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Author Topic: Hit Dice: Level or Size?  (Read 521 times)

HappyDaze

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Re: Hit Dice: Level or Size?
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2020, 08:21:55 PM »
After d12 come 2d6, then 3d6, 4d6, etc. I haven't found much need for these except for Titans and older dragons.
Eh, so multiple dice-per-level? Aside from the fact that I personally find that aesthetically icky, the scale is a bit strange because it jumps up by 1hp on average until d12, then half a hp at 2d6, and then suddenly 3.5 additional hp at each size category thereafter. That's a tough one for me to swallow. I wonder if that scale could be done better and still kept as simple.

It might not be worth going to much effort there though, since meat dice seems pretty elegant.
If you care enough, get an electronic die roller and use d14, d16, d18, etc.

EOTB

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Re: Hit Dice: Level or Size?
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2020, 12:50:40 AM »
In AD&D, for a creature like this you'd take advantage of the X+Y hit dice rule.  In AD&D a monster has X hit dice.  It can also have +Y hit points; e.g., the troll at 6+6 HD.  So a troll you roll 6d8 and add a flat 6 hp to the dice roll total.

Any creature with a +3hp or higher attacks as 1 HD better; so a troll attacks on the 7HD table.  Not the 6 HD table.  But there's no increments to this.  A DM could have a super-troll with 6+99 HD, or 6d8 + a flat 99 hp - it would still attack on the 7HD table.

So for your giant baby, if you wanted it to have a lot of HP but not the attack matrix of a titan, you could give it 1HD+50hp (or whatever), and it's giant size expressed as +50hp would mean it attacked on the 2HD table. 
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Lunamancer

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Re: Hit Dice: Level or Size?
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2020, 10:02:21 AM »
I think it's going to vary by edition.


Where I come from, hit points actually IS meat. For the most part. The idea that it's anything else really came from having to justify high level PCs who seem impossibly tough. Most humans and near-humans in the world or 0th or 1st level, subject to one hit kills. Those hit points are all meat. Most monsters, it's all meat.


As for hit probability, understand that's conflating both the ability to hit a target and armor penetration. Larger creatures have more hit dice, which comes with greater hit probability, because their hits are forceful and are highly likely to deal damage despite your armor. This is also the justification for high STR coming with a to hit bonus.


You can always tweak or make an exception if you've got a creature that you really don't feel fits the mold. But other than that, it's a pretty handy rule for keeping things fast and simple and reasonable.

deadDMwalking

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Re: Hit Dice: Level or Size?
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2020, 04:43:16 PM »
There are a lot of potential toggles that can help you create a giant baby (or distinguish between an elephant and a dragon of the same size).


While level tends to increase attacks bonuses (THAC0), you can also have proficiency and attribute bonuses, as well as size modifiers.  In 3.x, a giant baby might have relatively high hit dice, but would not have proficiency with weapons, and would have a fairly hefty size penalty; if the attributes didn't give a major bonus, it'd work out pretty well.  Whether it makes sense for a Giant Baby to have a STR of 10 is one you have to answer - I think it does even though that might be unusual for other creatures of that size, it might reflect the reality of 'uncoordinated attacks' better than a 25 or 30. 


I do think that in the abstract it might make sense to have bonus hit points for size that are independent of level.  Ie, a baby might be a 1/2 HD creature, and be Tiny. For every size you increase it, you could add extra hit points - something like +4, +8, +12, +16, +32, so going from Tiny to Medium (2 sizes) would add 12 hit points total; going to Huge (4 sizes) would add +40 hit points. 
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Pat

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Re: Hit Dice: Level or Size?
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2020, 05:51:47 PM »
For that kind of thing, I find that the Fibonacci Sequence gives me raw scaling that I like, but that it doesn't always align with dice code that well.  Also, the standard sequence takes off really fast, at 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89--not giving much room for multiple levels.  (Starting at the technical beginning of the sequence doesn't help much, either.)  What I've done instead is have the dice code hit every other level in the sequence, and then pick something in the middle that is close enough--with some judicious rounding for dice averages and a small modifier to handle not having much gaps in the early part of the sequence.
Never got anywhere with it, but a long time ago I was thinking of writing a roguelike using the Fibonacci sequence for monster sizes, because it's a good way to approximate a geometric progression using integers (characters). Never thought of doing it in D&D, but it would be interesting to explore. Since the Fibonacci approximates the golden ratio over time (1.618etc), it's somewhat more granular than the size classes in 3e (whose linear progression advances at a factor of 2).

Size categories in 3e (minimums):
  • M 1 HD, 4', 62.5 lb
  • L 2 HD, 8', 500 lb
  • H 4 HD, 16', 2 tons
  • G 8 HD, 32', 16 tons
  • C 16 HD, 64', 125 tons
  • C+1 32 HD, 125', 1000 tons
Extended it one size to show the upper end of colossal. Uses weak humanoid HD. Double for a creature as tough as a wolf, triple for a creature as tough as a cat.

Fibonacci equivalents:
  • 1x1 1 HD, 4', 62.5
  • 2x2 2 HD, 8', 500 lb
  • 3x3 3 HD, 12', 1700 lb
  • 5x5 5 HD, 20', 4 tons
  • 8x8 8 HD, 32', 16 tons
  • 13x13 13 HD, 52', 70 tons
  • 21x21 21 HD, 84', 300 tons
  • 34x34 34 HD, 136', 1200 tons
Not a big change, basically inserts another size category in between M and G, at a cost of a less obvious progression in numbers. Probably more useful in a roguelike.

Shasarak

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Re: Hit Dice: Level or Size?
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2020, 08:14:04 PM »
I think the question of how many hit points a Giant Baby has misses the more important question of, how many do we have to kill to go up a level?
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Steven Mitchell

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Re: Hit Dice: Level or Size?
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2020, 07:48:23 AM »

Fibonacci equivalents:
  • 1x1 1 HD, 4', 62.5
  • 2x2 2 HD, 8', 500 lb
  • 3x3 3 HD, 12', 1700 lb
  • 5x5 5 HD, 20', 4 tons
  • 8x8 8 HD, 32', 16 tons
  • 13x13 13 HD, 52', 70 tons
  • 21x21 21 HD, 84', 300 tons
  • 34x34 34 HD, 136', 1200 tons
Not a big change, basically inserts another size category in between M and G, at a cost of a less obvious progression in numbers. Probably more useful in a roguelike.
Yeah.  My issue is that I want the progression even flatter than that--that is, hit points less inflated overall.  Like the OP, in a still very abstract system, I want to distinguish between adventuring toughness versus size toughness.  Consider something like BEMCI, where a huge red dragon has 20d8 hit dice, or about 90 hit points.  The dragon turtle hits that next step, coming in at 30d8 hit dice.  However, dragons are a bad comparison, because getting bigger is a function of vast age, and is supposed to represent size and experience.  Plus, that would be putting "huge" at the FS 21 mark. 

And as you noted, you want the progression to be intuitive.  So I find it works better to take the sequences similar to you have laid out here, and make that the multiple of the hit points.  But then reverse-engineer those expected totals to give the points from experience, size, Constitution modifier, and anything else that you want to include in that equation.  It's not necessarily hard to get in the ballpark of the FS on outcomes that way, with linear hit dice for experience.  Rather, it's not hard to do if you start adventurers at a slightly higher total than normal, because otherwise the scale at the bottom gets awfully cramped.  Doing that, the d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 hit dice for size can be made to fit, with a little fudging on what the source material means for hit dice representing both experience and size. 

You'll still end up with a "GM modifier" for things like the giant baby, though. :)

Pat

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Re: Hit Dice: Level or Size?
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2020, 10:11:16 AM »
Yeah.  My issue is that I want the progression even flatter than that--that is, hit points less inflated overall.  Like the OP, in a still very abstract system, I want to distinguish between adventuring toughness versus size toughness.  Consider something like BEMCI, where a huge red dragon has 20d8 hit dice, or about 90 hit points.  The dragon turtle hits that next step, coming in at 30d8 hit dice.  However, dragons are a bad comparison, because getting bigger is a function of vast age, and is supposed to represent size and experience.  Plus, that would be putting "huge" at the FS 21 mark. 
Unlike all other editions, size in BECMI was never explicitly tied to age, IIRC. A big dragon can just be a big dragon.

But dragons are usually considered one of the toughest creatures in the game, for their size. So I'd use cat HD, or triple the numbers (at least). That would put a 15 HD dragon in the 5x5 category, and a 24 HD dragon in the 8x8 category.

Null42

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Re: Hit Dice: Level or Size?
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2020, 08:31:19 AM »
After d12 come 2d6, then 3d6, 4d6, etc. I haven't found much need for these except for Titans and older dragons.
Eh, so multiple dice-per-level? Aside from the fact that I personally find that aesthetically icky, the scale is a bit strange because it jumps up by 1hp on average until d12, then half a hp at 2d6, and then suddenly 3.5 additional hp at each size category thereafter. That's a tough one for me to swallow. I wonder if that scale could be done better and still kept as simple.

It might not be worth going to much effort there though, since meat dice seems pretty elegant.
For that kind of thing, I find that the Fibonacci Sequence gives me raw scaling that I like, but that it doesn't always align with dice code that well.  Also, the standard sequence takes off really fast, at 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89--not giving much room for multiple levels.  (Starting at the technical beginning of the sequence doesn't help much, either.)  What I've done instead is have the dice code hit every other level in the sequence, and then pick something in the middle that is close enough--with some judicious rounding for dice averages and a small modifier to handle not having much gaps in the early part of the sequence.

For example, let's use average dice, rounded up, with a flat modifier of +2 to the sequence.  Putting a die code on every other sequence gives 4, 4, 5, 6, 7,  9, 10, 13, 15, 19, 23 (going up to 21 in the sequence where it starts to go crazy, though you could go 2 more results up to 34, 30 & 36 for really big creatures).  Do a little judicious rounding down at the lower end to start at 1d4, 1d6, 1d10, 1d12, then start adding modifiers -- 1d12+2, +4, +6, +8, +12, +16, etc.  After all, at the upper end of the scale, 2 extra points doesn't matter a lot.

The Fibonacci actually does turn into an exponential sequence if you take it far enough--the exponent is half (1+square root of 5), or about 1.618034. The number has the fun property of being 1 more than its reciprocal. The ratio is known as the 'golden mean' and wound up in Western art quite a few times. So it has a pedigree.

Pat

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Re: Hit Dice: Level or Size?
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2020, 09:22:40 AM »
The Fibonacci actually does turn into an exponential sequence if you take it far enough--the exponent is half (1+square root of 5), or about 1.618034. The number has the fun property of being 1 more than its reciprocal. The ratio is known as the 'golden mean' and wound up in Western art quite a few times. So it has a pedigree.
It exhibits exponential growth, just not a consistent geometric progression. Because while it approaches the golden ratio, it never reaches it. Each step gives you a better approximation, tho.

From a game standpoint, that approximation can be useful because it's done with integers. That's why I was playing with it in a roguelike, where the basic unit is the (ASCII) character. The same could apply to any game using some kind of fixed-size tiles, or to minis on graph paper. It's less useful in games where you can size things freely, at high resolutions, like most computer games with modern graphics.