Friday, January 13, 2012

Who needs excess bookeeping when you have players?

While I was running a game last night I had an interesting idea pop up, but first a little background.  I've spoken about Wounds before.  I've always liked the idea of having a specific pool that directly represents taking a serious injury.  I enjoy death spirals in certain games but not in D&D, so I adapted Wounds from the old StarWars RCR d20.  Wounds are a measure of how much lethal punishment you can take before dying.
I talked about problems with it in the past but I've managed to solve most of them (I should really do a follow-up post), and I use them in my current Labyrinth Lord game.

Here's how it works in my current game.  In addition to Hit Points all characters have a maximum number of wounds they can receive equal to their Constitution score plus their Level.  So at first level, and the way I do stat generation, any given character has 7 -19 Wounds at first level.  I stumbled upon a very elegant critical system during the course of gameplay so any given critical hit can do at best 1-6 Wounds.  I also have a simple bleed-out system where if you take a Wound from a slashing or piercing weapon you begin taking 1 Wound each round.  This brings me to a novel idea.

  • Since Wounds are a clear representation of how badly someone has been hurt there is no point in hiding that from the players.
  • When you have lots of different creatures in a fight it be a bit of a hassle ticking off 1 Wound each round.
  • Why not have the player that wounded the target in charge of the ticking time bomb.  
    • They will be more invested in their opponent, creating a fight to the death scenario
    • At any given time they have a good idea of how close to death their opponent is and how close they are to finishing the fight
    • Putting players in charge of this will prime them to be DM's should they ever give the try
  • If you get the player's to do the work for you you can sustain your lazy DM lifestyle.
With that in mind I'm going to give this a try in the next session.  I'll keep you appraised of how well it works out.