A question of HD

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Acacius
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A question of HD

Post by Acacius »

I wonder why HD was assigned to class and not race. Seems HD as a function of race would make more sense but /shrug maybe I am hallucinating...

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Re: A question of HD

Post by alcyone »

That's how AD&D did it, that's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.

There's merit to your idea, but C&C is based on D&D, and that's how it's always been done.
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Re: A question of HD

Post by Treebore »

Well, of course, that is true as long as you don't look at certain other D&D games, where they did race instead of class, etc...

But yeah, class has been the much bigger determinant of HD since 1E AD&D. Fighters are much tougher than mage and thief types, Divine types are somewhere in between, etc...

Sure, races can vary somewhat, but I doubt there would be a D4 to D12 difference between most of the "playable" races.

Still, this is C&C. IF your the CK, then do it by race instead of class.
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Re: A question of HD

Post by Acacius »

Just something I was thinking about during a bout of insomnia.

Seems like small races would be d4 or d6
medium races would be d6 or d8
and classes such as fighter or barbarian would add a HP bonus per level like +1 for a cleric or +2 for a fighter type.

I am in no way suggesting anything be changed just observing that race should have more to do with HP than career IMO.

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Re: A question of HD

Post by serleran »

Some houserule that race modifies HD so that a small character gets -1 HD size -- d10 becomes d8, for example. This has the benefit off keeping classes within a race more variable yet retains the usual class-based archetype that is D&D (and always has been, even when race is class.)

You can certainly do the reverse where race determine HD and then class is a modifier to it and it would, in the end, not break anything. The hard part would be to determine how much of a modifier... would a gnome, for example get d6 but wizard get -2 HP? Or would it be d4 and -1 or -2? You'd have to know what average HP you expected the race-class combination to have and make it at least enticing to play the common ones. I'd suggest, minmum, all races get d6 HP.

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Re: A question of HD

Post by alcyone »

Treebore wrote:Well, of course, that is true as long as you don't look at certain other D&D games, where they did race instead of class, etc...
In OD&D, everyone had 1d6, and 2e and 3.5 had class HD.

You could argue that race had different HD in Classic D&D, though humans had different HD depending on class, so do you have a d8 HD because you are a dwarf (race) or dwarf (class)?

Also, in 3.5, using something like Savage Species, I think your race determines your HD, but I sold that book and don't recall.
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Re: A question of HD

Post by serleran »

Savage Species had you gain HD based on race only for the racial levels, so if you were something like a dragon 5, fighter 10, you got 5d12 + 10d10. The cheese came with templates which could, theoretically, change all HD and not the racist ones. Err, the racial ones. Also, I believe some prestige classes (like the mind flayer one) could grant HD increases but I'm not sure on that part... have not looked at the book since I bought it.

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Re: A question of HD

Post by mbeacom »

Acacius wrote:I wonder why HD was assigned to class and not race. Seems HD as a function of race would make more sense but /shrug maybe I am hallucinating...
I always felt it was that since HP really aren't just physical wounds, but rather, and abstraction, possibly containing many elements, including things like luck, exertion and the like. And so, it was because that had to do with your training and life experience. Certain classes training would allow them to take more punishment. Which also explains why they increase with class level. Imagine if Race was the key determinant of your HD. How would they increase? We're not adding levels of human after all. Would it be that you become even MORE human or Elf, etc? I think it just makes sense to have them be class based for a lot of reasons, both mechanically and narratively.
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Re: A question of HD

Post by nwelte1 »

Aergraith wrote:That's how AD&D did it, that's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.

There's merit to your idea, but C&C is based on D&D, and that's how it's always been done.
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Re: A question of HD

Post by serleran »

mbeacom wrote:
Acacius wrote:I wonder why HD was assigned to class and not race. Seems HD as a function of race would make more sense but /shrug maybe I am hallucinating...
I always felt it was that since HP really aren't just physical wounds, but rather, and abstraction, possibly containing many elements, including things like luck, exertion and the like. And so, it was because that had to do with your training and life experience. Certain classes training would allow them to take more punishment. Which also explains why they increase with class level. Imagine if Race was the key determinant of your HD. How would they increase? We're not adding levels of human after all. Would it be that you become even MORE human or Elf, etc? I think it just makes sense to have them be class based for a lot of reasons, both mechanically and narratively.
In a game with a steady focus on evolution, perhaps, where you begin as one thing and slowly morph into another.... it may even work to lose HP / HD, such as if you began the game dead and were attempting to return to life.

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Re: A question of HD

Post by Fizz »

I'm not sure if it made it into the final game, but in several of the D&D 5E playtests, they used a mechanic where dwarves had their base hit die type increased by one die type. So most fighters used a 1d10, but a dwarven fighter used a d12. A dwarven wizard would use a d8 instead of the base d6.

Unfortunately, they also at one point combined this with certain class sub-specialties. So i managed to play essentially a dwarf sorcerer of draconic heritage that had d10 hit points. (From 1d6 -> 1d8 for being draconic, and then 1d8 -> 1d10 for being a dwarf.) Combine that with the fact that dwarves gained bonus damage too (battleaxe does a d10 in a dwarfs hands, not the usual d8), and he was pretty freaking potent in melee for being a magic-based class.

I don't mind the notion of a racial die- it's certainly arguable that both training and genetics contribute to how tough you are. Though one can argue that's why there is a Constitution bonus.


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Re: A question of HD

Post by mbeacom »

Fizz wrote:I'm not sure if it made it into the final game, but in several of the D&D 5E playtests, they used a mechanic where dwarves had their base hit die type increased by one die type. So most fighters used a 1d10, but a dwarven fighter used a d12. A dwarven wizard would use a d8 instead of the base d6.

Unfortunately, they also at one point combined this with certain class sub-specialties. So i managed to play essentially a dwarf sorcerer of draconic heritage that had d10 hit points. (From 1d6 -> 1d8 for being draconic, and then 1d8 -> 1d10 for being a dwarf.) Combine that with the fact that dwarves gained bonus damage too (battleaxe does a d10 in a dwarfs hands, not the usual d8), and he was pretty freaking potent in melee for being a magic-based class.

I don't mind the notion of a racial die- it's certainly arguable that both training and genetics contribute to how tough you are. Though one can argue that's why there is a Constitution bonus.


-Fizz
As I read your comment, I was just getting ready to respond and mention the CON bonus is what helps Dwarves have more HP (and more fragile elves have less) and then you went and mentioned it before I could even respond! :) Dwarves getting a CON bonus AND an HD type increase would be like double dipping, you are absolutely right. It's almost like the designers already thought of this issue. :)
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Re: A question of HD

Post by REHowardfanatic »

mbeacom wrote:I always felt it was that since HP really aren't just physical wounds, but rather, and abstraction, possibly containing many elements, including things like luck, exertion and the like. And so, it was because that had to do with your training and life experience. Certain classes training would allow them to take more punishment. Which also explains why they increase with class level.

The AD&D DMG says this almost word for word.
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Re: A question of HD

Post by mbeacom »

REHowardfanatic wrote:
mbeacom wrote:I always felt it was that since HP really aren't just physical wounds, but rather, and abstraction, possibly containing many elements, including things like luck, exertion and the like. And so, it was because that had to do with your training and life experience. Certain classes training would allow them to take more punishment. Which also explains why they increase with class level.

The AD&D DMG says this almost word for word.
Well, then the AD&D DMG most likely got it right. ;)
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Re: A question of HD

Post by Fizz »

I think every edition and derivation has claimed that hit points are an abstraction of luck, exertion, etc. If it's meant to be something different it's been given its own name- vitality points, wound points, etc.

But the problem is this notion of hit points gets confused with other factors of the game- most notable Cure spells. It's Cure Light Wounds, not Cure Light Exertion or Restore Hit Points. The usage of the word "wounds" in these spells and the excessive usage of such spells in combat leads to the common conclusion that hit points are primarily wounds.

I sometimes wonder if hit points should be done away with and all damage should be ability damage. Take a nasty slash on the arm, -2 strength. A crushing blow to the chest, -4 constitution, etc.

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Re: A question of HD

Post by DMSamuel »

Fizz wrote:I sometimes wonder if hit points should be done away with and all damage should be ability damage. Take a nasty slash on the arm, -2 strength. A crushing blow to the chest, -4 constitution, etc.
That's how classic Traveller does it (basically) and it was brutal, but very fun (and deadly!).
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Re: A question of HD

Post by alcyone »

Fizz wrote:I
I sometimes wonder if hit points should be done away with and all damage should be ability damage. Take a nasty slash on the arm, -2 strength. A crushing blow to the chest, -4 constitution, etc.

-Fizz
It's that way in Numenera, and pretty much everything you do is fueled by your abilities, so you can expend less and less effort on tasks as you are damaged. So, instead of changing the probability directly, it affects how hard you can try, how much you can put into something. I think it models fatigue pretty well.
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Re: A question of HD

Post by Fizz »

DMSamuel wrote:That's how classic Traveller does it (basically) and it was brutal, but very fun (and deadly!).
Aergraith wrote:It's that way in Numenera, and pretty much everything you do is fueled by your abilities, so you can expend less and less effort on tasks as you are damaged. So, instead of changing the probability directly, it affects how hard you can try, how much you can put into something. I think it models fatigue pretty well.
That sounds very intriguing. I already run a deadly game (very little hit point progression, armor as damage reduction). I wonder how easily the Traveller or Numenera system would convert to C&C. Know of a primer anywhere?

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Re: A question of HD

Post by mbeacom »

Fizz wrote:I think every edition and derivation has claimed that hit points are an abstraction of luck, exertion, etc. If it's meant to be something different it's been given its own name- vitality points, wound points, etc.

But the problem is this notion of hit points gets confused with other factors of the game- most notable Cure spells. It's Cure Light Wounds, not Cure Light Exertion or Restore Hit Points. The usage of the word "wounds" in these spells and the excessive usage of such spells in combat leads to the common conclusion that hit points are primarily wounds.

I sometimes wonder if hit points should be done away with and all damage should be ability damage. Take a nasty slash on the arm, -2 strength. A crushing blow to the chest, -4 constitution, etc.

-Fizz
I never found it confusing. I never saw any contradiction in cure spells with wounds in the name. After all, it only makes sense that our exertion, stamina and efforts would largely be driven by our physical condition. You're not simply tired because you're tired. You're tired because you've overworked muscles through excessive use of force and are beaten and bruised from blocking and parrying and exchanging blows. Wound is a very broad term encompassing physical, mental and even emotional injury and abuse. Some of the HP degradation is physical, sure. Some is often not. But they're closely related. It's beyond the scope of the rules as written to bother with differentiating between the various types of wound because, really who cares unless the story hinges on it. They all bring us a bit closer to swinging our last. Some systems do try to do it. And that's great. I'm not sure that makes the game better. I'm a firm believer that you don't add rules just to add rules. If they don't improve the game, then get rid of them. So, in the case of D&D style games, Cure the physical wounds and the exhaustion and all the other types of wounds that go along with it will be healed as well. The larger the wound, the more impairment of our other abilities. Both realities are reflected in loss of HP. So both types of wound should be healed with cure spells. That's how I see it anyway.
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Re: A question of HD

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mbeacom wrote:I never found it confusing. I never saw any contradiction in cure spells with wounds in the name. After all, it only makes sense that our exertion, stamina and efforts would largely be driven by our physical condition.
I'm not saying you specifically were confused. All i'm saying is that many people do think of hit points as purely physical wounds, and things like Cure spells contribute to that.

The other confusing thing about them is that a light wound and what is a critical wound is relative. A character who starts with 10 hit points and takes 8 is in pretty serious condition- he's 80% spent. But according to Cure Light Wounds those 8 points are a "light" wound. It's only light to a high level character. Another example is the classic phrase "you take 8 points of damage". The word "damage" implies physical harm, even though it's not meant that way.
You're not simply tired because you're tired.
I agree, and i don't have a problem with it. Again, i'm just saying that the genericized concept is not always understood or treated that way.
I'm a firm believer that you don't add rules just to add rules. If they don't improve the game, then get rid of them. So, in the case of D&D style games, Cure the physical wounds and the exhaustion and all the other types of wounds that go along with it will be healed as well. The larger the wound, the more impairment of our other abilities. Both realities are reflected in loss of HP. So both types of wound should be healed with cure spells. That's how I see it anyway.
I agree. In my case, i've been liking to a play a gritty game where jumping into combat is not to be taken lightly. It's dangerous. Hence i've not been really happy with hit points in my recent games. So i have a few house rules to get the effect i want (which does treat them more as purely physical), but i still try to keep it simple. (Basically, i'm using a simplified grim-n-gritty system.)


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Re: A question of HD

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Fizz wrote:
mbeacom wrote:I never found it confusing. I never saw any contradiction in cure spells with wounds in the name. After all, it only makes sense that our exertion, stamina and efforts would largely be driven by our physical condition.
I'm not saying you specifically were confused. All i'm saying is that many people do think of hit points as purely physical wounds, and things like Cure spells contribute to that.

The other confusing thing about them is that a light wound and what is a critical wound is relative. A character who starts with 10 hit points and takes 8 is in pretty serious condition- he's 80% spent. But according to Cure Light Wounds those 8 points are a "light" wound. It's only light to a high level character. Another example is the classic phrase "you take 8 points of damage". The word "damage" implies physical harm, even though it's not meant that way.
I always hear this in forums (usually from people who think HP needs fixing) but I never actually meet these people who think every HP relates to a piece of skin or something. I've met people who WISH it did, who don't like the idea of abstraction, but nobody who actually thinks they already do. Thankfully, every D&D core players rulebook I've ever read has made it clear how HP is supposed to work. If there is honest confusion out there, the best remedy is probably to read the rule books.

With regard to light wounds on low level characters, that always made sense to me too. Low level characters are supposed to be relatively weak in comparison to monsters (at least the way I play the game and the way it seems to make sense). And light "wounds" are enough to take them out of the fight and perhaps even kill them. A light wound on a weaker inexperienced combatant might sever an artery or the exhaustion might give them a heart attack. A light wound on a battle hardened warrior would be laughed at, the exhaustion shrugged off due to intense training and conditioning.

I've always thought damage was a pretty broad term too. It's physical and emotional. Armor gets damaged. Bumps and bruises are clearly damage. Taking a beating is damage. Even if you win the fight and don't get caught with a direct blow, you're gonna be roughed up, ie damaged. People get sued for wrong doing, more use of the word "damages". I think if people are hung up on that word as being purely physical, despite its many normal uses, they're honestly looking for some sort of contradiction.
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Re: A question of HD

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mbeacom wrote:I always hear this in forums (usually from people who think HP needs fixing) but I never actually meet these people who think every HP relates to a piece of skin or something. I've met people who WISH it did, who don't like the idea of abstraction, but nobody who actually thinks they already do. Thankfully, every D&D core players rulebook I've ever read has made it clear how HP is supposed to work. If there is honest confusion out there, the best remedy is probably to read the rule books.
Actually, recent versions of D&D (3E onwards anyways, not sure about 4E) makes the distinction of lethal and non-lethal damage. By default, every weapon does lethal damage, while non-lethal is the rare case. Now if the phrase "lethal damage" doesn't suggest physical damage, then i don't know what does. Non-lethal damage would actually a better indicator of exertion, endurance, etc: effects that may hinder you but won't eventually kill you.

The d20 srd says: Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one.

With so many people playing d20 and Pathfinder, i don't think it's surprising that hit points are often primarily thought of as a measure of physical well-being, because the d20 description sounds pretty focused on the physical to me.

I'm not saying i agree that it should be that way, just why it's more common than you might think.

Off to sleep. In the morning i will check for your citation of the 3e PH to prove me wrong. ;)


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Re: A question of HD

Post by Traveller »

Aergraith wrote:
Treebore wrote:Well, of course, that is true as long as you don't look at certain other D&D games, where they did race instead of class, etc...
In OD&D, everyone had 1d6, and 2e and 3.5 had class HD.

You could argue that race had different HD in Classic D&D, though humans had different HD depending on class, so do you have a d8 HD because you are a dwarf (race) or dwarf (class)?

Also, in 3.5, using something like Savage Species, I think your race determines your HD, but I sold that book and don't recall.
Supplement I: Greyhawk introduced variable hit dice for the classes along with revamped XP chart. OD&D's original system was heavily influenced by Chainmail. Greyhawk is where that influence was reduced. It never was completely removed.

For Basic, you forget that the elf had d6 HD. ;)

Had the variable HD introduced in OD&D Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry been expanded into a full-blown mechanic instead of being limited to demons the question you pose would never have popped up. It took d20 to extend the mechanic to the logical conclusion.

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Re: A question of HD

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Fizz wrote:
mbeacom wrote:I always hear this in forums (usually from people who think HP needs fixing) but I never actually meet these people who think every HP relates to a piece of skin or something. I've met people who WISH it did, who don't like the idea of abstraction, but nobody who actually thinks they already do. Thankfully, every D&D core players rulebook I've ever read has made it clear how HP is supposed to work. If there is honest confusion out there, the best remedy is probably to read the rule books.
Actually, recent versions of D&D (3E onwards anyways, not sure about 4E) makes the distinction of lethal and non-lethal damage. By default, every weapon does lethal damage, while non-lethal is the rare case. Now if the phrase "lethal damage" doesn't suggest physical damage, then i don't know what does. Non-lethal damage would actually a better indicator of exertion, endurance, etc: effects that may hinder you but won't eventually kill you.

The d20 srd says: Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one.

With so many people playing d20 and Pathfinder, i don't think it's surprising that hit points are often primarily thought of as a measure of physical well-being, because the d20 description sounds pretty focused on the physical to me.

I'm not saying i agree that it should be that way, just why it's more common than you might think.

Off to sleep. In the morning i will check for your citation of the 3e PH to prove me wrong. ;)


-Fizz
I'll absolutely agree with you that 3rd edition helped blur the lines by repeatedly contradicting itself. It did so in dozens of ways, adding rules and variations that often seemed to serve little purpose. But really, the quote you gave is sufficient as I understand it.

As I stated before, HP includes physical damage as well as other things. In your quote, this is represented by the words "the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one." So, even in your quote, HP is not limited to raw physical damage. It instead measures an "ability". The ability to take something that might have actually hurt/killed you to something that doesn't. So a you lose HP, you decrease your ability to avoid dangerous damage. This is most easily explained by the efforts you take to avoid being hurt, perhaps through movement, parrying, back and forth trading blows, or luck. Whatever it is your character has an ability with to decrease physical injury. If it were a Paladin for example, the explanation wouldn't be luck, but divine favor. I believe it also says that there is no actual physical effect of HP loss until you reach 0. Which makes it pretty clear, even in 3E/PF that most HP damage is not actually physically debilitating. Loss of HP means you're out of chances. You're down to the point where stuff actually really DOES hurt and kill you. That's the way I see it and while 3E muddies the waters by adding more and more options, it doesn't really change the core of how HP has always worked in my opinion.

Also, "physical punishment" is pretty broad and should certainly include things like exhaustion and getting roughed up from various physical activities that strain ones ability to defend and survive future encounters.
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Re: A question of HD

Post by Fizz »

But really, the quote you gave is sufficient as I understand it.
Ah, but that's because you came from the old-school line of thought first (at least, that is my impression). So your brain already makes that association without the explicit descriptors of "luck", "endurance", "skill", etc. I do the same thing.

Not everyone has come from that background though. I've gamed with young players whose first experience with an rpg is 3e / Pathfinder, and they have always had this confusion about the nature of hit points. I think much of that generation started with those games- never saw the original PH or anything similar.

And if you see any rpg computer game nowadays- what do you see? You see characters simply absorbing sword and axe hit one after another. There is no portrayal of "skill", or "luck" or anyhing of the sort. Kids these days... heh.
As I stated before, HP includes physical damage as well as other things.
I'm not arguing that point. I agree with you on your description. You needn't convince me. :)

My point is simply that the notion of it representing purely physical harm is more prevalent than you might think, thanks to the srd line i quoted, the language used in Cure and Harm spells and the like, the usage of "lethal" vs "non-lethal" damage, etc. Many people treat hit points as a purely physical thing. I'm not saying i agree with it, merely that many people do due to the above. And i can understand why they would think as they do.

Also, i am speaking about the rpg population in general. It would not surprise me if this "confusion" is much lower among C&C players who tend to be more familiar with the old-school feel.


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Re: A question of HD

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Acacius wrote:I wonder why HD was assigned to class and not race. Seems HD as a function of race would make more sense but /shrug maybe I am hallucinating...
HD for PC's determines HP. In the later OD&D & 1st/2nd Ed D&D game paradigm (of which C&C is firmly ensconced), HP above 1st level is NOT that actual physical damage the body can handle. So, race doesn't play a part really.
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Re: A question of HD

Post by Fizz »

Arduin wrote:HD for PC's determines HP. In the later OD&D & 1st/2nd Ed D&D game paradigm (of which C&C is firmly ensconced), HP above 1st level is NOT that actual physical damage the body can handle. So, race doesn't play a part really.
That raises an idea for an interesting mechanic. Perhaps all characters should have 1d8 hit points at first level regardless of class. And only once they advance to 2nd level do they gain class hit points. So a 3rd level wizard would have 1d8+2d4 hit points, while a 5th level figher would have 1d8+4d10 hit points. I like this idea actually...

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Re: A question of HD

Post by serleran »

I like the Gamma World way... a PC begins with xd6 where X is equal to Constitution.

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Re: A question of HD

Post by mbeacom »

Fizz wrote:
But really, the quote you gave is sufficient as I understand it.
Ah, but that's because you came from the old-school line of thought first (at least, that is my impression). So your brain already makes that association without the explicit descriptors of "luck", "endurance", "skill", etc. I do the same thing.

Not everyone has come from that background though. I've gamed with young players whose first experience with an rpg is 3e / Pathfinder, and they have always had this confusion about the nature of hit points. I think much of that generation started with those games- never saw the original PH or anything similar.

And if you see any rpg computer game nowadays- what do you see? You see characters simply absorbing sword and axe hit one after another. There is no portrayal of "skill", or "luck" or anyhing of the sort. Kids these days... heh.
As I stated before, HP includes physical damage as well as other things.
I'm not arguing that point. I agree with you on your description. You needn't convince me. :)

My point is simply that the notion of it representing purely physical harm is more prevalent than you might think, thanks to the srd line i quoted, the language used in Cure and Harm spells and the like, the usage of "lethal" vs "non-lethal" damage, etc. Many people treat hit points as a purely physical thing. I'm not saying i agree with it, merely that many people do due to the above. And i can understand why they would think as they do.

Also, i am speaking about the rpg population in general. It would not surprise me if this "confusion" is much lower among C&C players who tend to be more familiar with the old-school feel.


-Fizz
I think the strongest point you make is that of video games. In that context, I can very much see a confusion as one transitions into RPGs. Because, even though one need not read far into most any D&D rulebook (even 3E) to see HP clearly defined as "an abstraction", that's definitely not obvious in modern video games (where all the balancing math is happening behind the scenes). In video games a loss of HP (or life meter) has to be represented by something. And the clear choice in video games has been to represent that with physically damaging contact or with blood splatter etc. So, in that, then yes, I can categorically agree with you. But the answer isn't to make mechanics match the depiction in video games (and maybe you're not saying it is). The answer is, IMO, to encourage more exploration of the rules and understanding of how RPGs work and how they need to work. And yes, my recommendation would be to read the old school sources, including C&C. :)
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-Someone

Treebore
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Re: A question of HD

Post by Treebore »

I actually had to house rule how C&C defines HP back to how the 1E DMG defines HP.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

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