The Nebulous Theory of Hit Points

Sorry for the long absence, I’ve been busy beyond all belief. With that in mind I have put much thought into the concept of HP or hit points. Let’s state the obvious, hit points are there to measure when you die. Now that we’ve gotten that business out of the way let’s talk about what hit points really are. You must know by now that it is impossible for someone to take a stab in the chest twenty times before they drop to the ground screaming. Hit points are a measure of the amount of abuse you take but not as you think.

You dodge and roll and tuck and move and sway and swing your sword and take a few glancing blows. All of this represents your hit points. When someone scores a hit they’ve more than likely given you a nick or a bruise but in most circumstances they’ve not actually penetrated, if you’ll pardon the use of the word. Think of it this way, you attempt to dodge their blow and take a glancing hit and both your actions and their bruising takes a toll on your stamina. That is what hit points really are. Otherwise what’s the use of a critical hit? Think about it: a critical hit, depending on the situation and your DM, can be anything from max damage to double max damage to losing a limb. That is a hit, that is real loss of hit points. The rest of it is just the toll of combat.

It puts a perspective on bleeding out. That last blow, that one hit that actually fells your character is the blow that opens a serious wound. It makes healing magic more believable too. Sure, it can close wounds and all that but think about the books and movies and stories that all involve healing magic and realize that sometimes the magic is not enough because a wound is too grave. It makes sense doesn’t it? You can’t resurrect or heal everyone because all wounds are different in their severity. Healing magic refreshes the body and clears up bruises and hurts and scrapes and minor cuts. Real healing magic closes wounds and brings you back from the dead. That magic is more rare and harder to obtain is it not?

So before you decide that the goblin’s spear penetrates your character’s armor, think more that the goblin’s spear left a bruise under his armor. That’s what hit points are. So go out there and hug your party cleric!

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~ by lordnightwinter on June 19, 2014.

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