Sunday, February 18, 2024

Starting Hit Points?

 So Yeah starting HP for 1st level PC's are garbage in old-school games. It's a perk... it's a's a darned annoyance even when the longest part of character generation is buying equipment. Yup I said it.  After years and years of play anemic one swat and your dead HP aren't a whole lot of fun anymore. Do I want later era style HP.... NO not really. 

What are Hit Points anyway? I have an old post that highlights how they are really "plot significance".. how cool a character is to the campaign. I still think this is it. While Hit Points are generally referenced as physical endurance in practice they are really defined that way in the throughout old school rules they are also skill,luck, will-power, and divine favor even when this makes the healing spells make no sense at all.

So how to make 1st level characters a tiny bit tougher without smashing the game apart:  1st level characters (not 0 level) have their Prime Requisite as Hit Points until their HD roll is higher. This will allow 1st level character to feel like they have a little skill, luck and will-power at 1st level. If a character has multiple prime requisites use the lowest one the character has.  So if the Prime Requisite is 14 the character has 14 HP at 1st level and they'll have 14 at 2nd level unless they roll higher with the HP roll (re-roll all the dice until the original score is broken).

So Whammo the Magic-User with an Intelligence of 14 will have 14 HP at 1st level., and 2nd level, and and at 3rd level and probably at 4th level... a class with large HD will gain HD earlier in the life of the character but under this scheme the overall weight and total of HP are not bloating throughout the life of the character.

Bodkin Bob a 1st level AD&D Fighter with a STR of 17 will have 17 HP at 1st level.  when he reaches 2nd level Bodkin Bob's player will roll 2d10+con adjustment per level... if this roll is higher than 17 Bodkin Bob now has more HP.

Under this method 1st level characters will be a more durable than 1HD monsters and NPC most of the time but by 2nd level or 3rd level there will be no significant difference. The 1st blow the character suffers isn't likely to slay them (but it could) but the 2nd or 3rd is still a serious risk. HP will not be skewed upwards throughout the life of the campaign PCs will look identical by 4th or 5th level across the board to characters with traditional old-school starting HP.