Wednesday, August 26, 2015


From the Wiki:

Injuries are penalties imposed on the healing of hit points when a great deal of damage has been delivered to a combatant in a single attack.

When a combatant suffers sufficient damage to reduce them from more than half their hit points above zero to less than zero in one strike, then the combatant is considered to be injured - unless the total damage done is less than 12 points total. For example, if Caleb the mage has 6 hit points total, then takes 7 points of damage (sufficient to lower Caleb to -1 hp) then Caleb is not injured because the total damage done was less than 12.

However, if Bala the Druid has 17 hit points total and is presently at 9 due to damage she has already suffered, then takes 12 points of damage (sufficient to lower Bala to -3 hp), then Bala would be injured.

For every 12 points of damage received, the injury tally is counted at 1 point. Thus 24 points of damage would mean a 2-point injury, 36 points of damage would mean a 3-point injury and so on.

Note that 11 or more damage received in a given attack is sufficient to cause a wound. But injuries are not wounds! An injury does not occur merely because 12 damage has been done. For the injury to occur at all, the combatant must be hit hard enough to eliminate half their maximum hit points. For higher level characters, particularly fighters, it may require as much as 40, 50 or 60 damage for an injury to occur. The tally only refers to dividing this ultimate amount of damage by 12.

Healing Injuries

A combatant that has been injured does not sustain any additional damage due to that injury. However, the amount of time necessary to recover from the injury is dependent upon the injury tally. A 1-point injury requires that 10 points of equivalent healing must be gained before the first hit point after damage can be raised by one point.

In the example above, Bala has a 1-point injury that dropped her total hit points to -3. In order for Bala to restore her hit points to -2, Bala must heal 10 hit points of equivalent damage. In effect, the injury that Bala has sustained has stretched the healing distance between -3 and -2 hit points by a multiple of 10.

Let us take another example. Albert is a 7th level cleric with 42 hit points. While climbing up the side of a mountain, Albert slips and falls, taking a total of 46 points of damage. This reduces Albert's hit points to -4, all at once. And because the damage sustained is more than half his total, Albert is injured. Because he is at -4 hit points, he must roll to see if he is conscious (see Negative Hit Points). Albert makes a wisdom check, as described on the negative hit points page, and fails by rolling a 14.

From the fall, Albert is also wounded, which means that he has injured himself in some way that he is suffering -4 hp damage per round from the 46 damage he received. If he were laying on the ground all alone, he would bleed out and be dead in two rounds - and there is nothing Albert can do about this, because he is unconscious. However, lucky for Albert, he fell near to Erick, a 1st level paladin, who quickly runs to Albert's side and lays hands for 2 hp as soon as he can. He can't quite get there before Albert bleeds for one round, now reduced to -8 hit points. However, the bleeding is stopped and Albert's life is saved.

Albert is not, however, restored to -6 hit points by Erick's laying on of hands. Albert was injured. He sustained a 3-point injury . . . so to be restored to -7 hit points (one above the score he has right now), Albert must gain a total of 30 points of healing. Erick has given him 2. Albert needs 28 more. Once Albert has been restored to -7 hit points, he can begin healing damage normally.

If Albert had died, then been restored by death's door, then his body would still have to be healed those same 30 points, as the body would retain the injury, even though Albert would be restored to zero hit points.

Type of Injury

At this time, I have not created any specific tables for what is injured. The rule is still in its infancy - and since in most cases the injured person will be in the negatives and laid up, a flat rule that it is one or the other arm is sufficient. If the rule works and does not overly tax the patience of my players, then I will work up a injury table specifying what type of injury occurs.


T. Xenos said...

I like the system for mathematically determining when a character is injured or wounded, but I'm still having trouble with allowing higher level characters to have scores of hit points. I have read your description of what hit points really mean, but how do you manifest the suspension of disbelief in that a higher level character can simply never be killed in a freak accident or by friendly fire? Or is there still some possibility in your campaign that anyone, no matter how powerful, can be taken out by a stray arrow that happens to hit in just the worst place?

Alexis Smolensk said...

I suppose it depends on how you play.

The 11th level druid in my world recently encountered a bulette in a ruin; he discovered the bulette at the bottom of a fortification where the inside floors had been destroyed and the drop was 50 feet to the floor. The druid has 81 hit points.

The bulette, which has huge claws, leapt up the wall so that it was even with the party. He and the druid rolled initiative and the druid won, did 11 damage. Then the bulette rolled a natural twenty, rolls 3-18 damage doubled and did 26 damage . . . then threw the druid over its back (dex check fail). The druid fell to the floor, took another 15d6 damage from the fall onto brick and I rolled low, caused him 56 damage. In one round, he's down 82 hit points and he is wounded twice for a total of 7 more damage per round. That puts him at -1 hit points. He's no where near anyone else in the party so they can't help him, not even the ranger in levitation boots, because the ranger is 40 feet above the ground.

So, the first round the druid is stunned, can't take any action, suffers 7 more damage. Now he's at -8, and absolutely hasn't the time to find a healing salve or cast a spell before he's down another 7 and dies.

Lucky for him, he has a magic shillelagh that stores 1 hit point of healing every time it hits. Only thing is, now the druid is at -8 hit points (has to roll to see if he is conscious). He rolls a 3 while everyone watches and he IS conscious. But he has just fallen 50 feet. Is he holding onto the shillelagh? He needs ANOTHER freaky chance roll. We're all watching. He rolls under half his strength (which isn't high for a druid) with a 4. He IS holding onto the shillelagh. It has 15 hit points stored in it, and all he has to do is will the hit points into his own body.


Could someone critical him in the back after he's taken the kind of damage I've just described? You're damn right. Damn right. No one is that powerful. No one. Because the monsters are just as mean, just as brutal, just as killer death slaughter as the players are.

No one in my world, ever, feels totally safe. No matter how many hit points they have. And hey - I'm only talking about giving them 1 more HD than the game does, right? Think that makes that much difference at high level?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Comment was getting long.

The situation above is the reason I started thinking about an injury rule. Because after the shillelagh healed the druid, he walked away from that. And I was thinking, maybe he shouldn't have. In the system I described above, he'd still be able to heal himself at the last moment like that . . . but then he'd be laying there, like Loki, going uuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh . . .