Condition Track

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Condition Track

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:19 am

Okay, this was like the best thing in SWSE In my opinion, and I really hope that we are going to use a Condition Track system similar to SWSE... am I alone in this, or do you think that there is a better idea of using conditions than this? And if there is a better system, what is it?
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Re: Condition Track

Postby DTemplar5 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:50 am

A condition track is a good idea, but I think it needs to be more dynamic than it is in Saga Edition; as is, it doesn't move very much.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Imagist » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:05 pm

The condition track helped streamline combat, giving you less to track and unifying how different effects (fatigue, injury, mental exhaustion) all compounded on your character. I also enjoyed the aspect of the condition track that it took away ability point damage or drain, reducing retroactive hit point, skill, and power loss. It is also good for GMs because it more clearly presents the danger level of whatever they are doing. Nothing sucks more as a GM than trying to challenge your players without outright killing them only to hear the fighter go "I take twenty-two points of damage and three points of constitution damage which loweres my maximum hit points to... im dead." And everybody, GM included, going "wait... what?!"

Just a thought.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Elsidar » Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:08 pm

Gary's got plans for using something like the condition track. As it was in SWSE, it really never got used much. It rarely moved at all, and if you got more than two steps down, it was absolutely debilitating.

Instead, the "damage threshold" concept is still here; if you're hit for damage over your threshold, you take a level of Fatigue. If you get hit for damage over the threshold and are out of reserves, you take an Injury instead. The only thing I know about Fatigue is that it gives a -1 penalty to...something for each level of Fatigue you've built up. I imagine Injuries work the same way, but are more difficult to get rid of. The rate at which you gain and heal Fatigue and Injuries are aspects that can be modified to fit the desired "level of heroism" in the game.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby fodigg » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:26 am

I definitely want some sort of condition track that's responsible for determining hampering wounds and death. I want hit points to simply be the vehicle by which you move up and down this track. The track should be more important than the hit points.

It should be scarier to take a lot of damage at once than to be out of hit points.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Imagist » Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:18 am

A condition track like this would also help with a few of the modules that would be more difficult otherwise, such as Super Powers. Super strength is all fine and dandy, until you realize that the mechanic of adding tons of hit point damage to melee attacks is going to seriously overpower that module when compared to the core modern mechanics... but if super strength deals normal damage AND moves the enemy down the condition track due to the super impact, we get something that is a little more workable. On the flipside, if super endurance allows the negation of certain condition track losses, when we have someone with super strength fighting someone with super endurance we have a fair and balanced fight because their powers are effectively canceling eachother out.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby JaredGaume » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:27 am

My feeling is to either use a condition track or use hit points, but not both. I don't think the two mechanics play well together. You end up favoring one and ignoring the other.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Imagist » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:48 am

JaredGaume wrote:My feeling is to either use a condition track or use hit points, but not both. I don't think the two mechanics play well together. You end up favoring one and ignoring the other.


The problem with only going with the condition track, as far as I see, is figuring out how a weapon affects the mechanics of combat. With hit points, each weapon has a damage die or dice, crit multiplier, and threat range. In a condition track only system, the variable mechanic becomes "how far along the track does getting hit move me." In a five point condition track, as in SWSE, combat becomes readily more deadly as five successful hits... regardless of how much damage they might actually do... takes you out of the fight. If you add more points to the condition track, combat can become a little more varied as bigger weapons could move you down the condition track more than smaller weapons.

For example, if we used a 10 point track, and normal weapon "damage" moved you one step along the track, while more "damaging" weapons moved you two or maybe even three steps along the track, that could still allow for a more interesting mechanic. Obviously, Strength to damage with melee would be negated, as would class level to damage in the proposed outline for the system. However, I could see the benefits of a condition track over standard hit points. Being reduced to half hit points means nothing mechanically, imposes no lose of mobility or effectiveness, but going down five steps on a ten point condition track could very well reduce your effectiveness in a fight (unless of course you off set the penalties with feats, talents, or skill uses) and give players a sense of mortality without rubbing death in their face.

I can see the benefit of both hit points and a condition track, but I would be interested in exploring the idea of a condition track based health system... maybe using the proposed injury/fatigue track outlined in the core mechanics of e20. 10 point health track, 10 point fatigue track... who knows? Could work.

Edit* Added Stuff

Okay, so I was thinking some more about a potential condition track based health system using 10 points on an Injury track and 10 points on a Fatigue track. This is all just BS bouncing around in my head, so please let me know if this has been done before or something similiar... if so than I will keep quiet.

Fully healthy is far left on Injury track and far left on Fatigue track. Weapon damage moves you along the Injury track relative to the weapons damage (i.e. a dagger may move you -1 on the Injury track, while a long sword might move you -2 on the Injury track, while a greatsword could move you -3 on the Injury track). If the weapon is doing nonlethal damage, it will instead move you along the Fatigue track. If injury sustained on the Injury track reduces you to 5 or less (i.e. 50% or below), you are considered fatigued. If Injury sustained on the Injury track reduces you to the far right of the track (-10) you are disabled and dying. If injury sustained on the Fatigue track reduces you to 5 or less (i.e. 50% or below), you are considered fatigued. If Injury on the Fatigue track reduces you to the far right of the track (-10) you are unconscious and helpless. If you are reduced to 5 or less on both the Injury and Fatigue tracks (i.e. 50% or below on both tracks), you are exhausted.

Fatigue would return at a fixed rate every hour of rest. Injury would return at a fixed rate every 8 hours of rest (or nights sleep equivalent). Some Injury or Fatigue might be "persistent" and require special conditions to return (such as surgery, removal of a curse, magical healing, mental restoration... all these are based on other modules being in play).

Some class features may allow for your character to change the way this system works, such as a Str/Con character using a talent to negate a certain amount of Injury or turn movement along the Fatigue track into movement along the Injury track instead (I am not going to stop until I drop dead - Die Hard talent/feat). A Dex based character might be able to turn movement along the Injury track into movement along the Fatigue track instead (That was a close one - Evasion). A Wisdom based character might be able to push aside Injury or Fatigue for a short period of time (I can sleep when I am dead... until then I will aid my allies - Iron Will/Resolve).

The only thing I would still be questioning (other than the whole mechanic itself as being playtestable) would be Constitution's role in the health mechanic. One way would be to include a reserve point system (as introduced in the outline for the e20 system), but instead of reserve hit points, a character has reserve points based on character class, level, and Constitution. A reserve point could be used in much the same way as above (the characters use reserve points to reduce injury/fatigue or simply expend reserve points like temporary hit points that allows them to continue acting for a period of time before their injuries or fatigue overwhelms them). Much like a defense bonus to Reflex, Fortitude, and Will defense, you class based reserve bonus would favor combat based classes, while more mental based classes would recieve a lower bonus to reserve points (multiclassing would use the better of the two class bonuses). You would also get 1/2 your character level (rounded down) as well as your Constitution modifier in reserve points each day, restored when you rest. Using the idea that reserve points would also act as action points of a sort, a character would have to be careful when expending them as they are a renewable... yet limited resource for their character.

Okay... back to my morning prep work.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby JaredGaume » Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:53 am

I favor using a hit point system. I'll even go so far as to support applying conditions to your character like fatigue and injuries.

That said.

There are a variety of ways to handle a condition track. From a narrative and a realism point of view it is more dynamic to say "I am fatigued" than "I have 15 of 20 hit points left."
Using a condition track only may require reworking a number of central mechanics built in to the d20 system from the very beginning. The biggest one may be how damage is handled.

For sake of argument say we use a 6 point condition track (a-la Star Wars):

( ) Healthy: No penalties, you are perfectly healthy.
( ) Fatigued: -1 penalty (to all defenses, attack rolls, ability checks, and skill checks; applies to each step)
( ) Wounded: -2 penalty
( ) Injured: -5 penalty
( ) Dying: -10 penalty, you may only take limited actions (e.ge. you only get 1 standard action on your turn).
( ) Dead: You can't do anything, you are dead.

The question is how to control movement along the condition track, i.e. how do you go from healthy to fatigued to worse. In other systems I have seen this is usually controlled by an ability to soak damage, so only the damage that gets through moves you along the condition track.

Using the d20 model I would control this with a damage threshold, for sake of argument I am picking Fortitude Defense as the damage threshold as it controls your ability to resist physical effects; in this case damage. Wearing armor can further improve your Fortitude making it harder to land hits that deal any real damage.

Any time you take damage less than your Fortitude Defense nothing happens to you, you are perfectly fine, the attack did insufficient damage to actually affect you. Might not seem realistic if you go shot or stabbed, but we can say that damage that does not breach your Fortitude was at best grazing, at worst just scary but ineffectual.

As you take increasing damage, you move further along the condition track, this has the effect of lowering your defenses, Fortitude in particular, making it easier to kill an increasingly injured and vulnerable character. The penalty also applies to any attempts by yourself or others to recover/heal you.

Healing takes time and effort. You could say that recovering 1 point on the condition track requires rest and healing. For a baseline you have to rest a number of hours equal to your condition penalty and make a recovery check. You make this yourself as a Constitution or Endurance check, an ally can make this check for you with a treat injury check. If you rest and pass your check, you recover 1 point on the condition track. You will have to rest and recover for each point you want to move back up the condition track. We could go so far as to say that you may freely recover from being fatigued with a "second" wind, or a short (5-minute) rest, the higher conditions take actual care to recover.

This does simulate the balance between "getting hit less" or "being able to take it".

Some sneaky characters may have a "backstab" ability that lets them deal a minimum of 1 point of damage to your condition track so long as they hit you under the right conditions.

A weakness of the above proposal is that a condition track system is necissarily more lethal than a hit point system. Given my above example, any time you take damage of 5 or more over your threshold, you will die outright. Anything that gives you more damage, makes you more of a threat to injure or kill your target.

You could assign a damage rate, you take so many points of damage and then you slide along the condition track. But at that point, I feel you might as well just use hit points and scrap the track alltogether. You are now doing unnecisary amounts of record keeping for something that deserves to be fast and efficient.

I am all about game-play efficiencies. I am allready well aware of the current d20 model's weakness in terms of efficiency without using condition tracks or other random elements. Every time one more thing to track is introduced, efficiency goes right out the window and play dramatically begins to bog down. I just want to play a game, not do double-column accounting. Either build the game around hit points or condition track, not both.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Imagist » Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:10 pm

Another thing I was thinking about while I was slicing wheat bread was treating the base defense as the DC to hit with a given weapon, and every 5 points above the target DC adds 1 to the weapons "damage." Melee weapons get the bonus to attack for a high Str score, so this would than translate into a higher damage bonus. Two-handed weapons could deal an additional 2 points of damage for every 5 points above the target DC to similate increased force behind the attack, but without doubling the hit bonus from a high Str score. Finesse weapons may be able to do the same for Dex, but without the two-handed bonus melee weapons could grant.

Looking at the system however, it basically is replacing hit points and a condition track for something that is a hybrid between condensed hit points and a watered down condition track. Might use lower numbers over all, but in the end doesn't do anything to simplify the core mechanic of health tracking. However, I am glad I could bounce the number around to see where they went.

"Soaking" damage using a condition track could work as well, especially with a more traditional (6-point) condition track. Might reword "dying and dead" to have an unconscious stage where the character could survive for a while, but would need immediate assistance to have any real chance of living. I would like to see these mechanics flushed out a little bit.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby fodigg » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:17 am

I would do it as:

  1. Healthy
  2. Minor wound (a scratch)
  3. Moderate wound (a pulled muscle)
  4. Heavy wound (a flesh wound)
  5. Critical wound (a broken bone; heavily hampered)
  6. Incapacitated (barely concious, bleeding out)
  7. Dead (shot through the heart, and you're to blame)


Every time you take a sufficent hit in combat (Damage Threshold), you get pushed down the condition track (actually take physical damage). Recovery actions and heal-checks can move you up the condition track, but once combat breaks you immediately go back to the lowest point on the condition track you were at in combat, and have to invest in more permanent healing (critical and incapping wounds being the most serious and preventing you from full healing for some time without dramatic intervention (e.g., magical healing, fully equipped hospital, futuristic "trauma nano-bot" healing)). Hitting 0/0 (hp/reserves) in itself does nothing to you except make you vulnerable. At that point, ANY damage moves you down the condition track, and your "damage threshold" is vastly reduced. Also, just as you can spend reserves to replenish hp, I think you should be able to spend hp as a part of recovery actions to move up the condition track.


As all of the above puts the emphasis on your condition track as your character's physical health, I also propose renaming things:
  • Condition track: Health track
  • hp: Stamina Points
  • Reserves: Reserve Points


I prefer the loss of hp (or "stamina") as the vehicle by which you move up and down the health track. Your Stamina/Reserves signify your fighting ability, not your physical health. In combat, I see players moving up and down between conditions 1-4 with the ebb and flow of combat, with reaching 5-6 as seriously dangerous. Players should have to back off from combat every once and again to recover, mid-combat. Maybe front-line fighters would have the special ability to recover while still engaged. I wouldn't mind if reaching 0/0 in combat was rare, and the result of longer "brawling"-style combat where your enemy chips away at you a little at a time while being hard to kill. Minion-swarms would be useful for that.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Darthmoe » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:25 pm

I don't think that a pure condition track is right for this game. This game is intended to be streamline and with all the games I've seen or heard about it with condition tracks they tend to have a lot going on. Generally speaking they have an attack roll vs. the defender's dodge skill, followed by a damage soak.

Making both the damage soak and passive doesn't seem like a good effect. There are other factors though.

First of all the thing everyone is point out is that a condition track makes bigger hits more dangerous, which is a positive thing, but by having the hybrid HP and condition track is that while it keeps big hits dangerous, enough small hits are dangerous too.

Also getting rid of HP could be a disaster. If we're marketing this game to d20 players we should keep it close enough to classic d20 so they can recognize it. Getting too radical with the design = bad. Case in point D&D 4.0 was a very radical over haul from 3.5 and SWSE and a lot of us are here because we are not entirely pleased the changes. None of those changes were nearly as radical as doing away with HP.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby JaredGaume » Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:16 am

Gary proposed using a hit point system where you can pick up fatigue and injury points. It is a hit point centric design. It has room for conditions without having an actual condition track.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby fodigg » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:36 pm

JaredGaume wrote:Gary proposed using a hit point system where you can pick up fatigue and injury points. It is a hit point centric design. It has room for conditions without having an actual condition track.


Wasn't "Vitality/Wounds" what made combat so deadly and high-level characters so rare for SWRE?
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Imagist » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:02 pm

fodigg wrote:
JaredGaume wrote:Gary proposed using a hit point system where you can pick up fatigue and injury points. It is a hit point centric design. It has room for conditions without having an actual condition track.


Wasn't "Vitality/Wounds" what made combat so deadly and high-level characters so rare for SWRE?


I think what Jared meant was, Gary proposed a system where you have hit points, but you can accumulate fatigue and injury points (sort of like the fatigue/exhaustion status from 3.5 D&D, but a point based system where the penalties slowly accrue) that can be removed with rest. I agree staying away from vitality/wounds is a good idea. Anything that can turn a "lucky shot" by a monster into an instant death sentence should be avoided in this new system. I think for what it tried to do, vitality/wounds did a good job of creating a health system that would allow for daring-do and maintain a sense of danger while at the same time giving players a renewable resource (vitality that would return every hour instead of every day) and a "realistic" sense of injury (wounds that were slower to heal and packed more of a punch). It also gave players access to an alternative power source for special effects (spending vitality to power Force abilities and the like), albeit at the cost of their ability to turn devastating attacks into glancing blows.

What the new e20 system is proposing is a health system that, like the vitality/wounds system, gives you access to a renewable resource (reserve hit points that create a pool of stamina you can draw upon to heal injuries from the day), but without the sudden mortality of a critical hit taking you out of the game no matter how many hit points you have (unless of course massive damage drops you).
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Darthmoe » Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:50 pm

fodigg wrote:
JaredGaume wrote:Gary proposed using a hit point system where you can pick up fatigue and injury points. It is a hit point centric design. It has room for conditions without having an actual condition track.


Wasn't "Vitality/Wounds" what made combat so deadly and high-level characters so rare for SWRE?


Vitality/Wounds get a really bad rap yes if you played like a stupid tank you got killed the system was never meant to allow tanks to survive. If you made good use of tactics it was a survivable game, I never had a character die, and I only rarely lost wound points, I typically didn't even lose all that much vitality points. The main reason why Star Wars had lower level characters is because level 20 was max for that game. Like I said before vitality points and wound points would make a great idea for a game supplement, because the vitality systems work better for some games, but I wouldn't have it be the default system.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:28 pm

Darthmoe wrote:I don't think that a pure condition track is right for this game. This game is intended to be streamline and with all the games I've seen or heard about it with condition tracks they tend to have a lot going on. Generally speaking they have an attack roll vs. the defender's dodge skill, followed by a damage soak.

Making both the damage soak and passive doesn't seem like a good effect. There are other factors though.

First of all the thing everyone is point out is that a condition track makes bigger hits more dangerous, which is a positive thing, but by having the hybrid HP and condition track is that while it keeps big hits dangerous, enough small hits are dangerous too.

Also getting rid of HP could be a disaster. If we're marketing this game to d20 players we should keep it close enough to classic d20 so they can recognize it. Getting too radical with the design = bad. Case in point D&D 4.0 was a very radical over haul from 3.5 and SWSE and a lot of us are here because we are not entirely pleased the changes. None of those changes were nearly as radical as doing away with HP.


See, I think too radical = good... 4e didn't go far enough IMO. I hate hit points with a passion, but I work with them. I use them, and I make due and I enjoy the games regardless of said hit points. I think they stink and they are illogical and they just don't make any sense at all.

We are marketing this game as an evolution, as far as I understand it, and some things have to be evolutionized from the way they have been. So far, like I've said before, the only thing that we've done that I've heard concretely about is changing from base attack to combat skills. Everything else has stayed the same, and that's not an evolution at all. That's just keeping to Sacred Cows that are expected to be there because they always have been. And that kind of thinking limits potential and it limits possibilities, it never, ever, opens things up to more possiblities.

If you go on enworld, rpg.net, and ask them what they don't like, one of the things that always pops up is the upper level play. One of the primary factors of that complaint is hit points. Hit Points, while they have been part of the game for decades, always causes problems in the game, both within the game for balance and because of stupid metagaming where players make decisions and choices based on who has taken the most damage. Hit Points leads directly to a metagaming perspective and method of playing these games. That's the primary reason why I absolutely detest them. It irks me to hell when a combat is over and the first question is,"Who needs healing? Who took the most damage?" and you get numerical answers from all the players. That's boardgaming, not roleplaying. If you want to see flashing lights of hit points above your head, go play WoW.

The other huge complaints is Feat bloat, and from SWSE, how skills kept getting added to with each new book, until they became a giant mess to keep track of.

But Hit Points, sure, they work, I work with them, but IMO they are a horrible design choice. Sure, they are known, but they suck. Plus, you always always always always always have arguments in the game about what Hit Points really mean. You see it creep up all the damn time on message boards, do they mean an actual hit? Do they mean a graze? Do they represent that near miss or is each hit a real hit till you get whittled down to a pile of goo?

Hit Points, either rename them so they make more sense, or get rid of them altogether. It is a Sacred Cow that can be tossed aside, and the game will be better for it.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Imagist » Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:28 pm

Stacie_GmrGrl wrote:
Darthmoe wrote:I don't think that a pure condition track is right for this game. This game is intended to be streamline and with all the games I've seen or heard about it with condition tracks they tend to have a lot going on. Generally speaking they have an attack roll vs. the defender's dodge skill, followed by a damage soak.

Making both the damage soak and passive doesn't seem like a good effect. There are other factors though.

First of all the thing everyone is point out is that a condition track makes bigger hits more dangerous, which is a positive thing, but by having the hybrid HP and condition track is that while it keeps big hits dangerous, enough small hits are dangerous too.

Also getting rid of HP could be a disaster. If we're marketing this game to d20 players we should keep it close enough to classic d20 so they can recognize it. Getting too radical with the design = bad. Case in point D&D 4.0 was a very radical over haul from 3.5 and SWSE and a lot of us are here because we are not entirely pleased the changes. None of those changes were nearly as radical as doing away with HP.


See, I think too radical = good... 4e didn't go far enough IMO. I hate hit points with a passion, but I work with them. I use them, and I make due and I enjoy the games regardless of said hit points. I think they stink and they are illogical and they just don't make any sense at all.

We are marketing this game as an evolution, as far as I understand it, and some things have to be evolutionized from the way they have been. So far, like I've said before, the only thing that we've done that I've heard concretely about is changing from base attack to combat skills. Everything else has stayed the same, and that's not an evolution at all. That's just keeping to Sacred Cows that are expected to be there because they always have been. And that kind of thinking limits potential and it limits possibilities, it never, ever, opens things up to more possiblities.

If you go on enworld, rpg.net, and ask them what they don't like, one of the things that always pops up is the upper level play. One of the primary factors of that complaint is hit points. Hit Points, while they have been part of the game for decades, always causes problems in the game, both within the game for balance and because of stupid metagaming where players make decisions and choices based on who has taken the most damage. Hit Points leads directly to a metagaming perspective and method of playing these games. That's the primary reason why I absolutely detest them. It irks me to hell when a combat is over and the first question is,"Who needs healing? Who took the most damage?" and you get numerical answers from all the players. That's boardgaming, not roleplaying. If you want to see flashing lights of hit points above your head, go play WoW.

The other huge complaints is Feat bloat, and from SWSE, how skills kept getting added to with each new book, until they became a giant mess to keep track of.

But Hit Points, sure, they work, I work with them, but IMO they are a horrible design choice. Sure, they are known, but they suck. Plus, you always always always always always have arguments in the game about what Hit Points really mean. You see it creep up all the damn time on message boards, do they mean an actual hit? Do they mean a graze? Do they represent that near miss or is each hit a real hit till you get whittled down to a pile of goo?

Hit Points, either rename them so they make more sense, or get rid of them altogether. It is a Sacred Cow that can be tossed aside, and the game will be better for it.


I sort of have to agree that hit points are kind of dumb... at least when it comes to the vague interpretation of what they represent.

I am reminded of the play 12 Angry Men. Here me out. It is a play where there are twelve men in a jury room trying to decide if a kid stabbed a guy to death. All of the people in the room are like “the kid is obviously guilty” and “of course someone from THAT background would do something like that,” but the main character isn’t so quick to judge because he doesn’t feel like it all adds up. The kid has a crappy lawyer to begin with, plus the arguments behind why he is guilty don’t make sense. At one point the main character asks, “Alright, so is the kid smart or stupid?”

No one in the room gets what he means by this, so the main character explains:

“Well, first you say he is stupid for killing the guy out of anger because they were seen arguing earlier in the day. Then you say he is smart for holding the knife like this [the guy uses the knife wielding technique the kid would have had to use in order to inflict the wounds he did with the weapon] and smart for removing his fingerprints from the weapon, but still stupid for returning to the scene of the crime after being smart enough to ditch any evidence he had blood on his clothing. He is a criminal mastermind one minute and an incompetent delinquent the next. I’m sorry, but you can’t have both. He is either a smart murderer or he is a stupid kid who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Take your pick.”

Okay, maybe that is not EXACTLY how it went, but I haven’t seen it since AP English senior year (don’t worry I got a C in that class so my grammatical skills and spelking talents are not a representation of a high end writer). Anyway, here is how it reminds me of hit points in d20 systems:

“Well, first you say hit points represent the overall abstract health of a character and that more hit points represent the ability to turn what would be devastating injuries into minor nicks. Then you say you want the system to be more realistic, so you add a condition track to represent different levels of injuries and how they affect your character. Then you want to be able to use general condition, persistent condition, or fatigue/exhaustion to represent mental or physical strain, but then you want to add a new system that will let you recover hit points in-between encounters using a reserve pool of hit points to represent the realistic ability to rest and recuperate health. Hit points are an abstract system to represent your characters health one minute and a realistic method of tracking how much damage your character has taken and what effects should be filed against him the next. I’m sorry, but you can’t have both. You either have an abstract method of tracking health and functionality or your have a realistic method of determining injury and fatigue. Take your pick.”

As is stands hit points are a system meant to measure the ability of your character to function. You are either functioning (1 to maximum hit points), disabled (0 hit points), dying (-1 to -9 hit points) or dead (-10 hit points). You could get away with throwing in certain status effects, such as dazed, fatigued, exhausted, stunned, paralyzed… but they all represent a vague overall status meant to go along with a vague overall health system. If you start throwing in condition tracks, fatigue and injury points, called shots to disable limbs, and other more “realistic” effects the mechanics suffer through complexity and unnecessary number and status tracking.

On the other hand you can go with a grim and gritty condition track that doesn’t give your character access to a pool of reserves or vague hit points. A hit with a bat feels like a hit with a bat, not like 1d6+2 damage. Eh, just a thought. Regardless of what Hannah Montana says, you CANNOT have the best of both worlds.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:12 pm

I'm trying to remember how one game did a system with Condition Tracks, using a maximum Health Point value to determine how it worked. I think it went something like this...

Every character had a maximum Health Point rating...but a character's body health was tracked on a Condition Track (sort of similar to Storyteller but not the same).

Different levels of the Condition Track were represented by varying levels of health point thresholds... (I'm going to guess what they were, but there were like 5 or 6 of them).

Graze
Lightly Wounded [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] (-1)
Moderately Wounded [ ] [ ] (-2)
Injured [ ] (see table)
Defeated [ ] (KO'd)
Dead [ ] (self explanatory)

So, it looked like this...but how you took a wound went something like this...

Each threshold, I like that word, threshold, so I'll use that. Each Wound Threshold was split up based on the total number of Health Points that you had. But, in order to suffer a wound you had to take a total amount from a hit equal to, or above, that threshold, after your apply your damage reduction.

So, Graze was 25% or under Max Health
Lightly Wounded was 26 to 50% of Max Health
Moderately Wounded was 51 to 75% of Max Health
Injured was 76 to 90% of Max Health
Defeated was 91% and above
Dead was 125% above max Health - it represented that insane it that just destroys the body in the process.

So, if you took a single blow that was, like 55% of your Max Health after damage reduction, you took a Moderate Wound and would check off that box. The dice modifier in the Parenthesis was if you suffered a wound like that.

But each attack was compared to this threshold, so despite you taking this Moderate Wound, there was no accumulated total of how much damage you'd have taken. Each attack and damage was compared to on its own. So, one attack you could suffer a Moderate Wound, which did affect you, but the next one could be a minimal hit or result in nothing. Each attack that did "Damage" was compared to your Body's Defenses and applied seperately. It was this distinction of not having to keep track of a ever increasing number of health point damage over the course of time was really interesting. It used health points as a overall measure of your body's ability to withstand punishment and each seperate hit was compared to on its own and applied according to how much punishment you suffered by it.

And I think they also had it that the penalty in the Parenthesis did not apply to Defenses, just Active actions. I can't remember that for sure, and I can't remember the name of this game, but I thought it was fairly neat in how it worked.

I also think it had a seperate Injury table, which wasn't very complicated, if you took an Injured hit. Some had temporary effects, some had permanent effects, it just depended on how many action points you spent when you did that hit, so the choice was sort of up to the attack on how severe of an injury he wanted to inflict. But none of them were instant kills.

A combination of Condition Track and Health Points where the death spiral isn't really there would be really awesome.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby KingOfIllefarn » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:19 pm

JaredGaume wrote:I favor using a hit point system. I'll even go so far as to support applying conditions to your character like fatigue and injuries.

That said.

There are a variety of ways to handle a condition track. From a narrative and a realism point of view it is more dynamic to say "I am fatigued" than "I have 15 of 20 hit points left."
Using a condition track only may require reworking a number of central mechanics built in to the d20 system from the very beginning. The biggest one may be how damage is handled.

For sake of argument say we use a 6 point condition track (a-la Star Wars):

( ) Healthy: No penalties, you are perfectly healthy.
( ) Fatigued: -1 penalty (to all defenses, attack rolls, ability checks, and skill checks; applies to each step)
( ) Wounded: -2 penalty
( ) Injured: -5 penalty
( ) Dying: -10 penalty, you may only take limited actions (e.ge. you only get 1 standard action on your turn).
( ) Dead: You can't do anything, you are dead.

The question is how to control movement along the condition track, i.e. how do you go from healthy to fatigued to worse. In other systems I have seen this is usually controlled by an ability to soak damage, so only the damage that gets through moves you along the condition track.

Using the d20 model I would control this with a damage threshold, for sake of argument I am picking Fortitude Defense as the damage threshold as it controls your ability to resist physical effects; in this case damage. Wearing armor can further improve your Fortitude making it harder to land hits that deal any real damage.

Any time you take damage less than your Fortitude Defense nothing happens to you, you are perfectly fine, the attack did insufficient damage to actually affect you. Might not seem realistic if you go shot or stabbed, but we can say that damage that does not breach your Fortitude was at best grazing, at worst just scary but ineffectual.

As you take increasing damage, you move further along the condition track, this has the effect of lowering your defenses, Fortitude in particular, making it easier to kill an increasingly injured and vulnerable character. The penalty also applies to any attempts by yourself or others to recover/heal you.

Healing takes time and effort. You could say that recovering 1 point on the condition track requires rest and healing. For a baseline you have to rest a number of hours equal to your condition penalty and make a recovery check. You make this yourself as a Constitution or Endurance check, an ally can make this check for you with a treat injury check. If you rest and pass your check, you recover 1 point on the condition track. You will have to rest and recover for each point you want to move back up the condition track. We could go so far as to say that you may freely recover from being fatigued with a "second" wind, or a short (5-minute) rest, the higher conditions take actual care to recover.

This does simulate the balance between "getting hit less" or "being able to take it".

Some sneaky characters may have a "backstab" ability that lets them deal a minimum of 1 point of damage to your condition track so long as they hit you under the right conditions.

A weakness of the above proposal is that a condition track system is necissarily more lethal than a hit point system. Given my above example, any time you take damage of 5 or more over your threshold, you will die outright. Anything that gives you more damage, makes you more of a threat to injure or kill your target.

You could assign a damage rate, you take so many points of damage and then you slide along the condition track. But at that point, I feel you might as well just use hit points and scrap the track alltogether. You are now doing unnecisary amounts of record keeping for something that deserves to be fast and efficient.

I am all about game-play efficiencies. I am allready well aware of the current d20 model's weakness in terms of efficiency without using condition tracks or other random elements. Every time one more thing to track is introduced, efficiency goes right out the window and play dramatically begins to bog down. I just want to play a game, not do double-column accounting. Either build the game around hit points or condition track, not both.


Well for someone who favors a hit point system, you sure do a mean damage track mechanic. This is a pretty good start, but you are missing something.....a buffer. You mention a threshold, and a possible soaking of damage, but then everything over that amount is points on the condition track. Well, if you go that way then yes, it is too deadly (or at least too flat and difficult to scale). However, if there were a buffer between damage over threshold and points on the track, it might work.

So, you take 22 damage. You have an effective Fortitude of 16, so that leaves 6 points. In your basic system you'd be dead. What if each level on the track had a number, let's say for this character it's 4. Now those 6 unsoaked points are enough to drop you a "notch" on the track, but not two (if the unsoaked damage were 8 it would drop you two notches).

With something like this, you could scale the grit factor by affecting the threshold and the "buffer" of each notch on the track.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Stacie_GmrGrl » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:55 pm

How about this for a Condition Track/Health System option:

We still have Hit Points, but I'd rename them Stamina, because it just makes it easier to understand what they really are. We still have Stamina, right. Okay, These can go up as normal, depending on genre and heroic level and whatever.

Then we have a mechanic similar to that in d20Modern, where if the characters take a single hit that exceeds a predetermined value, which I think this was in Star Wars also, then the character suffers a Wound. This Wound can be as simple as a hit on a condition track, but I think that this could also be linked to a HIt Location system, but this Hit Location system would only come into play if someone takes a Wound.

So, now there's a Wound system...now, instead of an overall Condition Track system, we have it set to where different Hit Location can take only so many Wounds, and if its filled up, the character suffers a Permanent Injury.

Now, we still have the overall Stamina of the person's body that it can take. This is the Abstract part. But having a Wound system built into it that is based on how sturdy the character is (maybe the character's Wound Threshold is equal to his Constution, or some other determined value) and having them suffer temporary wounds that cause impairments would be neat...

Plus, as you can see, each level of health increases the potential grittiness in the game and this could be one way to simulate different levels of games with different levels of grittiness.... if they want generic abstract points, use just Stamina (with Reserves). If they want a Wound/Condition Track system, just add to it. If they want an Injury system, then add it to the game.

Or, make it all core.

Just thinking of ways to enhance the health system.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Gwarh » Sun Mar 21, 2010 8:28 pm

Holy Condition Track discussion Batman.

I was just about to make a post to ask if the Condition Track was going to be used in "e20". It's one of my fav parts of the Saga system. Hope it sees the light of day. It does get a bit of a mention in the first e20 lite so there is hope. Now to gring through this great discussion thread above.
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Re: Condition Track

Postby Shado » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:13 pm

JaredGaume wrote:Gary proposed using a hit point system where you can pick up fatigue and injury points. It is a hit point centric design. It has room for conditions without having an actual condition track.


But what's the difference?

Without the "track" there's no end to how many fatigue and injury points you can have while still being an upright, walking, talking person. You may have more penalties than than reasonable to even succeed at tying your own shoes... but your still conscious, can still flank, can still start the car, can still turn off an alarm, etc...

The track at least says there's a limit to how much you can take. It also limits the double jeopardy of stacking fatigue and injury penalties.

Not saying we have to use it as is from Saga... but it has some strong benefits. Pitfalls as well... but I think we can address those through playtest balancing.
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