View Full Version : The Injury Alternative

2009-08-10, 11:23 PM
This one (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/injury.htm), from the SRD. Has anyone actually tried it in play and have positive or negative thoughts on it? I've never cared for the hit point concept, and it was actually quite nice to see a readily usable alternative in the SRD, but how does it play out in practice?

(I've been working on a perl script to determine the average range of values that different fortitude levels translate to. I.e., assuming "hits" of 5 points or less (+1 to the injury roll), what's the median and standard deviation for the number of hits a character takes at each fortitude level before becoming disabled/dying. Assuming people are interested, I'll try to finish it up and post the results.)

2009-08-10, 11:42 PM
It's really terrible. A lot of level 5+ creatures have fortitude saves so high it's literally impossible to damage them. Unless you have a strength 20+ guy who full power attacks everything with a two-handed weapon, you're not likely going to land a hit even with magic.

Wings of Peace
2009-08-11, 04:58 AM
Given the age of the variant as well it is poorly equipped to handle alot of new abilities such as the PHB2 feat that makes 1's on fortitude saves not count as auto fails. For whatever that may count here.

2009-08-11, 06:09 AM
It's very similar to Toughness saves in True20/Mutants and Masterminds. The variant just tries to turn hit points into a damage modifier. M&M does it waaaay better, though (especially thanks to power level caps on saves).

I personally love the M&M system, but I think D&D would require a bit of tweaking to make this work.

2009-08-11, 06:42 AM
Just as an aside, True20 is basically MnM re-jigged into a generic roleplaying system, Toughness saves and all.

2009-08-11, 07:26 AM
I GUESS the system has been made to fit in a low-magic, or better no-magic campaign of low level.)

Imho, in a gritty rogue&fighters (and swashbucklers? barbarians? classes like these) campaign, capping at low levels, you could obtain a REALLY different game.

Blacky the Blackball
2009-08-11, 07:45 AM
If you check the OGL stuff in the Unearthed Arcana, you'll find that it isn't just similar to the MnM system, it's actually credited as being directly from there.

It works fine in MnM, and even in True20 - not only because they both have much more tightly capped damage totals than D&D but also because they have a way to re-roll or otherwise mitigate bad luck on damage saves (Hero Points and Confidence respectively).

In D&D however, there's just too much variation in damage and it turns every hit into a save-or-die situation.

2009-08-18, 02:18 PM
FWIW, I've completed my perl script, and here's some additional observations. This is largely done for my own benefit as a thought process on where the weaknesses are and how best to fix them. (One may argue this is more a homebrew discussion, but the thread started here, and sometimes the distinction between the two fora is a little too fine.)

1. Using hit points, if you double the damage, you disable an opponent in half the number of attacks (obviously!); using the injury alternative, however, you decrease the required number of attacks by only about 20%: PCs (and opponents) live longer, and the effects of heightened damage are muted. Personally, I don't have a problem with that, as long as it stays within reason. (It seems that muting high-damage attacks would mildly nerf spellcasters more than fighter-types, which helps pull the classes back toward balance.)

2. One flaw no one mentioned with the injury alternative (perhaps because focusing on bigger flaws) is how it flattens out the distinctions between characters. Using HP, you've got 12 gradations: depending upon whether characters earn HP with d4, d6, d8, d10 or d12; using injury, you've got only 2: whether characters have a strong or a weak fort save. (In both situations, I'm ignoring the impact of multi-classing, but even adding multi-classing, we basically move from "very-tough, tough, average, weak, very-weak" to just "tough and weak," which is far less interesting. :smallannoyed:
If I were to revise the injury alternative, I think it would be based on a character's (or creature's) hit dice, basically giving a value for each type of HD and then summing the total for the mod.

3. I ran most simulations assuming a wound of 5 or less, which would increase the DC +1. (I did some simulations using a DC+2, as implied in point 1, above, just to verify the response.) Assuming that these wounds averaged 3.5, the injury results translate to approximately the following for each fort. save:
fort save / appx. HP equivalent
0 / 10
1 / 12
2 / 13
3 / 16
4 / 19
5 / 25
6 / 32
7 / 41
(when I learn the forum coding for tables, I'll do tables)
A 7 fort. save would correspond to a single-class fighter/cleric/barb type at sixth level with a +2 con mod. The same character, with HD, would have an average of 43 (d8), 50 (d10), or 57 (d12) HP. Thus, on average, all of them would be worse-off under the injury system against low levels of damage. I didn't test it out to verify the specifics, but under point 1, above, at some point they should be better off against higher levels of damage than HP characters.

4. Because I love bell curves, I also ran simulations using 3d6 instead of d20. Not surprisingly, using 3d6 helps the character making the roll. At the very lowest levels, using 3d6 is like having a +2 mod on the d20 roll. That briefly drops to about a +1 mod. Beyond a 7 fort save, 3d6 get better and better than a "mere" +2 mod. Using a 3d6 model for the above example, a 7 fort. save would translate to approximately 61 HP, better, even, than the average barbarian.

5. From the above posts, I think the strongest criticism is that, above a certain level creatures (or characters) can become invulnerable to low-level attacks: anything with a 19+ fort. save is immune to attacks doing less than 6 points of damage, and that de facto DR increases by 5 for each additional +1. (The effect comes much sooner and much more extreme using 3d6.) Even in a low-level campaign such as I am contemplating (E6), this problem needs fixing. With excessive class changing, an E6 character could have base fort save of 12, not counting mods from con. or feats. Using d20, that would be equivalent to about 112 HP, "impressive" :smalleek: for a sixth level character. One obvious solution is to impose a higher degree of auto-fails. For example, saying that any roll of 4 or less (d20) constituted a "hit," regardless of fort save level. This would have no effect at all on low-level characters/creatures (for whom such a number would be a failure, anyway) but it would give a realistic means of wearing away tougher opponents.

What think ye, GitP'ers? Or is the very concept so broken as not to be worth addressing?

(Why do I care? I've just never been a fan of HP, with its implicit possibility for death by a thousand paper cuts; I like the idea of a system that allows for more luck, whether that is the good luck of a character who takes repeated wallopings and somehow stays on his feet or the bad luck of a character downed by a lucky shot. With that, I also want simplicity: no injury tracks, etc., to keep track of.)