Perishable Hit Points

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koewn
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Joined: 2012-07-17 20:11
Perishable Hit Points

A very underbaked idea which I'll leave here and most likely never try and use:

There has been for quite some time the concept of temporary hit points - not quite healing, but, hit points that operate just the same. The general definition of the category is that temporary hit points are depleted first - then damage dips back into the regular pool. 

What if they didn't? What if you continued to accrue damage to 0 "real" HP, and what kept you standing was the perishable hit points? 

  • Whatever the source; magic, alchemical, delusional (berserkergang?): perishable hit points are used last - the character is reduced to 0 real HP with subsequent damage, then PHP is depleted - and the character operates normally for as long as the PHP last.
  • If 'real' healing, from potion, spell, proficiency, etc. is acquired, any remaining PHP is lost.
  • Additional sources of PHP will stack up, from potion, spell, etc.
  • PHP cannot push a character above their natural HP limit.
  • PHP disappears at a character's first rest period after being applied (rest period as defined by pg 92 of ACKS; 1 turn every 5 turns). 
  • A character with 0 real HP (operating on PHP only) will need to save vs. Death to "press on" and not rest after 5 turns. A failure removes all PHP from the character. Additional saves after the first take a -4 penalty.
  • If a character is left at 0 HP at the time PHP expires, roll on the Condition & Recovery column of the Mortal Wounds table, modified as per table instructions (as HP wll always be 0, the +5 bonus will always apply), with a d20 only. Interpret the results less as actual mortal wounds, but as system shock from the strain on the body at being pushed beyond natural capacity.
  • An attack which expends the last of the character's PHP and pushes them to 0 HP or below 0 is treated normally per ACKS rules. 

--

...so, what holes are in this, aside from it being completely unnecessary - I don't actually know what imagined problem I'm trying to solve, so :)

I was looking for something verifiably "cheaper" than "instant magic" healing, more-or-less in order to support a expanded alchemical system for a lower-magic sort of deal - something that's immediate enough to be useful "in combat", but still leaving the main issue of being "out of HP" at the end of a bad fight - still "worn out", it's just that you had a ...sci-fi style stim pack there keeping you going for a bit.

No miracles, only a slight delay in having to deal with the problem. A 14th level fighter has a ...20% chance? to last 4 hours without resting.

And I didn't really want to screw with the default HP mechanic; nor fully eliminate the "game concept" of in-combat healing - and I'd like for "magic healing" to still operate as usual for extraordinary situations. I realize I'm conflating several differing philosophical definitions of "HP"...but.

I'm really not sure how much that's worth, comparatively to the cost values in the PC for Healing - there is obviously a hell of a lot of utility in surviving a fight,  if only to be knocked unconscious in the next hour, but, I dunno.

Probably should have something for getting PHP more than once per day (given PHP has expired already once for the character), and characters needed rest according to the MW table can't take more PHP (save or unconscious?)

 

Arman
Joined: 2016-04-12 14:19

I'm thinking of PHP like adrenaline - something that shuts down the body's natural pain response that allows someone with tremendous wounds to keep fighting, only much stronger. I like the idea!

  • PHP cannot push a character above their natural HP limit.
    • Actually, I think it should. In fact, I think PHP should replace some normal HP - say, half and half. If you get 4 points of PHP, you lose 2 points of real HP. It's great to have more HP, but in the long run, you lose out - and, it sets a hard limit of double your HP. So while it's possible to double your HP, it's at the cost of essentially starting battle at 0 real HP. And, the HP rounds up - there's a chance of getting only 3 PHP, which replaces 2 HP.
  • If 'real' healing, from potion, spell, proficiency, etc. is acquired, any remaining PHP is lost.
    • I would suggest limiting this. If you have 5 PHP, and are healed 3 HP... healing could actually kill you. Instead, healing (magical or otherwise) will first replace PHP - healing 3 HP removes 3 PHP.
  • PHP disappears at a character's first rest period after being applied (rest period as defined by pg 92 of ACKS; 1 turn every 5 turns). 
    • I think it should behave as a spell - rather than vanishing at some random time, it would vanish precisely two hours after received (or whenever the spell expires), when "healed out," or when dispelled, if the method of acquiring it was magical.
  • A character with 0 real HP (operating on PHP only) will need to save vs. Death to "press on" and not rest after 5 turns. A failure removes all PHP from the character. Additional saves after the first take a -4 penalty.
    • Or, perhaps instead, PHP can be 'burned' to work as Endurance; 4 PHP for every rest you skip. That way, it benefits forced marches; an evil overlord doses his army with stim-packs to make them run farther, though it costs them real HP.
    • Alternately, a failure removes a certain amount of HP instead of PHP, to illustrate the toll it takes on the body to not rest. You may have 6 PHP, but you're real health is at -2 HP. As soon as it wears out, you're in trouble!
  • If a character is left at 0 HP at the time PHP expires, roll on the Condition & Recovery column of the Mortal Wounds table, modified as per table instructions (as HP wll always be 0, the +5 bonus will always apply), with a d20 only. Interpret the results less as actual mortal wounds, but as system shock from the strain on the body at being pushed beyond natural capacity.
    • It well may be real wounds, but the PHP helps ignore them; in fact, I may suggest giving a penalty to having 0 HP after losing PHP. Wounds acquired while hopped up on stim-packs are going to be worse than normal, since they will be ignored. Say, a -1 per 4 PHP on the mortal wounds table?

All in all, I like the idea; it's a twist on healing that makes characters more powerful, but at a real cost. I could see this as a proficiency (Enraged: gain 1d4 PHP per level), a potion, a spell, or even an item (Syringe of Stamina: provides 1d4 PHP once per hour).

koewn
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  • If 'real' healing, from potion, spell, proficiency, etc. is acquired, any remaining PHP is lost.
    • I would suggest limiting this. If you have 5 PHP, and are healed 3 HP... healing could actually kill you. Instead, healing (magical or otherwise) will first replace PHP - healing 3 HP removes 3 PHP.

OK - I didn't mean for that to be implied. Loss of PHP should at a minimum drop the character to 0 HP; so any healing starts from 0.

A character has 0 HP, 5 PHP - and is healed for 3 HP. The character ends up at 3 HP (0 PHP).
The character has 3 HP and 5 PHP - the character is healed for 3 HP, and ends up at 6 HP (0 PHP).

 

  • PHP disappears at a character's first rest period after being applied (rest period as defined by pg 92 of ACKS; 1 turn every 5 turns). 
    • I think it should behave as a spell - rather than vanishing at some random time, it would vanish precisely two hours after received (or whenever the spell expires), when "healed out," or when dispelled, if the method of acquiring it was magical.

It could, certainly. I was thinking along the lines of "adrenaline" as well; hence I keyed off the "rest" state....and:

  • A character with 0 real HP (operating on PHP only) will need to save vs. Death to "press on" and not rest after 5 turns. A failure removes all PHP from the character. Additional saves after the first take a -4 penalty.
    • Or, perhaps instead, PHP can be 'burned' to work as Endurance; 4 PHP for every rest you skip. That way, it benefits forced marches; an evil overlord doses his army with stim-packs to make them run farther, though it costs them real HP.
    • Alternately, a failure removes a certain amount of HP instead of PHP, to illustrate the toll it takes on the body to not rest. You may have 6 PHP, but you're real health is at -2 HP. As soon as it wears out, you're in trouble!

Hm. OK, yea, I can dig that - burning it down instead of clearing it.

  • If a character is left at 0 HP at the time PHP expires, roll on the Condition & Recovery column of the Mortal Wounds table, modified as per table instructions (as HP wll always be 0, the +5 bonus will always apply), with a d20 only. Interpret the results less as actual mortal wounds, but as system shock from the strain on the body at being pushed beyond natural capacity.
    • It well may be real wounds, but the PHP helps ignore them; in fact, I may suggest giving a penalty to having 0 HP after losing PHP. Wounds acquired while hopped up on stim-packs are going to be worse than normal, since they will be ignored. Say, a -1 per 4 PHP on the mortal wounds table?

I'm keying off a more abstract definition of HP as luck/skill/perserverance - a pool of outrageous fortune with which we oppose slings and arrows. ACKS makes it a lot easier to do so with the Mortal Wounds table; since it defines actual serious wounds that you get once you're out of luck/etc. That does very much mean I'm "overloading" the definition here by getting identical definitions of HP stacked on top of each other, but as it's already a vague thing anyway...eh.

I'd intended there to be a difference between PHP expiring in whatever fashion (not wounded), and PHP getting knocked off due to damage (wounded). To clarify that thought:

There are two ways to end up at 0 HP & 0 PHP:

  • The player character is at 0 HP, with some amount of PHP, and damage is incurred equal to the amount of PHP the character has.
    • Resolve this on the Mortal Wounds table as per usual ACKS rules - as if the player was brought to 0 HP normally.
  • The player character is at 0 HP, with some amount of PHP, and the PHP is expired via the PHP mechanics (burn off, whatever)
    • Resolve this as:
      • If a character is left at 0 HP at the time PHP expires, roll on the Condition & Recovery column of the Mortal Wounds table, modified as per table instructions (as HP wll always be 0, the +5 bonus will always apply), with a d20 only. Interpret the results less as actual mortal wounds, but as system shock from the strain on the body at being pushed beyond natural capacity.

There's probably something to be said for incurring a Mortal Wound penalty in some variant of this, but as the Mortal Wound table is already a bit time-delayed in it's effects (defined when checked), you'd run the risk of some slavering, drug-maddened barbarian suddenly exploding into a fine mist when combat ends.

Which would be great in a sci-fi/cyberpunk sort of game, actually.

 

 

tire_ak
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I'm reminded of 3e D&D. Hitpoints gained from a temporary increase to Constitution were explicitly not lost first, like temporary hit points were.  You could keep standing on those borrowed HP, but once the effect ended you'd drop into negatives and be dead or dying.

Seems like you could use this without much modification in ACKS. 

GMJoe
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Joined: 2013-01-04 12:56

Huh, I kind of like this idea - it seems like it could represent being "held together by magic" or something similar; I can just imagine the evil sorcerer Evets' troops fighting on long after they should have died, only to collapse in screaming piles shortly after the battle ends...