Do you go to the dungeon?

This is the archive! For the implemented, current version of the rule, see wound threshold

"Fainting Buffer" original proposal & discussion

How things work now

HP is all fencing around and fun and games until somebody loses all of it, and a real "hit" is recorded at 0 HP.

But a drawback is that we lose out on the trope of being damaged but awake.

With our rules, you feint the same second you get your leg chopped off.

The same goes for the pretties, they're unhurt & happy & healthy until they go to 0.


Zombies have their own rules for this in the Monster Manual and there are also some traps and attacks that kill outright at 0 hp.

And of course when a pretty or other non-player-character dies the DM can choose to not roll death saves and instead have them die right away and that's what I usually do to save time. There's been some exceptions like Baba Lysaga from the CoS campaign or Imete and other friends of the hobos.

Rejected ideas

The DMG also gives the option that you might get lingering injuries on crits and when you roll 5 or lower on death saves. But that'd give way too many lingering injuries, wouldn't it?

A "fainting buffer"

This isn't a committed & recorded rule yet, just an idea I want to discuss with you, I want to hear if you think it's cool or not.

What if there were some amount of hp that counts as being hit & hurt but doesn't make you faint?

Like, say that a hit is registered at 3 hp instead of at 0 hp, like this:



Arrows are scratched when HP crosses 3,
when HP crosses 0,
when there is a death save failure inflicted.

But no more than 1 arrow per attack. I.e. if it goes from 9 to 0 (crossing both 3 and 0 in one shot) it's still only 1 arrow.

"Porcupine mode"

No more porcupine mode. Shooting extra arrows (that are easily recovered) are for battlefield control, or hits armor/fur, not direct hits to body.

Aren't spell slots saved the same way as arrows?

No, spell slots for non-killing spells still count as normal. IDK why I had such a hang up on arrows specifically for a while.



Obv it's more complicated to have two numbers to remember, 0 and 3. That's a drawback for sure.

More chopped legs

There might be slightly more lingering injuries with this scheme. If someone has 30 hp and they go down to 3, they get lingeringly injured, and then they go back up without ever having gone to 0, then that character has one more lingering injury than they would with the current rules.

One tweak would've been to give player characters (but not non-player characters) three extra HP. Then this rule change would be all upside for players; the fainting buffer is something that is added to their HP instead of taken from their HP. (In other words a 10 hp fighter would faint&get their leg chopped off if they take 10 damage in the old system, but with this "solution" they would be a 13 HP fighter and only get their legs chopped off, not faint, if they took 10 damage. IOW, same amount of damage taken, less effect.) However I think this is a pretty crappy solution because it has a significant drawback: it makes it easier on you guys and you are heroes, you can take on the world, you don't need a simplified baby-game w/ kittens&grandmas.

I don't think the slight risk of more chopped legs than before is such a big deal or would happen all that often compared to how cool it is to be able to survive tough situations. You got your leg chopped off, everyone else around you is dead, but you managed to stay awake through the pain, and kill your foe, and drag yourself to safety.


Obv a big benefit of the "you faint right away" current status quo is that gory combat details have been inherently veiled / offscreen to some extent. I.e. there hasn't been any Matthew Mercer or Lamentations of the Flame Princess style gore fests.

Is three the right number?

Three for the fainting number is just an example to make the proposal clear and understandable.

There are some different approaches to take.

A static number

I chose three because it makes sense across all levels. If the number was 10 then some level 1 characters would get their legs chopped off almost right away. If the number was 1 then it'd almost never happen.

A static number is great because it's easier to explain and teach to new players.

A level-scaled number

Maybe the number should be "your level" instead of "3".

Makes it more likely when you fight big tyrannosauruses and dragons etc that they might get hit a couple of times before going down. A 13 HD tyrannosaurus would have a fainting buffer of 13 making her more likely to stay awake through hits. Could be cool moments for you guys fighting her.

Tying it to HD would also give us the option to have it be tied to either max HD or current HD, the latter making it so that you're more likely to faint when you aren't well rested.

A constitution-derived number

Makes sense flavorfully that high con means change to stay awake.


Sandra said on 02.04., 14:51

Vi har houserule:at att insp går att använda på lingering injuries men man måste välja innan rullet om det ska vara högsta el lägsta

här är tabellen, samma som alltid:

1 ögat
2 arm/hand
3 fot/ben
4 hälta*
5,6,7 inre skada*
8,9,10 brutna revben*
11,12,13 hemskt ärr
14,15,16 infektion*
17,18,19,20 litet ärr

alla m *-tecken försvinner m minsta lilla healing word el liknande

DM said on 02.04., 14:55

Ärligt är det rätt osmidigt att dom med *-tecken inte är i rad. Det är ju hälften lätthelade, hälften inte. Skulle vara bra om 11-20 var lätt helade. Men fördelen är ju att det inte är lika självklart att lägga insp, och att, om det inte finns helning, så är dom värsta grejerna först

Sandra said on 02.04., 16:51

Hoppsan var fel länk, här är det:

Hurt but not unconscious

Sandra said on 02.04., 16:51

Har räknat lite matte och tre är fel siffra. Ska vara ETT! När man går ner på sitt sista HP då är det träff! Dvs det är bara allra sista HP:n som är "köttpoäng".

Sandra said on 02.04., 16:55

Fast jag ifrågasätter mina egna resultat, känns som om jag har räknat fel nånstans

Mikael E said on 02.04., 17:29

If addad wouldent "current HD+CON mod- ex levels" be better for faint buffer? And getting "(max HD + CON mod)/2" added to max HP.
And adding that extra HP would make outright killing pepole even harder as they have higher max HP.
There are some stuff that get nerfed by this as "Death Ward" and "Relentless Endurance" is at 1 HP. But could get a easy fix by setting stuff like that to faintbuffer, example that if you get damge in to faintbuffer you go down to "current HD + CON - ex level + 1".

Sandra said on 02.04., 17:39

Ju högre faint buffer desto oftare kommer det hända att folk tar en skada utan att svimma.

Med en faint buffer på 1 kommer en vara vaken ca 10% av gångerna en får en lingering,
om den ligger på 3 kommer en vara vaken ca 29% av gångerna en får en lingering.

är inte det ganska lagom?

ska det antalet gå upp eller ner med level? nackdelen med ett högt tal är att det är större risk att man drar på sig skador.

att sätta det på con mod är ganska lockande för då är dom tuffa och sega personerna mer benägna att hålla sig vakna trots att benet blivit avhugget. men är samtidigt svårt att förklara. är lätt att säga "du blir skadad när du går ner på tre hp" eller "du blir skadad när du går ner på din sista hp" och är ganska svårt att säga "du blir skadad när du går ner på… um… öh… vad har du för con… nej den lilla siffran. nej inte den som är skrivet litet, den med plusset"

fast kanske kan vara värt krånglet

Mikael E said on 02.04., 17:40

One could also add +"current HP" to the injuries roll and always do a roll when hurt in faint buffer and lower. This would make it so that going in to it at higher levels/con is less dangerous but its still bad future down and you can get multiple scarrings/hits at the end.

Sandra said on 02.04., 17:44

Antalet gånger man blir skadad ska ju gå ner med level. Det är ju solklart. Därför är det viktigt att den mängd av HP som är utanför svimningsbuffern går upp med level

Men ska antalet gånger man klarar att ta en allvarlig skada utan att svimma gå upp eller ner? det är inte lika självklart. kan tänka mig en level etta med hög con som är väldigt tuff

HP är ju en dödsklocka, en "gudarnas gunst". dom bryr sig inte om några smedlärlingar som givit sig ut i skogen för att jaga troll. men dom är mer omtänksamma mot hjältar som varit med ett tag och byggt upp legender omkring sig.

hmm jag vet inte… är nyfiken på vad ni tänker & uppskattar det du hittills redan sagt mikael

Sandra said on 02.04., 17:45

Oh, that's an interesting idea too

Sandra said on 02.04., 17:52

Though, not sure at rolling on the table with +5 is really worth it. You mostly rack up the scars w/o really risking anything. And we'd need a new type of sheet to record all the scars♥

Sandra said on 02.04., 17:57

Chance of staying awake through a lingering injury: Faint buffer size

10%: 1
19.45%: 2
28.4%: 3
33.3%: 4
42.3%: 5
46.4%: 6
52.95%: 7
58.8%: 8
61.8%: 9
66.35%: 10

Sandra said on 02.04., 18:00

68.95%: 11
72.55%: 12
75.3%: 13
76.5%: 14
78.15%: 15
79.3%: 16
80.3%: 17
82.75%: 18
84.1%: 19
85.1%: 20

Mikael E said on 02.04., 18:02

Annars är en enklare version med 3 HP som faint att ge en annan formel på injuries rullet.
Den räknas på d20+current HP(at hit so can be minus)+armor DC(allready reduced whit -2) så blir en som har bra försvar/hög AC svårare att permanentskada och en utan AC typ i vardagskläder lättare att hugga av en arm eller ett ben.

Mikael E said on 02.04., 18:09

Så en med AC 10 får då d20+current HP+-2 vilket gör att personen ifråga lätt kan få skador då det inte finns något som skyddar vitala delar. En plåtnicklas med heavy armor har AC 16 och får då d20+current HP+4 vilket gör att om man är i 3 HP zonen så är det ju nästan omöjligt att få en permanent skada med lite rustning men att få ärr och kross blir de samma.
Samt att man då inte behöver bry sig om de andra förmågorna då HP 1 fortfarande kan gälla(inte så stor skillnad på 1 och 3 HP).

Sandra said on 02.04., 18:14

Ja intressant och hög AC är ju också nåt som smidiga pyjamas-ninjor kan ha. Minus HP finns ju inte men skulle behöva införas isf

Sandra said on 02.04., 18:17

Iofs skyddar ju redan rustningen en från att hp öht tickar ner? Är det verkligen större chans att man får ett minor scar med full plate jämfört med att skada ett öga?

Mikael E said on 02.04., 18:25

Minor scar med fullplate kanske inte men jämfört med kross skador så som brutna revben eller inre blödning ja. Tvärt om med smidighet då du undviker att den träffar ögat men örsnibben åker av. Smidighet är ju även att blockera ett slag men kraften i slaget orsakar kross skada. Man kan nog inte få ett helt bra system hur man än tänker om man inte kör EON med 10000000 slag för att se vilken pixel den träffar.

Mikael E said on 02.04., 18:29

Sandra said on 02.04., 18:36

Sant, EON-faran hägrar ju ständigt.
Att införa en statisk faint buffer är en ganska liten förändring mot vad vi redan har tänkte jag.
Men nu när vi har bollat lite har regel-idén blivit uuuurkrånglig

Mikael E said on 02.04., 20:20

Aaa before i forget, the hookup on arrows was as you do recover arrows after a fight and could use mending to have endless arrow supply.
So to make it easy, you only lose an arrow if you make a killing and no time waste for recovering/mending arrows.

Sandra said on 02.04., 21:00

Right but there was another factor; I somehow got it into my head that arrows undermined the "HP isn't meat points" factor, that people'd say "I shoot an arrow into it".

Like the dragon fight with Virre. He wanted to shoot it in the eye. With our new rules that could've been a possibility, he just needed to make a killing w/ the arrow. And all hp loss before that was just him finding the perfect moment

Sandra said on 04.04., 07:07

The big advantage with a faint buffer (or I guess wound threshold is a better name) of 1 is that it's not hard to remember. Going to exactly 1 hp is so memorable/noticable.

Another good thing with 1 is that it would be the least possible change to what we're already doing. And thus no need to give out a bunch of extra HP.

Regardless of whether we settle on 1 or slightly higher, after running so many sims & numbers with this faint buffer mechanic, it's interesting that the bigger the hit the monster makes, the more likely it is that you faint right away. So a tiny little house cat gnawing on you you're pretty likely to stay awake through the wound. But a big old dragon breath and you're more likely to go out cold.

I made a simulation that hits you with random attacks from any monster in the entire SRD to see what the chances are. And with a WT/FB of 1 you have about a 90% chance of fainting when taking a serious wound. That goes both when looking at only CR 2 monsters and when looking at the entire SRD as a whole. When looking at only CR 10 monsters the chance of fainting goes up to 97%. (Our current rules is 100% since fainting & wounds are at the same HP threshold, 0 hp.)

Here is an idea… the default and minimum WT for PCs is 1. Any PC can record a higher WT if they want to have a higher chance to be brutal & heavy metal style types that can stay awake through wounds. It doesn't give you any more HP and you have to keep track of it yourself.

For monsters especially titans maybe the WT should be higher.

Sandra said on 04.04., 07:45

OK let's try this:

When you take a wound w/o fainting, you get 1 insp. (You get it in time to use all your insp on the injury roll but you don't have to use it for that.)

The default WT is 1 but you can set it to any higher number (as long as it's lower than your max HP) at character creation and whenever you level up. And when this rule is introduced obv. If you do increase it, you also have to be the one that tracks it, and it's not optional to take the wounds once you hit your WT, so it'd become one more thing to pay attention to.

Hitting 1 HP is memorable & noticable enough that it shouldn't be a problem.