A while back we were discussing using vitality and wound points for
BR. There are several merits to such a system; not the least of which is
the "less cinematic" approach that that system of assigning damage seems to
propagate. It has other merits, particularly for BR fans. The
vitality/wound point system that I`ve seen come out of WotC, however,
always had a couple of little faults to it that I didn`t really much like.

1. Con = Wound points. Now, aside from the fact that this is the only
occasion I can think of when the system uses an ability score itself as the
basis of another stat rather than the ability score modifier, it isn`t a
particularly elegant way of handling the situation. (I guess bloodline as
an ability score is another example... but I have even more objections to
that than to con=wound.) The range of con scores makes for a sometimes
bizarre distribution of wound points. The low end of the standard range of
3-18 is probably not that realistic a set of numbers since players rarely
take on PCs with con scores under 8, but for the sake of the mechanic it
makes for characters with a range of 600% in their wound points at 1st
level. That`s pretty significant given that their vitality points can`t
reach that high starting out.

2. No New Wound Points. Wound points are, after all, just another way of
assessing damage. What does 1 wound point mean? Nobody really
knows. It`s an abstraction. When Luke Skywalker got his hand cut off by
Darth Vader that could have been 1 wound point of damage. Who`s to
say? Given that it doesn`t really make sense that the stat is as static as
it is. Even if the point is to make things less cinematic that doesn`t
mean that in a level based system one should ignore the effects of
levelling up. So I figured in a change when it came to that sort of thing
for the purpose of these rules.

3. No vitality points for "common" NPCs. One of the things that`s always
annoyed me about the NPC class idea is that I can`t figure out why anyone
would really want to take one of those classes. OK, there is the rare
circumstance in which one might want to start off with the skill points of
the ???, and since there is no Noble PC class in standard D&D one is left
with the aristocrat, but for the most part the NPC class system is a waste
of time IMO. Especially since I can`t see any reason why a NPC would
_continue_ to level up in those classes after gaining the XP to gain 3, 5,
8+ levels. Plus, the classes lack utility, so NPCs wind up being
unsatisfactory when one wants to develop encounters. Thus, the NPC class
system gets used fairly rarely and has little real bearing on the
game. This vitality/wound point system addresses not only the utility of
NPC characters who take various classes, but also deals with why someone
might have to take those classes.

For the purpose of this system I`m differentiating between "heroic" and
"common" characters, where heroic characters are more like what we`re all
used to and common characters are NPCs who less access to
vitality/wound. Aside from their access to vitality and wound points,
however, there`s no difference between heroic and common characters. A
common "minstrel" (the NPC bard) is just as musically talented,
knowledgeable, etc. as a heroic "bard" but is less likely to get involved
in heroic activities (rather, he`s less likely to survive such things)
because he can get killed more easily.

4. I haven`t written this aspect of the system up yet, but I`ve never been
satisfied with how bloodtheft works--even in the original BR
materials. Using vitality/wound I have a few ideas on how to make that work.

When I get the stuff on bloodtheft written up and perhaps more information
on NPC classes that directly relates to BR material I`ll post that (or ask
Arjan to put it up on BR.net since it will be more directly BR related
then) but in the meantime I`d be interested in comments on the system as
presented. Here`s the link:


I`ll leave that up for a while--until I find something else I`d rather have
up there....


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