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5th Edition - put Hit Point caps back in... please


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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Silver Crusade

Play Rolemaster.

As you all know, nothing tops throwing a fireball and it blowing up and people getting third degree burns, or worse, incinerated.


Playing rolemaster doesn't solve the problem of excessive hit points in D&D. :)

Silver Crusade

Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
Playing rolemaster doesn't solve the problem of excessive hit points in D&D. :)

No it doesn't. But it does solve the realism in fantasy complaint that I'm getting from the first page of this thread.


Actually, it doesn't. The thread is about what should be included in 5E D&D.

I agree that rolemaster has fewer problems of this kind. I have a story about a 4th level character being killed by tiny animal criticals - not likely to happen in a D&D game, of any edition.

I actually prefer MERP, personally, but that's a preference based on nostalgia.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
...

First way breaks immersion easily when you set the really deadly things too low. Second breaks mine because it rarely does enough damage to make it deadly on any level. First generates asbestos legs, second says that character is not really developing.

The thing is that either the lava deals fixed amount of hp no matter what level you are or it does somewhat fixed amount of damage relatively, like 30 % of hp per turn (as 4E doesn't do insta-death for level-appropriate things, that's why there is the level rating - to tell DM that this thing has real threat of snuffing the PC out of existence real fast, not to make him avoid it completely).

Neither of ways matters much as long as you don't try to imagine the world running under them somewhat. Rules suggest the first way, but meh... interpretations.

Silver Crusade

Yes, and no, Jerry. Rolemaster is, to say the least, Modular. Since D&D is going to be Modular, the people who scream about realism can just go pick up Arms Law and Spell Law and just put them in their 5e D&D game.

Problem solved, no more *itching about how unrealistic D&D is.

However, I am against the idea of putting detailed critical hits and strikes in D&D 5e for the simple reason that Arms Law and Spell Law can do the job already.

Note: I tried to get a game going using a mixture and my players balked at it in the past. If I were to do it again, I'd use AD&D 2e. :P

So, about hit points. I say there should be a module that does away with them and include a condition table, like Shadowrun had or has (don't know about SR 4e). That way, the players can track the condition they are in while they fight. No hit points, no worrying about hp bloat. It's simple, it's easy, and doesn't change the feeling that D&D gives and gives the feeling that fights can be dangerous, fast, quick, and deadly.


That sounds also interesting.

It could be also interesting to use only the condition track like SW Saga and have damage values to see whether the damage went through threshold or not.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@GM Elton. I have NO issue with the concept of Hit Points - reading the entry in the 1e AD&D DMG they seem perfectly suited to the task that Gary/Dave assigned them. What we (may I say we) are discussing is the inflation that has occurred and the required response of increased damage output, feats, and monster hp's + damage output to the point where the numbers just don't seem to mean anything anymore. Very much like stats now, but that's another gripe - ease of stat increasing methods.

If and I say IF they decide that really to capture the feel of the older D&D's that Hit Dice need capped for PC's then it causes a lot of down stream issues. Consider the monster manuals, they will require an entry for the 'capped PC's' and the 'non-capped PC's'. I can't even imagine the shear destructive power of the current 3.5e largest Red Dragon against Hit Dice capped PC's. Conversely the 66 hp max 1e AD&D Ancient Huge Red Dragon would be something a 3.5e/4e PC could handle around 3rd or 4th level.

I'm slightly cynical with regards to how WotC will achieve the 'play the D&D you like'. I hope I'm proven wrong.

S.


@Elton - While I agree with you that there is a lot to be gained from Rolemaster, I think you will agree the people at WotC aren't going to do anything to encourage the use of non-WotC materials in their game.

That being said, 5E will definitely be modular, and while we might add Arms Law and Spell Law, it will be we who do it, and who do the work involved.

I doubt WotC would create a condition track module, although I think it should be added. Even something simple like penalties to abilities based on the percentage of HP taken would be reasonable.

As long as D&D holds to the philosophy that HPs represent a character's ability to avoid being hit, we will never have a reasonable approach to damage in the game.

A decidedly low-level cap on HPs and a Defense stat (similar to D20 Modern's stat) would solve the problem nicely. That, and a recognition that certain kinds of real-world effects (like lava and fire) have rules that cannot be codified satisfactorily by damage points. :)


You really think that there's a way to satisfy everone? ;)

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.

By all means, let's take away high HPs and overpower magic-users over fighters even more!

I don't think so!

There's nothing wrong with high HPs. They represent both durability and ability to avoid damage. A high level hero should have both!

If in some rules version, a fighter can run across lava by only sacrificing a little luck (hp), that just says to me he's reached Wuxia level. That's good because the game has criticized for having wizards exist in high fantasy while fighters are forced to exist in realism.


I think that each problem has to be dealt with seperately. And no, you can't satisfy everybody. That's why there are so many versions of so many different games.

And why everybody should play HERO. :P


Sigard Spleenbiter wrote:

+ By all means, let's take away high HPs and overpower magic-users over fighters even more!

I don't think so!

There's nothing wrong with high HPs. They represent both durability and ability to avoid damage. A high level hero should have both!

If in some rules version, a fighter can run across lava by only sacrificing a little luck (hp), that just says to me he's reached Wuxia level. That's good because the game has criticized for having wizards exist in high fantasy while fighters are forced to exist in realism.

What if you don't want to play a game that gets to Wuxia level?

As for Wizards being overpowered.... You need to focus on the game you're playing, which is not the same as the game I'm playing. I don't care about the dichotomy between fighters and magic-users. You're comparing apples and oranges. I'm really tired of hearing how the poor fighter can't keep up with the wizard. An RPG is not a d#$k measuring contest. It's a ROLE-playing game. Get over your magic-envy.

Or take a couple of levels of spellcaster so you can cast magic, too.

EDIT: I'm sorry. I apologize for the nature of my reply.

Sigard, I disagree with you that magic-users are overpowered. I think that spell slots and the way they dwindle balances the amount of damage a spellcaster can put out, where a fighter can swing the same damage every round. In the end, a fighter has it all over the wizard.

But HP caps are intended to keep the whole game from being overpowered. Remember, the spell-caster has a lot fewer points than the fighter to begin with. capping them reduces this further. It means the wizard will spend more spells on keeping himself alive, balancing any inequity between damage potential.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Bringing this back to the OP,
I just wanted to point out that, from 1st edition on, Hit Points were never an actual representation of wounds/wounds taken. HPs were always intended as an abstract concept symbolizing battle readiness. When the dragon attacks and does damage to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it actually hit you, just because you take HP damage. Which is why with the more experience a character has, the longer it can be in combat.

Combat was always intended to be abstract...it is of course, more fun to say, “The dragon claws your face and does 60 damage as it rips through your flesh!” That doesn’t mean if you were to somehow be able to look at the combat as though it were actually happening that the dragon connected. It just abstractly symbolizes the ongoing combat and who is winning or losing.

Which is also why characters are just as effective with 1 HP as they are with 200 HPs – they are not necessarily injured in any way, they are just less “battle ready” – whether that is due to HP damage taken (for example they are exhausted from fighting a protracted battle) or because they are a level one commoner.

(However TSR really muddied it up when they named the spells to renew HPs "Cure XXX Wounds.")


That's where optional hp (and perhaps other ability cap) would come in to play. You don't want wuxia - you stop advancement of abilities that would lead that way before they reach the spot. Add feats or perhaps broaden the abilities, but no more power creep.

Andoran

GM Elton wrote:

Yes, and no, Jerry. Rolemaster is, to say the least, Modular. Since D&D is going to be Modular, the people who scream about realism can just go pick up Arms Law and Spell Law and just put them in their 5e D&D game.

Problem solved, no more *itching about how unrealistic D&D is.

However, I am against the idea of putting detailed critical hits and strikes in D&D 5e for the simple reason that Arms Law and Spell Law can do the job already.

Note: I tried to get a game going using a mixture and my players balked at it in the past. If I were to do it again, I'd use AD&D 2e. :P

So, about hit points. I say there should be a module that does away with them and include a condition table, like Shadowrun had or has (don't know about SR 4e). That way, the players can track the condition they are in while they fight. No hit points, no worrying about hp bloat. It's simple, it's easy, and doesn't change the feeling that D&D gives and gives the feeling that fights can be dangerous, fast, quick, and deadly.

And, let's bring this full circle. Arms Law, Claw Law, Spell Law, etc (i.e. the origins of Rolemaster) were released as alternative combat and spell systems for, wait for it, AD&D. They didn't compile them as a stand alone system until people clamored for it.

Oh, and Monte stole some stuff from it for 3x. You know, having worked for I.C.E. for a while and being really familiar with RM (some of it made its way into his Arcana stuff too).

So, it would be completely historically appropriate for 5e/D&DNext to borrow a few ideas from Rolemaster.


Bad Sintax wrote:
However TSR really muddied it up when they named the spells to renew HPs "Cure XXX Wounds."

Let's not blame TSR. Gygax himself named the cure light wounds spell before TSR ever existed.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sigard Spleenbiter wrote:

By all means, let's take away high HPs and overpower magic-users over fighters even more!

I don't think so!

False logic. If a Mage rolls d4 and a Fighter d10, no matter how many levels the difference will always be proportional. The Hit Dice effected both (and all) classes.

Now under 1e/2e non-Fighters could only get +2 hp/level from CON, Fighters could get +4. So given level for level a Fighter was better off verses a Mage under 1e/2e when it came to hit points. By not having Hit Dice caps you are favoring the Mage and CON bonuses open to all classes. 3e+ squarely put the power into a Wizards hands and by adding the Sorcerer killed the Rogue/Thief.

So I agree, just adding a Hit Dice cap doesn't work - a for more sweeping change is required to make the game work again.

S.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh, also the ridiculous ease of healing has come about due the hit point bloat issue. Spontaneous casting needs to go!


Stefan Hill wrote:
Oh, also the ridiculous ease of healing has come about due the hit point bloat issue. Spontaneous casting needs to go!

Spontaneous casting isn't as big a deal as it initially seems. After all, it uses a spell slot. And with the HP bloat, casters have to do it more often. So it really doesn't give the clerics much of an advantage.

One of the big problems with HP and healing is that if HPs don't represent physical damage, only the ability to avoid being hurt, why do they need to be healed?

Andoran

Picking nits. Gotta love the interwebs.

The Op of this thread? Cool beans. I agree. The rest of this thread? Typical internet blahblahblah...

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jerry Wright 307 wrote:


One of the big problems with HP and healing is that if HPs don't represent physical damage, only the ability to avoid being hurt, why do they need to be healed?

Nice point.

"I call on my Great and Powerful god, to make you more, er, dodgy and lucky?!"

That aside, Hit Dice caps if 5e wants me to bother having a look...

Silver Crusade

Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
Bad Sintax wrote:
However TSR really muddied it up when they named the spells to renew HPs "Cure XXX Wounds."
Let's not blame TSR. Gygax himself named the cure light wounds spell before TSR ever existed.

Fact-checking and nit-picking (just because...) ;)

Gygax himself may have named the spell, but... since TSR (then spelled out in its full name, "Tactical Studies Rules"), existed at least several years before D&D was invented (after all, it was the already existing TSR miniatures wargame "Chainmail", that got a fantasy critters section added, that a guy named Dave Arneson saw and turned into single heroes braving the dungeon in search of treasure, that gave rise to role-playing, and D&D in the first place...).

So, point of order: TSR came first. Then, the "cure light wounds" spell. :P


Apparently, WotC is cognizant of the issue.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Bad Sintax wrote:
I just wanted to point out that, from 1st edition on, Hit Points were never an actual representation of wounds/wounds taken. HPs were always intended as an abstract concept symbolizing battle readiness.

That's not entirely true...

Look at what the 3.5 Player's Handbook says concerning hit points:

3.5 Player's Handbook wrote:

page 136 3.5 PHB

Hit Points

Your hit points tell you how much punishment you can take before dropping...

page 309 3.5 PHB (glossary)

Hit Points (HP) A measure of a characters health or an objects integrity. Damage decreases current hit points and lost hit points return with healing or natural recovery...

So it seems as though 3.5 went a different direction than simple abstraction...


Sebastrd wrote:
Apparently, WotC is cognizant of the issue.

Not really. Talking about what starting HP characters should have is almost a seperate issue.

Also to have a HP capped module they wouldn't have to print different copies of monsters. Just put in a table to scale the damage output of higher level monsters?

HP is an abstract system but the idea that being better at rolling with punches, dodging blows and whatnot doesn't really extend to the lava issue.

A monk fits for running over lava with mystical abilities maybe but not the fighter. Luckily the fighters Mage buddy probably has a cool spell to help (The game is about teamwork after all.

There's nothing wrong with what Aubrey is saying about scaling the damage of the lava to fit the PCs. Over time your going to gain skill at battle but the 'average' goblin in a war camp is still going to have the same skills that 'average' goblins had back when they were a threat to you. If you fall in molten rock however it's still going to be brown trousers time followed by the longest sleep of your life (or death)... No amount of skill in battle is going to help you long in that case.

It's also easy to imagine the cure light wounds spell healing minor cuts and grazes while refreshing you body as if you had spent a couple of hours resting. The trouble is saying things like "The Orc ducks below your blade, sweat beads on his forehead and he's starting to look tired." does not sound as cool as "Your blade bites deep into the Orcs side, he snarls at you as he retaliates with his axe!"

Stefan Hill wrote:
and by adding the Sorcerer killed the Rogue/Thief.

Im curious about this as I see the rogue as awesome and the sorcerer as a sucky class how do you see them as competing? I suppose you could build a sorcerer to do the same sort of things as a rogue but it would be pretty limited? Could you explain for someone who started playing Dnd when 3e came out?


Digitalelf wrote:
Bad Sintax wrote:
I just wanted to point out that, from 1st edition on, Hit Points were never an actual representation of wounds/wounds taken. HPs were always intended as an abstract concept symbolizing battle readiness.

That's not entirely true...

Look at what the 3.5 Player's Handbook says concerning hit points:

3.5 Player's Handbook wrote:

page 136 3.5 PHB

Hit Points

Your hit points tell you how much punishment you can take before dropping...

page 309 3.5 PHB (glossary)

Hit Points (HP) A measure of a characters health or an objects integrity. Damage decreases current hit points and lost hit points return with healing or natural recovery...

So it seems as though 3.5 went a different direction than simple abstraction...

I find those sentences pretty interpretable myself. Ie "punishment" does have to mean bleeding open wounds. You can punish yourself physically by running a fair distance for example. Health is not how many hits I can take but also how much stamina I have and what condition my body is in. Damage again does not have to be bleeding open wounds but it could be bruising, grazes, and plain worn outedness.


Ya know, I'm not one for huge numbers bloat just for the sake of saying "I've got 133 HP, BOO YA!!". One, I think it sort of breaks with any sort of realism (not that D&D should hold up simulationists view) espically with how much damage weapons do. However, I do enjoy some HP cushion at 1st level. What 4E did was understand being dropped by 1 shot your first time around sucks. So at first level, something like 2, 4, or 6 representing squishy, semi-hardy, and tough character (respectively) and then adding one's Constitution score for starting HPs. Then, as they progress in level, the HPs would gain very minimally......say 2, 3, or 4 HP for squishy, semi-hardy, and tough characters respectively. That way, even a 5th level Fighter with a Con of 15 is at 37 HP. In other words, enough to take quite a few hits from weapons and spells but a critical is still deadly (but not instantly).

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kip84 wrote:


Stefan Hill wrote:
and by adding the Sorcerer killed the Rogue/Thief.
Im curious about this as I see the rogue as awesome and the sorcerer as a sucky class how do you see them as competing? I suppose you could build a sorcerer to do the same sort of things as a rogue but it would be pretty limited? Could you explain for someone who started playing Dnd when 3e came out?

No stress. What I meant was spontaneous casting classes (of which Sorcerer was first off the block) as you pointed out allowed a caster to be able to respond immediately to the situation which is sort of the idea of the thief-class (i.e. abilities are always 'on'). I will add that 3e+ added 'spell-bloat', meaning casters have FAR more spells per day than previous editions - in fact in D&D (original red box) Clerics got zero spells per day at first level! The response of game designers to the thief problem was to turn her into a Rogue and try to drop in stabby-burst damage - i.e. a lightly armored fighter with a bad 'to hit' in effect.

A note on 'spell-bloat', it is quite possible to role-play without having any spells left for the day. Needing to cast in each and every encounter isn't required for playing a Magic-User in an adventure either.

If I was to design 5e I would very likely grab the 1e AD&D PHB/DMG/MM and the D&D Rules Cyclopedia - to them I would add in the idea of a unified d20 mechanics BUT not the hippy free for all design as seen in 3e+.

S.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am worried about the designers of 5e using the D&D Next polling results in 5e.

The WotC forums (and consequently the voting blogs) are filled with 4e apologists that tend to vote along the lines of their favorite edition.

The HP poll has the 3 highest HP totals for the fighter, with "7" coming in a poor 4th place (just ahead of "I don't know/care")

If 5e designers take the polls as a sign for what NOT to do for 5e (thereby ignoring the highly insular 4e WotC Forum community) then I have hope that the edition will be everything I want it to be (and many of my friends in my group).

7 HP seems to be the perfect non-bloat number for an average fighter to have at 1st level. After all, the average goblin probably has about half of that and they are fighters for their race.

D&D is a game, and sometimes you lose, losing at first level due to luck of the dice probably means your fighter wasn't that good to begin with and probably shouldn't have went adventuring. (looking at it after the fact)


Warrant wrote:

I am worried about the designers of 5e using the D&D Next polling results in 5e.

The WotC forums (and consequently the voting blogs) are filled with 4e apologists that tend to vote along the lines of their favorite edition.

The HP poll has the 3 highest HP totals for the fighter, with "7" coming in a poor 4th place (just ahead of "I don't know/care")

If 5e designers take the polls as a sign for what NOT to do for 5e (thereby ignoring the highly insular 4e WotC Forum community) then I have hope that the edition will be everything I want it to be (and many of my friends in my group).

So get over there and vote for the option that best suits yu and your group. You don't need to be logged in to vote.

Warrant wrote:


7 HP seems to be the perfect non-bloat number for an average fighter to have at 1st level. After all, the average goblin probably has about half of that and they are fighters for their race.

No they aren't. They're like the equivalent of a human guard in the town. If a goblin had taken levels in fighter then they would be the equivalent of a fighter PC

Warrant wrote:


D&D is a game, and sometimes you lose, losing at first level due to luck of the dice probably means your fighter wasn't that good to begin with and probably shouldn't have went adventuring. (looking at it after the fact)

Character death isn't losing. It isn't fun though and what is the point of playing a game if your not having fun?

Osirion

There is a logical couple to this argument, which is that the death and dying rules in 5e so far look drastically different, sort of an inversion of the 4e rules. A low hp character is less likely to be instantly killed by a lucky blow, but can also die quickly if left unattended. Seems like the best of both worlds.

As to the original discussion, I'm all for smaller numbers. I realize part of the game is a sense of improvement, but if 4e proved anything to me it's that illusionary improvement (everyone has +X to hit at level X because monster of level X has +X AC) is the least satisfying thing in the world. I'd like to see the core game begin with something around 5-10 hit points for each character, with options for less or more gritty games.


Warrant wrote:

7 HP seems to be the perfect non-bloat number for an average fighter to have at 1st level. After all, the average goblin probably has about half of that and they are fighters for their race.

D&D is a game, and sometimes you lose, losing at first level due to luck of the dice probably means your fighter wasn't that good to begin with and probably shouldn't have went adventuring. (looking at it after the fact)

Seriously? At 7 HP any hit from a d8 weapon could drop you. So could any hit from a d6+anything. Any critical will drop you. Yet, if such a thing happens, your fighter sucks and should have stayed home? Sorry, but I vehemently disagree.


Warrant wrote:

I am worried about the designers of 5e using the D&D Next polling results in 5e.

The WotC forums (and consequently the voting blogs) are filled with 4e apologists that tend to vote along the lines of their favorite edition.

The HP poll has the 3 highest HP totals for the fighter, with "7" coming in a poor 4th place (just ahead of "I don't know/care")

If 5e designers take the polls as a sign for what NOT to do for 5e (thereby ignoring the highly insular 4e WotC Forum community) then I have hope that the edition will be everything I want it to be (and many of my friends in my group).

As Kip84 mentioned, you should go there and vote the way you see best. I voted for the Most at 1st level because I like a good starting amount and build slowly off of that. How one can ideally 'adventure' with 7 hp at 1st level and not rest after every battle is really baffling to me (going by a standard dungeon crawl, for example). Low HP at first level practically screams 15-minute work days because Fighters like going out into battle with low HP just as much as Wizards like to out there without spells.

Warrant wrote:


7 HP seems to be the perfect non-bloat number for an average fighter to have at 1st level. After all, the average goblin probably has about half of that and they are fighters for their race.

D&D is a game, and sometimes you lose, losing at first level due to luck of the dice probably means your fighter wasn't that good to begin with and probably shouldn't have went adventuring. (looking at it after the fact)

Read what you just wrote here "losing at first level due to luck of the dice probably means your fighter wasn't that good to begin with and probably shouldn't have went adventuring. (looking at it after the fact)"......how does that make sense?? It's your fault and your fighter sucked and died because the DM rolling a Nat. 20 and killed your character with a critical hit? How dare you adventure with the DM rolling a hot streak!!

How about this, D&D is a game and not one meant to simulate real-life expectations. In real life, you don't have HP, you have organs, blood, and bones. You lose one of those 3 and your dead or are hospitalized for some time. This, contrary to popular belief, does not translate well to a game about fighting monsters, taking sword thrusts to your appendages, and getting your head clobbered with an Ogre's flail. If that were the case, we'd be tracking every single cut and boo-boo for the expectation of realism.

If you want people's HP to start out below 10, then there has to be some give (dare I say a LOT of give) in weapon-damage and what's added to the weapon damage rolls. A 3e/PF fighter at 1st level with a Strength of 15 (not horrible, not great) is going to be dealing 1d8+2 with a Longsword, an average of 6 damage per swing (approx). That 7 HP is going to start looking REALLY thin about the 2nd round of battle if he connects. But lets say you down him first, you have 1 HP left, and the cleric burned his healing keeping the mage's intestines back in his stomach. The next corridor has 2 human guards with longswords.....battle of attrition will win in the end and you most certainly will die. To me, that doesn't sound like a lot of fun.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I started a new 2e campaign and only one of the characters had over 10 HPs at first level.

Guess what...none of them died! Why? Well they played smart. In 4e they would just rush in, use their powers on the monster and know that they would win, tons of healing surges and all that. These players in 2e are like "Oh Crap! I only have 6 HP, I move out and use ranged" or other strategies to avoid dealing directly with the baddies. One character spent almost a day digging obstacles and setting snares to lure in gnolls to become trapped. The characters spent a ton of time spending their initial starting gold trying to strategize for low HP's

Of course they are fighting easier monsters such as orcs and goblins, but you're right, one bad blow at first level can kill the player. Does that make it a bad game? I would argue that no, it doesn't. Things feel precarious at 1st level. It is easy to lose. Tension is high because that one hit could take you down. Elation is high when the character lives. 2nd level feels like a huge relief because that hit die can possibly triple your chances at living longer.

I must add a caveat that I have always been partial to the gold-box games' style of near-death (an optional rule in 2e..hovering at death's door). A player below 0 HP loses one HP/round until bandaged or healed. I think that is reasonable considering a character takes 8 damage and is severely traumatized but not killed outright. (although playing on ultra-hardcore mode is fun at times too)

I like the flat math and low numbers at 1st level. I like being able to "lose" from time to time. It makes it feel like more of a game to me.

Oh..and I voted already...7 HP.


Kip84 wrote:
Sebastrd wrote:

...

There's nothing wrong with what Aubrey is saying about scaling the damage of the lava to fit the PCs. Over time your going to gain skill at battle but the 'average' goblin in a war camp is still going to have the same skills that 'average' goblins had back when they were a threat to you. If you fall in molten rock however it's still going to be brown trousers time followed by the longest sleep of your life (or death)... No amount of skill in battle is going to help you long in that case.

It's also easy to imagine the cure light wounds spell healing minor cuts and grazes while refreshing you body as if you had spent a couple of hours resting. The trouble is saying things like "The Orc ducks below your blade, sweat beads on his forehead and he's starting to look tired." does not sound as cool as "Your blade bites deep into the Orcs side, he snarls at you as he retaliates with his axe!"

...

The problem with lava starts when you look in the tables for damage per level. It's never deadly unless you explicitely say so as a DM.

Lvl 15 Rogue with Con 10 has 92 hp. How much damage is level appropriate? 4d10+6 ~ 28 hp what about lvl 30? 5d12 + 9 ~ 42...(using limited high damage from DMG2 - the highest I could find.

You still need to state it deadly from the start or it's not anything close to brownpants moment. If I fix it somewhere in epic tier it will be deadly at least for some levels, but otherwise the PCs still have asbestos legs.


Zmar wrote:

The problem with lava starts when you look in the tables for damage per level. It's never deadly unless you explicitely say so as a DM.

Lvl 15 Rogue with Con 10 has 92 hp. How much damage is level appropriate? 4d10+6 ~ 28 hp what about lvl 30? 5d12 + 9 ~ 42...(using limited high damage from DMG2 - the highest I could find.

You still need to state it deadly from the start or it's not anything close to brownpants moment. If I fix it somewhere in epic tier it will be deadly at least for some levels, but otherwise the PCs still have asbestos legs.

I think a good rule of thumb might be:

With magical protection, lava does 20d6 every round of contact.

Without magical protection, the character is incinerated on contact in the first round. No saving throw, no tap backs, no sympathy for the idiot who tried to wade in 1000°C liquid rock.

In other words, no matter how many hit points you have, trying to wade through lava without magical protection results in death.


Fixed amount :)

Now compaare this with the Sphere of Annihilation - which should be probably far deadlier than any lava - lvl 29 trap and deals 6d6+10 damage + 10 ongoing - and here we go again.

The thing is that mundane deadly in D&D and especially 4E usually means deadly up to a point or DM-fiat disregarding the rules. WHather it's good or not depends on opinion ;)


Finn Kveldulfr wrote:

Fact-checking and nit-picking (just because...) ;)

Gygax himself may have named the spell, but... since TSR (then spelled out in its full name, "Tactical Studies Rules"), existed at least several years before D&D was invented (after all, it was the already existing TSR miniatures wargame "Chainmail", that got a fantasy critters section added, that a guy named Dave Arneson saw and turned into single heroes braving the dungeon in search of treasure, that gave rise to role-playing, and D&D in the first place...).

So, point of order: TSR came first. Then, the "cure light wounds" spell. :P

Chainmail existed before TSR, but it wasn't the first thing they published. Cavaliers and Roundheads was the first TSR publication chronologically. English Civil War wargames rules, if you're wondering.

I've played it. It isn't very good.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Zmar wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
...
[ooc]First way breaks immersion easily when you set the really deadly things too low. Second breaks mine because it rarely does enough damage to make it deadly on any level. First generates asbestos legs, second says that character is not really developing.

Define developing. A fighter gets better at fighting. No matter how good a fighter he is, unless we assume he somehow becomes fire-proof, developing at fighting doesn't impact on lava immersion. So it depends what we mean by "developing".

Zmar wrote:
The thing is that either the lava deals fixed amount of hp no matter what level you are or it does somewhat fixed amount of damage relatively, like 30 % of hp per turn (as 4E doesn't do insta-death for level-appropriate things, that's why there is the level rating - to tell DM that this thing has real threat of snuffing the PC out of existence real fast, not to make him avoid it completely).

Again, it depends what you mean by "hit points". Do they absorb all damage the same? Well, not in 3e, anyway - poison damages stats, not hp, for example. So we know that there are some things even the designers of 3e thought that hp didn't handle well. It seems to me lava is also one of those, only they didn't rise the the challenge of dealing with it, in my view. I mean, you can wade in lava and laugh but die of the flu?

Zmar wrote:
Neither of ways matters much as long as you don't try to imagine the world running under them somewhat. Rules suggest the first way, but meh... interpretations.

Yeah, and I don't mean to tell you how to run your game. Different players see the rules differently, and that's fine. I'm just suggesting that maybe seeing the number of hit points as the be-all-and-end-all is maybe missing some of the deeper issues. 4e (as I'm sure you are aware) actually handles most damage as hit point damage, including poison, but the sliding scale makes it easier to callibrate against the character rather than having hp progression suddenly grind to a halt (which I don't think was your suggestion anyway).


Warrant wrote:

I started a new 2e campaign and only one of the characters had over 10 HPs at first level.

Guess what...none of them died! Why? Well they played smart. In 4e they would just rush in, use their powers on the monster and know that they would win, tons of healing surges and all that. These players in 2e are like "Oh Crap! I only have 6 HP, I move out and use ranged" or other strategies to avoid dealing directly with the baddies. One character spent almost a day digging obstacles and setting snares to lure in gnolls to become trapped. The characters spent a ton of time spending their initial starting gold trying to strategize for low HP's

Of course they are fighting easier monsters such as orcs and goblins, but you're right, one bad blow at first level can kill the player. Does that make it a bad game? I would argue that no, it doesn't. Things feel precarious at 1st level. It is easy to lose. Tension is high because that one hit could take you down. Elation is high when the character lives. 2nd level feels like a huge relief because that hit die can possibly triple your chances at living longer.

I'll have to chalk this up to one of those "YMMV" kind of things. I'm of the opinion that being required to switch tactics just because of starting low-HP isn't good game design. If I'm playing a Fighter with a two-handed sword and I'm horrid at Ranged attacks, it's going to effect my enjoyment at the table if I'm not at least going to enjoy the style I designed because to do so is almost certain death. Sure, I can rush up and swing and possibly even defeat one foe. But then they attack and I die. This sort of design, to me at least, seems to date back to the beginning days of D&D where combat was avoided at all costs and the direct assault attempt was always the wrong choice.

If this game is supposed to be modular, hopefully we'll have a host of options at 1st level HP generation. So if you want a classic style and more precarious adventuring time then you can use This style of HP. If you like more combative elements in your games or enjoy taking on multiple combat encounters in a day, use this style of HP.

When looking at game/encounter design, as a DM I like knowing how an encounter is likely to turn out. I say 'likely' because I can't account for everything that happens. The die rolls still matter greatly and in a balanced encounter, a few good hits from the monsters puts the PCs in very real danger or death. I've had just as many PCs die (if not more) in 4E than I have had in 3E/2E/AD&D. This is mainly due to tactics and limited healing with the gamble of either making that extra attack or using your Second Wind. Sometimes that next attack will drop your adversary and win the day.....and sometimes you miss and the next hit kills you. So I'm not inclined to vote for encounters that are swingy, with every attack possibly ending one or multiple characters lives even if I didn't intentionally want it to.

Warrant wrote:


I must add a caveat that I have always been partial to the gold-box games' style of near-death (an optional rule in 2e..hovering at death's door). A player below 0 HP loses one HP/round until bandaged or healed. I think that is reasonable considering a character takes 8 damage and is severely traumatized but not killed outright. (although playing on ultra-hardcore mode is fun at times too)

I like the flat math and low numbers at 1st level. I like being able to "lose" from time to time. It makes it feel like more of a game to me.

Oh..and I voted already...7 HP.

Flat math is fine. It's something I'd like to see, where AC doesn't reach ridiculous levels or HPs in the 100s just because everything else increases. More lateral progression is the way to go. As a chracter advances, I'd like more options and more versatility than just number increases. But I'd like to be able to fight in more than 1 or 2 battles a day. I don't think that's really possible with a really low HP value, at least not without some good healing aspects from classes.

Shadow Lodge

There's also the fact that if hit points are more luck / fatigue, then you should probably heal a decent amount back after every fight, and a good night's sleep should pretty much reset you back to full hp.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
...

The problem is that 4E IS genuinely constructed to be nonlethal when it comes to one hit damage. No amount of scaling withing the scope of the rules is deadly enough probably, so there need to be things arbitered as deadly, or the PCs are going to terminator their way out anyway.


Zmar wrote:
The problem is that 4E IS genuinely constructed to be nonlethal when it comes to one hit damage. No amount of scaling withing the scope of the rules is deadly enough probably, so there need to be things arbitered as deadly, or the PCs are going to terminator their way out anyway.

I genuinely don't understand your argument here. PCs can't be killed in one hit, so...? It looks like your conclusion is that they can't be killed at all, which doesn't make much sense.


If you had read the other posts before, you would have seen that there was a call for making certain things deadly for the PCs, but I just pointed out that 4E doesn't have many damaging effects that could accomplish that. You have to say "Ur ded pal!".

Having lava deal damage according to any table in 4E won't accomplish that unless you either have the damage fixed on epic level from the start and then it's progressively less deadly with levels (cooking high level hero properly takes a while) or have it completely DM-fiated in.


How about a less numbers approach for certain things. Really, do we need actual damage expressions for lava? Can't the rules just say "Round 1: Lose 1/2 your current HP (rounded up). Round 2: Your HP value is 0. Round 3: Character death." This way, it stays relevant to your character level and HP value (regardless, your losing half). Or, for more deadly aspect, skip Round 1 all together.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Zmar wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
...
The problem is that 4E IS genuinely constructed to be nonlethal when it comes to one hit damage. No amount of scaling withing the scope of the rules is deadly enough probably, so there need to be things arbitered as deadly, or the PCs are going to terminator their way out anyway.

There is that. I agree that for a few things it's an issue. 4e bends over backwards not to just kill you with a single action (including save or die as another example), mainly because the design philosophy consider that to be un-fun.

I don't think that's actually what we are talking about, though - the subject is hp caps in 5e, and whether they are a good idea. I'm suggesting not, and suggesting scaling by level like 4e. Whether the 4e tables are sufficiently deadly is a bit of a side-issue, and is really a separate discussion around auto-kill effects and whether they are a good idea or not.


Zmar wrote:
Now compaare this with the Sphere of Annihilation - which should be probably far deadlier than any lava - lvl 29 trap and deals 6d6+10 damage + 10 ongoing - and here we go again.

Is that how it's done in 4E? Because in 3E, any character coming into contact with a sphere of anihilation is sucked into the void and is gone, permanently, NSR, NST. Only Deific intervention can bring him back.

I'm glad you brought up the sphere. It provides an in-rules precedent for effects that HPs don't affect. Like lava.


Exactly - 4E is not made to keep things deadly. A conscious decision to make PCs grow beyond mortal threats. Lvl 5 hero is annihilated, lvl 15 hero is badly burned screaming in agony, but alive, lvl 30? You thought THAT will stop ME? An optional, I need to ephasize the optional part, hp cap (and perhaps a cap on damage and other abilities) would keep that feature for those who want it and install E6-like gritty option for those who don't within that system. For those that want hp bloat, but ot keep things deadly there could always remain the DM fiat solution, but if things are to be deadly there have to be damage values that either could match hp levels for environment OR perhaps massive damage rule (roll save or DIE could be a nasty option).

And yes, that is how sphere of utter destruction is represented in 4E. With epic destinies called godling and other such stuff the PCs are expected to survive even that sort of peril. And it's a fixed thing (as lvl 29-ish damage) made so that lower level PCs are sitll in mortal peril on heroic tier and they can enjoy the feeling of ascension as it becomes... well.. epic. Also note that lvl 1 4E wizard casts fireballs, flaming spheres and other such stuff - yes, you are about lvl 5 from previous editions right from the start. 4E works on somewhat higher levels of power and from that stems lower deadliness than 3E player expects at the same character level (not to mention previous editions).


I guess your referring to 'Scorching Burst' when you say 4e wizards can cast fireball at level 1. 1d6 is a pretty sad fireball IMO but so is the 3d6 level 5 daily spell called 'Fireball'.

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