Author Topic: Huh: State-based Stack HP  (Read 2657 times)

Offline Amechra

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Huh: State-based Stack HP
« on: February 28, 2014, 07:54:52 PM »
Alright, show of hands who understands the word salad title! Anyone? Bueller, Bueller?

Anywho, I was working on a cRPG concept in my head earlier (mostly on the combat engine, because jRPGs have gotten stale and boring.) when I had a thought:

You can represent HP as a Stack of States.

To give an example:

You are an adventurer wandering around in the Healthy state. No benefits, no drawbacks, no nuttin'. You then come across a big scary monster, who punches you in the face. Ouch! Now you are in the Wounded state, which has X benefit, Y drawback. If you don't defend yourself, you will drop down to the Dead state, which reads something like this:

"Dead: You've kicked the bucket, guv; immediately add the Corpse state on top of this one."

Then the Corpse state reads:

"Corpse: You're dead. As a doornail. Can't do a bloody thing."

Now, why set it up that way? Because of how Healing is handled.

Basically, a normal Heal spell just pops the top State off the Stack; Wounded gets popped down to Healthy, and so on and so forth. Now, if you try casting Heal on a guy with the Corpse state, they pop back to Dead... then immediately regain the Corpse state. Basically, it's a kludge to stop basic healing from bringing back the dead.

However, the more powerful Megaheal (or whatever) pops two States off, leaving Corpses alive (if barely).

And voila, we have Resurrection as a direct consequence of the HP rules.

And you can do other fun stuff, too!

A Zombie-making spell would just slap the Zombie state on top of the Corpse state, allowing the Corpse to move around under the Necromancer's control; a good Heal spell will remove the Zombie state... thus turning him back into a Corpse. Depending on how Zombie works, you could play this as either an immunity to damage (Head-shots remove Zombie!) or just have Sword-to-Chest remove Zombie in the same way as healing.

Someone whose flesh rots away adds the Skellington state on top of the Corpse state, making it that much harder to resurrect them (which can be extrapolated to the Dust state, which makes it even harder.) Combine with the Zombie-making spell, and you've got a spell that makes SKELETON WARRIORS!

Stack other states on top of Zombie or Skellington to make other forms of Undead, etc.

A super-charged Healing spell could remove the Healthy state, leaving you at SUPER HEALTHY!, which makes you that much harder to kill.

A Necromancer could have a class feature that makes Dead transition into the Ghost state instead of the Corpse state.

So, thoughts?
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Offline Garryl

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2014, 09:27:13 PM »
For undead that work this way, you'll need a whole extra set of wounded conditions for each undead type so you don't just pop back to alive (but injured) as soon as your shambling zombie corpse stubs its toe. Then you'll need to add an extra rule for each undead condition and undead sub-condition that makes them use the undead-specific conditions instead of the living conditions. And if you ever try to introduce new states, you'll need extra rules for them to provide the equivalent undead state for each undead type. And then you get the oddity of heal spells only returning healthy undead to corpse state, not near-dead ones. Also, if you get knocked down to death again as undead, healing spells might bring you back as undead again.

Offline Amechra

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2014, 06:13:53 AM »
Well, when you get to Undead, it stacks reversed; if you wanted Undead to be subject to damage, you just leave the following note in the condition:

"This Condition is removed by damage."

Define what that means, and that makes sure that Undead don't have to reverse the order of everything; the Undead states would go Corpse -> Zombie -> Vampire, to give an example.

Really depends on how the conditions are set up, when you get down to it.
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Offline Nytemare3701

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2014, 04:19:16 PM »
Hmm...Let's see if I can't expand this into a prototype...


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Offline Quillwraith

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2014, 05:36:47 PM »
Well, when you get to Undead, it stacks reversed; if you wanted Undead to be subject to damage, you just leave the following note in the condition:

"This Condition is removed by damage."
Alternatively, damaging something without the health or wounded states to remove applies the Destroyed state over Corpse, Undead or whatever.

Offline Amechra

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2014, 07:05:33 PM »
Hmm...Let's see if I can't expand this into a prototype...


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Interesting... though dying removing all the conditions on the Health track isn't what I was going for personally.

I was thinking something along the lines of a Tag system, which each tag being shorthand for something:

To give an example, your Dodge example would be a [Temporary] condition; Temporary conditions are removed after X time (standardized for all Temporary )

I'm envisioning Undead to work with an [Undead] tag, rather than having an Undead condition in and of itself. The [Undead] tag would be shorthand for "If the character would receive an Injured condition, they instead remove this Condition."

For example, Raise Zombie would read something like this: "If the top condition in the target's Stack is the Corpse condition, give them the Zombie condition."

The Zombie Condition would read: "[Undead]. This character replaces their stats with <X>, and is under the control of the character that placed this Condition on them."

Then, a Ghoul Condition might apply on top of the Zombie Condition, which also has the [Undead] tag, and which is basically an upgraded version of the Zombie Condition.

Attacks would read "If successful, the target character gains one instance of the Injured Condition." The HP rules would, once someone reaches a certain number of Injured Conditions, smack them Dying, Dead, and Corpse, whichever would be the next in the sequence.

Healing would read "If successful, remove the top Condition in the target Character's Health Stack."



To give a concrete example, let's assume that a character with an Injured Capacity of 3 gets mobbed by a bunch of monsters (I'll be using the Healthy->Injured->Unconscious->Dead->Corpse set up, with Dead just transferring directly to Corpse.)

So our Healthy hero gets successfully hit, so he places one instance of the Injured condition on top of his Stack. He's still good!

A few turns later, and he has 3 Injured Conditions on his Stack; he gets hit again, and adds another; however, because he's gone above his Injured Capacity, he replaces that Condition with the Unconscious Condition.

Now, let's set up some counterfactuals to see what happens!

A) The monsters lose interest, and a friendly healer ambles by and decides to help our hero out. So he uses the Heal ability, which removes the top condition (Unconscious), leaving the hero with three Injured Conditions on top of their Healthy Condition. Our healer has his work cut out for him!

B) The monsters hit our hero while he's lying on the floor; he gains an Injured condition, which immediately transitions into the Dead condition, which reads "Immediately gain the Corpse condition."; thus he adds the Corpse condition on top of his Stack.

His Stack now looks like: [Corpse <- Dead <- Unconscious <- Injured <- Injured <- Injured <- Healthy].

Now the healer from A) ambles by, and uses Heal on him. Then, his Stack looks like this:

[Dead <- Unconscious <- Injured <- Injured <- Injured <- Healthy]

However, due to the effects of Dead, he regains Corpse, thus leaving him at:

[Corpse <- Dead <- Unconscious <- Injured <- Injured <- Injured <- Healthy].

Unless the healer can cast a healing spell that removes two Conditions from the stack, our hero is SOL.

C) As B), but a necromancer walks by instead of a healer, and the necromancer is looking for a new Undead servant. So he uses Make Zombie on the hero, which leaves his Conditions at:

[Zombie <- Corpse <- Dead <- Unconscious <- Injured <- Injured <- Injured <- Healthy].

Zombie, of course, let's him amble around doing the Necromancer's bidding. If the Healer comes along and uses Heal on the hero, he removes the top Condition, leaving him looking like this:

[Corpse <- Dead <- Unconscious <- Injured <- Injured <- Injured <- Healthy] (Look familiar  ;))

Alternatively, hero #2 comes along and hits the Zombie; thanks to the Zombie Condition having the [Undead] tag, the added Injury Condition instead removes Zombie, with the same results as the healer's Heal.

D) The necromancer looks up at the last counterfactual and decides that that's a load of bunk. He casts a stronger Undead making spell and adds two Zombie conditions to the top of the hero's stack. Like so:

[Zombie <- Zombie <- Corpse <- Dead <- Unconscious <- Injured <- Injured <- Injured <- Healthy]

There! Now the Zombie can take more than one hit, and he can just stack more Zombie states on top of that to "heal" the Zombie. There is some limit to how many Zombie Conditions can be placed on the Stack, though (I'd say the same limit as how Injured Conditions the body can take, though necromancers would be able to adjust that.)

E) Dayum, that necromancer is annoying! So hero #2 goes up to him and shanks him until he dies (stupid Injured Capacity 1!) However, the necromancer has an ability that says "When this character would gain the Corpse Condition, they instead gain the Ghost Condition." Ghost is an [Undead] Condition, for obvious reasons.

So the Necromancer's Stack looks like this:

[Ghost <- Dead <- Unconscious <- Injured <- Healthy]


If someone does something that would deal damage to him OR heal him, he removes the Ghost Condition.

[Dead <- Unconscious <- Injured <- Healthy].

However, because of his special ability, when he regains Corpse, he instead gains Ghost. If they want to kill the necromancer for good, our heroes will have to find out a way of suppressing his "become a Ghost" ability.



I hope that adequately got my ideas across; I'm terrible at explaining things!
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Offline Gazzien

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2014, 09:21:52 PM »
I really, really like it. That explained how it worked much better. I like the whole healing instagibs undead, too. Always thought D&D needed more Resurrection Kills Undead, myself.

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Offline Nytemare3701

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2014, 02:21:14 AM »
Still think I'm going to fork my version for my Simple Card Dungeon Crawl. The stack idea solves some problems I had with tracking more complex variables in a game intended to use only a d20 and d6.
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Offline Amechra

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2014, 02:59:15 AM »
Go right ahead! I posted the idea so that it can be used!
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Offline linklord231

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2014, 12:16:27 PM »
Your previous idea, where more powerful undead types are stacked on top of weaker ones, leads to an odd scenario where wounding a vampire would eventually turn it in to a zombie before killing it.
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Offline Amechra

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2014, 01:48:13 PM »
Which, depending on the implementation of Vampires, might be desired.

I mean, at that point I was also thinking that Conditions would just add on to the rules of the last Condition applied (effects stacking or overridden, etc.)

But that's messy. So now I'm thinking Vampires would be done by just having a Vampire Spawn Condition that you can stack X times, and a Vampire Lord condition that requires that one; both of which would just go over Corpse.
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Offline Amechra

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2014, 04:45:47 PM »
Just a thought:

Injury Limit (i.e., how many Injured cards you can have) 0 means that one hit renders you unconscious.
Injury Limit -1 means that you are permanently unconscious, and one hit kills you.

Because "if your number of Injuries is greater than your Limit, gain the Unconscious condition; if you already have the Unconscious condition, gain the Dead condition."

It needs better phrasing, but I at least think this is an interesting side effect, if not useful...

Unless poison or disease actively reduces your Injury Limit...
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Offline Senevri

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2014, 08:37:31 AM »
I like it. I had great fun running a FATE-stress track using playing cards - if you take an attack of strength X, you must remove the card marked X OR GREATER from your stack. If you cannot pay the cost, you're taken out.

So, if I understand correctly:

- Healing removes conditions, or gives back lost health cards. This nicely gives us remove condition of category X spells.

Could a healer slap a "feeling great" condition on top of someone injured? Basically, they could act as if in full health, but losing the condition would put them straight back to the state they were in.

Also, could a condition such as "one-armed" be gained in-game? That way, you'd have that condition even if you get HP-healed, and we could even have craftsmen create "prostethic limb" conditions, which ameliorate the penalties from various crippled/maimed conditions.

Offline Amechra

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2014, 04:59:27 PM »
Yes, you could have it do all that.

The essential idea boils down to "damage adds cards, healing pops them off."
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Offline Versatility_Nut

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Re: Huh: State-based Stack HP
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2017, 05:28:33 AM »
Hmm... Let's see what I can come up with.

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