I’ve had a crazy schedule lately and in order to stay sane I’ve started working on a little gaming project in my off-time. Working on this little role-playing project has been fun but I started working on combat, especially damage, and I’ve been considering how I want damage to work.
In my years as a gamer, I’ve played a lot of different systems — with a lot of different health/damage/hit point systems. All-in-all, I’ve come to realize over the years that hit points (or simple variations on the hit point theme) are common for a reason… They’re easy and they work well. Hit Points do a great job of abstracting damage while at the same time tracking combat attrition well. They are also easy to track and easy to adjudicate.
But I want to do something else. I think hit points are a fine system but one thing I’d like to use the damage system to model better is the “attrition” nature of combat. That is to say — I’d like “damage” to do something more than simply take off hit points.
For most games — even games with a lot of maneuvers or combat options — even the stunts in Dragon Age — it is a rare event when inflicting damage is not the best choice. Getting an opponent to the end of their damage capacity is generally the best course. So how can I change that? And why would I want to change that?
In my head I’ve been thinking about a lot of the fight scenes from different stories. It’s always a matter of who gets tired first, or a small thing that changes the momentum of a fight. I’m thinking about the sword fights in the Amber novels, where the fights turned on getting that hint of advantage over an opponent — physical, psychological, whatever that sets a tone for the fight. And then, additionally, I’m thinking about the whole “Rocky” effect. The whole, I get beat on but then I rally to win.
And despite all this thinking, and tinkering, and reading… I keep coming back to a hit point variation and thinking that it might just be the best way to go.
Anyone else just fed up with Hit Points?
Thanks for Reading.