healing poll

Whenever HP or healing are brought up in D&D conversations, they tend to dominate the rest of the discussion, and no consensus is reached. I think the issue is confused because “healing” really means three different things:

  • per-round: How much healing should you get during a fight? Are you limited to a cure spell or two, or does everyone have second winds, potions, and wands of Cure Light Wounds?
  • per-hour: How much healing should you get between fights? Does the damage from the last fight significantly drain HP and healing resources, or is each battle a self-contained tactical challenge?
  • per-day: How much healing should you get overnight? If you’re really beat up, is it important to determine if you rest a day or rest a week to heal fully?

    I’ll misuse my Mearls software to make a quick poll:

    I’d love to know how you use each of these three elements in your game. Do you (or your DM) limit access to potions, or use easy fights to drain daily resources, or make the characters start a day of adventuring low on HP?

  • 7 Responses to “healing poll”

    1. “Exciting” seems an odd word to use for all three of these questions. All three of these get a firm No if exciting is the validation criteria. Good for the game, appropriate to atmosphere, or supporting tough decision-making are the things I think we’re really judging, but rephrasing those into “exciting” seems a stretch, at least from the perspective of the PC(s) with the healing ability.

      Okay, now having nitpicked like a total asshole (for which I immediately apologize), I prefer limited healing in all three circumstances, because UNlimited healing undermines the game for me. There are plenty of people who would argue with me on the first two, though I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone argue the third.

    2. Mike Monaco says:

      Another total a-hole here; don’t like the ‘exciting’ criterion.

      But as Bob Dole answered the ‘boxers of briefs’ question, I’d answer all: depends.

      I almost always prefer limiting healing during a battle, and having some resource-management determine between-battle and overnights.

    3. Mike Monaco says:

      That’s : “Boxers or briefs”. old SNL reference. fail. sorry.

    4. Roland says:

      I agree. Using “Exciting” here is borderline passive aggressive and manipulative in trying to prove your point.

    5. paul says:

      OK, I apologize for “exciting”. At the risk of invalidating the extremely scientific data already gathered, I’ll change it midway to “important”.

      Every edition has limited in-battle healing, so that’s not actually a very interesting question.

      Limited healing during the same day is more interesting: it seems like there’s not much support for the heal-fully-between-battles idea proposed at one point. if the survey were more granular, we’d know more about whether, say, 4e healing surges provided too much per-day healing.

      The limited healing overnight seems to be the main area where there are different preferences. For a lot of games, I expect it doesn’t make much of a difference. I’m interested in what’s happening in the games where it does make a difference.

    6. Doc Schott says:

      I’ve always liked the variants on the “binding wounds” rules you see cropping up around the OSR blogs – healers can pick a person right after combat and spend a turn on first aid to recover a few HP. It cuts back a little on ultra-paranoid play, which is bluntly pretty damned boring, at low levels. Yet it still requires the party to sacrifice resources (time, torches, cloth or bandages, possibly herbs and water) on a scale where it’s actually meaningful (as opposed to “50 feet of progress and the Wizard’s spells are used up. TIME TO CAMP!”). It increases the character’s survival rate in a way that doesn’t feel cheap.

      I tend to keep in-combat healing items fairly rare, although that’s more a trickle-down effect from playing on the Weird end of the scale. By the same token, enemies rarely have restorative magic available but use it when they’ve got it. Binding rules counterbalance that somewhat, of course. My players wind up saving potions and scrolls for when they really need them, since making them ain’t cheap and they take up a lot of space that could be used for lucre..

      On the other hand, the game I play right now (Lamentations of the Flame Princess) has remarkably generous day-to-day healing rules, as long as you can find somewhere safe to sleep.

      All of the above fit in well with the “HP are as much psychological as physical” ethos as well. A good sleep leaves you feeling a Hell of a lot better (speaking as someone who lives with chronic pain); a quick breather after a fight lets you steady your nerves and make sure none of your injuries is going to get any worse down the road. As opposed to, say, fighting running battles back to a fortified position, where you barely have time to tie a wounded comrade over his horse and pray he makes it back to the walls.

    7. Laura says:

      Players want as much healing as they can get, but honestly, I’d rather not bother during a battle. This will actually make things easier as the game would be balanced to give you a fighting chance, and you wouldn’t have to bother worrying about whether to heal up: you can’t. Do interesting things with your turns. Conserve. Strategize. Getting knocked out of battle, ideally, would not ACTUALLY kill your character.

      I’d be okay with no healing between encounters, or very little, because the tactical decision BETWEEN encounters — mid-dungeon, do we retreat or go for it? — is exciting to me.

      Psychologically, I think it’s important to heal somewhat overnight and go into a new DAY (probably a new game day) somewhat refreshed.

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