2007-07-17 More Hitpoints Not

I like Jonathan Drain’s article Flawed House Rule: Double-Rolling Hit Dice. He’s spot-on when he says that giving players more hitpoints makes for a boring game: Combat lasts longer, that’s it. It’s not necessarily going to make the game more enjoyable.

I agree.

And that brings me back to wargaming and the D&D rules as compared to M20, for example. I must confess I would have hoped that the rules would just fade into the background and combat would be fierce and furious eventually. But six or seven players at the table definitely slow things down. Too many rules!

D&D 4th ed alert Effects of fighting in magical darkness? How to drag an unconscious person out of danger? Charging up to a corner with reach weapon, and hitting somebody who’s hiding behind it, archers hiding in the bushes and people charging up to them with reach weapons, people wielding ranged weapons provoking attacks getting a -4 to AC when attacked – it’s all in there, somewhere. Argh!

Players and DM should roll all the dice in one go – roll both to-hit and damage, color-coded for multiple attacks. (Yeah, I should do it, too.) But many are superstitious, or don’t want to rush now that it is finally their turn. Then again, throwing the dice faster might not be the solution.

Last Sunday we had a fight where a flind cleric-4 cast Darkness, Bull Strenth, and Spiritual Weapon. Since Darkness cancels Light, and there was no other source of light down here, it was a very tough fight. See my post on the Paizo message board for details. It was also a very long fight. And Darkness prevented all spells requiring a line of sight from working, so the arcane spellcasters were condemned to inactivity. I saw a TPK approaching in seven mile boots. It was both exciting and exhausting.

So why am I complaining? I would have liked it fast and furious, but the rules and the spells [WhatIsAffordance afforded] a different game. That’s why I’m still not quite happy.

Grofzg With Fudge Dice? Or the ZorcererOfZo rules? One of my players keeps recommending a different game – Everway. It’s available from Gaslight Press.



Agree entirely. I’m planning to House Rule D&D to use the hitpointless combat system from Mutants & Masterminds once we’re back playing that; M&M combat revolves around the Toughness Save mechanic, and in play it makes for much more dynamic combats.

greywulf 2007-07-17 16:42 UTC

So you’ll have toughness saves when you’re hit and a condition track? Is this stricktly plug and play? Tranlate the Toughness feat into a +1 to Toughness Saves and you’re done. Hm...

AlexSchroeder 2007-07-18 09:33 UTC

Something like that, yes. Just use the weapon and armour stats from the M&M book, and set a class-based toughness save value (most probably equal to Fort save, for simplicity (plus the Toughness feat, as you describe)) and run with it. We’ll be playtesting it in a few weeks, so I’ll do a write-up then. Meantime we’re having a blast superhero gaming :)

greywulf 2007-07-19 15:55 UTC

In an unrelated note.....

Sounds to me like the problem you had in combat lay with a lack of tactical spell selection. It’s always worth having some spell which don’t require line of sight to work, including those which affect yourself, and area effects (especially cone effects) are very, very useful, as are walls if the caster is high enough level. Then there’s also the option of using your familiar to cast touch spells. Tricky, but tactically well worth it. A situation such as the one above is a great reason to have a Bat familiar :)

greywulf 2007-07-19 16:20 UTC

Well, I’d like to see the spellcaster who sends out his familiar to deliver a touch attach to an enemy that almost certainly will kill the poor thing with one successful hit (and rolling d20+10 to hit at that) ;)

I think one of the decisive advantages that cleric had over us was his access to 2nd level spells while none of our characters has... so basically, there was nothing we could do about the darkness, and we could not get out (being blinded incurs -4 to some skill checks including climb).

As for the M&M stuff: don’t know much about it, but that plug and pray approach would severely shift game balance as instead of 5 different hit dice you end up with good and bad saves. And face it - in D&D everything is about balance.

– madalex 2007-07-29 16:17 UTC

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