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!