View Full Version : Hit Points as Luck (3.5 Edition Rules)

2008-03-09, 09:42 AM
I know they're measured as such, but when you consider the number of things that bypass them entirely, it doesn't pan out. The proposed idea will require adjustments to a few feats (a few of the non-core ones will be nerfed into oblivion) and a number of spells if implemented, but it's fairly simple.

Whenever you fail your saving throw against a spell (except for an illusion that allows a save if interacted with), you have the option to take the spell's partial effect (or ignore it's effect if there isn't a partial effect). If you do so, you take 2d6 hp of damage per level of the spell. If affected by a spell that allows no saving throw, you can resist the effect if you take 5d6 hp of damage per level of the spell. Against cantrips and orisons, the damage is 1d6 or 2d6 hp, depending on whether or not the spell allows a saving throw.

If a spell allows a new saving throw each round after failing the first, do not allow a saving throw. Instead, reduce the damage that would be done to negate the spell by 1d6 hp. Thus, hold person cast by a wizard can be ignored entirely when cast by taking 6d6 hp of damage, or shaken off the next round at a cost of 5d6 hp of damage, 4d6 hp in round three, 3d6 in round four, 2d6 in round five, and 1d6 in any round after that. Shaking off a spell in this fashion will never cause less than 1d6 hp of damage.

Supernatural and extraordinary effects can also be ignored in this fashion, but the damage is 1d6 per HD of the creature -- or 2d6 for effects that don't allow for a saving throw. This applies even against manufactured poisons -- most people will prefer to take their Strength damage.

(I'm considering having the hp damage for overriding delayed poison damage.)

This benefit can be taken to ignore a failed saving throw against a coup de grace attempt, though it's seldom worth the effort. It also applies against failed saving throws to avoid death by massive damage, though if the cause of massive damage is environmental, the result is to instead take tripled damage. One can also avoid the effects of drowning or suffocation in this fashion, but at the cost of taking 14d6 hp of damage (per round of ignoring the effect).

(Drowning and suffocation rules would probably require the largest adjustment with this system.)

This is not a finalized system. If you use it, spellcasters with Spell Focus feats would probably appreciate it if you were to double the bonus those feats granted again, as they did in 3.0. One will likely have to tinker with negative level mechanics (as well as benefits that remove said negative levels), but I'm admittedly not a fan of negative levels (and less so of the level draining mechanics that preceded negative levels). It also makes spellcasters their own worse enemies, giving the high hp classes a bit more of an edge.

And perhaps it can't work at all, not even with further fine-tuning. Thoughts?

Azerian Kelimon
2008-03-09, 09:53 AM
So...you're rendering wizards useless against monsters, with no buff in the Rogues or fighters attack power?

Yeah. It'll work. I say, Winged Tarrasque, splattered party 'n TPK.

2008-03-09, 11:12 AM
Hit Poinst are just one way the luck/skill/divine favour of your character is measured; Saving Throws are another. I wouldn't be inclined to make everything work off Hit Points

2008-03-10, 11:42 PM
So...you're rendering wizards useless against monsters, with no buff in the Rogues or fighters attack power?

Eh? I'll need to provide some concrete support for your argument, or it's just a meaningless attack. The comment on buffs doesn't even make any sense as written.

As I noted, a number of spells and feats would have to be adjusted. Sleep, for example, is going to need to be reduced to a standard action if it's only doing 7 hp of damage to a target on a failed save. And it would be best to remove the 4 HD level cap as well -- a system I've never cared much for in any case.

Sure, the damage proposed to avoid the effects of a failed save is too stingy, all things considered. Adding a number of dice equal to the relevant ability score modifier for spells of 1st or higher level solves that easily enough at lower levels. Obviously, save "negates" ought to be replaced with a partial effect.

As I also noted in the original post, it's not a finalized system, and even fine-tuning might not make it work after all. There are a lot of good arguments for why the idea as proposed does not work. Too bad you didn't provide any.

Doesn't seem you considered the effect it had on monsters either.

Yeah. It'll work. I say, Winged Tarrasque, splattered party 'n TPK.Sure, you have to adjust the tarrasque. There's something like a good point in this statement. Sure, one has to adjust the handling for things like tarrasques. Of course, the fact that you added wings to the tarrasque in the first place indicates that you're already doing that anyway. Pretty big double standard, that.

Hit Poinst are just one way the luck/skill/divine favour of your character is measured; Saving Throws are another. I wouldn't be inclined to make everything work off Hit Points

Your point is well made and acknowledged. Nevertheless, I'd still like to see hit points worth more, especially when there are spells that don't allow for a saving throw, which can only be overcome by other spells -- or by items. True, wizards become more of a glass cannon in such a system, but anything that keeps the high level noncaster from being entirely dependent on such resources is a good thing.

Another idea I did have involved being able to modify your saving throw result by 1 point for every 1d6 (or 1d6 + 1d6/spell level -- 1d6 +1d6/2 HD for extraordinary or supernatural effects), with roll of 1 on the save always treated as "failure by 10". Less certain is whether "no save" being treated as "failure by 20" for this purpose. Overriding the save is thus more costly than in the original system, but tends to reduce the number of save or die situations that force high level parties to include spellcasters in their ranks -- the ones that buff the party before a fight to negate the need to make any saving throws whatsoever, and still have magic left over to shut the enemy down.

Said alternative also loans itself well to ability check rules, though you'll the drowning/suffocation rules, though you'll want to reduce the time required before those Constitution checks are required. Not sure it could work at all with skill checks, however. At the very least, it would require a major overhaul of the rules as written for skills, and I doubt most people would find that worth it.