Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Health & Healing

"We are Engineers, but of the Body. The Body is a wondrous machine, with its own piping, scaffolding, gears -- which is, of course, guided by the Soul. A Surgeon first learns the ins and outs of these systems in his training, and then how to apply the Needle & Thread, the Scalpel and finally how to inject the Weird Fluids to correct unhealthful courses of functioning. Our bodies were made resilient by the Great Goddess, but wounds must be sewn closed as having our inner-workings exposed to the elements for very long is dangerous. Also, the Scalpel is helpful in removing the tumors that sometimes grow within us as we age. In some cases we employ the Weird Fluids to assist the Body's natural healing properties."
-Sadie the Surgeon of the Hospital Main in Nein

In this post I am going to explain the mechanics for Sophia's Children's Hit Points, healing. Again, as with previous posts, I may be referencing concepts that have yet to be explained. My hope is that with future posts all of this will come together smoothly.

As I currently have a very small audience for these postings, I do not anticipate a lot of feedback directly on this blog. The goal of blogging, in my mind, is three-fold: 1) an ongoing exercise in articulating the rules behind my game so as to further refine and clarify its systems, 2) publicly air the rules, concepts and setting of the game so as to receive feedback, criticism on it and 3) to find my narrative voice for fantasy-fiction writing, generally.

So, let's start with Health and Hit Points. In the game I have retained Ye Olde concept of Hit Points. All characters: Monsters, PCs and NPCs have Hit Points. Concurrent with Hit Points are Wounds. Wounds are equal to the highest damage taken at any one particular time.

For example: The Warrior, Francis, and a Ghoul are engaged in melee combat. Francis has 25 Hit Points and 0 Wounds. The Ghoul does 5 points of Damage to Francis, lowering his Hit Points to 20 and raising his Wounds to 5.

In the second round, the Ghoul does 4 points of Damage to Francis. This lowers his Hit Points further to 16, but since this is amount is lower than his Wounds of 5, his Wounds remain at 5.

In the third round, the Ghoul does 8 points of Damage to Francis. This again lowers his Hit Points, down to 8 (he is getting clobbered by this Ghoul). Since 8 Damage is larger than his Wounds of 5, his Wounds are now 8.

By itself, Wounds are just another number to track, but it becomes important when Healing comes into play. In the game system there are three levels of healing: Temporary Hit Points, Minor Healing and Major Healing. Generally speaking, a deeper commitment of Action Points are required to utilize a better form of Healing.

Temporary Hit Points are an additional factor that is factored into Current Hit Points. All Damage received is first subtracted from Temporary Hit Points before Hit Points proper. Also: multiple sources of Temporary Hit Points only retain the highest single source of Temporary Hit Points. Let's go back to the example of Francis versus the Ghoul to show how Temporary Hit Points work.

Francis is accompanied by a Surgeon who quickly stitches his wounded skin together which grants Francis 5 Temporary Hit Points. Francis now has 8 Hit Points plus 5 Temporary Hit Points, which is written on his character sheet at "Hit Points: 8 + 5." In the next round of combat Francis takes 3 points of Damage from the Ghoul (who is really pissing Francis off at this point), reducing first his Temporary Hit Points from 5 to 2, which causes the notation on Francis' character sheet to change to "Hit Points: 8 + 2" and since 3 points of Damage is less than his current Wounds of 8, his Wounds remain at 8.

Following this, the Surgeon again applies his technique to Francis, adding an additional 5 Temporary Hit Points. Francis currently has 2 Temporary Hit Points, expressed on his character sheet as "Hit Points: 8 + 2." As 5 is greater than 2, Francis now has 5 Temporary Hit Points changing the expression on his sheet to "Hit Points: 8 + 5."

Minor Healing and Major Healing provide slightly different effects which both interact with Maximum Hit Points and Base Hit Points. Maximum Hit Points are exactly what it says on the tin: the maximum value that current Hit Points can be raised to. Base Hit Points is the starting point of Maximum Hit Points and cannot be reduced by any means (but is raised by gaining levels and Strength). Minor Healing can not raise Maximum Hit Points, whereas Major Healing can.

Healing of either kind first closes the wounds of the recipient. This has the effect of subtracting current Wounds from Maximum Hit Points and then reducing Wounds to 0. Minor Healing then adds its benefit to Current Hit Points only. Major Healing raises Current Hit Points and Maximum Hit Points -- but only up to Base Hit Points (the starting maximum). Let's return to our example to illustrate.

Francis, having finished off the Ghoul, is left with Hit Points of "8 + 5" and Wounds of 8. His Maximum Hit Points (and Base) is 25. His companion-Surgeon delivers a long-lasting painkiller that confers Minor Healing of 8 points. Firstly, Francis subtracts his Wounds from his Maximum Hit Points, leaving him with a Maximum Hit Points of 17. He then resets his Wounds to 0. The 8 points of Healing he has received is then added to his Current Hit Points, which is noted now as "16 + 5." He retains the 16 Hit Points he has since this is less than his new Maximum of 17. Francis is able to fight on, but will need deeper medical attention (or the supernatural attentions of a Priest) if he is to continue fighting more Ghouls. . .

Later, following another encounter with Ghouls, Francis is left with 9 Hit Points (no Temporary Hit Points) and 5 Wounds. The Surgeon that is with him digs through his Black Bag to administer another painkiller -- conferring 8 points of Minor Healing. First, the Wounds of 5 are subtracted from his Maximum, reducing it further to 12. The 8 points of Healing are then added to his current Hit Points, raising it to 17. Since this is larger than his Maximum of 12, Francis reduces his Current Hit Points to 12.

Francis and the Surgeon retreat back to Nein to retain the services of a Priest, who Evokes a Healing Prayer. This confers 10 points of Major Healing upon Francis -- raising both his Current Hit Points and Maximum Hit Points by 10. His Maximum Hit Points go to 22 from 12 and his Current Hit Points are raised to 22 from 12.

And that's pretty much the system. It provides a degree of tactical and strategic decision-making to Healing abilties. This depth will have to be explored through play testing -- but in my own small-scale calculations and small testings, I think it is an interesting twist on Ye Olde system of Hit Points.

In my next posting I will detail the Death & Dying rules -- which relies on the concepts in this post.

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