Should D&D Keep Hit Points Scalable, Make Them Static?
One thing I really like about D&D Next, so far, is that it gives player characters a much lower starting point for hit points, similar to first-edition D&D and second-edition Dungeons and Dragons. However, I'm not sure hit points needed to be lowered from what was presented in the first D&D Next test packet.
The benefits of lower hit points are that magic items actually mean something now (that was something that always bothered me about 4th edition) with a +1 to hit and damage being much more important when enemies have only 10 hit points as opposed to 30 and when an enemy has static armor class as opposed to level-improving scaling armor class.
On the other hand, I don't want D&DNext to return to the old broken mechanic of wizards getting killed every time someone grazes them with a weapon at first level because they only start with one or two hit points. Really, I think a happy medium is in order in this case, at least for low level play. That means designers should bump the starting hit points back up to where they were in the first D&D Next test packet. This solves the fragility problem of wizards AND the hit-dice mechanic problem mentioned by some people for healing at low levels (right now, each class has one healing hit die at first level, but it basically has the effect of PCs waiting until they have zero hit points or only one before suddenly "springing back to life," going from one hit point or less to full hit points. With a few more hit points, they would still retain at least a little bit of damage even after using a hit die).
After setting the starting level of hit points back to a slightly higher amount, though, I think the real problem with hit points is not in how many PCs start with, but in how they SCALE. Time and again, in past editions of D&D, game-play has bogged down at high levels because everyone has a ridiculous number of hit points and it takes too long to beat down an enemy’s hit points to nothing. Perhaps, for this reason, D&DNext should completely eliminate the idea of increasing hit points when you level up, or at least reduce the amount gained per level by a drastic amount (i.e. maybe only one hit point per level for non-fighter types and two hit points per level for fighter types)?
Anyway, what do you think about starting hit points? Are they not enough, too many, or just right? Also, are you like me and think the designers should instead concentrate on limiting or eliminating the number of hit points gained per level?