This entry is part 2 in the series All Wounds Are Not Alike

The alternative damage-handling subsystem proposed in last week’s article suffers from one major flaw, as some of our commentators have pointed out – it involves additional processes and bookkeeping that can adversely impact the flow of combat. This flaw is present to a much smaller extent in this proposal. Once again, this is not a variation that I have personally enabled within one of my campaigns, so the discussion is strictly theoretical.

It all stems from a proposed definition of hit points as “soft-tissue damage”. That includes muscles and skin and major organs, but it specifically excludes broken bones. It follows that “damage” comes in two types – that which is scored against the character’s hit point capacity and that which is not.

The significance, of course, is that most healing spells and healing potions only specify a restoration of hit points, they say nothing about this new class of injury.

The Breaking Of Bones

The first question that has to be asked is how a broken bone is scored against a character. There are three basic options: the first is simply to keep a tally – one critical hit, one bone. This has the virtue of extreme simplicity, and minimal systemic impact on combat. But is might, perhaps, be too simplistic. There are better ways.

Option 2: Critical Thresholds

The second alternative uses our old friend, the threshold. Critical hits, by virtue of doing more damage, are more likely to exceed this threshold. But this approach, while a little more elaborate than the elegance of the first, has two really big advantages going for it:

  • First, it permits the exclusion of damage that should not break bones – things like electrical and fire damage, for example; and
  • Second, it permits the bone-breaking risk to be differentiated by type of weapon.

Unfortunately, heading down this path leads back to the same sort of complication that was encountered with the previous system. There is a simpler, third alternative.

Option 3: The dedicated die roll

A different kind of damage deserves a separate, dedicated damage roll.

A piercing weapon has virtually no chance of breaking a bone (unless the combatant falls awkwardly), a slashing weapon has some chance, depending on its size and weight, a crushing or bludgeoning weapon has a high probability. This can be achieved by simply rolling a die of a different colour and size as “bonus damage” towards the breaking of the threshold only, and increasing the size of the threshold to compensate.

A d4 for piercing weapons and light slashing weapons, a d6 for medium slashing weapons, a d8 for heavy slashing weapons, and a d10 for crushing weapons, with a threshold of x, would work quite well. Add the character’s STR bonus to the roll. X, of course, would be a value associated with the target – it might be the size of the hit die of the creature plus their CON bonus, and perhaps with an additional value based on how well the target’s armor protects them against such damage. +0 for leather and cloth, +1 for chain mail (partial or complete), +2 for plate mail (full or half); and a further +1 for a shield, +1 for a helm.

Increase the number of dice according to the critical multiplier in the case of a critical hit.

Instead of rolling this for each hit with a weapon, where the character gets multiple attacks, add 1 to the roll for each successful hit after the first. Similarly, you could add the magical deflection bonus of armor to the threshold and magical attack bonus to the die roll. And you rule that a miss doesn’t trigger a bone-breaking check.

The big advantage here is that all this math can be done in advance and written on the character sheet, where it is instantly accessible. The threshold won’t change for a specific target, and the bone-breaker die (and most of the modifiers) won’t change from combat to combat, either.

Right away, this achieves every advantage of the preceding proposed options, and none of the drawbacks. You automatically exclude damage effects that won’t break bones, and you can also exclude unusual attack modes like Backstabbing that will do increased damage but not increase the likelyhood of breaking bones.

There may be further alternatives, but this is so simple and quick and yet comprehensive that it’s hard to see how they could possibly be improvements.


It’s one thing to invent a house rule out of whole cloth, such as I have done above; in order to be confident in the results, you really need to run a couple of examples through the system. In this case, I am going to employ a trio of characters with typical equipment, each of whom will act as the target in a set of examples, with all three taking turns to attack that target.

Target #1 is a 4th-level rogue in +1 leather armor and buckler, armed with a +1 dagger. STR bonus of +0, DEX bonus of +3, CON bonus of +2. Feats are Agile, Alertness, Improved Initiative. HP 26, AC 17, Critical Threshold 19, Multiple x2, Attack of 4, doing d4+1 damage, 1 attack per combat round. Backstab does +2d6. In example set 1, this will also be the attacker.

Target #2 will be a 6th-level cleric in +1 chainmail, small shield, and helm, armed with a +1 heavy mace. STR bonus of +1, DEX bonus of +1, CON bonus of +3. Feats are Improved Initiative, Improved Turning, Persuasive, Weapon Focus (Heavy Mace). HP 56, AC 18, Critical Threshold 20, Multiplier x2, Attack of 7 doing d8+2 damage, 1 attack per combat round. In example set 2, this will be the attacker.

Target #3 will be an 8th-level fighter in +2 Full-plate and helm, armed with a +2 flaming bastard sword used two-handed. STR bonus of +4, DEX bonus of +2, CON bonus of +4. Feats are Blind-Fight, Combat Expertise, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Sword, bastard), Weapon Focus (ditto), Improved Critical (ditto), Weapon Specialization (ditto), Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, and Quick Draw. HP 77, AC 21, Critical Threshold 19, Multiplier x2, Attack 11/6 doing d10+10 damage, 2 attacks per combat round.

First, for each of our three combatants, lets work out the bone-breaker rolls:

  • Target #1: d4 +0 (STR) +1 (magic) +d4 on a critical.
  • Target #2: d10 +1 (STR) +1 (magic) +d10 on a critical.
  • Target #3: d8 +4 (STR) +2 (magic), +1 if both attacks hit, +d8 for each critical.

Next, the critical thresholds for each:

  • Target #1: 4 (Hit die size) +2 (CON) +0 (leather) +1 (magic) +1 (buckler) = 8.
  • Target #2: 6 (Hit die size) +3 (CON) +1 (chainmail) +1 (magic) +1 (shield) +1 (helm) = 13.
  • Target #3: 10 (Hit die size) +4 (CON) +2 (plate) +2 (magic) +1 (helm) = 19.
Example Set 1

Rogue vs. Rogue: The attacker needs to roll 8 or better on his bone-break check. This is only possible if he gets the second d4 from a critical hit. One of the resulting 2d4 must be a 4, and the other must be a three or four, so there is a 1 in 8 chance of success on a critical. To get a critical, he needs to both hit, rolling a 19 or 20, and then to hit again. With an attack roll of d20+4 and a target of 17, he needs to roll 13 or better to hit. So he has a 2-in-20 chance of a critical check, and a 13-in-20 chance of confirming the critical, for a 26-in-400 chance of a critical hit overall. On 1-in-8 of those 26-in-400 chances, he will cause a broken bone – that’s 26-in-3200 attacks, or about 0.8% of the time. Not very likely, but everything is working against him, so it is not too surprising.

Cleric vs. Rogue: The attacker needs a total of 8 or better on his bone-break roll. On a non-critical hit, he rolls d10+2 to achieve this target, so a six or better on the dice will suffice – that’s a 40% chance on any such hit. On a critical hit, he has 2d10+2 to hit the target number, which makes it a 90% chance of success. He needs to roll at least a 10 on his attack roll to hit – a fifty-fifty chance. If he does hit, there is a 1-in-20 chance of a critical check and a 50% chance of confirming that critical – the other 50% is just a normal hit.

  • So, 45% chance of a 40% chance of a non-critical broken bone = 18%.
  • 5% chance of a 50% chance of a 40% chance of a failed critical attempt resulting in a broken bone = 1%.
  • 5% chance of a 50% chance of a 90% chance of a successful critical resulting in a broken bone = 2.25%.
  • Total chance of inflicting a broken bone in a combat round against the rogue = 18+1+2.25 = 21.25%.

That seems a little low – one in every five combat rounds? Perhaps crushing weapons should use d12s instead of d10s? How would that change the results?

He still needs to achieve a target of 8, but on d12+2 that’s a 50% chance, not a 40%. And the chance on a critical goes up to 134 out of 144 results, or just over 93%.

  • 45% chance of a 50% chance of a non-critical broken bone = 22.5%.
  • 5% chance of a 50% chance of a 50% chance of a failed critical attempt resulting in a broken bone = 1.25%.
  • 5% chance of a 50% chance of a 93% chance of a successful critical resulting in a broken bone = 2.325%.
  • Total chance of inflicting a broken bone in a combat round against the rogue = 22.5 + 1.25 + 2.325 = 26.075%.

From one in five to one in four doesn’t sound like the big gain that we were looking for. The cleric’s relatively low chance to hit in the first place is dominating the odds. To prove that, let’s drop the rogue’s AC by 1 – a relatively small adjustment, but it increases the cleric’s chance of hitting, and of confirming a critical, by 5%, and run those d12 results a third time:

  • 50% chance of a 50% chance of a non-critical broken bone = 25%.
  • 5% chance of a 45% chance of a 50% chance of a failed critical attempt resulting in a broken bone = 1.125%.
  • 5% chance of a 55% chance of a 93% chance of a successful critical causing a broken bone = 2.5575%.
  • Total: 25 + 1.125 + 2.5575 = 28.6825%. That’s a lot more than a 5% improvement in the chances – it’s a 10% increase (28.6825 is 110% of 26.075%).

Increasing the cleric’s strength, or the magical bonus from his weapon, would not only yield the direct improvement shown, but would make it easier to achieve the threshold values – compound effects.

Keeping the Rogues AC down by 1 (so that this set of results can be directly compared to the previous ones), lets contemplate the situation if the cleric had a +4 STR bonus and a +4 weapon; that means that the cleric’s bone-breaker check is now d12+4+4, +d12 on a critical, still against the target of 8; and his attack rolls are now d20+13 against a target of 16.

The chance of an 8 or better on d12+8 is 100%. The chance of an 8 or better on 2d12+8 is still 100%. The chance of getting 16 on d20+13 is 17 in 20, or 85% (but 5% of that indicates a possible critical). 85% of possible criticals will become actual criticals, but it doesn’t matter because the bone-breaker chance doesn’t change – it’s still 100% either way. So if there is an 85% chance of hitting, there is an 85% chance of breaking a bone in the target on any given combat round. A battle that lasts three rounds has better than a 61% chance of three broken bones, a 93.925% chance of two, and a 99.66%+ chance of at least one – you’d feel pretty comfortable betting the farm on it.

Fighter vs. Rogue: All of which makes the confrontation between Fighter and Rogue very interesting. The fighter is both more likely to hit and more likely to inflict a broken bone through sheer strength – but his weapon is less likely to do so than that of the cleric. What’s more, He gets two attacks, and because the number of successes changes his likelyhood of causing a broken bone, we need to start with the to-hit rolls.

For his initial attack, the fighter rolls d20+11 and needs a total of 17 – so that happens on 6 or better. On a 19 or 20 he has a critical chance, which will be confirmed on a 6 or better. That makes the probability of outcomes:

  • 25% chance – miss.
  • 75$-10% = 65% hit with no critical chance.
  • 10% critical chance which is not confirmed 25% of the time (=2.5% overall) and IS confirmed 75% of the time (7.5% overall).

For his second attack, he rolls d20+6 against the same target, so he needs to roll 5 higher than last time.

  • 50% chance miss.
  • 50%-10% = 40% hit with no critical chance.
  • 10% critical chance which is not confirmed 25% of the time and IS confirmed 75% of the time (same overall numbers).

Putting these together, we get:

  • 12.5% chance, both miss – no chance of inflicting a broken bone.
  • 44.375% one hit, not critical – base chance of inflicting a broken bone.
  • 5.625% one critical hit – +d8 to the bone-break roll.
  • 28.6875% two non-critical hits – +1 to the bone-break roll.
  • 8.25% two hits, one of the critical – +d8+1 to the bone-break roll.
  • 0.5625% two critical hits – +2d8+1 to the bone-break roll.

The target is 8, and the base roll is d8+7. Chance of achieving the target: 100%.

This is not too surprising, after the analysis of the cleric vs. rogue result. The combination of strength and magic bonus from the weapon are exactly enough to make up for its inefficiency as a bone-breaking weapon. In each combat round, there is a 50% chance of one broken bone resulting, a 37.5% chance of two, and a 12.5% chance of a clean miss.

Example Set 2

Cleric vs. Rogue
In this set of examples, the target is the cleric, and the critical numbers are his AC of 18 and the critical threshold of 13. To cut a long story very short, there is no way that the rogue can achieve this target with his bone-breaker rolls of d4+1 and 2d4+1 on a critical.

Cleric vs. Cleric
Being the target of another Cleric with the same equipment is bit more difficult, especially with the upgrade from d10s to d12s that was made to the system as a result of the previous set of tests. To hit the AC of 18, the cleric has attack roll of d20+7 and a critical threshold of 20; and to hit the bone-breaking target of 13 he has d12+2, plus another d12 on a critical hit.

The chances of a non-critical hit are therefore 11 or better on d20, less the chance of rolling a 20, or 45%. There’s a 5% chance of a critical check, and a 50% chance that a critical check will result in an actual critical, leaving a 50% of 5% chance that it won’t. That’s a 47.5% chance of a non-critical bone-breaker check and a 2.5% chance of a critical bone-breaker check.

The non-critical check requires a total of 13 on d12+2, in other words an 11 or 12 on the roll – a 1 in 6 chance. So that 47.5% chance of a non-critical hit gives a 7.91666…% chance of a broken bone.

The critical bone-breaker check is 2d12+2 to achieve 13 or better, which is the same as 11 or better on the 2d12. That will happen 77 times out of 144, or 53.47222…% of the time. The 2.5% chance of a critical gives an additional chance of a broken bone result of 1.33680555…%.

So there is a grand total of 9.25347222…% chance of inflicting a broken bone in any round of combat. Call it nine-and-a-quarter percent. Compare that with the same attack on the Rogue of 26-and-a-bit percent. The difference is due to the larger hit die size, the better armor, and the helm – plus a little from a better CON bonus. In other words, because a cleric is more adept at face-to-face combat than a rogue, they are better able to protect themselves in combat from this sort of injury.

Cleric vs. Fighter
At this point, it’s worth noting that the cleric’s AC is only one better than that of the rogue, and while changes in the AC can have a big impact (as was shown previously), there’s no expectation of big differences between the outcomes on that score. However, there is a much larger difference between the cleric and the rogue when it comes to bone-breaking threshold – 13 vs 8 – and that should cause a substantial difference in the outcomes. Remember, the fighter couldn’t help but break bones on a successful hit when attacking the rogue.

As before, the fighter gets two attacks, one at d20+11 vs. AC 18, and one at d20+6 vs. AC 18. These are the equivalent, respectively, of d20 vs. a target of 7 or better, and d20 vs. a target of 12 or better.

In combination, these yield:

  • 16.5% chance, both miss – no chance of inflicting a broken bone.
  • 46.05% one hit, not critical – base chance of inflicting a broken bone.
  • 5.95% one critical hit – +d8 to the bone-break roll.
  • 23.94% two non-critical hits – +1 to the bone-break roll.
  • 7.07% two hits, one of the critical – +d8+1 to the bone-break roll.
  • 0.49% two critical hits – +2d8+1 to the bone-break roll.

As expected, there isn’t a lot of change in these numbers. The chance to miss has increased 4%, the chance of one hit only by about 2%, and everything else is down slightly to make up for that extra 6% in “poor” outcomes. It’s when these are translated into targets and rolls for bone-breaking attempts that things get more interesting:

  • 16.5% chance of no chance.
  • 46.05% chance of needing 13 on d8+6 = 25%.
  • 5.95% chance of needing 13 on 2d8+6 = 76.5625%.
  • 23.94% chance of needing 13 on d8+7 = 37.5%.
  • 7.07% chance of needing 13 on 2d8+7 = 84.375%.
  • 0.49% chance of needing 13 on 3d8+7 = >98.04%.

None of those rolls is a guaranteed success. The odds range from okay (25%) to excellent (98.04%) but there is always a chance of failure. When these chances are totaled up, we get 31.49% and change chance of breaking one of the opponent’s bones on any given round.

Learning from the examples

This testing suggests some further tweaks to the basic system. Using d12s for crushing weaponry still doesn’t go far enough. Since d16’s – while in existence (I have one) are fairly non-standard, the better way to boost this is to set the base as 2d10 and the extra dice for criticals remains a d12.

Part of this is compensation for an increase in the bone-breaker threshold of +2.

The goal of these changes is to make it a little rarer for non-crushing weapons to inflict broken bones while boosting the chances for crushing weapons to do so. Beyond these minor tweaks, the system would seem to work fairly well – it just requires an attacker to keep track of how many attacks succeed, and to add a dice to his stack each time he scores a critical hit. Most players can handle that with no extra time taken. At the end of their attacks, they simply roll the bone-breaker dice, add the modifier from their character sheet and the modifier for the number of attacks that succeeded, and announce the total while the GM/target compares that total against the target number on that character sheet and tallies any broken bones.

It should be fast and simple.

Fractures and Splinters

Having determined how it will be decided whether or not a bone will be broken, the next step is to decide how that affects the character in combat. While there are many choices, there are only two that fulfill the brief of keeping the system simple and non-intrusive into the combat process. The first is the slightly unrealistic but very playable solution of having broken bones inflict NO consequences during combat. The second is the slightly more realistic option of reducing the characters’ chance of hitting by 1 for every broken bone. Both are very straightforward and should have minimal impact on the pace of combat.

Which brings us to the question of post-combat consequences – and to decisions concerning which bones are broken and how badly.

Again, the focus should be on simplicity and realism should be declined in favor of something abstract and efficient. My inclination would be to base the severity on the total percentage of hit points lost in the battle, and again to modify the result according to the nature of the weapon that inflicted the break:

  • 24% hit points or less: minor break, no impact
  • 25-50% hit points lost: inconvenient break
  • 51-75% serious break
  • 76%-100% critical break

Bludgeoning/crushing weapons advance the break type by 1 step, i.e. Minor Breaks become Inconvenient Breaks, Inconvenient Breaks become Serious, and so on.

Meat on the bones

That’s all well and good, but at the moment these are just empty labels. Before they can be of any use to us, they need some further definition.

Minor breaks represent a fractured finger or toe, a broken cheekbone, or a broken nose – something of that order – and clean breaks. If properly treated, these will heal perfectly. These are annoying, and may even be inconvenient for a while, but they are not crippling and will barely even slow the character down as they continue doing whatever they are doing.

Inconvenient breaks represent either more serious fractures of the preceding type – compound breaks – or cracked ribs, or cracked limb bones (arm or leg). In a 3.x world, some of these are difficult to treat properly, and bone fragments may cause persistent trouble. In general, though, complete recovery is possible if the injuries are properly treated, but the character will be impaired or inconvenienced to some extent in the meantime.

Serious breaks are broken ribs, broken arms, wrists, ankles, legs, a broken jaw, a broken clavicle, or something along those lines. These not only severely impair the character, normal levels of activity frequently cause them to heal imperfectly, resulting in ongoing pain or incapacitation. Furthermore, since cracked bones and minor breaks are placed in the inconvenient category, those which may be found in this category are the more extreme versions of such injuries. This category also contains cracked bones in more dangerous and sensitive locations – pelvis, kneecaps, spine, neck, skull. These are actually less incapacitating but more potentially dangerous as a successive injury to the location of the damage may cause permanent incapacity or death.

Critical breaks are the most sort of broken bones – skull fractures, shattered pelvis, broken back, crushed hand or foot (maiming), shattered kneecaps, and so on. These will not only cause immediate impairment and pose a serious risk of permanent incapacity, they may be life-threatening in their own right. Even the act of conveying an individual with these injuries to safety for treatment may be a life-threatening activity, and treatment is as likely to kill as cure.


Having defined the injury types in descriptive, subjective, terms, the next step is to consider how to interpret them in terms of game mechanics. Rather than offer some hard and fast rules for this, though, it might be better to consider the problem in relative terms, and leave the question in the hands of the GM.

In other words, the GM decides how to interpret the injury and resulting impairment/handicap based on what the injured character is trying to achieve at the time. Some tasks will not be impaired at all, others will be impaired to a minimal extent, others may be impaired greatly, and there will be some tasks that might be impaired in a progressive fashion – only a little at first, becoming more severe as the activity (such as walking a great distance) is maintained.

Natural Healing

Each progressive type of break takes longer to heal: 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 5 months, 7 months, (12 months). The healing time for all but minor breaks goes up one step if the character engages in strenuous activity.

Healing Potions

Because healing potions work on soft tissue injuries only, they won’t heal a broken bone. What’s more, unless the bone has been set first, it may well result in the “healing” of the soft tissue causing as much damage as is “healed” – and more, when the bone is actually set.

Healing Spells

One of the big benefits of the damage system suggested in part one was the differentiation between healing spells. It is extremely desirable that this benefit be perpetuated in other alternative healing subsystems such as the one proposed by this article. Fortunately, this is easily achieved.

Cure Light Wounds

This most basic of healing spells does nothing but heal soft-tissue damage, i.e. hit points, in exactly the same manner and with the same restrictions, as a Healing potion. It does not set a broken bone, this requires a successful Healing skill check.

Cure Moderate Wounds

In addition to healing hit points, this spell can heal 1 minor break completely. It can also reduce the healing time required for one inconvenient break (normally 1 month) by the amount of the healing time of the next lower bone break type (1 week). This benefit cannot be applied to the same broken bone repeatedly, but multiple castings can be applied to reduce the healing time of several different broken bones (or several breaks in the one bone). It does not set a broken bone, this requires a successful Healing skill check.

Cure Serious Wounds

In addition to healing hit points, this spell can heal a single Serious Break to the point of being equivalent to an Inconvenient Break (in terms of subsequent healing time required), i.e. reduce it from 3 months to 1 month. It can, similarly, heal an Inconvenient break to the point of being equivalent to a Minor Break (in terms of subsequent healing time required) i.e. reduce the remaining healing time from 1 month to 1 week. It does not alter the nature of the break, i.e. a Serious Break remains a serious break, only its healing is accelerated. Any consequences of imperfect healing are not affected. This spell cannot be used to affect the same break repeatedly, though subsequent castings can accelerate the healing of other broken bones. It does not set a broken bone, this requires a successful Healing skill check.

Cure Critical Wounds

In a similar manner to that of Cure Serious Wounds, this spell can accelerate the healing of any broken bone to the point of requiring the next lower healing time before it is completely healed. This benefit can only be applied once to any given break in a bone, and does not alter the severity of the original break. Any consequences of imperfect healing are not affected by this spell; it simply accelerates the process, though that will reduce the opportunity for further harm. It does not set a broken bone, this requires a successful Healing skill check.


This spell completely heals any broken bones in addition to restoring hit points. However, while it will complete the process of knitting the broken bones together, this will take place with the bone fragments arranged in whatever position they occupied before the Heal spell was cast. It is possible to correct such bone misalignments by re-breaking the bone very precisely and correctly aligning it before casting Heal. Heal may or may not repair any other damage resulting from fractures such as spinal cord injuries and consequent paralysis, though it will restore the tissue to health. It is also possible that it will repair the physical damage but that the character will need to undergo rehabilitation to relearn how to use the damaged/impaired/paralyzed limbs. In essence, these three options can be summarized:

  • Accelerated Time – the character receives the benefits of healing as though he had simply waited for the injury to heal naturally.
  • Accelerated Time with tissue regeneration – as above, but damaged tissue is restored and rejuvenated, even if the body could not do so unassisted through the passage of time.
  • Accelerated Time with tissue regeneration and rehabilitation – as above, but full function of the affected body is also restored.

Which of these interpretations applies in a specific campaign is a choice for the GM of that campaign. It may be desirable to differentiate between the impacts by race of the caster, e.g. Humans & Dwarves use the Accelerated Time healing principle, Elves and human followers of the Goddess of Healing use the Accelerated Time with tissue regeneration, while Elven clerics of the Goddess of Healing can use the most complete interpretation. Or perhaps battlefield mages are the group restricted to the most basic version of Heal.

Laying On Of Hands

Of course, there’s another form of Healing to be considered – Laying On Of Hands by a Paladin. While this doesn’t deliver anywhere near as much healing potency in terms of hit points, I rather like the idea of them being able to do something that a Cleric can’t get to do with anything short of a Miracle – such as perfect restoration of function and realignment of mis-healed bones without having to re-break the imperfectly-healed bone. This would, of course, consume a full usage of the laying on of hands ability. Again, this is entirely up to the GM.

Magic Items

It should also be clear that the addition of a new damage-handling subsystem holds potential for a whole new batch of magic items to be found by, and used against, characters. Weapons that give bonuses to the bone-break roll instead of the to-hit roll, weapons that inflict more serious breakages, armours that protect more effectively against broken bones, bandages that (at least temporarily) set and hold broken bones, and so on. A net that breaks ankles? Why not?

Trollish regeneration

The final subject I’d like to throw out there for consideration is the question of what this means for abilities like Trollish Regeneration. Does this automatically realign and set broken bones? Does it do so imperfectly, producing trolls with misshapen limbs, limps, and hunched backs? Or can it only handle soft-tissue damage, the same as a healing potion? The first makes Trolls even more dangerous relative to an adventurer; the second maintains the relative power level, at least approximately; while the last weakens them compared to what players would be used to.

My personal choice would be to introduce several different species of Troll – this is something I do in most of my campaigns, for the sheer fun factor. Black trolls might have the weakest healing, but the greatest intelligence amongst their kind, as is the case in my Fumanor Campaigns, while Green Trolls might heal more rapidly but be even thicker intellectually than the typical Troll (again the way I have it arranged in my Fumanor Campaigns). There are also the horny-ridged Trolls (which the PCs have yet to encounter) who can only heal each other with their regeneration, and not themselves, and whose abilities are triggered by the mating rituals of the species – so that the more you injure them, the greater their population grows, a generation later.

This is a place where you can have some fun, exercise some creativity, and give your world more verisimilitude all at the same time – so don’t waste it!

The third part of this set of articles will look at a high-fantasy approach I call the Differential Damage Approach (for lack of a better name, I have to admit). Unlike this mid-level fantasy approach or the previous low-level approach, this is one that I have actually used, though I will be taking the chance to revise and tweak it.

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