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Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Arms Race of RPGs

As a side effect of the way damage spells work for Onn (namely uncapped for scaling damage magic), at some point a character who is only gaining a flat +1 or +2 per level is going to get wiped out by something like a high level caster's fireball, even if the saving throw is made.

Going back to OD&D, the classes did continue to gain HD after they reached Name Level (8th for Clerics, 9th for Fighting-man and 11th for Magic-users). Its something that the more modern (Supplement I Greyhawk on up) versions of D&D have eschewed in favor of caps on spells and lower HP progressions until the sunset of 3rd Edition/d20 RPGs. They went super powered though, with big dice and every level adds.

I went back to OD&D and looked at the patterns and Onn and looked at its patterns as well and came up with the following general changes to the HD progressions:

Character Hit Dice

Now at the levels the character does not gain a HD, the character gains +1 hp with Constitution adjustments (minimum of 1 hp). Onn uses HD to determine immunity to spells and spell effects (like Holy Word or Death Spell) so using a scaling HD also makes for good sense for characters as well as monsters.


Rj said...

As I understand it, and I may be wrong, but don't MU's in Onn get a D6-1 instead of a D4?

James Bobb said...

Not in the Core Rules. Onn Supplement I for Swords & Wizardry uses the S&W HD values, which is where you're getting that die number from.

Kurt said...

I think that if monsters gain hit dice, which in the monster world of this game are roughly analogous to character levels, then the players should also gain hit dice.

I've never been a fan of "hit dice" being the governing factor in how skilled something is, be it a monster or character, but I do believe in consistency. Hit dice have traditionally been used to show prowess, toughness, and ability in monsters and this should be carried over to characters.

Perhaps a reexamination of "hit dice" and "hit points" should be made.

James Bobb said...

I been slanting towards this for a couple months now:

~ All characters gain 1d4+2 hp at 1st level in addition to their 1st level HD. This represents the 'real' hp they would have starting as Normal 0-Level characters.

~ HD are re-examined at higher levels and adjusted (already done for ECR).

~ HD are representative of how well a character can take hits and continue fighting on. They aren't "real" as in they dont represent actual wounds, but more like "movie hero damage" of nicks, cuts, bruises and the like.

~ Constitution still adjusts HP gained by HD. This would be due in fact to Constitution determining a characters' stamina as much as his general toughness. (ie: how long can you keep taking these nicks and bruises before it wears you down?).

Much more complicated and you bog the game (any game, look at some of the Palladium stuff, MDC, SDC and something else I dont even remember anymore) with 'realism' when in reality its just more hoops when you want to cut down that orc.

James Bobb said...

You could swing this the other way as well, since all monster HD mean actual physical toughness, then character HD could mean so as well.

Levels and HD would not be in lockstep however, since characters gain additional abilities at regular intervals beyond those possessed by monsters (and most monster abilities are static no matter the HD). So either way, above a certain point (in the D&D cases and its clones), "Name Level" is the cutoff where HD slow down or stop altogether.

Kurt said...

Yet for monsters, hit dice determins their to hit bonus. A 7 HD creature is not as good as an 8 HD creature, all other things being equal.

James Bobb said...

Kurt said...
Yet for monsters, hit dice determins their to hit bonus. A 7 HD creature is not as good as an 8 HD creature, all other things being equal.

Right...unless I miss you point, that's how its suppose to be...?

James Bobb said...

Further delving into the subject of HD...for Monsters a HD is the basis of determining their combat ability (ie, attack bonus, hit points, saving thriws) whereas for Characters these things are mostly derived according to Level.

Meaning? Well characters have more dynamic abilities then monsters. Like Ability Score adjustments, magic items, spells, and the like. Monsters have mostly static special abilities, if any. So their cobat values are derived more directly.

Is this the track you were thinking of Kurt?