Thursday, October 11, 2012

Die Hard 0e (or: Exhausted Characters in Combat)

Another part of my houserules for the gentle reader to consider.

And another Hackmaster 4e relic

Arguably the best tools for a DM help him describing the situation the characters are in and happen to work by just looking at what's already there. I like my games as gritty and dirty as your next favourite Die Hard movie and I like giving my players the feeling they can shine in the most desparate situations without throwing encounter after encounter at them. So, I thought, an element of exhaution, like the rules for Fatigue in Hackmaster, would do just fine in my game.

How to implement Exhaustion in an D&D game (a proposal)

Take half your Con as Endurance. In a fight you loose one point per round, with a critical hit you loose as much Endurance as you've lost hp. If you play with skills, you may allow players with a related skill to have their full Con as Endurance (alternatively you could give only fighters full Con or whatever tickles your fancy). Ten minutes of resting and breathing hard after a fight regenerates all but one point of your Endurance. This is cumulative until you have a full rest.

What happens if you hit zero endurance?

With zero Endurance a character counts as Exhausted. He is last in initiative and (playing with Rules Cyclpedia) his Weapon Mastery is down to Basic. MUs have to make an Int-check when casting or the spell (mana, whatever) is lost. Every round after that gives a cumulative -1 to AC, to-hit and check until it reaches the characters negative Endurance value. After that the character goes down, breathing hard and only able to crawl.

Monsters and Endurance

As easy as: 4 + Monsters HD as written (example (Goblin): 4 + 1 HD-1 = 4 Endurance)

Next up: Die Hard 0e (or: Exhausted Characters and Skills)

There is a lot more to say about Endurance in a game, but this is another post entirely...


  1. Or

    After 1 turn (10 rds) of fighting, everyone takes a -1 to all rolls penalty. You need to spend 1 turn resting to remove a -1 penalty.

    On your first rest turn you also remove any remaining rounds of combat fatigue. If you don't get a full turn of rest before your next fight you lose the rounds of partial rest.

    Fatigue also counts for strenuous stuff like pursuit etc.

    You can get a maximum fatigue penalty equal to CON, at which point you pass out for 1d6 turns. Monster fatigue max is 6+HD (remembering that in reality, Humans and dogs are able to keep up great feats of endurance that faster animals can't).

  2. By the way this rule also gives us a good structure for fresh combatants entering a fight with tired enemies, rotating fresh troops in for tired ones, limits to climbing, and forced-marching.

    That is, a unit of 0-level men-at-arms with CON 9 would be able to force-march 9 turns before being forced to rest.

    The main problem I'd have with force-marching with these rules is that the recovery happens when they sleep so they're always fresh in the morning. You can't get a result of an army force-marching day after day and arriving dead-tired.

  3. Thanks for taking time to think about this! Here are my reflections about it:
    10 rounds of fighting, before... - Yeah, you could do it like that, althogh I think it's a little to long (and might have no effect, then)

    passing out for 1d6 turns - Good idea to give a value to this, totally missed the opportunity.

    Mosters = 6+HD - Same reasoning as with the 10 rounds, we played it for some time like this and fatigue never came up. At least the way we play it, combat is round about 4 rounds in average (with one combat round being 30 seconds).

    forced marching - Thanks for bringing that up! Your example I'd handle like this: Full rest is 24 hours, a nights sleep would (doing nothing else but marching) let you regenerate all but one point endurance. It stays that way if you keep marching the next day and then you loose another point. This way it would have an impact after the fourth day (taking half CON as a base assumption). Attacks and anything else that could come up (clearing the road, crossing a river, etc.) would wear them down faster.

    Maybe this is worth a follow up post, but I think an additional rule considering what happens if you force someone to continue with a negative Endurance might be of interest. My first thought would be that it affects CON (CON=0 would mean death). This way you could for instance calculate how long it takes to kill a horse by forcing it...).


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