Why don't NPC's have stamina points?

General Discussion

The question's in the title, I just don't get it. It's such a great system that I don't under stand why they didn't use it, even if just for narrative effect. Can someone explain?

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Why would they? Most NPCs aren't tracked out of combat in order to know when they'd spend resolve to regain them. And it is easier for enemies to simply have one pool so they don't need abilities that restore one or the other like PCs.

Come to think of it, NPCs don't really have Resolve either. Again, most of it would be out of combat bookkeeping no one really wants to do or has time for. It's not important for what's happening in the moment with PCs. Plus no Resolve means no "Oh the NPC that's down stabilizes and gets up with 1 because they had Resolve left." It it's important to the story a GM can do that kind of contingency anyway, there's no reason to quantify it and have the PCs able to complain "but we burnt all his resolve".

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Let's fine tune this a little.

NPCs do have resolve, but only when they have an ability on their character sheet that calls for it. So if you have a high level Solarian bad guy who has super powers that work by burning a resolve, than that NPC will have resolve points listed in their stat block. If they do not have any powers that work off resolve, then the NPC won't have resolve listed in their stat block.

As for NPC's not having stamina, have you noticed how much more accurate and harder to hit they are than PCs of their level? It's only fair that the PCs get stamina to stay in the game longer when the monsters hit so often and so hard. The best investment you can make in Starfinder is great armor -- and you still get hit most of the time with it on!


Monsters and enemy NPCs often fight until the PCs kill them. So what would the purpose of having some of their health pool being stamina be?

Now, if you do create an enemy NPC group where you expect a multi-scene running battle or something like that, then it would make sense for the NPCs to have stamina. So similarly to resolve points, you could convert some of their health pool to stamina points and give them a few resolve points to regenerate it with. Use this sparingly and only for really important recurring villain characters. Otherwise it just becomes more of a paperwork hassle than a narrative point.

A PC's life is measured in levels.

An NPC's life is measured in rounds.

GMs already have all the tools they need to handle situations where an NPC might need healing; if an NPC manages to live through the fight, the GM can simply rule that they get half of their total HP back after a 10 minute rest. There's no reason to make it more complicated than that.

Sovereign Court

PCs expect multiple encounters per day. NPCs rarely come back after you fight them once. Even then, probably not the same day. Stamina is a system for making playing multiple encounters in a day work really well. NPCs don't need that.

I see all these problems, but I was just thinking about the narrative of stamina points, the raw ability to turn a shot into a graze. Just a question. I know the problem with bookkeeping, but I just thought it would be cool.

TronTheAllmighty wrote:
I see all these problems, but I was just thinking about the narrative of stamina points, the raw ability to turn a shot into a graze. Just a question. I know the problem with bookkeeping, but I just thought it would be cool.

Hit Points ALREADY represent the ability to take a plasma blast to the face and keep going; it's been abstracted like that since the beginning of RPGs that use them. It's always been some combination of luck, skill, endurance, and willpower that lets a character stay on their feet after enduring wounds that, numerically, should have ended them much earlier.

Stamina is just a further abstraction, it's just the portion of a character's "stay-on-their-feet-atude" that can be restored with a 10 minute breather. You can fight longer after you collect your wits about you again, but your luck and your life might still run out if you push it too much.

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I got some good use out of "treat the NPC as having stamina" for an adventure where the PCs had to explore a disabled ship with an eldritch horror loose on it. The thing would pounce, attack, and then flee once it got injured or if the fight wasn't going well. . . and if the PCs rested or took time to explore, it got to spend a resolve to replenish.

It's less for the DM to track

An PC that is wounded needs rules to get better. An NPC that is wounded is probably wounded for life.

It's also worth noting, that this is part of the paradigm of characters and monster/NPCs using different rules.

PCs fill a different design space than any other NPC or monster in the game world. Paizo finally decided to stop trying to make monster that "followed" the rules and then give them made up bonus to make them as strong as they wanted and finally homogenized NPC design based on CR and role (as a skilled NPC , combat NPC, or caster NPC).

Not having stamina is an extension of this.

NPCs don't need stamina. Typically a specific NPC isn't encountered multiple times, and if they are encountered more than once by the PCs it will usually have a significant enough amount of time that they would have obtained some sort of healing and be at full HP.

Stamina is a mechanic to enable PCs to heal without needing a dedicated healer, but also allows for an easier explanation of why "you took all the damage but are still walking around just fine". Because you didn't really take damage, it was just near-misses that caused mental and physical fatigue.

Personally, I wish they'd actually given us only the HP from 1st level and from race, and that everything else was actually stamina. But then PCs would have too much stamina so that when you rested you would always be at full on both HP and stamina and would rarely have a chance to dip into HP without death being around the corner.

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