Injury and Death
Vitality points are a measure of a character’s ability to turn a direct hit into a graze or a glancing blow with no serious consequences. Like hit points in the standard d20 rules, vitality points go up with level, giving high-level characters more ability to shrug off attacks. Most types of damage reduce vitality points.
Characters gain vitality points as they gain levels. Just as with hit points in the standard d20 rules, at each level a character rolls a vitality die and adds his Constitution modifier, adding the total to his vitality point total. (And, just as with hit points, a character always gains at least 1 vitality point per level, regardless of his roll or Constitution modifier.)
Wound points measure how much true physical damage a character can withstand. Damage reduces wound points only after all vitality points are gone, or when a character is struck by a critical hit or special attack. A character has a number of wound points equal to her current Constitution score plus ½ her level, rounded down.
A critical hit deals the same amount of damage as a normal hit, but that damage is deducted from wound points rather than from vitality points. Critical hits do not deal extra damage; for that reason, no weapon in this system has a damage multiplier for its critical hits.
Any critical hit automatically overcomes a creature’s damage reduction, regardless of whether or not the attack could normally do so.
Most weapons have a critical threat range of 20. Light melee weapons gain a +1 bonus to critical threat range.
Additional bonuses to critical threat range are based on a character’s dexterity modifier.
Injury and Death
Vitality and wound points together measure how hard a character is to hurt and kill. The damage from each successful attack and each fight accumulates, dropping a character’s vitality point or wound point total until he runs out of points.
This system doesn’t differentiate between lethal and nonlethal damage. Attacks and effects that normally deal nonlethal damage reduce vitality points do not reduce wound points even on a critical hit. If an attack that deals nonlethal damage does enough damage to overcome a character’s massive damage threshold, they must make a Fortitude save with a DC equal to damage dealt or are knocked unconscious.
0 Vitality Points
At 0 vitality points, a character can no longer avoid taking real physical damage. Any additional damage he receives reduces his wound points.
Taking Wound Damage
If a character takes wound damage while he still has vitality points remaining he becomes fatigued. A fatigued character can’t run or charge and takes a -2 penalty to Strength and Dexterity until he has rested for 8 hours (or until the wound damage is healed, if that occurs first). Additional wound damage doesn’t make the character exhausted.
0 Wound Points
Wound points cannot drop below 0; any damage that would cause a character’s wound point total to drop below 0 simply causes the character to have 0 wound points.
At 0 wound points, a character is disabled and must attempt a DC 10 Constitution check. If he succeeds on the check, he is merely disabled. If he fails, he falls unconscious and begins dying.
A disabled character is conscious, but can only take a single move or standard action each turn (but not both, nor can she take full-round actions). She moves at half speed. Taking move actions doesn’t risk further injury, but performing any standard action (or any other action the GM deems strenuous) cause the character to take 1 point of wound damage (unless it involved healing; see below).
A dying character is unconscious and near death. Each round on his turn, a dying character must make a DC 10 Constitution check.
If the character fails the check, he remains unconscious.
If the character succeeds on the save by less than 5, he does not die but does not improve. He is still dying and must continue to make Fortitude saves every round.
If the character succeeds on the check by 5 or more but by less than 10, he becomes stable but remains unconscious.
If the character succeeds on the check by 10 or more, he becomes conscious and disabled.
Another character can revive a dying character by succeeding on a DC 15 Treat Injury check as a standard action (which provokes attacks of opportunity).
Stable Characters and Recovery
A stable character is unconscious. Every hour, a stable character must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10, +1 per hour after the first) to remain stable.
If the character fails the save, he becomes dying.
If the character succeeds on the save by less than 5, he does not get any worse, but does not improve. He is still stable and unconscious, and must continue to make Fortitude saves every hour.
If the character succeeds on the save by 5 or more, he becomes conscious and disabled.
An unaided stable, conscious character at 0 wound points has a 10% chance to start recovering wound points naturally that day.
Once an unaided character starts recovering wound points naturally, he is no longer in danger of dying.
Recovering with Help
A dying character can be made stable with a DC 15 Treat Injury check (a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity). One hour after a tended, dying character becomes stable, roll d%. He has a 10% chance of regaining consciousness, at which point he becomes disabled. If he remains unconscious, he has the same chance to regain consciousness every hour. Even while unconscious, he recovered wound points naturally, becoming conscious and able to resume normal activity when his wound points rise to 1 or higher.
Special Damage Situations
The vitality point system changes the way some special damage effects work.
Coup de Grace
A coup de grace functions normally in that it automatically hits and scores a critical hit (and thus the damage dealt is applied to the target’s wound points). If the defender survives the damage, he must make a Constitution check (DC = the amount of damage dealt) or die.
A character’s massive damage threshold is equal to his Constitution score. Whenever he takes damage from a single hit that equals or exceeds his current Constitution score, subtract an amount of damage equal to his Constitution score from his Vitality Points, and the rest of the damage from his Wounds.
If an attack deals damage and also changes the character’s Constitution score (such as a strike with a poisoned weapon), apply all effects of the hit before determining whether the damage is enough to trigger the massive damage. For instance, a character with a 10 Constitution is hit by a crossbow bolt coated with black adder venom. The attack deals 8 points of damage and the character takes 3 points of Constitution damage from the poison. This lowers his Constitution ? and hence his massive damage threshold ? to 7. Since the damage exceeds the threshold, the character now takes 7 points of damage to his vitality points, and 1 point of damage to wounds.
After taking damage, a character can recover vitality and wound points through natural healing (over the course of hours or days), or by magic. In any case, a character can’t regain vitality points or wound points above his full normal totals.
Characters recover vitality points at a rate a number of vitality points equal to their Constitution modifier each hour.
With a full night’s rest (8 hours), a character recovers a number of wound points equal to their Constitution modifier (minimum 1 per night), or twice that amount with complete bed rest for 24 hours. Any significant interruption during the rest period prevents the character from healing that night.
A character that provides long-term care doubles the rate at which a wounded character recovers lost vitality and wound points.
Creatures without Constitution Scores
Some creatures, such as constructs, do not have Constitution scores. If a creature has no Constitution score, it has no vitality points. Instead, it has wound points equal to the number of vitality points it would have based on its HD and type. Such creatures are never fatigued or stunned by wound damage.
Bonus Hit Points
If a creature would have bonus hit points based on its type, these are treated as bonus wound points. (For example, a Medium construct gets 20 bonus wound points.) The same holds true for any permanent effect that increases a character’s hit point total (such as the Toughness feat, which adds 3 to the character’s wound point total).