Quasi VP/WP

The following can be originally located here. Thanks to Hong Ooi for providing the rules and allow them to be reposted on this site.

The Vitality/Wound Points system as used in d20 Star Wars, Spycraft and elsewhere has a number of advantages compared to D&D's normal hit point system. In particular, VP are recovered at a much faster rate than hit points (hours compared to days), which reduces somewhat the need for a medic on extended trips into the dungeon. Given D&D's emphasis on dungeoneering, and most players' reluctance to be the party medic, this seems to be not an inconsiderable advantage.

Furthermore, WP allow an extension of the bottom-end of the scale, so that characters can take a bit more damage before dying. This reduces the game's lethality at low levels, which isn't entirely a bad thing seeing how low-level characters tend to be almost as fragile as the mooks they're fighting. It also helps to address one of the complaints about D&D's hit points, namely how there isn't much middle ground between functioning at full capacity and getting knocked out.

The following rules should serve to recreate most of the effects of VP/WP. The main points of difference to VP/WP are that only one (Hit Point) scale is used, with the zero point located where VP are exhausted; and critical hits are handled using the D&D rules.

  • Positive hit points correspond to Vitality Points. As long as a character's hit point total is positive, their hit points are regained at the rate of 1 point per level per hour. This is in contrast to the standard D&D rate of 1 point per level per day.
  • Zero or negative hit points correspond to Wound Points. A character with 0 to negative Con hit points is staggered. Staggered creatures can only take partial actions.
  • A character with negative Con –1 to negative Con –9 hit points is unconscious and dying. A dying creature loses one hit point each round unless stabilised. See the usual rules in the PHB for dying creatures.
  • A character with negative Con –10 hit points is dead. Spells and effects that result in instantaneous death set a creature's hit points to negative Con –10, if it matters.
  • If a character's hit point total is 0 or lower, their hit points are regained at the rate of 1 point per day. Once a character's hit points reach 1, they regain further hit points at the faster rate mentioned above.
  • Unless stated otherwise, all rules for combat and damage remain unchanged from regular D&D. In particular, critical hits still deal multiplied damage, taken off your normal hit point total. This is in contrast to how criticals are handled in a standard VP/WP system, where they bypass VP and go straight to WP. (This is the "instant death on a critical" phenomenon, so named because it's possible for a critical hit from a heavy weapon to take down someone instantly. It's seen as a feature by some, and a bug by others. Personally, I think it's a bug.)
  • Creatures that are larger or smaller than human-size have their WP total adjusted, as per the standard VP/WP rules.
  • Falling damage still accrues to hit points as in normal D&D. In general, since only one hit point scale is used, it's impossible to deal damage directly to Wound Points. This is in contrast to the case in a standard VP/WP game.

Some complications exist in D&D that either don't have parallels in most VP/WP games, or aren't adequately spelled out in the rules:

  • Creatures without a Con score, such as constructs and undead, are treated as if having a Con of 10 for the purposes of figuring their WP.
  • The regeneration and fast healing abilities remain unchanged, as does subdual damage.
  • Secondary effects such as poison, ability damage, etc., take effect on any hit that does damage, whether the target has positive or negative hit points. (Thus a successful attack implies actual physical contact with the target, unlike the situation in a standard VP/WP game, where a hit that only does VP damage represents an attack that was dodged due to luck or skill.)
  • When cast on a creature with positive hit points, the Cure X Wounds spells restore hit points as given in the PHB. When cast on a creature with 0 or negative hit points, the spells stabilize the target if necessary and restore 1, 2, 3 or 4 hit points for the Light, Moderate, Serious and Critical versions, respectively. This represents the increased difficulty of regaining lost Wound Points compared to Vitality Points.
  • A character with the Diehard feat is not staggered when at 0 to negative Con hit points. They are staggered from negative Con –1 to negative Con –9 hit points, and die at negative Con –10 hit points.

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