Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Project Tarragon Oubliette: Stamina & Vitality

Having written about Resolve and Spirit, Delirium & Dementia and most recently about my dice mechanism I thought it was about time to go back where I started.

The thing that started off as DaD's RPG and became Project Tarragon Oubliette began with me looking at B/X and wondering what would happen if I switched the relationship between hit dice, attributes and classes.

So I started by having the hit dice based on Constitution and the hit point bonus based on class. Like this:

What happened was... well if you ever took things apart as a kid to see how they worked... That thing where you remove the last screw and there's an unexpected noise like "sproing!" and suddenly the thing is in very small pieces all over the floor. That? Yeah, that's what happened with B/X.

Only the floor was my brain.

I had the bits of B/X all over my brain. I could put it back together anyway I wanted. I could do anything!

So what was a thing in D&D that irritated me? Dying at zero hit points. One moment fine and then the next, dead. Didn't like it. There should be some buffer between 0 hp and death. None of this death's door malarky, no. My own thing. Having read about Death & Dismemberment tables I went looking for some.

I found some of course. I used them as reference and made my own. Very nice. I might share it at some point, although I can't stop tweaking. Currently trying to add hit locations without making it super complex.

Of course now hit points actually became the thing that they've always been described as but rarely ever used as: The thing spent to avoid injury and death.

What else could they do?

Well I found that it's easier to think of things in different and new ways if you call them different and new things. Well, at least new for me. First I started by calling them "Vitality", but more recently they became "Stamina" and vitality became something related but different.


Stamina is a measure of a character’s endurance. It is a pool of points that are depleted when a character is subject to strenuous physical activity and potential injury. It is most often lost during combat but can also be lost when using certain physical abilities.
As with resolve, stamina is calculated by rolling a number of dice equal to a character’s level. This is usually done by adding a single dice roll to the pre-existing resolve pool when a character levels up. But some players, and GMs like to re-roll the entire pool every level, or in the cases of some games, more often.
The number of sides the dice has is defined by their Constitution score, literally “Stamina die”, further limited by their background, and further modified by their class.
Thus a character who rolls a d6 for stamina and gains +1 from their class would roll 1d6+1 per level for their stamina.
Some GMs permit a starting character maximum stamina at first level. In the example above such a character would have 7 stamina.

Uses Of Stamina:

  • Soaking Damage: For every point of damage, a point of stamina can be spent to prevent vitality from being harmed. If there is insufficient stamina to negate the total amount of damage any remainder is applied to vitality as normal. This is the most common use for stamina. However a character need not spend stamina to soak damage if they don't want to.
  • Boosting Saving Throws: Stamina can be used to add to any saving throws for Might, Mortality, or Mobility. This is at a rate of +1 per point of stamina.
  • Boosting Dice Rolls: Likewise stamina can be used to increase any roll for physical activity. Again at +1 per point of stamina.
  • Activating Talents: Some talents (powers, feats, what-have-yous) require stamina be spent to be activated.

Recovering Stamina:

  • One point of stamina can be recovered every ten minutes of rest. However resolve cannot be recovered over the same period.
  • As with resolve, stamina can be restored to full after a full nights sleep (of 6+ hours, which need not be consecutive) in a comfortable bed. Or after the same sleeping rough if the previous day the character did not use a point of stamina for any reason. (So light activity in other words)
  • Similarly the character can recover an amount equal to half their maximum stamina if sleeping rough after a day's adventuring, or after a night's carousing.
  • Spells that restore vitality will also restore stamina once all vitality is restored.


Vitality is the measurement of the character's capacity to survive physical damage and associated injury. If a character runs out of, which is to say hits zero, vitality then that character dies. However it's more probable (I say that, but I've yet to do the maths) that the character will die of their injuries before then. Because whenever a character loses vitality, even a single point thereof, there is an associated roll on the Death & Dismemberment table.
Vitality equals the total of a character's Strength and Constitution attributes. Optionally you can add the Stamina per Level bonus based on the character's class, (see above) every level. But currently I'm not planning on doing that.

Vitality and Injury.

When a character is injured from a roll on the Death & Dismemberment table the amount of vitality loss that caused the injury is recorded with it. This is used to determine how long it will take for the injury to heal.
Vitality is capped by how injured a character is. A character with 21 vitality who has a penalty of -5 from  their injuries is capped at 15 vitality until those injuries are healed.

Recovering Vitality.

Typically a character will regain 1 point of vitality per day of  rest. However healing magic can restore vitality instantly and without scarring.
Injuries are healed separately and I'll write about that when I present the Death & Dismemberment table.

What Next?

That's all for today. I'm not feeling well. Which is why this is being posted so late.

Next I'll write about my skill system and why I call it "Skilless".

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