Reply To: Some Ideas from the baltic

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Hans Hellinger

The issue with hitpoints is
A) no feedback to the player, a succeeded or failed constitution check tells a story about what happened “the bear takes 10 damage” does not tell a compelling story of what happened. One player just did something but in effect nothing happened, the player then feels powerless.
B) All or nothing, there are only two possible outcomes… nothing, or completely over.
C) increased system load. You already have dice pools that are cool and adding and managing this resource is core game and the funnest bit of it. Hitpoints take you away from the fun bits of the game that use easy amounts that can be held in the head (1-5) and add a resource that is trickier to handle and requires pen and paper book-keeping (1-50)

We both know toughness and ability to take damage vary between players, people and luck. People can take insane damage and keep going or drop from nothing. I agree hitpoints can do that, but they can become very math based. I’m always pro simple and close to reality and to me that’s how it works usually – someone gets hurt – they are either tough enough to keep going or it effects them, the tougher they are the less it effects them.

Hit Points are one of those big dividing lines between DnD people and non DnD people. I am personally not ‘brand loyal’, in that I see the problem with Hit Points, but I don’t think it’s actually a mechanics problem, it’s just ‘power creep’ and ‘fan service’, i.e. when they give out too many of them.

What you are describing above will just introduce a lot more die rolls to a combat (for each PC or NPC involved in fighting) and while yeah, I can see that ‘You did 8 HP damage’ isn’t as exciting as ‘Oh! you caused a wound. Let me see how bad, Oh! I rolled a bad injury, he’s insta-dead, or bleeeding out, or etc.

When you are managing a battle with 8-10 combatants tracking all those rates of bleeding is going to become a chore, and the extra 10-15 die rolls every round are going to start to get a little repetitive. One thing I really wanted to do with Codex is make the combat fairly quick and not have to roll the dice too many times.

Yes, Hit Points follow a different mechanic than the Martial Pool, but so what? I don’t think you can do the whole game with a single mechanic. What can I say, I prefer Bridge to Blackjack. As long as you don’t have tons of healing potions and healing spells and power-ups and all that crap to keep track of, and as long as all the guys only have 30 Hit Points anyway, I don’t think it’s a lot of math or book keeping. You do need a piece of scrap paper during combat, to record everyones initiative ordeer and your NPCs (remainig) Hit Points, but I don’t think that is a huge burden.

Not quite, you get free dice pools to use in the check equal to your skills in that level. Take “rucking”, if the character has 1 level in rucking they get a free dice to use to roll the check every time they make the check, if they hike hard in the morning and again in the afternoon they get a free dice every time. For the soft courtier with no rucking skill just doing it will cost two daily dice and make the player then search for a good place to rest where they can get their dice back. Characters with “fight” 3 would get 3 MP dice per round and could then use their daily dice for MP as well or for soaking damage. The group liked the feel of combat having resource management, but missed having it in non combat.

Well, Ok but that idea of using skills you don’t have only works to a point. Effectively I guess it would really be an ability score check in that case. But for more trained skills, the DC should be set pretty high for untrained professional skills. Somebody who has never used a cannon and has no skill with gunpowder really shouldn’t try to load the cannon, for example. I’d say same for someone who has never sailed a boat.

I like making everything as interesting of a mechanic (and as much of a game within the game) as is reasonable, but my goal in running a campaign, which is reflected in the campaign material we are putting out so far (Players Guide and Monsterberg) the goal is actually what some people call ‘Immersionist’, not ‘Gameist’ or ‘Simulationist’ or ‘Narrativist’ per GNS theory, which I loathe by the way.

It does take a little getting used to the combat system, but once you get it, it flows naturally. I think the rest of the system is easy to follow. And the goal is to allow you to feel like you are part of the world created by your GM, so that you can immerse yourself in it, feel the fear, the tension, the excitement and the elation when you pull something off. Because it’s not meant to be too easy, or too cute. It’s just meant to feel real and plausible enough that you don’t have to try too extra hard to just become part of it. If that makes any sense. So for this reason, pure elegance (or consistency) of mechanics takes a back seat to ease / simplicity of play and an overall sense of plausibility.

And I really have no problem with Hit Points at all. 😛