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Rules Contraction – Disable (0 Hit Points)

February 5, 2013

While editing Aspect of Fantasy, I’ve tried to make it a point to either streamline or eliminate rules that I think are excessive or just don’t come up that often. Some of these are my own rules, some are D20 rules. Take the following rule:


Disabled (0 Hit Points)

When your current hit point total drops to exactly 0, you are disabled.

You gain the disabled condition and can only take a major or minor action each turn, but not both. You can take minor actions without further injuring yourself, but if you perform any major action or similar strenuous activity (like a Free Hack) you take 1 point of damage after completing the act. Unless your activity increased your hit points, you are now at –1 hit points and dying.

Healing that raises your hit points above 0 makes you fully functional again, just as if you’d never been reduced to 0 or fewer hit points.

You can also become disabled when recovering from dying. In this case, it’s a step toward recovery, and you can have fewer than 0 hit points (see Stable Characters and Recovery).


I think the D20 rules designers were trying to take an antiquated system (i.e. hit points) and make it more ‘realistic’ by introducing concepts like ‘disabled’ – being close to unconscious -and using 0 hit points to represent this. The problem – this is a lot of crunch for something that almost never happens. My game group has been playing D20 since 2001, this may have come up once in all that time. I’m changing this so that once you’re out of hit points you’re unconscious, no different effect for 0.

I am thinking about representing injuries and low hit points by a ‘temporary aspects’ that can be compelled like: gimpy, dazed, dizzy, bruised, etc. I have to give this more thought though before I introduce into the game.


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