I decided to branch this off of a different discussion to avoid derailment. I asked:
If hit points are purely meat points, which stat represents my character's general skill at dodging and parrying? Note how I'm asking about general skill, rather than natural dodgy-ness (Dex) or above-and-beyond defensive training (combat expertise).
To clarify, I really want PF as well as D&D to support a definitively meat point interpretation. One of my earliest threads on this very message board was a meat pointy-kind of explanation. But I can't really buy into it anymore, outside of one particular edition. So let's talk about this!
As an aside, HP have worked GREAT for Meat Points in my games for as long as I've been running them [something like 6 years now.]
That’s great! How do you represent the general parry and dodge skill that every adventurer accumulates during the course of his or her dangerous adventures? (I.e., the other side of the BAB coin.) Or does the lack of such representation not bother you?
I find this question relatively odd, because there is no points associated in the game with dodging and parrying, unlike with hit "points".
Thus my confusion; there are no 'parry points,' no counterpart to BAB to reflect gradually increasing defensive skill. There are AC-boosting options, but they either don't improve with level (full defense, fighting defensively) or are siloed away as feats or PrCs. Which would make sense in a level-less point buy game; but in PF and similar games, it's very inconsistent. Characters get gradually better at hitting things (BAB) just by surviving adventures -- heck, even NPC wizards who spend their lives studying in isolated towers become better at stabbing things than most of the world's martial-types after a few levels! -- but nobody gains any dodge/parry skill just by surviving adventures. Brando McAwesome the 20th level martial guy could be as easy to stab as a dirt farmer, barring armor and magical bling. Does this not bother you?
Either 3rd or PF (I don't recall which) did away with the "it is about luck, as much as actual damage" part of the definition for simplicity and consistency.
Must have been PF; I distinctly remember a hand-wavey explanation for hp in the 3e PHB. It involved a paladin and 'divine favor.'
I'm not replying to the rest of what you posted in response to my question because I don't think we're even conversationally on the same page yet. Also, I don't want this OP to be a mile long. ;)
As your BAB goes up, you get better at hitting people while fighting defensively.
But you never get better at defense, barring specialty options. But maybe this doesn’t bother you?
The idea that hit points is something other than health and vitality is purely fluff. There is no evidence (within the game mechanics) to suggest otherwise.
The terminology absolutely backs up the meat point interpretation, but the lack of a counterpart to BAB painfully undercuts a definitive one. If that doesn't count as a 'dissociated [non-]mechanic,' I ought to coin a term for it!