Starting Hit Points


Alpha Release 2 General Discussion

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I noticed the Designer Notes concerning starting hit points and, after seeing all of the other changes, I really hope none of these changes to starting hit points are implemented.

Base hit dice have been increased for some weaker classes and healing has become much more readily available (especially with the cleric's channeling positve energy of Turn Undead attempts also healing characters within range).

At best (or worst?, I'd rather see these options maintained as optional rules in a sidebar as the are presented now rather than see any one of them set as the default. I'm all for characters remaining useful longer, but making everyone just tougher at first level reduces the usefulness of a cleric or druid for the first few levels of the game... not to mention makes things seem unbalanced against monsters of equal level. Making low level characters into comparitive super tanks isn't appealing in the least to me.


I like some of the proposed boost to hit points...mainly the flat +6 or the racial based bonus. IN the long run such a boost is not going to make that much difference, but at low levels it will make all the difference between a character you may have put hours of work into including conception, creation and background story going down in the first fight because some grubby drooling little goblin gets a lucky hit on your druid. I think using the actual Constitution Score is a bit much though. Doubling is also a bit excessive to me, especially with the barbarian keeping their d12.

Overall, the maximum hit points for your class hit die plus a bonus determined by race is actually nicely intuitive. What you do and what you are is going to factor heavily on how hard you are to kill. An elven wizard and a half-orc sorcerer may have the same ability scores (assume a hardy elf and a sickly half-orc so we dont worry about con for this), but the half-orc is still going to have sturdier bones and more muscle mass than the elf. So he should have more hit points.

-Weylin Stormcrowe


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As much as the starting racial Hp works (a friend of mine uses it for his campaign (non-pathfinder)), I feel that the racial con adjustment represents that already although not that well at low levels, but it would further discourage someone from playing weird mixes like an elf barbarian (which I've seen a lot) at least a little bit.


Lady Melo wrote:
As much as the starting racial Hp works (a friend of mine uses it for his campaign (non-pathfinder)), I feel that the racial con adjustment represents that already although not that well at low levels, but it would further discourage someone from playing weird mixes like an elf barbarian (which I've seen a lot) at least a little bit.

I dont feel the +1 hp difference offered by racial adjustments is enough at beginning levels. Especially not to have good odds of survival. Even a first level fighter with maxed out hit points can fall in the first round of her first fight. This is terribly anti-climactic for a game that is supposed to be about adventuring heroes. And the highest bonus for race of +8 really doesnt effect much once you get past low levels. I am all for something that gives a better odd of survival at levels 1-3 without what i regard as insanity of using the constiution score as starting hit points. Constitution as hit points only works if you are using the vitality-hitpoints system of D20 Modern and Star Wars where crits dont do more damage they take off your vitaity/con score bypassing your hit points.

-Weylin Stormcrowe


An idea for how to handle start hit points is rather then use the racial method that type casts races into classes is to just multiply the con bonus by 2 at first level. This way an elf barbarian would get more then then an elf wizard but not, much less then a dwarf barbarian.


I get that some people don't want to put time and effort into writing up a first level character only to have him killed off by a lucky hit... but wouldn't it be just as easy for people to start playing characters at 2nd or 3rd level rather than make 1st level characters uncharacteristically survivable?

1st level is supposed to be hard. Such characters are inexperienced and need to build themselves up through experience. It makes the experience of surviving to get higher level if those early challenges are, you know... challenging.

And using Constitution score as a bonus is the most challenge-robbing option I could imagine. A 1st level dwarf barbarian could feasibly start play with 35 hit points if he takes the Toughness feat. That's slightly more than the same character under standard rules with max hit points for two levels.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am, and still remain, a huge fan of the racial mode for starting hitpoints. I don't feel at all that the initial points makes anyone an uber tank but that is to be taken in the context that we have a slightly smaller group of three players. A larger group might experience "too much of a good thing" as the OP mentions, but we're not seeing it here.

Dark Archive

We started to make characters last night and everyone loved the "feel" of the racial bonuses.


I like the idea of starting with higher hit points at first level. It does make the characters more survivable, and combat is less "you're up/you're down". The 3.x jump from first to second level is pretty extreme, and there's no reason that "first level characters" can't be somewhat experienced.

Personally, I'd like to see a bonus hit point method that's easily applied to monsters, to keep the challenges more balanced. The flat +6 and the flat con score are both easily translated over, and that 1st level dwarf barbarian is now fighting kobold mooks with 10 or 14 hit points...

Liberty's Edge

I like standard. It may just be the feel but every player I've gamed with actually LIKES the feeling or mortality at 1st level.

It's a badge of honor to get to 2nd level and be able to boost them. It encourages smart play. It makes the higher levels of superherois feel more earned than statrting so heroic right out of the gate.

So here's a vote for standard.

-DM Jeff


Personally, I really like the racial, but I agree that the alternates should be in a sidebar with standard as the default.

Dark Archive

I like racial, but I would prefer removing the maximized hit die. The x4 skill points have been removed, too, so it would be appropriate. I would also be okay with the constitution based method, I just really don't like the importance of the first class taken.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Nerfed2Hell wrote:
I'm all for characters remaining useful longer, but making everyone just tougher at first level reduces the usefulness of a cleric or druid for the first few levels of the game...

Really.. so you're saying clerics should only use their spells to heal people? More hitpoints means even less Cure spells, which means more casting the spells they actually prepared, which means they can actually output damage or prevent damage with offensive/defensive spells, which in my books makes them even more useful.

Did you actually playtest Alpha 1 or did just not pay attention to the fact that a cleric doesn't need to cast half as many cure light wounds?


I think the options should stay just as they are Options.
Each DM knows his game better than any publisher. I think it should be left to the DM and players to determine whats right for their table. There are many different ways to roll, or assign, a PC's stats, why not allow different options for Hit Points.
BUT....I do see the need to agree on one of these options for the Pathfind RPGA. If we are taking votes in that area I like the Racial Option the best. It will be the one I use when I start my play testing group.


My personal favorite is double class HD at 1st. It helps reinforce a character's founding abilities and keeps low-level characters alive a bit longer, both good things that 3.5 needed fixed in my opinion.


I like the racial hit points. They give that nice little boost to the hit point total, and keep the characters in the running a bit longer at 1st level.
As for mortality, my players are very happy their characters have that little boost... very happy.

I agree though, all of these should remain options.


I'd like to see each class give a standard increase to HP per level:
mage 3, fighter 5, etc.

The roll for HP at each level puts WAY too much emphasis on single rolls.

At first level, Con + standard level increase would be great. Then level increase + con modifier. I'm seeing a lot of people claim this will make the game a cakewalk for early levels. But look at all the other changes Paizo is making -- most wizards will have a juicy attack at will, clerical healing is a little more effective ... these changes make the low level party more powerful across the board. Why not have HP keep pace?

If you can't still make a 1st level party bleed and cry with these changes, you've got to have a talk with your kobold chietains about tactics.


Adrian Romero wrote:

I'd like to see each class give a standard increase to HP per level:

mage 3, fighter 5, etc.

The roll for HP at each level puts WAY too much emphasis on single rolls.

At first level, Con + standard level increase would be great. Then level increase + con modifier. I'm seeing a lot of people claim this will make the game a cakewalk for early levels. But look at all the other changes Paizo is making -- most wizards will have a juicy attack at will, clerical healing is a little more effective ... these changes make the low level party more powerful across the board. Why not have HP keep pace?

If you can't still make a 1st level party bleed and cry with these changes, you've got to have a talk with your kobold chietains about tactics.

Liberty's Edge

You know what? The double hit dice at first level really hit a soft spot for me. It reminded me of the 1e ranger. I actually got misty. For old times sake, I've got to run just one double HD game. In general I think we should get away from random HP as, especially at low level, it is a random number that has huge implications for a whole level. We don't ask the rogue to roll for skill points, why should the fighter risk rolling 0 HP?
I propose using average values rounded up: d6HP become 4HP, d8=5, d10=6 and d12=7.
Perhaps at 1st level wizards etc. could have 10 (max d6+4) clerics etc 13HP (max d8+5) fighters 16HP (10+6) and Barbarians 19HP
I actually started one campaigne at 3rd level but 0XP. I knew my players (8 year olds) would need the help, but it actually wasn't too unbalanced. Even at 3rd level you are in a place where a couple of lucky or unlucky roles can turn an average encounter into a deadly one.

Dark Archive

Here's my take on the options:

Standard: A dead level one wizard may be a classic by now, but the bottom line is that it's not fun for the guy actually playing the character with 4 hps.

Racial: The feel of it is good, but it just seems too min-max at it's core for me, i.e. a sudden surge in half-orc wizards, and "If you made him a dwarf he has 8 more hps you know". Especially when dwarves, elves, and gnomes already have some kind of Constitution adjustment. Isn't that, and where a player chooses to place their ability scores, supposed to reflect if they're hardy, standard, or frail?

Flat: One size doesn't fit all. 6 hit points across the board seems kind of bland and arbitrary. While the wizard will be happy, the fighter will just be like, "ehh, thanks" and the barbarian, "whut? ok some plus life gud. me guess."

Constitution: Too much of a good thing. Hardy first level characters are one thing, superhuman (or superdwarf/elf/etc.) characters that tear through all existing low-level adventures without a scratch, is another.

Double: I like this the best. It's simple. It's straight-forward. It It's a level playing field that just accomplishes what it's supposed to- making low-level characters less frail, while keeping them familiar and balanced to each other and existing game mechanics.


Hmm. The constitution method would put those to a disadvantage who have a low CON and already get little or no adjustments to HP, and double standard would make the gap between tank and brain even wider (about 12 hp for a wizard, and maybe 28-30 for a barbarian).

I'd like to see a mix between racial adjustment to hit points and a flat rate, not as it is proposed in Alpha 2, but rather as an extension to the existing 3.5 rule for monsters as pc races where any race with class levels adds their racial HD to the class level hit points; i.e. every race in the PH is humanoid and thus has a d8 Hit die. So you either add a D8 or a flat (average) 5. It's easy and fits into the existing rules.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would prefer for these to remain optional rules. I like the feeling of vulnerability at 1st level. I also like not having to modify every monster/npc I run. I think the adjustments to HD (6/8/10/12) and Clerical Energy Channelling make 1st level death more unlikely while still making it possible. And I believe with my whole heart that it should be possible for a lucky blow to knock any 1st level character unconscious. PCs are "heroes" because of their actions. They are "better" than NPCs/monsters because they get MAX HP at first level, while critters get average.

That all being said, I have a house rule that gives max HP at second level as well as first. This bumps up their survivability as the game moves from goblins to creatures that don't have to get lucky to be a threat.


As others have mentioned, I think that they should be optional rules. That gives me the option of using them if I want to create a tougher first level adventure, or not using them if I want to play something more towards a standard adventure.


I think Optional is the way to go with this, and that DOES seem to be the overwhelming opinion. To me, a racial bonus to first level makes the most sense, but probably toned down a bit with the max boost being around 4 hit points. As the one who plays clerics the most in my group, the chance to actually cast something besides a cure is a strong motivation of course, but a lucky hit is still less likely to take a character out. It can still happen, of course (Longbow crits can be extremely treacherous, eh Troy?), but not as a total fluke.

On the flip side, I DO miss the days when some creatures had save or die effects. While some have pointed at this saying that an arbitrary die roll shouldn't kill a character, I'll point out that if you're going to mess with a beholder, you're asking for some pain. Some creatures are just not supposed to be messed with.

Of course, the WotC 4e release notes seem to imply that a group of 1st level characters can take out a baby dragon. EGG must be tumbling in his grave at that thought.

Dark Archive

Having play-tested the vitality/wound point system from the 3.5 Unearthed Arcana, my vote goes to the Constitution Option (CON score + HD at 1st level):

-It allows a greater chance of low-level survival for those using the medium and slow XP advancement tables.
-It gives the GM the opportunity to create some tougher and potentially more colorful scenarios, especially at low levels.
-It lessens the need for a 'healer' type character that many players feel is essential in most parties.
-It gives clerics the chance to cast the spells they want instead of having to trade them for healing spells.
-It allows low level/low hit dice classes (like the wizard) a better chance to live through the odd melee encounter.

The only thing I would change is to make the HD at 1st level a roll instead of a maximum (after all, D&D isn't D&D without a little luck!).

Scarab Sages

Nerfed2Hell wrote:

I get that some people don't want to put time and effort into writing up a first level character only to have him killed off by a lucky hit... but wouldn't it be just as easy for people to start playing characters at 2nd or 3rd level rather than make 1st level characters uncharacteristically survivable?

1st level is supposed to be hard. Such characters are inexperienced and need to build themselves up through experience. It makes the experience of surviving to get higher level if those early challenges are, you know... challenging.

And using Constitution score as a bonus is the most challenge-robbing option I could imagine. A 1st level dwarf barbarian could feasibly start play with 35 hit points if he takes the Toughness feat. That's slightly more than the same character under standard rules with max hit points for two levels.

I have to disagree....it SUCKS to build a character with a full concept background and everything, only to lose said new character in the first battle due to a lucky shot...now, say you had thought of this character for a few hours before you developed the concept fully in your mind, character dies early, now you have to either a)remake the same character in a new skin with the same background, or b) develop a new character from scratch.

I'm all for early survivability. I've been giving MAX HP since 1e...

Rangor Silverblade wrote:

Having play-tested the vitality/wound point system from the 3.5 Unearthed Arcana, my vote goes to the Constitution Option (CON score + HD at 1st level):

-It allows a greater chance of low-level survival for those using the medium and slow XP advancement tables.
-It gives the GM the opportunity to create some tougher and potentially more colorful scenarios, especially at low levels.
-It lessens the need for a 'healer' type character that many players feel is essential in most parties.
-It gives clerics the chance to cast the spells they want instead of having to trade them for healing spells.
-It allows low level/low hit dice classes (like the wizard) a better chance to live through the odd melee encounter.

The only thing I would change is to make the HD at 1st level a roll instead of a maximum (after all, D&D isn't D&D without a little luck!).

Yeah, that's a good idea, if you give CON Hp, then definitely roll for HD...

My problem with CON HP is this, that Wizard is now even MORE likely to sacrifice another ability for CON...


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I too think that all of the alternatives should be included as options.

I know that a standard needs to be taken for PFRPG, and will cast my vote for the double HD option to become the standard.


I like racial starting hit points.


Nerfed2Hell wrote:
I noticed the Designer Notes concerning starting hit points and, after seeing all of the other changes, I really hope none of these changes to starting hit points are implemented. <snip>

I don't mean to derail this or make an attack on anyone, but posts like these are getting ridiculous. There is too much personal emphasis on what every individual wants for his Pathfinder RPG based on his preferences. This isn't directed solely at the OP, but his statement here is a very good example of what I've been noticing in just about every post I read in this forum. I can only imagine what it's like for the designers who are sifting through it all for a smidgeon of unbiased and ambiguous feedback and ideas. Discussion is good. Input is good. But all this conjecturing and speculation without any real playtesting of the proposed ideas is, quite frankly, non-productive. Sorry if that offends anyone, but I think it has to be said.

Case in point (again, not picking on the OP but his statements are a good example of others doing the same thing):

Nerfed2Hell wrote:
I'm all for characters remaining useful longer, but making everyone just tougher at first level reduces the usefulness of a cleric or druid for the first few levels of the game... not to mention makes things seem unbalanced against monsters of equal level.

What exactly do you base this on? Can you be more specific? Have you tried this with an actual group to test it out? It wouldn't be that difficult to roll up some new 1st level characters and run them through some quick scenarios using the various options to see if it really does make the cleric or druid less useful, or unbalance the game. And then explain to us why it was or wasn't the case.

I will agree that keeping these ideas as options is a good idea since they will appeal differently to different individuals. However, I am also a strong supporter of boosting those critical hit point values at the first level. My favorite options, thus far, are the Racial and Flat methods in that order. Racial just adds more flavor and gives dwarves and half-orcs... both of which fall short on features compared to other races... even more value as playable races. Flat works just as well, but the opportunity to boost the dwarf and half-orc races is not something that should be so easily dismissed.

Both of these provide a very modest boost to starting hit points without greatly altering the game structure over the long haul. Six hit points is a drop in the bucket in the larger scheme of things. But at first level, it is the difference between falling quickly to a stray arrow and staying in the fight that much longer, and consequently, allowing the players to play in the game more. Enough said.

When it comes down to it, we're not just looking at what we want for our own games, but how the Pathfinder campaign will be shared by all. Remember, the Pathfinder Society will allow for a shared experience by everyone, which means that certain standards must be established and maintained across the board to regulate balance and fairness of play. So while I can appreciate people offering their own personal feedback championed by their own personal preferences and styles, let's not forget the bigger picture in all of this. You can always cater your home games with whatever preferences and options you like. But the real goal here should be to come up with a fair, unbiased, and balanced system for ALL to share.

Again, sorry for the rant and the slight derailment of thread, but it had to be said.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

If you want to increase starting HP, the racial HD makes the most sense intuitively (at least to me). It represents the toughness/vitality you have as a race. Then you get some more because of your class. I don't feel this is double dipping with the existing racial Con modifiers because that represent extra HP over the lifetime of the character and the starting HD is just for start up. So for me, I like the racial HD.

That said, I'd be totally okay to see this, or any of the other suggestions, in an options sidebar. NPCs could cone stat'ed without any of these and individual DMs could just add whatever method they're using for their players. The only catch is that it would have to be an easy mod. A Racial HD is easy to add to existing NPCs. So are Double HP at 1st or a Flat Bonus. So is adding Con to starting HP, but, man, that's a lot more HP for NPCs.

Oh, one other thing. There's a great idea over in the Skills forum; I'm not sure if it's over here too. Instead of adding +1 HP for levels in racially favored classes, add +1 skill point. Being in your favored class would logically make you more adept not tougher.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I like the +1 skill rank for playing the favored class.


Archon of Light wrote:
Nerfed2Hell wrote:
I noticed the Designer Notes concerning starting hit points and, after seeing all of the other changes, I really hope none of these changes to starting hit points are implemented. <snip>
I don't mean to derail this or make an attack on anyone, but posts like these are getting ridiculous. There is too much personal emphasis on what every individual wants for his Pathfinder RPG based on his preferences. This isn't directed solely at the OP, but his statement here is a very good example of what I've been noticing in just about every post I read in this forum. I can only imagine what it's like for the designers who are sifting through it all for a smidgeon of unbiased and ambiguous feedback and ideas. Discussion is good. Input is good. But all this conjecturing and speculation without any real playtesting of the proposed ideas is, quite frankly, non-productive. Sorry if that offends anyone, but I think it has to be said.

Why do you assume just because I stated a preference that I didn't playtest? Do I need to provide a detailed log of how combat went to back up my opinions? I understand how the playtesting process works and feedback explaining how scenarios were affected by the new rules could be improved or tweaked would benefit the overall process... but not including specific situations doesn't invalidate opinions.

Archon of Light wrote:

Case in point (again, not picking on the OP but his statements are a good example of others doing the same thing):

Nerfed2Hell wrote:
I'm all for characters remaining useful longer, but making everyone just tougher at first level reduces the usefulness of a cleric or druid for the first few levels of the game... not to mention makes things seem unbalanced against monsters of equal level.
What exactly do you base this on? Can you be more specific? Have you tried this with an actual group to test it out? It wouldn't be that difficult to roll up some new 1st level characters and run them through some quick scenarios using the various options to see if it really does make the cleric or druid less useful, or unbalance the game. And then explain to us why it was or wasn't the case.

A few parties were made in which all characters were made using a different option each time. The characters trounced 1st level challenges every time with less and less fear of dying with each new batch of characters that had a higher hit point total. Because the threat of a lucky shot disabling someone was gone, the party healer didn't prepare a single healing spell (relying on Turn Undead as a spontaneous group heal, and it was only needed once). Victory was no longer a gamble, something the players hoped to achieve... it was expected, and it was pretty dull.

Archon of Light wrote:
I will agree that keeping these ideas as options is a good idea since they will appeal differently to different individuals. However, I am also a strong supporter of boosting those critical hit point values at the first level. My favorite options, thus far, are the Racial...

And that was pretty much the basis of my post... keep them, but as options for those that want or feel they need them. Its always easier to tell players to add something positive to their characters, but if "standard starting hit points" were just an option, asking players to remove whatever bonus hit points that get added as the new standard would be harder to swallow and thus harder for the DM to implement.

So I like them better as options that everyone can use or not use as they see fit... this is based on both playtesting and past experience, and it didn't require a whole lot of either for me to come to that opinion. As for various preferences of the options shown, all the more reason to present them as options since --while seemingly the more popular choice, not everyone will want the racial option and a handful might want double their first level hit die and others may want to start with their constitution score.

Anyway, the real point of this post is no longer about the starting hit points issue, but rather the presumption that any post stating a concern, opinion, or outright disagreement with the way things should be is invalid and the poster needs to be called out with questions like "Did you playtest it?" Its fine to ask someone to elaborate on how they came to the conclusion, but don't presume they didn't playtest just because they didn't start out with a bounty of text stating specific scenarios.


SirUrza wrote:
Nerfed2Hell wrote:
I'm all for characters remaining useful longer, but making everyone just tougher at first level reduces the usefulness of a cleric or druid for the first few levels of the game...
SirUrza wrote:
Really.. so you're saying clerics should only use their spells to heal people? More hitpoints means even less Cure spells, which means more casting the spells they actually prepared, which means they can actually output damage or prevent damage with offensive/defensive spells, which in my books makes them even more useful.

Are you implying that clerics shouldn't have to use their healing spells at all? If so, then why have them to begin with?

No, I wasn't saying clerics should ONLY use their spells to heal people, and I'll thank you not to read more into my words than what I chose to write. I said it reduces the usefulness of healer classes, not made them useless... because they aren't useless, they do have other things they can do. However, taking away focus from healing (to the point where they might not need to heal at all in combat) steals from the flavor of what those classes are and can do.

SirUrza wrote:
Did you actually playtest Alpha 1 or did just not pay attention to the fact that a cleric doesn't need to cast half as many cure light wounds?

Did you playtest it? Did you? Because I don't see you going on about how you did when you try countering my viewpoint by asking if I did. Glass houses, throwing stones, all that rot... you understand, no?


Nerfed2Hell wrote:
Why do you assume just because I stated a preference that I didn't playtest? Do I need to provide a detailed log of how combat went to back up my opinions? I understand how the playtesting process works and feedback explaining how scenarios were affected by the new rules could be improved or tweaked would benefit the overall process... but not including specific situations doesn't invalidate opinions.

Because you did not specify that you did playtest all of this, unlike the majority of posters here. And like it or not, a more detailed explanation would be much more appreciated and give more credible evidence to anyone's claims. Sorry if you thought this was really about you. Its not. I just used yours as an example because its the one post almost everyone would have read in this thread. Do not assume every person on this board is as knowledgeable in the ways of playtesting as you pride yourself to be. But its gotten to the point where its getting difficult to sift through the 'untested' opinions and theories and get to the more factual ones. That was the basis of my post.

Nerfed2Hell wrote:
A few parties were made in which all characters were made using a different option each time. The characters trounced 1st level challenges every time with less and less fear of dying with each new batch of characters that had a higher hit point total. Because the threat of a lucky shot disabling someone was gone, the party healer didn't prepare a single healing spell (relying on Turn Undead as a spontaneous group heal, and it was only needed once). Victory was no longer a gamble, something the players hoped to achieve... it was expected, and it was pretty dull.

Now THIS is something I can sink my teeth into. That explains a lot better why you felt clerics and druids were less useful with the changes. Before, you only told us they were. This actually shows us and I'm now understanding your POV much better than before. Just keep that in mind. Thanks.


Maybe I'm alone, but I prefer the Flat system for hit points. The Standard system is (in my humble opinion) insufficient, the Double system is excessive and the Racial system may condition the race chosen for the character. A Flat system of +6 hit points at 1st level seems to me a moderate and balanced solution for the low level's durability problem.

Please, excuse my English. This is not my mother tongue.

Dark Archive

Hojas wrote:
We started to make characters last night and everyone loved the "feel" of the racial bonuses.

Yep -- that's how we're going to handle it, too. It feels "natural" if your race actually has an impact on your starting HPs. Although those "frail" races should probably get something in return, like +1 Bonus to AC or one of the Saving Throws?


Personally, I have always preferred the max HP at level 1. Class has always been the prime mover of HP, and breaking from that means a lot of things that I don't think the designers or players want. For example, elvish or halfling fighters and rangers are penalized, despite the fact that elf and halfling rangers (especially) are supposed to be particularly appropriate. Anybody who goes for racial hit points should probably be one one side of the fence for making rogues less fighter-y, since the half-orc rogue will be a cannon that isn't made of glass. And speaking of which, let's not go into the dwarvish wizard.

Frankly, race shouldn't change a character class into something that it isn't, not at 1st level and not at 21st. The racial hit point option is more than just the difference between a "halfling ranged fighter" and a "half-orc KRUNK SMASH fighter". Especially at first level, it's the difference between a rogue and a fighter with sneak attack.

EDIT: And, to address in a more broad sense the thread's topic, I do think the alternate hit point systems deserve a sidebar, for the same reason that alternate mechanisms for generating ability scores deserves a sidebar. Just because I don't use them doesn't mean nobody should. But if we're presenting multiple options, the "default" should be the most backwards compatible one, and the original is, by definition, backwards compatible. ^^


Pneumonica wrote:
I do think the alternate hit point systems deserve a sidebar, for the same reason that alternate mechanisms for generating ability scores deserves a sidebar. Just because I don't use them doesn't mean nobody should. But if we're presenting multiple options, the "default" should be the most backwards compatible one, and the original is, by definition, backwards compatible. ^^

I wholeheartedly agree. Two thumbs up.


Pneumonica wrote:
Personally, I have always preferred the max HP at level 1. Class has always been the prime mover of HP, and breaking from that means a lot of things that I don't think the designers or players want. For example, elvish or halfling fighters and rangers are penalized, despite the fact that elf and halfling rangers (especially) are supposed to be particularly appropriate. <Snip!>

How is it that anyone is being penalized when they're recieving bonus points that they weren't getting before?? ALL the races are recieving extra hit points at first level based on their particular race. Some are obviously getting more than others, but so what? You're really going to cry about the other races recieving either 2 or 4 more hit points at first level?! By the time the party reaches third level, its not going to make much of a difference and no one will really care.

Look at it this way: halflings and gnomes gain a number of saving throw bonuses, not to mention an Armor Class bonus for their size. And elves have always offered the best package of bonuses and abilities in the game, so I don't think they're really being cheated here. They're still getting more hit points, which I think should make more some people happy considering they're the only race that has a -2 adjustment on their Constitution scores.

Say what you want about the proposed options (and do I agree with leaving them as options), but let's not overreact and call "extra hit points at first level" a penalty. If that's your idea of getting penalized, then I am more than willing to take some abuse. ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Nemesis_Rex wrote:

Maybe I'm alone, but I prefer the Flat system for hit points. The Standard system is (in my humble opinion) insufficient, the Double system is excessive and the Racial system may condition the race chosen for the character. A Flat system of +6 hit points at 1st level seems to me a moderate and balanced solution for the low level's durability problem.

Please, excuse my English. This is not my mother tongue.

The Flat system has worked wonderfully my group, in a variety of adventures from Paizo and Goodman Games--some not converted, some quick converted, and some more fully converted.

Survivability has increased and the threat level has gone from wild swings of high to low to a steady, enjoyable pace.

Based on our playtests, I feel strongly that some HP boost should remain through Alpha to Beta.

-peter


I would be more interested in the alternate starting hp systems such as the racial bonus if they also applied to the monsters as well. Giving PCs the bonus only seems, trite

Liberty's Edge

In my first session, I used the racial hit point bonuses, and it had exactly the effect I hoped it would: My players were more aggressive, and penetrated further into the dungeon than they would have otherwise. In fact, as of the end of the session, they hadn't rested yet, despite battling through four encounters. And they don't even have a healer with them.


Standard works well, and I don't think it should be changed. The options, though, should be in a sidebar.

The real problem isn't hit points. Survivability at low levels, time spent in the dungeon between rests, availability of healing, and even the too-fast standard rate of level progression can all be handled merely by adjusting the CR system slightly.


bubbagump wrote:

Standard works well, and I don't think it should be changed. The options, though, should be in a sidebar.

The real problem isn't hit points. Survivability at low levels, time spent in the dungeon between rests, availability of healing, and even the too-fast standard rate of level progression can all be handled merely by adjusting the CR system slightly.

This makes a lot of sense to me. Perhaps DMs themselves are too aggressive in encounter selection for 1st level characters? Just a thought. But I agree with others who have stated that standard should be the rule with some of the other methods as optional. It's worked well so far with with current options (DMG starting ability scores for instance).


I'm using racial bonuses in my playtest - It seems to work well.

I have a mild concern that the frail races don't have anything to balance that out though - I mean, that's an extra 4hp at first level for a tough race vs a frail, which is almost an (average) level's worth of hp for a d8 class. Even more for one of the d6ers.

Which kinda makes me think that the flat 6 extra might work better.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
piers wrote:

I'm using racial bonuses in my playtest - It seems to work well.

I have a mild concern that the frail races don't have anything to balance that out though - I mean, that's an extra 4hp at first level for a tough race vs a frail, which is almost an (average) level's worth of hp for a d8 class. Even more for one of the d6ers.

I'm in for the racial bonus (Max HP at 1st + bonus) but nerfed to not unbalance the race choice.

Spoiler:
For the Racial proposal, the discussion was strong with friends. The flaw is about the heavy boost proposed and the original taste of the game to preserve. At the end we will be very much pleased if the bonuses are:

  • 0 for frail
  • 1 for standard
  • 2 for hearty

Be creative

Dark Archive

Has anyone actually play tested this yet?

I have.

In fact, I used:

6 Base HP
Racial HP Bonus
Con SCORE

All of them. Doubling seemed like overkill.

I then ran the first Pathfinder game with my group.

For the first time ever, my group didn't stop to rest every ten minutes from goblin wounds. For the first time ever, Sandpoint didn't burn down because the party had to leave town, find a resting spot, and sleep for eight hours to gain back HP.

For the first time ever.

Why?

Low-HPs are an Archaic throw-back to 1stEd. We run a story these days, not the dungeon-crawling board games of yesteryear, where the fighter was an idiot an the mage was a condescending prick.

Now my mage isn't scared of melee combat. My cleric doesn't have to save up all his spells just encase someone gets scratched by a goblin.

Thank you Paizo. You've brought unity and happiness to my gaming group. Now they have can actually have fun. They don't feel the DM is screwing them over. Now they have no fear to engage in combat, open a door or even leave town! You've saved my games.


We've used the "Add your CON score to you HP" method and the racial bonus method (hearty - 8 extra HP; normal - 6 HP; frail - 4 HP). Here's what we found:

Rise of the Runelords AP
Burnt Offerings

Session 1 - CON Score

  • Very confident moving into combat
  • Cleric able to act as front-line fighter and not stay back ready to heal
  • Opposing enemies (goblins), which deal little damage to begin with, deal even less now
  • Overall fear caused by goblins reduced, since "they hit like the wizard's mom".

Session 2 - Racial Bonus

  • This, combined with HP for hitting second level, put people's HP totals almost equal to what they were at first level using the CON score method
  • PCs were able to fight extended combats, but still felt like they were in danger.
  • BBEG took two players down to 2HP before they dropped him; HP at that level more in-line with power of enemies
  • Low-level combat still feels underpowered from the DM's standpoint; next time I'll use more goblins

We'll be using the Racial bonus for now; everyone at the table enjoys it, and agrees the CON method was a bit of overkill.

Dark Archive

Russell Jones wrote:
Overall fear caused by goblins reduced, since "they hit like the wizard's mom".

Are we not supposed to add these HP bonuses to the monsters? (Serious question)


Goblins Eighty-Five wrote:
Are we not supposed to add these HP bonuses to the monsters? (Serious question)

I don't see any reason to. The main reason that I see for an increase in HP is to make the PCs a little heartier for the first few levels; beyond that, the additional HP should be neglibible. That's exactly the balance I think the racial HP bonus gives; a boost early on, something with a titch of flavor (dwarves stouter than elves), but it's not unbalancing past about 5th level.

I sometimes fudge the number when it comes to monster or NPC HP, especially if it's the BBEG; I often use HP to mark the end of the encounter, not necessarily the death of the enemy. For instance, in Nic Logue's 'Chimes at Midnight'...

Spoiler:
It's presumed Victor St. Demain is either killed by the players, or leaps to his death rather than be captured. In my game, where I place an emphasis on cinematic action, the PCs dropped Victor to -5 HP right before his next turn; instead of declaring him unconcious, I described the thwarted inquisitive lurching, mortally wounded, to the side of the wall, where he smiled weakly and saluted before pitching himself over the edge.

That may not work for your group, but I enjoy the extra flexibility and my players never notice.

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