|This Can't Happen Until That Last HP Is Gone|
WTF is Hit Points in D&D and the whole line of OSR games?
For an elephant or a dragon, I'm sure it's actually ability to withstand damage.
For a 9th Level Fighter with and +4 Con Bonus, those 90 HPs are what? He certainly isn't withstanding damage like a dragon.
I like the way Crypts & Things handles it:
Player characters’ hit points represent only ‘superficial’
damage (i.e., exhaustion, light bruises, minor scrapes,
and so forth).. Because of this, all lost hit points may be
recovered by sleeping without interruption for eight full
hours. Resting (not sleeping), or sleeping for less than
eight hours, will enable a player character to recover one
hit point per full hour of rest or sleep.
Cure Wounds spells and potions of Healing do not
heal hit points, but only lost points of Constitution (as
explained below). However, a draught of ‘strong drink’
(ale, wine, liquor) can ‘invigorate’ a character, enabling
him/her to recover immediately 1d4 hit points. Crypt
Keepers may also want to allow alchemists to sell ‘Elixirs
of Invigoration’ for 200 to 300 gold pieces. Drinking
such an elixir might enable a player character to recover
instantly 1d6 + 2 hit points. Only one such draught,
whether of strong drink or an elixir, will have this effect
Once a player character’s hit points have been depleted,
any further damage is done to the character’s constitution
score. Damage to a character’s constitution score
represents ‘serious’ damage. Every time a character takes
damage to his/her constitution, he/she must make a
saving throw or fall unconscious. In addition, a character
that has taken damage to his/her constitution suffers a -2
penalty to all actions (including attack rolls and saving
throws). If a character’s constitution score is reduced to 0
or lower that character is dead.
It certainly gives Hit Points a use and a definition that makes sense, or at least more sense than most of the Hit Point definitions I've read or heard over the years.
Which definition of Hit Points strikes the right chord in you?