Well, yesterday's conversation was . . . interesting. Clearly, if I want to muck with hit points, I'm stepping on people's toes.
It should be clear by now that I consider nothing sacred, except the enjoyment of the players. When I began writing yesterday's post suggesting that players wouldn't find 1 HD humanoids with only 1 hit point, I liked the idea that battles would be more toe-to-toe. It appears players prefer those instant kills, those moments where they roll a 1 on a d6 with their spear and I say, "It's dead."
Yet, it isn't as though the participants haven't noticed that 1 hp humanoids is stupid. Otherwise, why the need for an explanation. More than one had to say (paraphrasing): "I've always presumed these humanoids were damaged in some way before joining the combat with the party."
So, when the Keep on the Borderland gave every kobald in a room 3 hit points, what was the story there? And if the party finds a lair where every humanoid is working on farms and attending to their flocks, obviously having not fought something off the last day or two, then you give them all 8 hit points, right? If not, your descriptions to the party when they encounter these humanoids includes evidence that certain ones are tired, run down, wounded, bloody and so on. Right?
See, the problem with a 'story' is that it only creates more questions. I note that virtually every question I asked in yesterday's thread was ignored. As the ones in the above paragraph will be ignored. It won't matter if they're not, because the answers will only make MORE questions, and more, because such answers applied to hit points are always conjecture. Conjecture is a very poor standard, as once you apply that standard across the system irrationalities proliferate.
Let's say that when my party does encounter 7 orcs, hit points randomly rolled from 1 to 8, that these orcs have just been in a fight. Why are they now fighting or ambushing my party? Why are they not hiding? I understand this if I've encountered these orcs in their lair and they're defending themselves, but since the random 1-8 roll applies to every orc, everywhere, regardless of the circumstance in which I encounter them, why is there an exactly equal chance of these orcs 200 feet underground in their lair having just fought a combat as a bunch of orcs who I meet sunning themselves outside by a river. Are there rules that say every group of orcs I meet must be tired and worn down and staggering back from the combat they've just had? Why is it that humans can't just eliminate these humanoids who are always fighting with one another?
Father to son: "Marcus, the orcs are stupid. They're always fighting each other. Fact is, you'll never encounter an orc band that hasn't just been in a fight. So remember, always have full hit points." That's the way we've always beaten them."
So, let me get this other thing straight. 300 orcs attack a town. They must have been planning this raid, so just prior to the raid, they all fight each other? Vrok, Brok, Grok and Frok aren't worried about attacking the town enough that it occurs to them, "Okay, I hate you, you hate me, let's just not damage each other before attacking the town because that is just unaccountably stupid." I'm sure some people are going to argue that orcs love to fight and squabble, but they do have an average intelligence, the same as humans.
What about dwarves, then. Do they fight and squabble and do damage to each other before gearing up for war? Dwarves have one hit die too. No natural bonuses. Even if you argue that every dwarf in the world has a 15 constitution (which they don't - if you think they do, then I just won't bother to roll my Con if I run a dwarf in your world) that still means 1 in 8 dwarves will have 2 hit points and that's not much better than 1 hit point (see yesterday's tables). How does this "humanoids are always squabbling" argument work for dwarves - or gnomes (min 1 hp), elves (min 2 hp), humans (min 1 hp) or really intelligent creatures with only two hit dice, like dryads? Dryads are always fighting? Must be the kids in the neighborhood throwing rocks at them.
6 in 64 dryads have 4 hit points or less. According to this logic, if a dryad - who hardly ever has to reveal itself - does so to a party, there is a slightly better than 1 in 11 chance that dryad will do so knowing it isn't at full hit points. If the party is beset upon by nixies, 1 in 4 will come out of the lake to pull in a hapless victim while having fought, recently . . . I'm sorry, what have they fought?
See, the logic holds for one small tiny group, but not for every monster. It just doesn't. I can't imagine why certain readers can't see that. I have to presume there's a deliberate resistance to the idea.
I do have another question. If 1-2 hit points is an orc that has been recently damaged or exhausted before attacking the party, what are the orc's full hit points? If I strap 8 orcs down, tend to them, keep them from fighting each other or encountering children with rocks (and all the other slings and arrows of existence), then after healing them and getting them up to full, all at the same time, how many hit points will they have? Hm?
Would it not make more sense to presume, up front, that one hit die humanoids have 7 to 8 hit points, like I suggested, then modify their hit points for a combat that I choose to have happened for them, because it fits the exact situation, rather than fixing every situation and every circumstance into the rules by insisting I roll a d8 for every one hit die creature, all the time? Shouldn't I be entitled to choose when and where? Must I have obey someone else's insistence that to do otherwise breaks the game?
It does to me. But then, perhaps I am also thinking that the number of appearing can just as easily be dropped. If all the orcs have 7 to 8 hit points, I don't need to throw 7-12 of them against the 4 person party, do I? Which means, in fact, that the actual combat dynamic hasn't been changed at all - only the meaning of fighting one hit die humanoids. That is, they're a bit scarier than they used to be.