Healing and clerics

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rabindranath72
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Healing and clerics

Post by rabindranath72 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:34 am

I have been thinking about the ideas for the cleric class, and how it won't be a heal-bot but more of an exorcist; which is excellent news, BUT this brings the question: how is this shift in perspective going to affect healing?
I have never liked the fact that clerics become healing wagons, so a mechanic in the form of "shock recovery" (to use the Judges Guild term in the Ref Sheets) would be nice to have as an "official" rule. I have used it in the past, and I am using it now; it's simple, really, and it does A LOT to make clerics more generally useful and fun to play.
Just to clarify: a character who rests for one turn immediately after a fight, automatically recovers 1d4 hit points, but only from the ones lost in the current fight.

So, what is the "official position"?

Thanks,
Antonio

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by smathis » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:51 am

rabindranath72 wrote:Just to clarify: a character who rests for one turn immediately after a fight, automatically recovers 1d4 hit points, but only from the ones lost in the current fight.

So, what is the "official position"?

Thanks,
Antonio
I don't know the official position. But I, too, am hoping that Clerics aren't healbots -- although I kinda think they will still be a little bit. Joseph hasn't said much either way, other than to point out that Appendix N features "clerics" per se -- but more in an Exorcist role. Not sure if that translates directly to Clerics having their healing abilities made less of a focus for the character or not.

I think it's probably going to work out where a Cleric has a "Cure Wounds" spell and how much it heals will be randomized.

As for the Exorcist thing, one thing LotFP did was make "Turn Undead" a spell -- instead of a class ability. It was beefed up, of course. But it was actually a nice little tweak. At least the "beef-up" part of Turn Undead was. The spell worked a lot more like Peter Cushing holding off a group of vampire spawn in the old Hammer movies. Less like the all-or-nothing mechanic of traditional D&D.

I've also tried out a house-rule once where a Cleric's domain determined what they "turned". That was fun actually because a Cleric of Pelor turned Undead as usual. But a Cleric of Corellon might be able to turn Constructs. And I remember Druids being able to turn Elementals in that game too. Anyway. It was a pretty fun twist on the "exorcist" side of Clerics.

I'm still not sure what to do about Clerics and healing. Or if I'd do anything about them. I like the idea of recovering after an encounter. 1d4 would be a little low in every D&D system except B/X and OD&D though. I think we'd have to see how DCC handles hit points and what kind of totals we'd be looking at. I mean, does a 14th level Fighter in DCC get 14d10 + (Stamina Bonus * Level) -- like in vanilla 3e -- or 10d8 + 12 + (Stamina Bonus * 10) -- more in line with B/X.

That could make a difference.

Maybe a free roll on the "Cure Wounds" table with a reduced die type (like a d12 or a d16) and adding one-half your level would work? That seems horribly convoluted to me but we'll have to see what shakes out when the DCC playtest opens up. Or maybe the party gets a limited number of "Healing Surges" -- like 2 for a party of 4 -- that players could use for a free roll on that table? More like how the Castle Ravenloft board game handles healing surges than 4e.

Personally, I think we can be willy-nilly with the hit points if we treat ranks (as in attribute bonus levels) of Stamina as ablative. I pitched it already on this forum so I don't want to go to deep into it. But the lowering of Stamina would handle a defacto reduction of hit points because being dropped a bonus in Stamina would temporarily lower your hit point maximum by your level. And attributes heal much more slowly than hit points. So there's still a threat there, it's just less of a short-term WHAM! and more of a long term killer.

In a way, this makes hit points free to recover by larger amounts -- like by half or something -- immediately following an encounter in which the character took a decent amount of damage. They'd be much less important than the Stamina loss. And the Stamina loss (not the hit points) would be more of the hard limit to one's dungeoneering.

It would also free the game up to not try to mitigate fatality by dumping more hit points into the equation. I generally have first level PCs start out with max hit points. I've done that since, like, 1983. It makes them a little more durable in the short term. But increasing hit points by too much is a problem in itself and often leads to an inflation of monster damage and hit points on the other side of the screen. But by lessening hit points' stranglehold on mortality, I think it becomes less of an issue to increase them to promote durability and, at the same time, limit their recovery in such a way that an ablative threat of death looms near.

Which I think are two things D&D has tried to do since 2e -- only getting worse and worse as the editions wear on -- without really comprehending the conflicting agendas in the mechanic. Except for 4e, of course, which basically said "heal away" and "here's twice as many hit points" and made the Death Saves handle the ablative death portion.

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by Hamel™ » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:16 am

Something like 4E's Healing Surges could be a nice idea for healing, because they somehow changed the core concept of the damage itself: no more just body damage (ripped flesh, broken bones), but mainly body exhaustion (at least until you get into the bloodied condition).

If you check how many HS a single class can use, you can see (ignoring the Con Modifier) that Defenders (aka the front line) have more HS than Leaders, and Leaders have more HS than Controllers/Strikers.

IMHO that shows Fighting Men are more used to battle and they can stand more exhaustion (also thanks to more HP) and recovering better from it (more HS) than other classes do.



In few words, doing something like that allows you to say goodbye to stereotypical clerics (as we know them).

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by finarvyn » Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:43 am

Hamel™ wrote:Something like 4E's Healing Surges could be a nice idea for healing, because they somehow changed the core concept of the damage itself: no more just body damage (ripped flesh, broken bones), but mainly body exhaustion (at least until you get into the bloodied condition).
If you read the old Gygax editorials from the 1970's, you'll realize that 4E didn't actually change the concept of the damage at all but only the rate at which hit points were restored.

From the onset the hit point was designed to be an abstracted way to consider damage, and that a "hit point" didn't mean the same thing to every character. The intent was to have a hit point represent severe damage to low-level characters but could be a "near miss" to high level characters. This misconception is what makes some folks think that a character could strip of all armor and just stand there for several rounds while someone repeatedly tries to hack his head off or stab him repeatedly in the heart. Hit points were never supposed to do this, and in the situations I've just mentioned I always invoke an "instant kill" rule for characters not bothering to defend themselves.

The problem wasn't in the way hit points were imagined, but the way they were restored in the rules and the fact that the two notions don't fit together well. The healing rate of 1 hp per day simply doesn't mathematically match the philosophy of the editorials. The "healing surge" does a lot to make the two fit together better, although other house rules (heal your level in hp each day) have been out there for a long time to address the problem.

My own house rule for this since the 1970's was to assume that a character had a number of "body points" equal to 1/2 of his CON score, and those would be the last hit points lost. Body points would heal at the same rate as the rules, but the remainder of the character's hit points would be restored after a good night's sleep. (Example, a 3 HP character with 10 CON only gets 3 body points since 3<5 and every hit is a body point. A 12 HP character gets the full 5 body points and 12-5=7 fast-heal hit points.)

Anyway, the point is that the healing surge isn't nearly as new or innovative as the 4E designers would make you believe. Healing surges are viewed as hit point inflation in the new edition, so an "old school" healing surge rule would have to probably be geared so that the numbers aren't so large, or the old school feel will be lost along the way.

Just my two cents.
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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by DCCfan » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:03 am

I don't much care for 4E healing surges. I played a character to 4th level in 4E and never felt like I was going to die. Healing surges always saved me. I even tried being reckless to see if I could kill my character. Then rolled a nat 20 to gain a bonus surge and return to combat. If I'm playing a game based on appendix N I want it to feel deadly. If a cleric heals me maybe I should pay for it some how. Maybe the divine god comes calling for a favor at some point in the future. Maybe there could be some kinda healburn for the character being healed kinda like spellburn. Just my thoughts. :)
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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by bwatford » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:11 am

Let me throw something out that I use as a house rule in my 3.5 campaign. This effectively frees up the cleric as far as being a heal bot. They have a natural divine ability called divine presence.

Divine Presence
When allies touch you, or even the hem of your clothing, they are blessed with healing. This requires no action on your part but calls for a standard action on their part. Affected allies gain 1d6 hit points + 1 point per cleric level. While there is no limit to the number of times each day you can heal in this fashion, in a given day you can use this ability to heal only a number of different individuals equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier + your level.

Now to balance this we use a limit in heals for everyone as followed:

Magical Healing
Characters can only receive magical healing a number of times in a given day equal to their level + their Constitution modifier, with a minimum of 2. The term “magical healing” means any application of curative magic, from a potion, to a special ability. Note that it’s incumbent upon healed characters to keep track of how many applications of magical healing they receive each day; this bookkeeping is not the healer’s responsibility.

So with the following rules then it is not the cleric that worries about using up resources or time to run around and heal characters but the other way around. Thus freeing the cleric from being tied down and now they to can get in on the action.

Just my 2 cents....

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by smathis » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:19 am

finarvyn wrote:Anyway, the point is that the healing surge isn't nearly as new or innovative as the 4E designers would make you believe. Healing surges are viewed as hit point inflation in the new edition, so an "old school" healing surge rule would have to probably be geared so that the numbers aren't so large, or the old school feel will be lost along the way.

Just my two cents.
Yeah, hit points are supposed to represent a whole lot of things. But it's the wargame carry-over nomenclature -- calling it "hit points" instead of something generic like "defense" -- and the lack of any other currency that says "this is when the character dies" that, I think, saddled it with forever being associated with taking (and soaking) damage.

Everything is way over-inflated in 4e. This is due to the ever-increasing everything and a desire to have the math of the system balance out at each step along the way. So 4e doubled hit points and then came up with Healing Surges, which are that "second currency" -- along with Death Saves. But the numbers are way too high all around or, possibly, the monsters don't do enough damage to make it perilous.

My suggestion earlier that brought Healing Surges into the thread was a little different, though. I recommended considering some sort of Healing Surge mechanic like they have in the Castle Ravenloft boardgame, not in 4e. In the D&D boardgame, the whole party shares a limited number of "healing surges". So if we have a party and my fighter is down to 2 hp and I need a boost... I can use one of the group's surges and get myself back up X hit points. But that "surge" is gone. Nobody else can use it. And generally there's only 1-3 for the party to use per adventure. So it's a tighter resource than the 4e Healing Surge. I recommended it because I think it's more in line with "old-school" ethos than 4e's Healing Surges.

Warhammer Fantasy 3rd edition has "rally steps". The rules aren't very clear on when to use them or not. Just kinda whenever the DM feels like it. But the end result is similar to everyone getting a Cure Light Wounds and some other benefits like abilities getting recharged and such. It wasn't a bad mechanic. But suffered from a lack of examples of how and when to use it.

A solution may be as simple as your idea of body points. LotFP does something similar with the way healing changes for those who are above or below half their remaining hit points. It's possible just to address the healing/hit point issue by saying if you have less than 1/2 your Con/Stamina score left you don't heal hit points after a night's rest but if you have more you heal 1d4 hit points after a fight in which you took damage and your level (or one-half your level) after a nights rest.

As you've identified, the sticking point is that hit points are supposed to represent near-misses, fighting skill, stamina and health. But they only heal in a manner that represents taking damage. This suggests a need to heal hit points at a faster rate, while having another currency to represent trauma, because, seriously, who gets worse at dodging just because you dodged a goblin 10 minutes ago?

But what that solution should be is tricky. Because it's very easy, IMO, to adopt something that's overly complex or that destroys the feeling of imminent danger (which 4e did, IMO). This is a problem with D&D that's carried over from its wargaming roots all the way to the present day. I don't know if DCC should be the game that solves it but, who knows, maybe Joseph can surprise us?
Last edited by smathis on Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by smathis » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:00 am

DCCfan wrote:Maybe there could be some kinda healburn for the character being healed kinda like spellburn. Just my thoughts. :)
bwatford wrote:So with the following rules then it is not the cleric that worries about using up resources or time to run around and heal characters but the other way around. Thus freeing the cleric from being tied down and now they to can get in on the action.
These posts seemed so topical that one was almost a response to the other. DCCfan mentioned the idea of healburn and bwatford pointed out a house rule that demonstrated it. Cool.

The more I've thought about this issue, the more inclined I am to try to use some sort of ablative mechanic on Stamina/Constitution. First, the attribute's already there and the concept of "attribute damage" already exists. It's taking advantage of an existing sub-system. Second, attribute healing more adequately reflects trauma. Third, Stamina (CON) damage translates to hit point damage too. So the more trauma I take, the less effective I am long-term at resisting more trauma. Which makes sense to me. If I fell and twisted my ankle, I'm not going to be dodging as well as I was.

And that frees hit points up to recover at an accelerated rate. But what would that rate be? 1d4 seems low for high level characters. Healing your level per day seems adequate, about in the ballpark of where we'd want to be. But it introduces the "15 minute day" problem. And, really, I don't think you'd want this issue to be limited to a "day". I think the goal, which 4e's designers correctly identified, was allowing characters the ability to explore more of the dungeon.

So here's an idea I'm throwing out there...
Hit Point loss occurs as normal. Hit Points recover as normal after a night of rest -- either a hit die a day or a character's level or whatever we'd want. But certain situations carry threats to a character's Stamina, or Constitution, attribute.
  • If a character takes magical healing, they lose one point of Stamina (CON). There's the healburn mechanic.
  • A character can choose to "burn" one point of Stamina (CON) to recover hit points. Not sure how many just yet. This takes a "standard action" during combat. It's the equivalent of Second Wind. And can be done in between combats as well. Overuse of this could really screw a character though, so I wouldn't expect it to be used more than once or twice an adventure. There's our old-school healing surges.
  • If a character is dropped to zero hit points, they automatically lose a point of Stamina (CON).
Note I'm assuming the critical hit chart will handle any attribute damage on its own. Hence no default loss on a crit.

Stamina (CON) loss affects a character's maximum (but not current) hit points, unless the current hit points would exceed the maximum after the drop. A 10th level character with 18 current and 30 max hit points who drops from 12(+1) to 11(+0) Stamina would have his maximum lowered to 20 and his current hit points would remain at 18. That same character with 21 current and 30 max would have both dropped to 20 after that Stamina loss.

Stamina (CON) damage heals as per the rules. Usually, one point per week. Healing Stamina (CON) can help the character's hit point situation the same way as losing Stamina (CON) hurts it.

So a character unfortunate enough to eat up 6 points of Stamina (CON) would have endured trauma that would take 6 weeks from which to fully recover. Sounds reasonable and still harsh enough to represent an old-school style of play.
The math of this already exists in the system so, while it makes attribute loss more prevalent, it's not like introducing an entirely unrelated sub-system. A decent character sheet should be able to handle the system without much of a problem.

The "Death Rolls" I'd mentioned could be incorporated so that Stamina bled out (instead of die types) making the situation of being down extremely bad.
Death Rolls.
When a character is dropped to zero hit points, the player rolls a d20 -- some classes or conditions might call for the character to roll a d24 or d16 -- and adds their Stamina bonus to the roll.

Result: Effect
1-3: The character loses 2 points of Stamina and must roll again next round
5-9: The character loses 1 point of Stamina and must roll again next round
10-19: The character loses no Stamina but must roll again next round
20+: The character stabilizes, loses no Stamina and does not have to roll again next round. The character remains unconscious.
Bleeding out would suck. But my group could've used a mechanic like this a couple of weeks ago.

For added enjoyment, here's "beating a dead horse" rules...
Beating a Dead Horse
When a character is unconscious, any further damage they take is applied directly to Stamina. So a goblin beating an unconscious PC with a stick would do 1d4 points of Stamina damage per attack. Auto-hit.

Same with anyone silly enough to stand there and not defend themselves, as mentioned earlier in the thread.
Pair up these rules with some "after an encounter in which you took hit point damage" quickie heal and I think we're off to the races. Maybe that could be 1 + Stamina bonus, but no lower than 1. Or 1d4 + Stamina bonus. Or the PC's level. Or hit die + Stamina bonus. Or something like that.

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by geordie racer » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:49 am

Well thought out smathis, I like these ideas.
smathis wrote:A character can choose to "burn" one point of Stamina (CON) to recover hit points. Not sure how many just yet.
For this I'd want the amount recovered to be a dice roll rather than a set number, so a player can't get complacent thinking 'I have X stamina which is enough to recover Y hit points.' during combat.
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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by mshensley » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:54 am

I'm hoping for stuff like this. I wrote this for spicing up Raise Dead spells a couple of years ago:

Roll 1d12.

1. Fails utterly - body putrefies horribly and becomes a black ooze.
2. Something else comes through - (1d4) 1-Demon, 2-Invisible Stalker, 3-Shadow, 4-Wraith.
3. Body possessed by demon.
4. Requires life force - random person within 30' takes 7d6 damage.
5. Didn't work completely - come back as (1d6) 1-Ghoul, 2-Zombie, 3-Wight, 4-Vampire, 5-Wraith, 6-Ghost.
6. Didn't take - comes back normally but starts losing 1 point per day from a random stat. Once any stat equals 0, character becomes a zombie.
7. Disfigured by death - lose 2 points of Charisma.
8. Weakened state - Strength and Dexterity reduced to 3 for a month.
9. Saw the light- transformed emotionally by event. Gain +2 to Wisdom and Charisma.
10. Saw a glimpse of the future.
11. Blessed - all rolls are +1 for a month.
12. Become more powerful than you can possibly imagine- gain one level.

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by smathis » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:10 am

geordie racer wrote:Well thought out smathis, I like these ideas.
smathis wrote:A character can choose to "burn" one point of Stamina (CON) to recover hit points. Not sure how many just yet.
For this I'd want the amount recovered to be a dice roll rather than a set number, so a player can't get complacent thinking 'I have X stamina which is enough to recover Y hit points.' during combat.

Thanks. Yes, I agree a dice roll would be good. Probably in all areas where we talk about healing. Easier to just pick up a die and go with it. But should it be roll a hit die? Or roll two and take the best one? I'd hope for something randomized yet simple.

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by mntnjeff » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:12 am

Awesomeness...

I like the direction this is going. Not that the game will necessarily reflect it, but the conversation is cool.

A couple of years ago I implemented a system in our B/X game that used a very similar idea to what's being discussed here, but it was a result of a conversation w/ a guy in the group who didn't like the fact that a blow from a dagger had a VERY slim chance of killing someone. There's a whole lot more to this conversation of course (e.g. uniform damage and HD versus variable damage / weapon type, etc.), but from the 40k foot view it went something like this:

A players constitution score was their health. Hit points were "ablative" (like smathis has been talking about) in nature and represented a more abstracted view of what happens during a combat. Blood trickling into an eye, a slip of the foot, sweat greasing the palm, etc. Once you were through your hit points, damage went directly against your "health", or constitution score. If your con reaches zero, well, you're dead.

A critical hit has the ability to strike at your con score. This makes a critical strike particularly deadly, especially if the assailant is nasty and has the ability to deal out some damage.

Hit points heal up full after a day of rest. Dutch Courage (a rule I've seen elsewhere as well) can heal a person up 'X' amount on a swig (full round action) of liquor, but only once per encounter. Resting 5 minutes after a battle will heal up your con score of HPs immediately.

Clerics no longer have "healing" spells that only heal HPs. A cure light now becomes "restore endurance", but like Dutch Courage, can only be cast on a person once per encounter. And it restores your con score worth of HPs just like resting 5 minutes might. At low level this is wonderful...it's basically a heal for low level characters.

Now healing your health though is a totally different proposition. It can only happen w/ a restore health spell (which was 3rd level) and it restored 1d6 worth of con. There was a ritual though that could be cast at 3rd level as well that restored 1/2. Of course it took awhile to cast and wasn't an encounter type power.

As an aside, and yes I know that this is basically a sacred cow, but powerful undead also did con damage w/ their strikes, rather than taking levels away. I've never liked the book keeping that the level mechanic entails, so con damage seemed to alleviate a bit of that while still maintaining the sense of "Oh crap...that hurt...a LOT."

I like the idea that Geordie had as well...I would use those crazy dice in his example and say that a character class recovers d'X' when burning a point of "health / con".

You guys have a lot of absolutely wonderful ideas and even if the DCC RPG doesn't end up pulling some of these for their game, I certainly will.

Cheers

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by smathis » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:15 am

mshensley wrote:I'm hoping for stuff like this. I wrote this for spicing up Raise Dead spells a couple of years ago:

Roll 1d12.

1. Fails utterly - body putrefies horribly and becomes a black ooze.
2. Something else comes through - (1d4) 1-Demon, 2-Invisible Stalker, 3-Shadow, 4-Wraith.
3. Body possessed by demon.
4. Requires life force - random person within 30' takes 7d6 damage.
5. Didn't work completely - come back as (1d6) 1-Ghoul, 2-Zombie, 3-Wight, 4-Vampire, 5-Wraith, 6-Ghost.
6. Didn't take - comes back normally but starts losing 1 point per day from a random stat. Once any stat equals 0, character becomes a zombie.
7. Disfigured by death - lose 2 points of Charisma.
8. Weakened state - Strength and Dexterity reduced to 3 for a month.
9. Saw the light- transformed emotionally by event. Gain +2 to Wisdom and Charisma.
10. Saw a glimpse of the future.
11. Blessed - all rolls are +1 for a month.
12. Become more powerful than you can possibly imagine- gain one level.
Of everything discussed on this thread, I'm relatively certain that your idea here is the only one that's for certain going to be in DCC. It's probably already there in one form or another.

It would be nice if DCC had some sort of mechanic like we've discussed. I wouldn't rule out Harley or Joseph giving some of these ideas a try, especially with Joseph's concerns about DCC being overly lethal. But they'll do what they'll do and I'm expecting them to have their own ideas on the matter.

I'm just enjoying discussing these ideas with everyone else who's busy waiting for more info on DCC. At worst, the ideas live here for people to use and abuse as they see fit. At best, they get introduced to DCC via an unobtrusive supplement.

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by smathis » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:37 am

mntnjeff wrote:A players constitution score was their health. Hit points were "ablative" (like smathis has been talking about) in nature and represented a more abstracted view of what happens during a combat. Blood trickling into an eye, a slip of the foot, sweat greasing the palm, etc. Once you were through your hit points, damage went directly against your "health", or constitution score. If your con reaches zero, well, you're dead.
Exactly. 3e had a system for Vitality/Wound Points -- which I thought was unnecessary. We can use CON as "wound points". It's already there and can work in the way you describe to better reflect "wounds" than Wound Points ever did.
mntnjeff wrote:Hit points heal up full after a day of rest. Dutch Courage (a rule I've seen elsewhere as well) can heal a person up 'X' amount on a swig (full round action) of liquor, but only once per encounter. Resting 5 minutes after a battle will heal up your con score of HPs immediately.
I LOVE DUTCH COURAGE. I hope you don't mind if I borrow that one. That's an awesome rule right there. Much more descriptive (and Appendix N appropriate, IMO) than Second Wind. Thanks for sharing that.
mntnjeff wrote:Clerics no longer have "healing" spells that only heal HPs. A cure light now becomes "restore endurance", but like Dutch Courage, can only be cast on a person once per encounter. And it restores your con score worth of HPs just like resting 5 minutes might. At low level this is wonderful...it's basically a heal for low level characters.

Now healing your health though is a totally different proposition. It can only happen w/ a restore health spell (which was 3rd level) and it restored 1d6 worth of con. There was a ritual though that could be cast at 3rd level as well that restored 1/2. Of course it took awhile to cast and wasn't an encounter type power.
This is interesting. And it touches on one of the issues I'd had with the Vitality/Wound Point thing. The question comes up as to what heals Vitality and what heals wounds. And that's hard to answer without re-jiggering the system somewhat.

I like your solution better than my own. I tried to limit the use of magical healing by dropping CON. In retrospect, I think that may be a little too harsh. But your solution illustrates a clean way to approach it (once per encounter) as well as how treating hit point damage as lighter damage and letting attribute damage represent wounds is a very straightforward approach that doesn't bog anything down with added rules. Nicely done!

Maybe magical healing is limited by a character sacrificing a point of an attribute other than CON? For example, maybe magical healing eats a point of Luck. As the gods grow tired of granting the character grace as he continues to take advantage of their favor. "Healburn" doesn't burn CON, it eats up your Luck?
mntnjeff wrote:As an aside, and yes I know that this is basically a sacred cow, but powerful undead also did con damage w/ their strikes, rather than taking levels away. I've never liked the book keeping that the level mechanic entails, so con damage seemed to alleviate a bit of that while still maintaining the sense of "Oh crap...that hurt...a LOT."
The way I address Energy Drain in my games is I have the characters lose a bonus level of Constitution permanently. So getting grabbed by a high-level undead will drop you from 17 to 15 Con or from 12 to 11. It sucks. Just as nasty as Level draining. But not nearly as hard to figure out.

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by JRR » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:07 am

Clerics are only healbots if you play them that way. My clerics in 1e always carried a couple healing spells to save a pc or two and the rest were combat or utility spells. The next day, I might get a ton of healing spells to help the party recover if needed, but in general, healing spells were cast during downtime. Damnit, Jim, I'm a warrior priest not a nurse!

And healing surges is a deal breaker for me. If they're in, I'm out. There's too big a disconnect. You don't know what kind of damage you took until it's healed. I get in a sword fight, and after the battle, if I use a healing surge, it means I wasn't cut, just exhausted, but if the cleric heals me, I actually had a wound. That breaks my suspension of disbelief and makes me want to kick puppies.

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by GnomeBoy » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:25 am

For what it's worth, I always try to aim my characters toward taking care of their own hit point loss, and if there is a cleric in the party, only expect them to heal as an emergency back up, and if they offer. Like JRR says (and better than I), they is what you expects thems to be.

But I like that 'hem of the garment' thing mentioned up there, too...
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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by geordie racer » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:27 am

JRR wrote:And healing surges is a deal breaker for me. If they're in, I'm out. There's too big a disconnect. You don't know what kind of damage you took until it's healed. I get in a sword fight, and after the battle, if I use a healing surge, it means I wasn't cut, just exhausted, but if the cleric heals me, I actually had a wound. That breaks my suspension of disbelief and makes me want to kick puppies.
I suppose it depends if HP is actual wounds. I use HP as 'lucky escapes' and when you reach zero or less HP you roll on the Critical table to see how bad the wound is (just as with a crit success roll). If the character survives, healing can be applied to the wound (successfully or not). HP is not healed by a Cleric in my game, HP is the providence of fate/luck/the gods.
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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by JRR » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:40 am

But until 4e, hit points were a combination of actual wounds, luck, providence, fate, or whatever. A sword blow actually cut you. A 1d8 damage sword blow at 1st level might be a sword through the gut. At 10th, your skill, luck, whatever, allows you to MOSTLY avoid it, and it's a shallow gash across the arm. But it's still a visible wound. Can't be healed by going to time out. Until 4e.

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by smathis » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:45 am

JRR wrote:But until 4e, hit points were a combination of actual wounds, luck, providence, fate, or whatever. A sword blow actually cut you. A 1d8 damage sword blow at 1st level might be a sword through the gut. At 10th, your skill, luck, whatever, allows you to MOSTLY avoid it, and it's a shallow gash across the arm. But it's still a visible wound. Can't be healed by going to time out. Until 4e.
I think what we're discussing is dividing up hit points role. So that "hit points" would represent "luck, providence, fate" and scrapes and scratches. And Stamina/Constitution loss would represent debilitating, lingering wounds. It's not that much different from how D&D has handled it for decades.

We're just pitching to increase the default rate of hit point recovery immediately following a combat. So that a character gets back that "luck, providence, fate".

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by bwatford » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:17 am

One thing that would help with the factor of "feeling" real as far as damage goes, would be to divide the hit point system into two categories such as Grace and Health. Grace being luck, dodges and no physical damage. While health would be physical wounds that would probably be based on your con or whatever.

Now these could be drawn from the same pool as hitpoints there just needs to be a way to determine each. I think your con score should definitely determine how much of your hitpoints are health and everything else should be grace. But we don't need to inflate numbers either, that's what 4e has done and we want to keep the math easier to do. Grace is what should advance more as you level because you are getting better at avoiding damage. Also if you were still in your grace points their should be a mechanic to possibly avoid any critical hits (Again with the luck to avoid damage). But once the grace points are gone the character would feel like they were more in danger now and the battle was getting serious. It would also help the DM describe things better that was going on in a battle. Adding flavor mostly, a hitpoint is still a hitpoint despite what we call it.

Furthermore the Grace points as described above should recover at about 1 per minute of rest, but the actual health points would need healing magic, first aid, potion or something special to get those back at any fast rate since they would be physical wounds and not just endurance related.

I also liked the post above which says that there should be a penalty for being low on physical health because of wounds. You should be more susceptible to critals which the health/grace mechanic I described above would do. But you should suffer some sort of attack or movement penalty at the very least. I just have never been able to see a player with 40 hit points and have only 2 left be running around like everything is normal.

Again just my 2 cents....

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by Machpants » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:07 pm

JRR wrote:Clerics are only healbots if you play them that way. My clerics in 1e always carried a couple healing spells to save a pc or two and the rest were combat or utility spells. The next day, I might get a ton of healing spells to help the party recover if needed, but in general, healing spells were cast during downtime. Damnit, Jim, I'm a warrior priest not a nurse!

And healing surges is a deal breaker for me. If they're in, I'm out. There's too big a disconnect. You don't know what kind of damage you took until it's healed. I get in a sword fight, and after the battle, if I use a healing surge, it means I wasn't cut, just exhausted, but if the cleric heals me, I actually had a wound. That breaks my suspension of disbelief and makes me want to kick puppies.
It seems to me that you dislike clerics healing 'exhaustion/luck/etc' rather than the surges themselves. I'm not intending to say I know your mind better than you do, and might be barking up the wrong tree. Please don't take it personally, I know that sort of statement is a bit an internet nono but I can't think of another way to phrase it! :)

IMO 4E (which I like, to a certain extent, but not the grind) didn't kill enough sacred cows. They did a half job of it and it is now, like you point out above, confused. They should have removed the term 'healing' and used something else. Restoring? I dunno, but if a cleric/warlord/other leader 'restored' you rather than heal, then so much angst would have been removed.

So if you don't mind me asking:
If there were 'surges' but they only applied to the fate/skill/exhaustion/hit points, not CON;
And healing only works on CON,
But there were various ways; including something like a 2nd wind, a surge, a long with a swig of booze or divine 'restoration/inspiration'; to recover from HP (exhaustion/fate/etc) loss...

... would you still say 'no thanks' to DCC RPG?

Myself I like surges and second winds, if not the terms. I also like a difference between physical damage and running out of ooomph. I used a variation of 3Es UA wound and vitality points. For a demo of 2nd wind and losing HP without taking damage, watch Brad Pitt as Achilles fight Hector- lots of HP lost but only CON/wounds/health/whatever at the end!

So for me the way the discussions are going are good.
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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by JRR » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:53 pm

Machpants wrote:
JRR wrote: It seems to me that you dislike clerics healing 'exhaustion/luck/etc' rather than the surges themselves. I'm not intending to say I know your mind better than you do, and might be barking up the wrong tree. Please don't take it personally, I know that sort of statement is a bit an internet nono but I can't think of another way to phrase it! :)

IMO 4E (which I like, to a certain extent, but not the grind) didn't kill enough sacred cows. They did a half job of it and it is now, like you point out above, confused. They should have removed the term 'healing' and used something else. Restoring? I dunno, but if a cleric/warlord/other leader 'restored' you rather than heal, then so much angst would have been removed.

So if you don't mind me asking:
If there were 'surges' but they only applied to the fate/skill/exhaustion/hit points, not CON;
And healing only works on CON,
But there were various ways; including something like a 2nd wind, a surge, a long with a swig of booze or divine 'restoration/inspiration'; to recover from HP (exhaustion/fate/etc) loss...

... would you still say 'no thanks' to DCC RPG?

Myself I like surges and second winds, if not the terms. I also like a difference between physical damage and running out of ooomph. I used a variation of 3Es UA wound and vitality points. For a demo of 2nd wind and losing HP without taking damage, watch Brad Pitt as Achilles fight Hector- lots of HP lost but only CON/wounds/health/whatever at the end!

So for me the way the discussions are going are good.
My problem is the disconnect. If I'm exhausted, a bit of rest could be restorative and I'd be good to go, I have no problem with that. The problem is though, that you don't know what the hit point loss consisted of until it is healed.

Rest should "heal" exhaustion, but only magical or natural healing should heal actual wounds. Healing surges will always cause this disconnect. I'm down 20 hit points, how do I know if I need rest or magical healing? The only thing I have to go on is the dm's description of combat and it'll get boring pretty fast if he describes everything as exhaustion or fatigue. A fatigue mechanic is just more math to do. Fatigue shouldn't be tied to hit points. Because it isn't lost. If I run a mile, I'm tired, but a few minutes rest and I'm good to go. Anything that rest restores, I shouldn't have to track. It just slows the game down. But a simple compromise would be recovering 1/4 of hit points lost in the prior combat after a 10 minute rest. Simple and no convoluted system required.

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by geordie racer » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:51 pm

JRR wrote: But a simple compromise would be recovering 1/4 of hit points lost in the prior combat after a 10 minute rest. Simple and no convoluted system required.
But what do these hit points represent if you don't want them to equal fatigue. Is it wounds that are just shrugged off ? Because at higher levels, surely a static proportion like 1/4 reinforces the D&D aesthetic of the tank that can shrug off greater and greater damage - which I don't see in Appendix N where fighters get more experienced rather than more physiologically enhanced.
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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by Hamel™ » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:57 pm

Healing Surges are IMHO more similar to an adrenaline boost than to something else.

Let's give an example.
I'm playing a viking fighter wielding a 2H Battleaxe, in the middle of a fight - along with my team - against a Frost Giant, inside his cave.

The group spreads (MUs far from the Frost Giant, Rogue trying to sneak behind him), and i find myself in front of the creature: the Frost Giant hits my AC.

Considering that if I could kill a small dog with a single slash then a Giant would do the same to me, DM describes that the Frost Giant's sword bashes the ground next to me, it makes the cave shaking and some ice shards fall down from the roof: some hit my armour, but my Viking dodges the dangerous ones with a huge effort.
That effort (along with some bruises from the shards) causes my character a HP loss.

Now it's my character's turn.
I am angry. Angry with myself for being so slow, my viking pride smacked by the Giant.
But I don't wanna give up.

I declare a HS: my Viking stands up again, helding high his weapon and chanting loudly to his God, while his anger runs through his veins, energizing him.
That's my point of view.


IMHO the only thing to blame about Healing Surges is that there is no backlash phase in a short time (the encounter could last for 50 rounds, without being hit again, but the PC's status would stay the same).

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Re: Healing and clerics

Post by smathis » Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:41 am

JRR wrote:Anything that rest restores, I shouldn't have to track. It just slows the game down. But a simple compromise would be recovering 1/4 of hit points lost in the prior combat after a 10 minute rest. Simple and no convoluted system required.
This isn't that much different from what we've been talking about.

For me, it's two sides of the coin. One is doing something exactly like what you said here. And the other is either coming up with something or using attribute damage to represent significant and long lasting wounds.

Here's an example. In my LotFP game, the cleric was critted by a giant snake. He barely managed to not get dropped but the mechanic we used signified that the snake's fangs tore the muscles in his shoulder. As a result, he lost 1d4 STR.

Hit points don't adequately represent that last bit. D&D has always used attribute damage to represent that kind of damage.

What we're advocating is coming to terms with that. Not trying to treat hit points as significant and lasting damage. Bringing it back either after a 10 minute rest, as you say, or via a roll of hit dice or something.

While attribute damage will stay with a character the way it does in D&D already. The thing I've been discussing most is some sort of mechanic for a character at Death's Door. Either a die that functions as a "Death Save" with a decreasing die type. Or applying incremental attribute damage to the point where a character is dead. This is to remove the concept of "character death" from hit points. To prevent a character from "dying" when it reaches zero or -10 hit points. It makes character a little hardier at a cost. A pretty steep cost, really. That doesn't impede a character too much, except for making them less resilient.

Anything that addresses those two issues would make me happy. I think the idea of Vitality/Wound points is more complex. Although it is supported in 3e already. I just see it as a "doubling" of hit points. Apparently the designers of 4e did too, because it disappeared between Star Wars Saga and D&D 4e.

It's less important to me how hit points recover more quickly in short bursts. Likewise, it's less important to me what the mechanic for representing lasting damage is -- although the concept of attribute damage is so, well, available it's hard ignore it. But, for me, it could just as easily use "Luck" as the ablative attribute. So a character "runs out of Luck" as it were.

The most important thing to me is that those bases are covered. I don't think D&D addresses damage well. Hit Points are a contradictory mechanic. Always have been. 4e did a little better by breaking damage up into Hit Points, Healing Surges and Death Saves. 3e made an attempt by introducing Vitality and Wound Points. Neither are perfect, however. And I think it's inelegant to ignore an existing, well-established mechanic that's already available.

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