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General 4e Healing was the best D&D healing

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I concur. I never saw this, and I was big on the WotC boards and played more 4E than any other edition. Might go back to it for a bit.
Yep. At most people expected melee strikers to take some hits. If the wizard or an archer or warlock, etc, went a day without losing significant HP, that meant the team were all doing their jobs, and had a good day.

Other days the DM used lurkers very effectively to disrupt those characters.
 

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Undrave

Hero
Yep. At most people expected melee strikers to take some hits. If the wizard or an archer or warlock, etc, went a day without losing significant HP, that meant the team were all doing their jobs, and had a good day.

Other days the DM used lurkers very effectively to disrupt those characters.
Their surges were just so they weren't crippled for the rest of the day by one lurker.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Actually, yes crits went directly to wounds, but had two effects:

1. You were fatigued. You had a -2 to attacks and saves IIRC (or something along those lines).
2. You had to make a Fort save DC equal to 5 plus the number of wounds or you were knocked unconscious.

I think SWSE expanded something with the fatigue idea into a cumulative penalty that maxed out at -5, but I am not certain.
sounds like an adaption of Mutants and Masterminds mechanics.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I liked Comrades Succor it made me think of the Blood bonding rituals you know pressing a cut palm or finger so your blood mingles... and raring up everyone with a minor cost of an owie in there. The idea of a Bard doing that with a party (and one of you gets a little too much) or a Warlord doing it with a allies support each other and are a TEAM with big letters speech (but always someone feels maybe they were letting the group down). Very vivid and emmersive to me.
 

Matchstick

Explorer
If I recall correctly, the D20 Star Wars let critical hits go to your Wound Points immediately, but wounds didn't actually do anything until you hit zero. It didn't quite fit for me.

I mean, if any game needs the ability to slice someone's hand off, it's Star Wars, but in the narrative you never saw someone get a hand sliced off and then keep fighting.
Can't have Star Wars without hands flying off! :)

Savage Worlds could make it happen. Fourth Wound is Incapacitation and a failure on the Incapacitation table (and the right roll) loses you an arm (or, for this example, a hand).
 

jmartkdr2

Adventurer
Actually, yes crits went directly to wounds, but had two effects:

1. You were fatigued. You had a -2 to attacks and saves IIRC (or something along those lines).
2. You had to make a Fort save DC equal to 5 plus the number of wounds or you were knocked unconscious.

I think SWSE expanded something with the fatigue idea into a cumulative penalty that maxed out at -5, but I am not certain.
Saga Edition had a whole condition track system: if you took X hp damage in one go (based on your fortitude defense) you went down a notch: -1, -2, -5, -10, unconscious.

Not a bad system, (I really liked the way big penalties forced you to different actions rather than just making you lose a turn) but at low levels you ran out of hp long before it kicked in, and at high levels you ran down the whole track before hp got below 50%, so in practice it was rarely about both (that and there were some broken feats based off the system, but that's not a core issue). It might have worked better if hp scaling was much less dramatic than 1dX+Con per level.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
If I recall correctly, the D20 Star Wars let critical hits go to your Wound Points immediately, but wounds didn't actually do anything until you hit zero. It didn't quite fit for me.

I mean, if any game needs the ability to slice someone's hand off, it's Star Wars, but in the narrative you never saw someone get a hand sliced off and then keep fighting.
Tell that to Disney. For the most recent Star Wars game Jedi Fallen Order you can lop limbs off of the monsters and robots but not the people. Apparently this was a requirement from on high because mowing down Storm Troopers and other various opponents left and right was okay. But dismemberment? Too much!
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Speaking to MoonSong's complaint, during most of 4e, 90% of the character class features revolved around combat. Utility powers are rare, and encounter or at-will daily utilities were nearly unheard of. The game was balanced around the combat encounter, which meant adding damage to Bards' spells where it didn't necessarily make sense, or requiring the bard to shoot an enemy with an arrow before they could buff or heal an ally outside of their limited Majestic Word usages.

More out-of-combat features did come eventually, especially with Essentials, but 4e as it was originally designed felt built for the miniatures game, and earned that description. The balance on healing was a big part of that, but so was language like hit or miss or damage. The philosophy of what HP means wasn't quite locked down, which meant that the game was designed by different folks at WotC inconsistently on this factor.

I love the healing surge idea. Honestly, I'd love to see a mechanic like healing/stamina mixture where you might draw upon these reserves to perform certain types of physical actions like bull rushes or grapples, and do away with HP=vitality entirely. Maybe even disentangle morale from stamina. The key take away should be that characters are not meat-bags to be sliced and diced over and over again before they die; a "hit" means your morale and/or stamina is weaker because of how hard it was to dodge that attack. But this doesn't play well with lasting effects, like charms, or illusions or ongoing fire damage. Am I on fire from the fireball? Shouldn't I be burning alive? Or is the fire ball overheating me but I managed to avoid it but now I'm more tired because of the heat?

5e still has some of these problems, and I feel strongly that D&D needs to hash out a solution to them.
 

Tallifer

Hero
Speaking to MoonSong's complaint, during most of 4e, 90% of the character class features revolved around combat. Utility powers are rare, and encounter or at-will daily utilities were nearly unheard of. The game was balanced around the combat encounter, which meant adding damage to Bards' spells where it didn't necessarily make sense, or requiring the bard to shoot an enemy with an arrow before they could buff or heal an ally outside of their limited Majestic Word usages.
In combat, combat Powers ruled.

Out of combat, 4E had a robust set of Rituals, Skills (and skill challenges), Martial Practices and Utility Powers. Most Classes, Races, Themes and Backgrounds had features which gave bonuses or extra tricks for non-combat situations.

(In combat, the Bard had combat Powers; during exploration, social interaction, puzzling and larking about out of combat he had many skills, rituals and features like song of rest and words of friendship, none of which required attacking an enemy.)
 

Coroc

Hero
Here's my preferred healing system.

Hit Points Represent Fatigue and Scrapes
You have hit points. Getting 'hit' in combat means the attack made contact but didn't necessarily leave a lasting wound. It just wears you out. If you drop to 0 HP, you are helpless but conscious.

Whenever you rest 5 minutes, you get back up to half maximum. If you rest for an hour, you heal to full.

Wounds Impose Penalties
Whenever you suffer a critical hit, instead of taking double damage, you take normal damage and get a wound. There are six possible wounds, and the duration can vary based on how many HP you have left. You'd roll a d6 to determine which wound:

1. Head - Blinded for one round, then everyone has concealment against you as long as the wound lasts.

2,3. Arm - Drop what you're holding, then disadvantage with attacks or checks using that arm as long as the wound lasts.

4,5. Leg - You fall prone, and then are slowed as long as the wound lasts.

6. Chest - You suffer a level of exhaustion as long as the wound lasts.

Wound Severity
If after the critical hit you still have any HP, it's a Light Wound. If after the crit you are at 0 HP, you make a Con save. If you succeed, it's a Serious Wound. If you fail, it's a Critical Wound.

Light wounds heal on their own after an hour's rest.

Serious wounds heal after a day's rest.

Critical wounds never heal on their own.

Cure Wounds spells can fix wounds, though. Cure Light is 1st level, Cure Serious 3rd, Cure Critical 4th. Those don't restore any hit points, though. Nothing restores hit points other than resting, because it's bad game design to have character roles devoted to healing; that's reactive, and generally unfun.

---

In this way, PCs will tend to get some light wounds that might change their tactics during combat, but afterward they can rest and heal. If the scenario puts pressure on them, they might rest five minutes to get some HP back, and have to deal with the wound lasting a while.
although your homebrew sounds quite solid and has some appeal, i only use the hp are rather fatigue concept.
there are game systems like dsa where the hp= blood, flesh and bones works closer to realism.
d&d imho is better played with hp being pretty abstract an only the hit bringing you to zero causes injury or dead.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
In combat, combat Powers ruled.

Out of combat, 4E had a robust set of Rituals, Skills (and skill challenges), Martial Practices and Utility Powers. Most Classes, Races, Themes and Backgrounds had features which gave bonuses or extra tricks for non-combat situations.
Rituals were stripped bare in 5e sheesh.
Skills, honestly 5e is so far less well defined in my opinion wrt doing anything unless its a spell.
Skill challenges were stripped out of 5e and clues about what skills might accomplish were left out nothing akin to skill powers and no indication or clue what might really be accomplished with superhuman levels of skill that higher level characters can obtain.
Martial Practices in 4e were underdone so I have been putting in dev time but they certainly seemed a good direction (it was silly giving essentials rangers and bards things that should have been Practices)
Outside of combat in the core game, to me 5e is SERIOUSLY vague.
 
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Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Rituals were stripped bare in 5e sheesh.
Skills, honestly 5e is so far less well defined in my opinion wrt doing anything unless its a spell.
Skill challenges were stripped out and clues about what skills might accomplish were left out nothing akin to skill powers and no indication or clue what might really be accomplished with superhuman levels of skill that higher level characters can obtain...
Martial Practices were underdone so I have been putting in dev time but they certainly seemed a good direction (it was silly giving essentials rangers and bards things that should have been Practices)
Outside of combat in the core game, 5e is SERIOUSLY vague.
Martial Practices are fantastic when they finally got around to including them in MP2 (and boy did it open the game up for me). By then, Essentials was just around the corner, Themes were already a thing via Dark Sun, and out of combat features were starting to become more the norm.

5e's been pretty darn good about including out-of-combat focused spells, class features, etc. It's not that 4e couldn't do out of combat skill usage and roleplaying, it's just that it was out of focus due to the heavy focus on the combat wing of the game. 5e is broader and less focused on one particular pillar of the game. Exploration and Social Interaction both get a number of toys to play with for each class right out of the box.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Martial Practices are fantastic when they finally got around to including them in MP2 (and boy did it open the game up for me). By then, Essentials was just around the corner, Themes were already a thing via Dark Sun, and out of combat features were starting to become more the norm.
That finally got around to it was in 2010 they were pumping out product fast (2 years).
4e had hundreds of rituals eventually which you literally cannot aside from a small few via scrolls do in combat
Adding features to classes like Essentials did, locked them down instead of being something most anyone not focusing on magic might learn or might acquire because of a different path. For instance the Skald features work wonderfully with minor flavor tweaks on Warlords and Priests and some even by Rogues or others accessing benefits of various Guilds and international bodies. Locking them into a Class was let us call it counterproductive and not in keeping with the games design. They had the mechanism (which needed some adjustments based on the DMG2) but it was a good concept for open ended learning. The same as open ended learning casters have in the form of rituals.

Themes were great like Paragon Paths for heroic levels with some background thrown in. (more of the details of your story) and are analogs of the Background in 5e - which are similarly nice. But 5e has no Paragon Paths or Epic Destinies which find missing everyone feels small in comparison. Basically Odyssey of the Dragonlords kind of pastes Epic Destinies back into the 5e game (kind of).

To me it looks more like 5e did lip service out of the box (stripping out SC and having far fewer rituals and far less well defined skills) and pasted on Downtime rules later on, shrug.
 
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Staffan

Adventurer
Speaking to MoonSong's complaint, during most of 4e, 90% of the character class features revolved around combat. Utility powers are rare, and encounter or at-will daily utilities were nearly unheard of. The game was balanced around the combat encounter, which meant adding damage to Bards' spells where it didn't necessarily make sense, or requiring the bard to shoot an enemy with an arrow before they could buff or heal an ally outside of their limited Majestic Word usages.
Yes and no. Even utility powers were mainly focused on combat (or at least tactical situations), with a few exceptions – the main thing about them was that they weren't attacks. They'd do things like mobility, defense, or healing.

But the out-of-combat stuff was there, it just wasn't directly linked to classes. That's what things like skill challenges and rituals were for. That's where things like magic mouth, water walk, knock, or passwall lived. This had a number of effects:
  • These effects weren't gated behind classes. You didn't need to bring a cleric to deal with diseases, all you needed was a ritual caster with the right ritual. You could even use ritual magic with an otherwise non-magical class by taking the feat.
  • They did not compete with combat powers for your daily resources. In 3e and 5e, the cost of casting passwall is that that's one less cone of cold you're casting that day. In 4e, the cost is 1,000 gp and 10 minutes.
  • They were less certain. Most rituals required some sort of skill check to cast.
  • They took time to cast. This meant that while you could use rituals to bypass some obstacles, you wouldn't be able to do it in a hurry. You need that door open now, you need someone with Thievery. You got ten minutes, you can cast knock (but it'll cost you 35 gp and a healing surge).
As to whether that's good or bad, that's a matter of taste. I kind of like it myself, and I wish they had done more with rituals in 5e.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Why are you talking about 3E Wizards?

As if the known fact that d20 casters were overpowered in any way lessens my personal observation about 4E?

I'm not defending or excusing 3E Wizards. I'm not talking about 3E at all, other than that 3E is contained in the set of editions whose healing model I prefer, i.e. "not 4E".
 

Speaking to MoonSong's complaint, during most of 4e, 90% of the character class features revolved around combat. Utility powers are rare, and encounter or at-will daily utilities were nearly unheard of. The game was balanced around the combat encounter, which meant adding damage to Bards' spells where it didn't necessarily make sense, or requiring the bard to shoot an enemy with an arrow before they could buff or heal an ally outside of their limited Majestic Word usages.
It's funny because I look at a statement like that and then I think back to the edition before 4e and think how much of an improvement roughly a third of your powers being utility powers was over 3.5 and how much less like a game built almost exclusively around combat 4e felt to me.

If we look at the class that is supposed to be the non-combat expert in D&D 3.5, the rogue, it very quickly becomes incredibly obvious that before 10th level the only non-combat ability that allows the rogue to go above and beyond an extremely constraining skill system is trapfinding. Even at 10th level the best a rogue can do is the ability to take 10 under stress with Skill Mastery - useful but it doesn't exactly allow you to go above and beyond. And with such a ridiculous number of skills in 3.5 the rogue could either spread themselves ridiculously thin or be competent in less than a quarter of skills in 3.5; a 4e rogue was competent by default in more than a third of skills.

Also from the way the skill numbers were cut down the 4e rogue was proficient in far more roguish abilities than the 3.5 one; hide and move silently condensed into Stealth (which all 4e rogues were proficient in) and Sleight of Hand, Pick Lock, and Disable Device all condensed into Thievery (which, again, all 4e rogues were proficient in). That's five skills all related to core elements of roguery (and that were five of the eight AD&D thief abilities before we start talking about rogues being locked in to these skills) all covered in just two skills, leaving four more skills to learn other stuff. Things are so bad for the poor 3.5 rogue that I've made a 4e first level fighter that could put a 3.5 rogue to shame.

Meanwhile if we look at the 3.5 rogue, the class that supposedly has expertise out of combat its abilities are Sneak Attack (clearly a combat ability), Trapfinding (I'll grant this under the protest that it should not exist as it hard-codes magic to being just better), Evasion (a passive ability almost always used in combat), Trap Sense (a combatish ability), Uncanny Dodge (a combat ability), Improved Uncanny Dodge (a combat ability), and six choices for special abilities of which four are pure combat, and slippery mind is mostly combat.

The 5e rogue isn't quite as bad as the 3.5 one; it is at least competent skill-wise and xpertise does work even if it's boring. But Sneak Attack is pure combat, Cunning Action is mechanically written to be pure combat, Uncanny Dodge is combat, Evasion is almost all combat. Thieves' Cant is situational. 5e, through bounded accuracy, does what 4e does through level scaling and means that the skill system defines what you are good at rather than what you simply shouldn't try against anything in the same league. But, especially once you bring feats into play (and take into account that the first two ASIs are probably going on Dex for the rogue in 5e), the 5e rogue struggles out of combat against the 4e one - if you want interesting things to do play a spellcaster.

And this is where the fundamental disagreement occurs. 4e was the first and so far pretty much the only version of D&D where the out of combat situation didn't have an almost Harry Potter level of gap between magic users and muggles. It also had some decent if undercooked scene framing mechanics (badly presented but there). And it is therefore the first and only D&D where the rules out of combat seem like more than a barely designed bolt-on to a tactical minatures game.

More out-of-combat features did come eventually, especially with Essentials, but 4e as it was originally designed felt built for the miniatures game, and earned that description.
oD&D was a hacked tabletop wargame. 3.0 and 3.5 mandated grid based play and had opportunity attacks. AD&D earned its hack and slash reputation, and the Non Weapon Proficiencies were a poorly designed joke that didn't mesh at all with thief skills. The 3.0 and barely different 3.5 and Pathfinder skill systems mostly defined what you couldn't do. And spells with defined areas want maps, period. There has never been an edition of D&D I've felt wasn't built for the minatures game - the difference to me is that 4e let me design my character's fighting style and manage their stamina including taking a breather in combat (second wind) rather than using a video-gamey "Mash A to attack" followed by an equally video-gamey "keep chipping away at the bullet sponge health bar with the only mechanical effect coming into play when it hits zero". At least if you are playing a muggle.
 

DnD Warlord

Explorer
My biggest complaint is how much they hide in spell casting (worse in 3e, but still bad in 5e).

By the end of 3.5 we had so many house rules just to see any non casters at the table
In 4e we always had non casters...now in 5e we are slowly getting back to casters only...

In my saterday night game (via roll20) we have 5 pcs... I am a warlock, we have a barbarian/sorcerer with a 3rd part 1/3 caster for barbarian subclass, a ranger, a rogue arcane trickster, a fighter/wizard (eldritch knight bladesinger) and a paladen/warlock.

The barbarian and rogue were both going non caster but "needed" spells to feel like they contributed...
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
My biggest complaint is how much they hide in spell casting (worse in 3e, but still bad in 5e).

By the end of 3.5 we had so many house rules just to see any non casters at the table
In 4e we always had non casters...now in 5e we are slowly getting back to casters only...

In my saterday night game (via roll20) we have 5 pcs... I am a warlock, we have a barbarian/sorcerer with a 3rd part 1/3 caster for barbarian subclass, a ranger, a rogue arcane trickster, a fighter/wizard (eldritch knight bladesinger) and a paladen/warlock.

The barbarian and rogue were both going non caster but "needed" spells to feel like they contributed...
Off the topic of healing, but related, and I totally agree. There is way too much crossover when it comes to spell use in 5E IMO.

We have two characters in our main game that have no spellcasting whatsoever: a fighter/rogue and a fighter/barbarian. They both contribute a lot, though, but I definitely see your point.
 

jayoungr

Hero
Supporter
If I recall correctly, the D20 Star Wars let critical hits go to your Wound Points immediately, but wounds didn't actually do anything until you hit zero.
That might be in original D20 Star Wars. Saga Edition didn't use Wound Points; it had a Damage Threshold instead: if you take more than your Damage Threshold in one blow, you can be knocked down the condition track, which does give you penalties.

I mean, if any game needs the ability to slice someone's hand off, it's Star Wars, but in the narrative you never saw someone get a hand sliced off and then keep fighting.
Saga Edition has that (Severing Strike). The person who gets a limb severed goes down on the condition track, but can still keep fighting (albeit with a penalty).

As for the narrative, I've seen someone lose a limb and keep fighting in The Clone Wars. And arguably, most of the examples we see in the movies could have kept fighting--they were still conscious, etc.--but with difficulty.

I think SWSE expanded something with the fatigue idea into a cumulative penalty that maxed out at -5, but I am not certain.
Yes, that's the condition track. It maxed out at unconscious, and -10 penalties before that.
 
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Eric V

Hero
You don't mention with a single word the by far biggest downside of the 4E system, that all by itself disqualifies the system for me:

That healing surges were tied to individuals.

Meaning, that in order to properly utilize this important resource, every party member must ensure he or she takes their fair share of the incoming damage.

The notion that a ranger shooting arrows from afar doesn't pull her weight unless she goes in close and soaks a couple of good whacks... or that the Wizard needs to break cover and "meat shield" at least a mook or two...

Completely broke 4E for us.

5E has a healing surges concept, but it is no longer the by far most important source of healing, so it isn't a problem it's tied to each individual.
Too bad no one in your group used the ritual to make that not so... :/
 

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