... now with 35% more arrogance!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Famous Sayings About Hit Points, Part II

"If hit points are luck, they shouldn't take so long to heal."

...Because all scientific experiments have shown that we recover luck faster?

Luck is a concept almost everyone believes in, even the ones who claim they don't. But it's not a measurable thing. We have no data on it, so we can model it however we please.

In OD&D, you regain hit points at a rate of 1 every other day, a little faster in AD&D. That's because Gygax and Arneson didn't want to model ordinary shmoes miraculously surviving death several times a day, every day, for weeks and months on end without break. They wanted hit points to feel like a precious resource, even when you've amassed a lot of them. If you want to model something different, change the rate of recovery, already, but stop complaining about the default being "wrong".

And if you think a slow recovery rate must mean hit points must be purely physical damage: Why aren't you incapacitated when you lose half your hit points? You can keep barreling along with 1 HP left, if you feel like it. You just won't regain hit points until you rest... And you can interrupt your rest any time you want.


  1. I thought the faster rates of 3E made sense given their interpretation of hit points, but that interpretation leads all sorts of inconsistencies (which caused me quite the headache before deciding to adopt the pre-Greyhawk system)

    What I could never stand was being in a group where hit points were never a long-term concern. We'd just be at full HP next session no matter what. Boring!

    Personally, I prefer hit points to be almost purely physical in nature, and the original hit die progressions model that much better. Luck's already handled by the dice

    1. I'm staring intently at your comment, trying to figure out why Blogger thought it was spam. I guess the YouTube link?

    2. Either that or the words "3E made sense" ;p

  2. I envision hit points as physical, damage, but not always actual wounds. Muscular fatigue, sore legs from leaping aout of the beast's grasp, sore shoulder fron blocking blows with the shield arm, etc.

    Luck can help, though. That's why the damage is randomly determined and not a constant . But when you are exhausted, with a sprained knee, and sweat dripping in your eyes, you're probably going soon to run out of luck, too.