Monday, February 2, 2015

Scaling, Size Category, & Hit Points

In the Great & Small Quick Start rules as they're currently written, each species of animal receives a fixed number of hit points per level, modified by the roll of their niche dice.  I derived the hit point values through more or less straight conversion of the animal stats (or stats of a similar creature) from the Basic/Expert rules, the Rules Cyclopedia, or some other basic edition resource or retroclone.  I gave each animal maximum possible hit points at 0-level, followed by an average value of their listed Hit Die type each consecutive level thereafter.

Tying hit point progression to species in this manner is just an iteration of the race-as-class concept from basic editions, in which dwarf, elf, and halfling were classes unto themselves.  But the method produces inconsistent results, giving divergent hp progressions to species of roughly equal profile (such as rabbits and small cats).  Some players may find this approach illogical and unsatisfactory.

Therefore, I've been toying with the idea of tying hit point progression to Size Category rather than species or niche.  In this scheme, rather than receiving a fixed amount of hp + niche die result per level, all characters roll for hit points per level on a die type tied to their Size.

Size determines type of die rolled for hit points per level according to the following table:

Hit Dice Per Level By Size Category (Zocchi Dice Progression)
Fine: 1 hp
Diminutive: 1d2
Tiny: 1d3
Small: 1d5
Medium: 1d7
Large: 1d10
Huge: 1d12
Gargantuan: 1d14
Colossal: 1d16

Hit Dice Per Level By Size Category (Standard Dice Progression)
Fine: 1d2
Diminutive: 1d3
Tiny: 1d4
Small: 1d6
Medium: 1d8
Large: 1d10
Huge: 1d12
Gargantuan: 2d8
Colossal: 1d20


  1. Hmm. It seems to me that the size and species differences should tend to be the main factor, but it would be nice and make sense if the level and niche had an effect. If I'm interpreting your featured animal stats correctly, then it looks like for higher-level characters, level and niche will have the largest effects, then species. I wouldn't expect a high-level cat to ever have more hit points than even a level-zero wolf, let alone an elephant. A high level cat might end up out-surviving an elephant, but I'd expect that to be due to making the choice to run and hide quicker, and doing it faster and better... which I'm not sure how that gets represented.

  2. Well, a high-level cat would have only d3s for hit points, while an elephant would have d10s, and a wolf would have a d7s.

    Keep in mind, as well, that these are animals with character classes, essentially, and not stock monster entries. A 10th level cat having more hit points than a 0-level wolf is no more weird to me than a 10th level halfling having more hit points than a 0-level orc.