Alternate Hitpoint System

This system combines Ye Olde Regular hitpoint as presented in the AD&D system itself with a little new term. Basically, a character has two sets of hitpoints using this alternate set of rules, 'Fatigue' Points and 'Fleshwounds'. How they work… read on!

Fatigue Points

Fatigue Points are the old hitpoints, as determined by character class and level, hit die type, etc. Basically, all characters get to roll for their first level, even single classed fighters. They do not start at maximum when created as first level, as the survivability lies somewhat higher anyways. Hitpoint Adjustment from Constitution is added to these Fatigue Points as normally would be done to hitpoints. Losing Fatigue Points to attacks is sort of like putting extra effort in dodging an attack, rolling with the blow, suffering a scratch, or a slight bruise, but nothing really serious. Once the Fatigue Points are all gone, the character is in trouble. Fatigue Points are easy to recover and keep the character away from actual harm. If the Fatigue Points are gone, the character suffers damage to his or her Fleshwounds, excess carrying over from one, to the next.


Fleshwounds are the type of wounds that bleed and attract infections and such. A character has a starting amount of Fleshwounds equal to half his or her Constitution score, rounding up. Once this amount is depleted (0 or less) the character falls unconscious, unable to act, until the Fleshwounds are back to positive again. This means a character must have at least 1 Fleshwound left (being hurt very badly) to walk around slowly, eat something, rest, etc. The amount of Fatigue Points is irrelevant for this however.
When Fleshwounds fall below 0, the character not only drops, but also bleeds to death. At the end of each combat round the character loses another Fleshwound, including on the round on which Fleshwounds reached negative numbers. Once this total falls below the character's Constitution score, the character's soul slips away and he or she dies. For example, a character with Con 12 can slip to -12 and dies at -13.

Which is hit?

Question arises as to what sort of hit points you hit. Basically, all damage from attacks is deducted from the fatigue Points first, representing the character doing his or her utmost to avoid the really harmful blows. They sort of represent combat experience combined with personal endurance. For simplicity, all magic is assumed to affect Fatigue first (exception: healing magic as shown below).

There are some situations, however, in which Fatigue Points are totally ignored. They are these:

`Critical Hits - If your gaming group uses Critical Hits (natural 20, or the popular 4 points over AC and on 19 or 20), then a Critical Hit should directly affect the Flesh wounds.

`Backstab - When a thief type character successfully performs a Backstab maneuver, the resulting damage, including the multiplier, is deducted directly from the Flesh wounds. However, when using this system, you shouldn't allow backstabs with weapons greater than daggers. This may include club or sap attacks to knock out a character as an exception. Better watch your back now… Daggers can be deadly…

`Physical traps. Basically, in such surprise situations where a sudden crossbow bolt is ran through a character or where a spear appears from beyond a wall, Flesh wounds are lost directly.

`Falling. However, for falling, you should roll 1D4 -2 for any fall (minimum of 0), and add the number of meters to the total, to a maximum of 1D4 +20. Falls may be modified according to circumstances. A character with swimming and diving proficiencies might only suffer half damage from falls into water deep enough to dive in, for example. This is one of those grey areas where the DM has to decide.

Wounding Effects

Flesh wounds are not to be ignored "as there are still so many Fatigue Points left" for they represent actual bleeding cuts, gashes, broken bones, etc. As a character is losing his Flesh wounds, his or her performance drastically drops. For every 2 points of damage to Flesh wounds, a character suffers a 1 point penalty to all rolls (-1 to hit, -1 to saving throws, +1 to proficiency checks, etc.).

Natural Recovery

In this we can be very simple. Recovery of Fatigue Points and separate recovery of Flesh wounds. We'll look at this separately.
Fatigue Points are easy to recover. A character recovers 1 Fatigue Point per hour of rest. Rest may include riding a horse, walking along, reading and studying, etc. No more strenuous activity may happen during that hour or the recovery is lost for that hour. This way, a character recovers 8 Fatigue Points per 8-hour night's rest, 24 for every full day of rest.

Flesh wounds slowly heal, if rest is taken. If no rest is taken, as was described above, then no recovery is happening. Flesh wounds heal at the rate of 1 per day (as in 24 hours) of resting. A character with Healing Proficiency might increase this to 2 Flesh wounds per day, providing good care. Also having the Herbalism Proficiency, for making salves and ointments, and such, might increase this healing to a maximum of 3 Flesh wounds per day. This assumes bedding and rooms, proper materials and care. If something is missing, the DM might rule less recovery. You just don't heal as fast when you are constantly running through the snow and dirt, fleeing from wild animals, as you do lying in bed with someone caring lovingly for you, cleaning sheets, wiping your b…

Magical Recovery

Clean and simple, sometimes in a fantasy environment some form of magical recovery will be available. Be this a healing potion, a clerical healing machine, whatever. In all such cases, any points of healing apply to the Flesh wounds first, and carry over into the Fatigue Points. Any applicable wounding effects are negated if Flesh wounds are removed.


Of course, monsters can have these Flesh wounds and Fatigue Points too. However, most Monstrous Compendia and other such sources don't list a CON score for the average monster. As a fast rule you might look at any pluses the monster gets to its Hit Dice. For example, an Ogre has 4+1 Hit Dice, and +1 is the hit point adjustment you get at CON 15. So it might be safe to say the average Ogre has CON 15 (making for 8 Flesh wounds). Monsters with no pluses might have an average range of CON scores. 8 +1D6 usually gives a nice average CON score of between 9 and 14 inclusive. Half that, like described here, is the amount of Flesh wounds the monster has.

Grey Areas

There are plenty gray areas, where the rules seem to contradict each other. Grey areas where there is no logic anymore. Remember, this is a game, a game of fantasy. In any case, the DM has the final word on whether or not some situation applies. As this system greatly increases the survivability of low-level characters, it also increases the danger from experienced warriors with low THAC0s (when using the 4 over AC rule). It also increases the danger to those high-level hit point hulks, as that 30th level fighter also has only so many Flesh wounds. Spears or such traps actually become dangerous again, even for high level characters. Fortunately this system can easily be incorporated without too much of an added difficulty or complexity of the rules.

Wounding Effects!

This is a very simple rule addition to make these wounds just that slight little bit of more realistic. It doesn't deal with entirely new game mechanics, introduces no complex new systems. It is just and only that little addition that some players and Dungeon Masters have been looking for. Basically, the Character Record Sheet on the Forms Section of this site has room to incorporate this House Rule.

The basics are simply this. The character has a certain amount of Hit points. Of these hit points you calculate 75%, 50%, 25% and 10% (rounding up at .5, down at .49). Should only be done when the maximum amount of hit points changes, as is most often the case when the character gains a level, or loses Constitution for some reason.

`When the character has 75% hit points or less, he suffers a 1 point penalty to all dice rolls and Armour Class.

`When the character has 50% hit points or less, he suffers a 2 point penalty to all dice rolls and Armour Class.

`When the character has 25% hit points or less, he suffers a 3 point penalty to all dice rolls and Armour Class. Spellcasting has 25% of failing at this stage

`When the character has 10% hit points or less, he suffers a 5 point penalty to all dice rolls and Armour Class. Spellcasting is impossible at this stage.

Note that everything here is presented as a penalty. This means that a Proficiency Check is penalized by +1, or +3 on the die roll for example, depending on the amount of damage the character has suffered. Saving Throw rolls get a minus, as do attack and damage rolls. This greatly decreases the options characters have when they get badly mauled by their opponents, and gives them a reason not to get hurt!

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built by unclefester | sternzwischen | updated 14-05-29 23:15:25