No story today, but here’s something for my players.
Remember the whole critical miss discussion? David brought up a good point at how losing hit points is about your character wearing down, not just physical damage. I like it, but it got me thinking about something. How then does a DM deal with higher level players taking damage?
Example, a high-level fighter with 200 hp is a member of a party facing a group of archers. These archers are strictly that, ranged fighters. In this case, we’ll have the archers wielding longbows. Longbow arrows deal 1d8 damage, so the high-level would have to take 25 arrows before going into a dying state (and that’s assuming all the archer’s damage rolls deal maximum damage, no critical hits).
That’s a concept hard to grasp for me. At lower levels, it’s easier for a DM to describe the players taking hits. “The arrow punches into your stomach, blood dribbles from the wound. You take 6 damage” (I’ll either elaborate or tone it down depending on what my players want).
However, at higher levels, things change. PCs are tougher. That same 6 damage wound won’t have the impact it did at lower levels. The player will still be ticked he/she took a hit, but they’re not going to consider retreating. If anything, they’ll keep on trucking. This is especially true if they have 200 hit points.
So, I’m curious. In preparation for higher level games, I’m wondering how to handle PCs taking damage at higher level and still make it seem realistic. David’s idea of the body wearing down, not just physical damage, intrigues me, but I don’t know how to put that into words.
Then again, I guess we could go with the Blackbeard effect. Y’know, the pirate who was shot five times and stabbed twenty before he was decapitated? Blackbeard’s a legendary figure, and when the PCs reach higher levels, they become legendary characters too. With this mindset, it’s perfectly acceptable to think of that high level fighter taking 25 arrows before falling to the ground.
However, I’d like to let my players chip in on this. After all, they make or break the game. The DM just creates the scenarios.
“Whoever she was, I must’ve scared the living daylights out of her.“