Monster Hit Points

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greymark
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Monster Hit Points

Post Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:13 pm

As a general rule does the GM keep the exact hit points of monsters hidden during combat?
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Dimirag
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Re: Monster Hit Points

Post Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:19 pm

I absolutely do, can give hints on general health status, but never give the exact value, it may lead to some metagaming strategies, plus, it breaks the atmosphere
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greymark
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Re: Monster Hit Points

Post Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:10 pm

I suspected as much.

I looked all over and had a hard time finding something detailing the basic mechanics of this. There are a few post about combat flow and a few about who rolls dice but I did not find a step-by-step (or I simply missed it).

Maybe it is so basic that it is assumed knowledge. I would point out that anyone coming from a PC gaming background would not necessarily find this intuitive. Many (more than many?) PC RPGs provide the health status of monsters as a standard mechanic.

That said, hiding the monster hit points does seem to me to be the logical choice.

One follow-up question ...

Let's say I have a sword and have not used Analyze Magic to determine its bonus. In fact, I have no idea it is even magical. I hit and when I roll for damage I get 4. Does the GM then secretly deducts 5 for the +1 bonus I don't know about.
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Solomoriah
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Re: Monster Hit Points

Post Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:59 pm

greymark wrote:I suspected as much.

I looked all over and had a hard time finding something detailing the basic mechanics of this. There are a few post about combat flow and a few about who rolls dice but I did not find a step-by-step (or I simply missed it).
There isn't one. Sorry.
greymark wrote:Maybe it is so basic that it is assumed knowledge. I would point out that anyone coming from a PC gaming background would not necessarily find this intuitive. Many (more than many?) PC RPGs provide the health status of monsters as a standard mechanic.

That said, hiding the monster hit points does seem to me to be the logical choice.

One follow-up question ...

Let's say I have a sword and have not used Analyze Magic to determine its bonus. In fact, I have no idea it is even magical. I hit and when I roll for damage I get 4. Does the GM then secretly deducts 5 for the +1 bonus I don't know about.
Not normally, no. When you use the weapon for the first time in combat, the GM tells you the bonus when you make your attack roll (as it adds to that roll as well as to damage). If the weapon has two (or more) different bonuses, the GM only tells you the relevant bonus... he or she does not tell you why you got it.

If you use your brand new sword against a zombie and get +3, it might be a sword +3... or a sword +1, +3 vs. Undead. You won't learn about the other bonus until you attack a non-Undead monster, at which point the GM will correct you just as you're about to add the +3. By inference, you would then know what kind of weapon you have. Probably. :D
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Solomoriah
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Re: Monster Hit Points

Post Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:00 pm

Similarly, the GM does not tell you the monster's armor class. You call out what AC you hit, the GM applies any adjustments that you might not know about (but not including your own magic weapon, as explained above), and the GM tells you if you hit or not. After a few rounds you may know the answer by inference... or you may be dead, or the monster may be dead already. Who knows?
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Abello
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Re: Monster Hit Points

Post Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:52 am

Diemirag wrote:I absolutely do, can give hints on general health status, but never give the exact value, it may lead to some metagaming strategies, plus, it breaks the atmosphere
Thanks for clarifying about the monster hit points guys. Now I get it.
Last edited by Abello on Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:56 am, edited 3 times in total.
greymark
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Re: Monster Hit Points

Post Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:54 am

Solomoriah wrote:Similarly, the GM does not tell you the monster's armor class. You call out what AC you hit, the GM applies any adjustments that you might not know about (but not including your own magic weapon, as explained above), and the GM tells you if you hit or not. After a few rounds you may know the answer by inference... or you may be dead, or the monster may be dead already. Who knows?
This was very helpful. I had just spent some time trying to confirm this. I thought the weapon bonus was added to the "to hit" attack roll but was not easily able to locate this mechanic either.

For me, this all started as I was trying to work through your Analyze Magic spell. I noted from some posts you feel strongly about that spell and I want to try to fully understand it. It is a bit involved and my lack of understanding the basics was not helping.

So can I confirm now what I think is the intent?

If I find a sword lying on the ground, unlike other versions of similar games, I can't use a potion or spell or scroll to "identify it". Rather, I would use Analyze Magic as written and depending on success be privy to some insight into its composition. For example, if I had a +3 sword, odds are I would be told it has a "strong" enchantment.

Now if I decide to take up said sword and hit some monster, at this point I would be told the bonus is +3 and that would confirm at least that aspect. It could be +4 against dragons and I would not know.

If I was brave (reckless) enough to not bother to seek out the swords true nature, I could simply pick up the sword and go hit some monster (apparently I am not a monster's rights advocate) at which point I would also be told I had a +3 bonus.

One last question, Analyze Magic is in the supplement Libram Magica not the core rules. So is the old school method to simply use the weapon (edit) and see what happens and over time figure it out?
Last edited by greymark on Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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SmootRK
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Re: Monster Hit Points

Post Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:23 am

Analyze Magic is also in the much smaller (and older) New Spells Supplement, and to my knowledge is one of Solomoriah's contributions. It is pretty much a 'need to have' spell for my games.

That said, I tend to let the players know the actual details (ie the actual pluses or whatnot) after such identification... just to make the game roll along a little easier. I don't like to have to roleplay out every little bean count or have a long drawn out dialogue every time a player uses a "partially identified weapon"... unless it plays into our little plot.

But, all in all... I do not identify the AC or really any other details of the foes for the players. They get reports of success/failure or somewhat more graphic descriptions. For instance, "Your blow strikes heavily, causing a large gaping wound... however the fiend still continues to press on."
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Solomoriah
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Re: Monster Hit Points

Post Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:43 pm

greymark wrote:One last question, Analyze Magic is in the supplement Libram Magica not the core rules. So is the old school method to simply use the weapon (edit) and see what happens and over time figure it out?
That's pretty much the size of it, yes. Analyze Magic is my own invention; those of the classic games that had a spell for identifying magic items typically did it differently.
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orobouros
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Re: Monster Hit Points

Post Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:50 pm

Solomoriah wrote: There isn't one. Sorry.
Don't be. I feel this shouldn't be spelled out. It's up the the GM to determine what kind of knowledge to pass along to players. I can imagine play styles in which passing along the info makes in-game sense, and cases where it would so drastically change the flow of combat as to completely change the encounter. In my game you may be able to ask for a hint so that characters can guess at relative health, and I'd give something vague. Or maybe the experienced players have looked over the monster library and know the stats, and it's only fair to tell the less experienced player.

One thing I love about computer RPGs is that the mechanics are absolute. You can learn them and use them to your advantage. One thing I love about rules-light table-top RPGs is that the mechanics are really just (thought out, very coherent) suggestions. The GM can adjust the mechanics on a case-by-case basis to maintain the story, atmosphere, etc.
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