Kiero

2007-08-27, 05:28 AM

What I want to do is create a hit points/damage system that isn't level-linked.

My aims are sixfold:

1) Non-level escalating, hit points increase when the underlying ability scores change, and at no other time.

2) I want fewer dice-rolls, so no rolls for damage. Instead I want them a fixed property which is only increased by criticals.

3) Armour is damage reduction, not hit avoidance. How we make higher-level characters harder to hit is a separate, but linked concern.

4) I want relatively small numbers of hit points, 20-30-something as an average, certainly no one with 50+ without magical enhancement (which also means small damage numbers).

5) I'm not aiming for something "grittier" or "deadlier" here, just simpler.

6) Hit points are physical resilience only, luck, skill and whatever else are factored in elsewhere.

Now I know True20 fits 1) and 3) but I don't like the damage save mechanic. I prefer hit points, but I want smaller numbers of them being tossed around. And a much smaller gap between ordinary person and experienced adventurer. Inspirations include Feng Shui (where everyone bar a few exceptions has the same number of hit points, regardless) and Unisystem (where an average person has 24 Life Points, and an exceptional peak human 58).

The order I want to do this is to first work out a good way of generating hit point totals, then work out how we'd need to tailor damage to fit.

Hit Points

I've got two alternatives here, depending on whether I use the Feng Shui method, or the Unisystem method.

Under the Feng Shui method, everyone has the same number of hitpoints, but your Toughness (in this case Constitution) "soaks" damage and is the distinction between the durable and not-durable. Armour adds to that soak.

So for argument's sake, let's say everyone has 20 hit points, and their Constitution bonus is their soak. Course problem we immediately hit is that those with negative bonuses would actually add to the damage they suffer.

An alternative to that, how about a fraction of their Constitution score as soak? Half seems far too big, so maybe a third? So everyone, regardless of their score still gets at least one point of soak. Would six points for someone with a Con of 18 end up being too big, though? Depends on the numbers for damage, I guess. Could always have "lethal soak" different to "non-lethal" - so it's halved when the weapons in question aren't fists/falls/feet and such.

Question is how you'd work that in True20, which only has the modifiers. Work back and impute a Constitution score, just for the purposes of soak?

Under the Unisystem method, hit points are still fixed, but vary depending on your Strength and Constitution (and are called the same things!). Here I think the simplest method is to add Strength and Constitution. So an average human has 20 hit points. A peak human has 36. There's a neat ring to that.

Alternatively, a fixed number plus your bonuses (which is actually closer to the Unisystem method). In Unisystem it's 10 + (4x(Strength + Constitution)). That particular equation doesn't work very well when you've got negative "bonuses". Adding a number to the bonses is going to end up with ridiculously high numbers at the other end of the scale.

How about something like: 10 + (2x ([Strength bonus+4] + [Constitution bonus +4]))? So your weakest with a -3 bonus would have 14 (10 + (2x2)) hit points, average would have 26 (10 + (2x8)), peak 42 (10 + (2x16)).

For non-humanoids we might need a separate calculation altogether, welcome ideas on that.

Damage

Main thing here is I don't want any randomness, it's all fixed. I also want relatively small numbers flying around, because of course hit points are small too.

Under the Feng Shui method, it's a fixed number to which you add your Strength. A direct port here would be fixed number to which you add your strength bonus, though again we've got the penalty concern.

My immediate thought is simply to take half of the hit die as the fixed part (so d3 and d4 is 2, d6 is 3, d8 is 4, d10 is 5, d12 is 6, d20 is 10 etc). That plus strength bonus doesn't mean big numbers, but I've still got the negative damage issue at the low end. Using the full hit die number does fix that, though. So a weakling (-3) with a longsword (d8 so 8) does 5 points of damage. A mighty type (+4) does 12. That works, for my money, since they can at least do a single point of damage with a dagger.

The Unisystem method is multiplication again. It's much deadlier than D20 or Feng Shui, because it has metamechanics for cutting your wounds down. Here weapons are multipliers of your strength. Problem again is negative damage from those with penalties.

Maybe taking a leaf from above, we're looking at something like weapons doing x1 (d3 and d4) x2 (d6 and d8) x3 (d10 and d12) or x4 (d20) damage. Against 4+ Strength modifier. So a weakling (-3) has a base of 1 point, a mighty one (+4) base of 8. Not sure if that isn't too big a variance.

In both instances, critical numbers are applied after soak, rather than before.

Not sure how to do spell damage. Should mental attacks use a Wisdom-based soak?

Armour

Right, armour is damage reduction, adding soak (under the Feng Shui method) or acting as the only soak (under the Unisystem one).

Under the Feng Shui method, I guess you're looking at light armour is 1 point, medium armour is 2 and heavy 3. Does there need to be more variation in there? Perhaps going as high as 5 points so we can have very heavy armour like plate in there?

Shields lets say act as both hit avoidance and soak as well (but only to the side with the shield). Perhaps smallest shields 1 on both, medium 2 on both and large/tower a soak of 2 but hit avoidance of 3?

Under the Unisystem method we're probably talking bigger numbers for soak. Light is 2-3, medium 4-6, heavy 8-10?

Shields same, double the soak of the Feng Shui method?

How should armour soak magic damage?

Levels on damage and hit avoidance

I wonder if there should be a level adjustment to damage dealt out, and also to your AC? What I don't want is levels adding either to hit points, or to soak. The only things they do here are make you more likely to hit others, and harder for others to hit you.

Using full level in either case is probably too big. A quarter of your level as bonus?

Thoughts on all/any of the above welcome.

My aims are sixfold:

1) Non-level escalating, hit points increase when the underlying ability scores change, and at no other time.

2) I want fewer dice-rolls, so no rolls for damage. Instead I want them a fixed property which is only increased by criticals.

3) Armour is damage reduction, not hit avoidance. How we make higher-level characters harder to hit is a separate, but linked concern.

4) I want relatively small numbers of hit points, 20-30-something as an average, certainly no one with 50+ without magical enhancement (which also means small damage numbers).

5) I'm not aiming for something "grittier" or "deadlier" here, just simpler.

6) Hit points are physical resilience only, luck, skill and whatever else are factored in elsewhere.

Now I know True20 fits 1) and 3) but I don't like the damage save mechanic. I prefer hit points, but I want smaller numbers of them being tossed around. And a much smaller gap between ordinary person and experienced adventurer. Inspirations include Feng Shui (where everyone bar a few exceptions has the same number of hit points, regardless) and Unisystem (where an average person has 24 Life Points, and an exceptional peak human 58).

The order I want to do this is to first work out a good way of generating hit point totals, then work out how we'd need to tailor damage to fit.

Hit Points

I've got two alternatives here, depending on whether I use the Feng Shui method, or the Unisystem method.

Under the Feng Shui method, everyone has the same number of hitpoints, but your Toughness (in this case Constitution) "soaks" damage and is the distinction between the durable and not-durable. Armour adds to that soak.

So for argument's sake, let's say everyone has 20 hit points, and their Constitution bonus is their soak. Course problem we immediately hit is that those with negative bonuses would actually add to the damage they suffer.

An alternative to that, how about a fraction of their Constitution score as soak? Half seems far too big, so maybe a third? So everyone, regardless of their score still gets at least one point of soak. Would six points for someone with a Con of 18 end up being too big, though? Depends on the numbers for damage, I guess. Could always have "lethal soak" different to "non-lethal" - so it's halved when the weapons in question aren't fists/falls/feet and such.

Question is how you'd work that in True20, which only has the modifiers. Work back and impute a Constitution score, just for the purposes of soak?

Under the Unisystem method, hit points are still fixed, but vary depending on your Strength and Constitution (and are called the same things!). Here I think the simplest method is to add Strength and Constitution. So an average human has 20 hit points. A peak human has 36. There's a neat ring to that.

Alternatively, a fixed number plus your bonuses (which is actually closer to the Unisystem method). In Unisystem it's 10 + (4x(Strength + Constitution)). That particular equation doesn't work very well when you've got negative "bonuses". Adding a number to the bonses is going to end up with ridiculously high numbers at the other end of the scale.

How about something like: 10 + (2x ([Strength bonus+4] + [Constitution bonus +4]))? So your weakest with a -3 bonus would have 14 (10 + (2x2)) hit points, average would have 26 (10 + (2x8)), peak 42 (10 + (2x16)).

For non-humanoids we might need a separate calculation altogether, welcome ideas on that.

Damage

Main thing here is I don't want any randomness, it's all fixed. I also want relatively small numbers flying around, because of course hit points are small too.

Under the Feng Shui method, it's a fixed number to which you add your Strength. A direct port here would be fixed number to which you add your strength bonus, though again we've got the penalty concern.

My immediate thought is simply to take half of the hit die as the fixed part (so d3 and d4 is 2, d6 is 3, d8 is 4, d10 is 5, d12 is 6, d20 is 10 etc). That plus strength bonus doesn't mean big numbers, but I've still got the negative damage issue at the low end. Using the full hit die number does fix that, though. So a weakling (-3) with a longsword (d8 so 8) does 5 points of damage. A mighty type (+4) does 12. That works, for my money, since they can at least do a single point of damage with a dagger.

The Unisystem method is multiplication again. It's much deadlier than D20 or Feng Shui, because it has metamechanics for cutting your wounds down. Here weapons are multipliers of your strength. Problem again is negative damage from those with penalties.

Maybe taking a leaf from above, we're looking at something like weapons doing x1 (d3 and d4) x2 (d6 and d8) x3 (d10 and d12) or x4 (d20) damage. Against 4+ Strength modifier. So a weakling (-3) has a base of 1 point, a mighty one (+4) base of 8. Not sure if that isn't too big a variance.

In both instances, critical numbers are applied after soak, rather than before.

Not sure how to do spell damage. Should mental attacks use a Wisdom-based soak?

Armour

Right, armour is damage reduction, adding soak (under the Feng Shui method) or acting as the only soak (under the Unisystem one).

Under the Feng Shui method, I guess you're looking at light armour is 1 point, medium armour is 2 and heavy 3. Does there need to be more variation in there? Perhaps going as high as 5 points so we can have very heavy armour like plate in there?

Shields lets say act as both hit avoidance and soak as well (but only to the side with the shield). Perhaps smallest shields 1 on both, medium 2 on both and large/tower a soak of 2 but hit avoidance of 3?

Under the Unisystem method we're probably talking bigger numbers for soak. Light is 2-3, medium 4-6, heavy 8-10?

Shields same, double the soak of the Feng Shui method?

How should armour soak magic damage?

Levels on damage and hit avoidance

I wonder if there should be a level adjustment to damage dealt out, and also to your AC? What I don't want is levels adding either to hit points, or to soak. The only things they do here are make you more likely to hit others, and harder for others to hit you.

Using full level in either case is probably too big. A quarter of your level as bonus?

Thoughts on all/any of the above welcome.