Thursday, December 15, 2011

Starting Hit Points

So I've been thinking on how the starting game goes in Beacon and how hard a time the characters have at first level when they come up on brigands or goblins or what have you.  All touchy freely campaign stuff, don't expect any solutions today.  

In classic D&D you generally have single digit HP and so do the monsters you generally face up to (as opposed to running away) and even a single goblin (or a house cat) is a pretty big threat.  In Beacon you have a huge boost compared to this initially, but because you only add 1d6 per level this levels off as you level up.   It all works out in the end, it's just some front loading.   I approve of the philosophy, even level 1 PCs should have a decent amount of HP so they can get into more fights and have less downtime resting or hiding from every passing house cat - this makes the adventure move at a brisk clip.  But sometimes I wonder if the characters have a bit too much HP to start.  Maybe a bit of humility is a good thing.

A character's average STR is going to be 8-9 and so the average starting HP is going to be in the 9-17 range.  A goblin has like 1-6 hp, and more importantly they do 2-7 damage in a hit.  What this means is that one goblin is a nuisance and a bunch is a threat.  I have no problem with that.  A human brigand has 2-16 hp and does 3-10 damage, much more a threat to the average starting character, but still slightly weaker.

I wonder if first level characters should just get STR = HP and not the initial +1d6 as well?  That isn't a large change overall but it would make the monsters considerably tougher at the first couple levels.  Goblins would still be weaker but those bandits would be pretty tough even one on one.  It would also drop the number of spells available to magic using classes by one or two, and that might be fun.  Then again it's an exception to a rule, so it's more complicated, and something that folks could easily house rule if they wanted a tougher start anyway.


  1. The same thought had crossed my mind. But, since I am strongly considering a HP fueled Feat system I think I will stick with RAW. I had thought of giving the monsters the Strength starting HPs as an option.

    Who wants a 15hp Goblin though. I think it would make combats more complicated. I don't know though.

    In my interpretation, only 1d6 are actually "hp"s anyway. Hit Points won't be physical damage. Once those first 1d6 are gone then you are doing physical, mental, mobility, or social damage to the Player.

    HPs will recover quickly, Attribute damage will not. Saves will come into play when stat damage starts. Roll under your current stat after taking damage to stay in the fight or; die (STR), Comma/Unconscious (MND), Immobile (DEX), and Outcast if using (CHR).

    These saves will be different than the conventional Stat+Skill saves that are roll higher than DC. I'm not sure I like two different save mechanics, but I will iron it out on my site when I get to those rules. A Save mechanic for skill based saves should be used in my opinion.... Getting off point here, sorry.

  2. A human brigand has 2-16 hp and does 3-10 damage

    A 1st level human fighter will have 9-17hp and do 2-7 damage (wpn and shield).

    The brigand has a higher average damage (7) than the fighter (5).

  3. @john
    I was shorthanding the crunch and wasn't explicitly stating stuff like attack bonuses. Ya a fighter with no str bonus and a light weapon would do 2-7, but with heavy weapon 2-9 but would most likely with str bonuses do 3-10 or higher. I'd still say a lvl 1 PC is likely to be tougher than a brigand 1v1.

  4. @john
    Also... all the changes I have made since we played and THIS is the only feedback you give? Poo Poo on you sir.

  5. I always felt that we were quite on the edge with our 1st level combats in B4e. Quite a few times we were in danger of losing characters and near to TPK in a coupled of instances. It seemed a good balance. I'm not sure how a reduction starting hp would improve this.

    I find Bane's damage to stats quite interesting - reminds me of Traveller.

  6. I've speculated on this a bit more.

    Save failures for:
    Strength = Unconscious
    Mind = Crazy (might flee, attack friend, sit and drool on oneself, etc.)
    Dexterity = Immobilized
    Charisma = Outcast or Peria

    I think death comes at the loss of all points in the Strength attribute.
    Other zero valued attribute causes the PC to become an NPC...

    Loss of all Charisma could become an abomination of some sort, for example. Or, the loss of all Mind points, a raving lunatic. Etc.