Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Minimum Hit Point Totals

From Unearthed Arcana by John and Laura Lakey
One thing that I have always hated about Dungeons & Dragons and its close cousin Pathfinder is the random generation of hit points. It sucks to be the wizard with a Constitution score of 10 who rolls a 1 on their hit die when they level up. So, for the longest time, I used the variant rule presented in the Pathfinder Society Guide where characters receive the maximum result of their hit die plus any miscellaneous modifiers at 1st level and the rounded up average of their hit die plus any miscellaneous modifiers each time they gain a level.

Recently, I have been reading the Rules & Magic book for Lamentations of the Flame Princess and one of the rules in there really seemed to catch my attention. For LotFP, each character at 1st level has a "minimum" number of hit points they receive. When they roll their hit die and they happen to roll lower than their minimum amount, they receive the minimum amount instead. I really like how the rule creates a safety net so players don't end up going into a dungeon with just 1 hit point and get killed by a simple house cat.

So, I'm thinking of adapting this rule for my future Pathfinder campaigns. However, I'm going to make a few changes to make it fit that game better. At 1st level, you receive the maximum amount of hit points for your class plus your Constitution modifier and any additional modifiers you might receive. Each time you gain a new level, you will roll your class' hit die and add your Constitution modifier and any additional modifiers you might receive and compare the final result to your class' minimum hit point total found on the table below and add whichever total is higher to your hit points.

CLASS
MINIMUM HIT POINTS
Barbarian
7
Bard
5
Cleric
5
Druid
5
Fighter
6
Monk
5
Paladin
6
Ranger
6
Rogue
5
Sorcerer
4
Wizard
4

I contemplated having your Constitution modifier and any miscellaneous modifiers you might receive to your minimum amount so you would just have to roll your hit die each time you gain a level and compare its result to your minimum total. However, there was the fear that your minimum total might end up matching the maximum result of your class' hit die or even exceed it. So, I just had the modifiers affect the roll of the hit die like normal.

I think this will be an interesting addition to my Pathfinder games. It will allow players to sometimes get lucky and receive a larger amount of hit points than normal each time they gain a level, but gives them a safety net so they won't end up with just a single additional hit point.