Friday, December 25, 2020

Healing hit points

I don't like HP for a number of reasons, and I'd like to replace it with something better. Abstracted as 'hit points' it could mean almost anything, but most people tend to read it as 'health' or 'life,' which makes turn-based battles feel like everyone is standing in place, just hacking away at each others abdomens until one of them finally drops. But that's not really how fights work, and it leaves you with what I think is a pretty weak conceptual and mechanical foundation to combat.

This is where I die
Fatigue, by Magnus Fallgren

The first change is pretty simple, just call it Guard instead, with successful melee attacks wearing away at your guard until you become vulnerable. Another successful attack beyond that will cause a Wound that leaves the target incapable of combat. It could be anywhere in a wide range of severity, but personally I'd recommend making the player the one who ultimately decides if their character will die. I'm also a big fan of downtime, taking a break to really heal so that the game doesn't feel like an insane rush where an entire world-saving campaign happens in a week or two. To this end I like a week to a month as the healing time for most Wounds.

(I also like a week of downtime required for leveling up, but that's probably even more controvertible)

Characters also have Endurance, which they can spend a turn using to restore their Guard. Endurance would also be what most non-melee threats deplete, since you don't exactly block or parry arrows or a rolling boulder. You could have Endurance recover after a night's sleep, but a full day off makes more sense to me. Most people don't feel fully recovered until they spend a day relaxing, after all.

Day 21: Furious Undead, by Konstantin Vavilov

There might be a mental analogue to Guard, such as Focus for spellcasters and potentially archers or other ranged attackers, refreshed in a similar way by expending Endurance. To add some extra spice and realism to melee combat, characters can also make a Finishing Strike or Aggressive Attack where you roll a larger damage die, instantly Wounding the target only if it rolls higher than their current Guard. It does nothing if it rolls lower though, and might cost Endurance to attempt.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Class questions

There are some good built-in questions that you can ask in D&D to flesh out your character and your story based on the class you've chosen, but the game doesn't actually ask these questions, so they can be easy to ignore. Here are some good questions for any D&D character, starting with "What are you hiding?" Each class will also have two more specific questions as well.


  • What are you hiding?
  • What do you rage against?
  • What confuses you about these people and their customs?


  • What are you hiding?
  • What do you play?
  • Why do you play it?


  • What are you hiding?
  • Why were you chosen?
  • What do you miss about the church?


  • What are you hiding?
  • How did you first wild shape?
  • What do you hate or fear most about civilization?


  • What are you hiding?
  • Where did you fight before?
  • Who do you admire?


  • What are you hiding?
  • How were you trained?
  • Why did you leave the monastery?


  • What are you hiding?
  • What do you stand against?
  • How do you pray?


  • What are you hiding?
  • Who is your favorite animal?
  • Why do you hunt for yourself?


  • What are you hiding?
  • What was your greatest heist?
  • How have you lost it?


  • What are you hiding?
  • How has your bloodline affected your family?
  • How did your bloodline awaken?


  • What are you hiding?
  • Why did you take the deal?
  • How do you feel about your patron?


  • What are you hiding?
  • Who taught you magic?
  • What do your spells look like?


  • What are you hiding?
  • What was the first magic item you saw?
  • How do you get materials?


The incredible Cavegirl over on Cavegirl's Game Stuff is working on an incredible game called Dungeon Bitches. That's where I got this idea from, and I highly recommend checking out her blog (if you somehow follow this one but not that one). This was fun to make because it's kind of easy to come up with questions but each one creates so much empty space that people could fill out with their characters. I have a lot of trouble writing characters, so I really like seeing stuff like this (again, thanks Cavegirl) because it helps guide things a lot more. No art this time, but I hope you enjoy the stuff that I've made anyways.