House Rules

Vitality and Wound Points

This is from the d20srd

Vitality Points

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.) A 1st-level character gets the maximum vitality die result rather than rolling, as shown on Table 4-6 below.

Wound Points

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. A character has a number of wound points equal to her current Constitution score.

Critical Hits

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 retain their normal critical threat range. If a weapon normally has a critical multiplier greater than ×2, the weapon’s threat range expands by 1 point per additional multiplier, as indicated on the table below.

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.

Nonlethal Damage

This system doesn’t differentiate between lethal and nonlethal damage. Attacks and effects that normally deal nonlethal damage reduce vitality points, except on a critical hit, in which case they reduce wound points.

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

The first time a character takes wound damage—even a single point—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.

In addition, any time an attack deals wound damage to a character, he must succeed on a Fortitude saving thow (DC 5 + number of wound points lost from the attack) or be stunned for 1d4 rounds. (During that time, any other character can take a standard action to help the stunned character recover; doing so ends the stunned condition.)

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 15 Fortitude save. If he succeeds on the save, 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, including some free actions such as casting a quickened spell) worsen the character’s condition to dying (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 Fortitude save (DC 10, +1 per turn after the first) to become stable.

If the character fails the save, he dies.

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 save by 5 or more but by less than 10, he becomes stable but remains unconscious.

If the character succeeds on the save by 10 or more, he becomes conscious and disabled.

Another character can make a dying character stable by succeeding on a DC 15 Heal 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 Heal 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 recoverd 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 Fortitude save (DC 10 + the amount of damage dealt) or die.

Massive Damage

The massive damage rule does not apply under this system.


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.

Natural Healing

Characters recover vitality points at a rate of one vitality point per hour per character level.

With a full night’s rest, a character recovers 1 wound point per character level (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.

Assisted Healing

A character who provides long-term care doubles the rate at which a wounded character recovers lost vitality and wound points.

Magical Healing

Spells that heal hit point damage work somewhat differently in this system. For spells that heal a variable amount of hit point damage based on a die roll (such as cure light wounds), apply the actual die roll as restored vitality points, and any modifier to the die roll (such as caster level, for cure spells) as restored wound points.

For example, cure moderate wounds heals 2d8 points of damage, +1 point per caster level (maximum +10). Under this system, a 10th-level cleric could cast it to heal 2d8 vitality points and 10 wound points.

Spells or effects that return a number of hit points not based on a die roll, such as heal, apply the healing to lost wound points first, then to lost vitality. For example, an 11th-level cleric casting heal has 110 points of healing to apply. If the target has taken 12 points of wound damage and 104 points of vitality damage, the spell heals all the wound damage and 98 points of the vitality damage, leaving the target with only 6 points of vitality damage remaining.

House Rules

Flesh and Steel code_archeologist