December 15, 2011

A second look at Table 3: Hit Progression

Here's what I'm taking another look at.

Table 3: Hit Progression and Hit Points after level 9
Normal Man - +0% (+1hp after L9)
Magic User - +15% (+1hp after L9)
Cleric/Thief - +30% (+1hp after L9)
Fighting Man - +70% (+2hp after L9)

Bonus Hp after L9
(in addition to the standard amount listed above, will also raise xp for L10+)

Bonus +1hp - +10%

Ignoring the hit points after level nine for a moment, I'll try to explain where I got the costs for the hit progression tables.  Normal Men never progress at all and are nearly as skilled as a first level magic user, so I gave them the lowest possible cost of 0%.  Magic Users suck at combat, but they're far better than Normal Men who never progress at all, so I put their hit chart cost at 15%.  This cost gap will accommodate a couple of new and awful hit charts that I might inflict on cross-eyed brownies, blind mole people, or others whose combat skills fall between a normal man and mage.  Then I just doubled the cost for the Cleric/Thief (30%), and doubled it again for the Fighter progression (60%).  Later I added another 10% to the fighter's table to account for the additional hp after level nine and general awesomeness.

I justified all this to myself much later.  If you care to crunch down all the numbers, round profusely, and basically ignore the first few levels; fighters are sort of almost twice as effective at hitting baddies as clerics and three times as effective as magic users.  Costs of 20-30-60 seem appropriate based on those ratios. Once I considered that the basics of combat training are far easier to learn than the advanced maneuvers, the 15-30-70 costs made sense to me.

Back to those hit points now.  This was originally two different tables, one for hit progression and another for hit points after level nine.  I combined them shortly after Table 1 took it's current form.  Mainly this came about because at the time I was requiring Halflings to pay for the "after name level" hit points even though they topped out at eighth level.  Then I saw that the higher "after name level" xp requirements of Dwarves and Thieves could be blamed on them gaining a hp in addition to those of their combat peers.  It all made sense in a weird moment of clarity, so I tied the "after name level" hit points to combat proficiency.  Normal Men get +1hp after L9 because I thought it would be sad to level a character from 9th to 10th and not gain a hit point.  I'm generous like that.  If you decide that Normal Men combatants don't deserve it and should get +0hp after 9th, I wouldn't think less of you.

Now somebody out there is going to ask about the cost of that Bonus +1hp (because I know I did). "Why are thieves and dwarves paying +10% every level in addition to the higher xp after name level?"  I'm not sure honestly.  This discrepancy convinced me make a new house rule for my own games.  Thieves get a minimum of 2hp per level.  Dwarves get a minimum of 3hp per level.  So, if one of those guys goes up a level and rolls a 1 or 2 for hp, then they get the minimum instead.  I mean they're paying for those hp every level, right?  It makes sense to me.

Another alternative is reducing the cost of the bonus +1 hp after L9 to 0% (but it still raises xp for level 10+), then raise thief and dwarf special ability costs to compensate.  Climb Walls starts off pretty high, so maybe it should cost 15%.  Backstab might also deserve to cost 15%.  For the Dwarves I'd raise their language skills up to 10% (to match the elves), and their Infravision up to 15%.  Then elf Infravision goes up to 15% to match the dwarves, so I'd lower the elves Connection to Nature down to 15%.  Hmmm...  That looks good actually.  Really good.  Crap.  I wish I'd have thought of this sooner.  I'm going back to edit the original post again with these new changes.  I'm scrapping the minimum hp house rule that I mentioned a moment ago, I think these changes work out better all around.


  1. Really like your stuff and the reviews of older posts are helping be grok the concept without ferreting out older posts.

  2. Thanks!

    I'm glad to hear that. I was hoping these posts would be useful to anyone who decided to tinker with the system.

    Mainly though I feel like I'm just thinking out loud as I look for things to improve. Some of it is unedited stream of consciousness, so let me know whenever you find something I should clarify.