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  1. - Top - End - #121
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Hit Points - Why were they designed to be incoherent?

    Hit points measure the body's ability to withstand physical trauma/damage.

    If they were intended to reflect ANYTHING else, then the rules were horribly written.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: Hit Points - Why were they designed to be incoherent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Electric knight View Post
    To make myself clear, then:

    Arg. 1: HP are fairly coherent at 1st level but the notion of HP increasing with experience is absurd, especially because . . .

    Arg. 3: HP obviously represent physical health - that's why they diminish with combat and accidents, and why healing restores them.

    Argument 2 and the subject of behaviour influence add nothing meaningful to the discussion.
    While I more or less* agree with these, I'd note that Argument 2 is a lot of fun, even if it isn't particularly relevant.

    *Again, gallons of blood, Dungeons and Dragonballs, so on and so forth. For that, they work beautifully.
    Last edited by Knaight; 2012-04-21 at 06:11 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: Hit Points - Why were they designed to be incoherent?

    Quote Originally Posted by cattoy View Post
    Hit points measure the body's ability to withstand physical trauma/damage.

    If they were intended to reflect ANYTHING else, then the rules were horribly written.
    If you read the first edition notes, HP were indeed meant to represent physical trauma, and the reason players got more HP as they leveled up was not to represent them getting somehow magically tougher, but because they were more skilled at avoiding or minimizing damage, turning lethal wounds into mere strain and glancing blows.

    Of course, this all falls apart when you have people declaring suicidal actions like swimming in lava and not even trying to minimize the damage.

  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: Hit Points - Why were they designed to be incoherent?

    I recently came up with a system of increasing armour class to replace increasing hit points, but it leaves even high level characters very vulnerable to special attacks such as dragon breath, fireball spells and to falling damage. I can't go back to the original hit point rules, though, so I've now come up with a magic item which provides a reserve of 'healing points' and tends to get fuller with experience.
    Last edited by Electric knight; 2012-04-22 at 07:41 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: Hit Points - Why were they designed to be incoherent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    If you read the first edition notes, HP were indeed meant to represent physical trauma, and the reason players got more HP as they leveled up was not to represent them getting somehow magically tougher, but because they were more skilled at avoiding or minimizing damage, turning lethal wounds into mere strain and glancing blows.

    Of course, this all falls apart when you have people declaring suicidal actions like swimming in lava and not even trying to minimize the damage.
    It all falls apart as soon as characters fall in lava, or fall off a cliff, or are exposed to dangerous stuff that can't be mitigated. If one must treat a model delicately less it break, it breaking is due to a flaw in the model and not the ones using it. This is particularly true when similar models are made elsewhere that don't have those flaws, such as the coherent HP system in GURPS.
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  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: Hit Points - Why were they designed to be incoherent?

    I already said the system gets a little wonky if players decide to swim in lava etc.

    However, if you are adept at tumbling and rolling with damage you can minimize the impact of falls, and I would imagine you could minimize contact with lava as you scramble to get away from it.

    If you are in a situation where this is actually no way to avoid or mitigate the damage, well that's why the book has rules for inescapable death.

  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: Hit Points - Why were they designed to be incoherent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I already said the system gets a little wonky if players decide to swim in lava etc.
    It applies just as much when it isn't their decision. If you fall in a lake of lava, there are no ways to mitigate that damage. That doesn't particularly matter with the actual HP rules. Plus, if it is physical damage, and more HP means better ability to turn actual wounds into tiny cuts, why don't healing spells scale by HP?
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  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: Hit Points - Why were they designed to be incoherent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    If you read the first edition notes, HP were indeed meant to represent physical trauma, and the reason players got more HP as they leveled up was not to represent them getting somehow magically tougher, but because they were more skilled at avoiding or minimizing damage, turning lethal wounds into mere strain and glancing blows.
    Well, first edition AD&D actually describes hit point as having a very variable function, certainly magical aspects are considered part and parcel. OD&D on the other hand does not really bother to describe what hit points are, which is not surprising since it had just jumped from hits to hit points (normal men are slain when "hit", but heroes must be "hit" four times)..

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Of course, this all falls apart when you have people declaring suicidal actions like swimming in lava and not even trying to minimize the damage.
    Technically, hit points can be and are bypassed in the face of certain death. Poison, lava, assassination or anything of that ilk is simply death. Hit points only measure damage when damage is meted out in hit points, unfortunately there was a tendency to try and expand this universally to anything that threatened a character [e.g. falling damage].
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  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Default Re: Hit Points - Why were they designed to be incoherent?

    Healing spells are always a bit weird. My personal explanation was that as a character grew stronger they built up an innate resistance to magic. This explained why their saving throws went up as they leveled, and also why healing spells had proportionally reduced effectiveness.

    Inescapable death was a big thing in 1e and 2e, and the DM could apply it whenever they felt like. I believe the examples listed in the book where falling into lava and being crushed under a descending ceiling. Also, coup de grace was simple "target dies", no save or roll or anything.

  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Default Re: Hit Points - Why were they designed to be incoherent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Healing spells are always a bit weird. My personal explanation was that as a character grew stronger they built up an innate resistance to magic. This explained why their saving throws went up as they leveled, and also why healing spells had proportionally reduced effectiveness.
    I'd like that one, but the issue is that healing spells scale the exact same way damage spells do, where the latter should be mitigated both by magic resistance and by better wound mitigation, which could thus reduce damage further. It's all sorts of iffy, which gets back to the whole "incoherent mess" thing.
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