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Old 02-27-2021, 12:13 PM   #61
kenclary
 
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Default Re: Hit Points...to be, or not to be?

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Originally Posted by MrFix View Post
And of course, any system can be gamed and optimized for, so you can always try freeform injury, but it'll add arguments and confusion to your game as people who did spend points on 17 HT will demand leeway in their survival chances. Or, again, consider not playing a game of deep.roleplay with optimizers and super rational decision makers.
It's not like "super rational" is never a valid type of character to play, anyway.

(Also, don't the stat normalizers still frown on HT over 14?)
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Old 02-27-2021, 01:44 PM   #62
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Default Re: Hit Points...to be, or not to be?

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Originally Posted by kenclary View Post
It's not like "super rational" is never a valid type of character to play, anyway.
Super rationality is in effect metagame unless your character has ETS and Lightning Calculator, and succeeds on multiple rolls to actually arrive to a super rational decision. If there's a lack of these traits on character sheet, and PC still displays ability to instantly calculate the odds and take the super rational approach, that's bad play.

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(Also, don't the stat normalizers still frown on HT over 14?)
Why? Beyond the not-die not-fall-asleep march-real-fast utility, it's responsible for Basic Speed as well. If you can afford it, take it.
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Old 02-27-2021, 02:47 PM   #63
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Default Re: Hit Points...to be, or not to be?

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Why? Beyond the not-die not-fall-asleep march-real-fast utility, it's responsible for Basic Speed as well. If you can afford it, take it.
I'm not sure why stat normalizers were brought into discussion, but they're more or less defined by discouraging buying high stats on an 'if you can afford it/if it's economical' stance.
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Old 02-27-2021, 04:10 PM   #64
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Default Re: Hit Points...to be, or not to be?

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The issue is that you can't exactly ditch HP without replacing it with a different metric for damage and health.
Robert O'Connor, who is a medical doctor, wrote a series of posts for the Traveller Mailing List in the early 2000's, with the expressed intent of doing away with hit points. His solution was to combine hit location and weapons damage (reduced or altered by armor) to arrive at a qualitative assessment of wound severity:

Superficial
Mild
Moderate
Severe
Lethal
Destroyed

These levels would determine the degree of impairment, including loss of consciousness and rate of progressive worsening without effective treatment.

He has posted a revised version of his original system on Freelance Traveller, but there's a lot of Traveller jargon involved.


Traveller's Striker wargame used a (mostly) logarithmic scale for comparing weapon effect and armor, and then rolled on a single table for damage:

None
Light
Serious
Death

Light wounds mostly force morale results: the higher the troop quality, the more Light wounds they can endure before becoming combat ineffective. There is also a small cumulative penalty to actions, which can add up for elite troops (who never reach the morale threshold).

Serious wounds render the figure combat ineffective on the spot, but they can be saved and returned to duty after the battle. "A result of death removes a soldier from play, not surprisingly."

If "mooks" are at the level of recruits or non-combatants, a single Light wound takes them out of action. Regulars can take two, while veterans can take three. The only nod to player characters is that they are treated as elite for wounding (i.e., can keep going with any number of Light wounds). A more detailed system might impose Will rolls for this to be true.

This system seems to reflect the reality of combat narratives I've read, and gets to the central issues without a lot of fluff. I've adapted a version of it for the rules-light Traveller clone I use for convention games.
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Old 02-27-2021, 09:28 PM   #65
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Default Re: Hit Points...to be, or not to be?

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Originally Posted by thrash View Post
Robert O'Connor, who is a medical doctor, wrote a series of posts for the Traveller Mailing List in the early 2000's, with the expressed intent of doing away with hit points. His solution was to combine hit location and weapons damage (reduced or altered by armor) to arrive at a qualitative assessment of wound severity:

Superficial
Mild
Moderate
Severe
Lethal
Destroyed

These levels would determine the degree of impairment, including loss of consciousness and rate of progressive worsening without effective treatment.

He has posted a revised version of his original system on Freelance Traveller, but there's a lot of Traveller jargon involved.


Traveller's Striker wargame used a (mostly) logarithmic scale for comparing weapon effect and armor, and then rolled on a single table for damage:

None
Light
Serious
Death

Light wounds mostly force morale results: the higher the troop quality, the more Light wounds they can endure before becoming combat ineffective. There is also a small cumulative penalty to actions, which can add up for elite troops (who never reach the morale threshold).

Serious wounds render the figure combat ineffective on the spot, but they can be saved and returned to duty after the battle. "A result of death removes a soldier from play, not surprisingly."

If "mooks" are at the level of recruits or non-combatants, a single Light wound takes them out of action. Regulars can take two, while veterans can take three. The only nod to player characters is that they are treated as elite for wounding (i.e., can keep going with any number of Light wounds). A more detailed system might impose Will rolls for this to be true.

This system seems to reflect the reality of combat narratives I've read, and gets to the central issues without a lot of fluff. I've adapted a version of it for the rules-light Traveller clone I use for convention games.
This literally reads like HP with extra steps. Since there are 6 stages of being damaged, we can easily just display it as 7/7 where 7 is fully healthy. Since quality of troop determined how many light wounds they can sustain, that too becomes a number.

And since they have number of light wounds to sustain, we can subtract each light attack from this number to arrive to... HP loss.

We're still comparing character's survivability against weapon damage and we still deplete it linearly from healthy to wounded to dead. We just refuse to put a number to it.

Now, unless the system explicitly allows GM to set wound quality as arbitrary, a weak man with a short knifr would seldom instakill anyone, and thus OP's issue with HP is not resolved.
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Old 02-27-2021, 09:38 PM   #66
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Default Re: Hit Points...to be, or not to be?

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This literally reads like HP with extra steps. Since there are 6 stages of being damaged, we can easily just display it as 7/7 where 7 is fully healthy. Since quality of troop determined how many light wounds they can sustain, that too becomes a number.
Except I believe hit points accumulate linearly whereas wounded status would work differently. I doubt they'd be saying that 3 superficial wounds are equivalent to 1 severe wound, whereas that's how hit points work.
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:34 AM   #67
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Default Re: Hit Points...to be, or not to be?

Arguably the problem isn't hit points at all, it's low damage randomness. Phoenix Command (unplayable system, but...) handled the cumulativeness of damage by just making it so shooting someone might do 10 damage, or it might do 5,000 damage, depending where you hit.
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:38 AM   #68
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Default Re: Hit Points...to be, or not to be?

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And since they have number of light wounds to sustain, we can subtract each light attack from this number to arrive to... HP loss.

We're still comparing character's survivability against weapon damage and we still deplete it linearly from healthy to wounded to dead. We just refuse to put a number to it.

Now, unless the system explicitly allows GM to set wound quality as arbitrary, a weak man with a short knifr would seldom instakill anyone, and thus OP's issue with HP is not resolved.
No, because no amount of light wounds is actually equal to a serious one, though it's true that you could consider 'light wound capacity' to be 'hit 'points'.

And the thing is, that weak man with a short knife isn't 'likely' to kill someone, but they're still probably going to kill them by 'getting lucky' and getting a 'kill' result (or a 'serious' and putting the victim out of the fight) before they drop them via light wounds.

A variant of this was the Traveller 2300/2300AD method. People could take any number of light wounds, which knocked you down and cost you initiative (so the more you took, the slower you got). They had a certain number of shock points they could take before going unconscious and a certain amount more before they died ("hit points!" you say - well maybe, but I never someone die from them). However, hits to the head or chest had a chance (which could equal 100%, and often did if you weren't armoured) of simply killing you. A knife probably would put you on the ground from shock before it killed you, even from a string of head/chest wounds, but you'd really not want to bet on it.

NPCs had a limit on how much damage they could take based on combat quality. Unsurprising given the designers were the same that wrote Traveler and Striker.
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:40 AM   #69
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Default Re: Hit Points...to be, or not to be?

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Arguably the problem isn't hit points at all, it's low damage randomness. Phoenix Command (unplayable system, but...) handled the cumulativeness of damage by just making it so shooting someone might do 10 damage, or it might do 5,000 damage, depending where you hit.
Back in the day my group tried it. We concluded that Rolemaster or Spacemaster were probably as realistic at the core, faster to play, and a lot more flavourful and fun.
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:02 AM   #70
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Default Re: Hit Points...to be, or not to be?

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Ever since reading a scene in Elantris where a character was unable to heal a deep wound with his weak healing magic (the magic would just heal the surface damage, and then the wound would simply reopen and keep bleeding), I've felt it would be interesting to implement something in GURPS that made magical healing more difficult based on wound severity, rather than just meaning you can chip away at it with lesser healing effects (so you need a particularly potent potion, for example, rather than just being able to chug a quart of the weak stuff).
GURPS Third Edition (Revised) beat you to it.

Compendium II, pages 154-157 features I'm Not Dead Yet! An Optional Wound System by John M. Ford. Originally, it appeared in in Roleplayer 16. The first section, titled Specific Injuries, introduced the idea of injuries being tracked separately to GURPS. Note that the total HP loss still mattered for things like seeing whether your character passed out from their injuries, death checks, etc. What changed was "wound care": the injuries are still recorded and tracked separately, including what it takes for them to heal.

In the next section, Advanced Healing System, we get to something at least resembling what it is you were looking for. In terms of damage taken, by a human with 20 or less HP, it breaks down injuries by the damage taken:
  • Superficial Wounds (1)
  • Light Wounds (1 to 3)
  • Serious Wounds (4 to 8)
  • Critical Wounds (9+)

The rest of the article details how this affects recovery (Natural, Medical Care, Healing Spells, and Psionic Healing). Relevant to your Elantris example, Minor Healing and Major Healing are revised, with Critical Healing added in because spells can only handle wounds of a specified severity and lower, with no effects on wounds of a higher severity. Limitations are presented for Psionic Healing if your power can only treat wounds of a particular severity. Most of the time, you cannot heal multiple injuries in a single attempt.

My high school group actually tried these rules out. The added bookkeeping could be a pain, but overall, we liked the results. We did add one change; instead of having absolutely no effect, or a functionally useless effect, we allowed weaker Healing Spells to have an incredibly minor effect. So, even if it was a Critical Injury, you could use Minor Healing to stop the bleeding and seal the wound with fragile scar tissue. As in, "Wherever we cast the spell, you have to lie there until something else can be done."

It was a bit more detailed than that, but I don't remember the specifics. If it sounds too generous, this trick was ultimately inferior to no-roll-required bandaging of the wound. When you don't have any bandages, but could still experience downtime, it could be a literal lifesaver. Oh, and maybe we did it wrong, but you were allowed to mix and match methods of healing. Indeed, that was arguably the "smart approach": save the healing Spells for during combat, or other times you couldn't receive First Aid treatment. If your receiving full medical care, save the magic for the final step; let your physician properly treat the wounds, reducing their severity first.
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