Paid a bod yn dwp
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5e hitpoint heroic/safety net

Sat 04 Sep 2021, 19:25

Had a quick glance at Alpha, I like what I see. Will need to do deeper dive when time permits.

One point I’ve sort of made before, in grittier games like Symbaroum, the heroic 5e hit-point safety net can sometimes feel inappropriate. For example In certain edge case situations like a hostage scenario, whereby a knife to the throat threatens the life of the hostage. Hostage could be a player character for instance.

In a standard game of 5e where high heroics are emphasised hit-points work well as described in the PHB , but in a grittier game I think there is room for developing a rule for edge case/conditional situations to alter the atmosphere a little.

Going back to the hostage situation, if the pc hostage has a bag of hit points, there can be a situation where the threat of a knife to the throat is meaningless as the pc knows they can survive the attack, and counter it next round.

I propose a conditional rule to maintain a sense of threat for Symbaroum, whilst not interfering with standard 5e combat and the complexity that class features can bring:

“If a target is surprised, restrained, unconscious or otherwise helpless, and suffers a critical hit, they must make an immediate Constitution Save (DC 15). On a failure the target falls to zero hit-points and death saves.”

If you wish to up the threat a little more, add something like this:

“If the damage from the Critical hit is equal or greater then their Constitution characteristic they immediately die without recourse to death saves”

I think this could work well for Symbaroum. You could alter the Con save dc to be set by Rolled weapon damage? Or have a different threshold for instant death instead of the constitution score. The scaleable half-hitpoint wound threshold in the DMG could be used if you wanted to peg such a rule to the heroic curve of 5e.

There’s precedent for this ruling in AD&D 1e as well as 3ed.
 
SoulAngel
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Re: 5e hitpoint heroic/safety net

Sat 04 Sep 2021, 22:51

With this rules, i think you can kill 2/3 char per party.

I m not sure you ever played 5E or know how damage work :s.
"“If the damage from the Critical hit is equal or greater then their Constitution characteristic they immediately die without recourse to death saves”"
And why only critical... with a fireball, a wiz can kill everyone. A normal warrior, with a sword of D12 damage + proficiency +strengh mod, even without crit, he can can outpass 17/18 without any problem. And i don't wanna speak with backstab attack from rogue...
“If a target is surprised, restrained, unconscious or otherwise helpless, and suffers a critical hit, they must make an immediate Constitution Save (DC 15). On a failure the target falls to zero hit-points and death saves.”
You give more power to assassin. He already have advantage on unconscious or sleeping ppl for eg... he will already do a ton of damage, i don't think you need to power him more.
 
Paid a bod yn dwp
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Re: 5e hitpoint heroic/safety net

Sun 05 Sep 2021, 03:33

I m not sure you ever played 5E or know how damage work :s.

Thanks. Nice introduction :)

And why only critical
Critical or a wound threshold would be two likely triggers for such a Con save. I picked critical to keep it a rarer occurrence, and to avoid a wound threshold trigger that is tied to, and scales with the heroic hit-point inflation. It’s a deliberate device to avoid the safety net that can be given by inflated hit-points (at high levels), in certain edge case scenarios like I mentioned in my first post.

If people fear an assassin a bit more then that’s good as it’s creating more threat in the narrative. It seems appropriate, and of course there’s a chance that anyone could perform such an attack, not just an assassin. Assassins still have their significant class feature which remains undiminished as they’re guaranteed to do high damage even if they don’t trigger a Con save, which is more likely the standard outcome in this situation.

Want to tweak the rule to make it harder to trigger, then make the Con Save DC easier, could be DC10 or whatever. Lots of levers to pull in 5e if you wish to recalibrate the threat level.

With this rules, i think you can kill 2/3 char per party.
Don’t think so, this is rare conditional exception. Being surprised and critted is not going to happen very often.

The assassin in standard 5e could trigger the Con save on a surprise, but then the target still has the Con save to make, followed by 3 death saves on a failure. The other party members may have something to say if the assassin tries to do the same to them.

This rule is more about maintaining a sense of threat in play which can get lost in standard high heroic 5e play. It’s to help the narrative, not to aid Gms who wish to play an adversarial game.
Last edited by Paid a bod yn dwp on Sun 05 Sep 2021, 13:56, edited 1 time in total.
 
Paid a bod yn dwp
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Re: 5e hitpoint heroic/safety net

Sun 05 Sep 2021, 12:04

If you wish to up the threat a little more, add something like this:

“If the damage from the Critical hit is equal or greater then their Constitution characteristic they immediately die without recourse to death saves”
To clarify this second part of my suggestion is meant as an extension to the first part of the rule. It’s not a replacement for how crits work in general. It’s purely for the conditional attack I mentioned in my first post.

Having said that I’m not 100% sure about this particular part of the rule as it introduces an instant death aspect. Without this part of the ruling you still have the 5e safety net of Con save followed by death saves in the basic ruling I’ve suggested - So still chances to survive the conditional attack, but there is a sense of threat created by the rule which feels appropriate to me.

An alternative to this particular part of the ruling could be:

…If the target fails the Con save and damage equals or exceeds the wound threshold (could be con score, or half hit point max, or something else), then the target only gets one death save instead of the usual 3.

Having one death save still gives a chance of survival, but also creates the chance for a form of instant take down in the narrative, rather then the slower death arch created by the standard death saves of 5e.
I made an example in another post, of the beheading of the Medusa in the original film Clash of the Titians. This ruling could cover that scenario.

It’s a rare conditional/circumstantial ruling, to work along side the standard attritional 5e combat.
I just feel it expands the narrative possibilities of 5e.
 
sandor7
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Re: 5e hitpoint heroic/safety net

Sun 05 Sep 2021, 14:42

With this rules, i think you can kill 2/3 char per party.

I m not sure you ever played 5E or know how damage work :s.
"“If the damage from the Critical hit is equal or greater then their Constitution characteristic they immediately die without recourse to death saves”"
And why only critical... with a fireball, a wiz can kill everyone. A normal warrior, with a sword of D12 damage + proficiency +strengh mod, even without crit, he can can outpass 17/18 without any problem. And i don't wanna speak with backstab attack from rogue...
“If a target is surprised, restrained, unconscious or otherwise helpless, and suffers a critical hit, they must make an immediate Constitution Save (DC 15). On a failure the target falls to zero hit-points and death saves.”
You give more power to assassin. He already have advantage on unconscious or sleeping ppl for eg... he will already do a ton of damage, i don't think you need to power him more.
could you reference the page/section where this is in the book? i'm not seeing it.
 
Paid a bod yn dwp
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Re: 5e hitpoint heroic/safety net

Tue 07 Sep 2021, 14:03

could you reference the page/section where this is in the book? i'm not seeing it.
There isn't a like for like assassin in the Alpha. Scoundrel is the equivalent. So Assassin abilities from vanilla 5e that may overlap this rule are minimised. For example there's no automatic critical if the Scoundrel has surprise ( an assassin level 3 ability) . The high level (17th) assassin ability Death strike doesn't feature. Which to me makes some form of the ruling i've suggested more plausible in Symbaroum 5e.

There is of course already an existing rule in the DMG for system shock/massive damage, but i'm not overly keen on that rule as it seems very punishing to low level characters, and perhaps not punishing enough to high level heroic characters as it's tied to Hit-points value, which has a big high heroic curve as it goes up. Having said that the effect of dropping to zero hit-points is mitigated in that rule by the table you roll on which has multiple results, dropping to zero hit-points is just one possibility. That may be a helpful approach if there is concern that dropping to zero hit-points could happen too often in such a conditional attack.

BTTW - Nice to see a great spread of abilities in the Alpha. Good to see someone making use of a stun attack :)
 
Paid a bod yn dwp
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Re: 5e hitpoint heroic/safety net

Wed 08 Sep 2021, 16:15

An alternative to this particular part of the ruling could be:

…If the target fails the Con save and damage equals or exceeds the wound threshold (could be con score, or half hit point max, or something else), then the target only gets one death save instead of the usual 3.

Having one death save still gives a chance of survival, but also creates the chance for a form of instant take down in the narrative, rather then the slower death arch created by the standard death saves of 5e.
Of course 5e already has an instant death rule. Damage that takes you below your hit-points, by an amount equal or greater then your hit-point max from a single attack, kills you out right.

So that would need to be considered in any revision. Essentially you have another wound threshold pegged to the heroic hit-point mechanic.

If we focus on an instant death mechanic for a moment, this wound threshold could be unpegged from hit-points, and instead use a constitution score + proficiency bonus. You get a flat threshold (Con) and a much lower levelling proficiency bonus as you grow in experience.

Tying wound threshold triggers to the ‘heroic’ increase in hit points of standard 5e, works well in high heroic games, but I question that relationship in grittier games.

I guess It’s a question of how far you want to turn the heroic aspect up? Do you go all the way to vanilla high heroic, or tone it down somewhat?
 
Paid a bod yn dwp
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Re: 5e hitpoint heroic/safety net

Mon 27 Sep 2021, 14:51

In place of a conditional modifier (like unconscious, incapacitated or surprised) as trigger for falling to 0 hit points, I wonder whether using the system shock rules from the DMG would be good?

Instead of it triggering on a damage threshold ( half-hit point maximum ), it could trigger on a critical.

Using a critical as a trigger would have the effect of helping the lower level characters a little, as they’d be more prone to being taken down by this rule. Maybe limit it to effecting creatures of no more than one size larger then the attacker, to keep a sense of realism and threat for massive/giant sized creatures?

edit:...Or perhaps a ruling like this should be tied to your level of hit-points in 5e, and not a critical? Its an heroic game after all, and hit-points are the heroic mechanic of D&D. If you tie this system shock ruling to half max Hit-points, as it is written in the DMG, then you don't need to worry about specifying restrictions by size category, but you do keep the higher level NPC's/PCs safer from lower level threats, which of course is vanilla 5e D&D level progression. But grittier AD&D, and 3ed (don't know 4e) both had rulings for conditional attacks which could drop an opponent to 0 hit-points...my feeling is that there is room for something similar and gritty in Symbaroum 5e.

I'm just not clear on where to dial it in between gritty and heroism. I can see arguments for both ways in a game of 5e.

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