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AvatarZero
2010-05-06, 01:54 PM
I'm considering running a game of DnD. I like games where you can drop enemies in a single hit, or vice versa, so stealth and planning become very important.

What would happen if everything, PC or NPC, had it's HP total halved? Assume I'm using this set of houserules from The Alexandrian.

http://www.thealexandrian.net/creations/advanced-rules/optional-death.html

Kylarra
2010-05-06, 02:05 PM
I'm considering running a game of DnD. I like games where you can drop enemies in a single hit, or vice versa, so stealth and planning become very important.

What would happen if everything, PC or NPC, had it's HP total halved? Assume I'm using this set of houserules from The Alexandrian.

http://www.thealexandrian.net/creations/advanced-rules/optional-death.htmlMaybe you should consider shadowrun? Or a different system other than D&D 3.x?

D&D is already rocket tag at the beginning and end levels, so halving hp just makes it more rocket tag.

Salz
2010-05-06, 02:09 PM
Get Harnmaster.

You'll be glad you did.

J.Gellert
2010-05-06, 02:23 PM
Or Mutants and Masterminds, it's close (d20) and deadlier, especially if you leave out hero points.

Conan d20 is more painful than "vanilla" D&D as well.

StarWars1001001
2010-05-06, 02:27 PM
Shadowrun is definitely a good system for finding ways to kill someone outright, as is DnD. Spellcasters can be downright nasty if used correctly.

Akal Saris
2010-05-06, 02:34 PM
Well, initiative would be more important, and blasting would be comparatively better as well. "Tank" classes like barbarian and paladin would probably suck even more than they do now compared with spellcasters.

Lin Bayaseda
2010-05-06, 02:52 PM
Well, initiative would be more important, and blasting would be comparatively better as well. "Tank" classes like barbarian and paladin would probably suck even more than they do now compared with spellcasters.You're right about the first thing, but not the second. Melee will not suck.

Under the current rules, is it possible for a 3rd level fighter to kill a level-appropriate monster in one hit? No, it's not, because the level-appropriate monster has probably 20+ hit points. But, is it possible for a 3rd level caster to disable same level-appropriate monster in one spell? Yes, it is. Web, Hold Person, Color Spray, etc. But, give the monster only 10 hit points, and the balance between sword and spell is more or less even.

When fighters will be able to kill enemies in one hit, then, and only then, will they be brought on par with wizards.

Oh, and archery will finally become viable. Including crossbow archery. I think I will try this 1/2-hp variant. But of course only starting from level 2. Becuase, let's face it, no one is going to survive level 1 this way.

Greenish
2010-05-06, 02:59 PM
When fighters will be able to kill enemies in one hit, then, and only then, will they be brought on par with wizards.Dealing damage is not a problem for fighters*, it's the lack of versatility and their weak defenses to anything but physical attacks. Being able to kill enemies with one hit won't negate their weaknesses.

*Basic charger build.

Doc Roc
2010-05-06, 03:33 PM
Under the current rules, is it possible for a 3rd level fighter to kill a level-appropriate monster in one hit? No, it's not, because the level-appropriate monster has probably 20+ hit points. But, is it possible for a 3rd level caster to disable same level-appropriate monster in one spell? Yes, it is. Web, Hold Person, Color Spray, etc. But, give the monster only 10 hit points, and the balance between sword and spell is more or less even.

Depends on the sources, but I'm pretty sure I can hit ~50 damage at L3.

Eldariel
2010-05-06, 03:38 PM
Depends on the sources, but I'm pretty sure I can hit ~50 damage at L3.

If you do, though, it's rather 80/20ish to hit; a bit lower than I'd prefer. But yeah, especially if you're allowed Barbarian-levels and Charge, it's very easy.

Benejeseret
2010-05-06, 03:42 PM
there are always the Vitality/Wound mechanics from UA. Makes crits far deadlier.

I am considering a variant of that variant, where the healing of Wound damage is VERY slow. Of course, in my plan I am also pretty much abolishing Divine casting all together and making Cure X spells miracle-style rewards or legendary artifacts.

My hope is that it A ) makes it all more deadly/risky and encourages planning, but B ) also makes taking out a dungeon a siege rather then just a day trip, which C ) helps stretch time to bring meaning back to Craft/Profession skills and D ) further encourages planning because now you have to survive for days at a time in a hostile dungeon (so cover/barricades/doors get their due)

And finally, it will be a E6 game which on its own lends itself to encourage more planning and preparation to take on high threats

AvatarZero
2010-05-06, 03:51 PM
Under the current rules, is it possible for a 3rd level fighter to kill a level-appropriate monster in one hit? No, it's not, because the level-appropriate monster has probably 20+ hit points. But, is it possible for a 3rd level caster to disable same level-appropriate monster in one spell? Yes, it is. Web, Hold Person, Color Spray, etc. But, give the monster only 10 hit points, and the balance between sword and spell is more or less even.

This is what I was thinking. It would also have an effect on the type of spells casters prepared or learnt. Damage-dealing evocations should be more useful.

As for the PC mortality issue, I do have that houserule up that makes being dropped in combat less likely to permanently end you, so long as you can receive healing quickly. (As a side effect, it also allows for dramatic, impossible or hard to reverse death that often doesn't work in DnD settings with 9th level+ Clerics.)

This is a bit of an aside, but I've always believed that if the rules and the dice make it possible for something to happen in a game, it will happen eventually. When I consider how many HP is enough for a low level character to feel safe, I think of a critical hit from a longbow, fired at range without the PC having succeeded on their spot checks. Assuming the bow is neither composite nor magical, that's still potentially 24 damage out of the blue with the victim's player given no options other than taking the damage and rerolling.

I'm not sure what my point is. Don't mess with Elves, maybe?

ryzouken
2010-05-06, 03:52 PM
Seconding the wound vitality point system. less calculation. Hp is vitality and your con score is your wounds. You die when you run out of wounds and vitality acts like a buffer. Crits ignore vitality.

Rapier fighter with improved crit/keen suddenly becomes an unholy terror on the battlefield, whereas previously it would've been meh.

Eldariel
2010-05-06, 03:54 PM
there are always the Vitality/Wound mechanics from UA. Makes crits far deadlier.

I am considering a variant of that variant, where the healing of Wound damage is VERY slow. Of course, in my plan I am also pretty much abolishing Divine casting all together and making Cure X spells miracle-style rewards or legendary artifacts.

My hope is that it A ) makes it all more deadly/risky and encourages planning, but B ) also makes taking out a dungeon a siege rather then just a day trip, which C ) helps stretch time to bring meaning back to Craft/Profession skills and D ) further encourages planning because now you have to survive for days at a time in a hostile dungeon (so cover/barricades/doors get their due)

And finally, it will be a E6 game which on its own lends itself to encourage more planning and preparation to take on high threats

I'm playing one right now. I'll have to say, with some variations, it's boatloads of fun. Here's how we're using it right now:

Standard WP/VP rules, except:
- +1 WP/level (necessary due to scaling damage meaning every crit drops one to 0 WP otherwise kinda removing the whole point)
- Only base damage on criticals, and one point per bonus die, is applied to WP. Rest goes to VP. This, again, lessens insta-deaths.
- Whenever one takes WP damage, roll d20; 1-2 is a hit in the head (-4 penalties to sensory abilities & Fort-saves to avoid death or stunning), 3-5 is a hit in the right hand (-4 penalties to anything wielded in, or using that hand), 6-8 is a hit in the left hand (same), 9-12 is a hit in the right leg ( movement speed, -4 penalties to any checks using the leg), 13-16 is a hit in the left leg (same), 17-20 is a hit to the torso (no special effects).
- When dealt WP damage in excess to your WP total, the save vs. dying is DC 15+1/damage beyond WP dealt.
- WPs heal at the rate of 1/day (instead of 1/level/day). Care obviously speeds up recovery. Limb damage persists until the amount of WP damage the attack causing the limb damage did is healed.
- VP cause scaling penalties when lost. First point is VP, second is 1/4th VP and last is 0 VP. -1 to all d20 rolls for each level (-3 at 0 VP).

Greenish
2010-05-06, 03:57 PM
Rapier fighter with improved crit/keen suddenly becomes an unholy terror on the battlefield, whereas previously it would've been meh.Tiger Claw warblade with dual keen kukris.

AvatarZero
2010-05-06, 04:39 PM
Seconding the wound vitality point system. less calculation. Hp is vitality and your con score is your wounds. You die when you run out of wounds and vitality acts like a buffer. Crits ignore vitality.

Rapier fighter with improved crit/keen suddenly becomes an unholy terror on the battlefield, whereas previously it would've been meh.

Critical hits only apply on a fraction of successful hits (30%, in the case of a keen rapier). The rest of the time, it's business as normal. Also, that doesn't change the way wizards cast spells. If anything, it makes untargetted evocations less interesting because there's no chance of a critical hit if you never make an attack roll.

Also, wasn't that system designed for Star Wars pre-saga. Did it take into account Sneak Attacks? Are they treated as criticals? What about poison? If vitality hits aren't real hits, do they still transmit poison?

Eldariel
2010-05-06, 04:57 PM
Also, wasn't that system designed for Star Wars pre-saga. Did it take into account Sneak Attacks? Are they treated as criticals?

WP system treats them as normal hits, but critical SAs are pretty nasty.


What about poison? If vitality hits aren't real hits, do they still transmit poison?

They're grazing blows, so yes, contact and injury poison still gets transmitted.

AvatarZero
2010-05-06, 05:23 PM
They're grazing blows, so yes, contact and injury poison still gets transmitted.

OK, so the vitality system is exactly the same as the HP system except where criticals are concerned. I'm not sure why this would make a game at all different, except that there's always a chance of being sponta-killed by a crit.

Eldariel
2010-05-06, 05:47 PM
OK, so the vitality system is exactly the same as the HP system except where criticals are concerned. I'm not sure why this would make a game at all different, except that there's always a chance of being sponta-killed by a crit.

That every single hit is important and every creature capable of attacking you is a real threat. And that you can generate limb damage. And model things that are "undodgable" by simply hitting WP directly. In other words, there's a figure for your body's toughness and another for your ability to turn the hits into grazing blows. When that's impossible, well, the real fragility of your body comes into play.

Benejeseret
2010-05-06, 06:21 PM
I like the +1 wound per level adjustment, I might steal that.

As to the "how it changes the game" it indeed adds an element of inta-killage...but biased heavily toward melee fighters who get multiple attack roll. Plus, the chance of getting crit'ed is (in theory) less for melee (armour) and they have more wounds to soak it up. Each part adds credibility to a melee character (ability to inta-cripple/kill like casters can) and makes magic users that bit more vulnerable.

That being said, I am not a fan of the crit=wound automatically passing all DR for the very reason of wounding-keen-rapier-rogue's-SA and the rule about conversing weapon multipliers into increased threat ranges only makes it worse, in my opinion. (turns rare over the top overkill autokills into common autokills)

I am in favor of leaving leaving Crit rules the same, but a further 10% of Crit damage is applied to wounds.

This still makes crits more deadly then usual (auto fatigues) but not generally a insta-kill unless it would have been anyway.


Also, I made regaining wounds even slower (like, 1 every 2 weeks of rest) but give my players buyoff options if they need to push through a tough few days.

ie. Badly Scarred = 2-3 wounds recovered by accepting -1 to all ability/skill
checks to a stat (like charisma checks)
Bad Break = 4-5 wounds recovered by accepting a 'limp' of -5
movement.
Afflicted = 6-8 wounds recovered by accepting a -2 on a stat
Crippled = 6-8 wounds recovered but lose use of an arm

Or lots of other options and depending on the RP of the situation wounding them helping mold what type of scarring/ability drain they suffer.

Cure X Wounds are rewritten to either directly repair wound damage or recovers the scarred/broken/afflicted status

Vigor spells work only on Vitality.

JustinA
2010-07-03, 11:59 AM
I'm considering running a game of DnD. I like games where you can drop enemies in a single hit, or vice versa, so stealth and planning become very important.

What would happen if everything, PC or NPC, had it's HP total halved? Assume I'm using this set of houserules from The Alexandrian.

Recommendation: If your specific goal is to encourage stealth (as opposed to simply increasing lethality), consider using a variant massive damage threshold (MDT).

CoC D20 reduced that threshold to 10. Another decent variant is setting a character's MDT to their Constitution + HD. This, by itself, would probably be undesirable in D&D due to the high lethality it would produce.

But since you're interested in stealth, consider this: Create a "surprise damage threshold". I'd recommend ditching the "single blow" requirement, and instead go with a rule like this: If a flat-footed character suffers more damage than their surprise damage threshold during the surprise round, they are knocked unconscious.

(Or you could just kill them outright if you'd prefer.)

This rule allows the PCs to dogpile a single sentry to help guarantee that their stealthy behavior pays off. By requiring the surprise round you are eliminating random knock-outs at the beginning of every combat.

You'll probably want to tweak the numbers to figure out what's appropriate for the SDT, but Con + HD probably isn't a bad place to start. You could also add a Fort save like the usual MDT rules require.

These rules have the advantage of encouraging stealth, but if the stealthy approach fails it has little or no impact on the balance of straight-up combat encounters.