Recently somebody asked about hit-points on Reddit:
What’s a good point to cap HP to maintain the “survival horror” feel of the OSR?
My Halberds & Helmets house rules only go up to level ten but that’s because we never got to level ten! So how much is the cap in my games? 10×5.5 is 55 for a fighter or dwarf with a constitution of 13–15, I guess? Rarely more? Often less?
But I think the actual answer to the question is this: use monsters with save or die attacks.
Yes. Do it.
At some point, the game changes and hit-points are a secondary resource. Now you’re regularly beating all the damage dealing foes. The next challenge is beating poisonous and level-draining foes, petrifying foes, foes that can use devastating spells against the party. In my games this transition happens around level 5 because parties regularly consist of fifteen or more characters including henchmen, war dogs, and so on.
I’d say the game will change again at higher levels: once you’re always well prepared, and can deal with medusas, basilisks, spectres, and so on, the time has come for politics and little armies, facing a hundred orcs at the same time. That starts happening around level 7 in my games as the party itself is now equipped with spells or magic items that petrify, disintegrate or otherwise destroy their foes.
Anway. Save or die. It’s good for your campaign. 😀