In a recent blog I discussed hit points, healing surges and realism and how a wound system would help to alleviate issues people have with healing surges and extended rest miracle healing. I've decided to test this out on my 4E campaign to see if it adds an element of realism/danger to the game. Here are my initial rules for wounds, which are subject to tweaking once I've play tested them:
WOUND SYSTEM FOR 4E
The hit point system is an abstraction, meant to represent character's adventuring stamina, luck and skill at avoiding serious harm rather than to represent actual damage they take. Hit points are recovered rapidly with short rests, healing surges and extended rests and can be healed by magical means (clerics) or by other psychological or spiritual means (warlords).
The wound system represents actual physical, spiritual and mental damage characters take during the course of their adventures. Wounds heal slowly through natural means and there is no other way of healing wounds other than through powerful divine magic.
A character's Wounds score is equal to the average of all of their ability scores. This is a static number that only changes when the character advances to the next tier of play.
Only certain types of attacks cause wounds. The following are examples of what can cause wounds:
- Edit: Critical Hits from a roll of a Natural 20 cause 1 point of wound damage.
- Being taken to 0 hit points or below results in any further damage being taken from wound score.
- Every missed Death Save resulting from being below 0 hit points causes 1 point of wound damage. This continues until the character is out of wound points, then death saves begin the normal strike progression, with the 3rd strike resulting in death.
- Poisons can cause wound damage unless the proper antidote is taken or divine healing administered. Any character that takes hit damage from attacks with the poison keyword will take 1 point of wound damage after each extended rest until the antidote is taken, or until they receive divine healing.
- Necrotic energy can cause wound damage unless divine healing is administered. A character who takes any hit point damage from attacks with the necrotic keyword will take 1 point of wound damage after each extended rest until they receive divine healing.
- Petrification attacks can cause wound damage unless the proper magical cure is administered. A character who takes any hit point damage from attacks with the petrification keyword will take 1 point of wound damage after each extended rest until they receive the cure. This type of wound damage is not curable by divine healing. However, if the creature is reduced to fewer than 0 wounds as the result of petrification, they do not die. Instead, they become unconscious and suffers the Petrified condition until the magical cure is administered.
- All attacks from Epic Tier opponents cause wound damage to Heroic Tier opponents.
- Coup de Grace attacks cause wound damage equal to the damage roll.
- Falling does 1 point of wound damage per 10 feet in addition to HP damage.
Once a character takes wound damage, that damage and its lingering effects (see below) remains with them until they are healed through extended bed rest or through divine healing. Wounds are healed as follows:
- 1 wound point per 24 hour period of non-stressful rest (i.e., no adventuring).
- A person under the care of a trained healer may recover more quickly if the healer succeeds on a Heal check for each day of care. If successful, the wounds heal twice as fast as usual. If the healer fails the check, the wound continues to heal at the natural pace. If the healer fails by a factor of 5 points or more, the wound doesn’t heal at all that day.
- Certain wounds, such as those caused by poison or necrotic energy, cannot be healed naturally and require specific cures, such as antidotes or clerical healing.
- Edit: The clerical "cure" and "heal" spells heal wound damage as follows: Cure Light Wounds = 1d4 wound points, Cure Serious Wounsd = 2d4 wound points, Mass Cure Light Wounds = 1d4 wound points to multiple targets, Heal = all wounds cured.
Lingering Effects: Wound damage also has an effect on the character’s physical, spiritual and mental performance. A character that takes wound damage suffers these lingering effects, which are cumulative, as long as the wounds remain unhealed. Once they begin to heal, the lingering effects end in the reverse order. The lingering effects start when the character is taken down to (Edit) 9 wound points and below:
- 9 Wound Pts = -1 to saving throws
- 8 Wound Pts = -1 penalty to speed
- 7 Wound Pts = -1 on all attack rolls
- 6 Wound Pts = -1 on all damage rolls
- 5 Wound Pts = -1 penalty to all defenses
- 4 Wound Pts = character is slowed
- 3 Wound Pts = character is dazed
- 2 Wound Pts = character is weakened
- 1 Wound Pt = character is immobilized
- 0 Wound Pts = character is stunned
- Negative Wound Pts = character is dying ( make death saves as per normal rules, 3rd failed save = death). If the character is damaged to more than their wound point total in the negatives, they die. Example: A character with 15 starting wound points will die once they reach -16 wound points.
Characters causing wound damage: NPCs and monsters are also subject to wound damage. This shouldn’t come into play much, as they will likely die from hit point loss before they do from wound damage, but the damage may still cause them to suffer some of the lingering effects, thus aiding characters.