Main Menu



Lost Password?

Register now!

SmartSection is developed by The SmartFactory (, a division of INBOX Solutions (
The Land of Karn: Fantasy Role-Playing Game > Basic Rules > Basic Game Mechanics: Hit Points & Damage
Basic Game Mechanics: Hit Points & Damage
Published by Dragavan on 2006/10/12 (6965 reads)
Land of Karn Logo

Basic Version

Basic Game Mechanics

Although most of the system is handled by using skills and attributes, there is one more thing that can be rather important to most games: Hit Points and Damage. Without understanding these things there would be no understanding of physical danger and combat in the game. Although it can be fun and exciting to play in games that don't include these things, most of the time they will come up at some point (even in those games).

Hit Points
Hit Points (HP) in a living character or creature is a measure of physical life force and how much damage their body can endure before shutting down. A character’s hit points change over time, through damage, training, and healing, but each person has a maximum that can not be exceeded without magical assistance. Even through training, A characters hit points can not go above double their Endurance unless magic or the supernatural is involved somehow.

HP in non-living things (like doors and tools) is a measure of how much physical damage they can take before breaking or otherwise becoming no longer usable for what they are designed for. They may still be mostly intact, but they will be damaged beyond usefulness. Damage can continue to be done to them to utterly destroy them, but it won't make them any more useless.

Taking Damage
Every time living things (including characters) take damage their hit points are reduced. If they have stone skin, magic, or armor this number may be reduced or even avoided if the damage was low enough. When large amounts of damage are taken at one time there may also be side effects.

More information about taking damage, bonuses, and the side effects of damage is listed in the combat section, but some of it is covered here along with the rest of the information about losing HP.

Extreme Damage
Sometimes characters take extreme damage in single volley of blows from a single source. This does not have to be a single strike, but it does have to be a number of connected sources all at one time. Even though these shots may not have been perfect or criticals, they may cause serious problems and side effects.

Any time a character takes damage from one strike or action (even if that action is made of several fast strikes, perhaps even from several sources working together) that is equal to or more than half of their current hit points they may suffer an effect. Criticals can count towards this damage (and often does). This also means the characters current hit points, not their possible maximum.

For example: A character with a maximum HP of 80 has already taken 18 points of damage, so they are down to 62 HP. In the next strike against them they take 35 points of damage in a single action. This is more than half of the 62 they have left so they could suffer an effect. They have to roll on the chart to see. This happens even though the damage is not more than half their maximum of 80.

In addition to the stress, through which they suffer 2D6 SP damage, they may also have other problems. Rolling on the following chart to see if an effect is suffered is done by rolling D% and subtracting how many hit points the character has left after all the damage is taken. If Biology was successfully used to do a called shot you also add what it succeeded by to your roll total (see the biology skills and called shots).

For example: In the above example percentage is rolled and 27 is subtracted from the total (since that is how many hit points they have left). The opponent used a called shot and their Biology skill (which succeeded by 21), so they get to add that to the roll. So the roll is now D% - 27 + 21 (or D% - 6). They rolled a 52, so they look up 46 on the chart.

Roll Total
Effect: Description
0 or less
No Effect: None at all.
1 to 25
Minor Sting: No effect that can’t just be shrugged off.
26 to 40
Pain: Feels the pain of the blow and must make an RES check or be -1 to all combat rolls for 1D6 melee.
41 to 75
Severe Pain: Feels serious pain from the blow and must make a RES check or be -3 to all combat rolls for 2D6 melee.
76 to 95
Shock: The pain puts the character into shock and they must make a RES check to see how bad it is.
  A success roll means it is mild and they suffer -2 to all combat rolls for 2D6 melee.
  An unsuccessful roll mean it is serious shock and they suffer -5 to all combat rolls and fail all initiative rolls for 1D6 melee.
96 or more
Pass Out: The pain causes the victim to pass out for at least 1D4 minutes.
  After that a successful RES check is needed to wake up and only one can be made a minute.

Damage and Death
When a character's hit points are reduced to zero or lower (through any means), they are technically dead and incapable of taking any actions. They are not always completely dead yet, but often in a coma or completely incapacitated for at least a few minutes. Depending on the situation, they may be mortally wounded and dying (but still able to quietly speak with their final breaths) or simply lying there limp and in a coma. If they receive immediate medical or magical attention there is a chance they will survive. First Aid is not enough to save a character at this point.

When they are wounded this badly, the time they have before they are too far gone to save is a number of minutes about equal to their END minus the number of hit points below zero they are. For each minute in this state they lose another HP, until they are truly dead and gone (when they have negative HP greater than their END). While in this state (whether or not they get help), they can take no actions other than possibly speaking softly and with difficulty.

Healing of any kind can be used to revive some of these lost hit points and increase the time they survive in this state, but they will still drop at rate of 1 HP per minute (unless they are brought back to positive numbers). If the hit points ever drop to a number below zero greater than their END, they are dead and beyond simple healing of any kind. Not even magic or psionic healing can be used during this time since they are too messed up.

If the person in the coma or incapacitated gets the help they need and are brought back up to at least 1 hit point (within the time they had left), they have a chance to come back to active life. When they are brought back up to at least 1 HP they no longer lose them at a rate of one per minute, but they need to make an END check to wake up. If they fail the END check they fall into a full coma and have to wait fifteen minutes to make another try. If that second try fails they have to wait double that time (30 minutes) before they can try again. If that fails they have to wait double that time (1 hour) before they can try again. This process continues over and over until they succeed. It can possibly take years and they remain in a coma until they do.

For example: Say a character with and END of 48 and 8 HP left takes 15 points of damage. That basically kills them, but they have 41 minutes to get help before it’s too late (unless they get little bits of healing to lengthen that time or take more damage to lessen it). That’s the END (48) minus damage below zero (7) for a total of 41.

After they are dead (really dead, after all the time has run out), the only way they can be saved is through magical resurrection. This, however, is not simple or common in the world. It is hard magic to master and costly to the caster. Plus, the longer they are dead, the harder it is to have done.

Recovering Hit Points
When hit points are lost (but not reduced to zero or lower), they are slowly gained back through time and rest. They can also be gained back faster with healing through medical skills or magic (which can sometimes be instant).

Without any medical or magical treatment Hit Points come back at a rate of 1 per active day (24 hours) or 2 per day of rest (1 every 12 hours).

With only basic First Aid treatment Hit Points come back at a rate of 2 per active day (1 every 12 hours) or 10% of their END per day of rest (minimum of 3).

With professional medical treatment or any level of magical healing Hit Points come back at a rate of 10% of their END per active day (minimum of 3) or double that per day of rest.

These "so many per day" rates are listed this way for ease of use, but can actually be figured out for the character as hourly rates. Like when it says 2 per day of rest, you could translate that as 1 per 12 hours of rest. This becomes more important when the ratios get higher and someone only has a partial day in which they can actually rest.

For example: Say a character is gaining back 6 per day of rest and 3 per active day. That breaks down to one every 4 hours of rest. Say that they can get four hours of rest, then active an hour, then twelve hours of rest, then three hours of activity, and finally four more hours of rest. That is only one full day, but you get back 5 HP instead of only 3 if this counted as an active day.

Not only can magic healing cause hit points to come back almost instantly, but any time someone is healed magically at all (even for just one point) it counts as magical treatment, so the rest will come back at the accelerated rate. Magical healing also leaves no scars or infections (if done soon enough and heals at least most of the damage). Healing damage magically does not bring back lost body parts or limbs, since that takes another type of spell.

The Land of Karn: Fantasy Role-Playing Game Basic Version 0.3.5
  View this article in PDF format Print article Send article

Navigate through the articles
Previous article Basic Game Mechanics: Attributes Skills & Skill Groups Next article
The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.
Poster Thread
The Land of Karn is © 1998, 2006, 2008 Dragavan/Dragavan Games