Ultimate Campaign: Retraining to Max Hit Points


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On retraining hp, I think it's very good value. I know we've done a lot of maths already but my take is that a fighter with 6hp per level who retrains to max at every level will, at 8th level, have 28 more hp for a cast of 4200gp, which compares very well to the cost of a belt of +2 con which would only give him an extra 8 hp for 4000gp (albeit with some extra benefits).

The whole thing about fair combats - the game is based on the idea that PCs overwhelm the opposition. Anything else and the chances of reaching high levels becomes vanishingly small. A party of PCs battling against their identical clones carries a 50% chance of a TPK!

Richard


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richard develyn wrote:
The whole thing about fair combats - the game is based on the idea that PCs overwhelm the opposition. Anything else and the chances of reaching high levels becomes vanishingly small. A party of PCs battling against their identical clones carries a 50% chance of a TPK!

Many people keep making this argument.

The game is based on challenge as a known quantity. You can screw up in two ways: the game can be too easy or too hard.

For your argument to make sense, there would have to be no such thing as too easy. A rule that tips the balance further in favor of the players still tips the balance by definition.

It's not catastrophic or unusable, but typically rules variants carry a warning about their effects on gameplay.

I really don't think the posters in this thread who are making points about the new rule's shortcomings are being unreasonable, at all. And I am disappointed that the default response seems to be branding us all chicken littles.

I'm vastly more irritated by the response than I am by the rule itself (which is actually a good idea which perhaps goes a bit too far).

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Evil Lincoln:

1) Do you acknowledge that some characters are going to roll well on hit points and end up with above-average hp? If so, then you must acknowledge that some GMs are already dealing with PCs that have higher hp than normal, within the default parameters of the game, and any concerns about PCs with high hp have been dealt with by many GMs in the 30-plus-year history of the game.

2) Do you acknowledge that retraining hit points takes 3 days for 1 hp? If so, you must acknowledge that retraining hp is a very slow process (much like gaining levels and hit points from leveling) and the GM isn't going to be "surprised" that in one session the PCs have low or average hp points and in the next they have above-average hp, and therefore the GM has time to adjust to how much tougher the PCs are and compensate for that in a slow, dynamic way.

3) Do you acknowledge that the GM is in control of how much downtime the PCs get? If so, you must acknowledge that the PC's can't just decide to stay in town and max out their hp; the GM is going to push campaign events that prevent the PCs from having three-month training montages to gain +30 hp each.

Conclusion: retraining hit points only allows PCs to reach a level that some characters already reach randomly, that it is a slow incremental change that can't be sprung on the GM, and the GM is in control of the process, and therefore taking a "sky is falling" attitude about how this could wreck a campaign is an inappropriate overreaction.

I'm sorry that you didn't like my humorous take on the situation. I guess I'll add "employees can never make jokes and must be serious at all times" to the secret Paizo bylaws.

GM: You have three days of downtime available.
Barbarian 13: I retrain hit points and increase my total hp by 1! Booyah!
Wizard 13: I create a scroll of limited wish.
Barbarian 13: *cries*


Like I said, I'm far more upset about the piling-on than about the rule, which I think is okay but includes an oversight (that player who is going to try and get ALL the hit points). And for what it's worth I've tried to be measured in my response. But no matter how many times we go back and forth on this someone else is going to show up, read half a dozen posts, pick the side they like and start the battle all over again.

As for the rule, the edge cases are pretty bad, and GMs with players who are going to gun for that should be well-informed. A forum thread is all we needed for that, and here it is!

Allowing retraining of HP was actually a really cool and somewhat ballsy direction. Allowing characters to reliably reach max potential HP... I think that affects gameplay, and not for the better.

It affects campaigns unevenly too. Think of all the downtime in Kingmaker! Playing a barbarian in that campaign with this rule would be fantasgreat! And that same barbarian, with the right specs, could give your scrolling wizard a run for his money.

These are reasonable issues to take up in discussion of a variant rule. The sky is not falling. But caught as I was on the side that wants to look at the rules and think about them, I was a little raw about being told that I'm whining, or overreacting.

You've already apologized, and that's cool. Mostly I would like to discourage further piling on.

Oh, right, numbered points:

1) Yes. But I'd be surprised if a single 20th level Barbarian in the history of all editions of the game ever rolled 20 12s in a row. And this is the door opened by this new rule.

2) Downtime is enormously variable by campaign. Even adventure paths, which are comparatively stable compared to homebrew, have Kingmaker on occasion. If a rule may work poorly with certain campaign types, it's a damned good candidate for a forum discussion, I'd say.

3) I've been in a lot of gaming situations where there was less control of downtime. Rotating GMs, abstract calendars, GM's desire for a longer power advancement arc... It's not always so clearcut. I know you're about to say that downtime rules aren't appropriate for that kind of campaign, and I totally agree. But there's a certain kind of player who is going to beeline for max HP now that they can, and I think a forum thread (like this one) at least giving those poor GMs a head's up is fair.

Now the real trick is getting everyone to realize that is what this thread is for, and I NEVER intended it to be "repeal the rule!" vs. "It's fine it's fine it's fine"


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:


3) Do you acknowledge that the GM is in control of how much downtime the PCs get? If so, you must acknowledge that the PC's can't just decide to stay in town and max out their hp; the GM is going to push campaign events that prevent the PCs from having three-month training montages to gain +30 hp each.

Let's walk that one back a bit. A GM might be able to push campaign events, but when PCs are determined to spend winter away from adventuring and working on other elements? I'm not about to run too roughshod over the players desire to do so in a sandbox game.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

GM: You have three days of downtime available.

Barbarian 13: I retrain hit points and increase my total hp by 1! Booyah!
Wizard 13: I create a scroll of limited wish.
Barbarian 13: *cries*

That's... not really a vote of confidence there. Given 3-4 days time a 13th level barbarian can add 1 hit point while his wizard friend scribes a scroll of limited wish. There are some who would just call this another case of martial characters not getting nice things.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Bill Dunn wrote:
Let's walk that one back a bit. A GM might be able to push campaign events, but when PCs are determined to spend winter away from adventuring and working on other elements? I'm not about to run too roughshod over the players desire to do so in a sandbox game.

Whether or not they want to stay away from adventures, adventures can still come to them. It's all well and good to say "we spend the winter retraining," but the GM can say "monsters attack" or "half the city burns down" or "a plague happens." The GM is still in control.

Bill Dunn wrote:
That's... not really a vote of confidence there. Given 3-4 days time a 13th level barbarian can add 1 hit point while his wizard friend scribes a scroll of limited wish. There are some who would just call this another case of martial characters not getting nice things.

Retraining hp is either too good because it allows characters to reach max hp, or it's too weak compared to what a standard wizard can do with his level 1 class feature (Scribe Scroll). It can't be both.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Evil Lincoln wrote:
1) Yes. But I'd be surprised if a single 20th level Barbarian in the history of all editions of the game ever rolled 20 12s in a row. And this is the door opened by this new rule.

20d12 for hp on average is 135. If a character tends to roll high (say 9 on a d12), that's 183 hp (48 hp more than average). Max is 240 hp (57 more than rolling high, 105 more than average).

Training +48 hp takes 144 downtime days.
Training +105 hp takes 315 downtime days. That's almost a year of game time where the PCs have to stay in town and not go on adventures. The wizard's going to be crafting tons of magic items (gaining WBL and becoming more powerful). Why shouldn't other characters have an option that lets them become more powerful during that downtime?

Evil Lincoln wrote:
2) Downtime is enormously variable by campaign. Even adventure paths, which are comparatively stable compared to homebrew, have Kingmaker on occasion. If a rule may work poorly with certain campaign types, it's a damned good candidate for a forum discussion, I'd say.

Sure.

Evil Lincoln wrote:
3) I've been in a lot of gaming situations where there was less control of downtime. Rotating GMs, abstract calendars, GM's desire for a longer power advancement arc... It's not always so clearcut. I know you're about to say that downtime rules aren't appropriate for that kind of campaign, and I totally agree. But there's a certain kind of player who is going to beeline for max HP now that they can, and I think a forum thread (like this one) at least giving those poor GMs a head's up is fair.

Sure.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:


Retraining hp is either too good because it allows characters to reach max hp, or it's too weak compared to what a standard wizard can do with his level 1 class feature (Scribe Scroll). It can't be both.

I think it can, but it depends on whether you're looking at a macro level or a micro level.

Being able to achieve 1 hit point in 3 days compared to a limited wish scroll - at the micro level, it's a very weak way to spend one's time. The barbarian needs a lot of time to achieve significant results compared to, for example, creating magic items. A belt that improves his constitution gives that 13th level barbarian quite a few more hit points for a lot less time, even if he has to craft the belt himself.

However, in the long term, considering lots of PCs will have a substantial amount of time over their careers even if spent in 3 day increments, hit point retraining can push PCs to the maximum end of the spectrum - making them quite a bit more durable than NPCs or monsters with rolled or average hit points and further weakening damaging (mainly evocation) spells as a strategy compared to using save or die style spells. In other words, if this rule gets used a lot, we may see a further exacerbation in the problems we see in the d20 games that encourage casters making and end-run around hit points as a stronger strategy than the hit point attrition strategies open to martial characters.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Evil Lincoln wrote:


2) Downtime is enormously variable by campaign. Even adventure paths, which are comparatively stable compared to homebrew, have Kingmaker on occasion. If a rule may work poorly with certain campaign types, it's a damned good candidate for a forum discussion, I'd say.

3) I've been in a lot of gaming situations where there was less control of downtime. Rotating GMs, abstract calendars, GM's desire for a longer power advancement arc... It's not always so clearcut. I know you're about to say that downtime rules aren't appropriate for that kind of campaign, and I totally agree. But there's a certain kind of player who is going to beeline for max HP now that they can, and I think a forum thread (like this one) at least giving those poor GMs a head's up is fair.

I whole-heartedly agree. But I think having it in an online discussion forum is a less efficient way of distributing info on the implications of certain rules than including it in the original materials. That's a problem that was identified some time ago with 3e materials and leads to snarky internet posts about Timmy powers and trap feats when, in reality, some feats and options work for certain types of games and not for others.


I would have prefered if the cost was diference dependant. The higher relative to the average the easier and cheaper to retrain.

This also simulates better learning curves.

Humbly,
Yawar


Evil Lincoln wrote:


2) Downtime is enormously variable by campaign. Even adventure paths, which are comparatively stable compared to homebrew, have Kingmaker on occasion. If a rule may work poorly with certain campaign types, it's a damned good candidate for a forum discussion, I'd say.

Kingmaker is a very fringe adventure path that I've heard broke a LOT rules. Crafting was the big one... down time another. Nearly unlimited funds and time throws the campaign quite a bit... and our DM told us there would be TIGHT leash on such thing when we started it a few months ago... Magic weapons and armor were a big thing we changed.

Actually, I think we're using YOUR ideas for that!! :) So far so good!!

But... JUST because it doens't work well in kingmaker... shouldn't be a reason to black ball an optional rule.

Evil Lincoln wrote:


3) I've been in a lot of gaming situations where there was less control of downtime. Rotating GMs, abstract calendars, GM's desire for...

I've never played in one like that... do you use many optional rules in games like that? Personlly, we haven't really liked ANY of the optional things we've seen yet (critical hits, words of power, armor=Dr) soooo we've been pretty 'basic rules' only... but do you have many situatiosn where DM #1 allows something that DM#2 thinks is broken and make it so DM #2 HAS to allow it in his game?

I would have figured gaming groups like that would have to be VERY cooridanted in what is and is not allowed...

Evil Lincoln wrote:


As for the rule, the edge cases are pretty bad, and GMs with players who are going to gun for that should be well-informed. A forum thread is all we needed for that, and here it is!

One thing I learned on this forum... is there are a lot of min-max types who will find any loophole possible. You call it an oversight, but I really don't see it that way. having 'max' hit points won't make a big difference. I do tend to roll well for HP (not max).... but gaining the ones I missed that way... against some big bads I would only last another hit or two. I had a character die tonight in ONE round because I couldn't make a concealment roll to save my life... I had a paladin a month before get dropped to negatives in two rounds. Bad guys hit HARD in this game... O.O

But really, there are a lot of ways to GET Hp. There are belts, raising Con, Favored Class, Toughness... If a player wished to exploit this 'loophole' to become a problem... he'll find SOME way to get the Hp... And people who focus on gaining hp, will STILL have more than the ones who want to spread the wealth a bit and get some skill points/spells/MAD abilities...

Whereas the weaker characters or non-martials who roll low can REALLY get some great use out of this kind of thing.

I guess I just wouldn't WANT these book written with the goal of stopping the power gamers at the expense of the Role-players... Every rule can be exploited in some way, and I'm sure the DM's who deal with those types of players will know what to look for. Like you did :)


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Whether or not they want to stay away from adventures, adventures can still come to them. It's all well and good to say "we spend the winter retraining," but the GM can say "monsters attack" or "half the city burns down" or "a plague happens." The GM is still in control.

And this is exactly what happened in my Skull and Shackles game. Three of the four PCs left Tidewater Rock and went to Bloodcove for a month to retrain their hit points. Upon their return they found that the place was occupied by an enemy sorcerer and their companion her charmed slave.

They found out first hand just how formidable the Rock's defenses can be.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
That's almost a year of game time where the PCs have to stay in town and not go on adventures. The wizard's going to be crafting tons of magic items (gaining WBL and becoming more powerful). Why shouldn't other characters have an option that lets them become more powerful during that downtime?

Er, the wizard can train hit points AND craft (if at a reduced rate).


Thanks to all—including Sean—who are embracing nuance in this discussion!


phantom1592 wrote:

Kingmaker is a very fringe adventure path that I've heard broke a LOT rules. Crafting was the big one... down time another. Nearly unlimited funds and time throws the campaign quite a bit... and our DM told us there would be TIGHT leash on such thing when we started it a few months ago... Magic weapons and armor were a big thing we changed.

Actually, I think we're using YOUR ideas for that!! :) So far so good!!

But... JUST because it doens't work well in kingmaker... shouldn't be a reason to black ball an optional rule.

A big yes to this. (And it's always cool to hear people are using my variants! Post back in the thread where you found it, please.)

I don't want to give the impression that the RAW is sacrosanct at my table, or that I think every rule in every book has to be used in every campaign. On the contrary, most people don't use all the rules in the Core Rulebook, or else we'd see many more PC deaths by tornado.

I have a campaign where the players are super rich, I'm talking 5 or 6 levels over WBL. I can accept the idea of a campaign where all the PCs have max HP, why not?

What I like is when the GM is empowered and informed about how twisting these knobs will affect their game. Pathfinder has some of the best challenge metrics in all RPGdom, I think, but it's not without its share of flaws.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Retraining hp is either too good because it allows characters to reach max hp, or it's too weak compared to what a standard wizard can do with his level 1 class feature (Scribe Scroll). It can't be both.

You could always say that what wizards can do with their level 1 class feature, and hp retraining, are both too good! ;)

Okay, seriously, though:

Evil Lincoln wrote:
1) Yes. But I'd be surprised if a single 20th level Barbarian in the history of all editions of the game ever rolled 20 12s in a row. And this is the door opened by this new rule.

Maybe not exactly, but one of my current games has an 11th level fighter/4th level barbarian who is only 16 hit points below what he would have if he'd rolled max on every die. That's basically within spitting distance of the maximum; even though we've had 14 levels for the dice to iron themselves out toward the average, the dice don't always do that.

Anecdotally, I run a different fighter in the same game, and for me to retrain to the point where his dice have already taken him would take more free time than all the free time my character has had in the entire campaign, put together.

I suspect that a GM can still keep the reins on hit points if he desires by controlling time, access to training, etc... I suspect that would be possible even in Kingmaker if the GM wants it to be so.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Evil Lincoln:

1) Do you acknowledge that some characters are going to roll well on hit points and end up with above-average hp? If so, then you must acknowledge that some GMs are already dealing with PCs that have higher hp than normal, within the default parameters of the game, and any concerns about PCs with high hp have been dealt with by many GMs in the 30-plus-year history of the game.

2) Do you acknowledge that retraining hit points takes 3 days for 1 hp? If so, you must acknowledge that retraining hp is a very slow process (much like gaining levels and hit points from leveling) and the GM isn't going to be "surprised" that in one session the PCs have low or average hp points and in the next they have above-average hp, and therefore the GM has time to adjust to how much tougher the PCs are and compensate for that in a slow, dynamic way.

3) Do you acknowledge that the GM is in control of how much downtime the PCs get? If so, you must acknowledge that the PC's can't just decide to stay in town and max out their hp; the GM is going to push campaign events that prevent the PCs from having three-month training montages to gain +30 hp each.

Conclusion: retraining hit points only allows PCs to reach a level that some characters already reach randomly, that it is a slow incremental change that can't be sprung on the GM, and the GM is in control of the process, and therefore taking a "sky is falling" attitude about how this could wreck a campaign is an inappropriate overreaction.

I'm sorry that you didn't like my humorous take on the situation. I guess I'll add "employees can never make jokes and must be serious at all times" to the secret Paizo bylaws.

GM: You have three days of downtime available.
Barbarian 13: I retrain hit points and increase my total hp by 1! Booyah!
Wizard 13: I create a scroll of limited wish.
Barbarian 13: *cries*

Poor,poor barbarian. The whole caster community hate you and your hp retraining stuff. However, I think that such rules are not destabilizing, any dm can handle it with minimal effort and can only do much good to the game. And at the poor barbarians, indeed.


While I find the retraining rules awesomely cool, I don't think retraining HP for the +1 hp to be all that worth it at higher levels. Granted, My DM has been using the optional racial HP variant that was in beta for starting HPs. Makes for a much nicer system.

Halflings, Gnomes : +4
Elves, Half-elves, Human : +6
Dwarves, Half-Orcs :+8

So, you get max your class die + Con + Racial Mod + Favored.

This would offset low die rolls for a level or so. Also, the other optional ruling is to choose to random roll or take average hp's per level.. So Barbarian could roll or take 6+Con.

As a player, I wouldn't be using the retraining rules for 1 Hp anyways. Not cost or time effective.


When I GM, I use following house rule for HP.

Quote:

Roll, if you got lower than half you have two options.

First, you can take half. Second, you can roll again but then you keep result from second roll

This way anyone can have decent HP. And if someone have lower than average well, it's their own fault for being greedy :)

So while I'm using this rule, I'll not permit HP retraining.

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