Quasi-VP/WP for D&D
The Vitality/Wound Points system as used in d20 Star Wars, Spycraft and
elsewhere has a number of advantages compared to D&D's normal hit point system.
In particular, VP are recovered at a much faster rate than hit points (hours
compared to days), which reduces somewhat the need for a medic on extended
trips into the dungeon. Given D&D's emphasis on dungeoneering, and most
players' reluctance to be the party medic, this seems to be not an
Furthermore, WP allow an extension of the bottom-end of the scale, so that
characters can take a bit more damage before dying. This reduces the game's
lethality at low levels, which isn't entirely a bad thing seeing how low-level
characters tend to be almost as fragile as the mooks they're fighting. It also
helps to address one of the complaints about D&D's hit points, namely how there
isn't much middle ground between functioning at full capacity and getting
The following rules should serve to recreate most of the effects of VP/WP.
The main points of difference to VP/WP are that only one (hit point) scale is
used, with the zero point located where VP are exhausted; and critical hits are
handled using the D&D rules.
- Positive hit points correspond to Vitality Points. As long as a
character's hit point total is positive, their hit points are regained at the
rate of 1 point per level per hour. This is in contrast to the standard D&D
rate of 1 point per level per day.
- Zero or negative hit points correspond to Wound Points. A character with
0 to negative Con hit points is staggered. Staggered creatures can only take
- A character with negative Con –1 hit points to negative Con –9 hit points
is unconscious and dying. A dying creature loses one hit point each round
unless stabilised. See the usual rules in the PHB for dying creatures.
- A character with negative Con –10 hit points is dead. Spells and effects
that result in instantaneous death set a creature's hit points to negative
Con –10, if it matters.
- If a character's hit point total is 0 or lower, their hit points are
regained at the rate of 1 point per day. Once a character's hit points reach
1, they regain further hit points at the faster rate mentioned above.
- Unless stated otherwise, all rules for combat and damage remain unchanged
from regular D&D. In particular, critical hits still deal multiplied damage,
taken off your normal hit point total. This is in contrast to how criticals
are handled in a standard VP/WP system, where they bypass VP and go straight
to WP. (This is the "instant death on a critical" phenomenon, so named
because it's possible for a critical hit from a heavy weapon to take down
someone instantly. It's seen as a feature by some, and a bug by others.
Personally, I think it's a bug.)
- Creatures that are larger or smaller than human-size have their WP total
adjusted, as per the standard VP/WP rules.
- Falling damage still accrues to hit points as in normal D&D. In general,
since only one hit point scale is used, it's impossible to deal damage
directly to Wound Points. This is in contrast to the case in a standard VP/WP
Some complications exist in D&D that either don't have parallels in most
VP/WP games, or aren't adequately spelled out in the rules:
- Creatures without a Con score, such as constructs and undead, are treated
as if having a Con of 10 for the purposes of figuring their WP.
- The regeneration and fast healing abilities remain unchanged, as does
- Secondary effects such as poison, ability damage, etc take effect on any
hit that does damage, whether the target has positive or negative hit points.
(Thus a successful attack implies actual physical contact with the target,
unlike the situation in a standard VP/WP game, where a hit that only does VP
damage represents an attack that was dodged due to luck or skill.)
- When cast on a creature with positive hit points, the cure X wounds
spells restore hit points as given in the PHB. When cast on a creature with 0
or negative hit points, the spells stabilise the target if necessary and
restore 1, 2, 3 or 4 hit points for the light, moderate,
serious and critical versions respectively. This represents the
increased difficulty of regaining lost Wound Points compared to Vitality
- A character with the Diehard feat is not staggered when at 0 to negative
Con hit points. They are staggered from negative Con –1 to negative Con –9
hit points, and die at negative Con –10 hit points.
It's entirely possible that there are other problems or complications that
I've missed. If you find one, feel free to
tell me about it.
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