Monday, October 13, 2014

Sometimes Hit Points are dumb...

Years ago I played in a LARP called NERO it had pretty detailed rules for character development and weapons did specific amounts of damage based on weapon type but mostly it depended on the skill ranks a player had invested in the weapon type (i.e, damage output per blow was mostly character driven). A good chunk of my few year career playing NERO my rogue character dished out "2 normal" with a sword, that's 2 points of normal damage if I actually hit a foe in combat.  Armor was extra hit points and hit points could go fairly high. They might have been called body points and armor points but they were hit points.

I fought a lot better then the few points I put into sword skill would indicate. One event I end up trapped by a relatively new player fighting a moderately potent monster, I  realized what the monster was while I we started to fight because I was fairly familiar with the common monsters and could deduce from the costume and damage my foe was calling what she was. She's fighting with a hand an a half weapon (4 to 5 feet long) swinging something like 7 pts of damage and because I wasn't' using a magical weapon I'm only infliction 1 pt of damage at a time with my sword (about 3' long). She just can not hit me however as I fight a heck of a lot better then the few points in sword skill would reveal. At one point I just ask the poor girl fighting me to give up, she initially refuses until I hit her a few more times and I ask her "do you really want or need me to hit you 99 times? I'm not trying to cheat but I don't want to beat the hell out of you either, just stop." she relents and we each go our way.

Hit Points were silly in that game (in part) because they weren't tied to actual combat ability, what works for abstraction in a tabletop game produced absurdity in a physical game. It wasn't uncommon for two people to walk up to virtually chest to chest contact and tap each other on the back while yelling out damage ratings, it produced combat that didn't look like combat. At one point later in my career in that game it would have taken me 24-30 blows to defeat my mirror-self and that would have been a darned long fight. I know some of that was addressed in later iterations of the rules (the story I mention above was about 20 years ago) but at it's core it revealed how mechanics can't really be universally applied across game systems.


  1. I get that the LARPers want to enable folks who are not great at weapons use to be able to play a character that is, but my very very limited exposure to LARPing makes me think it spoils the game, at least for those who actually want to spar with safe weapons.

  2. I have nothing to add except to say I was a member of IFGS for many, many years. I once got into combat where we were both dishing out low damage, and were too heavily armored to take any damage. We were both pounding each other before we realized neither of us could do anything to the other. We settled combat results with Rock-Paper-Scissors. (The orc lost and just decided to wander off...)