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(TFT) RE: Health Stat
Harsh Criticism by Michael to my proposal for a Health stat:
"I've never understood this. Of all the additional
attributes that TFT could
use, this one seem the most unjustified and unrealistic. By
measure Strength and Health are directly related. Even given
differences, statistically none of them would be greater
I thought I explained it fairly clearly, actually. Where it breaks down is
in the extremes, Michael. Are you trying to suggest that an elephant, with
an ST of 100 or so, is immune to disease or poison? I assure you they are
not - but if you truly equate ST with HT then that is the only possible
conclusion one can draw.
Actually, based on my experience with Air Force physical fitness programs,
there is a difference between muscle bulk (ST) and cardiovascular fitness
(Health). Most body builders are not necessarily good sprinters or runners -
which is more a matter of endurance. As a point of fact, some weightlifters
fail our fitness tests simply because their cardiovascular system is not as
well developed as their pectorals.
Perhaps using "disease" as a criteria is a little bit of a stretch since
there are no rules for it in TFT. However, it is a useful tie in to the real
world to see how it stacks up.
An aside: my intent is NOT to introduce disease as a regular "check" to be
made every week. On the other hand, I might use it as a plot device (i.e. a
plague has swept the kingdom, can the brave heroes undertake a perilous
quest to the Fountain of Health in the Gargoyle Mountains to bring back a
cure?) and an occasional "surprise" to keep the players from being
complacent, but not as a regular kind of thing.
That said, if one buys into the notion that "strength is health" then
disease gives us a real world connection to test the theory. And this is one
area where Michael's assumption breaks down. For example, I personally am of
average strength and build - even a little on the below average side. Yet, I
VERY seldom fall ill - I haven't even had so much as a cold in the last year
or more. Thus, it is painfully obvious that ST and HT are NOT the same thing
-else, I should far more closely approach an "average" number of illnesses.
Conversely, I am sure that Arnold Schwartzenegger, even with his 18+
strength, is not immune to disease or even in perfect health. Didn't he just
undergo heart surgery recently? Again, how is it that you can equate
Strength and health? The connection is not as clear cut as it may seem.
It is quite possible for a body builder with a high ST to have a somewhat
poor diet and perhaps a smoking habit, thus lowering their overall health.
Also, as pointed out above, Strength and Endurance (I subsume this under
health) are two very different things. Tell me, are most Olympic sprinters
and runners built like Mr. Universe? No, they aren't. They are indeed in
good shape, but assuming Michael's theory to be true, then good old
Ahhhrnold should be able to whup them good in a foot race. Don't think so.
As a point of fact, with my lean build, ***I*** could probably beat the old
>From a game standpoint, halflings often have low STs. Does this mean they
are sickly and constantly dying from the common cold? Incapable of distance
running? I hope not - would make them rather unpopular as PCs, wouldn't it?
So, yes, quite simply there often IS a difference between Strength and
health. There is a distinct separation here, and to say that it is
"unjustified and unrealistic" is the height of absurdity and obliviousness
to the blindingly obvious.
Why wouldn't it? Can you really dodge and parry just as well
when mortally wounded as when you are fresh?
??? I'm not sure I understand your point - we're talking exhaustion, not
mortal wounds. I think I see what you are leaning towards, but why don't you
rephrase the question a little more clearly - it seems like you have a good
To me, ST doesn't represent flesh content - it represents
"resistance" to injury. Generally vitality and ability to "roll with the
punches". 30 ST wizards aren't big buff weightlifter's, they're highly just
energetic old men....
This is flat ***wrong*** as a detailed look at ITL will demonstrate. Please
read the section on determining character and monster weights, which clearly
states that mass (i.e. "flesh content") is based directly on Strength. So
yes, contrary to your feelings, ST *does* represent "flesh content" - it
says so in no uncertain terms. Indeed, that was part of my basis for
suggesting a split between strength and health.
And, to paraphrase another person's statement about "highly energetic old
men who can wield Great Swords one handed and sprint about in full plate"...
ummm, I'd say "highly energetic" is an understatement of astounding
In a way, you've more than proven my point. Obviously, implicit in your
statement, you ***are*** separating "Endurance" from raw strength (i.e.
physique), since you specifically state that "30 ST wizards are NOT big buff
weightlifter's..." (i.e. they don't have raw physique) but are "highly
energetic" (i.e. have a great deal of stamina). I rest my case.
This doesn't make sense to me, because if that's the case
then you CANT
kill an unconcious foe - because you still have to chop up
their body to
"kill" all their body mass. Hit Points only make sense if
mass is "part" of
the equation but not the whole thing...
Please reread what I said: I stated ***FUNCTION*** of body mass. There is a
difference... Frankly, I don't even understand how you drew such an utterly
bizarre conclusion. All I stated was that "hit points" are related to body
mass, not health. In other words, a 5 ton elephant is going to be able to
take a lot more punishment then a 4 ounce bird (Monty Python fans will see
where this is going...) or a two pound coconut (couldn't resist). This is
why "elephant guns" are BIG (.60 caliber or so, literally a borderline
cannon) and why .22s are NOT recommended for hunting Grizzly Bears (even if
it is quite possible to do so - shot placement /is/ everything). This should
be blindingly obvious, you know...
I have to agree with you there. You can drop a missile on an
Whale or Dinosaur in GURPS and it won't even slow it down!
That's because in real life you can do much the same thing and end up with
To wrap up, do keep in mind that these are mere /suggestions/ and do not
therefore require violent refutation. That said, I think I have demonstrated
that there IS a VERY clear distinction between raw Physique and health or
endurance. Further, having a health stat solves a number of problems, to
- The issue of having wizards running around with high ST. Some don't mind,
but many do. The crux of the problem is that it implies that wizards have to
be muscle bound brutes in order to be effective. They cannot simply have
good stamina and mastery of thought and mind to do spells... I think THAT is
what most people rebel at. By separating physique from endurance/health you
make it possible for the mage to focus on his ability to endure fatigue,
rather then strive for the Mr. Universe title. Which fits well with the
perception of mages as being of the scholarly and meditative types who spend
much of their time trying to understand and harness magical energy, rather
than hitting the weightroom for three hours every day. From a subtler game
viewpoint, it draws a much sharper line between warriors and wizards.
Warriors need ST far more than wizards, who will focus on HT for spells. It
just seems a much more elegant solution. Quite honestly, I am NOT fond of
the idea of "highly energetic" old men who can punch the daylights out of 14
hex dragons with their bare hands. There is something VERY wrong with that
picture. Now if you happen to like "Hercules and Xena the Warrior Bimbo"
type campaigns, then ***Fine***, have 30 ST wizards! I may think such a
campaign to be utterly ridiculous, but as long as you're having fun it can't
be bad - since that is the penultimate goal.
- It gives you an option for a much more "character based" way of
determining movement allowance, since endurance/health is a much better
basis for determining running speed then raw physique.
- Gives halflings a chance regarding poison and disease saves (even though
poison in part is also rolled against ST, since mass is important as well as
- Conversely, keeps monsters from having "hit points" being equated with
overall health, which is wrong. I think that's been made abundantly clear -
even Steve Jackson seems to agree, even though I sincerely find my solution
to work better.
So I do believe I have amply demonstrated a "need" for a health stat; it is
up to the individual reader to determine if it fits your campaign or not. If
your campaign is one of simplistic arena encounters, with neat stacks of
gold bars in the back of the room by the monster to conveniently reward the
looters ... errrr.... CHARACTERS, then this is an unnecessary complication.
Don't use it.
More thoughtful gamers may have a need for it - if it works, it ain't
copyrighted so use it to your hearts content!
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