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Rockoe10
2015-08-18, 09:17 PM
So I've been dabbling in designing my own RPG based on several existing ones. I've played allot of D&D, but recently have become tired of the long battles when using miniatures (House rules on top of house rules can't fix the problems at the game mechanics core).

So, to my question:
How many Hitpoints should a PC/NPC have per level. Or better yet, how many blows should a PC be able to take before going down?

Personally, I've been aiming for around four. I feel that in a more realistic setting, one or two blows will bring a person down. Couple that with the fantasy heroism and 2-4 times the required blows seems good.

How do you all feel about this? What seems like a comfortable number of blows a character can take?

I understand this is subjective, I'm just trying to get a feel for the norm.

JNAProductions
2015-08-18, 09:30 PM
Early on? Three. That way strong hits can be two-shot kills instead of one-shot but still have an impact.

Later on? If you want to keep it short, say five. That way strong hits are now three-shot kills. Makes late-game separate from early game, but doesn't drag.

As a side note, have you played 5E? Combat is pretty quick there.

Rockoe10
2015-08-18, 09:38 PM
Early on? Three. That way strong hits can be two-shot kills instead of one-shot but still have an impact.

Later on? If you want to keep it short, say five. That way strong hits are now three-shot kills. Makes late-game separate from early game, but doesn't drag.

As a side note, have you played 5E? Combat is pretty quick there.

I have not. I would love to, but as I'm sure you are well aware of, wizards of the coast doesn't make collecting the books very cheap. I've spent so much on previous editions, I can't bring myself to do it again. Plus, I always wanted to try my hand at crafting my own.

I still would like to play a session of 5E.

Eisenheim
2015-08-18, 09:40 PM
Well, let's look at fate, a narratively focused rpg with pacing based durability mechanics. A fate character can absorb a maximum of 4 physical and four mental hits with no lasting consequence, but some of those have to be very minor. They can also absorb up to three hits of either type in a way that leaves them with a lasting injury/consequence, the duration of which will vary based on severity. All of this damage mitigation, though is for hits of only so much power, and not every character will be this durable.

Based on that I would say let it vary somewhere between four and six, but don't have it all be consequence free, and leave the potential for bigger hits that take you right out with only one or two.

Steampunkette
2015-08-18, 09:50 PM
Damage magnitudes! I love these.

I find the most valuable damage magnitude setup to be 12 magnitudes. That way, damage can be divided in a wide range of potential magnitudes for a nice spread without being too wide to calculate an average count.

Attacks can be 1, 2, 3, o4 4 magnitudes, allowing for different attack combinations. 3 1s, 2 3s, and a 4 = dead at 13, for example. 3 big hits or death from a dozen cuts.

How much you make those mags, in turn, determines the hit point value of the characters. You want 100hp? 8.3 hp to a mag!

And, of course, you can make enemies with different hit mags. Need a commoner who gets knifed? 2 mags of HP. Dragon? 30 mags.

You would be surprised by how many MMOs use this system for balance and desgin.

Rockoe10
2015-08-18, 10:10 PM
Damage magnitudes! I love these.

I find the most valuable damage magnitude setup to be 12 magnitudes. That way, damage can be divided in a wide range of potential magnitudes for a nice spread without being too wide to calculate an average count.

Attacks can be 1, 2, 3, o4 4 magnitudes, allowing for different attack combinations. 3 1s, 2 3s, and a 4 = dead at 13, for example. 3 big hits or death from a dozen cuts.

How much you make those mags, in turn, determines the hit point value of the characters. You want 100hp? 8.3 hp to a mag!

And, of course, you can make enemies with different hit mags. Need a commoner who gets knifed? 2 mags of HP. Dragon? 30 mags.

You would be surprised by how many MMOs use this system for balance and desgin.

Awesome! I like this. Just to clarify some things. How does the 2 and 30 mags of HP calculate with the 12? Are we talking 24 and 360? Or just 2 and 30hp?

P.S.
I can use this to better fit my average of four hits brings down a capable hero. Thank you

As an added talking point, how successful should an attack be on average? How unsuccessful can an attack be before it becomes unfun? Even a child has a chance to deal damage.

HolyCouncilMagi
2015-08-18, 10:36 PM
I like how Ars Magica does it. (Ah, heck; I like how Ars Magica does everything.) Rather than having HP, you simply have to take enough damage from one attack in order to die... But how high your defense roll is compared to the attack roll affects how big each wound you take is, and bigger wounds mean bigger penalties, so a fight might involve taking a couple of light wounds, then you're weaker and can't defend yourself as well so you take a medium wound, and then the penalties of the medium and multiple light wounds stack so you're even weaker... And you still have a chance to roll a lot better than your enemy on an attack or defense roll to turn the tables, but for the most part if somebody doesn't come save you, you'll probably take a heavy wound next, and then you'll be so drowned in penalties that you'll either take yet another heavy wound (and thus get increasingly more likely to go down) or just get downed. Of course, vastly superior enemies can just start the fight with a downing hit because their attack rolls are so much higher than your defense rolls, but the system's nuance really shines through when two largely equal fighters clash. It also gives luck a little more power in fights between enemies with a small gap in skill... In D&D and the like, a lucky high-damage hit from the somewhat smaller guy just lowers the enemy's HP and then probability takes back over and the bigger guy wins, while the smaller guy getting a lucky first hit in Ars Magica could even out an otherwise seriously disadvantageous fight by giving the bigger guy a small penalty, making both combatants roughly equal from that point forward.

So yeah, there's always that... While it might not reduce the length of battles depending on luck and enemy abilities, it helps remove the feeling of battles not having a progression and just being simple grind-fests, since every hit both to and from the enemy has a noticeable impact on how the rest of the battle will progress, even discounting the supernatural abilities you or the bad guy may have available (which, in my personal opinion, are much more interesting and individually-unique than things in D&D and similar games, but that's personal preference and not really on-topic).

LudicSavant
2015-08-19, 12:39 AM
So I've been dabbling in designing my own RPG based on several existing ones. I've played allot of D&D, but recently have become tired of the long battles when using miniatures (House rules on top of house rules can't fix the problems at the game mechanics core).

So, to my question:
How many Hitpoints should a PC/NPC have per level. Or better yet, how many blows should a PC be able to take before going down?

Personally, I've been aiming for around four. I feel that in a more realistic setting, one or two blows will bring a person down. Couple that with the fantasy heroism and 2-4 times the required blows seems good.

How do you all feel about this? What seems like a comfortable number of blows a character can take?

I understand this is subjective, I'm just trying to get a feel for the norm.
I feel like you may be asking the wrong question. It's not just the number of blows that matters, and indeed that should probably vary pretty significantly based on a number of factors. After all, you probably don't want all blows to be dealing the same damage.

Even being killed in one blow can be very satisfying as a loss condition if it feels like you had to commit numerous tactical failures in order to allow that attack to be pulled off in the first place (e.g. if the attack has sufficient counterplay).

What you really need to consider is how long you want combats to take to resolve, what kind of player mortality rate you are comfortable with, how to create dynamics that make failures and successes feel tactically satisfying, and how to make your mechanics emphasize the game's themes, flavor and general intended "feel."

Rockoe10
2015-08-19, 09:41 AM
I like how Ars Magica does it. (Ah, heck; I like how Ars Magica does everything.) Rather than having HP, you simply have to take enough damage from one attack in order to die... But how high your defense roll is compared to the attack roll affects how big each wound you take is, and bigger wounds mean bigger penalties, so a fight might involve taking a couple of light wounds, then you're weaker and can't defend yourself as well so you take a medium wound, and then the penalties of the medium and multiple light wounds stack so you're even weaker... And you still have a chance to roll a lot better than your enemy on an attack or defense roll to turn the tables, but for the most part if somebody doesn't come save you, you'll probably take a heavy wound next, and then you'll be so drowned in penalties that you'll either take yet another heavy wound (and thus get increasingly more likely to go down) or just get downed. Of course, vastly superior enemies can just start the fight with a downing hit because their attack rolls are so much higher than your defense rolls, but the system's nuance really shines through when two largely equal fighters clash. It also gives luck a little more power in fights between enemies with a small gap in skill... In D&D and the like, a lucky high-damage hit from the somewhat smaller guy just lowers the enemy's HP and then probability takes back over and the bigger guy wins, while the smaller guy getting a lucky first hit in Ars Magica could even out an otherwise seriously disadvantageous fight by giving the bigger guy a small penalty, making both combatants roughly equal from that point forward.

So yeah, there's always that... While it might not reduce the length of battles depending on luck and enemy abilities, it helps remove the feeling of battles not having a progression and just being simple grind-fests, since every hit both to and from the enemy has a noticeable impact on how the rest of the battle will progress, even discounting the supernatural abilities you or the bad guy may have available (which, in my personal opinion, are much more interesting and individually-unique than things in D&D and similar games, but that's personal preference and not really on-topic).

Ars Magica, interesting. I went and got the PDF. I'm reading up on it, but it is definitely out of my realm of familiarity (I'm interested, but having trouble grasping the mechanics).

5e goes into light detail about simple Rolls and d10's but I'm not sure how this translates into a player being injured or dieing. I'm going to need allot more reading time.... Life.

Jormengand
2015-08-19, 11:33 AM
Well you could look at something like Alea Iacta Est (http://www.topsecretgames.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Alea-Iacta-Est.pdf)'s hit point system. You start with 50, usually, and then:

Hit points | Effect
41+ | You are Uninjured. You do not feel the effects of what little, if any damage you have taken.
31-40 | You are Barely Injured. You take a -1 penalty on all rolls.
21-30 | You are Injured. You take a -2 penalty on all rolls.
11-20 | You are Badly Wounded. You take a -3 penalty on all rolls.
1-10 | You are Unconscious. You cannot act, including defending yourself, until you are healed.
0 | You are Dead. Resurrecting characters may be an option at the GMs discretion, but otherwise you will have to create a new character.

Because attacks usually only deal about 10 damage tops, someone has enough hit points to survive 6 attacks, but if they start taking massive defensive penalties, it becomes a lot easier to kill them. Try something like that, where it stops being only the last hit point that matters.

TheCountAlucard
2015-08-19, 03:26 PM
I think before the question of "how many" comes up, a game designer should at least have a consistent answer in his head about what a hit point is.

Thinker
2015-08-19, 04:34 PM
I always favored the Mutants and Masterminds roll to save versus damage system. It's been a while since I played, but if I recall correctly, toughness saves acted similar to fortitude, reflex, and will saves in DnD: you roll d20 and try to roll more than the attack's DC. Failing by 5 or more meant that you were wounded and all subsequent toughness saves took a stacking penalty of -1. Failing by 10 or more meant you were unconscious (my numbers may be off).

As for NPC's, you can take a look at 7th Sea. They handled NPC fights in an interesting way. Low level mooks would be grouped together so that they take their turn together, gain bonuses for the number of mooks in the group, and when they take damage, you directly kill off a number of mooks. For example, if there were 10 bikers fighting the hero and the hero successfully lands a hit, only 9 bikers would remain. As a group, the bikers would then be weaker.

Morty
2015-08-19, 05:20 PM
I think before the question of "how many" comes up, a game designer should at least have a consistent answer in his head about what a hit point is.

Yeah, what he said. This thread lacks a lot of crucial context... or rather, all of it.

noob
2015-08-19, 05:35 PM
"but recently have become tired of the long battles when using miniatures (House rules on top of house rules can't fix the problems at the game mechanics core)."
curiously in our dnd all the fights lasts at most four rounds when we encounter classed npc and can last a lot longer against huge monsters but usually we manage to turn them into "automatic win through flight or some tactics"(making the gm says the team wins and count the average number of spells needed instead of simulating the fight) but we have a team of 2 wizards one priest and one barbarian(which explains why we crush at crazy speed our opponents) and the gm never puts more than 12 opponents.

Berenger
2015-08-19, 05:55 PM
Do you know about Wound Points / Vitality Points mechanic?

Steampunkette
2015-08-19, 09:31 PM
Awesome! I like this. Just to clarify some things. How does the 2 and 30 mags of HP calculate with the 12? Are we talking 24 and 360? Or just 2 and 30hp?

P.S.
I can use this to better fit my average of four hits brings down a capable hero. Thank you

As an added talking point, how successful should an attack be on average? How unsuccessful can an attack be before it becomes unfun? Even a child has a chance to deal damage.

Okay. So. Let's say, for sake of argument, 1d6 represents 1 magnitude of health. The average damage of 1d6 is 3.5. Therefore, each magnitude of health is 3.5 hit points.

A player with 12 mags of hp has 3.5 times 12 hit points, 42. Meanwhile the 2 mag commoner has 2 time 3.5, or 7 hp. And the 30 mag dragon has 105hp. If someone has a +3 damage bonus on their 1d6 attack they'll deal jist about 2 mags of damage on most attacks. Where 1d8 with no bonus is about 1.4 mags of damage.

Or you can set weapon damage mods to multiples of 3, with a mag 3 greataxe dealing 9 points of damage.

However, you can make the 3 into any number, and so long as the magnitudes remain constant to each other, the result will be the same. In my initial example I used 8.3 so pcs would have 100hp. Well... close enough!

Razanir
2015-08-19, 09:31 PM
I think before the question of "how many" comes up, a game designer should at least have a consistent answer in his head about what a hit point is.

I rather like Paizo's Wounds and Vigor variant.

* Wounds = 2*Con (score, not bonus)
* Unconscious at Con left.
* Vigor = HD, but without the Con bonus.
* Everything goes to Vigor first.
* Non-lethal deals full damage to vigor, or 1 damage to wounds.
* Critical also deals the multiplier to wounds.
* Healing effects are one or the other, but not both. (Spells heal 1 wound per die)
* Vigor heals overnight; wounds heal at the normal (slow) rate.
* At least as I'll play it, constructs and mindless undead don't get wounds and die at 0 VP. Sentient undead use Cha for wounds.

Rockoe10
2015-08-20, 10:47 AM
Thank you very much everyone for responding. I think I have a good idea of what I'm looking for now.

Much thanks!

Raphite1
2015-08-21, 03:27 PM
I second the person who recommended checking out 5th Edition. Combat flows quickly and smoothly, and a character can typically survive only a couple hits from a monster with a CR similar to their level.

Knaight
2015-08-23, 02:12 AM
So I've been dabbling in designing my own RPG based on several existing ones. I've played allot of D&D, but recently have become tired of the long battles when using miniatures (House rules on top of house rules can't fix the problems at the game mechanics core).

So, to my question:
How many Hitpoints should a PC/NPC have per level. Or better yet, how many blows should a PC be able to take before going down?

Based on the OP it looks like you're designing your own RPG, have familiarity specifically with D&D, and are taking the use of hit points and levels for granted. If that's true the first order of business is to get your hands on a wide variety of RPGs, and familiarize yourself with them*. Plenty are free or at least partially free, so this should be easy.

With that said, the big thing here is what your goals are and what genres you want to favor. In an outright superhero game, a superhero could easily take a whole bunch of meaningful strikes and be fine, as that's genre convention. If you're making a Kurosawa style game about samurai, the answer is probably one. If you're going for a game which heavily emphasizes the epic heroes and everybody else, then maybe the epic heroes** should be able to end each other in 2-4 blows, while everyone else can chip away at them at best, taking dozens if not hundreds of successful blows to bring them down, while said epic heroes are cutting through swaths of them with one strike.

Pick what your game is about, then design around that. Maybe it won't even need a dedicated wounding system, maybe it will need one but hit points aren't the right option, maybe it needs HP but could have them handled in one of many ways. Winnow down the design a bit, and we'll be able to help a great deal more.

*I can pull some examples for this, but this is the sort of thing it helps to crowd source.
**In the old Greek sense, not the "good person" sense.

Anonymouswizard
2015-08-23, 06:21 AM
So I've been dabbling in designing my own RPG based on several existing ones. I've played allot of D&D, but recently have become tired of the long battles when using miniatures (House rules on top of house rules can't fix the problems at the game mechanics core).

Any other games that you're familiar with? I design games and the horribly small number I have experience with is:
-D&D 3.5
-BD&D
-Savage World's
-Dark Heresy
-Mutants and Masterminds
-Unknown Armies
-Shadowrun 5e
-Daemonhunter (friend's homebrew system)


I think before the question of "how many" comes up, a game designer should at least have a consistent answer in his head about what a hit point is.

Yeah, this. For example, my current project uses stun and wound tracks meant to absorb 1-10 hits in a dice pool system. But it's meant to be both heroic and dangerous.