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Combat: AC and HP (Read 5518 times)
Broadmoor DM

Posts: 60
New Orleans, LA
Gender: male
Combat: AC and HP
Dec 29th, 2008 at 2:20am
I've posted this here instead of the rules area as I'm hoping to get some feedback from players in my game and others.

I chose the Conan rules over other D20 products, amongst other reasons, because it handles "realism" in combat better (IMHO) than other 3rd Edition licensed products. I'm planning on running a fairly "cinematic" game, but I want it to be grounded in a certain amount of reality, like a good B movie. Any rules system will involve a certain amount of abstraction, but two basic ones in D&D have always bothered me: AC and Hit Points.

Conan handles the first nicely. It gives defenders Parry and Dodge values, and uses armor as damage reduction, instead of combining them all into a single value (AC). There are armor piercing values for certain weapons, and finesse fighting to bypass armor completely, so it gets a little complicated at times, but at least it makes sense.

But Hit Points are essentially unchanged in Conan. Since there will be little-to-no healing magic in my game, people will probably be more afraid of getting hurt than they usually are, but I'm not really planning on inflicting lots of broken bones and gangrene on the players. Healing rates are unnaturally high, as they are in D&D, but that's fine, who really wants to watch the PC's sit and heal for months? My problem is that everyone exists in one of three states: alive and kicking, on death's door, or dead. There are no in-between states. Wounds mean nothing - a player can get hacked, stabbed, shot with a crossbow, and go right on fighting at full effectiveness until he hits 0 HP.

I have two possible solutions in mind, not necessarily mutually exclusive:

1. If a character drops below 1/2 of max HP, all checks are made at -2, or perhaps -4.

2. Whenever a character takes damage, they make a fortitude check vs. the damage taken. If they fail, they are more or less in shock. They can only take partial actions (move or standard action, but not both, and no full-round actions). Each round, they make another fort check to stablize, if not, they take a point of damage. Another character can stabilize them by making a heal check vs. the initial damage sustained (the same value as the fortitude save).

The first would be quick and simple, but would at least give a "wounded" state. The second one would require more bookkeeping, but would really give it the feel I'm looking for. Heroic characters would sometimes be able to shrug off massive wounds and keep fighting, but the (however slim) possibility would always remain that a bad knife wound could kill them if they're left to bleed to death.

What do you think?
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Stark II PC
ShadowRun B
Rune Bound


Posts: 656
Re: Combat: AC and HP
Reply #1 - Dec 30th, 2008 at 8:24pm
Option 3:  (off the top of my head)

Track each wound separately.  The total # of wounds maps to a minus on appropriate rolls.  It could be 1-1 or it could be 1-2.  Each day, each wound heals 1 pt.   Once a week you apply your con bonus in pts to wounds, 1 pt to each wound, worst wound first.

Lets assume my con bonus is +2 and we are mapping wounds to minuses, 1-1.

So in a combat I take three hits for 4, 8, and 3.  I am now at -3 to hit.   Call that 4/8/3, -3.

The next day I am at 3/7/2, -3.

Next day I am at 2/6/1, -3.

Next day, 1/5, -2.  I have another fight and end the day at 1/5/3/7, -4.

Next day, 5/2/6, -3.

Next day, 4/1/5, -3.

Next day, 3/4, -2.   Its been a week so I get my con bonus and go to 2/3, -2.

I think maybe one to one mapping of wounds to negatives is harsh.  A simple alternative would be 1 to 2 or 1 to 3, so 0-2 wounds is -0, 2-4 is -1, etc.    I guess it depends on how many small hits people take.

Another variation would be you get a -1 for each wound worse than 3 or 5 pts.

Another variation is -1 for each wound thats more than your con bonus.  (I think I like that idea best.)

Other ideas would be you can apply your con bonus is healing anytime during the week so you don't wait a week to use it.
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