With recent evolutions in the rules system of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, including glistening robots and kineticist’s burn, hit points can become a little more complicated than they are at 1st level. Whether it’s a pregen at a Convention, a new PC skald’s raging song or a magic item you didn’t plan on applying temporary hit points and damage can be confusing in on the fly situations. Today we are going to take a look at the different ways that all important number can move around…
Hit Points: The Basics
In the Core Rulebook Hit Points are defined as:
“What Hit Points Represent: Hit points mean two things in the game world: the ability to take physical punishment and keep going, and the ability to turn a serious blow into a less serious one.”
Some tables get into arguements about the realism of hit points being a “countdown” til a lethal wound is taken versus a big bag of blood and meat you are chopping down bit by bit. The truth is pretty much both. This does allow for stylistic variation in GMs, some like to describe each and every scratch and tick where others stick to numbers and spare no expense with the death blows. There is no right way but a good GM adapts to the needs of their table.
Hit Point Adjustments
A lot of things can change your relative hit point totals. Damage, temporary hit points, and Constitution adjustments are just a few of the the things to keep in mind when tracking and adjusting hit points. Consider the following:
- Damage is checked against and subtracted from the current hit point total.
- Temporary hit points are placed in “front of” actual hit points and are marked off first when damage is taken.
- Temporary hit points are placed in a single pool if from different sources.
- Temporary hit points from the same source DO NOT stack, use the best pool.
- Nonlethal damage is checked against CURRENT hit point totals.
- When Nonlethal damage equals current HP you are staggered.
- When Nonlethal damage exceeds current HP you are unconscious.
- Hit Points heal naturally at 1 hp per level/HD with a full night’s rest (8 hours of sleep or more).
- Notlethal Damage heals 1 hp per level/HD per hour.
Here is a tool to help visualize:
Proper application of hit point adjustments might just mean the difference between tartar for Terrasque and telling the tale at the tavern. Keep calm (and Constitution) and carry on to fight another day!
Be more than a one-hit wonder with the Paramour, our class that knows how to take a beating! If prestige classes and feats are more your speed check out the Book of Beyond: Liminal Power later this summer or get it as part of the Book of Beyond WIP Subcription. Or see our other products are available on d20pfsrd.com, drivethruRPG, paizo and RPGNow.