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(Disclaimer: I haven't actually played these games yet, and I don't own any of the modern ones.)

Having seen the description of the Lifegiver perk, it seems that it only makes sense to take the perk early in the game; this means that, if I want to focus on other things early and wait until later in the game to focus on health, this perk ends up not being so good.

In classic Fallout, apparently the perk only gives you extra HP for levels gained *after* the perk is chosen. I find this mechanic to be very ugly, and I feel it unfairly punishes players for waiting until later to get HP up. (This problem also applies to the Endurance stat in classic Fallout and the Elder Scrolls series (even as late as Oblivion).) Is there a mod that fixes this so that HP from Lifegiver is retroactive, so your end-game HP is not dependent on when you take the perk?

In modern Fallout, the perk was changed to give a constant amount of HP. While this is nice at lower levels, the bonus doesn't scale at higher levels, when your level and Endurance contribute far more HP than the Lifegiver perk would provide. Is there a mod to make this scale at higher levels, without making it too weak early on and without making your end-game HP depend on when you take the perk?
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dtgreene: Having seen the description of the Lifegiver perk, it seems that it only makes sense to take the perk early in the game; this means that, if I want to focus on other things early and wait until later in the game to focus on health, this perk ends up not being so good.
In Fallout 1, level 12 is already "waiting until later" -- that'll probably be your last perk in the game, unless you like grinding. In Fallout 2, if you really need more hit points, just level up. Really, the Lifegiver perk seems kind of pointless to me. For a mere 4 AP, you can consume as many (weightless) stim packs as you need to keep your health up during battle. If you really feel you need the extra HP during battle, take a buffout to increase endurance and then a stim pack or two to top it off. You also have DR on armor, so you don't have to worry about the wimps draining your HP.

As an additional disincentive, having lots of HP does little good in Fallout 1-2. It's easy to kill or be killed with high HP on critical hits, and high skill or burst fire almost guarantees a lot of criticals. That's why I like to start my battles by running up to the toughest enemy and doing a point blank burst with an assault rifle.

Disclaimer: I am tired of every RPG telling me that hit points are the most important stat. I routinely use con/end as a dump stat. Kill them before they can hurt you, and you won't have to worry.
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dtgreene: Having seen the description of the Lifegiver perk, it seems that it only makes sense to take the perk early in the game; this means that, if I want to focus on other things early and wait until later in the game to focus on health, this perk ends up not being so good.
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darktjm: In Fallout 1, level 12 is already "waiting until later" -- that'll probably be your last perk in the game, unless you like grinding. In Fallout 2, if you really need more hit points, just level up. Really, the Lifegiver perk seems kind of pointless to me. For a mere 4 AP, you can consume as many (weightless) stim packs as you need to keep your health up during battle. If you really feel you need the extra HP during battle, take a buffout to increase endurance and then a stim pack or two to top it off. You also have DR on armor, so you don't have to worry about the wimps draining your HP.

As an additional disincentive, having lots of HP does little good in Fallout 1-2. It's easy to kill or be killed with high HP on critical hits, and high skill or burst fire almost guarantees a lot of criticals. That's why I like to start my battles by running up to the toughest enemy and doing a point blank burst with an assault rifle.

Disclaimer: I am tired of every RPG telling me that hit points are the most important stat. I routinely use con/end as a dump stat. Kill them before they can hurt you, and you won't have to worry.
I have played enough Final Fantasy 2 to know that HP is often not the most important stat; in fact, too much HP is detrimental in that game (though FF2 is known to have many other balance issues). On the other hand, I could point out that, in Paladin's Quest, HP is the most important stat when it comes to winning the final battle. I think one reason players seem to think it's the most important stat is that it is prominently displayed, whereas other stats are not. (In fact, classic Wizardry would prominently display HP and AC, but it would actually hide offensive stats, like attack bonus and attack damage from the player entirely.)

Anyway, the main issue I have with Lifegiver in classic Fallout is that it creates a dependence on the order in which feats are chosen. I feel that, in terms of HP at level 21 (assuming the player takes the time to reach this level), it should not matter, in the long run, whether the player took the perk at level 12 or 21; after all, most other perks don't have such a dependency. The way I see it, HP really should be a straight function of the character's level, Endurance, and whether the Lifegiver perk was taken, and the level the perk was taken (or the level at which Endurance increased of decreased) shouldn't matter. Remember that, if the player delays taking the Lifegiver perk, the player will have less HP until the perk is taken; why should the player have less HP even *after* the perk is taken?

(On the other hand, a player who never takes the perk *should* have lower HP than someone who does; after all, that player chose not to invest a perk in HP, and has decided that the benefit of a different perk is more desirable.)

An example of HP handled well (IMO) is Final Fantasy 5; your max HP is determined by your level, your base Stamina (excluding equipment), and any HP+ abilities you happen to have equipped currently. There's no "get this early to get more HP per level", nor is there any "get more HP if you happen to be in a high Stamina job at the time of level up" (unlike in FF3, which happens to have that specific mechanic).

I just see the way classic Fallout handles HP to be rather ugly.
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darktjm: Disclaimer: I am tired of every RPG telling me that hit points are the most important stat. I routinely use con/end as a dump stat. Kill them before they can hurt you, and you won't have to worry.
I do this too - in most games I focus on avoiding taking damage in the first place, which usually translates into mainly focusing on stats that improve damage dealing ability. Definitely a viable strategy for the Fallout games, especially due to the effects of criticals.

Personally I wish more games went the AoD route, where HP is effectively fixed throughout the game (for the most part).
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darktjm: Disclaimer: I am tired of every RPG telling me that hit points are the most important stat. I routinely use con/end as a dump stat. Kill them before they can hurt you, and you won't have to worry.
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squid830: I do this too - in most games I focus on avoiding taking damage in the first place, which usually translates into mainly focusing on stats that improve damage dealing ability. Definitely a viable strategy for the Fallout games, especially due to the effects of criticals.

Personally I wish more games went the AoD route, where HP is effectively fixed throughout the game (for the most part).
That's not my usual strategy. My approach is to focus on healing ability; that way, when I do take damage, it's not a big deal.

This means that, for example, I can use aggressive strategies, sacrificing HP in order to do more damage, and then heal the damage later. (Of course, this can be risky; if I miscalculate the damage dealt, I could easily end up with a dead character, which is generally not a good thing (exceptions apply; there are times I would rather have a character die, like when it comes to healing in Lennus 2 or Phantasy Star 3).)

I note that, in Paladin's Quest, the only realistic strategy for beating the final boss is to use a spell that causes enemies to take damage when they hit you, and then keep healing the damage you take. Avoiding damage in that battle is simply not possible; even if you use the only spell that does decent damage, the HP cost is rather high and you still have to deal with a round of attacks (and you can't avoid or negate them, either).

With that said, since the Fallout series doesn't have magic, I don't really see this strategy working here (unless there's some skill or perk that significantly improves your ability to heal).

By the way, if you want a game where your HP is effectively fixed throughout the game, might I recommend Dragon Wars? You can increase your HP, but it's expensive to do so, usually not worth it, and could actually be detrimental (given the way stun damage and the Bandage skill work).
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squid830: I do this too - in most games I focus on avoiding taking damage in the first place, which usually translates into mainly focusing on stats that improve damage dealing ability. Definitely a viable strategy for the Fallout games, especially due to the effects of criticals.

Personally I wish more games went the AoD route, where HP is effectively fixed throughout the game (for the most part).
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dtgreene: That's not my usual strategy. My approach is to focus on healing ability; that way, when I do take damage, it's not a big deal.
Personally I never liked the idea of being able to heal in combat - I prefer healing being limited to stopping bleeding or possibly reviving someone who's been downed (mainly so they don't die). Jagged Alliance 2's system was pretty good in that regard (can restore HP but there are penalties, so it's not effective to rely on healing during combat), while AoD's system does it really well (in that you cannot restore HP during combat at all in AoD).
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dtgreene: That's not my usual strategy. My approach is to focus on healing ability; that way, when I do take damage, it's not a big deal.
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squid830: Personally I never liked the idea of being able to heal in combat - I prefer healing being limited to stopping bleeding or possibly reviving someone who's been downed (mainly so they don't die). Jagged Alliance 2's system was pretty good in that regard (can restore HP but there are penalties, so it's not effective to rely on healing during combat), while AoD's system does it really well (in that you cannot restore HP during combat at all in AoD).
I disagree.

To me, being able to heal during combat means that you have a resource, namely HP, that tends to decrease, but can be increased, though generally at the cost of a turn and typically some other resource. It also means that damage amounts can be higher, and that there does not need to be a mechanic to allow for damage to be avoided entirely. I note that the turn cost of healing only applies during combat, and not outside of combat.

I also feel that allowing healing during battle allows for the feeling of coming back after the brink of death, which, to me, makes battles more exciting. It also makes it more fun to watch such battles. There's often the uncertainty whether the healer will be able to cast her healing spell before someone gets killed.

It also allows for some healing abilities with interesting mechanics to be introduced. Here are some examples of such mechanics I have seen:
* In Final Fantasy 5, 6, and 7, there is a healing ability that heals an amount equal to the caster's HP to the entire party. This is quite powerful, but only if the caster isn't at low HP; hence, you may need to combing this with another healing ability for it to be truly effective.
* Final Fantasy 5 has an ability that restores the target's HP and MP fully, but comes with the downside of killing the caster. This provides a way of keeping your MP up without having to use items, but can be a bit tricky (especially since the revive spell is rather expensive at the first point you can use this strategy).
* Final Fantasy 6 has a couple characters with abilities that cause you to lose control of them, but can result in free healing being used at random. Final Fantasy 4 DS (but not later 3D versions based on it) has the Whyt summon, which can be customized to cast healing spells after being summoned (and the character who gets this spell doesn't get reliable healing magic late game).
* There are a few games (Baldur's Gate 2, Elminage Gothic) that allow you to summon creatures that can heal your party.
* Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (action game, not an RPG) has an ability that causes you to recover a bit of health whenever you damage an enemy. The catch is that it takes a moment to use the ability, during which you're immobile (you won't even fall if you use it in mid-air), and if you get hit, the ability is wasted and you have to wait to try again. (I find that a good strategy is to use this ability immediately after being hit, during which you become briefly invincible.)

By the way, Dragon Wars does have in-combat healing (and it's available to all casters, not just to some like in many games), but it's mostly useful for reviving stunned (not dead) characters; the Bandage skill provides free healing up to a certain amount, but is not usable during combat.
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dtgreene: With that said, since the Fallout series doesn't have magic, I don't really see this strategy working here (unless there's some skill or perk that significantly improves your ability to heal).
Drugs are like magic. Stim packs are weightless and easy to come by, and work instantly with no negative side effects, and for 4 AP you can enter your inventory and take as many as you like (for no additional AP, if I didn't make that clear), making e.g. super stim packs pointless except as an assassination tool.
Post edited October 16, 2017 by darktjm
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dtgreene: Anyway, the main issue I have with Lifegiver in classic Fallout is that it creates a dependence on the order in which feats are chosen. I feel that, in terms of HP at level 21 (assuming the player takes the time to reach this level), it should not matter, in the long run, whether the player took the perk at level 12 or 21; after all, most other perks don't have such a dependency. The way I see it, HP really should be a straight function of the character's level, Endurance, and whether the Lifegiver perk was taken, and the level the perk was taken (or the level at which Endurance increased of decreased) shouldn't matter.
I don't disagree, but it is the way it is. However, I have played many, many fantasy games where con/end only affect subsequent level ups (not even the level up where you increase con/end). For example, TES 1-2 (don't remember if 3-4 the same), most D&D games, etc. I am far more annoyed by that than a perk that competes with many far more useful perks.
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dtgreene: With that said, since the Fallout series doesn't have magic, I don't really see this strategy working here (unless there's some skill or perk that significantly improves your ability to heal).
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darktjm: Drugs are like magic. Stim packs are weightless and easy to come by, and work instantly with no negative side effects, and for 4 AP you can enter your inventory and take as many as you like (for no additional AP, if I didn't make that clear), making e.g. super stim packs pointless except as an assassination tool.
The one problem I have with this mechanic is that it sounds like the turn cost (as I refer to it) is too low, and that, of course, it makes the super ones useless.

From what I understand, Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter has a similar, but more severe issue. From what I understand, that game has a similar AP system, and using healing items doesn't require *any* AP, resulting in there being no turn cost at all. There's the longer term costs of having to spend money and (early on) inventory space, but I really don't think this is enough to balance healing. (I much prefer to have a short-term limitation on such things than a long-term one.)

By having healing require a turn cost, one needs to determine if it's worth spending your turn to heal, or if the turn would be better spent performing some other action, like attacking (to try and finish the battle faster), defending (to try to avoid death; maybe have somebody else heal), or casting a sleep spell (to hopefully prevent the enemy from attacking in the first place).
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dtgreene: Anyway, the main issue I have with Lifegiver in classic Fallout is that it creates a dependence on the order in which feats are chosen. I feel that, in terms of HP at level 21 (assuming the player takes the time to reach this level), it should not matter, in the long run, whether the player took the perk at level 12 or 21; after all, most other perks don't have such a dependency. The way I see it, HP really should be a straight function of the character's level, Endurance, and whether the Lifegiver perk was taken, and the level the perk was taken (or the level at which Endurance increased of decreased) shouldn't matter.
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darktjm: I don't disagree, but it is the way it is. However, I have played many, many fantasy games where con/end only affect subsequent level ups (not even the level up where you increase con/end). For example, TES 1-2 (don't remember if 3-4 the same), most D&D games, etc. I am far more annoyed by that than a perk that competes with many far more useful perks.
TES 3-4 are the same (well, the precise mechanic is different, but you still get more HP if you have more Endurance when you level up). There are, however, mods to change that (as will as mods to change how stat growth works, since many players, including myself, find the stat growth mechanics in those games rather unsatisfactory).

In D&D, Con actually does apply retroactively, though the SSI games don't follow that rule. (Although, it seems that some of the later ones (Dark Sun) do, but only apply the change at level up.) The Infinity Engine games, however, do, as does Temple of Elemental Evil (to my understanding; haven't actually checked). Wizardry 1-5 (excluding 4, which works very differently) do something interesting; when you level up, your HP is re-rolled from level 1 based off your current Vitality, and if the new roll is better, that becomes your new HP; if it isn't, you gain only 1 HP. Hence, when Vitality increases, you are likely to get a lot of HP at the next level up. (It's also worth noting that Wizardry 1-5 (again, except 4) do not have a feasibly reachable level cap; you can level up into the triple or even quadruple digits, with level advancement not stopping until your experience gets too high for the game to handle.

Edit: I asked on the ToEE forum, and according to the user who replied, in ToEE Con changes do affect HP retroactively.
Post edited October 22, 2017 by dtgreene
It's a matter of design philosophy.

You have games where it doesn't matter in which order you take the perks/skills/stat raises or whatever.

And then you have games where you're given an option to take a perk now, that will not help you much right now, but will help you more in the long run, or a perk that will help you right now, but not so much in the long run. That "more skill points from books read" is another perk like that, it's not accidental, it's design.
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Jarmo: It's a matter of design philosophy.

You have games where it doesn't matter in which order you take the perks/skills/stat raises or whatever.

And then you have games where you're given an option to take a perk now, that will not help you much right now, but will help you more in the long run, or a perk that will help you right now, but not so much in the long run. That "more skill points from books read" is another perk like that, it's not accidental, it's design.
I just see it as bad design in a game one is intended to play over the long term, and it just feels ugly to me.

It wouldn't be so bad if the game were designed so that the player and world would reset every now and then (I am thinking something like Torneko: The Last Hope where you go back to level 1 every time you go back to town), or if the game were meant to be beaten casually in under an hour (7 minute speedruns notwithstanding; I see the possibility of such speedruns for games like this to be accidents rather than intentional design), but I just feel it's not suitable for longer games without resets.

The "more skill points from books read" sounds like one of the mechanics in Lords of Xulima which promotes a style of gameplay I find to be rather distateful; namely, that you leave behind things and hoard them just so that you can get more stats or skills later. (In LoX, the problem involves the skill that lets you harvest more herbs; herbs boost your stats permanently, and there's only a finite number of places (all non-respawning) where you can harvest them.)

(Incidentally, regarding skills, I prefer the way it's handled in games like Wasteland and Wizardry 8, where you can increase skills just by using them rather than having to ration a finite number of points between them.)

Edit: Just to clarify, by "Wasteland" I mean the original game, not the sequel (Wasteland 2) which switched to the overused and (IMO) flawed pure skill point system.
Post edited October 16, 2017 by dtgreene
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dtgreene: The "more skill points from books read" sounds like one of the mechanics in Lords of Xulima which promotes a style of gameplay I find to be rather distateful; namely, that you leave behind things and hoard them just so that you can get more stats or skills later. (In LoX, the problem involves the skill that lets you harvest more herbs; herbs boost your stats permanently, and there's only a finite number of places (all non-respawning) where you can harvest them.)
It's not as bad as it sounds. There are plenty of skill books in the game (more so in Fallout 2, but still plenty in 1), and at some point (75%? 100%? don't remember) they stop working at all, even though the skill can continue to rise. There aren't skill books for every skill, either. That's one of the reasons I cringe whenever someone says to tag small guns: it's the only weapon skill you can raise using books (plus I prefer energy weapons, but my point remains valid). I tend to use the list of books as a list of skills not to tag: Small guns, Outdoorsman, Science, Repair, First Aid.

There's a cheaty way to make that perk obsolete as well: just take a mentat and wait for the crash before reading books. The more skilled you are, the less you benefit from books. By lowering your intelligence with the mentat crash, you also lower all of your skills, so you can even use books past the no-gain limit. You can take more mentats to lower your int to preposterous levels if needed (although you do need to be more careful with them to avoid addiction, plus they are expensive and less common).

The Fallout skill/perk system is pretty broken in general that way: you can decide when to level up, and you can take drugs to affect it (e.g. perk selection and available skill points/skill upgrade costs). It really ought to only apply to "base stats" whatever you consider them to be (I'd probably include implants, since you can't remove them, but wearing stat-altering equipment and drugs should not affect leveling).
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darktjm: The Fallout skill/perk system is pretty broken in general that way: you can decide when to level up, and you can take drugs to affect it (e.g. perk selection and available skill points/skill upgrade costs). It really ought to only apply to "base stats" whatever you consider them to be (I'd probably include implants, since you can't remove them, but wearing stat-altering equipment and drugs should not affect leveling).
Out of curiosity, does this apply to HP gains from high Endurance? If you temporarily increase your Endurance, then level up while your Endurance is boosted, do you gain more HP?

(This trick works in TES: Arena (though you can't control when you level up; it happens automatically once you have enough XP and the game considers you to not be in combat), but not in Morrowind or Oblivion; I haven't tested Daggerfall.)

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darktjm: There's a cheaty way to make that perk obsolete as well: just take a mentat and wait for the crash before reading books. The more skilled you are, the less you benefit from books. By lowering your intelligence with the mentat crash, you also lower all of your skills, so you can even use books past the no-gain limit. You can take more mentats to lower your int to preposterous levels if needed (although you do need to be more careful with them to avoid addiction, plus they are expensive and less common).
Sounds a lot like a certain trick that works in both Morrowind and Oblivion: Lower your skills with magic (in this case, you can make a custom Drain Skill on Self spell), and then you can train the skill cheaply and above what the trainer could usually train you to.
Post edited October 17, 2017 by dtgreene
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dtgreene: Out of curiosity, does this apply to HP gains from high Endurance? If you temporarily increase your Endurance, then level up while your Endurance is boosted, do you gain more HP?
No, it doesn't. Also, sorry for implying that it affects HP immediately above. It's been a few years since I last played, and I probably confused it with something else. Also, even though you get to choose skills & perks at your leisure, the HP increase happens the instant you gain enough XP to level up.

Given that, it may seem I was unfairly picking on TES for having endurance affect HP gains after increases, but Fallout just doesn't have that many opportunities for stat increases (1 in Fallout 1, and 2 in Fallout 2, I think), unlike TES (every level, plus some special bonus gains - it's easy to get solid 100s in TES 1-2, at least).