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Monday, June 27, 2011

DnD Hit Points as Consciousness-

In my youff I mocked the D&D 'HP as wounds' camp, because it was obvious that it wasn't the case, as Jason Vey's post today [LINK] illustrates.

We used to jokingly refer to them as the Consciousness Field that surrounded a PC, where, once depleted exactly, the figure would promptly fall asleep until the re-charge rate provided them with 01 HP and they could set off under a normal strain of adventuring.
--Everyone knew that one only had 10 real Hit Points (-10), the ones where you were bleeding, your eye was on the floor, and you were dragging your entrails about, calling, 'Cleric! We need a Cleric here!!!'. 2nd Edition AD&D only made things weirder with Endurance rolls and so forth.

As Gamma World had always really been more my cup o' tea, I'd seen the advantage of the high, but relatively unchanging total that system generated for PCs. In short (Con # d6), with an average of 36.75. It allowed for deadly tech and mutational attacks, while retaining the 'heroic' aspects of melee combat from its sibling, D&D. A mix of Blood and Bone plus Luck and Skill.
--In game designs after my reading GW, I almost always used a higher total, and usually around 35 points on average. This has persisted, with most average Humans in UWoM possessing around that total (while the considerably larger, more massive, and tougher Vrun have more on the order of 40-60).

But, let's bring this back to the D&Ds.

If we work from the point of a Consciousness Field, more experienced, larger (and presumably older, or arcane) creatures have a greater field strength and -- continuing this hypothesis -- greater awareness of their immediate environment, even if only semi-conscious.
--The AD&D Fighter then(again) becomes the undisputed master of the battlefield, aware of the number of foes entering his/her C-Field as well as their general position. Conversely, the acute senses of the Magic-User have been honed in on the extra-planar energies of their spells, and this has retarded their C-Field on the Prime Material. Without sufficient forewarning, the M-U is frequently caught defenceless.

Predicated upon that last bit, I have advocated the D&D Thief/Rogue/Assassin HD to be upgraded to at least 1d6, if not 1d8 -- for what is a Ranger but a confident Thief with a bow in the woods? :D

More on this...


  1. There's quite a lot of very interesting and perceptive points you addressed in this post. Amongst the things That caused me to sit up and take note are the following:

    1.the totality of one's hit points as a "c-field". Other's perceptions may vary but yes, this is valid as far as I'm concerned.

    2. Hit points ala-GW (and by extension, to my case, Mutant Future). "a mix of Blood and Bone plus Luck and Skill." You put it very well in these terms. :)

    3. Rangers...yes they are confident thieves with bows in the woods.

  2. spielmeister: thanks. I'm glad the ramble is working for you, and more so if it somehow aids your rockin' sounding MF game. :D

    I'm hoping my next instalment is at least as lucid. :D