Poll: The Bloodied Condition

Right, poll time again. Let’s have your thoughts on this little chestnut. Feel free to use the comments below if you don’t like either of the options, or you can think of something better.

All editions of D&D have measured your character’s health by means of hit points. HD&D will be no exception to this rule. I have no intention of going down the Shadowrun/True 20 route of wound levels. That said, fourth edition, added something new to the mix: the bloodied condition.

For those of you not in the know, the bloodied condition works as follows. Your bloodied value equals half your hit points. When you have taken enough damage to reduce you to half your hit points or less, you are considered “bloodied”. You remain bloodied until you are healed over half your hit points.

What does it mean to be bloodied? Not much. There are no inherent penalties in being grievously wounded, and I’m happy to keep things that way as they only act to complicate the game. The point of having the bloodied condition, is that it becomes the trigger for certain powers or feats.

For example, a dragonborn does more damage when he’s bloodied; a tiefling inflicts more damage on bloodied foes. Some feats only work as long as a character is bloodied. The bloodied condition becomes a way of regulating access to certain abilities that you don’t want characters to have constantly available.

So do we want a bloodied condition in HD&D? That’s the question, and that’s the nature of the poll below. My personal preference is to keep it. Having written some HD&D versions of 4e talents, I find the bloodied condition to be a helpful tool. It can also make in-game sense: a wounded dragonborn is more dangerous.

Of course, it has to be done right, it has to be coherent and it has to be consistant. It also means that players must know when their foes are bloodied, and must announce when their character’s are bloodied. Too artificial? You decide!


4 thoughts on “Poll: The Bloodied Condition

  1. I like the Bloodied condition. In some of my 3E games online (ie, play-by-post), where I have the time to do more calculations, I will often give players a guide as to how hurt the targets are. Usually, I had four or five broad categories of un-fixed proportions, which ranged from “healthy” to “bruised”, right down to “near death”. It was helpful for them to recall which to react to, and for describing just what their attacks did.

    This had no mechanical bearing. The 4E system, although with less tiers, has some minimal mechanics, which I think are great (some characters preferring to stay in the bloodied zone, as it gives them an edge in battle, with the risk of being able to take less damage; whilst others thrive at attacking those bloodied). Some monster’s immediate actions upon being bloodied add a little surprise, too :)

    My only complaint is that there are not enough! :D

    But yes, I would definitely keep the condition. And, possibly add two more if you wanted to go in that direction (one at 75% and one at 25%).


  2. the logic behind bloodied is to enable PCs or even NPCs that have lost HPs to have a fighting chance of defeating their enemy once they start losing more than half their HPs…

    i think it’s a fair system as it enable characters to swing the tide when in desperate moments (i.e. heroic)

    which in fact makes combat more interesting…

    i vote to keep

  3. Well, the poll is currently running at 100% in favour of keeping the bloodied condition, and I have to say I’m pleased about that. I know that fourth edition is not the favourite system of everyone who posts here, but there’s still a lot of good stuff in 4e and it would be a shame to lose all of it.

    The thing I like about the bloodied condition is that although it has a mechanical effect, it isn’t the sort of effect you would expect from wound levels. In most roleplaying games that use wound levels, the PC becomes progressively more ineffective as he gets damaged. This might be realistic but it’s a pain for the players and for the GM.

    The bloodied condition just gets you more options. More triggers to hang certain talents or abilities off. I’m not sure I want to go down the route of multiple bloodied levels as that might make things a little too complicated, but having one is very useful.

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