Monday, 30 June 1997

Health, Bruises, Bleeding and Tracking

Ever forgot to rub out the arrow box when you shoot off arrows? or had arguments with your GM about provisions or potions that you had or had not drunk?

I'm sure its staple roleplay, there are many small aspects of the game that you might forget.. If its in your favour, you turn a blind eye, but against you, well I've seen entire tables rage against the DM about whether a potion was drunk or not..

So Imagine a system, where you tick off XP bonuses for each and every stat.. I tried tick boxes, rising numbered boxes.. mathematical equations, all sorts of things.. the biggest problem was tracking.. and worse still for health..

We had introduced a kind of non-lethal damage, called Body Ready.. not sure where I got the name now.. but you had a set of boxes.. and to nominate if the physical damage you just took was light, you ticked the box.. you could 'take a breather' in combat and get back d4+ con bonus BR.. if you didn't each tick cost you a -1 to all skills & stats (out of breath) and if it was medium, you crossed the tick, you needed a full round of breathing to stop that one.. but was still only a -1  and the final heavy, circle that crossed tick.. this one need a nights rest (or at least an hour per circle)

Health was another matter, When you got cut, you got health damage and bleed damage (per 5 pts of health = 1 bleed), you needed to stauch the wound to stop it.. else you'd lose that much bleed as health per round.

Then we also had a problem, If I smacked you over the head.. how could I knock you out? most systems had a rule about, if you're at 0 HP, you're unconcious... but as often as not, you were also bleeding to death too.. we had to lower death down to -15 to be able to counter that.. but what if you were poisoned, ok so now poisons had to have more damage to match the sword + bleed numbers.. ok so what about if you fall off a cliff? slam into the ground, maybe you break your legs.. do you pass out? walk away?

Health has always had a problem in Roleplay Games, its dumbed down to make it a game.. there we are again, referring to it as a game.. well I'm sorry, but by this stage this was no longer a game, this was a way of representing reality within a game system.. its called gamification..

Yes, some of my players riled against this attitude that I had (I've changed a bit since.. but I used to be very sheldon about it)

I was slowly developing something that was no longer a roleplay game, I was trying to understand how we represent ourselves as a set of statistics... why? because that has to be the basis to things.. a solid foundation, before making things playable.. and I think its become one of the reasons why alot of players actually like my game, because they can see themselves doing things, rather than a list of actions in a choice menu.

But I digress (I'll write more about this later) At this stage of development, we had Health, Body Ready, Knockout and Death.. you could get values of up to 100 Health as a moderate 7th level character.. but to get to 120, took an extraordinary ammount of bonuses, skills and game events.. 20th level characters might get 125... but We forgot healing..

The first iteration of the game, was WHFRP, health was out of 10, starting around 3... Dragon Warriors has something similar.. starting around 8 and sometimes getting to 25.. both systems had a fairly even idea that you'd wait a few days to get back 1 point, then 1 point per day after that.. seemed ok..

.. but after we added in bleeding, we needed to multiple everyones health by 5, (so that 1-3 points of bleeding per round, was less problematic), which meant all weapons x5, ok, so that made healing easier.. you started healing 1 point on day 1, and rose by 1 per day.. by 10 days, if you were still damaged, you healed by 10 that night..

Damage dice for weapons was now broken, poisons and spells broken.. everything was broken from this bleeding rule. So we scrapped it. I had to think of something new, something that worked.. infact the whole Body ready system was flawed, but for the longest time, I had no other solution..

But we did add all the Rolemaster Criticals in.. that made things fun.