Splitting up Hit Dice: Mass and Fighting Ability

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The Dark
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I prefer High-level Adventurer Conqueror King System Master rules, also known as HACKsMaster...

Alex
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Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Earlier in the thread, many of you brought up Conan D20 and its use of "Defensive Bonus" and "Armor as Damage Resistance". This evening I worked through scores of different battle combinations to compare different combatants under different rule mechanics to see if I could find a set of rules that would yield approximately the same outcomes as Armor as AC.

Here are those mechanics.
1. All combatants possess a Defensive Bonus of (10-Base Attack Throw)/2, rounded down. Defensive Bonus is increased by DEX modifier, Bladedancer's Graceful Fighting, Swashbuckling proficiency, magical items and spells "of protection", "displacement" or "shimmering", and spells that improve AC through luck, speed, or divine favor. Because highly dexterous targets are harder to hit than sluggish ones, a target’s Defensive Bonus is added to the attack throw value necessary to hit it.

2. When a target is struck, it reduces the damage dealt by its Armor Class. AC is improved by armor, shields, magical adjustments to armor and shields, Weapon & Shield proficiency, magical items "of armor", and spells that create magical armor or shields or render the subject "invulnerable". Any attack deals at least 1 point of damage. An attack dealing dealing 10 or more points of damage before armor deals a minimum of 2 points of damage after armor. An attack dealing 20 or more points of damage before armor deals a minimum of 3 points of damage after armor, and so on.

3. All combatants possess the capability of scoring critical hits. The likelihood of scoring a critical hit is based on the attacker's modified attack throw (including target's defensive bonus):
16+ : No critical hit possible
11-15: Natural 20
6-10: Natural 19-20
1-5: Natural 18-20
-5-0: Natural 17-20
-6- -10: Natural 16-20
etc.
On a critical hit, the target suffers maximum possible damage, ignoring armor.

How do these rules impact the length of combat?
At levels 1-4, fights are approximately the same in length. The defensive gains a slight edge, making them about 8% longer.
At levels 5+, fights are about 30% longer. The increase in Defense Bonus from leveling up, combined with the variety of magical protections available, does make things a bit longer.

THEREFORE (OPTIONAL)
4. Increase damage die of all weapons by one step, such that small weapons deal 1d6 damage, medium weapons deal 1d8 damage, medium weapons wielded two-handed deal 1d10 damage, and large weapons deal 1d12 damage.

INTERESTING SIDE EFFECTS
Under traditional ACKS rules, a 9th level fighter (plate +2, shield +2, sword +2, weapon & shield proficiency) will kill a fully-buffed 9th bladedancer (2 swords +2, leather +2, weapon finesse, swashbuckling, shimmer, swift sword, striking) in 10 rounds, while the 9th level bladedancer will kill the fighter in 14 rounds, meaning the fighter will tend to win. Under the rules presented here, the bladedancer will kill the fighter in 11 rounds, while the fighter will kill the bladedancer in 13 rounds, meaning the bladedancer will tend to win.

At first I thought this was anomalous, because the bladedancer's d6+2 swords can hardly penetrate the fighter's armor, even with a spell of striking. But the impact of criticals is disproportionately felt by high AC characters, and two weapon fighters, or other characters with great attack throws, fighting low-DB opponents, score crits quite frequently.

OTHER NOTES
Weapon Focus proficiency should apply to any critical hits, and allow the character to deal an additional roll of damage on top of the max damage.

golan2072
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Interesting!

jedavis
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Is having a 9th-level BD be able to kill a 9th-level Fighter on average a desirable outcome?

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Given that it's a best-case situation for the bladedancer (she has all of her buffs up and the fighter has no buffs at all), I think it's fine.

If the bladedancer doesn't have Shimmer, Striking, and Swift Sword, it's a wipe-out.

koewn
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Hm.

I wonder how the simulation changes if the shield's AC bonus is given over to the Defensive Bonus rather than Armor Class, under the (half-baked) theory that putting a wall of metal or wood betwixt you and a weapon is just as good as dodging?

Alex
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Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I wrestled with that. I think if one looks only at man-to-man combat that makes sense. But when you add giants and ogres and dragons to the mix, it becomes apparent that the shield can't really block 100% of such an attack.

koewn
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Hm. That would be true, excepting Steve Rogers. I could see some additional bits to fix that alongside/related to the minimum damage rules you had above but I doubt the extra complexity would be worth it.

Alex
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Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Here are some revised thoughts on this topic.

1. Hit Points are replaced by "Wound Points" and "Morale Points". Loss of Wound Points represent physical injury, while loss of Morale Points represent fatigue, pain, and fear.

2. Man-sized creatures have 5 Wound Points, modified by their CON adjustment. For large creatures, total WP are multiplied by 2. For huge creatures, WP are multiplied by 4. For gigantic creatures, WP are multiplied by 8. For colossal creatures, WP are multiplied by 16.

4. Classed characters gain their Hit Dice and Con Modifier as additional Morale Points on top of their Wound Points.

5. Because a monster's Hit Dice subsume both its WP and MP, monsters reverse-engineer their Morale Points. To calculate how many Morale Points a monster has, subtract its Wound Points from its Hit Points (or a flat 5x HD).

EXAMPLES:
1. Marcus is a 7th Fighter with 18 CON (+3 modifier). Marcus has (5 + 3) 8 Wound Points. He has 7d8+21 Wound Points. Assume he rolls 6, 5, 4, 7, 1, 2, 8, for a total of 33+21 = 54 Morale Points.

2. Theog is an Ogre. A large-sized 4HD+1 monster, he has 22hp under conventional rules. Theog has 5 x 2 (large size) 10 Wound Points. He has (22-10) 12 Morale Points.

3. Dumbo is an Elephant. A gigantic-sized 9HD monster, Dumbo has 40hp. Dumbo has (5 x 8) 40 Wound Points. He has (40-40) 0 Morale Points.

4. Smaug is a Dragon. A colossal-sized 20HD monster, Smaug has 105hp. Smaug has (5 x 16) 80 Wound Points. he has (105-80) 25 Morale Points.

HEALING:
1. Cure Light Wounds heals 1 Wound Point and 1d6 Morale Points.
2. Cure Moderate Wounds heals 2 Wound Points and 2d4 Morale Points.
3. Cure Major Wounds heals 1 Wound Point per 2 caster levels and 2d6 Morale Points.
4. Cure Serious Wounds heals 1 Wound Point per caster level and 2d6 Morale Points.
5. Cure Critical Wounds heals 3 Wound Points per 2 caster levels and 3d6 Morale Points.
6. Wound Points heal at a rate of 1 per day, multiplied by size modifier (x2, x4, etc.)
7. Morale Points recover at a rate of level per hour.

ATTACK THROWS:
Monster attack throws are based on Morale Points, by diving Morale Points / 4.5 and adding +1 to calculate Fighting Hit Dice. If Fighting Hit Dice turn out to be negative, you fight as a normal man.

However, monsters gain armor penetration. Large monsters ignore up to 2 points of armor, huge monsters ignore up to 4 points of armor, gigantic monsters ignore up to 6 points of armor, and colossal monsters ignore up to 8 points of armor.

EXAMPLE:
1. Theog, with 12 morale points, has (12/4.5 +1) 3.67 Fighting HD, so he attacks as a 3+ hit die creature (7+). As a large creature he ignores 2 points of armor.
2. Dumbo, with 0 morale points, fights as a 1 HD monster (10+). As a gigantic creature, he ignores 6 points of armor. Dumbo doesn't really care if you are a skirmisher or a plate-armored knight... except insofar as the skirmisher has a higher DEX, he'll be harder for Dumbo to hit!
3. Smaug, with 25 morale points, has (25/4.5 +1) 6.56 Fighting HD, so he attacks as a 6+ hit die creature (4+). As a colossal creature he ignores 8 points of armor.

Consider Smaug attacking a Fighter with DEX 13 (+1), Plate +1 (+7), Shield +1 (+2), Weapon & Shield proficiency (+1). His AC is 11.
Under conventional ACKS rolls, Smaug's attack throw is -3, and he would hit on 8+.
Under these rules, Smaug's attack throw is 4+. He ignores 8 points of armor, reducing the Fighter to AC 3, so he hits on 7+.

Alex
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Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Here are some revised thoughts on this topic.

1. Hit Points are replaced by "Wound Points" and "Morale Points". Loss of Wound Points represent physical injury, while loss of Morale Points represent fatigue, pain, and fear.

2. Man-sized creatures have 5 Wound Points, modified by their CON adjustment. For large creatures, total WP are multiplied by 2. For huge creatures, WP are multiplied by 4. For gigantic creatures, WP are multiplied by 8. For colossal creatures, WP are multiplied by 16.

4. Classed characters gain their Hit Dice and Con Modifier as additional Morale Points on top of their Wound Points.

5. Because a monster's Hit Dice subsume both its WP and MP, monsters reverse-engineer their Morale Points. To calculate how many Morale Points a monster has, subtract its Wound Points from its Hit Points (or a flat 5x HD).

EXAMPLES:
1. Marcus is a 7th Fighter with 18 CON (+3 modifier). Marcus has (5 + 3) 8 Wound Points. He has 7d8+21 Wound Points. Assume he rolls 6, 5, 4, 7, 1, 2, 8, for a total of 33+21 = 54 Morale Points.

2. Theog is an Ogre. A large-sized 4HD+1 monster, he has 22hp under conventional rules. Theog has 5 x 2 (large size) 10 Wound Points. He has (22-10) 12 Morale Points.

3. Dumbo is an Elephant. A gigantic-sized 9HD monster, Dumbo has 40hp. Dumbo has (5 x 8) 40 Wound Points. He has (40-40) 0 Morale Points.

4. Smaug is a Dragon. A colossal-sized 20HD monster, Smaug has 105hp. Smaug has (5 x 16) 80 Wound Points. he has (105-80) 25 Morale Points.

HEALING:
1. Cure Light Wounds heals 1 Wound Point and 1d6 Morale Points.
2. Cure Moderate Wounds heals 2 Wound Points and 2d4 Morale Points.
3. Cure Major Wounds heals 1 Wound Point per 2 caster levels and 2d6 Morale Points.
4. Cure Serious Wounds heals 1 Wound Point per caster level and 2d6 Morale Points.
5. Cure Critical Wounds heals 3 Wound Points per 2 caster levels and 3d6 Morale Points.
6. Wound Points heal at a rate of 1 per day, multiplied by size modifier (x2, x4, etc.)
7. Morale Points recover at a rate of level per hour.

ATTACK THROWS:
Monster attack throws are based on Morale Points, by diving Morale Points / 4.5 and adding +1 to calculate Fighting Hit Dice. If Fighting Hit Dice turn out to be negative, you fight as a normal man.

However, monsters gain armor penetration. Large monsters ignore up to 2 points of armor, huge monsters ignore up to 4 points of armor, gigantic monsters ignore up to 6 points of armor, and colossal monsters ignore up to 8 points of armor.

EXAMPLE:
1. Theog, with 12 morale points, has (12/4.5 +1) 3.67 Fighting HD, so he attacks as a 3+ hit die creature (7+). As a large creature he ignores 2 points of armor.
2. Dumbo, with 0 morale points, fights as a 1 HD monster (10+). As a gigantic creature, he ignores 6 points of armor. Dumbo doesn't really care if you are a skirmisher or a plate-armored knight... except insofar as the skirmisher has a higher DEX, he'll be harder for Dumbo to hit!
3. Smaug, with 25 morale points, has (25/4.5 +1) 6.56 Fighting HD, so he attacks as a 6+ hit die creature (4+). As a colossal creature he ignores 8 points of armor.

Consider Smaug attacking a Fighter with DEX 13 (+1), Plate +1 (+7), Shield +1 (+2), Weapon & Shield proficiency (+1). His AC is 11.
Under conventional ACKS rolls, Smaug's attack throw is -3, and he would hit on 8+.
Under these rules, Smaug's attack throw is 4+. He ignores 8 points of armor, reducing the Fighter to AC 3, so he hits on 7+.

Beragon
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Hey Alex, I like this set of rules on the subject best so far. My critical thinking:

<strong>WOUND POINTS AND MORALE POINTS</strong>

1) I like 5 being the base for man-sized creatures. It works well with the Con modifier (-3 to +3) for a range of 2-8 "hp" for a human. Also, the way I view it, based upon that humans would have a d8 hit die, with an average of 4-5 hp for an adult... that compares well with an orc (which I have always wanted to consider overall equal to a 0-level human warrior). It also compares well with weapon damage dice IMO.

2) I'm wondering how it works overall with monsters. Horses are a good example I think:

Light Horse
ACKS hp = 2-16 hp
WP/MP = 2-10 wp, 0-6 mp (averge wp: 9, average mp: 0)

Medium Horse
ACKS hp = 3-24 hp
WP/MP = 3-10 wp, 0-14 mp (average wp: 10, average mp: 3.5)

Heavy Horse
ACKS hp = 6-27 hp
WP/MP = 6-10 wp, 0-17 mp (average wp: 10, average mp: 6.5)

Considering verisimilitude, this idea gives the impression that a heavy horse technically isn't any more likely to survive an injury than a light horse, but it does have more stamina, is more resistant to pain, and is less fearful.

3) When I've considered the concept of "wound points" for my house rules, I've been tempted to say that they're equal to half Con score which is very close to 5 + Con mod.

4) APM: "Classed characters gain their Hit Dice and Con Modifier as additional Morale Points on top of their Wound Points." This is a boost to PCs and NPCs. The alternative to keep it compatible with current ACKS assumptions is your mp = HD/level -1. In other words, 1st level characters have no mp. I guess that makes it incompatible with ACKS' healing assumptions however. It looks like you're choosing the lesser of 2 evils if you get what I mean. I think assuming 2nd level to be the default starting point for PCs is worth considering since then, the 1st HD can represent wp, and 2nd and subsequent HD can represent mp... and magical healing isn't so bad then.

5) In my house rules, I've assumed that hp represent "fatigue, pain, and fear" (and superficial wounds) and that 0 or less hp represent real wounds. In other words, 2 states of injury. WP/MP has 3 states of injury: morale points, wound points, 0 or less wound points. I bring it up, because I've been contemplating how to handle a "knife to the throat" or "critical hit" scenario and do not have a satisfying solution yet.

<strong>HEALING</strong>

1) I don't have any meaningful input for magical healing (except see above about starting at 2nd level).

2) For natural healing, I like going with a % of max for mp. You would come up with a number based upon two things:
- how fast do you think a person can naturally heal enough to be "adventure ready"?
- is it easy for players to calculate?

I personally add a third criterion:
- will it help me and the players recreate the feel of player characters like Conan, Aragorn, Perseus, Gandalf, etc? (because for the most part, these characters don't spend weeks or months in the infirmary).

Again from a standpoint of verisimilitude, I can't wrap my head around, a wizard returning to full health quickly and and a fighter with 18 Con taking "forever". Ditto for magical healing... after a while, a cure light wounds spell is more like cure serious wounds on a wizard and a bandage on a fighter.

<strong>ATTACK THROWS</strong>
I'm wondering if armor wearing classes take too large a hit from these rules. There is a drawback to wearing armor in that it slows movement. Armor wearing warriors could often be easier to hit and slower! If I had to endure a blow from Dumbo, I think I'd fare better in a suit of armor, than none at all. Maybe to mitigate that, allow Str mod to affect encumbrance limits?

Beragon
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Beragon wrote: "I personally add a third criterion:
- will it help me and the players recreate the feel of player characters like Conan, Aragorn, Perseus, Gandalf, etc? (because for the most part, these characters don't spend weeks or months in the infirmary)."

Ignore this part Alex... it doesn't apply to the concept of mp, since they heal per hour, not per day.

koewn
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My inherent laziness makes me think having the players track their AC in multiple categories (AC vs Normal/Large/Huge/...) so I can say "The Huge giant hit AC 7" might be the best way to play the armor penetration part.

Alternatively I'll finally have to realize my lifelong dream of transforming into a "Players Roll All The Dice" model.

CharlesDM
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The old Mayfair Role-Aids supplement Blood & Steel by Bryan Nystul introduced Wound Points based on size, with human-sized creatures having 5, tiny 3 up to gigantic 15. Mayfair's Hits-to-Kill became Hits-to-Knockout. However, WP and HTK were separate damage tracks. Wounds were caused by "critical hits", which occurred due to luck (natural 20), massive damage or an "expert strike" (exceeding to-hit roll by 10+). There were rules for Wound Level (a damage track with effects) and charts for simplified wounds or specific wounds. He does suggest only using the additional damage tracking with significant creatures. Lots of other stuff too in a relatively small package, very interesting for the time (1993). I recommend at least browsing it if you can find a copy. (Mayfair liquidated their stock in recent years, and you might find shrink-wrapped copies for $5 or so.)

Alex
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Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

BERAGON wrote... "Classed characters gain their Hit Dice and Con Modifier as additional Morale Points on top of their Wound Points." This is a boost to PCs and NPCs. The alternative to keep it compatible with current ACKS assumptions is your mp = HD/level -1. In other words, 1st level characters have no mp. I guess that makes it incompatible with ACKS' healing assumptions however. It looks like you're choosing the lesser of 2 evils if you get what I mean. I think assuming 2nd level to be the default starting point for PCs is worth considering since then, the 1st HD can represent wp, and 2nd and subsequent HD can represent mp... and magical healing isn't so bad then.

It is definitely a boost to PCs and NPCs. If I used these rules it would be as part of a "Heroic ACKS" supplement so I think it would be appropriate to "buff" PCs.
****
MONSTERS: I had a further refinement to the system for monsters.

Monster Hit Dice determine their attack throws and number of morale points. Monster Hit are equal to stated HD in ACKS, - a number of Hit Dice based on their size:
* Tiny: -1 hit point; 1 Wound Point
* Small: -1/2 HD; 3 Wound Points or 1d4 Wound Points
* Man-Sized: -1 HD; 5 Wound Points or 1d8 Wound Points
* Large: - 2 HD; 10 Wound Points or 2d8 Wound Points
* Huge: - 4 HD; 20 Wound Points or 4d8 Wound Points
* Gigantic: - 8 HD; 40 Wound Points or 8d8 Wound Points
* Colossal: - 16 HD; 80 Wound Points or 16d8 Wound Points
* Stupendous: - 32 HD; 160 Wound Points or 32d8 Wound Points
If HD are reduced to less than 0, the creature has no morale points and attacks as a normal man.

EXAMPLES:
Tiny: Giant Killer Bee.
Base HD: 1/2 HD (1d4 hit points).
Heroic: 1 Wound Point. 1d4-1 Morale Points. Attacks as 1- HD Monster.
Small: Kobold.
Base HD: 1/2 HD.
Heroic: 3 Wound Points. 0 Morale Points. Attacks as Normal Man.
Man-sized: Orc
Base HD: 1 HD.
Heroic: 5 Wound Points. 0 Morale Points. Attacks as Normal Man.
Man-sized: Hobgoblin
Base HD: 1+1 HD.
Heroic: 5 Wound Points. 1 Morale Point. Attacks as 1- HD Monster.
Large: Ogre
Base HD: 4+1 HD
Heroic: 10 Wound Points. 2d8+1 Morale Points. Attacks as 2+ HD Monster.
Huge: Wyvern
Base HD: 7
Heroic: 20 Wound Points. 3d8 Morale Points. Attacks as 3 HD monster.
Gigantic: Stegosaurus
Base HD: 11
Heroic: 40 Wound Points. 3d8 Morale Points. Attacks as 3 HD monster.
Colossal: Purple Worm.
Base HD: 15
Heroic: 80 Wound Points. 0 Morale Points. Attacks as Normal Man.
Stupendous: Giant Roc
Base HD: 36
Heroic: 160 Wound Points. 4d8 Morale Points. Attacks as 4 HD monster.

Note that these only work if used in conjunction with "ignore armor" for larger size monsters.
This is of course more simple than strictly necessary; one could actually for each monster divide them into "Wound Points", "Morale Points", "Attack Throw", and "Armor Penetration". There's no per se reason they have to be all based one data point, except the important goal of simplicity.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Another nice benefit of this approach is that we can present orc chieftains and so on as monsters with more morale points rather than monsters with more wound points.

E.g. "Each orc gang will be led by a champion with AC4, 1+1 Hit Die, 8 hit points, and a +1 bonus to damage rolls from strength. Each orc warband will be led by a sub-chieftain with AC5, 2 Hit Dice monster, 12 hit points, and a +1 bonus to damage rolls. An orc lair or village will be led by a chieftain with AC6, 4 Hit Dice, 20 hit points, and a +2 bonus to damage rolls."

Orc Champion: 5 wound points, 3 morale points, fights as 1-1 HD monster
Orc Subchief: 5 wound points, 7 morale points, fights as 2 HD monster
Orc Chief: 5 wound points, 15 morale points, fights as 3 HD monster
etc.

Beragon
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I'm wondering what sort of metagame affect the default formula for determining monster wp/mp will have on how players treat monsters.

Taking magic out of the equation, in general, most of a PC's "hit points" are composed of morale points... and a significant portion, most, or even all of a monster's "hit points" are composed of wound points. This puts them on different healing schedules. My concern is the possibility that players will treat encounters they retreat from as such...

1) PCs get depleted of mp, while their foes get depleted of wp
2) Fall back, rest a few hours...
3) Go back fully refreshed while said monsters haven't recovered (and won't for days)

I don't know if the concern is legitimate... just throwing it out there.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I think that is definitely a legitimate concern. Players will respond to incentives, and this definitely gives them incentives to hit and run.

Thoughts...
1. In play, it might not be *too* dissimilar to current gameplay past the mid-levels, where most PCs have access to enough healing to be back in the fight relatively quickly. So maybe it's not to be worried about.

If we do worry about it...
2. What if Morale Point recovery time varies depending on whether the PCs won or lost their last battle? E.g. if you retreat your rate of MP recovery is slowed.

3. What if Morale Point recovery is tied to returning to a camp or tavern or recuperating in a place of safety. This would make it harder to hit-and-run.

4. What if we just accept it as a given? It does accurately reflect the hunting tactics of ancient man against certain large animals such as elephants and whales, where they would aim to wound the animal and then let it bleed to death.

5. Perhaps the answer lies in giving the "big scaries" (for whom this is most likely to be a danger) a possiblity of spiking through and dealing wound point damage unexpectedly.

koewn
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So, once you rename HP to Morale Points you open yourself up to a lot of different interesting effects like that.

For anyone that knows it, as an example, Lord of the Rings Online calls all of it Morale Points, which lets them apply ongoing effects to deplete Morale, slow it's rate of recovery (like, say, when you're too near a Nazgul) or recover it in different ways (through a Minstrel's song).

Having a monster with fear type effects that attack Morale Points?

Sinkholes of Evil or Pinnacles of Good effecting rates of recovery?

On-going concentration-powered effects (spells, Bard music) changing recovery rates?

Or, back to something location based; environmental effects?

At the Last Homely House? Maybe a barbarian in a warm tavern with a two-for-one coupon for the local ladies? Fast MP recovery.

Heck, 'carousing' in general doing nothing for Wound Points but healing Morale Points quickly.

Stuck out in the open in the rain with no fire overnight? Forced marches? Slowed MP recovery.

I'd like to see that interacting with Domains At War - a spellcaster with a Control Weather effect attacking Morale with a overnight rainstorm before the battle even begins?

Beragon
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BTW, this wp/mp system is almost screaming for some critical hit mechanic. Then you can add a dodge/parry mechanic similar to the one I listed in my "Heroic Characters" thread!

Because people and monsters are really going to want to dodge those critical hits!

Alex
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Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I totally agree!

koewn
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I like this.

There'd be a neat twist in here where illusory damage spells only attack Morale Points. I'd have no idea what to do about monsters with 0 MP though.

Alex
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Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

That is a neat twist!

It leads me into my next rule, which is that monsters make a morale check the first time they take a wound point. So, for example...
-An orc (5 wound points, 0 morale) takes a morale check when it is first injured.
-An ogre (10 wound points, 12 morale points) takes a morale check after 12 points of damage.

Of course criticals and whatnot could also enter into this in various ways.

koewn
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Makes sense.

So, if we were to do that with illusions, perhaps it'd be something like:

A monster with no remaining/existing Morale Points that takes illusory damage makes an immediate morale check. Success indicates that the illusion is disbelieved, just as it would be on a successful save.

The effects of failure may be left to the DM. An orc taking damage from an illusory creature/effect that fails its morale check may simply flee in panic, or, on a particularly bad morale check, may believe himself eviscerated and faint.

I'm not sure how well that'd work in play. The clever illusionist would stick to area-damage effects on monsters without MP in hopes of forcing early morale checks over large groups. On the other hand, maybe that's a good niche for the illusionist to operate in - having a bit of fun with fake damage before the more classic mage gets his own real-damage area spells.

Alex
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Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Here are some rules ideas. Not playtested, just riffing on the forums. I'm borrowing Beragon's ideas from his "Heroic House Rules" thread.

Natural 20: Natural 20s do not automatically hit. Instead, on a die roll of 20, the attacker may roll again and add the total to his die roll.

Critical Hits: If an attack throw beats the target value by 10 or more, it deals a critical hit. Critical hits bypass Morale Points do deal maximum damage directly to Wound Points.

Dodge and Parry: A combatant may attempt to dodge or parry an attack he is aware of. If a combatant is hit in combat, he can make a saving throw vs. Blast. If successful, the character avoids taking damage but must roll on the Results of Dodge/Parry table. If the character fails, he takes damage as normal.

Roll 2d6:
2 drop an item in hand
3 Glancing blow (d3 non-lethal damage)
4 Off balance (-1 to initiative next round)
5 Give Ground (you can avoid the damage if you fall back 5')
6-8 Unscathed! (no consequences)
9 Wardrobe Malfunction (an article of clothing, jewelry, or exposed item, such as a backpack, belt pouch, etc. gets damaged)
10 Damaged Armor (armor or shield's effectiveness reduced by 1)
11 Dive (you must go prone to avoid the damage)
12 Damaged Weapon (your weapon suffers either -1 to hit or -1 to damage)

If a character beats the target value of his saving throw by 10 or more, he has critically succeeded on his Dodge/Parry. A critically successful Dodge/Parry always leaves the character unscathed.

If a character is attempting to Dodge/Parry a critical hit, the situation is more complex.
FAILURE: Character suffers the critical hit
SUCCESS: Character takes normal damage from the hit.
CRITICAL SUCCESS: Character takes no damage but rolls on the Dodge/Parry table.

As long as a character succeeds on his Dodge/Parry attempts during a round, he may keep making Dodge/Parries, up to his number of Cleaves.

An attacker whose attack is Dodge/Parried may cleave (attack again) if eligible to do so.

EXAMPLE:
Marcus (STR 16, CON 18, 5th level fighter with Plate +1; AC 7, 8 Wound Points, 37 Morale Points, 2-Handed Sword +1 attack throw 4+, damage 1d10+5) versus
Thog (4+1 HD Ogre, AC 4, 10 Wound Points, 15 Morale Points, 2-Handed Club attack throw 7+, ignores 2 points of armor, 1d12 damage)

Thog wins the initiative and attacks. He needs 12+ to hit (7 + AC 7, less 2 points of armor penetration). He rolls a 19 and hits! Damage is 8 points. Marcus decides to attempt a dodge/parry. As a 5th level fighter, he saves v. Blast at 13+. He rolls an 18, and saves. His 2d6 roll is 6, he's unscathed.

Thog gets to cleave. His roll of 7 is a miss.

Marcus now attacks! He needs 8+ to hit (4 + 4 AC) and rolls an 8, a hit. His damage roll is 9, +5, for 14 points. Thog decides to parry. Thog needs 14+ to parry, but only rolls a 12. He takes the damage. Thog is down to 1 morale point.

NEXT ROUND... Marcus wins the initiative. He attacks, but rolls a 4 and misses.

Thog is up, and rolls a 13. He hits, and rolls a 9 for damage. Marcus opts to parry, and succeeds with a 18. His 2d6 roll is a 3, so he suffers a glancing blow of 1d3 morale points (2 being rolled).

Thog now cleaves and rolls an 18 to hit, with a big 10 for damage! Marcus parries with a 13. His roll of 4 on the Parry/Dodge table leaves him off-balance (-1 initiative).

Thog now cleaves and rolls a 20 to hit, with a subsequent 14 for a total of 34. Critical hit! A desperate Marcus attempts to Parry/Dodge. He gets a 2, and fails. Marcus takes 12 points straight to Wounds, and collapses.
****

Thoughts? I'm curious as to whether the interplay of "you can parry but it let's the other guy cleave" is a good mechanic, or if it would be better to say "you can parry but you lose your action". I'm also not sure if avoiding damage is worth the 2d6 roll.

Anyway I think there's something sexy here but it needs iterative playtesting.

Aryxymaraki
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Joined: 2014-01-04 02:20

I've been thinking about crits in this, and I'm not sure doing damage straight to wound fits with what the system is generally attempting to accomplish (as much as I like it myself for my own campaigns).

Even with your adaptation that you need to hit by 10 or more (and a 20 is a reroll added instead of auto hit), let's do some math, using the example fighter from earlier with AC 11.

A normal man needs a modified 22 to hit or a 32 to crit.

Rolling a nat 20 followed by a 12+ will result in a crit (2.25% chance of occurring on any attack).

Any crit will be fatal (or at least, necessitate a KO and a roll on the Mortal Wounds table; actual death chance will depend on the weapon and circumstances), as long as the normal man is using a weapon that deals at least 1d6 damage, because the PC has 5 wound points and never gets more.

One possibility to add tension to crits (because there isn't a lot of tension to 'you got crit, you're down no matter what happens next') would be to use a small chart of some kind, either based on the amount you hit by or by a 2d6 roll. (You can even call it a hit location chart, though it's not intended to actually model the probability of hitting each location). A quick mockup using value-hit-by:

5+: Attack deals 1 point of wound damage in addition to normal morale damage.
10+: Attack deals normal damage, but to wound instead of morale.
15+: Attack deals maximum normal damage straight to wound.
20+: Attack deals double normal damage straight to wound.
60+: Attack decapitates target. (Ok, I just added this one for fun. But if you manage to roll that many 20's in a row, I'd probably give it to you.)

*********************************

Unrelated to previous, on the topic of magic dealing damage: I'm not sure illusions need new rules. Phantasmal Force seems to cover it pretty well; as long as they believe the illusion, they take 'normal' damage (whether that damage would normally be to MP or WP), and 1d3 rounds after unconsciousness or succeeding in a saving throw, all the damage they took from the illusion disappears.

As far as other spells and damage, just thinking out loud, I like having instant death spells and effects deal wound damage instead, and causing the effect if they reduce you below 0 WP. As an example (using random numbers), Finger of Death would deal 3d6 wound damage, save vs Death for half, and if this damage reduces you below 0 WP you go straight to Dead instead of rolling on the Mortal Wounds table.

One challenge with this approach is that you need to be careful about assigning controllable wound damage to players, or you can create a system where the players rarely if ever bother to attack MP. For that reason, despite it being my initial reaction, I probably would not give WP damage to most spells of the Death type, only those which are already save or die effects. Save or die effects already create an alternate path to success against a monster that doesn't interact with the normal HP progression, so you don't alter any combat dynamics by making them WP based. If you made more common Death spells do WP damage (like, say, Dismember), you're taking Dismember off the 'do HP damage' progression path and adding it to the 'do WP damage' progression path. These paths don't interact until the target runs out of MP, and as a result, this can create strange tactical choices for players.

I like making SoD effects WP damage because you can make them more gradual. A medusa's gaze doesn't do 'nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, oh I failed my save'; it slowly turns you into stone over time and there's a progression to watch.

Beragon
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Joined: 2012-02-26 22:57

A note on the table... it needs a resolution for times when a rolled effect does not apply to the person parrying/dodging (ex: a mage dodges and rolls the damaged armor result).

As interesting as it made the fight between Marcus and Thog, just using hack-n-slash, it's a bit too complex IMO. If it was reserved only for single combat, then I think the complexity has merit.

IMO, Letting combatants try a cleave attempt after the opponent successfully parries defeats the purpose of parrying in the first place... there's the likely potential of actually taking more damage from subsequent cleave attempts, or suffering a death-spiral of drawbacks from the table.

So I'm in favor of parrying in lieu of taking an action. As appealing as I like the chart, I'm not sold on it applying to the parry mechanic myself, because I've been think the same thing... would players actually try to parry? I definitely think players will risk rolling on the table if they're facing a potential hit that drops them to 0 or less. Otherwise, probably not.

Some thoughts...
– If you are hit, but have already acted in the round, you can attempt to dodge/parry. If successful, the attack misses, but you must roll on the table.

– If you are hit, but have not already acted in the round, you have two dodge/parry options:
1) You can attempt to dodge/parry, instead of taking your action that round, if you succeed, the attack misses.
2) You can attempt to dodge/parry and try to keep your action that round. If you succeed, the attack misses and you must roll on the table, but you get to act that round.

It should also be noted that if you attempt to dodge/parry while casting a spell, you forfeit the spell attempt.

stacktrace
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Joined: 2012-03-08 06:46

Sorry to rez such an old thread, but this is an area I have spent way too much time trying to "solve".

Did you ever work out something that ended up working for you?

Also wanted to point to a newer skirmish game called Frostgrave that has a pretty interesting take on it that I had not seen before.  It also has the advantage of being dead simple.  I did a simple test run converting ACKs characters over to see how it played out, and it certainly works, I think the primary issue is how it would scale through the full level range.

The basic mechanic is that each character/monster has a Fight value, and when attacking you make opposed d20 + Fight rolls between the Attacker and Defender.  Whoever rolls highest then deals damage equal to their attack roll, which is then reduced by the target's armor.  Some weapons also have a damage modifier that you add to the attack roll if you won the opposed Fight check.

For example, a typical man at arms has something like a +2 fight, 13 armor (mail and shield) and 12 hp.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I'm still working on these topics, too. Tough nut to crack!

I own Frostgrave, too. It's a great game. But it's hard to convert its system to ACKS, I think, and retain anything close to the current balance of the game.

Loswaith
Joined: 2017-05-12 02:19

Coming in new to ACKs but not D&D i found this quite an interesting read and something I've struggled with in the past.  It is a tough thing to balance while keeping some simplicity and quick flow to combat.

For me mostly was the issue of HD being an indicator of mass and combat ability (accuracy).

Mass hp Vs Morale hp:
Like you found that large monsters had good accuracy (and high damage as they would), despite having obvious laboured attacks (ie slow and obvious to a trained combatant) or no training.  The other side of the coin being smaller creatures with exceptional accuracy but low HD because of a lack of mass had low accuracy (like a snake for example).
In the end I just ended up winging it as to how much accuracy could be expected for a certain creature, used HD as a "level" (typically for spell effects and xp), and as a guideline as mass/fatigue.

At the end of the day for typical enemies hp as mass or hp as fatigue/morale didnt seem to matter all that much (for the overall combat), given players tended to dispatch them whatever the case.  On the PC (and core NPC) side it mattered more, but as mentioned those hp tended to be more fatigue/morale in the players side of things.

What I have done previoulsy to represent that hp as mass for PCs (and enemies during combat), is adapted the Earthdawn notion of 'Wounds'.  Essentially a wound is a representation of an enduring injury (ie physical damage) rather than the fatigue/morale that hp tend to represent.
Wounds were inflicted based on a good attack or high damage (in Earthdawn it is about a certain damage threshold, but damage is ever growing in earthdawn due to exploding dice, skill and raw strength) for the way I handled it.  Essentially it was every 10 points (modified by con) of damage in a single hit (successful saves on spells prevented wounds, even if damage was taken), every attack roll exceeding the AC divided by 5 (rounding down), inflicted a wound (defeat the AC by 5-9 inflicts one wound, 10-14 was two wounds and so forth), or anytime 0 hp or fewer are reached gained a wound as well.  Damage was otherwise still tracked by hit points as usual.

The results of these wounds was that any healing you recieved was reduced by the number of wounds you currently had, while every wound after the first one wound cause the character to suffer a -1 penality to all rolls per wound (ie if they had 3 wounds, all healing was reduced by 3 points, and they suffered -2 to all rolls).  Often players made up the flavour as to what the individual wounds actually represented.
For greater mass creatures, I just let them take more additional wounds before penalities based on size breakdowns (large could take 2 wounds, huge 3 wounds and so on), while some creatures just never take wounds as well (like undead/oozes), others had special abilities to ignore more wounds (like constructs).

Healing wounds is a slow process. Character needed to have full hp first (by whatever means), then either a healing spell would cure a single wound (or more for higher level heals) or after sleeping a con test (vs 10 + 2 * <curent number of wounds> plus modifiers based on sleeping conditions or appropiate skills) to heal a single wound (a save vs death could be used for the con test in ACKs).

This could work with you wound concept that an orc has that 5 wound points, so will die if it has 5 wounds even if it still has hp left.

 

On Parring:
Warhammer fantasy has the parry rule in place but gives exceptionally strong or large creatures a special ability called Unstopable blows, it basically meant the creature was so large it gave significant penalites to the characters trying to parry it's attacks.  This kind of thing can be added as a scalling penality based on size or even the creature itself, or even used as an "armour piercing" concept to reduce the benefirs of armour from those larger creatures it wounldn't help as much from.

We also liked the way Warhammer made shields a parrying device and not armour, so adapted it to a Castles and Crusades game in that a shield doesn't offer AC to melee attacks (still gave +1 AC to missile attacks), it instead lets a character using a shield gain a free parry once per round.  This parry was an attack roll based on the kind of shield (bucklers (no bonus) and small shields (+1 bonus) used dex, larger shields (+1 bonus) used strength) with a DC equal to the attack roll, a success negated the attack.  Likewise you could use a minor action (move type equivlent action) to take a parrying stance with any melee weapons, but still were limited to one per round (more than one quickly gets out of balance).
 

I hope these idea's give some more food for thought on the concept overall. :)

Jonlan
Lairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2015-07-12 16:42

I've been toying with something similar, but simpler, for a while, both from a versimilitude perspective but also to overcome games where you have to sideline the plot in order for everyone to rest up which always feels too metagamey for me.

Hit points are the same as normal but equate to the Morale Points mentioned above, in that they represent stamina, morale, luck, etc. rather than actual damage.  These recover quickly after a fight - spend a turn (10 mins) catching your breath, fixing armour, etc. and get them all back.

I've added the concept of Wounds (inspired by the old Maelstrom game) which start at none but are accumulated in combat - basically every "hit" in combat just reduces your HP but doesn't do any significant damage except for the one that takes you below 0.  The amount of damage caused by this final blow is a wound and only heals slowly.   Wounds act as a cap on your hit points reducing your maximum hp by total amount of wounds

e.g. A 10hp fighter gets hit for 6 points and goes down to 4hp remaining.  He then gets hit for 7 points and goes down to -3 and notes down a 7 point wound.  Assuming nothing else happens, he will come round in 10 minutes on 3hp (his max 10hp minus a 7 point wound).  The party pushes on and gets into another combat and the fighter gets hit for 4 points, this puts him down to -1hp and he takes a 4 point wound.  As his total wounds now exceed his max hit points, he isn't going to be coming round for a while and will need to be carried back to safety

Wounds are also caused by critical hits.  I'm undecided about other ways of wounding but there is definitely potential here - I'm considering having backstab cause wounds for instance, and love the suggestion above of save vs death type attacks causing wounds instead.

Wounds are listed on the character sheet individually and they all heal independently too at a rate of 1 + CON bonus per week.  So assuming the fighter above has a +2 CON bonus his healing progesses as follows:

day 0:     -1 hp, Wounds: 7, 4

day 7:      5 hp, Wounds: 4, 1

day 14:    9 hp, Wounds: 1

day 21:    10hp, no Wounds

Having wounds healing independently of each other removes the problem whereby high hit point characters end up with longer recovery times than the weaker ones - a high level fighter recovers from wounds at the same speed as anyone else but he can take far more of them and live, and can also survive truly horrendous injuries that would certainly kill lesser mortals.

Magical healing restores HP in a fight as normal but I don't want it removing the impact of wounds entirely so healing magic must be done within the first week after taking damage (before any natural healing has occurred) and works by rolling for how many points you heal as normal and comparing that against the wound size - if you roll higher than the wound, it is completely healed but this can only be attempted once per wound, failure means the wound has to heal naturally (though you can try a higher level healing spell if available)

 

This kind of mechanic also opens up other possibilities.  By having HP much more fluid they can be more easily taken for things like fear, lack of sleep, hunger, etc. without overly penalising characters in combat - if the party goes without food for a day they can all take a point of "Exhaustion" which acts just like a wound in reducing max hp but can only be recovered by eating a solid meal

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