Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bleeding wounds

In the quest to make gaming more theatrical and less hack and slash I've though about the idea of bleeding wounds.  Wounds in real life don't just heal by themselves.  Actually a bleeding bullet hole is more dangerous than the bullet itself ("a wounded soldier’s odds of survival, which have risen from 76.4 percent during the Vietnam War to 90.4 percent in Iraq", ).  Clearly prompt medical help improves survival, and lack of therefor decreases survival.

So, should caracter wounds keep bleeding in the game?  How do we determine if such a wound exists and how much bleeding does it produce?  How does it affect mechanics?  With current rules a character fights until his hit points are nearly gone.  If you knew certain wounds would bleed out would you be more careful in combat?  I'm quite sure you would.  Would this improve gaming or worsen it?  Clearly players would not be so gun ho to go into battle.  But when they did, it would certainly make an interesting match.  Also, let us remember (ehem to the GMs), that creatures would play by the same rules and thus be more careful.  A lot of GMs play as if their NPCs were cannon fodder, but unless they're insects or undead most have families to care for and would like to go home in one piece.  Not to mention without an infection to tend to.  So characters would be more vulnerable, but at the same time more imposing to NPC and monsters.

So after reviewing the vitality and wound point system in D&D and finding not to convincing I'd like to propose the following.  Characters have hit points (HP) as usual, but above those they have damage capacity points (DC).  Which are as the name says points for pure physical punishment.  

System one, simple:

Characters can suffer damage to their  DC without much hassle.  After all DC is gone they begin to suffer real bleeding wounds on their HP.  Each would could then be said to bleed 1 HP per round.

System two, realistic:

Characters can suffer up to 20% of their DC in one strike without causing a wound.  Extra damage goes directly to HP and starts a bleeding wound.  So if I have 20 DC points any damage above 4 will lead to HP loss and a bleeding wound.  Bleeding wounds need to be tended quickly to stop bleeding (say 1 or 2 combat rounds).

Characters with wounds could have penalties added to their movement or attack rolls.  Say after 25% of HP loss, after 50% loss, etc.

Comments?  Does the rule sound reasonable and relatively easy to implement?
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