HD Complexity House Rule

alternative title: Blood and Breath

In this house rule, both your hit dice and your hit points may effectively be decimated given the mechanics that follow.


  1. HD is short for hit dice.
  2. HD measures the amount of dice to be used to determine Maximum HP.
  3. HP is short for hit points.
  4. This house rule assumes a ruleset that applies a cap or limit on regaining hit points.
  5. This house rule assumes a ruleset that utilizes frequent re-rolls of hit points.

CON Bonus

Your modifier from your Constitution’s ability score will no longer be applied to your hit points. Instead, it will be treated as either a penalty or a bonus for any damage done directly to your hit dice. Hence, when you express your HD, it should look like this:

HD 8(-3)

Hit Points

Thus, being that CON scores no longer modify hit points, their rate of results should now be more or less uniform among those of the same class. This is especially important for house rules where hit points are periodically re-rolled.

Hit Dice Decimation

Currently, there are only two direct or ordinary ways of damaging HD. These are through critical hits and backstabs. By themselves, these two will behave mechanically as they ordinarily do given an OSR ruleset.

Hit points serve as a sort of damage soak as well as a measure of combat effectiveness for any given creature. Where a hit is critical, or a backstab is successful, hit points are ignored and damage is directly delivered to hit dice.

As a general rule, loss of hit dice will not immediately affect a creature’s hit point value. Instead, the following things may occur.

0 HD

If a creature is reduced to zero hit dice, it must now make a save against death. If it fails this save, it dies from the hit. If it succeeds on this saving throw, it must now roll from the critical injury table below.

Critical Injury Table
1d6 Result Description
1 Maiming suffer permanent ability score loss to an ability appropriate to the situation
2 Organ Failure creature incapacitated, must make save against death everyday until major surgery is performed
3 Minor Internal Bleeding 1d3 hit point loss per round of combat or per turn of dungeon exploration until major surgery is performed
4 Major Internal Bleeding 1d6 hit point loss per round of combat or per turn of dungeon exploration until major surgery is performed
5 Partial Crippling Minor loss of limb, suffer -2 penalty on all actions or reduce movement speed by a third until lost appendage is regrown
6 Total Crippling Major loss of limb, inability to perform actions or inability to move until lost appendage is regrown

After applying the injury, the creature shall remain at 0 HD until major surgery is performed or decides to convalesce. At 0 HD, a creature is only ever entitled to 1 hit point should a re-roll apply.

In the meantime, whatever hit points remain after hit dice decimation shall benefit the creature for as long as it lasts or until it is re-rolled.

0 HD and 0 HP

If a creature is ever reduced to 0 hit dice and 0 hit points at the same time, said creature dies immediately without save or exception.

Hit Dice Decimation Rate

When hit dice is decimated, the rate of reduction is not directly proportionate to the damage delivered. Instead, we follow the HD decimation rate table below.

HD Decimation Rate Table
Damage Decimation
1 to 5 1 point of decimation
6 to 10 2 points of decimation
11 to 15 4 points of decimation
16 to 20 5 points of decimation
21 or more 6 points of decimation

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