So, the subject of my favorite rpg-related podcast (Gamerstable, if you didn’t already know) today was damage, something that has been argued about most likely since the day after Dungeons & Dragons was first published.
Look, the way D&D does it is fine. Is it realistic? No. But it works within the context of their system. Sure, they’ve tweaked it here and there over the years, but it essentially boils down to you have hit points until you don’t. Then you’re dead or unconscious or whatever.
I’m okay with it and in most campaigns that how I roll, fairly straight up how the designers envision it.
But… (ah, c’mon, you knew there’d be one)
I do have a homebrew tweak I came up with back in the late 80s that I prefer, and it’s pretty simple.
The gist of it is this: whatever your first level hit points are (plus bonuses) is your true health. When you take damage to your core health points, that’s actual physical damage to your fleshy bits. As you go up in levels and your hit points rise, those extra hit points are stamina. You recover them fairly quickly. Core points heal much slower, because thems some bumps, bruises, scrapes, cuts, and what have you.
To me, that makes the most sense, at least in D&D terms. Your move base might vary.