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I am in the early sessions of running a science-fantasy Pathfinder game. I'd like a grittier feel to the game and came across the "Wounds and Vigor" variant rules.

For those who have used these rules, how did they affect gameplay? Were they worth the added complication, and are there other considerations I'd need to account for to successfully use this variant of the rules?

EDIT: I am going to narrow this question a bit. What are the positive and negative affects on the game mechanics for choosing to use the optional Pathfinder rules "Wounds and Vigor"?

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Welcome Josh. It would be better if you can rephrase your question in a way that encourages specific answers, rather than a discussion. Stackexchange sites aren't very good with discussion type questions. – edgerunner Nov 9 '11 at 8:21
Edited question. I think it's focused enough for a Good Subjective, Bad Subjective question. – mxyzplk Nov 9 '11 at 13:30
Thanks for the welcome and the feedback, edgerunner. I did my best to do so when I posed the question, but maybe it can be focussed more. I'll give it a shot. – Josh Nov 10 '11 at 15:43
Is there anyway for me to improve this post? – Josh Nov 23 '11 at 15:51
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Disclaimer: I only played with them three sessions with combat, and we were different levels each time 2,6,& 10.


  • Combat feels more Epic, when you get to just mark off Vigor, and know you'll have it all back the next day even without magical healing.
  • Combat feels more Gritty, when you can't avoid those few points of Wounds.
  • Healers felt they were contributing more.
  • Cohorts and Hirelings may be able to get a few crits in, which actually can matter against opponents with vast amounts of Constitution.


  • Slowed Resolution for the people who hadn't read up on them before hand. Which there was little excuse for as the DM provided 1 page cheat sheets.
  • Critical heavy enemies become more effective, with the additional wound point damage on top of the Vigor damage. We got severely tooled by a bunch of warriors with enhanced critical ranges.
  • Doesn't blend well with Constructs or Undead antagonists, right out of the box.

That being said. I'd suggest it for experienced players who have been used to the rules changes between editions, or brand new players.

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Thanks for this answer. This really helps a lot. – Josh Dec 5 '11 at 21:49
Also, I suggest using Cha in the place of Con for Wounds for undead, which streams directly from their ruling on Cha for hitpoints. – J Grim Dec 5 '11 at 23:46
May I ask you a follow-up then as well? Did you have any trouble with one-hit kills or monsters that could do direct Wound damage? – Josh Dec 6 '11 at 13:16
There weren't alot of them, other then the criticals and a few of the enemy spellcasters. Generally we panicked whenever we got a hit which was more then 1 or 2 wounds per hit, and treated whatever did that as a major threat. – J Grim Dec 7 '11 at 20:10
Love it. Thanks again, so much. I think I'll implement this next game based on your input. – Josh Dec 7 '11 at 21:35

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