Hit Point Musings

I view hit points in B/X (and most versions of The Game) as a measure of a creature’s fighting ability: their staying power, skill at avoiding damage through dodges, parries, etc. and the willingness to fight on.  This is especially true when the total goes beyond the base number where one blow from a small or medium weapon (d4 or d6) can take them out.  As a player, one thing that can bring me down is when you finally get enough xpts to advance and then you drop a crappy 1 or 2 on your new hit die roll.  This really stinks for Fighters, and if bad luck persists, you even get instances where the non-martial classes have more hit points than the luckless Fighter (especially Clerics and Thieves, in part because they advance more quickly).  Sure, you get a bigger hit die, but it can still roll a 1 or 2.  Even in games where a Fighter or Barbarian rolls a d10 or d12, the possibility is still there for you to roll less than the wizard.

So I’m noodling with the idea that PC’s could roll a smaller die with a mod when they advance so it guarantees that the Fighters at least keep pace with the Magic-users and almost always get more.  The alternative HP generation would be:

  • Fighters & Dwarves: roll a d5+3 instead of a d8.
  • Clerics, Elves, and Halflings: roll a d4+2 instead of a d6.
  • Magic-users and Thieves: roll a d3+1 instead of a d4.

This would raise the hit point floor for all PC’s, but wouldn’t raise the ceiling.

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