Tuesday, April 22, 2014

D&D EXPLAINED: CONSTITUTION

Constitution is an interesting stat. For most players, it breaks down to their hit point total and their fortitude defense, but there is a lot more to it than that. A character with outstanding constitution can take more hits, survive harsher conditions, and survive poisons that would leave a lesser character twitching in their death throes.  I usually imagine that constitution also encompasses, to some extent, physical combat training, determination, and a basic medical knowledge. Having a high constitution doesn't necessarily mean that your character is a beefcake, just that they’re really hard to kill. Here are some example constitution scores:
8…
...is below average. You aren't well. You might have asthma or low blood sugar, or maybe lactose intolerance or IBS. (You should totally run a character with IBS!) You look tired, with a sickly complexion and maybe a slight wheeze. Sam Tarly (Game of Thrones) has 8 constitution.
10…
...is an average constitution score for any generic fantasy world. You can take a punch, but a couple would probably lay you out. Sometimes you get sick, but you generally get better. You might have a minor condition, maybe allergies, but nine times out of ten it doesn't stop you from functioning. Doctor Horrible is a solid example of a character with a constitution score of 10.

12…
...is above average. Think James Bond. You eat well, get enough sleep, and are in good physical health. You exercise regularly, can definitely hold your own in a fist fight, and are rarely floored in a drinking contest.

14…
...is impressive, but not truly staggering. You have been in a number of physical scrapes, and survived them. You probably have some pretty impressive scars to show for it. You’re about as tough as Batman. You train daily to stay in shape, and it shows in your physique.

16…
...is truly amazing. You are at the peak of physical fitness, can drink almost anyone under the table, and can run several miles before your hands start to shake. Your body is built like a well oiled machine. You are Jason Bourne.
18…
...is utterly phenomenal. You are built like a tank; you probably look like a football player, even though you aren't wearing any armor. A good example would be Edmond Honda, from Street Fighter. You are nearly unkillable. You might be covered in scars, giving you a rough, layered hide.
The human body can only change so much, so higher scores in constitution really don’t yield a physical result. You become tougher, sure, but those changes are more than skin deep. You perfect your ability to absorb damage, moving with the punch to soften the blow. You sample poisons in small doses to build up immunities. The first impression of townsfolk in the world though, will remain unchanged.
When you are plugging in your constitution stat, think about some of these questions: How well do you take a punch? Where did you grow up, and how did the dangers of that place shape your body? Do you ignore pain, deal with it, or relish coming close to death? Do you have any physical problems that bring your constitution down, like addictions or wasting sicknesses? What reasons do you have to live?

No comments:

Post a Comment