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Subject: Why aren't grace points called hit points? rss

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Joshua Gottesman
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Okay, the grace points/hit points difference finally hit me when I re-read the rules. You can use grace points to avoid wounds. In fact, if you want to avoid a wound and don't have a grace point, you die. However, there are plenty of things that you can do that would normally cost you grace when you are zero grace. For instance, if you run into an event that has a consequence of "lose 1 grace" and you're at zero grace, there's no effect. If you have a skill like the acolyte's that says "roll 3 dice, but lose 1 grace if you roll a 1 on any of those dice", you can use it freely, since you can't lose grace if you're at zero grace.

Note that if you're at zero grace you can't use skills that say "Spend 1 grace to do XYZ", as you don't have the grace to spend. That's also why you die if you take a wound. You don't have the grace to spend to counter act it.

I'm sure Jeremy will tell me if I've totally screwed up this explanation.
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Jeremy Lennert
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All of that information is correct. You can't spend a resource unless you have it, but any loss beyond zero is ignored, because that represents something that specifically tries to take away that resource rather than the hero choosing to expend it for some benefit.

I ran into a curious issue regarding grace when playtesting Darkest Night. Most people seem to intuitively use secrecy correctly, and do the right thing in all the edge cases without specific instruction (e.g. a Rogue with 0 secrecy will ignore secrecy losses from Spies or the Necromancer, but won't try to use Ambush or Eavesdrop). Grace follows the same rules, but I found that when I told testers it was "basically hit points", they tended to play it incorrectly, having heroes die as soon as they reached zero and/or allowing them to die from "losing" grace. So I wanted to emphasize in the rulebook that grace is a pool of resources that you spend, not a measure of how healthy you are--in that way, it's like MP rather than HP.

There's also a thematic angle, of course. Calling it "grace" rather than "hit points" naturally suggests a different set of ways that you can gain, lose, or expend it, which then informs the rest of the game. I think that an effect that takes away your "hit points" but doesn't harm you if you're already at zero is a bit difficult to imagine; an effect that leaves you alive but with no "grace" strikes me as easier to swallow. If you asked people to guess the hero with the most "hit points", I suspect most would pick the Knight; but the hero with the most "grace" is, of course, the Priest. And so on.
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