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Hit points for small creatures


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A adventurer in my campaign has a hawk companion.  It happens to have a rather good Con, which means that it has one of the best Hit Points in the party.

Which seems a bit wrong to me.  I've been tempted to swap round Siz and Con for Hit point calculation for small creatures (something like 5 or less).

Stephen.

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I like swapping the roles of SIZ & CON in the hp-calculation.  HP should, IMHO, be mainly based on SIZ/Bodymass (with impact from CON); it strikes me that it's one of the (very few) outright  errors  in the original RQ ruleset.   CON driving both overall "health" (e.g. disease-resistance) and "toughness" (damage resistance in combat) is a place where the rules simply do a poorer job at modelling reality...

Some BRP-family games (fwiw) use instead (CON+SIZ)/2.

 

Birds -- flying creatures -- are ALWAYS fragile, though; hollow & thin & delicate bones, all the modifications needed to fly; ditto bats (obviously not Dragons, or the Crimson Bat, or any other Mythic creatures)...  Pretty much the exact opposite of tank-y high-HP combat survivability.  What would be only a minor bruise to a human is a severe risk of breaking a bird's bones.

Once we depart from human-norm bodytypes, I don't think human-norm HP-calculations should really apply any longer.  Wood-based Aldryami, stone-based Mostali, etc... shouldn't really have "human-like" (flesh&bone based) HP's!

Edited by g33k
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11 minutes ago, g33k said:

swapping the roles of SIZ & CON in the hp-calculation

In general I like Con based HP.  Rasputin wasn't large (at least in the photographs of him with his wife and family) and by all accounts took a *lot* of killing.  I like the idea of someone being small but really tough, able to take a lot of punishment.  The bigger they are the harder they fall, after all.

6 hours ago, Psullie said:

CON at 2d6

P161 of the Bestiary gives it 3D6 CON, and in this case rolled 17.  With Siz 2, meant that it was down to a mere 15 hit points. (it was an intelligent companion, from the Family Heirloom table in P83 of the Core RQ in G rules, so average Int and Pow, thankfully).

I'd probably invoke the swap Con/Siz rule for HP calculation for the lowest Siz category of 1-4 (so the Con 17 Hawk gets +2 on its Siz for a total of 4 HP).

28 minutes ago, g33k said:

Birds -- flying creatures -- are ALWAYS fragile

Agreed.  For the moment I've just made an arbitrary ruling, that there's no way that things flying around with 17 HP.

Although... we have a murderous cat, and I've seen it have a damn good go at a magpie, and it got away.  One of the very few things that has.

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12 hours ago, Stephen L said:

A adventurer in my campaign has a hawk companion.  It happens to have a rather good Con, which means that it has one of the best Hit Points in the party.

Which seems a bit wrong to me.  I've been tempted to swap round Siz and Con for Hit point calculation for small creatures (something like 5 or less).

Stephen.

I believe your approach is quite sensible. Depending on how much you want it influence some of the potential character race, you will have to select the breakpoint carefully. If you want to avoid any influence on PC HP, you might want to make the break point species related instead. Say, if the average size of a species is 5 or less, use SIZ as the primary characteristics and CON as the secondary characteristics for the HP calculation. That way, you will avoid screwing up Enlos and Durulz. You will also avoid strange cases where Daffy with CON 18, SIZ 4 and POW 10 has 6 HP while his cousin Donald with CON 18, SIZ 5 and POW 10 has 17 HP.

 

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

I like swapping the roles of SIZ & CON in the hp-calculation.  HP should, IMHO, be mainly based on SIZ/Bodymass (with impact from CON); it strikes me that it's one of the (very few) outright  errors  in the original RQ ruleset.   CON driving both overall "health" (e.g. disease-resistance) and "toughness" (damage resistance in combat) is a place where the rules simply do a poorer job at modelling reality...

I've done this in my home-brew... simply makes more sense. CON on the other hand dictates healing rates, poison and disease resistance, etc.

SDLeary

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14 hours ago, Stephen L said:

A adventurer in my campaign has a hawk companion.  It happens to have a rather good Con, which means that it has one of the best Hit Points in the party.

What stats did you use for the hawk? The ones that comes closest in the RQG Bestiary (assuming you're using RQG) are the stats from the Vrok Hawks (p161), with 3D6 CON, 2D3 SIZ, and an average of 9 HP. But it says it's a "powerful" bird of prey, so maybe other species of hawks have only around 2D6 CON or less, vastly lowering their HPs.

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5 hours ago, lordabdul said:

What stats did you use for the hawk?

Indeed the ones from the RQG Bestiary, but imposed a Siz of 2. 

I didn't give it too much thought, as my players are *really* not interested in rules.  Their idea of the rule book is "what have I got on my character sheet?"  If they find something there that looks plausible for the problem in hand, then the rest in my problem!

7 hours ago, DreadDomain said:

Say, if the average size of a species is 5

That's a good way of making an all-case ruling.  Given my lack of player involvement in rules, they are perfectly happy for me to be arbitrary (and in this case keep Enlo and Druluz always on the Con standard, no matter Siz).  But it's nice for me not to have to make things up on the spot.

Edited by Stephen L
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I mean, averaging SIZ and CON (aka RQ3) always seemed a perfectly sensible approach to me. Basing it on CON and giving bonuses for SIZ and POW just seems like a roundabout and more complex way to get to essentially the same place.

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14 hours ago, GAZZA said:

I mean, averaging SIZ and CON (aka RQ3) always seemed a perfectly sensible approach to me. Basing it on CON and giving bonuses for SIZ and POW just seems like a roundabout and more complex way to get to essentially the same place.

That would have been my preferred way as well. As long as CON values are kept in check (they do not scale with SIZ because they shouldn't), (SIZ+CON)/2 gives very sensible results and it is much easier to figure out on the spot. Unfortunately, the official approach is different. Fortunately, aside from the added complexity, results are also generally sensible (except for small creatures perhaps).

Edited by DreadDomain
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2 minutes ago, DreadDomain said:

That would have been my preferred way as well. As long as CON values are kept in check (they do not scale with SIZ because it shouldn't), (SIZ+CON)/2 gives very sensible results and it is much more easier to figure out on the spot. Unfortunately, the official approach is different. Fortunately, aside from the added complexity, results are also mostly sensible (except for small creatures perhaps).

Right, but if we're preparing to introduce house rules swapping SIZ and CON around, I figured going back to the RQ3 method was also on the table.

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Mind you I can see an argument for saying that big creatures should be more resistant to poisons, for example (if only because they'd need a higher dosage), although you could sort of handwave that away as saying that their higher general hit points already covered that.

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41 minutes ago, Pierre said:

Gateway Bestiary

Unfortunately not in my library - Vrok was the closest in in Glorantha Bestiary, and I needed to decide on the spot.

1 hour ago, GAZZA said:

averaging SIZ and CON (aka RQ3)

Not for me, I want the possibility of a small guy who's really tough (just not in the extreme of a Siz 2 Hawk).  Averaging, means the smallness cancels out the toughest to average HP.  

47 minutes ago, GAZZA said:

introduce house rules swapping SIZ and CON

Only for extreme cases of small Siz.

It sounds as If I'm being really negative to Gazza.  I'm not, this is all pure speculation.  Or I sincerely hope that there's no objective research into this particular subject!  Would a boxer have intuition as to how Siz affect ability to soak up the punches? Don't know.  Because how would we untangle the big guy punches being heavier?

That leaves us with idol speculation.  So I can accept that average of Siz and Con feels right.  Just not for me.  I like RAW, just modifying for extreme outliers.  And knowing how others handle this is what I asked for.  Given I've recently found the thanks icon...

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It's fine, I was just pointing out that generally speaking I thought the RQ3 approach to this was better (actually I think that about a lot of things; I cannot really disagree more strongly with the decision to base RQG on RQ2 instead of 3, but here we are - just IMO of course).

The possibility of a small guy who is really tough isn't prevented by averaging SIZ and CON - it just means that if you want (for example) some sort of Pratchett Gnome (SIZ probably 1d6) you'd need a correspondingly higher CON - which honestly could be considered a feature rather than a bug. The core rules essentially require elephants to have massive CON because SIZ is comparatively unimportant, or in your case would require birds to have tiny CON for much the same reason. This isn't bad per se - any way you do it is going to have the occasional corner case - but if you're going to tinker with the rules, personally I'd tinker by starting with RQ3 instead of just swapping SIZ and CON around, because the latter has the greater possibility of unintended side effects (IMHO).

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51 minutes ago, Stephen L said:

Unfortunately not in my library - Vrok was the closest in in Glorantha Bestiary, and I needed to decide on the spot. 

It should for 5$ :

https://www.chaosium.com/gateway-bestiary-pdf/

Use 2d6 for CON and SIZ 3 you could keep the best dice for Con 12 - 2 = 10 hp. 

I don't need house rules as long as i have the rigth information.

Also don't mind Siz or Pow the matter here is Con. 

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9 hours ago, Pierre said:

10 hp

10 hp for a Siz 2 hawk still feels high to me.  I think that a hawk being hit by an arrow, shouldn't *require* a special hit to kill.  For me, a hawk should be at good risk of death from an arrow (and by that I'd think of a self bow).  

12 hours ago, GAZZA said:

averaging SIZ and CON

Co-incidentally, the average of the 17 Con, 2 Siz Hawk is also 10, which means it still isn't at risk of death from anything that isn't a critical or special. 

 

9 hours ago, Pierre said:

Thanks for the pointer that really does look like $5 well spent (well £4.04 where I live).

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12 hours ago, Stephen L said:

I want the possibility of a small guy who's really tough

These rules were probably decided by people belonging to the Duck Player Characters Lobby Society!

47 minutes ago, Stephen L said:

10 hp for a Siz 2 hawk still feels high to me.  I think that a hawk being hit by an arrow, shouldn't *require* a special hit to kill.  For me, a hawk should be at good risk of death from an arrow (and by that I'd think of a self bow).  

I'm not sure where the 10 HP comes from? In Gateway Bestiary p28 I see that Large Hawks have CON 2D6 and SIZ 3. Per RQG rules, an average hawk (CON 7) would have 5 HP.

Also note that there's a difference between "killed by an arrow" and "downed by an arrow". Even with 10 HP, as per the bird location table in the RQG Bestiary p10, the hawk would have 4 HP in the abdomen, 5 HP in the chest, and 4 HP in the wings. An arrow can easily bring that hawk down (average of 5 points of damage) by maiming a wing or taking out all of the abdomen or chest HPs. At this point, you just need to pick up the hawk from the ground (or send your hunting dog to retrieve it).

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7 hours ago, lordabdul said:

I'm not sure where the 10 HP

10 HP is for a hawk whos just maxed his Con roll (or in my case rolled 17 on 3d6).

8 hours ago, lordabdul said:

bird location table

For the Gloranthan Bestiary, the Vrok Hawk, being a small animal, only has a single location (and 2 points of armour for feathers).

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23 minutes ago, Stephen L said:

For the Gloranthan Bestiary, the Vrok Hawk, being a small animal, only has a single location (and 2 points of armour for feathers).

Oh interesting, I was going by the Gateway Bestiary, which features a hit location table for all birds regardless of size, I think?  I don't know how I feel about the small Vrok Hawk not having a location table...

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2 hours ago, Stephen L said:

For the Gloranthan Bestiary, the Vrok Hawk, being a small animal, only has a single location (and 2 points of armour for feathers).

I did not realized that. While I understand why they chose a single hit location, it has an unfortunate effect since it makes them more resilient. I'd say they also require a location table with the damage effect that lordabdul highlighted above.

That or they need a lot less total HP!

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8 hours ago, DreadDomain said:

it has an unfortunate effect since it makes them more resilient. [...] That or they need a lot less total HP!

Yep. I was thinking about that yesterday evening and I figured that maybe creatures with a single hit location could use an optional rule where taking half their HP in damage automatically disables a limb or other functional part of their body (the GM can rule which exact limb it is, in case it's important). So basically: you approximate the effects of hit-located-damage, but without the extra roll and hassle. Note that this quickly-made-up house rule is also heavily inspired by CoC 7e's "Major Wound" rule, so it's not a totally unproven rule.

Example:

  • Yelliad and her pet hawk Sharpturn are out on a patrol. Suddenly she see an arrow fly up from behind a hill, hitting Sharpturn for 3 HP. The arrow went through its left wing and the hawk stabilizes its flight with difficulty.
  • As Yelliad rushes over to kick the ass of whoever is shooting at a clearly marked domesticated owl (Sharpturn has a coloured rope around its right ankle), she sees Daneros, whom she humiliated in combat last season, firing a second arrow. This time it hits for 5 HP, which is half of the owl's total HP of 10 (but it's currently at 7 HP). Sharpturn is down to 2 HP but takes a Major Wound this time: the arrow is stuck on its flank, and the hawk falls to the ground, struggling to come back up to its feet...err to its talons.

...or, you know, use the hit location table even for small birds.

(also, IMHO, 2 points of armour seems a lot for a small bird... are birds that tough?)

Edited by lordabdul
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All birds have a localisation table (p. 10). The bestiary gives only the localisation for the giant vrok so it's missing for the dwarf vrok. We need a second printing with the localisation of the vrok hawk! 🤡

Again I think that it's better to used the hawk from the gateway bestiary : armor point 0 with the localisation table from RqG bestiary p. 10

 

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23 hours ago, Pierre said:

All birds have a localisation table (p. 10). The bestiary gives only the localisation for the giant vrok so it's missing for the dwarf vrok. We need a second printing with the localisation of the vrok hawk! 🤡

...and delete the sentence saying they only have one hit location because they are small enough. By the way, the shadowcat (SIZ 3-4, HP 11) and the pixie (SIZ 3-4, HP 9) are comparable to the vrok hawk (SIZ 4, HP 9) and the both have hit locations. The "small enough" comment doesn't seem to fly.

23 hours ago, Pierre said:

Again I think that it's better to used the hawk from the gateway bestiary : armor point 0 with the localisation table from RqG bestiary p. 10

 

Yes, vrok hawks are a special type of hawks.

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