I’m currently playing D&D 4E but hope to switch to PF soon. I have a couple of things that I like about 4E that I’m considering trying to port over to PF.
What I like in 4E is that fights last longer and that some monsters (called minions) are easy to kill. I think 4E goes overboard in that EVERY fight lasts longer and every minion only has 1 hp.
I’m considering using number of hit points to allow for longer fights and to create minions for PF. I’m hoping to get some feedback on these ideas.
Casters in PF appear to still be more powerful than non-casters as character level increases. I’m wondering if allowing every PC maximum hit points would help alleviate a little of the remaining power imbalance that PF has moved so elegantly towards almost correcting.
Under the correct system, the only hit point difference between a wizard and fighter with average hit points is 2 hp per level. With a cleric it is only 1 hp per level. At 10th level, a wizard would have 35 hp, a cleric 45 hp, and a fighter 55 hp. At maximum hit points, not factoring in Constitution, at 10th level the wizard would have 60 hp (extra 25), the cleric 80 hp (an extra 35), the fighter 100 (an extra 45).
This change would have two effects. One, the fighter lasts slightly longer in combat without changing the existing systems. The second effect involves the monsters.
My thought with PF would be to have most monsters have maximum hit points and have some function as minions with minimum hit points. This change would have two effects. One, combat would last longer as both PCs and monsters have more hit points (and the fighter’s extra hit points make an even bigger difference). Two, minions allow for an occasional cantrip that could take them down, or a trick move that targets many monsters for a small amount of damage.
Unlike 4E, the DM could adjust some encounters. Say have two encounters with half maximum hit points monsters followed by a fight with monsters with maximum hit points (and all three combats might have minions with minimum hit points). The casters have to be a little more careful with spells of higher than 0 level because the fights last a little longer. And the fighter gets more use out of feats that aren’t daily use because the fights last longer.
For player-controlled NPCs and summoned creatures I think I’d go with average hit points.
I have no idea how this change would play out. My goal would be a slightly longer combat, with a few lulls and some back and forth fighting for ground, like in a good novel or movie plus some easy mooks to take down on occasion. As an added bonus, push the fighters type up just a bit upwards in power. Would it work?
To compensate for the increase in power, it will now take more healing to rejuvenate the party when they're beaten up, as they have more hit points than before. It's something to monitor.
Also, while you're right about the average hit points per die, different classes emphasize their Con stat differently. Yes, we all want hit points, but how much each class might want to inflate their Con will vary somewhat, creating a somewhat larger range of possible hp totals. And never underestimate the luck of the die.
Really though, it'll favor the PCs a little more, and they're already favored anyway.