Friday, May 17, 2013

Potions Make You Fat

HP and healing aren't broken.  They work great, and there's a lot of elegance. But I like tinkering, so here's one alternative idea.

You don't start bleeding until you run out of Hit Points (which represent dodging, morale, etc).  Then you start taking damage to your Life Points, which represent slashes, broken bones, and burnt flesh.  (You've seen this idea before.)  

Hp restores itself to full with a good night's rest.

Hp restores itself to full with a good long meal.  You can only do this 1/day, and it takes 1 hour.

You can restore your "rerolled HD-worth" of hp by listening to an inspiring speech.  (So, for example, all level 2 magic-users would regain 2d4 hp).  This requires a Charisma check by whoever is doing the inspirin'.  A failed check means everyone only regains the minimum amount (2hp for our level 2 magic-user), and a superb result means that everyone gains an few bonus hp.  This takes 1 minute.

Alternatively, if a PC is dying and hasn't benefited from the inspiring speech that day, one of their friends can slap them and cry "Live, damn you!  Don't go into the light!"  This takes 2 rounds and the PC is healed for 1d6 HP.  If you have two friends beating on your chest and begging you to open your eyes, this only takes 1 round.  A PC can inspire 1/day and be inspired 1/day.

Lastly, a gulp of hard liquor will restore 1d6 hp.  This takes 1 round and can be used 1/day.  This can also be used to revive dying characters, if you pour it down their throat.

All of the above can heal hp as normal, but cannot bring Life Points any higher than 1 (though they heal negative lp normally).  

Additionally, all magical healing has a 5% chance to give you a random mutation (choose your favorite table).  Also magic healing makes you fat.  Everyone knows that.

Class Discussion

Magical healing giving mutations is probably my favorite part of this.  It means that magical healing will no longer be a first resort.  Is the risk worth the healing?

Also, the PCs can heal themselves to full with a meal.  When should we break for lunch?  And I like this because it makes PCs in a dungeon seem more like explorers with real biological needs instead of video game characters that run for hours without food or water.  If I could give a mechanical benefit to PCs for taking bathroom breaks I would.

Inspiration rules also make Cha more desirable.  You might need it to save someone's life.

The rules about reviving dying characters add a small wrinkle, too.  Do you want to drink your whiskey now or save it for when you are dying?  

This system also takes the burden of healing off the cleric  (if you swing that way) and/or makes the party less dependent on healing potions.  Which is nice, if you are trying to run a low-magic campaign.  

This is my own take on someone else's rules, but I can't remember who.  Dungeon of Signs uses the whiskey rule, but I think I saw this somewhere else?  Sorry.


  1. Was it my rules?
    I divide hit points into Flesh and Grit, and Grit can be regained by rolling your class HD every 10 minutes rest or by swigging Cuckold's Courage.

    I really like magical healing having a chance of messing up your body. If my Clerics want to cast the same ritual more than once a day they have to roll to see if it works properly, so if they fail the second time they try to heal someone there's a whole table of mutation and death and insanity for them to roll on.
    Inspired by a throwaway comment by Jack Shear, if the person being healed doesn't actually believe in the Cleric's religion they also have to roll.

    If you're curious the Cleric Malpractice tables are here:
    Original inspiration came from Jez Gordon's 'Healing From The Spider God' and 'Healing From The Squid God'

    "Live, damn you!" put a big smile on my face.

    1. Your Flesh + Grit definitely inspired me but I remember seeing the "Live, damn you!" rule somewhere else. I just don't want to be a biter.

      The Malpractice post is sweet and imma go post there there.

  2. I like it a lot, especially the point about adventurers with biological needs. Also, another reason to carry rations and have a good encumbrance system.

    Some areas I might look at and/or change if I was using these rules:

    - 1 speech per character per day is a lot of speeches. Might feel a bit weird. Maybe make that a fighter (or other class) special ability?

    - Rather than life points on top of hit points, this seems to be a great place to drop in an injury and mutilation table. Personally, I like using "save or die" at this point for simplicity, but injuries are also a great way to build individuality into characters through play (and work things like necromantic augmentations in if you're playing in a setting where that is appropriate).

    1. I definitely agree that injuries are a nice way to build a story around the character, that's why I have a reasonably high chance of a serious wound occurring whenever Flesh is attacked directly.
      (also if appropriate you can then use these:

      A successful Charisma check already limits the amount of speeches somewhat, but maybe rather than limiting the ability to a specific class it can't be used unless you meet a minimum Charisma requirement.

    2. Brendan:

      I have mixed feelings about the speech thing, as well. One option is to broaden the definition of "inspiring speeches" to include any sort of roleplaying, so that players can be inspired by quips, battlecries, or clever insults directed at a bad guy.

      Full disclosure: the whole Life Point thing hasn't been play-tested at all. I am also sort of leery to complicate a solid, simple system with more bullshit, but I have my own reasons for wanting to try it.