Variant Rule: Grit instead of HP

Brainstormin’ on HP
Recently I’ve gotten a few discussions going around the web about alternatives to Hitpoints in games, specifically in this game. So I figured why not have one more discussion in the form of this post…

RPGs have an easier time of it because they can afford more complex rules (like the mess of addition the Green Ronin ‘Toughness save’ is). For skirmish I see a too-light version where a model can die pretty easily, such as the Knocked Down / Stunned / Out of Action approach of Mordheim or the Flesh Wound of Necromunda. I wanted to have SOME survivability to models, so I went for lower levels of Hitpoints. Now however I’m reconsidering that.

Variant Rule: Grit
Instead of Hitpoints each character has a new Grit statistic. This statistic would be a die type, with lower being worse, such as D4, D6, D8, D10, D12. When they take damage they make a “Grit Save” which succeeds if they roll their Grit die greater than or equal to the incoming damage. If the save succeeds nothing negative happens. If it fails or the damage exceeds their Grit die they need to mark a location as Hit. There are 4 locations: Legs, Left/Right Arm, Torso that correspond to a statistic on the roster, specifically: MV, RMC, MMC, AR. Tracking which location is hit would be done through checkboxes put underneath the statistic on the roster. When checked that location is damaged and they suffer a corresponding penalty of -1 MV, +1 RMC/MMC, or -1 AR. When all 4 locations are hit they are dead.
For Example: Peggy is hit for 5 damage and has D8 Grit. She rolls the D8 and gets a 7, which is successful (7 > 5). If she had rolled a 4 or less or had D4 Grit (too low to save) it would have failed. Upon failure she might choose to mark her Movement (Legs) as hit, which would make her have -1 MV for the rest of the game.

Analyzing the Rule
This might make people TOO hard to kill, since with a high enough Grit (for example D12) and crappy enough damage from the enemy you wouldn’t even be hit ever. I think balancing Grit and possible weapon damage would be the hardest part. High Armor was balanced by imposing Movement penalties, and high HP costs a ton of IP or Traits, and even still you can’t get a massive amount right away. But with Grit you could maybe power up to D12 early on by making huge sacrifices, but then they’d be invincible basically. Well I guess there is still the chance they roll poorly on the save itself.
I also don’t like the system because it’s one more roll. One of my biggest complaints with Warhammer 40k is how much WORK it is to shoot something. I don’t want DC to become like that too.
In all honesty I think I just really like this mechanic, so maybe I’ll use it in another game in the future instead of trying to force it into this game at such a late date. Either that or edit up and paste the above block into the rulebook as a variant, which is the most likely case.

In Other News…
I played through the The Great T-Rex Hunt I outlined a while ago. It was pretty fun and had a different feel to it, but was more a numbers game of whittling down the t-rex before he could one-hit-kill the entire Posse. I’ll be posting those pictures and write up soon, and hopefully getting a more traditional game in with the new Dinosaur Discipline / Breed rules. Ideally I’ll play and report on at least one DC game per month. If everything works for the latest revisions I think I might be almost at v1.0 too, woot (or “yeehaw!” if we’re going for flavor).

3 Responses to “Variant Rule: Grit instead of HP”

  1. Jd Dibrell Says:

    Personally, I kinda liked the HP mechanic, just maybe needed some kinda after action recovery rules. I dunno, I think it made the game more lends itself toward campaign play rather than one-off games. I think that w/ the grit rule & tracking wound locations & effects DURING the game as opposed to afterward, it makes it more complex which is what you said numerous times in our discussions on RPG Geek you were trying to stay away from. It might work well for dinosaurs though as they’re so much bigger & supposed to be tougher. Maybe even add a hurt, wounded, crippled system to the limbs.

    • Dinosaur Cowboy Says:

      Yeah the more I think about Grit and hear feedback the more I’m kind of wanting to just stay with flat HP. Simplicity is important, and yes I do keep harping on that :) I think I’m reaching the point where I’m making changes and tweaks to the game just because it’s fun, when in actuality it’s feeling pretty close to done.
      Any ideas for recovery rules between battle? Right now there isn’t a real downside to losing combat since everyone heals HP at a flat 2D12HP per day, but there aren’t any lasting effects. Maybe a simple Injury Table that is rolled for anyone who was Taken Out of Action (similar implementation to Mordheim and a ton of other skirmish games)? Injuries could reduce statistics. Then I’d need a way to recover wounded statistics though (like a cost to visit a doctor or something). I guess I hadn’t really considered all that in regards to a campaign since normally it’s up to the DM to decide what happens upon losing a fight.

    • Dinosaur Cowboy Says:

      Oh and also, yeah, I do still like Grit enough that I think I’ll make it a Variant option, or at least mention it somewhere since I think it’s a good idea…maybe just not a good fit for Dinosaur Cowboys.

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