Combat with hits instead of damage



ICRPG is an invitation to tinker and tweak and DIY things your way – that’s why it rekindled my passions :slight_smile:

VDS uses “hits” (or “1 hp” + armor, to be more exact), but I’d like to go a different route. To keep the basic structure of ICRPG intact, I convert hearts to “hits”, on a 1:3 basis. One Heart = 3 Hits.

Weapon Damage is converted with a decent amount of handwaving; roughly speaking, damage between 1d4 and 1d6+2 takes away 1 Hit, and everything above is 2 Hits (or even higher if the potential amount of damage is outrageously high). Rolling a natural 20 adds +2 Hits instead of 1d12 damage.


I have been thinking along the same lines for one of my own designs. I can see how this could certainly speed up combat.


Absolutely! In my FKR games, I have been using hits instead of hp for almost 20 years. It takes a bit of tension out of the game, though, but I think its speed makes up for it.


Change hearts to 6 HP.
Weapon damage = roll on a d12. 1-3 = half heart damage, 4-6 = 1 heart of damage, 7-9 = 1 1\2 hearts, 10-12 = 2 hearts damage.
Similar to hits idea.


Luther, the whole reason, for me personally, to use hits instead of hp is because I wanted to get rid of damage rolls.


I’ve utilized hits in 5e, where I thought the game was too slow. I haven’t found hits to be necessary in ICRPG. If anything slows down gameplay at my IC table, it’s the different effort dice.


how slow is regular ICRPG for you? dang. how much faster are you making the game for all this work you are putting in. Most gaming systems are like a new car today, they are very specifically engineered. Start swapping out stuff (especially HP) and you can mess everything up. Its kinda an all or nothing with most RPG systems.

btw… i offered the idea of 6HP hearts because thats how i do it. I also have two different types of hearts, black and red. red are full 6, black are d6. a typical character has 2 red hearts (so 12 HP) to start. However, i also have two categories of HP, health and armor. Health is just what you think. armor defense value in my game is lower than normal D&D, but it has HP value. 3HP for leather armor , 5HP for chainmail.
Also, Question: Whats the difference in saying someone has chainmail versus chainmail with vambraces, greaves and a steel helmet in D&D? answer: Nothing. and that is BS! in my game you can add HP with the things. Helmet gives you 1 armor HP added, the vambraces and greaves add another 2 armor HP.
so…a character with 12 health HP can have chainmail with vambraces and greaves and helment for 8 more HP. This of course is a fighter. (who should be harder to kill)

Here is how armor HP works— you subtract from it first, then it dips into health HP. When combat is over, the armor HP goes back to full leaving you only with your “wounds” (loss of health HP) People who are wearing lots of protection should be more durable. The armor took most of the opponents fury.

…and you didnt ask for any of that … lol. sorry.


I respect your design decisions, Luther – and it seems to me that your system is more complex than the original :wink:


lol. only my HP sysem has complexity. For me HP, and i think a lot of DMs will agree, is the biggest mechanics issue in RPGs. HP Inflation is the biggest problem with the game. The game drags slowly as the characters get beyond 5th level in 5e and consequently most campaigns end there …or earlier. For some reason RPG designers (no Hanks of course) seem blind to this.
Keep ACs low so hits are easier( for PCs and monsters) and HP low so there is always imminent danger to any combat encounter and go from there. Make characters use strategy and the environment to their advantage. Power up players as needed with Loot.
This is why i like Moldvay early D&D. all that needed to be done with it was address the HP issue. Had they done that all other D&D made after wasn’t necessary. I truly believe this is what Hank was doing when he made ICRPG.

Anyway, if you perfect and playtest your new ideas, post them. I love being proved wrong as much as right and greatly love when people offer cool ideas. Good luck man.


Absolutely! And thank you.


I’ve pretty much moved to hits vs HP for everything except bosses (I’ll use a spin down d20 for a mini and to track HP for them). Players still get HP as normal.

I use the same 1:3 ratio, but I like rolling for damage. Mechanically, nothing really changes for the players, your +2 Weapon EFFORT still makes a difference, but I don’t have to worry about whether the Orc has 1 or 3 HP, I just know he’s dead in one more hit.

I get the point of not wanting to roll for damage, but I’m not really sold on the idea of smoothing out all the difference between 1d4 and 1d6+2. I feel like there’s a big difference between attacking with your bare fists and attacking as a trained swordman (+2 Weapon) with a sword.

Mechanically I think what bugs me is that rolling a d4 its gonna take an average of 4 rolls to get to 10. With a d6+2 you’re gonna hit 10 after an average of 2 successes.


Thinking back through all of our wild and crazy games over the last several years, I just couldn’t do this to my players. All of the fist pumps and cheers for high damage rolls has certainly been a huge piece for my players. Systems where you tick off pips instead of tracking damage certainly have their place (read: VDS is super fun, for example), but I would have to think long and hard about what my players prefer before making this switch in ICRPG. ie, some groups just love making damage rolls.


This is me, I love rolling damage as a player, and I feel like my players love rolling damage as well. I feel like the ROOM TARGET simplifies unnecessary complexity, and EFFORT gives you more complexity that’s actually fun to play with.