In a previous post, I talked about 1, 2, and 3 hit mooks. I think of these opponents (usually) as 1, 2 and 3 HD monsters. I define a "hit" as 5 points of damage, but I also track "half-hits" as points of damage greater than 1 point.
I've been playing a bit of 4e recently (a friend is DMing) and 4e has has monsters and opponents that get advantages or gain tactics when "bloodied" (half HPs).
That got me thinking...
What about tracking "hits" instead of HPs and what if that tracking was on a "letter track" of "hits to kill" (the old HTK)?
Something like this: ABCD or AAAABBBCCCCCCCD.
A = A-OK or Alright
B = Bloodied, Bashed, Bruised, Battered, Blasted or Burnt
C = Crippled, Charred, Crushed, Clobbered or Critical
D = Dying and eventually Dead (all checked off)
One letter on the track would equal "one hit". You would mark through a letter with a slash for a "half-hit" and turn it into an X when it was a full hit.
As the monster or opponent moves through it's damage track, certain powers or abilities could unlock or happen automatically. You could vary the quantity of the letters giving broad or narrow windows for use of special abilities or tactics.
Here's an example of this idea using a few familiar monsters:
Flesh Golem (I just grabbed the 1st Ed MM off the shelf; p. 48)
HTK: AABBBCCD (the MM says 40 hps, so 8 letters)
[B] Frenzied Smash: any target successfully hit by the golem must save or be knocked down
[C] Berserk: +2 to hit and -2 to AC. Will attack targets randomly.
Efreeti (p. 37)
HTK: AABBBCCCDD (10 HD)
[B] Wall of Fire: The efreet will use walls to divide and divert its foes in addition to its normal attack
[C] Create Illusion: The efreet will use a vivid auditory/visual illusion to distract and mislead its foes
[D] Gaseous Form: The efreet will turn into gaseous form and attempt to escape
Lamia (p. 59)
HTK: ABBBCCCDD (9 HD)
[B] Charm Person: The lamia will attempt to control an opponent and turn him to her will
[C] Suggestion: The lamia will "suggest" that a target "protect her" from the others...
[D] Illusion: The lamia will use an illusion to mislead her foes. If possible, she will escape