Death & Dying in DCC RPG

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rabindranath72
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by rabindranath72 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:18 am

smathis wrote:
rabindranath72 wrote:There are some very simple rules in the old Judges Guild ref. sheets, which I combined and extrapolated with some AD&D 1e rules for some interesting results. In a nutshell:
- Immediately after each fight, a character can recover 1d4 hit points if he rests for 10 minutes. NO OTHER ACTIONS ALLOWED!
- If a character reaches 0 hit points or lower, roll 2d6. On a roll of 10 or more, the character dies. If the number is lower than 10, the character has that many rounds to survive (known only to the DM!) If another player can administer, or use some spells, the character is brought immediately to zero, but he remains in a comatose state for 1d6 turns (each turn is 10 minutes.) After that, healing requires at least one week of rest.
Any character which is brought to -6 hit points or lower, will have some permanent effect, with possible reduction of ability scores, hit points etc. at the DM's whim.
I might increase the 1d4 to 1d4 + Level. At higher levels, a straight 1d4 doesn't mean a whole lot -- especially in a world without Father Healbot, Cleric of Church Fixyewup. But, yes, the faster healing rate I'd proposed in the last set of rules was in direct competition with the "bind wounds" rule I'd seen elsewhere. It seems both have been used since at least the days of B/X.

I'd toyed with an idea similar to the 2d6 one you'd mentioned. Only mine was rolling a 1d10 and modifying the result by CON bonus. If the result was greater than 5, the character remained unconscious. If less than 5, the character died.

I liked that option somewhat but opted for straight DCs instead because we're working with a 3e-based game and I felt saying "make a Fortitude save DC 13" communicated more than adding a new sub-system. I like that the 2d6 lets you know how long the character has before bleeding out. That's nice. And it seems to make it very hard for the character to flat out die.

And it would be easy to have double-ones be a "Rally".

Nice suggestions. Thanks.
I too have used 1d4+level, and also with 1xClass HD + level (so, fighters roll 1d8, MUs roll 1d4 etc.) In the end, I went with the basic 1d4.
I use this method with Labyrinth Lord. So the characters are indeed more resilient.
But if you compare this with AD&D's "-10" rule, the comparison is a bit harder, but in my experience the survival rate is slightly worse due to the 2d6 roll which might bring you straight at -10, or on average at -7 (so that permanent injuries are quite common.)

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:33 am

rabindranath72 wrote:I too have used 1d4+level, and also with 1xClass HD + level (so, fighters roll 1d8, MUs roll 1d4 etc.) In the end, I went with the basic 1d4.
I use this method with Labyrinth Lord. So the characters are indeed more resilient.
But if you compare this with AD&D's "-10" rule, the comparison is a bit harder, but in my experience the survival rate is slightly worse due to the 2d6 roll which might bring you straight at -10, or on average at -7 (so that permanent injuries are quite common.)
Those are all really good points. I'd have to see DCC's approach to hit points to get a feel for whether 1d4, 1d4 + Level or Hit Die + level (or even just roll hit die) are a better fit. Something to keep in mind is the setting I'm working on isn't big on in-combat healing. The assumption, at this point, is that there are no "Cure Light Wounds" spells floating around.

But in a setting where there are Clerics, I could see the straight 1d4 being the way to go.

I agree that the 2d6 roll is a more difficult comparison. But one thing to consider is that PCs don't always hop onto that damage track at 0 and then progress to -10. It's more common for a character to enter the track at some negative point. IME, that's usually somewhere between -1 and -5.

I probably wouldn't adopt the permanent injuries rule. I empathize with the "grittiness" it's going for. But that's not what I'm after. So that puts a different spin on the 2d6 mechanic, IMO.

Where the 2d6 mechanic gets complicated, IMO, is that it also includes the -10 rules for death. Note that neither System Shock, Wounds or the Death Roll have a requirement for the -10 rules. Here's a link to reference how complex the -10 rules are.

And we have to tack that on to the 2d6 rules to get a feel for how much weight we're adding one way or the other. If DCC uses the default 3.5 rules for damage and dying, the good news is that we already have those rules in the book then. And we also have Massive Damage (albeit at 50 points).

So those rules become tweaks on DCC core, instead of whole-hog new rules. Which increase their value, IMO.

If not, then I think it's a level playing field. I'll be playtesting all three systems (System Shock, Wounds and the Small Rules Triumvirate) this week to get a feel for how they work and how easy they are to grok.

If anyone else wants to do the same, that would be awesome.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:20 am

Adding a refinement of the System Shock approach informed by recent conversations regarding it. I think it's simpler in this form. And it includes a Second Wind/Healing Surge sort of mechanic that makes it more appealing that it was, IMO.
Every character gets two more numbers added to their character sheet: Massive Damage Threshold and System Shock.

Massive Damage Threshold
A character's MDT is equal to 10 + (2 x Level). Whenever a character takes damage equal to or higher than their MDT, they must roll a DC 10 Massive Damage System Shock save. Note that if this damage reduces a character to zero hit points, then they would need to roll a System Shock Death Save instead (see below).

System Shock
A character's System Shock rating is equal to their Constitution/Stamina bonus. A System Shock score can start out as zero or a negative number.
One point is subtracted from System Shock a System Shock Save is rolled.
Skillburn: Additionally, a player can lower their System Shock rating by one point to receive a +4 to any skill, save or to-hit roll. Multiple points can be reduced in this fashion to get higher bonuses in increments of +4 per point of System Shock.
Second Wind/"Healing Surge": A player can also lower their System Shock rating by one point as a standard action to recover 1d4 + Level in hit points once per encounter.

System Shock Save: Massive Damage
A character rolls a d20 and modifies the result with their System Shock rating. If the modified result beats the DC of 10, everything's fine. If not, the character is dropped to zero hit points and unconscious but "stabilized" -- meaning he does not need to roll Death Saves. If they roll a natural 1, the character is dead.

System Shock Save: Death
A character rolls a d20 and modifies the result with their System Shock rating. If the modified result does not beat a DC 10, the character is dead. If the modified result beats the DC of 10, the character is still barely alive but unconscious and will need to roll again next turn. If the modified result is higher than DC 15, the character is "stabilized" -- meaning they are unconscious but do not need to roll further System Shock rolls unless they take more damage while unconscious.
If the roll is a Natural 1, the character dies. If the roll is a Natural 20, the character rallies, becomes conscious, regains 1d4 + Level hit points and may take action next turn.

System Shock Recovery
System Shock is recovered at the rate of one point per day. It cannot be regained through magical means.

Example: "Healing Surge"
Quirk the Prestidigitator is fighting a group of Kobolds. He's a 2nd-level Magic-user with a Constitution score of 9 and 3 hit points. His System Shock is +0. Quirk gets hit by a Kobold and takes 2 points of damage. That drops him to 1 hit point. On his next turn, he opts to take his action to burn a point of System Shock and recover. Quirk rolls 1d4 and adds his level. He gets a 3, so his total recovery is 5 hit points. But that only brings him back up to 3 because that's his max. Quirk's System Shock is now at -1, though.

Example: Dying
Quirk the Prestidigitator gets hit by a Dragon's breath weapon for a whopping 17 points of damage! It's been a tough crawl and he's at -1 System Shock. He's dropped to zero hit points and rolls a System Shock (Death) save. He rolls an 11. Whew, that just barely beats the DC! Quirk is unconscious, but alive. And must roll again next turn. This time with a System Shock bonus of -2. The next turn he rolls a 11 again. But this time, his System Shock modifies that to a 9. He dead.

Example: Massive Damage
Cronk the Barbarian is a beefy 5th level Barbarian. That makes his Massive Damage Threshold equal to 20. Cronk falls into a pit trap and takes a whopping 32 points of damage. He must now roll a System Shock (Massive Damage). His System Shock is +3. Cronk rolls a 7. That's just barely a 13. He's okay but his System Shock is now at +2.

Example: Skillburn
Cronk's had a swig of ale and is ready to climb up out of the pit. The climb is a DC 20 but his modified roll is a 12! Ugh. Cronk uses up two points of System Shock to boosts his roll +8 to a 20. Cronk's System Shock is now at +0.

Example: Avoiding Save or Die
Cronk is now facing off against the Dragon that killed his loyal little buddy, Quirk. The Dragon is wily, though, and hits Cronk with a Petrification spell. Cronk needs an 18 to save but only has a 14 after modifiers. Cronk uses up another point of System Shock to boost his roll by +4... to an 18! Cronk's System Shock is now at -1.

Example: Cronk Drops
Cronk has 38 hit points at the moment. But has a -1 for System Shock. Cronk gets hit by the same breath weapon that fried his buddy Quirk. Cronk makes his Reflex save but half damage is still 21 points. Cronk's Massive Damage Threshold is 20. So he has to roll a System Shock (Massive Damage) save. Cronk rolls a 10 exactly. But don't get too excited. That -1 System Shock drops him to 9. Cronk drops to zero hit points and is unconscious and at the mercy of the Dragon.


Addenda

Hit Point Recovery
Because hit points are now less indicative of whether someone is about to die, we can have them recover at a faster rate. At the end of each scene/encounter, the character recovers 50% of the hit points lost in the scene. So, when Cronk fell down the pit and lost 32 hit points, he got 16 of them back after he chilled for a while and had some ale. (I'm conflicted here over the 50% or the 1d4 to "bind wounds", leaning towards bind wounds at the moment due to simplicity)

Monsters and System Shock
Monsters die when they reach zero hit points. Don't worry about System Shock for them.

Monsters and System Shock
Whenever a Monster takes 10 + (2 x times their hit dice) in damage (whichever is greater) in a single blow, roll a Fortitude save for them at DC 12. A monster's system shock never goes up or down. If they fail, they die. Unlike PCs, monsters die when they reach zero hit points. They never roll System Shock (Death) Saves.

NPCs and System Shock
NPCs do not get System Shock rolls. They fall unconscious when dropped to zero hit points or taking more than 10 + (2 x their hit dice) in damage. Whether they are dead or not is up to the whim of the GM and the player's intent.

Stabilizing the Dying
Anyone with a knack for healing can take a turn and stabilize a fallen party member. This takes one round but no roll is required. The stabilized compadre will no longer need to roll System Shock (Death) saves and can heal normally after the combat is over.
EDIT: Made a couple of edits to lower DC of System Shock saves, add a note re: Faster Hit Point Recovery and fixed an example that had an error in it.
Last edited by smathis on Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:29 am

And to address specifically the criticisms regarding complexity, I'd like to offer some links to other suggestions on this topic.
Please note that these are published 3e rules variants. And none of them hit all the topics I'm attempting to hit with the rules I'm throwing around here. For example, System Shock covers Massive Damage, Dying, Skillburn and Healing Surges in one fell swoop. Wounds cover Dying, Skillburn and takes an end-around on the Massive Damage and Healing Surge issue. The Triumvirate of Very Small Rules also cover similar ground in a significantly smaller word count.

If one were to take out the examples from the System Shock text, I think you'd find the actual rules to be a fraction of the length of any one of these topics.

As an aside check out the default rules for 3.5 Injury and Death.

I think it's easy to confuse familiarity with simplicity. I don't see the default 3.5 rules for Injury and Death being any less complex than the three ideas being proposed.

People are just used to them. So they assume that what they are used to is, in fact, simpler. When it's not. A couple of the systems here challenge those affordances. And that is a risk. But after further research, I'm failing to see how any of the proposals (in their most recent forms) fail the KISS principle -- outside of them "not being the way we've always done it".

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:17 pm

Update. While testing the edge cases for a new Skillburn mechanic, I ran across an odd application of the "Skillburn" mechanics. It appears to apply to both the Wounds and System Shock ideas. The gist of it is that Save-or-Die is marginalized to the point of becoming a non-issue. Which is not a side effect I'm interested in.

To summarize, the front-runner at this point (and by a significant margin) is the "Triumvirate". I'm considering options for "Skillburn" and "Saveburn". I'll post those sometime this week with the "set of small rules" that make the final cut after I kick the tires on all of them.

I wouldn't recommend either System Shock or the Wounds system at this point. Not unless you rip out the Skillburn part.

I've found this turn of events actually pleasant. I'd liked both System Shock and the Wounds but also disliked them both for various reasons. They wrapped a few things into a nice package I could stamp and call "a system". But there was some overhead, lack of familiarity and each of them had at least one thing I wanted them to do but that they didn't do well.

My preference was leaning towards the "Triumvirate" for a number of reasons and pushing into the edges of the other two put them out of contention. First, the "Triumvirate" are a collection of house rules and official D&D rules that have been in use for decades (most of them). Second, this approach forces my setting to not be reliant on an unfamiliar "system". This makes the "design" part a little harder but will result in something that's more widely applicable. Third, by having a set of modular "light" rules instead of a closed "system" that does many things, groups will be able to remove rules from the "Triumvirate" in their own games (or replace them with house rules they like better) with minimal effort. That appeals to me a lot.

More on this when I get the "Triumvirate" nailed down. Well, now it's actually 6-7 rules. But the end product will be between 3-5 depending on how well some of them hold up.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:49 am

So here's where things stand at this time...
Damage, Dying and Recovery

Hit Points
A character's hit points represent their effectiveness during combat. Hit Points symbolize health, alertness, luck and prowess.

Taking Damage
A character loses hit points to damage. The character's actions are not penalized until that character is reduced to 0 hit points. A character's hit points can not go lower than 0. Any excess damage past 0 is ignored.

Massive Damage
A character who takes damage equal to or greater than 10 plus twice their level (10 + (2 x level)) must roll a Fortitude check against a DC of 15. If the roll beats the difficulty, the character loses hit points equal to the damage result but is otherwise fine. If the roll does not succeed, the character's hit points are set to 0 and the character is Unconscious. On a natural roll of "1", the character is Dead.
If the amount of damage from the attack would lower the character to 0 hit points, then ignore Massive Damage. That character is at 0 hit points and Dying.

Falling Damage
Damage from falling equals 1d6 per 10' cumulative with the exception that falls over 30' do maximum damage -- no die roll required. So a fall of 20' does 3d6 points of damage (1d6 + 2d6) and a fall of 50' does 90 points of damage (1d6 + 2d6 + 3d6 + 4d6 + 5d6 = 15d6… or 90 points max). Falling damage cannot exceed 20d6. Here's a chart to help…

Distance Fallen Damage
10' 1d6
20' 3d6
30' 6d6
40' 60 points (max of 10d6)
50' 90 points (max of 15d6)
60' and up 120 points (max of 20d6)

Getting Dropped
A character whose hit points are reduced to 0 is Dying. A character's hit points cannot go lower than 0.

Skillburn
Taking Damage to Boost a Skill or Attack Roll
A character can add +1 to a to-hit or skill roll by taking 1d6 points of damage. Any number d6 dice can be taken as damage to make the bonus higher on a basis of one die per +1 bonus. For example, a Wizard can add +5 to a roll by taking 5d6 points of damage. A Fighter can add +2 to a die roll by taking 2d6 points of damage.
Rules for Massive Damage and Dying still apply if the character overdoes the damage.


Conditions
Dead
A dead character is a character who has failed a Death Check.

Dying
A character who is dying has 0 hit points and must make a Death Check (see below) every round and every time the character takes additional damage.

Unconscious
An unconscious character has 0 hit points but does not need to make a Death Check each round. If an Unconscious character takes damage, they will begin Dying. An Unconscious character will remain unconscious for 30+1d20 minutes after threat of combat has ceased. After that time, the character will awaken with 1 hit point. If a character with a healing profession takes 10 minutes to assist the Unconscious character, then the character will regain consciousness after that 10 minutes with 1 hit point. No roll is necessary for this action but the healer cannot take any other actions during that 10 minutes.

Helpless
A helpless character is a character that is either not defending themselves or is in a position where they cannot defend themselves. This could be someone who is bound, asleep, blind or just asking you to hit them with your best shot. A helpless character that takes damage must roll a Death Check to determine if they are Dead, Dying or Unconscious following the attack.

Death Check
When a character is Dying, the character must roll a Fortitude check and consult the Death Check chart. A character should roll a Death Check on the round in which he starts Dying, at the start of each round he remains Dying and every time he takes damage while Dying.

Result Table
Less than 10…Dead
11-15…Dying
15+…Unconscious
20*…Character regains consciousness and recovers 1d4 hit points.
* - a natural roll on the 20-sided die. So "1*" means an unmodified roll of "1" on the die.

Stabilizing a Dying Character
A character with a healing profession can take a full-round during combat to assist a Dying character. Doing this shifts the Dying character to Unconscious until the end of the encounter. This action requires no skill roll but the healer can take no other action that round besides tending to the Dying character.

Save or Die
A character who fails a saving throw against a magical effect, poison or special ability that will result in their instant death -- instead of inflicting dice of damage -- get one additional save roll to survive. This includes things such as poisons, traps, petrification, disintegration, death rays and more.
If the second roll does not match or exceed the DC for the save, the character suffers the full effect. If it does, the character survives but at a cost. The DM may pick from the list of restrictions below or invent one of her own.

Sample Survival Costs
  • 1 point of permanent attribute damage
  • Maximum hit points are lowered by 25% for one week
  • Movement is reduced by 10' for the week
  • All d20 rolls are rolled with a d16 for the rest of the day
  • Character is lowered to 0 hit points, takes 1d2 points of temporary attribute damage and Unconscious
Hit Point Recovery
Characters recover hit points at different rates based on a number of factors. In each case, a character cannot recover more hit points than their maximum amount of hit points.

Bedrest
At the start of each day and after 8 hours of continuous rest in a safe environment, the character recovers one hit die plus level hit points (1HD + Level). So a 4th level Thief would recover 1d6 + 4 hit points and a 10th level Magic-User would recover 1d4 + 10 hit points. During this time, the character is assumed to be avoiding strenuous activity and actions that place his character in mortal peril.

Resting Afield
At the start of each day and after 8 hours of continuous rest, the character recovers one plus level hit points (1+ Level). So a 4th level Thief would recover 1d6 + 4 hit points and a 10th level Magic-User would recover 11 hit points.

Medical Attention
Through the use of salves, ointments and general care, a character with a healing profession can double the number of hit points a character receives from Bedrest and Resting Afield. The healer cannot treat more characters than his Wisdom bonus but can treat at least one in a 24 hour period. This medical attention costs the healer 5 gp in supplies.

Binding Wounds
After each encounter, a character can take a 10 minute rest to recover. The character rolls one hit die and recovers that many hit points. A character cannot exceed their maximum hit points or recover more hit points than they lost during the encounter. The character can take no other action during this 10 minute timeframe.

Dutch Courage
Once per day, a character can take a standard action in combat to drink a small swig of a non-magical beverage of their choice to recover hit points. The player rolls two hit dice for the character and counts the higher of the two dice as the number of hit points the character recovers. If the roll is doubles, the character recovers the sum of the dice in hit points. A character cannot exceed their maximum hit points or recover more hit points than they lost during the encounter in this fashion. A character cannot use Dutch Courage while Dying, Dead or Unconscious.
That's a lot to take in, I know. But it's all little micro-rules that groups could take or leave as they wanted to. Thanks to mtnjeff, dkeester, Hamakto, rabindranath72 and everyone else on the forum who've been posting ideas. I appreciate it.

I'll post any changes following an adequate playtest.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by rabindranath72 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:21 am

I would change "Dutch Courage" to "A Flagon of Wine" in homage to REH.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:49 am

rabindranath72 wrote:I would change "Dutch Courage" to "A Flagon of Wine" in homage to REH.
Nice. Assuming mtnjeff is cool with that, I am.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:00 am

Oh, another thing I wanted to point out.

I put a lot of consideration in for fireinthedust's Save or Survive idea. I liked that one a lot and felt it was elegant, especially if it was just a 3-round bleed out.

But I opted for a "roll each round and when taking more damage approach" for three reasons...
  • It gives dying characters something to do
  • It gives the rest of the party a reminder that this character needs their help
  • It was the mechanic that's used in BECMI. So there are fewer concerns, for me, about if it will work in the wild.
And I'd also like to add the caveat that I'm not anticipating all (or any) of these ideas will survive exposure to the DCC playtest rules. I have no idea how DCC handles things. And it may have its own approach that invalidates some of these rules. Then again, by sticking so closely to existing rules, there's a good chance, I think, that some of these ideas will just be tweaks to the DCC core.

Which is one of the negative marks I'd had against both System Shock and Wounds, although I still like the iteration of the Wounds mechanic that was closer to FATE's Consequences. I think I gave the link earlier in this thread.

About all I can say, at this point, is that this thing I'm working on will have Skillburn/Pyrrhic Victories, a Faster Healing Rate, some way for characters to get knocked out instead of dead and some way for high level characters to just get dead. I'm also fairly committed to making these rules plug-and-play so they can be used in other OSR games or ignored entirely even in my own adventure/setting.

I like these conversations -- even if it sometimes appears I'm talking to myself -- to hash out ideas. And I'm at a point in writing where I needed to consider how I was going to address these issues and how committed I was to any one approach.

Back to it!

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by Hamakto » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:59 am

I always like the idea that another DM had that I played with years ago (I cannot remember who it is right now)...

once you hit negative hp, you lose d4-1 hp per round.

If you roll low, you could last quite a long time. If you have a couple of high rolls, you bleed out really fast.

The reason he added the mechanic was that he hated the meta gaming that players would do when someone went negative. Oh... I am at -4. Ok guys, you need to get to me in the next five rounds. Combat--combat---combat---combat---cure minor wounds to stop bleeding

At -4, he could die in a matter or two rounds... or in 15. Depending on how lucky/unlucky the dice rolls were.

He did toy with a d6-2 system at one point in time, but we never fully tested it out (luckily)

In the d6-2 system, you could actually climb back out of negatives because a 1 on a six would translate to a positive number. Not likely, but possible.

This could be extended out to be a d6-3 system. Where the chance of 'slowly' waking up from negative damage is greater. But you still have a big chance of sliding negative faster on a bad roll.

Example:

d6 result
1 gain 2 hp
2 gain 1 hp
3 zero change
4 lose 1 hp
5 lose 2 hp
6 lose 3 hp

This random chance could very well work with the appendix N books. Where a hero is down for the count, but regains enough HP to perform a heroic action and then limp away from the adventure with 1 hp. :)

With the faster possibility of a bleed out, you need to pay attention to what is happening with your down comrades. That sword gash could be deep enough to kill them quickly... or it could be a flesh wound and they will get back up. You just do not know.

PLUS the tension of the last system could be fantastic for a player that has a character down and bleeding. The dread of rolling that d6. *LOL* <- evil DM laugh
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:50 am

Hamakto wrote:I always like the idea that another DM had that I played with years ago (I cannot remember who it is right now)...

once you hit negative hp, you lose d4-1 hp per round...
Thanks, Andy. That's a very cool mechanic. I'd like to give the 1d4-1 and the 1d6-2 a spin sometime. I'll definitely keep them in mind as an alternative to the Death Save.

If DCC goes with a "-10 and you're dead" standard 3.5 mechanic, it is a leading contender to replace the Death Save.

Also, thanks for the "second save after the Save or Die" idea. I don't know if you saw my post on the other thread. But that's one I'm definitely hoping to keep.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by Fabio.MilitoPagliara » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:38 am

I see that you changed the massive wound (I was going to point out the problem of low level characters :)), back to it, the big problem of wound/vitality is that it changes the game

the point is: if I give stamina points to characters how should (if I should) treat monsters? should I give them a boost of some kind? or character are "special", if we give life points to monster should we consider giving them hp for size/level? BUT this means longer combat at 1st level, more similar to 3rd-4th level combats.....

the good thing of a wound/vitality system is that you can treat "hit points" as "defense points" that can get back quickly and wounds/life points as something that get back slowly... but then you have healing spells... do you want to keep them as they are? how much an healing spell heals? full hp and 1 life points per level of the spell?

I like very much the idea of the d4-1 or d6-2 system of losing hp once you are dying

another thing to consider is that having low hit points at 1st level makes hight level character more powerful in comparision

consider a fighter:
a) if you have 1d10 hp at 1st level, at 10th level you are 10 times stronger (on average you go from 5,5 to 55)
b) if you have Stamina+1d10hp, at 10th level you are "ONLY" 4 times stronger (on average you go from 16 to 65,5)

as for spellburn for combat I think that this would take away from the idea of corrupting magic UNLESS the fighter don't have some sort of patron...
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by jmucchiello » Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:53 am

I like the first post better than the most recent revision. The System Shock/Action Point concept really worked for me. What did not work was the massive damage rule. My suggestion is to go back to the original version and remove all reference to Massive Damage. That will make the System Shock/Death rules much more streamlined. Then elsewhere in an optional rules section you could add back the Massive Damage system and describe it as System Shock loss or something.
smathis wrote:
System Shock
A character's System Shock rating is equal to their level modified by their Constitution/Stamina bonus. A System Shock score can start out as zero or a negative number.
One point is subtracted from System Shock every time it is used. System Shock is considered "used" in the following situations.
  • The player rolls on the Dying table.
  • The player opts to add +2 to any skill, save or to-hit roll by lowering her character's System Shock by one point. The player may take any number of bonuses in this fashion on a "one point of SS" to "+2 bonus" ratio. So a player could get a +10 on a save by subtracting 5 points from his System Shock.
System Shock is recovered at one-point per day. It cannot be regained through magical means.

The Dying Table
The Dying table is rolled whenever a character is hit by an attack that drops him to zero hit points or less. Each roll on the Dying table subtracts one point from the character's System Shock rating -- applied after the roll.
Any attack that would drop a character below zero hit points only drops them to zero hit points. There are no negative hit points. System Shock handles that.

Roll => Result
Natural 1 => Instant Death
5 or less => Death
6-10 => Unconscious, Still Dying: Roll again next turn on this table
11-15 => Unconscious but Stable: No more rolls necessary.
16-20 => Conscious, Could Still Die: Character starts round prone, but can do stuff. Roll again next round if character is still at zero hit points.
20-25 => Conscious and Stable: Character is prone, conscious and has one hit point.
Natural 20 => "My Name is Inigo Montoya": Character is conscious, prone and rallies for 1d4 + Level hit points.

Hit Point Recovery
Because hit points are now less indicative of whether someone is about to die, we can have them recover at a faster rate. At the end of each scene/encounter, the character recovers 50% of the hit points lost in the scene.

Monsters and System Shock
Monsters die when they reach zero hit points. Don't worry about System Shock for them.

Stabilizing the Dying
Anyone with a knack for healing can take a turn and stabilize their buddy. This takes one round but no roll is required. The stabilized character will no longer need to roll on the Dying table and can heal normally after the combat is over -- assuming there isn't a Cleric around to fill him with happy thoughts.
Notice it doesn't seem like a large rule set without the excessive examples, too.

I assume you add the system shock value to the dying roll? It doesn't say that here. Did I cut too much?

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:11 pm

Fabio.MilitoPagliara wrote:I see that you changed the massive wound (I was going to point out the problem of low level characters :))...
Yup. I was playing around with it and ran into that problem early on. I decided to go with one of the official variant options in the d20srd. I liked that it scaled by level, instead of the straight CON option. I felt it was a happy medium between a gritty option that never changes (CON score) and a way-too-high option (for DCC) that never changes (50 hp).

In the end, Massive Damage may not be the way to go. I'm thinking about how the weapons and such pan out in DCC. I'm wondering if it's even possible to hit massive damage without using a spell, special attack, trap or falling off a cliff. Considering that criticals are their own thing, with their own tables, I think there's a real question of whether or not a character could hit massive damage via weapon alone. Maybe CON MDT is the way to go?

I think not knowing much about DCC makes Massive Damage tricky. I like the concept because it allows for high-level characters to get dropped and for a result other than death to finish a combat. But I won't carry it over if DCC's crits take care of those issues or if it's not going to see use at the table. I like the idea, but I'm not sure if it will fit with DCC.

A lot depends on rules I haven't seen. :wink:
Fabio.MilitoPagliara wrote:back to it, the big problem of wound/vitality is that it changes the game

the point is: if I give stamina points to characters how should (if I should) treat monsters? should I give them a boost of some kind? or character are "special", if we give life points to monster should we consider giving them hp for size/level? BUT this means longer combat at 1st level, more similar to 3rd-4th level combats.....

the good thing of a wound/vitality system is that you can treat "hit points" as "defense points" that can get back quickly and wounds/life points as something that get back slowly... but then you have healing spells... do you want to keep them as they are? how much an healing spell heals? full hp and 1 life points per level of the spell?
I have nothing against Wound/Vitality points. I've used them in Star Wars and Conan. But I look at them as "extra hit points" that require a bunch of funky rules. I prefer a simpler system like Death Saves, Hamakto's 1d4-1/1d6-2 or just dropping to -10. WP/VP is a fine system. But it doesn't address some of my hangups (listed earlier in the thread).

And they require a lot of extra rules and considerations. Just checkout the d20srd link in this thread. So, I'd be unlikely to use a system that "heavy" that doesn't meet my needs.

That said, I think Hamakto makes some good points about what a VP/WP system would need. I mean, he brings it as close to workable (for me) as anyone has. Same with Damage Reduction. He's got really good ideas on both.

But, in regards to VP/WP, I'd rather have something more abstract. Like the "wound system" before the one in this thread. Something that I can do more with. Wound Points, to me, are just like hit points. I mean, it's not like losing Wound Points means a whole lot. No penalties for it or anything. And it's not like they give a lot of drama to the situation, other than the attrition thing -- which is what regular hit points are for, IMO.

Wound Points (to me) are just different enough to need pages of rules to get to work with everything else but don't bring enough of what I want for me to prefer them over everything else. So I'm not likely to go with them. But if DCC decides that's the way to go, I hope they choose something simple and abstract that still allows for high-level characters to be threatened and not the sort of mega-mega-damage that they represent in other d20-based games. I mean, it's really just MDC and SDC from Rifts scaled down to D&D, right? Man, I shudder that I even know what that means.
Fabio.MilitoPagliara wrote:I like very much the idea of the d4-1 or d6-2 system of losing hp once you are dying
Yeah, it's a great suggestion. Thanks again to Hamakto for that one.
Fabio.MilitoPagliara wrote:another thing to consider is that having low hit points at 1st level makes hight level character more powerful in comparision

consider a fighter:
a) if you have 1d10 hp at 1st level, at 10th level you are 10 times stronger (on average you go from 5,5 to 55)
b) if you have Stamina+1d10hp, at 10th level you are "ONLY" 4 times stronger (on average you go from 16 to 65,5)
I usually give max hit points at 1st level. That might need to make it into the 3PP supplement. Maybe not. We'll see how it plays out. I think there are a lot of options to keep people standing. I'd hope that DCC curtails the hit point inflation of high levels. Maybe through smaller hit dice or some other means.

I think the solution to making 1st level characters more survivable is to give them more hit points out of the gate, not a one-time bonus that increases their hit points across the board.

Something along the lines of characters starting out with Stamina and then just getting a flat bonus each level (like Wizards/Elves get +1, Thieves/Clerics/Halflings get +2, Fighters/Dwarves get +3).

So by that, an average 1st level Fighter would start out with 11hp and then increase up to 44hp. Same ratio as above, and the 1st level character is more survivable. But the inflation at 10th level is mitigated by almost 33%. And you could have something like a Wizard with 18 CON starting out with 18 hit points and then increasing to 28 at 10th level.

Come to think of it, I don't think it would hurt to just set a starting HP total for the classes, modified by CON. A lot like how 4e does it, only tailored to increase the viability of a 1st level character and mitigate the high level inflation. Something like: Wizards start with 3 and get +1/level, Thieves/Clerics/Halflings start with 4 and get +2/level, Fighters/Dwarves start with 6 and get +3/level and Elves start with 4 and get +1/level.
Fabio.MilitoPagliara wrote:as for spellburn for combat I think that this would take away from the idea of corrupting magic UNLESS the fighter don't have some sort of patron...
I see the point. But Skillburn is more of an option to incorporate Pyrrhic Victories in combat. So, a Fighter charges into an Ogre. He misses by 4 but really wants to take out this Ogre because the Wizard is dying and the Cleric is almost out of healing spells. So the Fighter takes damage to increase his attack and drops.

My biggest concern with Skillburn, as its presented, is how easily it could be abused. I mean, with hit points recovering faster and stuff, there's a real problem there just waiting to be exploited. I'm likely to move Skillburn back to CON damage for a higher return. Or maybe a combination of hit point and CON damage. We'll see.

But it's not intended to compete with the Magic-Users' Spellburn, except in name alone. If I were going to do that, I'd probably come up with a table for it that enforced some penalty on the character. And that's not sounding like a bad idea at them moment. I'd have to see the Spellburn table to get an idea of what kind of penalties and consequences I could bring to Skillburn.

It's a tricky balance, to be sure. And will take some thought and lots of dice hitting the table to get right.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:16 pm

jmucchiello wrote:Notice it doesn't seem like a large rule set without the excessive examples, too.

I assume you add the system shock value to the dying roll? It doesn't say that here. Did I cut too much?
Nope you didn't cut too much out. That's pretty much it, which is why I was disheartened by earlier comments on it being too long or complicated.

As I mentioned in the last post, I'm unsure whether Massive Damage will even work with DCC. I'm unconvinced it would ever come up in a situation where a critical wasn't rolled. And a crit already does its own thing. So, there's a high probability, IMO, that there is no need for Massive Damage. No harm there.

The real problem with System Shock is the Skillburn idea as it applies to saves. That could be abused to the point where no one would ever fail a save-or-die (unless they rolled a 1). I didn't like that at all.

So I'd recommend taking out the option to boost a save. Otherwise, yeah, I think it would work pretty well.

And, you're correct. The System Shock rating is added to the Dying roll. Sorry I left that out.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by Fabio.MilitoPagliara » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:08 pm

smathis wrote: I think the solution to making 1st level characters more survivable is to give them more hit points out of the gate, not a one-time bonus that increases their hit points across the board.

Something along the lines of characters starting out with Stamina and then just getting a flat bonus each level (like Wizards/Elves get +1, Thieves/Clerics/Halflings get +2, Fighters/Dwarves get +3).

So by that, an average 1st level Fighter would start out with 11hp and then increase up to 44hp. Same ratio as above, and the 1st level character is more survivable. But the inflation at 10th level is mitigated by almost 33%. And you could have something like a Wizard with 18 CON starting out with 18 hit points and then increasing to 28 at 10th level.

Come to think of it, I don't think it would hurt to just set a starting HP total for the classes, modified by CON. A lot like how 4e does it, only tailored to increase the viability of a 1st level character and mitigate the high level inflation. Something like: Wizards start with 3 and get +1/level, Thieves/Clerics/Halflings start with 4 and get +2/level, Fighters/Dwarves start with 6 and get +3/level and Elves start with 4 and get +1/level.
this could be the best solution :)
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by Hamakto » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:54 pm

Of course that is predicated with the statement that you take no offense to what I say...

I would go with even with a more streamlined approach to things:

At -10 hp, they are dead.

Massive damage: The greater of 10 or 1/2 the characters starting hit points. No real math involved here. If massive damage occurs, you get an automatic critical.

If a character lands exactly on zero HP, they are considered unconscious but stable.

If they fall below zero HP, on their turn they roll a d6-2 to determine how many hp's they gain or lose. This process continues once per round until either the character dies (at -10), becomes conscious (gets lucky and returns to 1hp), or becomes stable but unconscious (zero HP).

Additional rules for bandage could so provide a bonus on the d6 roll. If someone sucessessfully bandages someone, they may be allowed to take an additional -1 or -2 on the d6 roll.
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by Hamakto » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:13 pm

smathis wrote: Come to think of it, I don't think it would hurt to just set a starting HP total for the classes, modified by CON. A lot like how 4e does it, only tailored to increase the viability of a 1st level character and mitigate the high level inflation. Something like: Wizards start with 3 and get +1/level, Thieves/Clerics/Halflings start with 4 and get +2/level, Fighters/Dwarves start with 6 and get +3/level and Elves start with 4 and get +1/level.
I really disagree with this. We can see how this plays out in 4e and I for one absolutely hate 4e hp. DCC RPG is not about building a power curve but instead to allow random chance to evolve. If HP are too fixed (like what was suggested above), you are getting to far away from what DCC stands for.

As far as HP's go, it is my feeling that they will cap out around 9th to 10th level. So a wizard would have 25+con... a fighter would have 55+con. A fighter is 2x as tough as a wizard in HP's and the ability to take damage. That is a good ratio for characters.

Remember, with the enforced random 3d6 character rolls... not everyone will have a CON bonus like in 3e and 4e.

If you want to reduce the extremes of HP's... go with Wizard/Thief at d6/level. Cleric as d6+1/level. Figher as d6+2 per level. It does not change the average HP a character will have (except give the Wizard a few more). But it helps a fighter fall closer tot he middle of the average as the lowest he could roll is 3 during level up. The HP's are more balanced, without removing the complete random element I cited above.
I see the point. But Skillburn is more of an option to incorporate Pyrrhic Victories in combat. So, a Fighter charges into an Ogre. He misses by 4 but really wants to take out this Ogre because the Wizard is dying and the Cleric is almost out of healing spells. So the Fighter takes damage to increase his attack and drops.

My biggest concern with Skillburn, as its presented, is how easily it could be abused. I mean, with hit points recovering faster and stuff, there's a real problem there just waiting to be exploited. I'm likely to move Skillburn back to CON damage for a higher return. Or maybe a combination of hit point and CON damage. We'll see.

But it's not intended to compete with the Magic-Users' Spellburn, except in name alone. If I were going to do that, I'd probably come up with a table for it that enforced some penalty on the character. And that's not sounding like a bad idea at them moment. I'd have to see the Spellburn table to get an idea of what kind of penalties and consequences I could bring to Skillburn.

It's a tricky balance, to be sure. And will take some thought and lots of dice hitting the table to get right.
To be honest, I am not a fan of Pyrrhic Victories in combat. We really only know about mechanics for Wizards and Warriors. Both of those classes have built in mechanics for those extra scenarios. A warrior who wants to really hit would do a MDoA to take a penalty on AC for extra chance to hit. If he misses his roll, he fails to accomplish it. A wizard can already take spell burn to help guarantee a spell (as with a MDoA... nothing is 100% certain).

As written, I do not think Skillburn fits the feel of how I see the game.
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:26 am

Hamakto wrote:I really disagree with this. We can see how this plays out in 4e and I for one absolutely hate 4e hp. DCC RPG is not about building a power curve but instead to allow random chance to evolve. If HP are too fixed (like what was suggested above), you are getting to far away from what DCC stands for.

As far as HP's go, it is my feeling that they will cap out around 9th to 10th level. So a wizard would have 25+con... a fighter would have 55+con. A fighter is 2x as tough as a wizard in HP's and the ability to take damage. That is a good ratio for characters.

Remember, with the enforced random 3d6 character rolls... not everyone will have a CON bonus like in 3e and 4e.

If you want to reduce the extremes of HP's... go with Wizard/Thief at d6/level. Cleric as d6+1/level. Figher as d6+2 per level. It does not change the average HP a character will have (except give the Wizard a few more). But it helps a fighter fall closer tot he middle of the average as the lowest he could roll is 3 during level up. The HP's are more balanced, without removing the complete random element I cited above
I think that the feeling here about "absolutely hating 4e" is clouding things up. 4e does what I wrote, sure. But it does it wrong. It tries to escalate everything and works hard to balance out at a mythical "sweet spot" that is maintained consistently each level -- assuming the opposition stays at that same level throughout. That's why it sucks.

My suggestion was no different, better or worse than Call of Cthulhu's hit point system.

The idea, in broad strokes, is to give more HP up front and then lessen the amount gained per level. A lot of groups do the first part already with either Max HP at 1st level or some rule that allows a re-roll if hit points are lower than X. Or tacking on Wound Points to Vitality Points. Or having hit points at 1st level equal their Constitution score. People will do that with DCC too, if DCC doesn't find a way to address it. That's been true since OD&D.

But, you see, I think that's the wrong approach because you pay for it in inflation at higher levels. Random or not random. I don't care.

Here's a randomized version of the same concept. A Wizard could roll 2d4 at 1st level and then roll 1d2 every level thereafter. Already the Wizard starts out better -- between 2 and 8 plus CON versus 1-4 -- and at 10th level you're looking at something in the ballpark of 12-28 + 10 x CON. That settles down to around 20 hit points at 10th level on average. A Fighter could start out at 1st level with 4d4 hit points and then add 1d4 every level. So 4-16 at 1st and 14-56 at 10th, averaging out to 10 and 35 at 1st and 10th level respectively.

See where I'm going with that? If that's too low. It's really easy to tweak it higher, using a variation of your 1d6 thing in place of the 1d4s if you want. The point is to make the hit point ranges more controllable, more predictable and pushed more towards the center of the bell curve.

I also think the focus on "averages" is skewing the conversation. A Wizard does not wind up with 25hp at 10th level. Nor does a Fighter wind up with 55. A Wizard winds up with something in the range of 10-40 and the Fighter winds up with something in the range of 10-100. That's too swingy, IMO. So, I think the upper limits and lower limits are important to understand too and deserve a part in the conversation as well. It's those edge cases that make things break.
Hamakto wrote:To be honest, I am not a fan of Pyrrhic Victories in combat. We really only know about mechanics for Wizards and Warriors. Both of those classes have built in mechanics for those extra scenarios. A warrior who wants to really hit would do a MDoA to take a penalty on AC for extra chance to hit. If he misses his roll, he fails to accomplish it. A wizard can already take spell burn to help guarantee a spell (as with a MDoA... nothing is 100% certain).

As written, I do not think Skillburn fits the feel of how I see the game.
Hmmm... I don't think I'm communicating very well what a Pyrrhic Victory means.

It's "a victory with devastating cost to the victor; it carries the implication that another such victory will ultimately cause defeat". So it's not an MDA. It's Aragorn burning up some game currency to kill a Worg rider but falling off a cliff in the process.

In the System Shock thing, they burn up the potential to survive in the near future. In the Wounds system, they wound themselves. In the Triumvirate, they lose hit points. In the Con damage thing discussed a while back, Con is lost.

I don't like how any of those systems handle a Pyrrhic Victory, except for Wounds -- the old Wounds system. I like its implementation of Pyrrhic Victories the best. The others? Not much at all. And the more I play around with them the less I'm likeing them.

But, looking at DCC, spellcasters already have Pyrrhic Victories with Spellburn. And it seems like it's a lot of fun in play, no? Getting eaten up by a frog-god? Classic!

I think it stands to reason that non-spellcasters should have a similar option in the form of Skillburn. Whether you like it or not, it's in the fiction. And, specifically in regards to what I'm writing, it's one of the defining moments -- in fact the only memorable moment -- for a character in the most important publication of the genre.

So I don't feel I can ignore the concept. And, as I said, I think it stands to reason that non-spellcasters should be able to do something along the lines of Spellburn for their own abilities. It makes sense. It's in Appendix N. It's a common device in fiction that roleplaying games just ignore.

At this point, I'm leaning towards a chart. Treating it the exact same way as Spellburn -- burn up attribute points and then roll on a chart -- only it applies to Saves, Skills and To-Hits.

I think that approach makes sense and suits the tenor of DCC. I'll have to wait to see the Spellburn chart to get an idea of what sort of penalties it has. But Skillburn will likely model it line-for-line if DCC doesn't cover it in some way already.

If you don't like it, cool. Don't use it. I'm trying to come up with things that will be non-intrusive and not in-your-face. So if you think it sucks, it will be easy to ignore. I think that's the best approach for all this stuff. And it's why I'm going with a small core of "house rules" instead of a big honking system that underpins everything.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by jmucchiello » Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:35 am

I'm wondering in the System Shock idea would work better if it happened everywhere. See a fierce, dread-inspiring dragon, make a fear roll that could cause loss of action, panic, and/or loss of SS points. Same with demons and liches. This is so the scary creatures become scary again. This would mean retooling how just about all saving throws work. Resisting a Charm Person spell seems less likely to cause SS than narrowly resisting a Medusa's gaze, for example. ("I think I saw her chin!!")

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:20 am

jmucchiello wrote:I'm wondering in the System Shock idea would work better if it happened everywhere. See a fierce, dread-inspiring dragon, make a fear roll that could cause loss of action, panic, and/or loss of SS points. Same with demons and liches. This is so the scary creatures become scary again. This would mean retooling how just about all saving throws work. Resisting a Charm Person spell seems less likely to cause SS than narrowly resisting a Medusa's gaze, for example. ("I think I saw her chin!!")
That was the reason I'd liked the old Wound system as well. It freed hit points up to represent "fear" effects and such. And scaled very nicely too.

I agree that System Shock would work for that as well.

I'm reluctant to go "all in" for a system that's going to change how everything works, though. The less moving parts, the less likely something breaks unexpectedly, IME.

I liked the old Wounds system (that can be found here) because a Medusa could literally scare a 0-level farmer to death (or very near). While a 10th-level fighter would charge shield-first into action -- just trying not to look at her, of course.

I think System Shock is a little more encapsulated. And definitely less to keep track of. But I think the currency in the Wounds system is more meaningful. Because it has greater effect on what a character can do right now. Hence, it's not "broken" when used to help out in save-or-die situations and does a better job modeling Pyrrhic Victories, IMO.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:26 am

I'm necro-ing this post from the Healing and Clerics thread because I think mntnjeff has a lot of good input that's relevant to this topic. I'd like to add them to the discussion.
mntnjeff wrote:In terms of the HP system and healing, I think there have been a ton of really wonderful ideas put forth in this thread.

Here's what I'd do though:
1. Slow down / stop HP progression at a certain level (9th in AD&D....)
2. Equalize HPs a bit more (d6 with pluses for different classes, or d6 and d8)
3. Con damage as the great equalizer. You jump off a cliff you're going to take con damage (as well as HP damage). You run into a forest fire naked, you're going to take con damage. Some types of undead deal con damage. A critical deals con. 0 con = D E A D
4. Clerics can not spontaneously cast. (DCC has taken care of that w/ their new spell casting system)
5. You can regain 1/2 your con in HPs w/ either Dutch Courage, or some other method, after a particularly grueling endeavor 'X' times / day.
6. Weapons do different dice of damage in different classes hands. A dagger in a fighter's hands is a whole lot more scary than in a mage's hands.
7. Con heals back at 1 / day. HPs are healed back at 1/2 per night. Clerics can heal either w/ a cure spell but only at 1 point of con / dice.
I think mntnjeff addresses a lot of the same things I'm looking to address.

I think the recent hit points discussion with Hamakto is hitting on #1 and #2, although I'd say I'm coming in a little heavier on the higher end of hit points and starting new 1st level characters out with a bang (so to speak) on the front end. I don't think #4 needs to be addressed in light of what we know about DCC.

I like the advanced healing rates in #7. And, of course, Dutch Courage is on my short list no matter what. Good ideas here that I think offer alternative approaches to consider.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:07 am

smathis wrote:Here's a randomized version of the same concept. A Wizard could roll 2d4 at 1st level and then roll 1d2 every level thereafter. Already the Wizard starts out better -- between 2 and 8 plus CON versus 1-4 -- and at 10th level you're looking at something in the ballpark of 12-28 + 10 x CON. That settles down to around 20 hit points at 10th level on average. A Fighter could start out at 1st level with 4d4 hit points and then add 1d4 every level. So 4-16 at 1st and 14-56 at 10th, averaging out to 10 and 35 at 1st and 10th level respectively.
As an addendum, I'd like to point out an approach that may work more specifically for DCC's hit points and still retain a "controlled" version of randomness.

1. 0-level characters start out with 2d2+CON bonus.

2. 1st level characters then add 1d6 + bonus determined by class. Actually, I'd prefer 2d3 with a bonus determined by class. Mileage varies.

3. At each level after first, a character adds 1d4 hit points plus a bonus depending on class.

I feel like adding CON bonus for each level is just (here it comes again) inflating the values. It's also unnecessarily punitive as a penalty. CON already plays a big part as the basis for Fort saves. It already plays a big part as the basis for Hit Points at first level. So I don't feel a need for it to continually add up over time.

Results for each step above follow. Note, I'm using a -2 CON bonus as my low range. +4 for the high range.

1. Range: 1-8 hit points (have to consider negative CON bonus). Average: 3 hp.
2. Assuming class bonuses are in the +1-3 range. Note these values are for FIRST LEVEL PCs.
(1d6) Range: 3-17 hit points. Average: 8 hit points.
(2d3) Range: 4-17 hp. Average: 8 hit points.
3. Again assuming a bonus of +1-3 based on class at varying points in the adventurer's career. I'm using the 1d6 numbers for 1st level.
1d4 plus bonus based on class, per level
(3rd Level) Range: 7-31 hp. Average: 18 hp.
(6th Level) Range: 13-42 hp. Average: 20 hp.
(10th Level) Range: 21- 80 hp. Average: 40 hp.

Now vanilla 3e numbers.
Wizard (d4 hit die)
(1st level) Range: 1-8 hp. Average: 2.5 hp.
(3rd level) Range: 3-24 hp. Average: 7.5 hp.
(6th level) Range: 6-48 hp. Average: 15 hp
(10th level) Range: 10-80 hp. Average: 25hp.

Fighter (d10 hit die)
(1st level) Range: 1-14 hp. Average: 5.5 hp
(3rd level) Range: 3-42 hp. Average: 16.5 hp.
(6th level) Range: 6-84 hp. Average: 33 hp.
(10th level) Range: 10-140hp. Average: 55 hp.

First thing to note. Look how CRAZY those 3e numbers are. They're all over the place. Notice how important a high CON score is there. I don't think that's a big secret to anybody. I think one of the reasons it's so difficult "balancing" encounters is because of how wildly swinging those hit point numbers are. I think that's one of the reasons 4e went to straight bonuses on hit points, instead of hit dice. It makes sense, IMO. Although I disagree with their implementation of it.

Also notice how tight and manageable that first chart is. Everyone shares a similar and tighter range, that maxes out in the sixth level range for the 3e fighter. Notice also how a first level character on the low end has more hit points than in 3e. And how the top end isn't that much different, although vastly easier approach than in a vanilla 3e straight-down 3d6 attribute chargen system.

A vanilla 3e 1st level Fighter is probably looking at 8-10 hit points, maybe 5-6 in DCC. The attribute scores are going to be lower. In the more controlled system, they're looking at around 10 (Average 3 for 0 level, +3 for class, +1d6 for 1st level) as the average. This works out even better for squishy types. But no swingy inflation at 10th level.

Notice also how punitive a negative CON bonus is in vanilla 3e. It's hard to fathom. But with a crappy CON score and a crappy hit die, you could get to 10th level with only 15-20 hit points. While a buff fighter or barbarian (d12!) could have 120 hp or significantly more!

IMO, hit points are kind of a mess. We need to push them into the curve. Towards the middle. We need to curtail the effect of the CON bonus/penalty. We need to push the low-levels and squishy types up without penalizing the Fighty types and contributing to inflation at the high levels. If you look at the 6th level Fighter in vanilla 3e, I think you're seeing the upper limits what hit points should aim for. One of the reasons Epic6 worked so well, IMO, is that the inflation of attributes, hit points, etc. had a hard stop.

Hamakto
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by Hamakto » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:54 pm

smathias wrote:If you don't like it, cool. Don't use it. I'm trying to come up with things that will be non-intrusive and not in-your-face. So if you think it sucks, it will be easy to ignore. I think that's the best approach for all this stuff. And it's why I'm going with a small core of "house rules" instead of a big honking system that underpins everything.
My goal was not to be too picky, but it appears that I came across that way. My apologies.

What you described as a HP system is very similar to what I suggested.

You at d4+3 for warriors and me a d6+2 for warriors. They both average out to the same rolls.

You do throw some interesting stats about what they look like with ability bonuses, but for the purpose of the forum discussions I do not think we can worry about the extremes as much. Since Joseph has already committed to the 3e ability bonus (+1 every 2 points), they have inherited the problems that come with higher bonus numbers. That if a character does roll a 16, that +3 is a huge bonus in DCC. When it comes to con, it is going to be very large.

(I actually prefer the 13-15 = +1, 16-17 +2, 18+3 system. It keeps things from getting as out of balance)

Because of the 3d6, the way that character HP's work (in 3e numbers) is that a squishy (wizard) has 1/2 as many HP as a meat shield (warrior). The Thief and (Militant) Clerics fall somewhere in between.

I do not think giving 1st level characters too many bonus HP's is what Joseph has in mind for the game. He wants things to be deadly (i.e. start with 3 zero level chars and maybe you will have one survive by level 2 or 3). If you bump up the HP's too much at level one, you drastically change the base feel of the game.

Now I am not innocent of that myself, but HP's are a common mechanism that have to be balanced against what we currently know about DCC....

1. AC will not scale like 3e/4e. That means that based on the Warrior combat progression, people will probably get hit more often
2. Classes will possibly max out at level 10. That puts an effective cap on HP.
3. Ability bonuses will be non-existent for most characters. The core rules need to float primarily for them.
4. I think I read that Warriors might be adding their combat dice to weapon damage (or a bonus die) as they level up.

I know I proposed a wound system earlier. You proposed one... and I think a few others have chimed in with a few ideas on the boards. I am really starting to lean towards not promoting a wound system for DCC. There is no real simple way to do one that keeps the base spirit of HP in DCC/DnD. Unless you are willing to re-do the entire spell/weapon damage system to go along with it (I think that would be too drastic of a change).

To be honest, I think the fighter will need his 55hp on average to survive in his party role of meat shield. You want the squishies to tremble in fear when they get into melee. You still handing out too many HP to them, and that part of the game dynamic starts to go by the wayside.

(as a side note): I have always done max HP as a house rule. And I think that should be part of level one in DCC. (using d6 method you end up with 6-8 hp for 1st level chars)... With a min(-2)/max(+4) range in your example of (4-12hp). This keeps things deadly without providing too much life to the characters at first level.

I guess before this can really be determined, we need to have a better idea on how the following in the game are going to flow:

1. Armor Class (is DR going to be included or not)
2. Weapon Damage (what will be the expected damage ranges at various levels)
3. Monster Damage (how much damage a monster will do)
4. Spell Damage (more detail on the damage a spell will do)

How are the non-damage effects going to be handled.

The problem with all of our discussions is that there are so many unknowns out there that it is difficult to work out a system that fits easily into the game and keeps the loose rule feel that Joseph wants.

One last thing...
smathias wrote:But, looking at DCC, spellcasters already have Pyrrhic Victories with Spellburn. And it seems like it's a lot of fun in play, no? Getting eaten up by a frog-god? Classic!

I think it stands to reason that non-spellcasters should have a similar option in the form of Skillburn. Whether you like it or not, it's in the fiction. And, specifically in regards to what I'm writing, it's one of the defining moments -- in fact the only memorable moment -- for a character in the most important publication of the genre.
If we follow this line of logic, then everyone should have a chance at a MDoA... etc. Just because that mechanic exists for a wizard does not mean it should be spread out for all of the classes. DCC is in my opinion, moving back to the old school gaming where character classes were all separate and different. Their abilities did not overlap and you could not easily gain them (i.e. like the skill system).
Andy
Blood Kings
2007 & 2008 DCC Tourney Champion

Hamakto
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by Hamakto » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:03 pm

smathis wrote: Fighter (d10 hit die)
(1st level) Range: 1-14 hp. Average: 5.5 hp
(3rd level) Range: 3-42 hp. Average: 16.5 hp.
(6th level) Range: 6-84 hp. Average: 33 hp.
(10th level) Range: 10-140hp. Average: 55 hp.

First thing to note. Look how CRAZY those 3e numbers are. They're all over the place. Notice how important a high CON score is there. I don't think that's a big secret to anybody. I think one of the reasons it's so difficult "balancing" encounters is because of how wildly swinging those hit point numbers are. I think that's one of the reasons 4e went to straight bonuses on hit points, instead of hit dice. It makes sense, IMO. Although I disagree with their implementation of it.
But look at it this way. You are looking at 140hp and going OMG what a range. The problem is that it is not a linear line where someone can get 140hp. The chance of someone getting 140hp at 10th level is 1 in 10,000,000 (for rolling a 10 on a d10 for each level) * 1 in 1296 chance of rolling an 18 in CON (note 18 is 1 in 216 chance * 6 because CON is a specific ability score) === for a net chance of it happing 1 in 12,960,000,000. The number on the flip side is nearly as great...

So the average of someone with 18con is 95hp. But if you are LUCKY enough to have 18 con, then congratulations if you want to be a fighter. If you are a wizard (i.e. you rolled a 6 STR, and 12 INT to go with it), then your survival rate greatly increases.

If someone wants to figure the standard deviation, they are welcome to. That gives a far better indication on the hp ranges per levels and it would provide a better comparison.
Andy
Blood Kings
2007 & 2008 DCC Tourney Champion

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