Sunday, May 5, 2019

Hope Rules

I have been known to fuck with Honor and take different stabs at Sanity and I have messed around with Luck and more modern dillies like Advantage/Inspiration. I think I can make all that one thing, maybe touching on combat morale, that fits with my whole darkness-only vibe I love to revel in...

Do I also dare to move away from Hit Points as kung fu and Hit Points as vitality and just....use HP as an abbrev for something else?

Level 1 characters begin with 10 Hope.
  • For every negative modifier your ability scores granted you, gain 1 Hope. 
  • If you're a cleric, druid, paladin, one of those types you gain 1 Hope. 
  • If your starting gold roll results in less than 60 gold gain 1 Hope. 
  • If you begin with 1HP gain 1 Hope. 
  • Finally, all humans of other classes and all Hobbits gain 1 Hope. 
Since I don't split race and class that means your max starting Hope is 19 I think?

Your Hit Die is now your Hope Die. Each session you roll your total HD . If the total is higher than your current Hope (HP) you may choose that as your new HP value. After a certain point you stop gaining HD and just get bonus 1-3 pts a level, like Hit Points used to work. We can justify Constitution bonuses modifying this roll because if you're hale and fit you're probably more generally optimistic about your chances in life versus an elderly or feeble person.

Lose 1 Hope when you...
  1. Face the undead or demons
  2. Take psychic or necrotic damage
  3. Suffer a Fear/Terror/Horror effect
  4. Witness the death of a named character with which you are allied
  5. Are betrayed
  6. Cannot see in utter darkness
  7. Go a day without rest, or without food or water 
  8. Get real drunk
  9. Lose face or breach etiquette
  10. Get your heart broken
  11. Catch a disease
  12. Suffer an Injury or Scar

Gain 1 Hope when you...
  1. Witness any Player rolling a natural 20
  2. Fell any enemy when outnumbered
  3. Keep your promise, though it costs you dearly
  4. Free a prisoner or slave
  5. Forage enough supplies to feed your company
  6. Have a night of safe, healthy romantic or sexual activity
  7. Heal another through any means
  8. Engage in rousing song or tale-telling

When it's uncertain whether or not you would lose or gain Hope you can roll 1d20. If the roll goes over your current HP you may gain 1 HP if the situation warrants. If it goes under, you may lose HP. The more you have, the more you have to lose, more to fear.

Always regain 1d6 Hope from a night of safe rest, up to what you started the session at. Everything's better in the light of day. Well... SOME things. Some things can't be seen in the light of day, so that always helps at least.

You can spend Hope on...
  • Inspiration (lose 1HP, target gains 1HP)
  • Determination (lose 1HP to add +1 to a saving throw or skill roll you've already rolled)
  • Meditation (spend 1d4HP to gain 1d6HP; yes, this can break bad for you, just means your chi is all fucked up)
  • Provocation (challenging another by a code of conduct, or courtly intrigues, or invoking single combat; spend 1d4 Hope to add that number to a target's d20 roll, if they roll over their own HP then you have compelled them to act within the bounds you've set)
  • Intimidation (Spend 2 HP to impose a HP roll-under from your enemy, with success meaning they value their life more than victory and fuck off. Enemy must have less HP than you do.)
  • Direction (When we begin to despair there is often a sign... Sacrifice 2HP for some hint or clue about a course of action)
  • Connection (Spend 1-3 Hope [DM's Discretion] to establish knowledge of an existing person or resource in your nearby [day's ride] vicinity, or to make an established contact more favorably disposed toward you)
  • Retribution (Spend any amount of Hope to gain that value as a bonus to attack and damage against a specific enemy who has attacked you or an ally)

Damage and healing are not directly related to HP. It's not strictly vitality. The assumption is that you always get hurt, you always suffer, but you are able to overcome your wounds and impairments so long as you have Hope. Only then might your lacerations and broken bones catch up with you, the way your body starts noticing its pain and damage once adrenaline wears off. Like adrenaline, Hope is a drug.

Whenever you succeed in an attack you may or may not cause your target harm but you definitely winnow their resolve. In the same way your confidence and focus may be rattled and shattered by an opponent's force of arms or superior numbers.

Any time you would lose HP from weapon/trap/etc you may, once per session, roll your Hope Die +Con bonus. If this value is greater than the HP loss you would suffer, you can instead take an Injury and just lose 1HP as outlined above. Injuries impede your other in game abilities. The big flaw in this system is that I don't have a list ready to paste here but I'll put up a separate post when I do, then copy the text into here. Scars occur whenever you are hit by a natural 20, whenever you critically fail a saving throw, or whenever you heal from an Injury; they are largely cosmetic but you do lose 1HP for each. Magical healing actually makes way more sense than ever if you're restoring someone's faith Hope, and remember whenever you heal another character through any means your own PC gains 1HP.

A creature without Hope is the toy of fate, and what happens to them at 0HP is at the DM's Discretion.
  • Maybe their psyche is shattered, their spirit broken, and they are helpless before any injury or danger. In this case a "free interrupt" can be narrated describing their dispatch.
  • Perhaps the DM decides it's appropriate for them to take an Injury and bolster their Hope through their brush with death, granting them 1d6 HP and an Injury effect. This is an act of mercy that is not expended often, so go less boldly next time.
  • If it's not a situation like a fall or a trap or a combat that leaves them open for mortal harm, the DM may simply decide this person's influence or safety are utterly compromised. They may be arrested or they may run into hiding but whatever power they represented is considered broken. The party responsible, whether it's the DM or the Players, determines what that means. The individual in question, if they still live, can always return again when their Hope has been rekindled by a new cause or ally. Or power.
  • The Hopeless are the most prone to creeping madness, and anyone reaching 0HP may be permitted to operate like normal, only according to specific insanity conditions imposed by the DM. Think of this as how an undead husk is animated by an outside will. Each Insanity has a weight of 1d20, and the person in question will not get "better" until their Hope exceeds this weight.
Tables of Injuries and Madnesses are a dime a dozen in RPGland so shouldn't be too hard to source but I'll put one back in here later anyway. In summary, White Fang is a gripping tale of perseverance and survival, a love letter to wilderness and natural splendor, and a signed confession of man's savagery. You can find out more at your local library. Thank you, won't we?


EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that someone could read this as somewhat desperate or cry-for-helpy given my last post. I appreciate the concern if that's the case. You don't have to do anything for me. Sharing this article wherever you like and maybe kicking a buck into my donation button wouldn't hurt though, we do have some ironic medical bills right now.


  1. I've been working on something very similar to this: health is divided into grit/flesh (Logan Knight's system), but grit is depleted by small annoyances (cold, hunger, fear) as well as attacks. I was trying to think of a way to attach morale to grit, but I couldn't figure out how: I think taking your idea of having bad things happen at 0 HP would probably work best.

    Thanks for posting this: it's one of the best alternate HP systems I've seen.

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