Starting Hit Points - Suggestion


Alpha Release 3 General Discussion


On page 14, the final Starting Hit Points method is:

"Constitution: Maximum hit points for 1st level plus your Constitution score and any other bonuses."

How about changing this to:

Starting hit points for 1st level are equal to the greater of either your Constitution score, or your maximum hit points for 1st level plus your Constitution modifier.


The way I’m doing starting HP for my group’s first Pathfinder game is as follows; Maximum hit die x 1.5 plus con and other modifiers. d6 would start with 9, d8 with 12 and so on. I think this will give PCs a little extra survivability vs. lucky hits at low levels but still leave an element of danger to combat. It’s just a little something I came up with. What does everyone else think?


I do my games as max HP at 1st + con mod. Is the method I like unless someone wants to go Iron man and roll em


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

I like the 2x max HD + con bonus

It allows the players to feel more heroic, as at low level, they can take a few hits before they become concerned. It has no real effect on higher level play.

Liberty's Edge

Im not a fan of doubling hit points at first level. I prefer Max Hit Points for 1st level + con bonus...If in addition they wanted to add a racial bonus, Id be for that too. That has to be done with care though, because a bonus implies that there should also be a racial penalty for some races....:P


I think rather than calling it a racial hit point bonus, it should be called the racial base hit points.


My play group and I prefer the Max HD + Constitution score option. It rewards a high CON adequately, and makes 1st level less deadly. This helps ensure that the party doesn't run away after taking a small bit of damage, and ensures that a wizard will need more than one hit to drop, which is a big plus at low levels. I don't think that extra kicker will really negatively impact higher level play (only a few HP at higher levels) and it reduces the absolute need for a healer while still making PCs on their toes.

I've only run one game of Pathfinder so far, but the first level party lacked a cleric, and were still pretty beat up by the end of it. Even with the adventure taking place over the course of a few days, they aren't healing up HP as fast as they lose them, so I think it's a good solution.


My group(s) use max hit die + modifiers at first level, we've never had an issue with character survival. I wouldn't be opposed to a moderate increase, but I feel doubling is probably too much. I suppose I should play test the different suggestions to have a better opinion.

Shadow Lodge

I've been using the 'racial' method with a 2 character campaign (player plus DMPC). Even without a dedicated healer in the group we've been doing ok. The characters are just a bit more cautious. We've still skirted a TPK by a thin margin once but generally it's worked out.

Starting HP for the half elf ranger were 19, 10+6+2+1, for the Gnome Sorcerer 13, 6+4+2+1 (Class+Racial+CON+FavClass). The new rule for the heal skill where you can heal Class Level HP after an injury helps.

Just for sake of comparison here are the other proposed methods for my characters (with favored class bonus):
Standard:
Ranger: 13
Sorcerer: 9
Double:
Ranger: 23
Sorcerer: 15
Racial (What I used):
Ranger: 19
Sorcerer: 13
Flat:
Ranger: 19
Sorcerer: 15
Constitution (Assumes you add CON + CON BONUS + Fav Class):
Ranger: 27
Sorcerer: 24

I really like the racial method because it reflects the fact that some races are inherently sturdier than others. The Constitution Method gives a bit too much at first level for characters with high CON scores. A human barbarian could start the game with 33HP... that's getting a little silly IMO.

Overall, any of the 3 middle methods seem reasonable to me. Starting with enough hit points to take a couple hits makes for 1st level characters that have much better survivability (and enjoyability).

So overall, I like more HP at 1st. Not such a big fan of higher HP at every level though, in particular the wizard's and sorcerer's hit points have gotten a serious boost.

-- Dennis

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

My players decided to do the racial hit point adjustment. It worked out really well for the initial 1st level encounters.

Shadow Lodge

Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:
Starting hit points for 1st level are equal to the greater of either your Constitution score, or your maximum hit points for 1st level plus your Constitution modifier.

Unless you have a CON score less than 8 you would always use the CON score. Plus all classes would start out with the same HP which I don't care for. Am I misreading your suggestion?

-- Dennis


One of the things I noticed most about Pathfinder is a wonderful abundance of options. Choose this or that. Try this. When it comes to starting HP, people play all sorts of different ways, depending upon the type of campaign they are running. If in doubt, give them the options. Leave all the starting HP systems in the book, and give a description and basis for each one:

Standard Starting: HP for a normal campaign. Used when you want a traditional game, where players are durable, but not particularly tougher than everybody else.

Double Starting: Player Characters are heroes in the making. Heroes are known for being tougher than most folk. Early on, they tend to be twice as tough.

Racial: Some folks are more durable than others because of what they are. If your campaign emphasizes race fairly heavily, and you want to make real distinctions beyond just class abilities, this system makes that very meaningful.

Flat: This system saves time. Useful for short adventures where players want to get rolling instead of mucking about with lots of dice rolls or random factors.

Constitution: Makes an ability score even more meaningful. Generally, this would be even better than doubling hp. This is an option for players who want to be legendary from the getgo.

Presenting these options allows for players and GMs to work together to define the attitude of the campaign, or for the GM to do it himself. Every choice made influences the feel of the campaign, and the more options available to do this, the happier the group, and more enjoyable the game.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
I do my games as max HP at 1st + con mod. Is the method I like unless someone wants to go Iron man and roll em

Originally my group went "iron man" as you put it when rolling ability scores and also hit points (even at first level).

No extra dice rolls. Natural rolls were sacrosanct.

Now we cheat.
We always re-roll natural 1's when rolling up hit points and ability scores.
We even re-roll natural 1's for hit point advancement beyond first level. It just sucks when you are a barbarian and you roll a natural 1 when you go up a level.

We are a dedicated bunch of cheats.
One day we decided to cheat even more by giving every PC a bonus 10 hit points. Elite character bonus!
The beauty of this system is that survivability is increased but if you multiclass it does not matter which class is your first level choice in terms of long term hit point potential.
You are not penalised by choosing to start out as a rogue rather than a barbarian. The power gamer considerations are eliminated.

I like the way the proposed pathfinder skill system also eliminates this class sequencing optimisation problem.
So I suggest that the cheating sytem that my group uses could also be a great solution to the class sequencing optimisation issues with hit point allocation.

Turn to the dark side..... join us!


Nope max HP +con mod is enough to stand out and not be He-men at 1st for me. I do now days allow rerolls of 1's 2's sometimes as well..but every once in a while Iron man is fun.


To further fix the multiclassing issue, I would recommend something NOT tied to first level hit dice.

A flat/racial/CON bonus + rolling your first Hit Die would be the best way.

Actually if you don't want to mess with retro CON gain or loss, a flat/racial bonus would be the best.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

almost had a TPK in my alpha playtest a few days ago using max hp + std bonus. tough encounter (monsters with tactical advantage) and bad luck / tactics and no complaints from players.

the paladin had toughness so started with 10 (hd) + 2 (con) + 1 favoured class + 3 + 1 toughness feat = 17!

I'm torn between making 1st levels more durable, and the sheer excitement of playing where the next hit can take you down but you stay swinging anyway...

for what its worth i'd suggest adding the following alternative

"starting at second level with max hp's for both levels - suitable for where you want more durable & experienced starting characters, but without changing the core assumptions at the next levels."

who says you have to start at 1st level anyway?

one thing i would like to see written into the core rules is the disabled from 0 to - con bonus, dying from -con bonus to - con (maybe minimum 10)rather than the rather boring disabled at 0 and dead -10. this gives a lot more room between falling over and dying especially now stabilize is an at will cantrip...


Who says that one method must be chosen for the final product?

My group personally likes the the racial method, but what works for our game may not necassarily work for someone else's. Just leave it as an option for individual groups to decide, just like starting ability scores.

So starting hit points would result from: Maximum result possible from your class hit die plus your Con modifier (as per normal) plus bouns points from (insert method you prefere here) and favored class.

(However, if one method must absolutely be chosen I cast my vote for racial. It just makes... sense.)

The Exchange

While I do like the idea of bonus hitpoints for starting characters, I also believe that everything that applies to characters must also be able to apply to monsters as well.

To this end in my own games instead of using a bonus based on race and having to come up with said bonus for each possible race. I simply provide my players a bonus based on their characters size which I also apply to the monsters as well.

Collossal +30
Gargantuan +25
Huge +20
Large +15
Medium +10
Small +5
Tiny and smaller +0

This seems to work fairly well in my own playtests without seeming to make combats too terribly much longer due to the badguys having more hitpoints too.


I use Con plus regular starting HP in my game the reason is that it eliminates a lot of the variation between classes, so low HP classes aren’t stuck with one third the HP of the tank.

I also give this bonus to all my monsters as well, it allows low HP monsters (like fey) to act at least once in initiative before they die.

The other thing that it does is clean up the logic of HP a little bit, now a sword wound doesn’t halve in effectiveness when you go from 1st level to 2nd level.

Damage in 3.x is significantly higher than in pervious editions and -10 HP doesn’t cut it, so I use –Con score instead.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I do:

Roll 1st level hit points as any other level, ie, 1 x your hit die, and then add to that your Constitution score. This maintains a decent amount of randomness and still adds a buffer of extra hit points. For example, a wizard with a 12 Constitution would roll 1d4+12. A barbarian with a 19 Constitution would roll 1d12+Constitution score. Note that you do not also then add you Con modifier as that is already represented by adding your Con score.

In the end though, I think I have concluded that I dislike the extra hit points in general. It just makes fights longer and seems to not serve much purpose. I still do it though just because all of the players cry whenever I mention stopping.


My group uses Max Hit Die + Con Score at 1st Level, when they level up they gain a fixed amount based on their Hit Die: the half the max plus their con mod. They get a good amount of survivability at 1st Lv and it feels more natural. And if a Human Barbarian has an 18 Constitution, then he deserves 30 hit points.

As far as racial bonuses go, i would rather use a size bonus to hit points, but that would be a bit much, +4 for small, +5 for medium, +6 for large, anything huge or bigger should get a multiplier to HP.
Huge x2, Gargantuan x3, Colossal x4

And if you think that is overpowered, Encounters have ran smoothly in 4th ed with monsters with 5 times their normal HP(Solo monsters aka. bosses)


Roll hit points and add CON/race bonus/penalty as normal, and keep track. Starting hp are (STR+CON)/3 +/- racial adjustments, until the "normal" hit points are greater.


Breaking the system to give abnormal amounts of HP is not something I sould suggest, just be a hardworking DM and tailor encounters with players in mind...

I use the full HP at 1st level and then roll for every level after that but players always get at least 1/2 the dice roll... so a fighter who rolls a 2 gets 5 + con modifier. Always hated seeing people get bumed when their barbarian rolled a 1 at level.

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