Monday, March 28, 2011

From Hit Points to Luck Points?

It's amazing how admitting that you have nothing to say let's you think of things unsaid.  Perverse that.

I have been reviewing the rules of Under the Dying Sun as I may get a real live group to play soonish.  And I came across this: "Hit Points are an abstract measure of vitality, ability to withstand pain, defensive skill, and luck."  Nothing new or earth-shaking there, but that's actually kind of the point.  Hit Points have always been abstract, but that is one of the most overlooked parts of Ye Auld Game's system.  I mean, they are called hit point, for Gary's sake; obviously they represent how many hits you can take!  Right?  And that's why we have the crazy stuff about high-level guys shrugging off arrows, becoming immune to a knife in the throat, and easily surviving falls from high place.  Ah, the arguments in Dragon magazine back in the day; how I miss ye.

As I mull this over in my head, I think that the name may be a large part of the problem.  So what if you called them something else?  What if you called them, for example, "Fortune" or "Luck Points"?

You get this:

Luck Points are an abstract measure of vitality, ability to withstand pain, defensive skill, and good old-fashioned luck.  At the conclusion of combat, all characters who still have at least 1 Luck Point regain half of those lost in the bout (rounding down). Thus if a character takes a total of 5 points of damage, even if from different opponents, he regains 2 points once the fight ends and he can catch his breath.

Characters fall unconscious when they drop to 0 Luck Points or less and suffer from a Wound.

That's from the section on Injury & Death with the appropriate substitutions.   And I rather like it.  Instead of saying, "You are all out of hit points; you're dead", you could now say, with some brutal understatement, "Your luck has run out; you're dead."

On the other hand, that terminological shift might be a bit too much for some players.  Hit Points are a fairly intrinsic piece of the game's history.  God knows how much the shift to ascending Armour Class bothers some people.  Hmn, something to think about.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Still Alive, Actually

Not that you would know it from the blog.  Between bouts of pneumonia, back injuries, vacations, and (least importantly for purposes of blogging), nothing of much relevance to say, I have obviously been absent.  I can hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Hopefully, I might get this blog going again a bit, although I am unsure of its future.  I began it for a very specific purpose - to act as a design log and forum for a game of swords & psionics - and although that game isn't done, the big pieces are long since decided.  In addition, I must confess to having suffered a bit of blogger-burnout, both for my own and other's (far superior) efforts.  Not due to a lack of good material; maybe the opposite of having so much good material that I can't really sort through it anymore.

But, maybe I'll think of something else to say.