Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Whitebox, HP, and the Sweet Spot

Level 4 to 7 has always been the sweet spot for me in D&D.  There seems to be a perfect mix of character options and HP as opposed to monster damage at those levels.

Looking at the math in White Box, a typical level 4 character has 4 HD/14 HP (Fighters), 3+1 HD/11.5 HP (Clerics), or 2+1 HD/8 HP (MUs).

They will probably range in AC from AC 19 (best case -- +1 plate, +1 shield, or standard plate and shield with a buff spell running) to AC 12ish (MU with protection spell running) in most serious combats.  An average AC is probably around 17.  Most monsters will probably have a BHB from +1 to +4, meaning hits occur on a roll of 15ish -- about 1/4 of the time.

At this level most monsters are doing 1d6 damage -- a few might do 1d6+1 (ogres).  A rare few do 2d6.   Therefore, the character should be able to take 2-4 hits depending on class (HD) and attacker.

This means that a character should be taking about 16 attacks (heavily armored fighter with average HP) before incapacitation, 12  attacks (moderately armored cleric with average HP), or as few as 4 attacks (MU) before being knocked out.

I think this is pretty much as we'd expect, especially given that those attacks should be parceled out over multiple rounds and several combats.  Smart fighters who have access to missile weapons and polearms may be able to get in a few rounds of combat without exposing themselves to enemy attacks as well.

In any event, even if the character gets whacked every time, there should be a smooth progression from "green" (>50% HP), to "yellow" (<50% HP), to "red" (<6 HP remaining -- one more hit left).  One round knockouts should be rare.

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