First, two links to previous posts on the subject of wounding:
Here's a somewhat workable system, using the Septimus Core Mechanic described earlier.
- PCs have a wound track with six levels: Hale (4), Scratched (3), Bloodied (2), Dire (1), Knocked Out (0), and Dead (-1).
- Most monsters typically condense this into fewer steps; Hale, Bloodied, or KOd.
- When you are hit, you must make a toughness check. The TN is normally 5. If the damage source is a tier higher than you, it increases. If the damage source is a tier lower than you, it decreases.
- You get bonus dice in your Toughness Pool if you (A) have CON as a high score/prime statistic or (B) are wearing plate mail or (C) are using a shield. That means PCs will have 1 to 4 dice in their pool.
Against a standard damage source of the same tier, this is how the various players would turn out:
- 1 die pool (Wizard): 6 hits before KO
- 2 die pool (Swashbuckler with no heavy armor or shield): 9 hits before KO
- 3 die pool (Medium Fighter with medium armor and shield): 13 hits before KO
- 4 die pool (Heavy Fighter with plate and shield): 20 hits before KO
Hrm. That seems like a lot of hits. What if we reduce the wound track from 4 steps to 3 steps before a KO (Hale, Bloodied, Disabled, KOd)? Now we get:
- 1 die pool (Wizard): 4.5 hits
- 2 die pool (Swashbuckler with no heavy armor or shield): 6.6 hits
- 3 die pool (Medium Fighter with medium armor and shield): 10 hits
- 4 die pool (Heavy Fighter with plate and shield): 15 hits
Much better. We've reduced the difference between the rich and the poor to a reasonable level; this lets tanks take about 3 times as many hits as the squishy types. Although this is still a lot of attacks, especially if we postulate a 50%ish "hit" ratio. If folks get hit about half the time, it will take 9 attacks to take out a wizard, on average, and 20-30 attacks for a heavily armored fighting man!
Compared to S&W WB fighter, where a 3 HD fighter might have around 14 HP and AC 17 (plate + shield) vs. some orcs or hobgoblins (+1 to hit for 1d8 damage). The humanoids will deal an average of 1.125 damage per round, so our fighter will hold out for about 11.2 rounds. That means our fighter above is holding out twice as long. Hrm.
Lets see how it stacks up with a TN 6 and 3 hit-track scenario -- a "high damage" threat. This is like a low level character facing off against an ogre.
- 1 die pool (Wizard): 3.6 hits
- 2 die pool (Swashbuckler with no heavy armor or shield): 4.3 hits
- 3 die pool (Medium Fighter with medium armor and shield): 5.2 hits
- 4 die pool (Heavy Fighter with plate and shield): 6.25 hits
Interesting. A "scary" high potency monster significantly reduces the capability of the tankish types to take hits.
Now, an extremely high damage threat (TN 7). This is like a level 2-3 character facing a critter that does 3d6 damage, such as a Fire Giant. So expect them to get turned into paste.
- 1 die pool (Wizard): 3 hits
- 2 die pool (Swashbuckler with no heavy armor or shield): 3.1 hits
- 3 die pool (Medium Fighter with medium armor and shield): 3.2 hits
- 4 die pool (Heavy Fighter with plate and shield): 3.5 hits
Against the extremely high damage threat, everyone fares just about the same. They get turned into paste in about 3 attacks.
Compared to S&W WB fighter, where a 3 HD fighter might have around 14 HP and AC 17 (plate + shield) vs. a fire giant (+12 to hit for 2d6 damage). The giant will deal an average of 5.6 damage per round, so our fighter will hold out for about 2.5 rounds. That means our fighter above is holding out almost twice as long, again. Hrm.
Now, a low damage threat (TN 4). This is like a level 2-3 character facing a <1 style="font-style: italic;">That's a long time, but not anywhere near 48 rounds as postulated!
I am not sure if this is quite the appropriate mechanic. On the face of it, it seems good. It does allow tanks to handle significantly more punishment from level appropriate foes. It also replicates the near invulnerability of a fighter-type to lower level monsters. It allows the "hits" to happen about 1/2 the time without increasing lethality too much.
However, it also allows fighters to hold out twice as long as OD&D characters could normally. I think this makes them too durable.
One problem I have is that tanks suck against high-damage monsters. A fighter should have the best chance going toe-to-toe with an ogre or giant. As it is, he has the best odds but they're still not good. Heavily protected fighters have a strong incentive to go after the mobs of smaller, less damaging monsters with this sort of damage mechanic and let the big monsters be controlled by other means.
Although, that might be the vibe you want.
So, on the whole, I have to conclude that this mechanic is not viable as postulated here.
ADDENDUM: After conducting the OD&D analysis in Part 4 of this series, I've been rethinking my position on this again.
This mechanic lets fighting types hold out against a strong monster much longer than an OD&D type can. Plus its less egg-shelly. The OD&D one is likely to hold out for 2-3 rounds just because the monster rolls poorly, and then once the monster hits, SPLAT, the fighter is jelly. This variant is likely to hold out for just a few rounds too but there will be a rapid slide in condition.
One problem is that this does let folks hold out too long. According to my analysis, a fighter type should be able to take about 10 rounds of punishment. That squares with common sense too -- more than that and they won't be seriously injured at the end of a typical fight, which isn't exciting.
So, there are two options. Reduce the odds of success (move a standard DC/TN up from 5 to 6) or reduce the number of Wound Levels again from 3 to 2. This is how the 3E D20 UA handles it (check out the "Injury" section of the SRD). A sub-choice of this is to keep 3 Wound Levels, but impose cripping penalties on the third level so that a character might as well be out of the fight. Combined with upping the chance to hit from 50% to 60 or 70%, that should just about do it.
So, we'd have wound levels like:
Disabled - Serious penalties
Dying - Bleeding out, cannot act
Thus, characters would find themselves Disabled at the end of most fights. But, players always find a way to twink things. Plus, with in-combat healing, I'm still afraid characters will end up being too tough. So, maybe dropping a wound level is better. But then you end up with characters basically having one hit before they die.
OD&D Experience Levels
8 hours ago