Berserk-ian HP and Damage Rules

Necropaxis had a post about Supernatural Magnitude back in 2018 that I’ve been thinking about for awhile. The basic idea is that some creatures are so far beyond mortals that it’s almost, but not quite, impossible to kill them. This can be modeled with a form of Damage Reduction that is based on division rather than subtraction.

“Humans can affect the supernatural, but only by dealing damage beyond some threshold barely attainable by human standards. This uses numerical order of magnitude to model supernatural hierarchy. However, using a system based on damage threshold is interactive in that it depends on many other system details, such as whether weapon damage is flat—like in OD&D where all weapons do 1d6 damage or whether a bonus from strength augments damage. The variability of damage available to adventurers will determine how accessible the supernatural becomes to a Guts-style assault. In OD&D, I might make one supernatural hit point equal to six normal hit points, which would make damaging the supernatural attainable to any mortal, but only with low probability, unless players can even the odds through creative play. This would be in keeping both with the themes explored in Berserk and the nature of OD&D.”

Check out the original post and make sure to read the comments section, there’s some good discussion about it. The RPG I’m writing (Demons of Light) seems perfect for such a system as the power scale is not limited to 20 levels and done. Supernatural hierarchy is  a major theme I want to explore. I’m designing the whole thing around the idea that demi-god and deific PCs are an expected late campaign option. I want 1st level characters to be able to climb the ranks and earn a seat at the celestial table by the late stages of their careers and really explore the adventures Eternal Cosmic Beings get to have. In Berserk terms Apostles are a very real threat that require extraordinary heroics to kill, but they’re also a playable option if you want to go there.

I’ve expanded the concept to include two special types of Hit Points and two special damage types related to the level of cosmic power involved. Here’s the write up (straight  from my rough draft of the rules):

Hit Point Hierarchy

  • Mortal Hit Points (M-HPs or HP): Mortal Hit Points measure an ordinary human or animal’s health and wellbeing. Damage reduces the number of HP the victim has. Once HP is depleted, further damage reduces the character’s Endurance Score. Once Endurance reaches zero the character is dying, once they die their soul and their spirit are forced out of their body and they have a chance to become a Discarnate Soul (See pg XX). If they fail to master the currents of the underworld, they are swept away and reincarnate normally (see pg XX). Hit Points are recovered through rest and medical treatment.

  • Immortal Hit Points (Im-HPs): Each Immortal Hit Point is worth 10 Mortal HPs. Mortal attacks against Immortals that don’t deal at least 10 points of damage are completely negated. All excess damage is wasted. Immortal Damage reduces Im-HP normally and God Damage is ten times as effective. Example, an attack dealing 23 damage would reduce an Immortal’s Im-HP by only two points. The remaining 3 points of damage are not counted.

  • God Hit Points (G-HPs): God Hit Points are worth 10 Immortal Hit Points and 20 Mortal Hit Points. They follow the same rules as Immortal Hit Points in regards to lesser beings damaging them. A mortal must deal at least 20 damage in a round to reduce a god’s G-HP by one. An Immortal has an easier time battling a god. Ten points of Immortal Damage dealt to a god reduces their God HP by one. Any excess damage is wasted.

Damage Hierarchy

  • Mortal Damage: All ordinary creatures and attacks deal Mortal Damage. Unless otherwise specified all references to “Damage” refer to “Mortal Damage”. It is the most common type, but it is rarely effective against immortals or gods (though a few divinities have learned to their dismay that “rarely” does not mean “never”). Mortal Damage directed against an Immortal is divided by 10. Mortal Damage directed against a God is divided by 20.

  • Immortal Damage: This category of damage is ten times as effective against mortals. All damage rolled has a x10 modifier applied to it. It operates normally against Immortals and is divided by 10 against gods.

  • God Damage: This type of damage is multiplied by x20 against mortals. It is multiplied by x10 against Immortals. It operates normally against other Gods.


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