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Old 07-01-2020, 11:25 AM   #1
b-dog
 
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Default Is there a way to have mental Hit Points with DF?

I get it that Dungeon Fantasy is just about physical combat. I think that is why there is a Hit Point system so that your PC can attack monsters but gets reduced in power as he gets hit it return. The Hit Point system makes combat fun because you must conserve your Hit points while you fight. If the Hit Points get low then the PC must drink a potion of Healing, get a Healing spell or retreat. The PC does not just die with one strike unless it is an extremely powerful monster. The PC also gets a chance to defend too.

But when the PC is exposed to an Eldritch horror from beyond he just rolls dice and if he succeeds he is ok but if he fails he is unplayable. The same is true for a charm person spell, the PC rolls and if he succeeds he resists and if he fails the PC is unplayable. The same is true for terror from undead and demons.

So in the mind attack situation it is very boring. Succeed or fail. If the physical combat was like this then nobody would want to play DF at all. It would just come down to one roll.

Is there a way to have a hit point system for DF so that mental attacks would be fun and the PCs would have some defense and maybe some attrition time before they become unplayable? Or is there another way to have terror attacks and mental attacks that are as fun to play as the Hit Point system is? Or is that just beyond to ability of GURPS to handle?
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: Is there a way to have mental Hit Points with DF?

If you look at Fantastic Dungeon Grappling by Douglas Cole, there is a system that adds that level of granularity to grappling with a new mechanic called Control Points, which is basically HP for grapples. It is a simplified version of the rules he wrote in GURPS Technical Grappling. You could use that as a basis to add a mental control or sanity system. You could have your mental hp equivalent based on IQ or Will, and have the various spells and attacks have effects based on how much mental damage they do.

I don’t think it’s necessary as the dungeon fantasy is about heroes doing heroic things, and complex mental health tracking is more appropriate for horror than hack and slash.
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Old 07-01-2020, 11:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is there a way to have mental Hit Points with DF?

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Originally Posted by Imbicatus View Post

complex mental health tracking is more appropriate for horror than hack and slash.
Pretty much this.



The dungeon fantasy genre is about as far from the horror genre as you can get. The Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game is pulled from GURPS – which supports both of those genres and all the others, and which has optional rules everything (e.g., you can find the equivalent of "mental HP" on pp. 141-142 of GURPS Horror) – and keeps only the parts that pertain to the dungeon fantasy genre. That genre is about Big Damn Heroes who, when faced with horrific monsters, fight them, destroy them, and take their stuff; it isn't about madness, fragility, and terror. Consider, for instance, what Exploits has to say about disease:
Battling severe illness is a heroic struggle, but Dungeon Fantasy is about battles involving swords and sorcery. Though plagues resembling the real world's harshest, most life-altering sicknesses might ravage NPCs – sending the PCs on quests to find cures and save the day – the role of ailments contracted by delvers is to heighten the challenges of adventuring. Heroes certainly face disability and death . . . they just don't waste away in bed!
That's a big change from GURPS, which has to support lots of genres, including ones where falling ill and perishing are important.

The Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game quite logically treats mental illness exactly the same way. In fact, since physical disease makes at least some sense as an attack for sewer rats or rotting undead, the game covers that it more detail than it does mental illness. As the rules also say:
Brave dungeon delvers don't have to roll when they encounter most monsters – even horrors like the walking dead – or "creepy" places, objects, or events (such as tombs, shrunken heads, and rains of blood). For professional adventurers, that stuff is just part of the job.
Those who want that stuff should probably buy GURPS, which includes rules for it all. Including that in the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game would be a bit like including rules for car chases or winning political campaigns there: You could do it, but it would be badly out of genre.
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Old 07-01-2020, 01:37 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is there a way to have mental Hit Points with DF?

So there is no way to make terror and mental attacks fun and exciting? A it is now the PC is put out of operation by failing to resist a charm person spell or failing a terror roll. I hope there is some GURPS Dungeon Fantasy book that incorporates horror into it.
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Old 07-01-2020, 01:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is there a way to have mental Hit Points with DF?

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So there is no way to make terror and mental attacks fun and exciting? A it is now the PC is put out of operation by failing to resist a charm person spell or failing a terror roll.
Yes, that's how it works in old-school games: You get a "saving throw," and if you fail, you pay. Many feel that's a welcome contrast to marking off a resource, because it means not everything is simply "other hit points": Some effects deplete a resource, others inflict status effects; some allow uncontested rolls to avoid, others involve resistance. Variety is good.

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I hope there is some GURPS Dungeon Fantasy book that incorporates horror into it.
Perhaps there may one day be a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy supplement on horror . . . but the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game forum wouldn't be where to discuss that. Two different games. That would be topical for the GURPS forum.
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is there a way to have mental Hit Points with DF?

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Yes, that's how it works in old-school games: You get a "saving throw," and if you fail, you pay. Many feel that's a welcome contrast to marking off a resource, because it means not everything is simply "other hit points": Some effects deplete a resource, others inflict status effects; some allow uncontested rolls to avoid, others involve resistance. Variety is good.

Perhaps there may one day be a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy supplement on horror . . . but the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game forum wouldn't be where to discuss that. Two different games. That would be topical for the GURPS forum.
Fair enough. This should be on the GURPS board. But here is a case where mental hit points might seem fair. Imagine a dungeon cave with siren harpies that sing a charm spell. What if the siren song just weakened the PCs mental hit points when they heard it? They do not cause a Will roll which the PCs will always win, instead the siren song reduced the mental hit points of the PCs as the PCs try to kill the the sirens. So there is an urgency to defeating the sirens as quickly as possible otherwise the PCs become charmed slaves. And the PCs would have to recover their mental hit points before the next monster too.
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is there a way to have mental Hit Points with DF?

That's extra resource tracking. It's really a pain. The goal of the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game was to reduce the number of painful rules, not to add more. As I said, it's a discussion for GURPS. It's far more in keeping with old-school fantasy gaming simply to have "save or suck" effects that you can settle quickly, ideally with a single roll, and then forget about once they expire.
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is there a way to have mental Hit Points with DF?

If you want something like mental hit points without tracking additional resources, just let people spend fatigue to resist effects. i.e. "If you fail to resist, you must pay X fatigue or suffer effect Y". This makes a lot of powers much worse, though.
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Is there a way to have mental Hit Points with DF?

Hmm... extra rule. Pay 1 FP to to get a +2 bonus to any Will roll, Fright Check, etc? Sound fair?
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Old 07-01-2020, 03:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: Is there a way to have mental Hit Points with DF?

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Hmm... extra rule. Pay 1 FP to to get a +2 bonus to any Will roll, Fright Check, etc? Sound fair?
Not unless a bunch of powers get a penalty to resistance.
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