Variant Rules >Adventuring Rules >

Injury




Injury

The d20 game’s hit point system is an easy and effective way of measuring character health—but it’s somewhat abstract. This variant eliminates hit points, and simply determines whether characters are hurt or killed every time they’re hit in combat.

Determining Injuries

When using the injury variant, characters no longer have hit points. Instead, a character’s injuries accumulate until he becomes disabled or dying (or staggered or unconscious, if he has taken nonlethal damage).

When a character or creature takes damage, divide the damage dealt by the attack by 5 (rounding up). The result is the damage value of the attack. For example, if you are hit by an attack that deals 12 points of damage, the attack has a damage value of 3 (12 divided by 5, rounded up).

To determine if you are injured, make a Fortitude save to resist injury. The DC is 15 + the damage value.

If you succeed on the save, you suffer no ill effect from the attack.

If you fail the save by less than 10, you have taken a hit. (If the attack dealt nonlethal damage, the hit is a nonlethal hit.) Each hit you take imposes a cumulative -1 modifier on future Fortitude saves to resist injury.

If you fail the save by 10 or more, you are disabled. (If the attack dealt nonlethal damage, you are staggered.)

Automatic Success and Failure

A natural 20 on a Fortitude save to resist injury is treated as an automatic success, just as normal. A natural 1 is always treated as if the save failed by 10 or more.

Saving Throw Result Lethal Damage Nonlethal Damage
Success No effect No effect
Failed by 1 to 9 Hit Nonlethal hit
Failed by 10 or more Disabled Staggered

Condition Descriptions

Use the descriptions below to determine the game effects from a failed saving throw to resist injury.

Hit

A hit means you have suffered some minor injury. Every hit imposes a cumulative -1 penalty on all Fortitude saves to resist injury.

If a disabled character (see below) suffers a hit, he becomes dying.

Disabled

A disabled character is conscious, but can only take a single move action or standard action each turn (nor can he take full-round actions). He moves at half speed. Taking a move action doesn’t risk further injury, but performing any standard action (or any other action the GM deems strenuous, including some free actions such as casting a quickened spell) worsens the character’s condition to dying (unless the action involved healing; see below).

If 5 or more points of magical healing are applied to a disabled character, he is no longer disabled.

A character can be both staggered and disabled. Becoming staggered while disabled does not worsen a character’s condition to dying. If a staggered and disabled character receives at least 5 points of healing, both conditions are removed.

A disabled character who suffers a hit or a disabled result from an attack becomes dying.

Dying

A dying character is unconscious and near death. Each round on his turn, a dying character must make a Fortitude save, DC 10, +1 per turn after the first) to become stable. Penalties suffered from hits apply to this saving throw.

If the character fails the save, he dies.

If the character succeeds on the save by less than 5, he does not die but does not improve. He is still dying and must continue to make Fortitude saves every round.

If the character succeeds on the save by 5 or more, he becomes conscious and disabled.

Another character can improve a dying character’s condition to stable by making a DC 15 heal check as a standard action (this provokes attacks of opportunity).

A dying character who suffers a hit or a disabled result from an attack is killed.

Nonlethal Hit

A nonlethal hit means you have been battered and bruised and are in less than top condition. Every nonlethal hit you take imposes a cumulative -1 penalty on your Fortitude saves to resist injury from nonlethal damage. Nonlethal hits do not affect Foritude saves against lethal damage.

For example, a character with 4 hits and 3 nonlethal hits has a -4 penalty on Fortitude saves to resist injury from lethal damage, but a -7 penalty on saves to resist injury from non-lethal damage.

A staggered character (see below) who suffers a nonlethal hit or becomes staggered as the result of an attack becomes unconscious.

Staggered

Being staggered is identical to being disabled (see above), except that if a character’s condition worsens, he becomes unconscious instead of dying.

If 5 or more points of magical healing are applied to a staggered character, he is no longer staggered.

A character can be both disabled and staggered. Becoming disabled while staggered does not worsen your condition to unconscious. If a staggered and disable character receives at least 5 points of healing, both conditions are removed.

A staggered character who suffers a nonlethal hit or a staggered result from an attack falls unconscious.

Unconscious

An unconscious character falls to the floor, helpless and incapable of action. Additional nonlethal hits have no effect on the character. When he recovers one nonlethal hit, he becomes conscious.

Healing

Over time, or through magical healing, a character can reduce the number of hits he has. Some creatures have special abilities that affect the way in which they heal hits.

Natural Healing

With a full night’s rest, a character heals 1 hit per 2 character levels (minimum 1 hit per night). If he undergoes complete bed rest for 24 hours, he heals a number of hits equal to his character level. Any significant interruption during the rest period prevents the character from healing that night.

Nonlethal hits heal more quickly. A character heals nonlethal hits at a rate of 1 hit per hour per two character levels (minimum 1 hit per hour). If the GM chooses, he can prorate this healing so that it occurs more uniformly. For instance, a 12th-level character heals 6 nonlethal hits per hour; instead, the GM can allow her to heal 1 nonlethal hit per 10 minutes.

Magical Healing

For every 5 points of magical healing administered, a character eliminates 1 lethal hit and 1 nonlethal hit.

Special Healing Abilities

Some creatures have extraordinary or supernatural powers of healing.

Fast Healing

A creature with fast healing can remove 1 lethal hit and 1 nonlethal hit per round per 5 points of fast healing (minimum 1 hit of each type). For example, a vampire spawn has fast healing 2; it can therefore eliminate 1 hit and 1 nonlethal hit per round.

A creature with fast healing may add its fast healing value to Fortitude saves made to become stable when dying. A dying vampire spawn, for example, gets a +2 bonus on its Fortitude saves to become stable.

Regeneration

A creature with regeneration treats all damage as nonlethal, except for specific types of damage, given in the creature’s description, that affect it normally (such as a troll’s vulnerability to acid and fire). A creature with regeneration can remove 1 nonlethal hit per round per 5 points of regeneration (minimum 1 hit).

Special Damage Defenses

Some creatures have special defenses against damage, such as damage reduction or resistance to energy. Certain spells and effects also provide defenses against damage.

Bonus Hit Points

Effects or abilities that normally give you bonus hit points (such as the Toughness feat or the aid spell) instead add to your Fortitude saves to resist injury. For every 5 bonus hit points granted by the effect (round fractions up), add a +1 bonus on the save. For example, Toughness gives you a +1 on Fortitude saves to resist injury.

Extra hit points granted by an increased Constitution score don’t add to this save bonus, since your high Constitution already gives you a bonus on your Fortitude saves.

Damage Reduction and Resistance to Energy

Damage reduction adds to your Fortitude save to resist injury. For every 5 points of damage of damage reduction that apply against the incoming attack (round fractions up), add a +1 bonus on the save. For instance, a creature with DR 10/magic gains a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves to resist injury from damage dealt by nonmagical weapons.

Resistance to energy works the same way. A creature with resistance to fire 15 gains a +3 bonus on Fortitude Saves to resist fire damage.

Dealing Damage to Objects

Objects can suffer the effects of lethal damage just as creatures can. Nonmagical, unattended objects have a base Fortitude save bonus of +0. A magic item has a Fortitude save bonus equal to +2 +1/2 its caster level. An item attended by a character makes saving throws as the character (or, in the case of a magic item, uses its own saving throw if better).

Add an object’s hardness to its Fortitude saves to resist injury. Furthermore, for every additional inch of thickness beyond the first, an object gains a +1 bonus on its save.

Magic weapons, armor, and shields also add their enhancement bonus to their Fortitude saves against damage

An object that takes any lethal hits has a cumulative -1 penalty on its future saves to resist injury from lethal damage, just as with characters. An object that is rendered disabled is broken or destroyed instead.

Objects are immune to nonlethal damage and thus don’t have to make Fortitude saves to resist injury from attacks that deal nonlethal damage.

Creatures without Constitution Scores

Some creatures, such as undead and constructs, do not have Constitution scores. Creatures without Constitution scores have a +4 bonus on Fortitude saves to resist injury. However, a creature with no constitution score that becomes disabled is destroyed instead.

Creatures that do not have Constitution scores are immune to nonlethal damage and thus don’t have to make Fortitude saves to resist injury from attacks that deal nonlethal damage.

Special Damage Effects

This system changes the way some special damage effects work.

Coup de Grace

A coup de grace is handled as a normal attack, except that the result of the Fortitude save is treated as one category worse. (The save DC is usually higher than normal, as well, since the coup de grace is considered a critical hit and thus deals extra damage.)

On a successful save, the target takes 1 hit (or 1 nonlethal hit, if a nonlethal attack was used). If the save fails by less than 10, the target is disabled (or staggered); and if the save fails by 10 or more, the target is dying (or unconscious).

Massive Damage

There is no massive damage threshold in this variant, since the greater the damage dealt, the higher the chance that a character will become unconscious or dying.

The GM could rule that a Fortitude save to resist injury that fails by 20 or more results in the character being rendered dying (or becoming unconscious, if the damage is nonlethal damage). This introduces the very real possibility that a single hit (such as a critical hit or a sneak attack) can take a character out.