I know what temporary HP do: they provide a buffer, while leaving the original state of the character intact (if you receive temp HP while bloodied, you don't stop being bloodied, for example).
What I want to know is what do they represent, and if there's a general way of roleplaying them. The question arose because normal HP already represent more than just health (-2 hp doesn't imply a wound, say), and so Temp HP seem a bit redundant on the RP side of the equation.
I can understand particular cases: "A sudden favor from Moradin leaves you feeling better than you can remember, prime for battle" == +6 temp HP over your top HP, but the general case, if any, eludes me. I'd also like to know the rationalization for adding them into the game, but that's a bonus.