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Old 02-25-2021, 11:07 AM   #1
Lameth
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Hit Points...to be, or not to be?

I just watched an interesting video on D&D and the concept of perhaps "are hit points outdated?"

In the video it brought up examples of things like:

The party is given the choice of the crime boss's knife against the throat of the young hostage and they leave, or she dies. Or the possessed nobleman being forced to kill himself in front of the crowd with a crossbow to his own head. Or the hero waking to a knife to his throat and if he moves, he dies. Or that rogue sneaks behind the sleeping guard and slits hit throat.

In most RPGs the Hit Points are a factor of how much you can live through, and how much you can take. So to often the heroes may look at the crime boss and just attack, knowing that they can take him out, and then get to the girl well before she takes enough damage to die. Or that nobleman can only take maybe 1d4 (its D&D in this case) to the head, and then even if you x2 it or x5 it!!, the odds that 10th level fighter noble will die instantly as the story says he should is very low, and with a simple healing spell of a few points its "oh hes fine, no problem everyone!".

Yes in GURPS there are critical hits, vitals, and so on, but even with that things can go off the story and come down to numbers., which is against the purpose of a story, tension, drama, and role playing.

If you needed that PC to know that if you do this, that NPC woman's throat will be cut and no matter how fast you think you are in combat, she will die. Yes she has a HT of 8, and yes she can go down to x5 before auto death, and yes she will be making health rolls for death, but no...if you press the bad guy blood will flow. Or when the PC walks into the dark room and from behind they hear the light click of the gun to their back...if you move you will not just take 2d6 to vitals, no, you may take maybe x4 or x5!!, and its automatically a major wound and stunning and so forth, due to you not being prepared for the attack and are at a disadvantage in this.

If there is no sense of danger or automatic crippling or death in those rare movie drama moments, and a simple healing spell or a fast compress to the throat can stop any tension, then what is the best middle ground?

No im not looking for auto death of the PCs, but to give a higher sense that there is true danger outside of your hit points pool totals, and the death rolls with a 16 that you will always make. Giving more sense of danger to dangerous dramatic situations and a sense of dread and allowing PCs to see past "well I have a potential pool of 55, and that arrow can only do 8 or maybe 16, and my HT is a 15, so ya ill charge the guy and take the arrow aimed at me by the sniper, if needed, screw it, ill be fine". Where these are not my players most times, im sure in any game this happens.

So as a die hard GURPS GM for decades I was wondering do any of you have rules built in for when the story says death, or near to it should just happen, period, and hit points have nothing to do with it? Or if that PC is shot from the back by surprise they are going down, or that sleeping guard getting his throat cut is dead, period.

Last edited by Lameth; 02-25-2021 at 11:10 AM.
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