Campaign of the Month: January 2015
Skies of Glass
Temporary Hit Points
Certain effects give a character temporary hit points. These hit points are in addition to the character’s current hit point total and any damage taken by the character is subtracted from these hit points first. Any damage in excess of a character’s temporary hit points is applied to his current hit points as normal. If the effect that grants the temporary hit points ends or is dispelled, any remaining temporary hit points go away. The damage they sustained is not transferred to the character’s current hit points. When temporary hit points are lost, they cannot be restored as real hit points can be, even by magic.
A dying character does not become conscious or stop dying if given temporary hit points. Temporary hit points cannot help stop a creature from bleeding or suffering post-combat bleed. Temporary hit points do count towards a creatures calculated maximum and total hit points for any effect that cares, such as Symbol of Death or Detect Health. Because temporary hit points do not need to be healed, certain effects that block healing have no real effect when striking against temporary hit points (examples including Vile damage and cursed wounds).
At the GM’s discretion, certain effects may bypass temporary hit points. The two core examples that would bypass temporary hit points would be starvation and drowning, but other unique effects may exist (albeit very rarely). If any such effect that ignores temporary hit points is known of and could reasonably be encountered, players should be made aware of it or at least offered a Knowledge check to know of it.
Types of Temporary Hit Points
There are a number of types of temporary hit points. Temporary hit points of different types stack with one another. If a character if offered a new source of temporary hit points of a type they already possess, they may choose to drop the current temporary hit points they have of that type and accept the new source, or to ignore the new source.
As characters don’t have a perfect sense of hit points, a character is not aware of the exact number of temporary hit points they gain from an effect. However, the player should still gain knowledge of the exact number, the GM does not need to keep this as secret information. When offered a new source of temporary hit points that they already possess, the character gets to know (before they make their decision to keep their current or accept that new) if the new source would offer less, more, or an equal amount of temporary hit points as what they already possess.
A list of commonly encountered temporary hit points follows.
- Bolstered Hit Points: Temporary hit points created by mystically reinforcing the body. Most often created through a Transmutation spells. Typically created by spells that draw from White mana.
- Inspired Hit Points: Temporary hit points created through inspiration, resilience derived from morale. Most often created by Enchantment (compulsion) [mind-affecting] spells. Typically created by spells that draw from White mana.
- Invigorated Hit Points: Temporary hit points derived from positive level effects, a suffusion of positive energy. Only creatures that heal from positive energy may benefit from temporary Invigorated hit points. Almost always created through Conjuration (healing) spells. Created by spells that draw from White mana.
- Nourished Hit Points: Temporay hit points derived from consuming mystical food, usually requiring some time to eat and digest before being effective. Most often created through Conjuration (creation) spells. Most often created by spells that draw from a combination of Green and White mana.
- Vampiric Hit Points: Temporary hit points created by stealing them from another creature. Most often created through Necromancy spells, though some creatures gain it through Blood Drain abilities. Created by spells that draw from Black mana.
- Morbid Hit Points: Temporary hit points gained from sapping a dying creature’s essence. Almost always created through Necromancy [death] spells. Created by spells that draw from Black mana.
- Corrupt Hit Points: Temporary hit points derived from negative level effects, a suffusion of negative energy. Only creatures that heal through negative energy may benefit from temporary corrupt hit points. Almost always created through Necromancy spells, though some creatures gain it through Energy Drain abilities. Created by spells that draw from Black mana.
- Alchemical Hit Points: Temporary hit points derived from a chemical reinforcement of the body. Always created through alchemical or other herbal or otherwise physical infusion into the body. Cannot be created by spells.
That said, other types of rarer temporary hit points certainly exist, but are exceptionally rare. For instance, careful application of sacred energies of powerful celestials or the profane power of horrific fiends may be capable of such reinforcements, as may be the unusual restorative energies of powerful draconic magics.
Increases in Constitution Score and Current Hit Points
An increase in a character’s Constitution score, even a temporary one, can give her more hit points (an effective hit point increase), but these are not temporary hit points. They can be restored, and they are not lost first as temporary hit points are.