Ultimate Campaign: Retraining to Max Hit Points


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This seems off to me. I know it costs gold and time, but are we really intending for PCs to retrain to max HP?

I think my first house rule in ultimate campaign is that you can only retrain to your average HD result + bonus HP from Con.

Am I reading the rule wrong? Am I wrong, and this is not such a big deal?


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Yes, this seems a little off to me, too. Given no shortage of time or money, everybody can get up to full hp. Of course, this should apply to NPCs, too.

I'm not giving it much thought, though, as I have completely eliminated randomness in character creation in my campaigns and always use average hitpoints, for PCs, NPCs, and monsters alike, so there really is no need to apply this rule.


I have a feeling that most of the people buying Ultimate Campaign will be GMs. I doubt too many players will want to thumb through what appears to be a rather world-building-centric tome. (Yes, I know there is stuff in there for players, but perception being what it is...)

The reason I say this is that I don't know that a book like Ultimate Campaign needs "houserules" per se. Since you'll probably be the only person in your group giving it the full attention it deserves, you can just skip over what you don't like and probably your group will be none-the-wiser.

I mean, is it really a houserule to just leave out optional rules from an optional expansion style book?

Shadow Lodge

I haven't removed it, but I have really limited it - my group uses 1d4+difference for hit points - 1d4+2 for d6 classes, +4 for d8, +6 for d10, and +8 for barbarians. For NPCs I tend to do the same, manually rolling their HPs out; for monsters I typically just max it out or go with average, depending on how long I want them to survive.

I don't imagine this particular rule will get much time in my games - there's not enough reward for the expense, since the big risk of "I rolled a 1 for HP for 3 levels in a row" or whatever is no longer there with the d4+ method.


I think you're right. Gold is not that hard to come by, but hit points are a precious, precious resource, especially for front-liners who are getting pounded on a lot and also happen to have the biggest hit dice (and thus the biggest potential payoff for max HP retraining).

A level 9 Barbarian with 16 base CON, Toughness and rage would wind up with (12 * 9 hit dice) + (3 * 9 regular CON) + (2 * 9 rage CON) + 9 toughness = 189 hit points, which is ridiculously high for that level. And that's assuming they put all their favored class bonuses into skill points. Add 9 if they opted for hit points (or took Fast Learner, for humans). Compare to 112 for the same character assuming average hp. That's a HUGE difference.


It's not a small amount of gold for training either. But it does seem like one of the best investments you can make...

All of the other retraining rules seem okay to me, I'm already much more lenient in that I allow it all for free. It seems like they went out of their way to stop them from letting players ratchet up their power — it's mostly to correct mistakes in investment during advancement. The HP rule alone allows to retrain to gain significant advantage. I almost feel like it must have been an oversight, and that there is some missing clause they intended to limit this.

Anyway, I read the rule in a physical book that belonged to someone else, so I can't really go over it until my FLGS stocks it. As such, I'd love for anyone to tell me if I'm missing something important here.

Oh, and I should ask before it happens, please don't get all dramatic. It's pretty obvious that all the rules in Ultimate Campaign are optional, because I don't think anyone could possibly include all of them... so there's nothing scandalous about one rule that seems maybe too good.


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It's 3 days to train 1 hit point so I'm pretty sure it isn't a huge deal unless the PCs have a massive amount of downtime to train their hit points.

Have you ever played a character with low hp? Because it's just sad. I had a frontline melee brute Swordsage in a Pathfinder game once. D8 hit die class. I had 14 Con and at level 8 I had 31 hp. My HD rolls were 8, maxed from first level, then 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, and 1. The backline Cleric/Sorcerer Mystic Theurge with 12 Con and toughness had 65, and the Fighter had close to 100. I'm actually glad they gave an option to retrain hit points-- it gives people like my Swordsage the ability to actually function instead of how I ended up playing, which was ultra-defensive powers instead of any of the cool flashy offensive abilities I had, only because if I got hit once or failed a reflex save I could go from full to dead.

Retraining hit points is fine because, as the DM, you can limit their downtime if someone is trying to retrain the 270 days it might take a level 12 barbarian to take all of his HD and max them.


In addition to the money and the downtime (which isn't always a given), it requires finding a combat master or academy or monastery that's willing to accept the PC. The GM is pretty much in complete control of the entire retraining process. Perhaps the master only has 6 free days. Does one PC monopolize his time and gain 2 hp or do two PCs each take 3 days to gain 1 hp each?

Perhaps the master or the academy is willing to accept the PC for a week or two of retraining but only if {a meddlesome orc invasion is taken care of|a corrupt despot is removed from power|his kidnapped son is found alive and rescued|etc.}


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@Ice Titan: Ouch! I haven't heard of a DM that would make you keep all those ones in a while! We've been just using average HP for a whole now and before that we had tried roll and keep whichever s better, the average or the roll. And before that we had tried roll but reroll all ones.


Tinalles wrote:
Molehills and mountains.

108 = 12*9

027 = 3*9
018 = 2*9
009 = 1*9
---------
162 total (I am not sure where you got 189?)

Side note: Math is distributive, so you could just do (12+3+2+1)*9 = 118*9 = 162.

Compared to average:
12 = level one maximum HP
52 = 8 levels at 6.5 average
27 = 3*9 (regular CON)
18 = 2*9 (raging CON)
09 = 1*9 (Toughness)
---------
118 total

So the difference is really only 44 HP

Side note: Level 1, CON 16, Raging, and Toughness are the same in both barbarians. The only difference is that from levels 2 through 9 the rolled HP are short by (5.5 average) for 8 levels, 5.5 * 8 = 44). Knowing this, we can compare an average barbarian of any level to a Max-retrained barbarian of the same level, so comparing 4th level barbarians the HP difference is 16.5 (5.5 * 3) and comparing 17th level barbarians, the HP difference is 88 (5.5 * 16), etc.

That said, 44 HP at that level is fairly significant, but the difference isn't quite as alarming as your post would indicate.


Grimmy wrote:
@Ice Titan: Ouch! I haven't heard of a DM that would make you keep all those ones in a while! We've been just using average HP for a whole now and before that we had tried roll and keep whichever s better, the average or the roll. And before that we had tried roll but reroll all ones.

There's a reason why my group does roll and take half+1 if your roll is under half+1.

The reason: Because it's my group, I'm the DM and I played that swordsage. :P


Ice Titan wrote:
Retraining hit points is fine because, as the DM, you can limit their downtime if someone is trying to retrain the 270 days it might take a level 12 barbarian to take all of his HD and max them.

Oh come now, it's only 181.5 days, statistically. ;)

Actually, if you're just dropping this down into an existing campaign with higher level characters, you might find some who want to spend half a year retraining HP.

But if this rule had existed from the onset, those characters might just have found their academy at a lower level and retrained a week here, three weeks there, whenever they had downtime between a dozen adventures, so they may never have needed to take a half a year off, just several mini vacations of a few weeks each.

All still with GM approval, of course.


Ice Titan wrote:
Grimmy wrote:
@Ice Titan: Ouch! I haven't heard of a DM that would make you keep all those ones in a while! We've been just using average HP for a whole now and before that we had tried roll and keep whichever s better, the average or the roll. And before that we had tried roll but reroll all ones.

There's a reason why my group does roll and take half+1 if your roll is under half+1.

The reason: Because it's my group, I'm the DM and I played that swordsage. :P

Yeah so you know how it feels!


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ansel Krulwich wrote:

In addition to the money and the downtime (which isn't always a given), it requires finding a combat master or academy or monastery that's willing to accept the PC. The GM is pretty much in complete control of the entire retraining process. Perhaps the master only has 6 free days. Does one PC monopolize his time and gain 2 hp or do two PCs each take 3 days to gain 1 hp each?

Perhaps the master or the academy is willing to accept the PC for a week or two of retraining but only if {a meddlesome orc invasion is taken care of|a corrupt despot is removed from power|his kidnapped son is found alive and rescued|etc.}

But lack of a trainer is just a speed bump -- you can generally do without a trainer by taking twice as long to complete the training.

Still -- I am curious to see how PFS handles retraininng, since that is a campaign where downtime is rather arbitrary. Whatever they come up with might be a good guideline for DMs who see the Ultimate Campaign system as too liberal.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Another issue I see is that retraining costs do not scale well with level. The increase in cost per character level for most retrainable features is linear -- but expected Wealth by Level increases at a greater than linear rate. Maybe the cost of retraining should be a certain fraction of the WBL table value per day? As things stand now, I can easily see our party starting a big training montage where the entire party engages in combat training until they max out their hit points -- and the spellcasters (who would be done well before the melee combatants) retrain other features.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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"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!"


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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!"

Truly this portends a catastrophe of unspeakable magnitude.


Zaister wrote:

Yes, this seems a little off to me, too. Given no shortage of time or money, everybody can get up to full hp. Of course, this should apply to NPCs, too.

I'm not giving it much thought, though, as I have completely eliminated randomness in character creation in my campaigns and always use average hitpoints, for PCs, NPCs, and monsters alike, so there really is no need to apply this rule.

Ditto on all counts.


Seems this could get rather expensive. To boost you HP 1 point cost you 3 days down time 10 X HD X #Days. At 2nd level assuming you rolled an average of 5 HP on fighter you have to spend 300 GP to max it out over 15 days.

300 GP doesn't sound like much but you total WBL is 1000 GP. Of that 1000 GP some possibly all of it can be things other than gold. Maybe you have 900 GP in potions and 100 GP. So you might not even have 300gp to train with. As well the 300 GP is base value and it can be 50% higher or lower at the GM's discretion. Is 5 hp at 2nd level worth that?

Then talk about time. Will the GM give you 15 days time assuming you find a trainer and location to train in. Will the GM allow you train yourself over 30 days.

A lot of "if" to train up 5 hit points and you might not be able to afford it in the first place as WBL is guideline and you could be under that amount at 2nd level.


David knott 242 wrote:
But lack of a trainer is just a speed bump -- you can generally do without a trainer by taking twice as long to complete the training.
Retraining wrote:
If no suitable trainer is available, the GM might allow you to retrain yourself by spending twice the normal time.

(emphasis mine)


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

The aforementioned Barbarian, to go from Average to Max hp would take
44 x 3 = 132 days, or about 4 and a half months (without a trainer this would take 9 months)
This would cost the 9th level Barbarian 10 X 9 (level)x 132 (days) = 11,880 GP!!!!!!! Which works out to 26% of his WBL.

This same 11k gp would be much better spent on a +1 furious great sword and ring or protection +1, and have money left over.

Contributor

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!"

Such problems seem so petty in the face of a phantasmal killer.


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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.


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.

Yeah, that's what I do for my games.

d6 = 4 hp/HD
d8 = 5 hp/HD
d10 = 6 hp/HD
d12 = 7 hp/HD

Since there's no "luck of the die" in my games (in reference to SKR's comment), I don't think I'm going to allow retraining of hit points. Either that or it's going to cost significantly more than written.

As written, a level 12 fighter would spend:

2nd level: 10 x 3 (# of days) x 4 (# of hp) x 2 (level) = 240 gp (24% of WBL)
3rd level: 10 x 3 x 4 x 3 = 360 gp (600 gp total, 20% of WBL)
4th level: 10 x 3 x 4 x 4 = 480 gp (1080 gp total, 18% of WBL)
5th level: 10 x 3 x 4 x 5 = 600 gp (1680 gp total, 16% of WBL)
6th level: 10 x 3 x 4 x 6 = 720 gp (2400 gp total, 15% of WBL)
7th level: 10 x 3 x 4 x 7 = 840 gp (3240 gp total, 14% of WBL)
8th level: 10 x 3 x 4 x 8 = 960 gp (4200 gp total, 13% of WBL)
9th level: 10 x 3 x 4 x 9 = 1080 gp (5280 gp total, 11% of WBL)
10th level: 10 x 3 x 4 x 10 = 1200 gp (6480 gp total, 10% of WBL)
11th level: 10 x 3 x 4 x 11 = 1320 gp (7800 gp total, 10% of WBL)
12th level: 10 x 3 x 4 x 12 = 1440 gp (9240 gp total, 9% of WBL)

As you can see, it gets significantly cheaper (by WBL) to increase your hit points as you level up. Which seems to be the opposite direction that it should be (since PCs tend to die more easily at lower levels).

In any case, I'd probably make it 10 x Level^2 per hit point. That would max out a fighter's hit points for about 25% of his WBL (peaking at 10th level).

So for the same fighter to maximize his hit points:
2nd level: 10 x 4 x 4 = 160 gp (160 gp total, 16% of WBL)
3rd level: 10 x 4 x 9 = 360 gp (520 gp total, 17% of WBL)
4th level: 10 x 4 x 16 = 640 gp (1160 gp total, 19% of WBL)
5th level: 10 x 4 x 25 = 1000 gp (2160 gp total, 21% of WBL)
6th level: 10 x 4 x 36 = 1440 gp (3600 gp total, 23% of WBL)
7th level: 10 x 4 x 49 = 1960 gp (5560 gp total, 24% of WBL)
8th level: 10 x 4 x 64 = 2560 gp (8120 gp total, 25% of WBL)
9th level: 10 x 4 x 81 = 3240 gp (11360 gp total, 25% of WBL)
10th level: 10 x 4 x 100 = 4000 gp (15360 gp total, 25% of WBL)
11th level: 10 x 4 x 121 = 4840 gp (20200 gp total, 25% of WBL)
12th level: 10 x 4 x 144 = 5760 gp (25960 gp total, 24% of WBL)

Links to graphs showing RAW and my modified cost:
RAW
Modified

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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n00bxqb wrote:
As you can see, it gets significantly cheaper (by WBL) to increase your hit points as you level up. Which seems to be the opposite direction that it should be (since PCs tend to die more easily at lower levels).

I disagree with that logic. Does a scroll* of a level-appropriate cure wounds spell cost more at lower levels because PCs tend to die more at lower levels? Nope. In fact, if you compare WBL to the best cure wounds scroll available for a PC of that level (light for 1st-2nd, moderate for 3rd-4th, serious for 5th-6th, critical for 7th-8th, and so on*), the % of WBL for that scroll decreases as levels go up:

Level 1: spell level 1 x caster level 1 x 25 gp = 25 gp = 12.5% of WBL
Level 2: spell level 1 x caster level 2 x 25 gp = 50 gp = 5% of WBL
Level 3: spell level 2 x caster level 3 x 25 gp = 150 gp = 5% of WBL
Level 4: spell level 2 x caster level 4 x 25 gp = 200 gp = 3.33% of WBL
Level 5: spell level 3 x caster level 5 x 25 gp = 375 gp = 3.57% of WBL
Level 6: spell level 3 x caster level 6 x 25 gp = 450 gp = 2.81% of WBL
Level 7: spell level 4 x caster level 7 x 25 gp = 700 gp = 2.98% of WBL
Level 8: spell level 4 x caster level 8 x 25 gp = 800 gp = 2.42% of WBL
Level 9: spell level 5 x caster level 9 x 25 gp = 1,125 gp = 2.45% of WBL
Level 10: spell level 5 x caster level 10 x 25 gp = 1,250 gp = 2.02% of WBL
Level 11: spell level 6 x caster level 11 x 25 gp = 1,650 gp = 2.01% of WBL
Level 12: spell level 6 x caster level 12 x 25 gp = 1,800 gp = 1.67% of WBL
Level 13: spell level 7 x caster level 13 x 25 gp = 2,275 gp = 1.63% of WBL
Level 14: spell level 7 x caster level 14 x 25 gp = 2,450 gp = 1.32% of WBL
Level 15: spell level 8 x caster level 15 x 25 gp = 3,000 gp = 1.25% of WBL
Level 16: spell level 8 x caster level 16 x 25 gp = 3,200 gp = 1.02% of WBL
Level 17: spell level 9 x caster level 17 x 25 gp = 3,825 gp = 0.93% of WBL
Level 18: spell level 9 x caster level 18 x 25 gp = 4,050 gp = 0.76% of WBL

*I used scrolls in this example because potions don't go past 3rd level.
**Assuming there were cure spells for each spell level, which of course there aren't.


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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.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And I thought I could get a bit compulsive-obsessive when I want to prove a point. How much time took it to get those exact percentages, Sean? oO

Silver Crusade

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Sean K Reynolds wrote:
which some lucky rolling-players get FOR FREE, INSTANTLY!"

(I admittedly only took part of your quote; it's the one I most want to touch on.)

Things like this are actually why I like static systems. Point Buy instead of rolled stats, Average HP based on hit die size instead of rolling random HP, and so on. I'd really rather go into a game knowing my character will this competent at a minimum on various matters.

Sure, rolling high on things is a lot of fun. However, the opposite really sucks and can sap the fun out of a session if you're left with too weak a character. And too good a character can make encounters (already designed to be 'a little tough but generally winnable') too easy.

Consistent HP, attribute scores, and so on makes it easier for adventure writers to know what kinds of PCs their encounters will face, and lets players build their characters in a consistent manner too. It takes a little of the randomness and dice rolling out of the game, but I'd actually argue in favor of reducing the number of 'lucky/have' players and 'unlucky/have not' players all at the same time by making certain aspects of a character be "always average." Granted, allowing retraining to max HP partially allows that. I just worry that it might trip into making encounters too easy if the entire party has it.

Grand Lodge

I don't see any issue with this rule, but I guess it has to do with the individual GM and the kind of campaign he/she wishes to run.

In the group I play in our rule on HP's is you can either take half plus con bonus, or roll. The players who roll have a chance of getting better HP's, but they also could roll poorly (it's a risk vs reward thing). Using the retraining rules the player could still retrain his HP's if he had an unfortunately low roll, and a player who choose to take the non-random route could also raise his HP's to match someone who rolled well, at a cost. This seems fair to me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have absolutely no problem with this rule. It's actually more strenuous than our previous house rule for training HP in some ways. In addition to the reasons Shawn and others gave above, I'd like to add this (admittedly, just a rephrasing in some ways):

Training hit points takes at least three days per point, six if you have no suitable trainer. During that time, you can do nothing else: "You can't perform any other strenuous activities while retraining, such as marching, adventuring, or crafting magic items." That is a giant amount of time to be doing nothing else. I can't think of any campaign I have ever been in or ran that PCs had enough downtime to make much use of this, including Kingmaker (the classic example for this). In my opinion, if your GM is giving you this much time off, he's either doing it wrong, or wants you to be able to use your downtime constructively - like, say, making yourself tougher.

I mean, seriously, what do you see your fighter doing with a couple weeks off? Is the answer 'training'? 'cause if it is, why the hell wouldn't he be a little more badass by the end of it?


ice titan wrote:

It's 3 days to train 1 hit point so I'm pretty sure it isn't a huge deal unless the PCs have a massive amount of downtime to train their hit points.

Have you ever played a character with low hp? Because it's just sad. I had a frontline melee brute Swordsage in a Pathfinder game once. D8 hit die class. I had 14 Con and at level 8 I had 31 hp. My HD rolls were 8, maxed from first level, then 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, and 1. The backline Cleric/Sorcerer Mystic Theurge with 12 Con and toughness had 65, and the Fighter had close to 100. I'm actually glad they gave an option to retrain hit points-- it gives people like my Swordsage the ability to actually function instead of how I ended up playing, which was ultra-defensive powers instead of any of the cool flashy offensive abilities I had, only because if I got hit once or failed a reflex save I could go from full to dead.

Retraining hit points is fine because, as the DM, you can limit their downtime if someone is trying to retrain the 270 days it might take a level 12 barbarian to take all of his HD and max them.

Except Kingmaker.

Of course it's okay for some campaigns. The purpose of these downtime rules was, after all, to make downtime a commodity. I have one campaign where all the PCs are filthy rich princes, and it is great fun because they have access to something normally scarce. Wouldn't want to throw that door open for every campaign*.

*and I don't think retraining HP does, because it's an optional rule, right?

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!"

There's no need for sarcasm, Sean. ;) Very, very few are the lucky players who roll max on every hit die. And having a party with max HP (and soon to be enemies with max HP) does change the gameplay experience. Battles take longer.

I'm really not against the idea, I just wanted to understand the rationale. It's the kind of thing I'd be perfectly okay with if it had a little warning attached. So much of the GM's game is about having good balance metrics, it's always strange when stuff like this falls outside of those tools.

Also, I'm sorry that all I've offered is a critique of the one rule in the book I don't like, because Ultimate Campaign looks likely to be my favorite Pathfinder book of all time. Given the number of new systems in there it shouldn't be any surprise that a couple ideas don't sit right with me.


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As far as potential fixes, I think instead of just +1 HP I might let people reroll all of their hit dice after training, and keep the result if it is higher than current. That way it is hard to get full-on max HP, but relatively easy to spend some time and gold to get a slight advantage.

Higher level PCs will skew toward their average, which is VERY important to me as a GM.

Liberty's Edge

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Ansel Krulwich wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:
But lack of a trainer is just a speed bump -- you can generally do without a trainer by taking twice as long to complete the training.
Retraining wrote:
If no suitable trainer is available, the GM might allow you to retrain yourself by spending twice the normal time.
(emphasis mine)

This does seem to be the crux. GM has to right to say "only if you have an appropriate trainer. And hp retraining says this:

Quote:
Retraining hit points takes 3 days and requires you to spend time at a martial academy, monk monastery, or with some kind of master of combat who is at least one level higher than you.

So it's not something you can do at extreme levels (or even mid levels) when you're higher level than the general populace. But it can give you a boost at low levels when survivability might be lower.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Evil Lincoln wrote:

This seems off to me. I know it costs gold and time, but are we really intending for PCs to retrain to max HP?

I think my first house rule in ultimate campaign is that you can only retrain to your average HD result + bonus HP from Con.

Am I reading the rule wrong? Am I wrong, and this is not such a big deal?

"We" aren't intending anything. Ultimate Campaign is a GM's toolkit. You're not obligated, nor required, to use all or any of it.


I bet when this was proposed it started out with retraining hit points being taking a hit die and rerolling it to try and get a higher number.

Then someone on staff pointed out, "but 99% of people won't have written down what each Hit Die rolled, so this would only be usable if you started a new game knowing you might want to write this down. And even then, it's kind of annoying to keep track of."

"Hmm, ok, how can we get a similar effect..."


I just like that I have a mechanical justification to explain why the Orcish Warlord has max hp. Sure, he doesn't have enough GP left to buy a +3 cloak of resistance. But he does have his +2 cloak, and his +2 weapon, his belt of str, and his +2 armor. And the legend is known far and wide of Scarskinned Kratuk, the orc who bleeds but does not die.

Being able to point at the gp amount he spent on HP retraining is far better than shrugging and saying "It's DM Fiat, I don't gotta explain s#!t".


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
n00bxqb wrote:
As you can see, it gets significantly cheaper (by WBL) to increase your hit points as you level up. Which seems to be the opposite direction that it should be (since PCs tend to die more easily at lower levels).

I disagree with that logic. Does a scroll* of a level-appropriate cure wounds spell cost more at lower levels because PCs tend to die more at lower levels? Nope. In fact, if you compare WBL to the best cure wounds scroll available for a PC of that level (light for 1st-2nd, moderate for 3rd-4th, serious for 5th-6th, critical for 7th-8th, and so on*), the % of WBL for that scroll decreases as levels go up:

Level 1: spell level 1 x caster level 1 x 25 gp = 25 gp = 12.5% of WBL
Level 2: spell level 1 x caster level 2 x 25 gp = 50 gp = 5% of WBL
Level 3: spell level 2 x caster level 3 x 25 gp = 150 gp = 5% of WBL
Level 4: spell level 2 x caster level 4 x 25 gp = 200 gp = 3.33% of WBL
Level 5: spell level 3 x caster level 5 x 25 gp = 375 gp = 3.57% of WBL
Level 6: spell level 3 x caster level 6 x 25 gp = 450 gp = 2.81% of WBL
Level 7: spell level 4 x caster level 7 x 25 gp = 700 gp = 2.98% of WBL
Level 8: spell level 4 x caster level 8 x 25 gp = 800 gp = 2.42% of WBL
Level 9: spell level 5 x caster level 9 x 25 gp = 1,125 gp = 2.45% of WBL
Level 10: spell level 5 x caster level 10 x 25 gp = 1,250 gp = 2.02% of WBL
Level 11: spell level 6 x caster level 11 x 25 gp = 1,650 gp = 2.01% of WBL
Level 12: spell level 6 x caster level 12 x 25 gp = 1,800 gp = 1.67% of WBL
Level 13: spell level 7 x caster level 13 x 25 gp = 2,275 gp = 1.63% of WBL
Level 14: spell level 7 x caster level 14 x 25 gp = 2,450 gp = 1.32% of WBL
Level 15: spell level 8 x caster level 15 x 25 gp = 3,000 gp = 1.25% of WBL
Level 16: spell level 8 x caster level 16 x 25 gp = 3,200 gp = 1.02% of WBL
Level 17: spell level 9 x caster level 17 x 25 gp = 3,825 gp = 0.93% of WBL
Level 18: spell level 9 x caster level 18 x 25 gp = 4,050 gp = 0.76% of WBL

*I used scrolls in this...

Those are limited-use magical items that grant a temporary effect, though, not a permanent effect (for most spells, at least, but most spells that have a permanent effect have a material cost factored into the scroll).

Most permanent effects in the books square the enhancement bonus (i.e. weapons and armor), spell-level (i.e. page of spell knowledge), etc.


If the players are paying for it (and they are), I don't see any problem.

They have to invest gold and time. Both are precious resources for PCs.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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Simkiria wrote:
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.

The game is stacked in the PCs' favor; they're already expected to win. A "challenging" encounter is not a fair fight, it's expected that the PCs will win and only expend 20-25% of their resources.

The GM always has the easy option to make an encounter harder if the PCs are having an easy time. Making the PCs a little more durable won't hurt the game. (That's why they now get max hit points at 1st level, which caused some angry discussion from 1E/2E GMs who liked that sometimes a 1st-level character might have only 1 hp.)

Evil Lincoln wrote:
There's no need for sarcasm, Sean.

"Ah, sarcasm - the grumpy man's wit." —Dolores Landingham

magnuskn wrote:
And I thought I could get a bit compulsive-obsessive when I want to prove a point. How much time took it to get those exact percentages, Sean? oO

Spreadsheet = fast. It's what I do.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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n00bxqb wrote:

Those are limited-use magical items that grant a temporary effect, though, not a permanent effect (for most spells, at least, but most spells that have a permanent effect have a material cost factored into the scroll).

Most permanent effects in the books square the enhancement bonus (i.e. weapons and armor), spell-level (i.e. page of spell knowledge), etc.

Fair enough. Let's use a permanent effect like a +2 belt of Constitution as the example instead.

In effect, the belt gives +1 hp per character level. Cost stays the same no matter what your level is: 4,000 gp. So the cost-per-hp for that belt is going to decrease as you gain levels. And let's see what that cost-per-hp is in terms of %WBL.

Level 2, 2 hp, 2000 gp/hp, 200 %WBL
Level 3, 3 hp, 1333 gp/hp, 44 %WBL
Level 4, 4 hp, 1000 gp/hp, 17 %WBL
Level 5, 5 hp, 800 gp/hp, 7.7 %WBL
Level 6, 6 hp, 666.666666666667 gp/hp, 4.2 %WBL
Level 7, 7 hp, 571.428571428571 gp/hp, 2.4 %WBL
Level 8, 8 hp, 500 gp/hp, 1.5 %WBL
Level 9, 9 hp, 444.444444444444 gp/hp, .97 %WBL
Level 10, 10 hp, 400 gp/hp, .65 %WBL
Level 11, 11 hp, 363.636363636364 gp/hp, .44 %WBL
Level 12, 12 hp, 333.333333333333 gp/hp, .31 %WBL
Level 13, 13 hp, 307.692307692308 gp/hp, .22 %WBL
Level 14, 14 hp, 285.714285714286 gp/hp, .15 %WBL
Level 15, 15 hp, 266.666666666667 gp/hp, .11 %WBL
Level 16, 16 hp, 250 gp/hp, .08 %WBL
Level 17, 17 hp, 235.294117647059 gp/hp, .06 %WBL
Level 18, 18 hp, 222.222222222222 gp/hp, .04 %WBL
Level 19, 19 hp, 210.526315789474 gp/hp, .03 %WBL
Level 20, 20 hp, 200 gp/hp, .02 %WBL

So lemme quote you and say:

n00bxqb wrote:
As you can see, it gets significantly cheaper (by WBL) to increase your hit points as you level up. Which seems to be the opposite direction that it should be (since PCs tend to die more easily at lower levels).

Liberty's Edge

The belt also gives a bonus to fort saves, and gets more expensive as you increase the payoff.

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.

Additionally, that bonus stacks with everything, where the Con belt caps.

Respectfully, apples and oranges.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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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 its gp/hp value increases as you level up and its contribution to your %WBL decreases as you level up.

Now, n00bxqb only calculated the retraining rules up to level 12, but let's compare his %WBL numbers to the %WBL for the manual:

Level 2, manual %WBL: 458, retraining %WBL: 24
Level 3, manual %WBL: 102, retraining %WBL: 20
Level 4, manual %WBL: 38, retraining %WBL: 18
Level 5, manual %WBL: 17, retraining %WBL: 16
Level 6, manual %WBL: 10, retraining %WBL: 15
Level 7, manual %WBL: 6, retraining %WBL: 14
Level 8, manual %WBL: 3, retraining %WBL: 13
Level 9, manual %WBL: 2, retraining %WBL: 11
Level 10, manual %WBL: 1, retraining %WBL: 10
Level 11, manual %WBL: 1, retraining %WBL: 10
Level 12, manual %WBL: .07, retraining %WBL: 9

You can't afford a manual +2 until level 8 anyway (where WBL is 33,000 gp), so the numbers below that aren't relevant, but look at the numbers where you CAN have it, levels 8 and up: the manual is less expensive per hit point than using the retraining rules.

So why complain that the retraining rules are too good? The retraining rules are more expensive per hit point gained and more time-consuming than an option that's already in the Core Rulebook.

Liberty's Edge

It isn't that they are too good, it was more the not counting as part of WBL that bothers me. It isn't a consumable.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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ciretose wrote:
It isn't that they are too good, it was more the not counting as part of WBL that bothers me. It isn't a consumable.

That is not at all what n00bxqb was talking about, and I quote:

n00bxqb wrote:
Since there's no "luck of the die" in my games (in reference to SKR's comment), I don't think I'm going to allow retraining of hit points. Either that or it's going to cost significantly more than written.
n00bxqb wrote:
As you can see, it gets significantly cheaper (by WBL) to increase your hit points as you level up. Which seems to be the opposite direction that it should be (since PCs tend to die more easily at lower levels).
n00bxqb wrote:
In any case, I'd probably make it 10 x Level^2 per hit point. That would max out a fighter's hit points for about 25% of his WBL (peaking at 10th level).

He made no mention of whether or not they should count toward WBL.

And if your issue was whether or not it should count toward WBL, you should have said that in your previous post, but you didn't: you were talking about comparative math between Retraining and other magic items.

Don't move the goalposts, ciretose.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
ciretose wrote:
It isn't that they are too good, it was more the not counting as part of WBL that bothers me. It isn't a consumable.

That is not at all what n00bxqb was talking about, and I quote:

n00bxqb wrote:
Since there's no "luck of the die" in my games (in reference to SKR's comment), I don't think I'm going to allow retraining of hit points. Either that or it's going to cost significantly more than written.
n00bxqb wrote:
As you can see, it gets significantly cheaper (by WBL) to increase your hit points as you level up. Which seems to be the opposite direction that it should be (since PCs tend to die more easily at lower levels).
n00bxqb wrote:
In any case, I'd probably make it 10 x Level^2 per hit point. That would max out a fighter's hit points for about 25% of his WBL (peaking at 10th level).

He made no mention of whether or not they should count toward WBL.

And if your issue was whether or not it should count toward WBL, you should have said that in your previous post, but you didn't: you were talking about comparative math between Retraining and other magic items.

Don't move the goalposts, ciretose.

Yay! Way to call him on the goal post thing... whew *lol*

Liberty's Edge

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
ciretose wrote:
It isn't that they are too good, it was more the not counting as part of WBL that bothers me. It isn't a consumable.

That is not at all what n00bxqb was talking about, and I quote:

n00bxqb wrote:
Since there's no "luck of the die" in my games (in reference to SKR's comment), I don't think I'm going to allow retraining of hit points. Either that or it's going to cost significantly more than written.
n00bxqb wrote:
As you can see, it gets significantly cheaper (by WBL) to increase your hit points as you level up. Which seems to be the opposite direction that it should be (since PCs tend to die more easily at lower levels).
n00bxqb wrote:
In any case, I'd probably make it 10 x Level^2 per hit point. That would max out a fighter's hit points for about 25% of his WBL (peaking at 10th level).

He made no mention of whether or not they should count toward WBL.

And if your issue was whether or not it should count toward WBL, you should have said that in your previous post, but you didn't: you were talking about comparative math between Retraining and other magic items.

Don't move the goalposts, ciretose.

My mistake, I got the threads crossed. However you did say the following in the thread labeled Does gold spent retraining hit points count towards one's WBL?

"No, just as it doesn't matter if PCs spend all of their wealth on potions to stay alive in a particularly dangerous adventure. The point of the game is to be able to keep playing.

And it doesn't matter if everyone eventually ends up with max hit points, just as it doesn't matter if all the PCs happened to roll max hit points."

I can move the question to that thread if you like, but it is a concern.


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Not that I ever intended this to feel like a trial, Sean, but you didn't really address my point. Don't just focus on rebutting the more hostile posters!

In all seriousness, this rule does introduce a marked increase in PC durability above and beyond what was accessible before. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, really, but "the game is already balanced in favor of the players" isn't a convincing argument to me.

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. It's not without consequence.

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.


Celestial Pegasus wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
which some lucky rolling-players get FOR FREE, INSTANTLY!"

(I admittedly only took part of your quote; it's the one I most want to touch on.)

Things like this are actually why I like static systems. Point Buy instead of rolled stats, Average HP based on hit die size instead of rolling random HP, and so on. I'd really rather go into a game knowing my character will this competent at a minimum on various matters.

Sure, rolling high on things is a lot of fun. However, the opposite really sucks and can sap the fun out of a session if you're left with too weak a character. And too good a character can make encounters (already designed to be 'a little tough but generally winnable') too easy.

Consistent HP, attribute scores, and so on makes it easier for adventure writers to know what kinds of PCs their encounters will face, and lets players build their characters in a consistent manner too. It takes a little of the randomness and dice rolling out of the game, but I'd actually argue in favor of reducing the number of 'lucky/have' players and 'unlucky/have not' players all at the same time by making certain aspects of a character be "always average." Granted, allowing retraining to max HP partially allows that. I just worry that it might trip into making encounters too easy if the entire party has it.

I agree with every word you said.

Sovereign Court

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.


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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.

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