So yeah, the discussion about hit points in AD&D is that hit points reflect more than just physical damage. That's fairly obvious, Gary Gygax's own comments about Hit Points in the core books make the same points that once X number of HP have been accumulated, it gets a bit silly.
If HP is NOT all physical damage though, then where does physical damage begin and end? That is going to depend on how the DM handles Hit Points and Death.
For me, I use negative ten (-10) as character death, zero is "Out Cold". I like to play averages. if we assume playing characters to about 15th, heck, let's say 10th level, on a Fighter.
So here is a Fighter at level 10 with 93 Hit Points at the maximum. That's if he rolled 10's every time plus the 3 after 9th level. Say he only rolled a 5 every time instead that's still 48 Hit Points at 10th level.
At what point does he start incurring physical damage? Maybe at 20 Hit Points? Anything above 20 we assume it's his armor and shield and whatever absorbing the brunt of the punishment maybe.
Maybe he's just a tough, thick-skinned son-of-a-gun and just is able to take a whoopin' longer than the average Joe before it starts wearing on him?
Maybe it's a combination of both.
That's how I handle it though. Anything above 20 Hit Points, isn't physical damage to the body in terms of cuts, bruises, abrasions, lacerations, etc...
Once a PC gets to 20 Hit Points though, they're going to likely need a medic after the fight, unless of course, they are taken to 0 HP, at which time, they are going to need hospitalization.
That leads us to the topic of the next post, how much damage can your armor take before it is FUBAR?