I'm a little confused by that. Particularly when I consider the story of Michel Auger, a journalist who was shot six times in the back during an attack outside his newspaper office in the year 2000, and yet managed to survive. Three of the bullets that hit him were so deep that doctors were unable to remove them. Impressive, since Auger was 56 at the time he was shot. Then again, bullets aren't really very dangerous, are they?
That story was the first thing that occurred to me upon reading JB's post ... and it's hardly unique. The Biography Channel (I don't own a television, but I found it with 90 seconds of research on the Internet) has a television program based on ordinary people surviving everyday events that we'd expect them to die from.
I myself once went over the handlebars of a bike, down a twenty-foot cliff, landing on the top of my spine right between my shoulders (I tucked my head). But I'm sure that wasn't more than 1 hit point of damage.
I think that an open forum asking people to tell tales of when they were stabbed or shot or struck would get an impressive array of answers, which would bring into question whether it was 'fairly easy' to kill us.
Fat and lazy we may be, but the human body is a surprisingly resilient machine where it comes to taking damage. When we consider the most widespread cause of weapon damage, War, we must remember that most of the time it is not the weapon that kills. Human beings do not have half their arm blown away by a bullet and then fall down dead. What they do is fall down, bleeding, suffering, and usually for a long, long time. This is one of the wonders that has made medical practice on the battlefield remarkably possible. We don't die at once. We can be shipped, packed with bandages, and even stored while waiting our turn to be surgically operated on. It's called triage. It says that yes, you've just lost your leg, but you're strong enough to wait five hours because we've got to work on this guy's chest, and then that guy's belly. Here's some pills, we'll get right to you.
So realistically, characters and NPC's ought to be designated a 'time variable' to indicate how long it will take them to die from a particular weapon blow. Because, after all, if the person can be gotten to a cleric with cure critical wounds within that variable time frame, it shouldn't matter what damage they've soaked up. If a 20th century healer with drugs and tools can sort out your perforated lung, chipped liver and loose arteries with hard work after shuttling you ten miles from the nearest battlefield (never a comfortable trip), a bit of magic ought to manage nicely.
The problem with these rather thoughtless hit point proposals, that a human being can take this damage or that damage because I've sat cleverly in my chair without any medical training and said so, is that the only contribution they make to the game is to further videofy it. Hey, player, don't worry about farmers and bakers, or that scribe, you can butcher them without much trouble because you're a Great He-Man Hero. Swing your sword once and snickity-snick, they're done for! My my, it's like cutting down weeds, say what?
Well, you know what, fuck that. You just go ahead and try to put that sword into my 62-year-old uncle's gut. He's done nothing all his life but drive a tractor and milk cows, just like all the other farmers in that part of the world, but somehow I think when he grabs your hero's throat in one hand - the hand that's as big as both of mine put together - you're going to get a big fucking surprise.
|Hands that resent adventure, haven't killed anyone and lack heroics|
Physically, human beings ... even normal ones ... are capable of all kinds of miracles. Shove that up your d4 hit points.