Starting HPs for New Characters

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Aladar
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Starting HPs for New Characters

Post by Aladar »

I have found that after a couple of sessions of running C&C that the PCs seemed to be brought down to "zero" HPs pretty quickly just from a few blows (if not just one in the case of the party Wizard). Even with maxed first level hit points.

Have the rest of you experienced this problem?

I am thinking about either starting out the PCs, NPC, and Monsters with HPs equal to their CON plus their first hit die (with CON bonus). But this could lead to a lot of HPs for a first level fighter for example.

Or...

Do a racial bonus at first level as suggested in the Pathfinder RPG, i.e. d4 for "frail" races (elves and such), d6 for the "normal" races (humans & half elves), and d8 for the hardier races (dwarves & half orcs). But with no CON bonus for the racial hit die.

How do the rest of you handle Hit Points for starting characters?

May be I should just fudge the to hit rolls every once in a while, or stress that the party needs to use better tactics when fighting.
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Post by serleran »

I stress knowing when to retreat, and what battles to fight. Also, how they are fought.

Death comes easily in C&C - good thing it doesn't take long to create a new PC.

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Post by trollwad1 »

I do it this way:

Characters with a con prime or fighters, barbarians, monks, rangers, and paladins receive minimum hp at level one only equal to one half of their constitution score. In other words, their hp = max(die roll + con mod; 1/2 con score).

Other characters receive minimum hp at level one only equal to one third of their constitution score.

If you do the math, fighter-types basically will get effective minimum hp at L1 = 4 or 5 and the average will be high single digits.

Wizards, thieves, clerics etc will get effective minimum hp at L1=3 or so.

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Post by Go0gleplex »

My groups have always been given their first level HD max hp plus Con bonus. And believe me...they need it.
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Re: Starting HPs for New Characters

Post by Zebulon »

Aladar wrote:
as suggested in the Pathfinder RPG, i.e. d4 for "frail" races (elves and such), d6 for the "normal" races (humans & half elves), and d8 for the hardier races (dwarves & half orcs). But with no CON bonus for the racial hit die.

Having taken inspiration from it, I give d6 + Con wound points to gnomes and halflings, d8 + con to elves, humans and dwarves, and d10 to half-orcs. Then class hp are considered vitality points. Vitality hit points are recovered silmilar as in d20, while Wound hp are recovered much slower (1 per full 24h of care and rest). Now, for each wound hp lost, the character suffers a -1 cumulative penalty to hit. Zero level characters (be they humans or orcs) only get wound hp, not vitality points. A basic orce raider would have 10 hp, 5 are vitality points and 5 wound points. In losing wound points they also suffer penalties, except I somewhat handwave it to not lose time with tedious bookkeeping.
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Post by Omote »

I kind of stress the same points as Serleran to my players.

However, we have tinkered with all sorts of systems. Maximum HPs at 1st level seems to be the most popular, followed by max HP @ 1st level = CON. With this second method I gave all of the monsters a 10 HP kicker to even things out a bit.

Currently we are playing by the good ole' roll n' go method. Every PC rolls for HP every level, deal with it.
Max HPs at first level seems to be the least invasive of the few that we have tried though.

-O
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Post by Matthew »

I set hit points at a full hit die at level one. If players insist on constantly havinf their characters enter deadly combat, or otherwise put themselves at ptential risk, then the risks are plain. If that is the mode they want to play in, then it's probably better to start at a higher level and make the challenges less deadly.
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Post by Aladar »

I was already allowing max HP at first level. They are a militant group though and like to enter combat at any chance they get. I guess I will just help nudge them in the right direction to avoid them getting taken out too quickly.

Thanks for the advice guys.
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Re: Starting HPs for New Characters

Post by gideon_thorne »

Aladar wrote:
I have found that after a couple of sessions of running C&C that the PCs seemed to be brought down to "zero" HPs pretty quickly just from a few blows (if not just one in the case of the party Wizard). Even with maxed first level hit points.

Have the rest of you experienced this problem?

Yes its called "Know when to not fight". See, the biggest problem I see is a lot of people seem to expect XP only when they have killed the targets of a given encounter. I award exactly the same XP for defeating an encounter, even if the characters sneak around it, as I would for the more direct action method. Maybe even slightly more if the players are creative about it.

Best way to avoid being hit, don't be there when the blow falls. This avoids the need to come up with 50 different ways to increase HP at early levels. ^_^
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Post by Go0gleplex »

Or if they can accomplish the goal by being excessively creative, a bonus to xp may be gained.

Such as the one time I was running as part of a group and we were tasked with harvesting a LOT of wheat acreage by the end of the day. It was looking like we would fail, when our cleric (I think it was) used his "Giant Insect" spell to grow a couple large beetle harvesters. He had them cut it and we came in behind to stack the bundles. It was close, but we made it and the GM was seriously amused/impressed by the creativeness.
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Post by Lord Stinger »

I have always given max hp at first level. A group of first level adventurers may seem cocky going into a battle, but if they dont think about backing off, attack strategy, or just plain retreating, then that is the players fault/learning curve.

I rarely ever give breaks to veteran players when starting over at L1

I almost always give breaks to new players until they get a feel for the game. Unless they get an attitude, then I crush them!!
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Re: Starting HPs for New Characters

Post by seskis281 »

gideon_thorne wrote:
Yes its called "Know when to not fight". See, the biggest problem I see is a lot of people seem to expect XP only when they have killed the targets of a given encounter. I award exactly the same XP for defeating an encounter, even if the characters sneak around it, as I would for the more direct action method. Maybe even slightly more if the players are creative about it.

Best way to avoid being hit, don't be there when the blow falls. This avoids the need to come up with 50 different ways to increase HP at early levels. ^_^

My players learned this.... they were on the Isle of Dread, and the sounds of a large beastie (little tremors in the earth a la Jurassic Park) made them acutely aware of the danger.... and concocted a plan to trick the dino to go in a different direction so they wouldn't have to engage... gave them the XP as if they'd killed it.
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Post by Deogolf »

I give max HP at 1st level. After that, it's "you get what you roll".

If the party has to learn the hard way, so be it! Being an adventurer means you could die at any moment. If they don't like that, they can stay home and be a grocer (or whatever weakling thing they want to be ).
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Post by Julian Grimm »

I use the Pathfinder method on HP's. It doesn't break things and the players can go a bit more at first level than they could otherwise.
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Post by serleran »

There is a trend, it seems, in game design these last few years that "bigger is better." One needs higher bonuses, larger numbers, and so forth... this is simply not the case. Increase one, increase them all - if the point is to make "heroes" that can withstand a few shots, rather than just one lucky kobold knife to the head, there are lots of ways of doing it, without even modifying HPs or even using them. For example, you can give a character a save vs X when they take a lethal attack - failure results in normal result, but success results in not dying (stuck at 0 HP, for example.) Also, death is not immediate in C&C. There are negative HPs, with death coming, I believe, at -10... personally, I don't like it - should just give +10 HP and have death at 0.

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Post by Omote »

Here is another interesting approach I had considered numerous times.

Starting HP = CON attribute #

Every level, each class gains a fixed # of HP based on class HD. For example:

d4 = +2 HP / level

d6 = +3 HP / level

d8 = +4 HP / level

d10 = +5 HP / level

d10 = +6 HP / level

Per each level do not add CON modifier because of the substantially larger amout of HP gained upon character creation.

OR if you want to add a CON modifier per level, halve (rounding down) the fixed amount of HP per level. In this example, the minimum # of HP gained each level is 1 (or 0 if you like) regardless of CON modifier.

-O
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Post by Treebore »

You know, I take the hero approach to my games, so if I was to give fixed HP's I would give max, not average. Average would be for the NPC's.
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Post by Foxroe »

If your players are getting their keisters handed to them on a regular basis, then either the encounter was too much for a party of the given level, or they aren't being careful about how they handle each encounter.

I give max HP at first level (NPC's too!), then they're on their own. Once the players have lost a character or two, they learn. I know I did!
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Post by Jason »

1 hit point. Period. That's plenty for beginning characters.

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Post by jman5000 »

1st level is supposed to be brutally darwinian both for the characters AND for the players. If you don't learn how to work as a team, when to pick a fight and when to run, or how to use the environment to your advantage, then you deserve to be hosed.

Kill em enough, and they will learn.

or they will go on to play pansy games that require a 4th edition and 200HP's at first level
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Post by Rhuvein »

For young or new players or in an online game, I like max HPs + CON bonus.

For veterans, I think I'd like to go with the dice for HP rolls - same for char gen - BtB.

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Post by Treebore »

I've had this weird experience where players enjoy it when their characters survive, so I do what I can to allow that. I give them max HP's at first, good HP's per level, and I use luck points and God Calls.

The hard part for the CK is to keep them alive so you can beat them up some more. A CK can kill PC's pretty much any time they want. Which is ideally never, just get them close. Its hard to control those dice rolls.
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Post by Julian Grimm »

One reason I upped the starting HP's in my game was that the players can do more at 1st level. Face it, a 4 hp wizard isn't going to do much if anything and in the end one fight leads to the endless cycle of heal,rest, fight, heal, rest, fight. It gets old after the 400th time. I don't see a problem with upping the sweet spot to have a bit more fun especially when you don't get to play often.
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Post by Treebore »

Heck, I raise the sweet spot and I play several times per week.
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Post by Julian Grimm »

I envy you.
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Post by Aladar »

JG,

That is the problem, the old fight one battle-heal-fight again-heal cycle at beginning levels. Like I said earlier, it wouldn't so bad if they wouldn't charge directly into every battle head-on. I guess I am just going to have to guide them in proper tactics until they get higher in level.

A lot of this I think has to with their old mentality from our old ICE HARP campaign, where is was engage and crit the bad guys before they could do the same to you.

Anyway, I think for now I am just going to stick with max hit points at first level, rather starting over with adding new/more HPs.
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Post by Treebore »

This is my little blurb in my house rules document for rolling HP's after first level.

Hit Points: Max Hp's at first level. d4 HD reroll 1's, d6 and d8 reroll all 1's and 2's, d10 and d12 reroll 1-3's. You can also ask me about "take the CK's roll" before you roll for your HP.
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Post by Go0gleplex »

I'll let them re-roll 1's for the first four levels worth of HD after first...after that...read 'em as they roll. That's as nice as I get. *L*
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Post by serleran »

One time, I allowed characters to start with Constitution + Max of HD (no Constitution modifier). At level 2, they got Con modifier (or 1), only. At level 3, they got HD + Con modifier (minimum of 1.) It worked OK, and gave them a false sense of "I can take this," which, of course, they could have if they hadn't just rushed in and took several shots from crossbow traps... but, whatever. I think giving HP gives players an excuse to play dumb - reduce their HP and they get scared, and make smarter plays. I think I'll be reducing all rolled HP by half for a while - see how that goes. ;)

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Post by jamesmishler »

A couple of options:
PC's Only (Very Radical): 1/2Con * HD + Con Mod at 1st level (round down Con), characters get Con bonus per level thereafter until they hit the level after 1/2Con, at which point they accrue HD + Con bonus normally to 10th level. Average 1st level wizard has 5d4 hp, typical 1st level fighter has 5d10 hp, average character starts getting regular hit dice at 6th level. A 1st level cleric with 15 Con would have 7d8+1 HP at 1st level, gain 1 HP per level through 7th to have 7d8+7 HP at 7th level, then 8d8+8 at 8th level, and so on.

This heavily front-loads PCs on hit points at low levels, but at high levels they have no more hit points than normal.
Con Soak: Use hit dice and hit points as normal, but when characters fall to 0 hit points, damage accrues to Constitution rather than continuing into negatives. Characters take 1 point of Con damage per die of damage suffered, with a d10 or d12 counting as two points and each +4 to damage counting as a die of damage, i.e., an attack dealing 2d6+6 points of damage would deal 3 points of Con damage rather than the normal roll. When Con is reduced to zero, the character dies. Every time a character suffers Con damage, he must make a Con check or fall unconscious. Con recovers at the rate of 1 point per three days of bed rest, or can be healed at a rate of 1 point per die of healing.
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