TJS

Legendary Member
Joined
May 5, 2018
Messages
1,320
Reaction score
2,402
I've long sense made short rests way shorter even without using that concept. Like 10 minutes. It's just easier to handle in play.

Also if you wanted it to be more flexible in when you take your short rest, just add an ability of "Take a short rest as a single action, this ability refreshes on a long rest" to all characters.
That's sort of what I'm doing right now.

Long rests = 36 hours in a safe location.
Short rest = overnight

But once per long rest a short rest can be taken for free.

(This last one gives me and the party a bit more freedom to vary the daily structure of encounters.)
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
2,869
Reaction score
5,334
@Brock Savage - that's an interesting take. One thing I really like is how he organically ties hunger, thirst and fatigue to exhaustion. That's pretty elegant. It might be a hair more book keeping than I'd like, but it's still awesome. I don't like the stress mechanic as much. He's treating it essentially as a condition, and it's purely negative (and a lot of book keeping). When I'm talking about a stress mechanic I'm indexing something more like the Alien RPG, or Blades in the Dark, where stress functions almost like a metacurrency, with some upfront benefits balanced by long term problems. Worth reading though, there's some good stuff in there generally, and I like it enough to give it the cover to cover treatment.
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
Yeah I'm also a huge fan of the Alien RPG stress mechanic too @Fenris-77 . I was wondering the same thing about porting it to 5e.

Could it be as simple as a tally of +1s? Each stress bonus adds to your rolls, but if a (unmodified) result ends up with a number equal to or less than the number of Stress points you have, you have to roll on the Panic table (just like in Alien). Maybe there's a limit (ie, if you get up to +5 or something, you have to roll on the Panic table regardless of success or failure or something.

There are likely some glaring issues with this. Someone could end up with a +4 bonus that lasts the entire night (lucky streak).

Or maybe, as in the DMG, each character has a Stress stat (generated like the other Attributes), and that ties in somehow?
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
2,869
Reaction score
5,334
I realized that what I wanted wasn't specifically a stress mechanic, but rather a push mechanic that could take the form of stress, as it does in Alien, or be described some other way. An idea I had last night was to call it fatigue and tie it into exhaustion levels. So a character can take a fatigue point to add, IDK, +2 to a roll, or whatever. At certain points on the fatigue track penalties accrue, up to eventual exhaustion levels. I think this would work particularly well in games that are running an OSR feeling inventory system and actually tracking food, water, and whatnot, the lack of which could also generate fatigue. I couldn't think of way to have bonuses that carry over a whole session that I was happy with, and settled on one time bonuses instead as more manageable for the d20 system.

I'm not married to that +2 number above, that was just what popped into my head. The actual bonus would have to weighed against the size of the fatigue track and the seriousness of the penalties that accrue from fatigue. Risk vs reward.
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
Ah yes I see what you mean (ie, more of a PUSH mechanic, rather than stress, specifically).

My brain's working away on ideas....
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
On another note, for my theoretical "Wizards as only caster class" setting, I'm looking at making Turn Undead into an actual spell.

In LotFP, Raggi made it into a spell that got stronger with Cleric level. It's all based on hit dice. I won't get into the exact mechanics here, but essentially, the closest equivalent to this would be the Sleep spell.

The 5e Sleep spell works by rolling a pile of d8s. The total is the number of creatures affected, determined by subtracting their HP from the total. If you roll 25, and you cast it on a group of monsters with 10 hp each, 2 of them would fall asleep (the remaining 5 HP wouldn't count).

When used at a higher caster level, you get to roll more d8s.

I could see this working splendidly as a Turn Undead, or even Turn Demons spell. The Clerics turn ability is limited to only a few times every rest, and can eventually destroy weaker undead.

By making it into a spell, the caster can use it more frequently, but it will never destroy any of the creatures. That might actually be enough as a trade.

I like this as the idea of the Caster being able to ward off evil creatures. Perhaps they get extra dice to their pool on certain conditions:

- wielding a Holy symbol or powerful talisman, wand etc...
- creating a protective circle of runes or whatever first
- knowing the creatures True Name

What do you think?
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
2,869
Reaction score
5,334
The holy symbol needs to be more than wielded, it needs to be believed in. So something along those lines.

I'd probably do a second spell called repel undead and use the circle for that.

True names could apply, sure, but probably only more powerful undead. IMO.

Generally I think it would work fine as an addition to the Necromancy list. I might make a higher level version called destroy undead too. Keeps the idea. But means tou have to pack as many variables into one spell description.
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
Oh yeah for sure. The True Names bit was more for when it would be used to repel Demons and Devils.
 

Ladybird

TRAHR
Joined
Aug 13, 2017
Messages
3,012
Reaction score
6,716
It often seems to come from people who have their own weird limitations on what they will play - like only Dragonborn, or something like that, and feel personally aggrieved that someone, somewhere might be running a game where their favourite thing is not allowed.
It's not so much that, as Tieflings and Dragonborn and Warforged are races that you can't really play anywhere else, so forcing players to stick to humans and elves and whatnot, that you can play in pretty much every other fantasy game, just feels like a waste of D&D's few unique things.

Personally I'd rather play a game where only the half-races are allowed - half-elves, tieflings, dragonborn, aasimar, half-orcs, half-lings, etc - where D&D race's ability to interbreed has been taken to the extreme, and there are no single-races left any more.
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
For sure, to each their own, of course, however I get the impression that the most popular take on D&D settings and party composition is “everyone is a different non human”. It seems that is the default, and customized, more constrained settings are outliers.
 

Ladybird

TRAHR
Joined
Aug 13, 2017
Messages
3,012
Reaction score
6,716
For sure, to each their own, of course, however I get the impression that the most popular take on D&D settings and party composition is “everyone is a different non human”. It seems that is the default, and customized, more constrained settings are outliers.
I get the feeling that's just some types of players being more vocal, though, because people who are allowed to play what they want don't tend to complain about that and very few tables restrict the "classic" races. If we go back to the D&D Beyond data, which probably features a lot less bias, the "classic" races and classes still dominate, particularly humans.
 

TJS

Legendary Member
Joined
May 5, 2018
Messages
1,320
Reaction score
2,402
Well personally, in my current game I don't allow the classic races.

I assure you that there's plenty of people who object to that too.

There seems to be a school of thought that wants the game to be some of equal power sharing arrangement, where the players have equal say over anything and everything and the GM just...I don't know...accommodates everything while doing most of the work for the game without the ability to veto anything.

So, if you're playing Dark Sun say, and a player wants to play a gnome then the player gets to play a gnome and you have to work to explain why there's gnomes in the setting now - and if the player's set on the idea that his gnome was raised by Kenku - then now there's Kenku too. (In this school of thought, the idea that the player might be being intentionally disruptive, or they may not really be all that set on a gnome, but could easily be convinced to play something more settting appropriate, doesn't really get considered).

There's nothing wrong if you want to play that way, but it doesn't work for me, because it requires everyone to be on the same page setting wise (before the game has started) and have the players be equal contributors to the setting and that generally means etiher the most generic of generica, or the most gonzo of gonzo. Settings created by committee sound awesome until you actually try it (ok the gonzo version might actually be fun for a short game).

Personally, I think altering the palette of races available to players is one of the simplest and fastest ways to communicate a tone for a game, and I have no intention of giving that up.
 
Last edited:

Brock Savage

Cosmic Barbarian
Joined
Jun 17, 2019
Messages
2,279
Reaction score
4,810
There seems to be a school of thought that wants the game to be some of equal power sharing arrangement, where the players have equal say over anything and everything and the GM just...I don't know...accommodates everything while doing most of the work for the game without the ability to veto anything.
I think people sometimes forget that the GM needs to have fun too and oftentimes part of that fun is executing your vision.

For me, running a game is a lot like hosting a party. Obviously the end goal is for everyone to have a good time and a DM should be accommodating to a point. My enjoyment is important too and I have expectations for party guests and RPG players alike. If I am going for a certain theme in something I am hosting, whether it's a party or RPG, it's reasonable to expect guests to play along. If someone is hosting a tiki-themed Christmas party I'm not gonna insist on showing up in a Darth Vader costume; that would be rude to the host who graciously invited me.
 

EmperorNorton

Legendary Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2018
Messages
2,703
Reaction score
5,997
Honestly I think most people work in a sort of middle ground in reality, and the backlash against the extremes is just weirdness. I've never played in a game where the "gm can veto nothing" even though I play systems that are known for collaborative world building.

Generally it is about finding a common ground that everyone can work with, and surprise, the GM is part of that conversation, too.

Personally though, I've rarely actually found the need to restrict most things. I think in one game I did restrict goblin PCs specifically because of the culturally climate of the area and the fact that that aspect of the culture was something we were DIRECTLY interacting with in the game.

In general if there is like, "oh goblins are shoot on sight" but I have no actual situations going on in my brain that use that, if the player wants to play a goblin... well, I don't have to use that part of the setting.
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
Literally every campaign I’ve ever run has had at least one of my friends wanting to be something odd requiring extra effort on my part to accommodate their concept and its implications on the setting.

The trope of a western campaign where a player wants to be a ninja is all too familiar and real to me.

This has had varying degrees of severity, granted, but it has always been a feature of my games.

The most recent example: I’ve set up a one-shot Halloween game. The setup is simple: each character is a teenager, aged 14-16, all from the same high school. They might or might not be close friends, but they know each other and are willingly attending a party in the woods.

That was my setup. Also, no weird concepts: you might be from a broken home, but you’re a normal teenager. No “my parents were Navy SEALS and taught me everything I know” or “I grew up in a lab and have psychic powers and amnesia”. Mundanity was crucial so that the weirdness of the horror module would be... well weird.

Everyone was cool with that. What were the first two concepts? A homeless kid who ihas been regularly skipping school and trying to leave the State and a socially awkward nerd who was recently humiliated in front of the whole school and vowed to never socialize again. FACEPALM
 

Brock Savage

Cosmic Barbarian
Joined
Jun 17, 2019
Messages
2,279
Reaction score
4,810
Literally every campaign I’ve ever run has had at least one of my friends wanting to be something odd requiring extra effort on my part to accommodate their concept and its implications on the setting.
Dude, that is a huge pet peeve of mine, whether on the player side or GM side. From the GM perspective it's almost like they want their own mini game. From a player side it provokes a "can't you just get with the fucking program like the rest of us?"

My pet theory is that a lot of gamers consider breaking with the setting's tropes or making a weird character as a substitute for being interesting and creative.
 
Last edited:

TJS

Legendary Member
Joined
May 5, 2018
Messages
1,320
Reaction score
2,402
Honestly I think most people work in a sort of middle ground in reality, and the backlash against the extremes is just weirdness. I've never played in a game where the "gm can veto nothing" even though I play systems that are known for collaborative world building.
Well yes. As we were discussing it's an internet thing. I've never seen it in real life. (And I suspect most of the people making these noises on the internet probably woundn't actually challenge their GM in real life - that's probably why they make so much noise on the interet :grin:)
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
Yeah as usual with internet discourse, there’s no reason why you should believe any of my anecdotes. I don’t need to convince anyone, but this really has been a problem and at worst, some players have threatened to pull out from a campaign if I didn’t find a compromise in their favour. Desperate for players, I always worked something out, but secretly resented it. Instead of taking it out on them, or being passive aggressive, I vent on forums. Shrug.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
2,869
Reaction score
5,334
If I'm the DM I'll write the pitch, which includes any restrictions on race class or anything. If a player doesn't like it they can find another game. I don't mind running the full monty, its fun, but if I have genre stuff I'm aiming for I don't give a flying fuck if someone wants to play a Gnome Paladin or any other thing I've crossed off. Players who insist on colouring outside the lines can piss off.
 

Brock Savage

Cosmic Barbarian
Joined
Jun 17, 2019
Messages
2,279
Reaction score
4,810
Yeah as usual with internet discourse, there’s no reason why you should believe any of my anecdotes. I don’t need to convince anyone, but this really has been a problem and at worst, some players have threatened to pull out from a campaign if I didn’t find a compromise in their favour. Desperate for players, I always worked something out, but secretly resented it. Instead of taking it out on them, or being passive aggressive, I vent on forums. Shrug.
I believe you because I have run into it quite a bit.

We're playing Los Angeles vampires in a "lords of the city game" and someone wants to play a pathologically shy Nosferatu who never leaves Obfuscate (or a mage, werewolf, extremely rare bloodline, etc). We're all playing mech jocks and someone wants to play a special forces guy who can't pilot a mech. We're all playing not-Christian Crusader knights and someone wants to play a not-Jewish wizard or a not-Muslim lord. We're playing a not-England rogues & scoundrels game but someone wants to play an ascetic Eastern monk or paladin. We're playing not-Spanish conquistadores and someone wants to play an Irish guy.

Like all of these can work I guess but it takes a shitload of GM work just to give the player their own little storyline that's completely separate from everything else that's going on. The meager payoff isn't worth the work.
 

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
5,151
Reaction score
9,448
someone wants to play a pathologically shy Nosferatu who never leaves Obfuscate
It's never happened to me, but you're like the eight or ninth person I've heard mention another player took this exact character.
 

Ladybird

TRAHR
Joined
Aug 13, 2017
Messages
3,012
Reaction score
6,716
The trope of a western campaign where a player wants to be a ninja is all too familiar and real to me.
I get the frustration. There are usually ways that many concepts can be worked into a campaign, but it does require some give and take; for example, "wild west ninja" may not be appropriate, but most settings have space for "sneaky murdery git" if the player is willing to bend things. In a more generally good-aligned campaign, an ex-bandit running away from his past could work great for that, and justifies that portion of their skillset as well as fitting in with the "you can be the person you want to be on the frontier" part of the wild west mythos.

The most recent example: I’ve set up a one-shot Halloween game. The setup is simple: each character is a teenager, aged 14-16, all from the same high school. They might or might not be close friends, but they know each other and are willingly attending a party in the woods.

That was my setup. Also, no weird concepts: you might be from a broken home, but you’re a normal teenager. No “my parents were Navy SEALS and taught me everything I know” or “I grew up in a lab and have psychic powers and amnesia”. Mundanity was crucial so that the weirdness of the horror module would be... well weird.

Everyone was cool with that. What were the first two concepts? A homeless kid who ihas been regularly skipping school and trying to leave the State and a socially awkward nerd who was recently humiliated in front of the whole school and vowed to never socialize again. FACEPALM
I... actually think those are basically sound concepts that only really need some small tweaks? They need a reason to show up; homeless kid somehow hears about the party and has nothing better to do that night so shows up in a shoplifted costume and people still remember her or have seen her around town, nerd is dragged along by his one remaining friend (We're definitely stretching "willingly" with this one, but it gives two PC's a background connection and the PC can still be grumpy about it once they get there) or maybe The Humiliating Incident happened a few months ago and he's got over himself a bit (Plus this is a GREAT reason for folks to know him).
 

Voros

Doomed Investigator
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
9,191
Reaction score
14,825
As a DM I have some ideas on setting but generally let the players pick whatever race and class they want, I'm actually a fan of monster races as well. For a more narrowly focused game I'd probably play something other than D&D 'proper.'
 

opaopajr

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
1,495
Reaction score
1,876
I had that phase, and still tease-threaten to do it when people pitch games, but it is disruptive and shows a lack of consideration of a GM's time. Best solution I found was to encourage (urge) them to GM themselves. To "put the shoes on the other's feet and have them walk in it" let's them experience their crapulence from the other side of the screen, often by their buddies. People quickly realize it isn't nice to make your host dance to your whimsy when you yourself have to experience the same treatment.

It's a socializing thing, which is rather budding and tentative in geek circles already, and getting harder in "instant-gratification, endless-distraction" electronic age -- now with "remote-mob-judgment" social media! :shade::devil: But these old school social graces are worth cultivating in play groups, even if a few campaigns and tears need to be shed along the way. A more congenial and consciencious adult often blossoms from the pile of rotting fertilizer when it's thrown right back.:hehe::angel:
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
As @Ladybird suggested, sometimes these concepts can turn out to work splendidly. Some may actually be not as genre-breaking after some rumination.

I need to focus on the silver lining, I get that, but sometimes these curve balls are the last straw in terms of mental and emotional complications that I bear through all week with work and family life. Sometimes my initial feeling is “god damn it I already have so much prep work to do right now; can’t you guys cut me some slack and develop your super special unique characters through actual play instead of giving me extra work before we’ve even started?!”
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
Status of my 5e campaign through Tales from the Yawning Portal.

The party has made its way into Plume Mountain. They are all level 7, but have access to pretty strong spells like Remove Curse and Tiny Hut. However, the structure of this Funhouse dungeon puts quite a wrench in their gears.

There are many rooms where spells and special abilities like fly or teleport just don't work. This dungeon forces players to be clever and unreliant on super powers. Kind of neat.

Overall I'm not enjoying these dungeons as much as I thought I would. They make me feel really antagonistic towards the players, disappointed when they one-shot a villain or trivialize challenges. They also complain when it is too hard, even though I give plenty of softballs. Sounds subjective, but you have no idea how many times I've allowed them to re-roll damage or hit dice recovery rolls in their favor, or let them completely destroy a villain through cleverness. It feels unfair that they complain like that.

Obviously I need to do some soul searching and also find another group.

I will be ending the campaign after this dungeon, because I simply don't like super power vanilla fantasy any longer, nor wholly dungeon crawl games like these ones. I'd rather do something more toned down, more intimate.
 

opaopajr

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
1,495
Reaction score
1,876
You pull the game's punches and give softballs, yet still find them unappreciative of your generosity. Maybe they cannot tell when they are receiving grace or mercy, and it is your leniency that needs to be corrected. :wink:

And yes, starting afresh with new people and a driving vision will also help tremendously. Own your campaign voice. Respect consulting the dice. Maintain openness for trust. :shade::coffee:
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
Does anyone know of any other 5e-derived games out there like Adventures in Middle Earth, in which there are no spell caster classes?
 

TJS

Legendary Member
Joined
May 5, 2018
Messages
1,320
Reaction score
2,402
There is, I believe, a Beowulf 5E in the works. I don't know if it has any kind of casters.
 

Stan

Legendary Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
1,281
Reaction score
2,199
There is, I believe, a Beowulf 5E in the works. I don't know if it has any kind of casters.
Based on the early bits, I think it's like AIME in that characters might have small magical powers but no spells. We'll know in a month or so when it comes out.
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
My desire to "hack" 5e instead of just switching games, I admit is in part due to my heavy investment so far. I've spent a lot of time, and money on this game and I'd like to adjust it to my liking.

Taking inspiration from https://www.rpgpub.com/threads/ruling-not-rules-da-curated-thread.5318/post-213447

I was wondering if this sort of thing could be applied to D&D.

However there are just too many variables to consider for this.

I've read dozens of articles and forum debates on exactly WHAT HP represents in D&D and none of the resolved it for me. I am dissatisfied by HP so much that I'm considering selling off my D&D collection!

But that's silly. I really, truly wish there was another option than HP. Something that recognizes player choices on their sources of evasion and durability but being better. Not sure how.

It is frustrating.

EDIT: I found this: https://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/UA5_VariantRules.pdf

This is interesting. I could see this sort of thing working, as long as it isn't too cumbersome at the table...

Optional Rule: Vitality Some DMs find hit points bothersome. A fighter can survive a fireball, a troll’s rending claws, and a one‐hundred‐foot fall, only to crumple in a heap due to a kobold’s dagger slash. This optional rule more realistically reflects the wear and tear a character suffers from wounds.

Each character has a pool of vitality in addition to hit points. A character’s maximum vitality equals the character’s Constitution score. Whenever a character takes 10 or more damage from an attack or effect, the character loses vitality. Divide the damage by 10 and round down. The result is how much vitality a character loses. In other words, a character loses 1 vitality for every 10 points of damage dealt by an attack or effect.

If a character suffers a critical hit, double the vitality lost, so that the character loses 2 vitality for every 10 points of damage. If a critical hit deals less than 10 damage, it still reduces vitality by 1.

Losing vitality causes a character’s hit point maximum to drop. Calculate the character’s current maximum using vitality instead of Constitution. Thus, as vitality drops, a character’s Constitution modifier for determining hit points also drops.

A character reduced to 0 vitality is immediately reduced to 0 hit points. If a character is reduced to 0 hit points but his or her vitality remains above 0, any additional damage is applied instead to the character’s vitality. A character is not unconscious until both hit points and vitality reach 0.

Completing a long rest increases a character’s vitality by 1 + the character’s Constitution modifier, up to the character’s maximum vitality. Effects that restore hit points have no effect on vitality. However, a character with maximum hit points who receives healing instead restores 1 vitality for every 10 points of healing
 
Last edited:

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
One option that I found on a blog is really giving me hope:

The GM keeps track of HP, not the players. When they are dropped to certain milestones (half, one quarter) the GM narrates that they're actually getting hurt. Maybe at the halfway point, they're bleeding. At one quarter, they're really feeling it: weakness, intense pain etc... Before those milestones the GM describes near hits and intense parries/dodges.

I personally like this a lot. It doesn't change the system itself, just makes damage a more tangible, narrative thing instead of a vague meta-mechanic.
 

opaopajr

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
1,495
Reaction score
1,876
I had a similar resentment to Classes, HP and Saves years and years ago. But after something like several dozen systems under my belt I discovered there's no real greener grass on the other side to my liking as well. I eventually got over it and my skills-based, wound-based, active defense rolls ideals and came back to AD&D. It was the rpg game when I was at my gaming happiest and upon return it still clicked like an old friend. :heart:

I just want the game to work now! with minimal overhead. All the fine tuning often still ended up with disatisfaction, but elsewhere with unintended consequences. And in my experience people's buy-in and camraderie (and snacks) ended up mattering more. :thumbsup:

You may have a similar journey, or not. Go out and have fun and see if you can find your own Shangri-La. You will be able to say with more confidence what you like once you go 'travel'. :angel:
 

Brock Savage

Cosmic Barbarian
Joined
Jun 17, 2019
Messages
2,279
Reaction score
4,810
I had a similar resentment to Classes, HP and Saves years and years ago. But after something like several dozen systems under my belt I discovered there's no real greener grass on the other side to my liking as well. I eventually got over it and my skills-based, wound-based, active defense rolls ideals and came back to AD&D. It was the rpg game when I was at my gaming happiest and upon return it still clicked like an old friend. :heart:

I just want the game to work now! with minimal overhead. All the fine tuning often still ended up with disatisfaction, but elsewhere with unintended consequences. And in my experience people's buy-in and camraderie (and snacks) ended up mattering more. :thumbsup:

You may have a similar journey, or not. Go out and have fun and see if you can find your own Shangri-La. You will be able to say with more confidence what you like once you go 'travel'. :angel:
Same thing happened to me and I abruptly ended a successful 5e campaign to start a new one using B/X.
 

robertsconley

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
2,523
Reaction score
4,737
I've read dozens of articles and forum debates on exactly WHAT HP represents in D&D and none of the resolved it for me. I am dissatisfied by HP so much that I'm considering selling off my D&D collection!

But that's silly. I really, truly wish there was another option than HP. Something that recognizes player choices on their sources of evasion and durability but being better. Not sure how.

It is frustrating.
What are you looking for beyond a measure of combat endurance?
 

Necrozius

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,215
Reaction score
3,980
What are you looking for beyond a measure of combat endurance?
My issue is that HP is abstracted inconsistently. We're told that they're definitely not meat points, but they're whittled down by traps, falls, and things like poison and harsh temperatures. I'm okay with them representing luck, physical endurance and "energy" used up to avoid getting really hurt, but then we have spells like "Cure WOUNDS". I'm just confused.

Also, if they are supposed to be general "endurance", then why pile on all those Conditions and Exhaustion rules? Shouldn't those things be represented in HP drainage? Or perhaps, reduction of hit dice, hp totals etc...?

It just feels inconsistent. We have all of these dials and I don't know which ones to use. It's relatively easy to heal up HP, while Conditions and Exhaustion require time, rests and magic. I wish we had something in between both extremes.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Joined
Jul 9, 2020
Messages
2,869
Reaction score
5,334
My main issue with it, if I feel like kvetching anyway, is the scale of the HP in 5E. When characters range from 1 to 120+ it's kinda hard to get granular with. I find some OSR treatments a little easier because the PCs generally have far fewer hit points. Something about the smaller totals and more compact range makes it easier to forge a narrative around.
 

robertsconley

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
2,523
Reaction score
4,737
My issue is that HP is abstracted inconsistently. We're told that they're definitely not meat points, but they're whittled down by traps, falls, and things like poison and harsh temperatures. I'm okay with them representing luck, physical endurance and "energy" used up to avoid getting really hurt, but then we have spells like "Cure WOUNDS". I'm just confused.

Also, if they are supposed to be general "endurance", then why pile on all those Conditions and Exhaustion rules? Shouldn't those things be represented in HP drainage? Or perhaps, reduction of hit dice, hp totals etc...?

It just feels inconsistent. We have all of these dials and I don't know which ones to use. It's relatively easy to heal up HP, while Conditions and Exhaustion require time, rests and magic. I wish we had something in between both extremes.
When I wrestled with this I always look what OD&D did as a starting point whether it is my own OD&D based house rules or the latest edition.

My opinion is that hit point are what they are as result of their origins in miniature wargaming. In miniature wargaming the focus was fighting out large battles so what happens to individual needed to be resolved quickly hence one hit = one kill and expanded for hero (4 hits) and super heroes (8 hits).

From reading the various accounts it looked like 1 hit = 1 kill when starting out was just too harsh. So 1 hit became 1d6 damage and 1 hit became 1d6 hit points. Then expanded from there.

Hence it started out and remains a measure of combat endurance. What actually killed a figure in a medieval wargame was irrelevant. What matters was the odds of a figure dying during a combat round. The fact that a hero took four hits before dying meant that on average they lasted longer on the battlefield than the ordinary veteran.

This silence on the nature of constituted a kill persist to this day despite the attempts of various editions to define. My opinion the only way to escape this is to rebuild the system in the manner of Runequest, GURPS and similar RPGs. There hit points have been redefined in more concrete term. A function of the target's endurance and mass in the case of Runequest and GURPS with damage being actual wounds. Often accompanied by fatigue and other conditions to represent other factors reducing the combat effectiveness of a character. Of course that makes one efforts it own thing and now it takes extra work to use other D&D material with the new system.

So what we can do with hit point as written?

but they're whittled down by traps, falls, and things like poison and harsh temperatures.
I think we can agree that the end result of a character not effectively dealing with poison, traps, and harsh temperatures will reduce that character combat endurance. WIth GURPS or Runequest, we get the details of exactly how that reduces a character combat effectiveness. I.e. if they get in a fight after suffering one of the previous situations they won't last as long.

GURPS and Runequest also nicely works in reduced effectiveness in other areas like movement and skill check. But hit points in D&D only address the question of how long the character can keep fighting until they can't. Hence I found you need to impose additional conditions to represent the complete effect of poison, traps, and harsh temperatures.

For example I am partial to the use of D&D 5e exhaustion mechanics represent effects of harsh weather. Although it my opinion only the harshest of weather conditions warrants hit point loss. For the rest the negative effects embodied by exhaustion I feel covers it. The reason for this is that there is a difference between being fatigued and being hurt. And while D&D silent on the exact factors that goes into a character's hit points, actual injury is certainly a part of it.

but then we have spells like "Cure WOUNDS". I'm just confused.
Sure, for my part I view Cure Wounds as a general restorative that heals actual injury as well as other factors that reduce the amount of time a character can withstand combat.

Also, if they are supposed to be general "endurance", then why pile on all those Conditions and Exhaustion rules? Shouldn't those things be represented in HP drainage? Or perhaps, reduction of hit dice, hp totals etc...?
I don't know if this will help, but over ten years ago I decided to share my material using classic D&D mechanics. While not my first choice I decided that for the most part I will do this on D&D terms. So for a long time I poked at by trying different things over various campaign. Found what changes are D&Dish and which are not.

In general I found that the various list like classes, spells, monster, etc can be altered by quite a bit and some like armor class, hit points, the to-hit roll based on level, not so much.

So what do with those troublesome mechanics that seem entirely too abstract or unmoored? Well on one hand I learned how they developed and understood what they exactly represented. Once I learned that, I then turned around and asked what to I need to happen when X occurs. Like poison for example.

If a poison would reduce the amount of time a character could fight, then hit points damage was part of its effect. If other things happen as a result of ingesting then I created a condition that would take effect. Another thing I learned that save were developed to help character to avoid "bad" things from happening to them. That the original view was that more experienced character find it easier to avoid these bad things. Either they toughened up or just developed the skill to avoid danger better.

So in many cases hit point damage and negative conditions can be avoided by making a save.

That where I left it. If I try to expand it too much I might as well return to running GURPS. On the flip side, classic D&D resolves things very fast and likewise my additions I try to keep equally fast to use.

To recap. I recommend to solve your dilemma is to accept hit points solely as a measure of combat endurance. When a situation comes ask yourself could this reduce how long a character can fight? If yes then roll hit points damage. Then ask does this situation impose any other kind of penalty? If yes then create or use a condition that cover the penalty. Then ask is this something "bad" that can be avoided? If yes then have the character make a save. Before having the player make a roll, you may want to consider whether the circumstances are advantageous, a disadvantage, or the effects can only be mitigated not avoided.

My experience that following the above rough guidelines results in the players still feeling like they played in a D&D campaign but give you, the referee, a little more control over the nuances of the ruling.

while Conditions and Exhaustion require time, rests and magic. I wish we had something in between both extremes.
I would recommend creating Conditions and modifying Exhaustion that reduce hit points by a factor. For example the character could suffer something that cut their combat endurance by half hence you reduce their max hit points by half rather than a fixed amount of damage. To me that still sounds pretty much D&Dish despite it being a novel mechanics.

Anyway I hope this help.
 

Giganotosaurus

I'm a traveler of both time and space
Joined
Sep 22, 2018
Messages
1,355
Reaction score
3,343
The trope of a western campaign where a player wants to be a ninja is all too familiar and real to me.
I had this problem once. I was trying to get a group together to play a Fantasy campaign I had been working on for years. I sent all the interested people a character creation sheet listing all the custom built races they could choose from and one guy came back with a custom built homebrew furry character that wasn't from the race list (And also god-tier OP). I tried to explain to him that he had to pick from the list, but he kept whining about "Can't you make an exception?". In the end it didn't matter because I didn't get enough other people interested.
 

Stan

Legendary Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
1,281
Reaction score
2,199
My main issue with it, if I feel like kvetching anyway, is the scale of the HP in 5E. When characters range from 1 to 120+ it's kinda hard to get granular with. I find some OSR treatments a little easier because the PCs generally have far fewer hit points. Something about the smaller totals and more compact range makes it easier to forge a narrative around.
I've played around with things like HP= Con score (not bonus) + level. So, it has a higher start but a much more shallow slope. This works only if you change other things though or PCs start getting murdered.
 
Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
Top