Treat wounds - hit points are not all physical damage


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I would like to see this to changed to something more generic like Treat Injury or perhaps just Recovery.

I know there is some disagreement on how people look at this but wouldn't it be better for this to be more generic?

This also dovetails into the discussion of how it should be possible that characters should be able to recover some hit points after being involved in combat. Since the loss of hit points does not always represent being physically injured the recovery of hit points representing a character catching their breath or getting some stamina back makes sense and can help with extending the adventuring day.

I haven't played Starfinder but the Stamina mechanic sounds intriguing. However I would not like to have to track something additional.


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I agree that the definition of hit points isn't (and has never been) just physical damage. This is why I really don't like the concept of having to "bandage everyone up" with a healer's kit after a fight. If they are real "injuries" or "wounds," just bandaging them up isn't going to somehow heal them instantly the way magic can. For me, the concept of Stamina and Health make so much more sense. I also like the simple 5e "short rest" approach.


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At least for me, even if it's not entirely physical damage, every hit involves some "meat HP" even if the ratio of "meat HP" to "intangibly non-meat HP" goes down as level goes up. I don't mind Starfinder's Stamina system, and I like it for starfinder, but I agree with the devs that I don't think it works as well in Pathfinder.


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Tholomyes wrote:
At least for me, even if it's not entirely physical damage, every hit involves some "meat HP" even if the ratio of "meat HP" to "intangibly non-meat HP" goes down as level goes up. I don't mind Starfinder's Stamina system, and I like it for starfinder, but I agree with the devs that I don't think it works as well in Pathfinder.

With things like poison being attached to hits, I agree some percentage has to be physical: However, that could still mean that we're talking about paper-cut levels of real damage and not something 10 min of bandaging is needed to 'fix'. And worse, the more you make hp's = meat points, the more odd it seems when after 10 min they remove their bandages and they are unwounded and look like they were never in a fight...


When I GM, I prefer to narrate every hit as involving at the very least a light amount of physical damage - superficial scrapes or flesh wounds, if nothing else. In this way, if an enemy can deal poison damage, disease, or other contact afflictions, there is narratively a vector by which the poison or disease may be introduced - It would rankle my sense of verisimilitude if a hit described as a "near miss" or a muscle sprain actually had poison attached.

Even if this is not a concern, hit points could also represent sprains, bruises, dodging blows that lead to twisted joints, etc. All these things could easily fall under the purview of "treat wounds," even if they aren't strictly caused directly by enemy weapons.


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It's never made sense. It never will. Just don't spend any time trying to think about it rationally...

Why can a 10th level human get hit in the face a dozen times by a battle axe? Oh, he's not actually getting hit in the face; when he loses HP from each hit, that's really just him getting tired, wearing down his ability to avoid taking lethal hits. Only the last battle axe hit that drops him to zero HP lands a solid blow.

Then can't he just rest between combats to restore his ability to avoid deadly htis? No, not really. No amount of resting can restore his defensive ability unless he gets a full 8 hours of rest, at which point he gains back about 1/10 of his ability to avoid lethal blows.

So how does he re-train his ability to defend himself? Easy. He needs a Cure Wounds spell or a Heal spell or a Regeneration spell.

Wait. I thought you said those lost HP weren't wounds? They're not. He's just gotten tired and can't defend himself very well.

Then why does he need to Cure Wounds to get less tired? Awwww, just shut up and play.

Stamina in Starfinder isn't any better. You could take a scratch that only does stamina damage yet you also get poisoned. Then after a fight, healing magic/tech restores stamina.

It's easier to just keep it as abstract as possible and not try to put it into a logical strait jacket.

Hey, to Paizo's great credit, at least they have finally gotten rid of CURE Wounds spells. Wounds aren't cured. Diseases and other afflictions are cured. Wounds are healed. That's been 40 years in the making but it's finally here!


I'd just handle that in the narrative.

You've put your finger on a formative problem with d20: hit points and the mechanic that you're totally ok til 1 hp, then dying at 0 hp.

Ironically the 'ultra-rules-lite' FATE system has solved this very elegantly. PCs have 'stress points' which get burned through in combat, but recover completely after combat with no healing needed. Once the stress points have been eliminated, they have 'consequences' which represent specific lasting wounds that have to be treated properly, and can take a while to recover.

If I was going to 'fix' hit points, i'd copy that system. Works great and is mathematically very easy to map to PF to keep the numbers in-line.

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