Ultimate Campaign: Retraining to Max Hit Points


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Honestly, I don't think combat will take all that much longer, especially with how much damage tends to skyrocket as you gain levels.


Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'
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Rawhiiiiiiiiiide!


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I think its a wonderful addition.

Currently downtime is really only a commodity for crafters (basically casters). They could use their downtime to make themselves significantly more powerful at less expense than usual.

What could the martials do in their spare time? "I get a job as a hired hand" *roll* "You make 10 gold pieces!"

Casters can still use this but whose going to get more out of this, the wizard already getting 4 of 6 possible hitpoints or the barbarian getting 7 out of 12.


Simkiria wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
"Oh no, some characters will spend money and time retraining to increase their hit points above the average amount, which some lucky rolling-players get FOR FREE, INSTANTLY!"

Kind of an ridiculus answer I think. No one complains if this happens once. The problem only comes up if this happens all the time and the law of averages more or less guarantees that some of your rolls will be sub-par and will cancel out the good ones. And if there is a small difference thats fine.

But the last campaign is was in was a Kingmaker campaign that we finished at level 16. Time and money was not an issue. Most of the fights were not that hard but have been laughable if our characters had 55-80 HP more at the end.

And I do not think that the argument: But you can still fail a saving throw really adresses the problem.

Kingmaker is a corner case. Most games dont give that type of downtime unless the GM says you have it.


Since these are optional rules, just like the called shot rules are optional why can't GM's just not use them?


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And even with Kingmaker, there are still days where you have to sit down and do nothing else but government stuff. I know in UCam, you have to devote 7 days to leadership duties and can't do anything else. Training, crafting, nada.


Evil Lincoln wrote:

Now, as an optional rule (which this is) that's just fine. See my comment about my rich PC campaign. There are a ton of knobs to twist in the game, that's half the fun. I'm into it. But there is still potential for meaningful discussion of this rule, here.

It's not really productive to go back and forth about whether it's a "balanced" rule or whatever. I think the best future for this thread is to discuss what GMs should account for if they adopt the rule. Unto itself I think it is a fine optional rule, but it will certainly change the pace of the game at higher levels.

Bears repeating at the top of this page, lest this degenerate into the predictable.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
ciretose wrote:
The belt also gives a bonus to fort saves,

Which is a constant +1 no matter what your level is, and therefore its cost-per-plus remains the same no matter what your level is, and therefore its %WBL decreases as your level increases.

(And the bonus to saves means the belt is an even better choice than retraining hit points, as the costs comparison for retraining hp doesn't improve your saves at all.)

ciretose wrote:
and gets more expensive as you increase the payoff.

Irrelevant, as we're talking about one item over the course of your career. Whether that item is a +2 belt, a +4 belt, or a +6 belt, the gp cost is flat no matter what your level is, thus its %WBL decreases as your level increases.

ciretose wrote:
If we are talking about a d8 class (dead middle), average extra hit points would be slightly more than 3 per level, which is slightly more than a +6 Con belt, not a +2 belt.

Regardless, as a +6 belt costs the same for a 1st-level character (and provides 3 hp) as it does for a 20th-level character (and provides 60 hp), and the %WBL will still decrease as you level up.

Level 2, 6 hp, 6000 gp/hp, 600 %WBL
Level 3, 9 hp, 4000 gp/hp, 133 %WBL
Level 4, 12 hp, 3000 gp/hp, 50 %WBL
Level 5, 15 hp, 2400 gp/hp, 23 %WBL
Level 6, 18 hp, 2000 gp/hp, 13 %WBL
Level 7, 21 hp, 1714 gp/hp, 7 %WBL
Level 8, 24 hp, 1500 gp/hp, 5 %WBL
Level 9, 27 hp, 1333 gp/hp, 3 %WBL
Level 10, 30 hp, 1200 gp/hp, 2 %WBL
Level 11, 33 hp, 1091 gp/hp, 1 %WBL
Level 12, 36 hp, 1000 gp/hp, .9 %WBL
Level 13, 39 hp, 923 gp/hp, .66 %WBL
Level 14, 42 hp, 857 gp/hp, .46 %WBL
Level 15, 45 hp, 800 gp/hp, .33 %WBL
Level 16, 48 hp, 750 gp/hp, .23 %WBL
Level 17, 51 hp, 706 gp/hp, .17 %WBL
Level 18, 54 hp, 667 gp/hp, .13 %WBL
Level 19, 57 hp, 632 gp/hp, .09 %WBL
Level 20, 60 hp, 600 gp/hp, .07 %WBL

ciretose wrote:
Additionally, that bonus stacks with everything, where the Con belt caps.
A manual of bodily health +2 is 27,500 gp. That's a flat number, so...

A manual of bodily health +2 is 55,000 gp, which grants a +1 bonus to Fortitude and +1 hp/level (maximum of +20 hp at level 20).

To get 20 hp from retraining, it would cost 3900 gp for a d6 by level 11 (from 4 hp/HD to 6), 2910 gp for a d8 by level 8 (from 5 to 8), 2400 gp for a d10 by level 6 (from 6 to 10), and 2100 gp for a d12 by level 5 (from 7 to 12).

So even the +2 belt, which costs 4000 gp, is a less efficient option and only grants +20 hp if the character makes it to level 20.

I understand your point about WBL, fair enough. I also understand your point about retraining allowing players to make up hit points from bad luck when rolling. I still think retraining should be cheaper at the lower levels (where it's needed more, IMO) and more expensive at higher levels. Just my opinion and that's why I'll house rule it to 10*level^2 if it gets implemented.

Sovereign Court

Evil Lincoln wrote:
I see a problem with it. Or, if not a problem, a significant change in gameplay. You give everyone 130-150% more HP and the game is going to take 30-50% longer at higher levels. (I am here presuming that NPC hit points will inflate also).

Well I suppose that if you also let NPC's use those kind of things then it could make things take slightly longer. Nothing really on the PC side as more hit points don't help you versus possession, level drain, ability damage and the like. The real PC killers.

I'd say actually give it a shot before declaring a radical game changer as just a humble suggestion. Any kind of retraining if allowed is going to be alter the game of course. No one could argue that.

The extra padding would be nice for the optional Massive Damage rule.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Higher HP just encourages PCs to adventure for longer, use up more of their spells per day and actually allows the sorcerer and wizard to have their differences show up more.

I see no problem with this.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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n00bxqb wrote:
A manual of bodily health +2 is 55,000 gp, which grants a +1 bonus to Fortitude and +1 hp/level (maximum of +20 hp at level 20).

Whoops, I used the +1 item instead of the +2 item. Well, I don't feel like doing the math right now, I'll do it later.

Evil Lincoln wrote:
I've seen what the game is like with everyone at max HP. At higher levels, I think it really does make things drag unnecessarily.

If by "drag" you mean "it takes longer for me to kill the PCs," I'm willing to accept that--or expect that the GM will feel comfortable throwing more serious challenges at the PCs (i.e., routinely more powerful than "heavily stacked in favor of the PCS").

I repeat this often, but:
For 4 PCs of level 4, a party of 4 NPCs of level X is a CR X+3 encounter, which is an "epic" encounter according to the core rules. A fair* fight is, according to the rules, an epic combat. Which means anything that is less challenging than an epic fight is not a "fair" fight, it's an easy fight.

If the PCs have more hp, you can hit them harder, with tougher, more epic encounters.

* Where "fair" still means "the NPCs have less gear than the PCs."

Silver Crusade

Having played a barbarian with a series of low hit die rolls in the early levels, I gotta say this is something I can get behind. Especially for classes that would be hurt even more by a string of bad rolls, like the d8 melee crew.


Evil Lincoln wrote:
Morgen wrote:

I personally don't see anything wrong with allowing folks to have a couple more hit points. More drain on the coin purse, more drain on healing resources for people who have to be at full HP constantly and all for a couple dozen hit points at a level where that's pretty minor at best given how I actually see high level PC's die in games.

I guess I'm more surprised people still roll for hit points at all. We've been doing average or average+1 for over a decade here except for a 1 shot OD&D adventure from a Dragon Magazine for a lark.

I see a problem with it. Or, if not a problem, a significant change in gameplay. You give everyone 130-150% more HP and the game is going to take 30-50% longer at higher levels. (I am here presuming that NPC hit points will inflate also).

It's not "OMG the game is ruined forever" but it really isn't negligible. The sky is not falling, but there is an actual change here.

Hardly. SoD ignores hit points, and so do massive damage checks. At high levels, anything in combat worth paying attention to will fit into either of those two brackets (unless it is a control/movement effect setting up the floor for either, of course). And even if it did, I expect that most people would enjoy fights that last longer than 3 rounds, tops.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Evil Lincoln wrote:
I see a problem with it. Or, if not a problem, a significant change in gameplay. You give everyone 130-150% more HP and the game is going to take 30-50% longer at higher levels. (I am here presuming that NPC hit points will inflate also).

Given how much damage output PC's can deliver at high levels, my experience so far has been that more durable opponents would be a good thing, given how they at this point explode into chunky salsa in about 1-3 rounds per combat. Every combat.

"Long fights" in the sense of combats lasting an entire minute, instead of 20 seconds, is a thing of the low levels or difficult terrain conditions.


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I don't like this. It's basically an "unlucky tax." I would have preferred if they just presented max hp (or 2/4 max hp, which is what I tend to use) as an optional rule and the reasons why it would be a good idea. Namely, to ensure the martial classes actually get a guaranteed, and significant, advantage for their higher HD.

At the very least, cost and time should be uniform to move up x percentage of your HD. Like, say if it took 100 gp and 1 day to move up 10% of your max HD value, and thus doing so gave a Barbarian double the hp gain a Wizard also doing this would get. So they can both achieve max hp from average hp for the same training time and cost.

But having this variant system at al will make a DM think if he wants to give max or near max fixed HD to the PCs, it's something they should have to pay for. Not good.


I don't see the problem.

HP retraining requires a training facility (examples given are monk monastery and martial academy) or a higher level character as a trainer. Which is most likely an NPC (and DM-determined on appearing or not) unless a party has a variety of different levels between PCs. When out exploring the wilderness or dungeon, most likely the only thing of higher level wants to eat the players and probably not amicable of training them for days to make them tougher to chew.

Currently got a level 5 Oracle with 36 HP out of a potential maximum of 45. Would take 1350 gp and 27 days for max HP. This oracle also has Craft Wondrous Items feat and tightly-budgeted limited downtime. While HP would be awesome, there's a severe opportunity cost to do so. I could have used that same amount of money to craft something with a purchase price of 2000 gp, for 1000 gp, in 1 day via accelerated crafting for full 8 hour period. The other days I could be crafting items for the party. Cloak of Resistance +1 or +1 armor might be more worthwhile compared to 9 HP. Or maybe the HP is considered better, but at least the book is providing what I think is a nice, balanced option once one considers opportunity cost.

So if a DM allows me to have a several days/weeks/months (depending on character level) of in-game downtime, can a DM really expect a player wanting to do more with their time besides twiddling thumbs? Casters can obviously craft if they have the feats, and if not they and martial non-casters can get more HP that they still gotta spend money on. Which as a player and DM I think sounds awesome.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

I repeat this often, but:

For 4 PCs of level [X], a party of 4 NPCs of level X is a CR X+3 encounter, which is an "epic" encounter according to the core rules. A fair* fight is, according to the rules, an epic combat. Which means anything that is less challenging than an epic fight is not a "fair" fight, it's an easy fight.

If the PCs have more hp, you can hit them harder, with tougher, more epic encounters.

* Where "fair" still means "the NPCs have less gear than the PCs."

Nice. First time I've seen that particular comment. And for the asterisked point, if you bump them up to PC wealth levels, they hit CR X+4, which is a "proper" fair fight, but is off the scale in terms of core rules encounter difficulty. And thus puts the fight at "toss a coin" levels in terms of PC success. Love me some number crunching. Thanks, Sean!

Liberty's Edge

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
n00bxqb wrote:
A manual of bodily health +2 is 55,000 gp, which grants a +1 bonus to Fortitude and +1 hp/level (maximum of +20 hp at level 20).

Whoops, I used the +1 item instead of the +2 item. Well, I don't feel like doing the math right now, I'll do it later.

Evil Lincoln wrote:
I've seen what the game is like with everyone at max HP. At higher levels, I think it really does make things drag unnecessarily.

If by "drag" you mean "it takes longer for me to kill the PCs," I'm willing to accept that--or expect that the GM will feel comfortable throwing more serious challenges at the PCs (i.e., routinely more powerful than "heavily stacked in favor of the PCS").

I repeat this often, but:
For 4 PCs of level 4, a party of 4 NPCs of level X is a CR X+3 encounter, which is an "epic" encounter according to the core rules. A fair* fight is, according to the rules, an epic combat. Which means anything that is less challenging than an epic fight is not a "fair" fight, it's an easy fight.

If the PCs have more hp, you can hit them harder, with tougher, more epic encounters.

* Where "fair" still means "the NPCs have less gear than the PCs."

If it is a counted cost, and the math shows that counted cost is comparable, I have no issue with it at all. It has a cap (max hit points) and a cost and so it is just a new feature that you do the cost benefit analysis on when you make a character.

If it isn't a counted cost, I think it can becomes an exploit. Additionally, I would be concerned with application to enemies, as what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

I don't think the idea is bad, I actually think it is quite good. I just don't know enough about how it integrates at this point, and I found the comment in the other thread about it being not counted toward WBL concerning.

And even that I wouldn't be bothered by if it only counted toward training over average, meaning it was a way to re balance low rolls but not a way to give a bonus over. I don't know how you would implement that though...which is one of the many reasons no one is paying me to be a Dev :)

Liberty's Edge

magnuskn wrote:
Evil Lincoln wrote:
I see a problem with it. Or, if not a problem, a significant change in gameplay. You give everyone 130-150% more HP and the game is going to take 30-50% longer at higher levels. (I am here presuming that NPC hit points will inflate also).

Given how much damage output PC's can deliver at high levels, my experience so far has been that more durable opponents would be a good thing, given how they at this point explode into chunky salsa in about 1-3 rounds per combat. Every combat.

"Long fights" in the sense of combats lasting an entire minute, instead of 20 seconds, is a thing of the low levels or difficult terrain conditions.

The problem being it punishes hit point removal classes specifically, while effect based classes have largely the same success.

It actually pushes the advantage toward SoS, and therefore toward rocket tag.

Again, I don't think giving access to more hit points is a problem (as long as the cost is comparable, which SKR is showing it is), but I do think it should have a carried cost with it, as otherwise every above level 1 build is going to have max hit points they "trained" in backstory.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

I repeat this often, but:

For 4 PCs of level 4, a party of 4 NPCs of level X is a CR X+3 encounter, which is an "epic" encounter according to the core rules. A fair* fight is, according to the rules, an epic combat. Which means anything that is less challenging than an epic fight is not a "fair" fight, it's an easy fight.

Or a fight with their four evil twins (say, after stepping out of a mirror of opposition) with PC gear and everything, is APL+4. Even an encounter with 4 equal level NPCS (APL+3) is not quite a fair fight as the NPCs have worse gear (and thus the -1 CR).

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Yes, see the asterisk in the fair* comment in my post.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Do you know two things dragons have plenty of?

1) Time
2) Money

Every dragon past young adult should be taking full advantage of this system.

That is all; carry on.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just crunched the numbers: a great wyrm Gold dragon retraining from average to max hit points spends 148,500 gp on the process, and spends 495 days doing so (assuming he can find a trainer, it's 990 days otherwise).


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Yes, see the asterisk in the fair* comment in my post.

"fair" point... :p

I just wanted to emphasize that the PCs hold the advantage in even an APL+3 fight (though perhaps with less stacked odds than in lower APL encounters).


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
I don't like this. It's basically an "unlucky tax." I would have preferred if they just presented max hp (or 2/4 max hp, which is what I tend to use)...

3/4, not 2/4. Ugh.... I shouldn't post so late at night, especially on forums with harsh editing rules...


Chemlak wrote:
Just crunched the numbers: a great wyrm Gold dragon retraining from average to max hit points spends 148,500 gp on the process, and spends 495 days doing so (assuming he can find a trainer, it's 990 days otherwise).

Though, to be fair to players, this would be a CR boost rather than reducing the dragon's actual wealth. Question is - how much?


Yeah but aren't dragons Casters mostly?

Shouldn't they be busy crafting all kinds of magic items?

Liberty's Edge

Thanis Kartaleon wrote:
Chemlak wrote:
Just crunched the numbers: a great wyrm Gold dragon retraining from average to max hit points spends 148,500 gp on the process, and spends 495 days doing so (assuming he can find a trainer, it's 990 days otherwise).
Though, to be fair to players, this would be a CR boost rather than reducing the dragon's actual wealth. Question is - how much?

And this is the million dollar question.

It seems like the math dictates it isn't a problem as long as it counts against WBL.

So does it?


mplindustries wrote:
I kind of hate that hit dice are rolled in the first place. It should just be a flat amount (and it is when I run games), but I hate dealing with it in other people's games.

Agreed. I find it strange that when levelling up HP is the only random aspect.

Player chooses class - not random
Player chooses feats - not random

Feats determine fixed bonuses - not random
Class determines fixed save bonuses, BAB etc - not random

But let's make one of the most important aspects of levelling completely random....

I'm about to run RotRL and will just go with max HP at each level.


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Reckless wrote:

Do you know two things dragons have plenty of?

1) Time
2) Money

Every dragon past young adult should be taking full advantage of this system.

That is all; carry on.

Oh man, imagine how mad your players would be if every dragon (or other epic encounter) they fought had already spent most of its hoard to retrain hit points. Not only is the fight way more difficult, but there would be almost no treasure reward at the end. The dragon already spent it!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Solusek wrote:
Reckless wrote:

Do you know two things dragons have plenty of?

1) Time
2) Money

Every dragon past young adult should be taking full advantage of this system.

That is all; carry on.

Oh man, imagine how mad your players would be if every dragon (or other epic encounter) they fought had already spent most of its hoard to retrain hit points. Not only is the fight way more difficult, but there would be almost no treasure reward at the end. The dragon already spent it!

This guy gets it. XD


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:

Since these are optional rules, just like the called shot rules are optional why can't GM's just not use them?

Yeah, that's definitely the route I'll be taking. I don't have a problem with retraining feats and other class feature choices in general. Sometimes players make choices without really understanding their full implications. But I'd allow that for free anyway.

I'm not really keen on the retraining rules as presented here, particularly the level-based cost. Why, exactly, should it cost me more to retrain the feat I took last level when I'm 16th level than it would have cost me to retrain the feat I took at last level when I was a 6th level character? I assume that's pure gamist balancing act rather than a simulationist one.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bill Dunn wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

Since these are optional rules, just like the called shot rules are optional why can't GM's just not use them?

Yeah, that's definitely the route I'll be taking. I don't have a problem with retraining feats and other class feature choices in general. Sometimes players make choices without really understanding their full implications. But I'd allow that for free anyway.

I'm not really keen on the retraining rules as presented here, particularly the level-based cost. Why, exactly, should it cost me more to retrain the feat I took last level when I'm 16th level than it would have cost me to retrain the feat I took at last level when I was a 6th level character? I assume that's pure gamist balancing act rather than a simulationist one.

Presumably if you wait until 16th level, that may mean that what you're trying to unlearn is that much more ingrained and harder to unlearn.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

You misunderstand. If you pick up the feat at 15th level (last level) and retrain at 16th, why is that more expensive than retraining the feat you picked up at 5th level (last level) and retraining at 6th? In both cases, you're retraining the feat you picked up at the immediate preceding level. So neither feat is going to be any more ingrained.


Because if you're 16th level, you're grandmaster at whatever you're doing. You're nearing the best of the best.

If you look at learning curves at most things once you reach a certain proficiency your speed of learning greatly slows down simply because you're already nearly the best possible.

For example, if you did a puzzle in 30 seconds and reduced your time to 20 seconds you shaved off 10 seconds. That's great. If you try to reduce by 10 more seconds though you're really going to start pushing it because I'm guessing at that point you're pushing the boundaries of what "can be done."

Basically, after a time you mostly stop getting faster and better by just familiarizing yourself with what you're doing. At that point, all increases to skill are nearly entirely based off of increased physique/mental capabilities and learning little tricks that'll make you that much better.


I really fail to see the problem here. The Cs that could need this are already the Cs that have to spend a great deal of coin to function. Meaning melee. Wealth is spread pretty thin as it is with the price of magical weapons and armor. The casters that have piles of money to burn would have little use for this.

The only way it could be a real problem is if you run a game where no control what-so-ever is used for wealth. But frankly that in itself is the problem not the retaining rule.


It's a big change to the rules, and pretty interesting.

I like it that it helps martial types more than casters. IMO they need this help at high levels to stay competitive.

I like that it gives non-wizards something important to do with downtime (to help balance crafting), especially since I don't like metagamey restrictions on crafting.

If I had been designing the HP training rules I might have considered somehow putting them out of reach of casters. I like the 'casters are blasty but fragile, martial types are resilient bricks' trope.

Ken

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm more concerned about casters with good hit points. I mean hit points have never been broken but casters with a good damage buffer and more loot to spend is a small concern to me.


Late responding here, but I'd like to acknowledge the math error in my earlier post. I don't know where I got my total from, but as DM Blake points out, I was off by quite a bit. My apologies.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

For 4 PCs of level 4, a party of 4 NPCs of level X is a CR X+3 encounter, which is an "epic" encounter according to the core rules. A fair* fight is, according to the rules, an epic combat. Which means anything that is less challenging than an epic fight is not a "fair" fight, it's an easy fight.

If the PCs have more hp, you can hit them harder, with tougher, more epic encounters.

* Where "fair" still means "the NPCs have less gear than the PCs."

I'm not sure I follow the argument. It sounds like you're saying:

1) Fights are stacked in the PCs' favor.

2) Since that's the case, we may as well give them (or allow them to retrain) more hit points.

3) Which allows the GM to throw harder challenges at the party.

Is that right?

If so, I don't follow. If the PCs have more hit points, via retraining for example, surely that will make fights even easier? And then if the GM wishes to maintain the level of challenge, the encounters need to be beefed up in turn.

Well, beefing up the encounters adds complexity. Maybe you give the Big Bad three more minions. That means three more minions for the GM to control, all of whom get turns, which prolongs the combat. Maybe you add a few more class levels to the Big Bad instead. That requires the GM to put in additional prep time, and prolongs the combat because the BBEG now has more hit points for the party to deal with. Maybe you add some difficult terrain instead. That prolongs combat too, because the party can't maneuver as effectively.

Any way you slice it, increasing the difficulty of the encounter makes the combat more complex, and hence slower.

In the Rise of the Runelords campaign I'm GM'ing, we average 36 hours of at-the-table game time per YEAR. Three hours, once a month. That's the best we can manage. The schedules of six busy adults with kids simply don't allow for more. I am therefore not a fan of anything -- anything! -- which slows down the game.


Tinalles wrote:
In the Rise of the Runelords campaign I'm GM'ing, we average 36 hours of at-the-table game time per YEAR. Three hours, once a month. That's the best we can manage. The schedules of six busy adults with kids simply don't allow for more. I am therefore not a fan of anything -- anything! -- which slows down the game.

Good news: Retraining is an optional rule that the GM is not required to adopt in a campaign. Your game will not be slowed down.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Let me correct your #2 point:

2) Since SOME characters can end up with more-than-average hit points out of sheer luck in the rolling of hit points, we should have a game mechanic to allow all characters to increase their hit points so they aren't unfairly punished by low dice rolls.

And let me correct your #3 point:

3) Epic encounters are more fun and more memorable. By increasing PC hit points, you're able to have more epic encounters and not rely on piddly encounters where the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the PCs. If the PCs have more hit points, the GM doesn't have to pull punches. If the PCs have more hit points, the GM can go "all out" and not have a 75% chance of a TPK.

It's fine to let the PCs feel like badasses by letting them roll through easy encounters. There should be encounters like that in the campaign. But those encounters aren't the ones you talk about years later. The encounters you talk about years later are the ones where the level 12 PCs face up against a lich (CR 13), beholder (CR 13), nalfeshnee (CR 14), and assorted humanoid enemies, and manage to pull off a win. I've played that encounter in Monte's game. It was difficult. It was awesome.

Anyway, just because you only manage 3 hours of gaming a month doesn't mean we should never publish optional rules system for other groups that can get together weekly for 6 or 8 hours at a time.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
3) Epic encounters are more fun and more memorable. By increasing PC hit points, you're able to have more epic encounters and not rely on piddly encounters where the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the PCs. If the PCs have more hit points, the GM doesn't have to pull punches. If the PCs have more hit points, the GM can go "all out" and not have a 75% chance of a TPK.

This is only really true up to a point, though.

My experience has show me that it isn't necessarily the size of the CR that makes for an "epic" encounter. It's often the close-call nature of an encounter that makes it memorable (though sometimes it IS the size of the CR...)

By inflating HP, and inflating the CR relative to the APL, you introduce some inaccuracy to CR. I find that if you go at CR = APL+5, something I do with some frequency, then you start running into a "challenge" of a different nature. At that point, it becomes less about putting up the numbers and more about whether you even have the necessary abilities to defeat something.

Again, I'm not saying the rule is bad or unusable, but this is something important to bear in mind before you start handing out max HP and thinking you can just crank up the challenge and it will be "memorable". Epic is in the hands of a GM balancing an encounter well, NOT simply taking on a big scary CR.

We all know kobolds can be an epic encounter. :)


Reckless wrote:

Do you know two things dragons have plenty of?

1) Time
2) Money

Every dragon past young adult should be taking full advantage of this system.

That is all; carry on.

No more so than a every dragon past young adult should be taking advantage of using time and wealth to craft or have crafted for him custom magical items as well.

As it stands with 3-6 days off the martial character could add 1 hit point to his total where as the caster could simply crank out magical gear in the same period of time equal 3-6k of value in the same period of time which would include a simple belt to bump his hit point total up by 1 per hit die adn boost his save.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
2) Since SOME characters can end up with more-than-average hit points out of sheer luck in the rolling of hit points, we should have a game mechanic to allow all characters to increase their hit points so they aren't unfairly punished by low dice rolls.

If low hit points are reducing a player's enjoyment of the character, that's violating rule 0 ("have fun"), and a reroll is clearly called for -- no need for tracking days, or spending gold. Are there really so many heartless GMs that we need to codify this aspect of the player-GM relationship?

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Epic encounters are more fun and more memorable.

Tastes may vary here. Taking on a big fight and winning is great and all. But for my part, the combats I remember and talk about most are the ones where something funny happened, usually due to character interaction or pure chance.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Anyway, just because you only manage 3 hours of gaming a month doesn't mean we should never publish optional rules system for other groups that can get together weekly for 6 or 8 hours at a time.

Easy, there. I never said you shouldn't publish it, and I wasn't trying to imply any such thing. In fact, I heartily approve of the goal of the mechanic (namely, to remedy unfortunate HP rolls). The precise implementation of that goal gives me pause, is all.

And yes, I am aware the whole book is optional. Be assured that I'll be picking and choosing as seems appropriate to the group and campaign.

Overall I am quite impressed with Ultimate Campaign. In particular, I very much like the downtime system, and I am thinking of using it in my Runelords campaign: any time a session ends in town, I'll announce a set number of days are going to pass between sessions, and allow interested players to handle downtime activities via email. That's going to effectively increase the amount of gaming we can do by making asynchronous, which is fantastic for our time-starved group.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Evil Lincoln wrote:
By inflating HP, and inflating the CR relative to the APL, you introduce some inaccuracy to CR. I find that if you go at CR = APL+5, something I do with some frequency, then you start running into a "challenge" of a different nature. At that point, it becomes less about putting up the numbers and more about whether you even have the necessary abilities to defeat something.

Sure, which is why the game doesn't expect you to ever have APL+5 fights. I'm just saying that having extra hit points means you can do those APL+4 fights more often.

Or don't. It's an optional rule, you don't have to use it. And the characters who are more likely to want this are the ones who rolled low on hit points.

Tinalles wrote:
If low hit points are reducing a player's enjoyment of the character, that's violating rule 0 ("have fun"), and a reroll is clearly called for -- no need for tracking days, or spending gold.

Personally, I like the idea of a weak character working hard and training to improve, rather than "if you roll less than X hit points per hit die, you can reroll." The latter just means that everyone has at least X hit points per die... and can never improve.

Tinalles wrote:
Are there really so many heartless GMs that we need to codify this aspect of the player-GM relationship?

I don't know how many "heartless" GMs there are who force players to stick with a low hit point roll, but there are many GMs who have a strict "only official rules" policy. Now the GMs have an official rule for it, if they want to use it.

And if you don't want to use it in your campaign, you don't have to.


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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
2) Since SOME characters can end up with more-than-average hit points out of sheer luck in the rolling of hit points, we should have a game mechanic to allow all characters to increase their hit points so they aren't unfairly punished by low dice rolls.

I think the source of incredulity here is that effectively zero characters get max hit points, and this mechanic allows that.

I was personally excited to see HP retraining, I was just surprised that it was possible to go to the maximum. That does more than compensate for poor luck rolling.

It's worth highlighting this, since there's not really any kind of metagame analysis attached. This is the kind of thing the GM should be informed about before adopting the option; while it's not always practical to inform them in the rulebook due to space, I think a forum conversation does nicely.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yeah, I mean, if you want to go to not rolling hit points, that's fine... But this just seems like a weird tax on low rollers and another "make my character uber" tool for optimizers. Way more fiddly and complicated than just putting in some options like "always max!" or "allow one reroll, you have to take it!"


I vastly prefer fixed HD, but if there must be rolling, some sort of "guarantee" on your HD is at least appreciated. Like,

1d6: Reroll 1's
1d8: Reroll 1-2's
1d10: Reroll 1-3's
1d12: Reroll 1-4's

In each case, infinite rerolls. In effect, it's impossible to get the given "low range."

But hey, why do that when you can just tax people to fix their awful luck on rolls that stick with them forever? And charge the barbarian far more to max his HD than it costs the wizard to do so.


I do something similar, with reroll 1's for d6, 1-2's for d8 and d10, and 1-3's for d12s, to make sure that really low rolls don't happen for the higher hit dice classes. I think the hp retraining rolls are interesting in small doses, I wouldn't let a PC train to max hp though. In my opinion they don't seem a good idea in the type of campaign most of this book seems perfect for: a Kingmaker one. With loads of downtime and money being easy to get the lower hit dice classes in particular should have an easy time getting to max hit points in the Kingmaker AP or a similar type of campaign.


I prefer fixed hp for my games, but I still would allow it. They have to expend time and money to get it, and it takes a great deal of both to actually make a significant difference with your character. I like the roleplaying perspective to it. In real life, if someone devotes time to training their endurance, they will be tougher.

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