recover their fatigue between encounters by resting.  (Either all of it, or by rolling HD, or by some # of fatigue per so many minutes or hours of rest - depending on the tone of the campaign as set by the DM).  A full 8 hours of rest recovers all fatigue, in any case.  In addition to natural recovery, any effect that restores or increases hit points without "healing," such as the Aid spell, restores fatigue under this system.

Recovering Wounds:  Characters naturally recover from wounds between adventures.  When wounded characters continue to adventure or undertake any sort of activity while wounded, they may make CON checks to determine if they heal or make thier wound worse (again, lots of options for exactly how bad this is).  In addition to natural recovery, any effect that restores or increases hit point by explicitly 'healing,' such as Cure..Wounds spell, restores wounds under this system.



Did I miss any needful mechanics or rules to make this work?








 

 

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Would you use the same system for NPCs?

Personally, I wouldn't. It's one extra thing I have to track as a DM.  I'd just give them fatigue points and be done with it.  When they're out of fatigue they're dead/incapacitated as the story requires.  That is, unless they're important NPCs, in which case they'd probably get the full fatigue/wound treatment. 
Would you use the same system for NPCs?

Personally, I wouldn't. It's one extra thing I have to track as a DM.  

That is what I was thinking.  This is probably best used for PCs or 'important' (to the story or to the PCs or the campaign or whatever) NPCs.  For regular monsters, it could even still be undifferentiated hps.  

 

 

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Or for monsters you could just assume they have 1 wound point exactly for regular and 2 for elites. But reduce the wound making rule to critical hits only, without any threshold rule for ennemies - just consider the ones being that important to be resolved under the same as PC rules.

This make critical = dead for the not important ennemies, and two criticals for elites.
For me u would rather have a super simple wound module like so:

Whenever you receive a critical hit or take damage that brings you below 1 HP you suffer a wound. You can take a number of wounds equal to 3 + your Con modifier before you die.

Death Spiral (optional): Each wound you have imposes a -1 penalty to all d20 rolls you make.

Non magical healing: after an extended rest you may make a DC 15 Constitution (endurance) check. On a success you heal 1 wound. You gain advantage to this roll if you spent the whole day resting. A successful first aid check reduces the DC to 10.

Magical Healing: Instead of restoring HP a cure wounds spell can heal 1 wound per spell level.
This make critical = dead for the not important ennemies, and two criticals for elites.


I can dig that.
I think it's weird that your system places such emphasis on the die size. A greatsword from the Strength-6 wizard would be more lethal than a longsword from a raging Strength-20 barbarian.

Or maybe it just feels weird, since nothing else in the system actually references the die itself when determining effects. 

The metagame is not the game.

I think it's weird that your system places such emphasis on the die size. A greatsword from the Strength-6 wizard would be more lethal than a longsword from a raging Strength-20 barbarian.

Or maybe it just feels weird, since nothing else in the system actually references the die itself when determining effects. 

It's a way of keeping the wound damage on the same (low) scale as wounds, while still tying it to the effect causing the wound and also keeping it very random.

I had forgotten that 'die size' in 5e actually progresses from 1d12 to 2d6, though.  That does throw a monkeywrench in it.  If the biggest baddest weapons were d12, it'd be no problem.  Open it up to 2d6 for greatswords, though, and the impulse to open it up to 3d8 monster attacks and 5d6 spells would be overwhelming, at wich point instant kills would quickly overwhelm the system.  

No, the greatsword is just going to have to be worse at inflicting fatal wounds than the greataxe.  According to legend, it does take more skill for a headsman to do his job with a sword than an axe, so maybe it could even be rationalized.

Hmm.. or it could go "if a weapon's damage die is greater than d12, use d12," I suppose...

 

 

 

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Tony Vargas : Maybe you should try taking a look at d20 StarWars Revised. It presents an almost identical system, apart from the fact that crits always go directly to wounds. Also NPC's, apart from important ones, and monsters don't have fatigue, only wounds (but more, in the case of most monsters).
I think it's weird that your system places such emphasis on the die size. A greatsword from the Strength-6 wizard would be more lethal than a longsword from a raging Strength-20 barbarian.

Or maybe it just feels weird, since nothing else in the system actually references the die itself when determining effects. 



I know it's not pefect, but it does make a  better step than just regular HP towards addressing that issue where you can be stabbed a dozen times with a dagger and not die because it happens to be a low damage weapon and you have a lot of hit points.  We all know in real life a knife wound is no less a lethal threat than getting cleaved with a greatsword.  Both have about the same chance of killing you, one just leaves a biger hole in your body.


Of course, that's not any fun to manage for really heroic style games.  

I know it's not pefect, but it does make a  better step than just regular HP towards addressing that issue where you can be stabbed a dozen times with a dagger and not die because it happens to be a low damage weapon and you have a lot of hit points.  We all know in real life a knife wound is no less a lethal threat than getting cleaved with a greatsword.  Both have about the same chance of killing you, one just leaves a biger hole in your body.

The same chance? I wouldn't go that far. I kind of like what Tony is getting at, with making the scale of the damage determine how much of a wound you take, even if his specific suggestion doesn't take into account certain factors.

I hate to be morbid, but does nobody else remember those tragic school stabbing sprees, where someone just goes crazy with a knife and attacks dozens of kids? They don't stay in the news for very long, because generally speaking, nobody dies from a single knife wound. That's not to say nobody can ever die from being stabbed once, but it really seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

The metagame is not the game.

Tony Vargas : Maybe you should try taking a look at d20 StarWars Revised. It presents an almost identical system, apart from the fact that crits always go directly to wounds. Also NPC's, apart from important ones, and monsters don't have fatigue, only wounds (but more, in the case of most monsters).

I have heard about it, and it was definitely one of the things that was percolating when I had the idea...

 

 

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I hate to be morbid, but does nobody else remember those tragic school stabbing sprees, where someone just goes crazy with a knife and attacks dozens of kids? They don't stay in the news for very long, because generally speaking, nobody dies from a single knife wound. That's not to say nobody can ever die from being stabbed once, but it really seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

Not with reasonably prompt medical care, anyway.  

I think part of the idea behind the SM/L damage of 1e weapons was that there was a limit to how much more damage you can do to a person by sticking 3' of steel through him vs 18" - there isn't 3' of person to have a wound channel in, at most angles - while putting six feet of greatsword into a dragon is still just getting started.

The 1-die limit for wounds could be based on (rationalized by) similar "logic."  Again, assuming they're prettymuch PC-only rules.

 

 

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Not with reasonably prompt medical care, anyway.  



I think that's an extremely important consideration that I probably should have mentioned.  I was thinking it but didn't say it.  At any rate, I did say the wound system was a step toward, not a complete solution.


But even then, I still wouldn't want this system to replace good ol' hit points by default.  That's just me, though.  

We all know in real life a knife wound is no less a lethal threat than getting cleaved with a greatsword.  Both have about the same chance of killing you, one just leaves a biger hole in your body.




Wait, what?

No, mate.
A blade kills a person when it hits a vital organ. A bigger blade hacking through someone's body has a much greater chance of hitting a vital organ than a small blade.

The other way a blade can kill is by causing a wound that makes the target then bleed to death. Again, a larger wound from a larger blade will make one bleed out much faster.

A knife can kill in one stab, yes, but it's a lot less likely to do so than a bigger blade such as a sword or axe. 
Ick.  Wasn't trying to cause a big debate.  Sorry about that.

My point is that, in the end, lethal is lethal.  You're dead either way. If somebody puts a dagger between your ribs or a greatsword between your ribs it doesn't really matter what the potential damage of the weapon is.  You're still dead at that point.  All I'm saying is that a system like this is nice because it makes a nod towards that.  Regular HP, as much as I like it, can sometimes make that detail get fuzzy.


I guess what I'm comparing all this to is the D&D version of "bullet sponges," if that terms makes any sense.  

Tom, your system seems to require too much book keeping.
I'm not saying it's bad, but I wouldn't use it.

Also, I dislike the idea of HP as fatigue. To do a system like that, in my opinion, you need to have some forms of attack that bypass the fatigue damage and go straight for the wounds.

For example:
The sneaky assassin approaches his target silently, without ever being noticed the assassin plunges his sword into the target's back, and suddenly the target is... tired?

Yeah, I know, from a realistic point of view the target in this sittuation should be dead, but personally, and from a immersive/imaginative point of view, I find it easier to accept in game (especially one with heroic characteristics like D&D) that the target of one such backstab somehow managed to survive the wound... than that the stab in the back made him tired.

And, like you said yourself, when you do have ways to bypass the HP/fatigue and go straight for wounds it usually creates problems for the game.


Also, there's plenty of stuff left to wonder if you take HP as fatigue.
Skeletons and golems, for example, aren't alive and don't ever become tired. So they'd have unlimited HP?
Why would DR reduce damage, and armor decrease the chance of hitting someone, if the attacks aren't really "hitting" but only tiring out the target?
I could come up with other such questions, but you get the picture. And I'm sure with enough "abstraction" and changing of rules we could perhaps find a way to answer all that adapting the entire D&D combat system for this approach, redefining things like "hit" and "damage" and such.
But, sincerely, I'd be trying too hard to find a way to make my imagination accept all that when visualising a scene, when I find it much easier to simply consider that damage is mostly scratches and bruises... until a lethal wound is applied and the target goes down.
But even then, I still wouldn't want this system to replace good ol' hit points by default.  That's just me, though.  

Not the purpose, at all.  The idea is a module with a little more granularity, for those who are bothered by how vague and abstract hps can be.

 

 

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your system seems to require too much book keeping.
I'm not saying it's bad, but I wouldn't use it.

I wouldn't blame you, hps are perfectly functional already.  But I don't think the bookkeeping is that bad.  You're tracking two numbers instead of one, and the second number is generally just incremented by one.  Not too taxing, I wouldn't thing.

Also, I dislike the idea of HP as fatigue. To do a system like that, in my opinion, you need to have some forms of attack that bypass the fatigue damage and go straight for the wounds.

Problem is that breaks fast, mechanically.  The fatigue-bypassing attacks become the only thing that matters.


For example:

The sneaky assassin approaches his target silently, without ever being noticed the assassin plunges his sword into the target's back, and suddenly the target is... tired?
What might work for this one would be turning the assassin's death attack around:  The assassin sneaks up on his target, makes a 'death attack,' the target saves and if he fails is rendered helpless (0 fatigue).  Then he makes his weapon attack.  Basically an SoD.  Another way to think of it is that getting past fatigue is done by damage, so massive damage indicates sneak attack or death attack that's virtually impossible to avoid (in part because you're down to blind luck if you've been well & truely snuck up upon).

Also, there's plenty of stuff left to wonder if you take HP as fatigue.

Skeletons and golems, for example, aren't alive and don't ever become tired. So they'd have unlimited HP?
As I said above, this isn't really a system for monsters or throwaway NPCs.



Why would DR reduce damage, and armor decrease the chance of hitting someone, if the attacks aren't really "hitting" but only tiring out the target?

The idea of fatigue is that you're avoid what would otherwise have been a hit.  So, attack, hit, desperate last instant defense avoids the hit:  but your endurance/skill/luck will run out eventually.  If the damage threshold is exceeded, then even with that remarkable close escape, a scratch or bruise or other bit of real damage was taken.

In a sense, it's just the typical D&D hps, but taken to a higher level of rigour.

 

 

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Hadn't really pictured using this for monsters, but, inspiration struck again:


Monsters & NPCs

Monsters or NPCs the DM deems 'unimportant' use the standard hp system.


Important NPCs use the same system as PCs.


Important monsters use different systems depending on their type:


Inanimates:  These are monsters that are either un-living or so simple in their structure that they must be completely destroyed to stop.  They are typically non-sentient and lack any sort of self-preservation impulse.  Inanimates have only wounds and are destroyed when their wounds reach 0.  Attacks on inanimates deal wound damage as if they were already at 0 fatigue.  Inanimates cannot be CdG'd.  Examples:  Zombies, Skelletons, Golems, Oozes.

Beasts:  These monsters are vicious or unnaturally vital, or they may be 'inanimate' creatures of great complexity.  They are usually of very limitted intelligence, and have little instinct for self-preservation while in combat.  Inanimates always have more wounds than fatigue and do not fall unconscious when reduced to 0 fatigue, though, if not directly engaged while at 0 fatigue, they may retreat.  Examples:  Demons, Dire Wolverines, Grizzly Bears.

Sentients:  Living (or very complex) beings with a sense of self and strong self-preservation instincts, even if not intelligent in the usual sense.  Sentients use the same fatigue/wounds system as PCs and important NPCs.

Unreals:  These monsters have no physical form, any physical manifestation they evince is only temporary.  Unreals have only fatigue and never take wounds.  When reduced to 0 fatigue, the unreal ceases to exist, for the moment.  Some may have the ability to come back into being at a later time under certain circumstances.   Examples:  Wraiths, Shadows, Ghosts, Spirits, Water Wierds.

 

 

 

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I like the idea of wounds and enduring damage, but for me Tony your idea is a bit too much book keeping.

I would like to see an optional module along the lines of something like: when take a critical hit, or go below zero HP, you have a chance of suffering a wound (say 50% + damage suffered in final hit, or make a DC Con save vs 15 or something).

If you suffer the wound, roll a d10. Then there is a table that describes what wound you have, and how long it takes to heal (half time with magic healing or whatever). Example wounds might be: damaged eye (disad on spot checks), broken arm (cant use one arm, roll random), fractured ankle (half movement), concussed (all spells have a 25% chance of failure), etc etc. 

I like the idea of wounds and enduring damage, but for me Tony your idea is a bit too much book keeping.

Really?  Two descending totals?

It's about the same bookkeeping as the current hp system, with negative hps, death saves, and healing up from 0, really.  

I would like to see an optional module along the lines of something like: when take a critical hit, or go below zero HP, you have a chance of suffering a wound (say 50% + damage suffered in final hit, or make a DC Con save vs 15 or something). 

If you suffer the wound, roll a d10. Then there is a table that describes what wound you have, and how long it takes to heal (half time with magic healing or whatever). Example wounds might be: damaged eye (disad on spot checks), broken arm (cant use one arm, roll random), fractured ankle (half movement), concussed (all spells have a 25% chance of failure), etc etc. 

That's more resolution:  a calculation, a save, a roll, consult a chart.  Then the bookkeeping of tracking a persistent penalty.  

Though, for the record, I like the idea of a system that inflicts and tracks the healing of specific wounds.  I think it would make a fine adjunct to a simple/abstract hp system, and be easily intituted or removed to suit the tone of the campaign - and even flow of the story. 



 

 

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