While talking to Paweł Dziemski at Other Worlds (publishers of the beautiful Polish edition of Heart of Ice) we realized -- well, Paweł did -- that the strict Endurance rules of the original Blood Sword books are not in step with the thinking of modern gamebooks. Back then, your hit points were whittled away and if you got to zero, too bad: bury that character and go back to the start.
It's never fun dying in a gamebook, but at least if it happens because of a bad decision then you can accept that you should have thought more about it or watched out for the clues and warnings. When you just conk out from hit point attrition, that's a death of a thousand paper cuts. These days it's likely to have you throwing the book across the room.
Of course, you could include a sage in the party and rely on their healing, but the rules shouldn't make it impossible for you to play without a sage. Paweł suggested restoring Endurance to full if characters survive a fight, but I didn't want to go quite that far as it would make the sage's healing power pretty useless.
So I've added these optional rules to the Blood Sword books. Use any that take your fancy:
- After winning a fight, every surviving character in the party can recover half their lost Endurance points rounded up. For example, if you normally have 30 Endurance and you end a fight with 9 Endurance, you can restore your score to 20. This only applies if you are victorious, not if you flee from the combat. Endurance is not recovered until the battle is over and all opponents have been vanquished. A character who was reduced to 0 Endurance during the fight does not recover; they are dead and gone.
- Instead of unlimited movement on the tactical maps, you move a number of squares equal to ½ your Awareness.
- If killed in a combat that the rest of the party win, a character returns to life with 1-6 Endurance.
- If the whole party is killed, use the flee option for that section (if there is one) and return to life with 1d6 Endurance each. (So the party only dies if there is no flee option.)