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General 4e Healing was the best D&D healing

Undrave

Hero
That said, I feel strongly that HP has some silly overlap with my 4 Defences in 4e - Armor Class, Fortitude, Reflex, and Will(power). I'd actually prefer a system that got rid of HP entirely and leaned solely on those defences, or one where each defence has its own HP of sorts. 4e was working in the right direction, both here and with minions.
I think an interesting system would be one where you have stamina points that you need to expend to buff your defenses when you get hit, with some martial classes having ability to spend stamina to buff attacks (and also recovery abilities stronger than other classes) and only when you can't spend that stamina do you take real damage that might take longer to repair on their own and hinder your stamina recovery.
 

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What fiction should HP model and what gameplay should it create? Because people have conflicting ideas on what those should be...
I want a system that can handle Diehard and The Princess Bride. A system where you usually don't take a solid hit, but it's clear when someone's attack causes pain or fatigue. And occasionally you can get a nasty wound. But some badasses can keep fighting despite several nasty wounds.
 


I think the overall concept of Healing Surges wasn't bad. The 5E HD system works in a similar fashion, allowing each character a level of self healing during a short rest. I've actually implemented loss of HD as part of exploration, similar to the Skill Checks of 4E. The problem is that the concept doesn't work as well without the Powers System of 4E, since spell slots are FAR more limited than encounter/daily/utility powers were. The other downside to them was they gave back far to many HP, causing encounters to take forever.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Thanks to all for the responses! From the sounds of it, 4E wouldn't be for me. Which is surprising because we've had a number of LONG combats at our table (like seriously, dozens and dozens of rounds of combat spanning over 9 hours!) and frankly speaking I love combat. :)

I don't like the idea of limiting magical healing because it is external, not internal. You might not have much left in the tank, but that magic gives you more. Sure, with lots of healing in 5E you can exceed the total HP pool that healing surges would give in 4E, but it is at a cost beyond what the character is expending IMO. From the sounds of it, I think the tactical elements from 4E would have been nice to have in 5E, even if toned down so the game wouldn't drag maybe? Tactical options are definitely missing in 5E. There are things you can do, but they are less effective than just swinin' away!

I suppose, like every edition, 4E has bits and pieces that if they could have somehow been combined into 5E, they would make it better. shrug For example, I do like the idea of lower HP for an encounter, which you can bolster more in between, because it would make individual encounters more dangerous but allow you to keep your overall survivability high because you can replenish some before the next fight.

I am a big fan of removing HP bloat, however I would be willing to look at a system where HP was lower but had a "daily" pool you could draw on to recover. I think that is some of the idea behind healing surge, but the limit uses, etc. makes it less appealing. Maybe something where PCs had like half the normal HP, but after each fight you rolled half your HD and recovered that much (provided you had a short time to rest, like even five minutes or so?).

I'll have to look into this... I see a new house-rule possibly on the horizon. :)
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
I want a system that can handle Diehard and The Princess Bride. A system where you usually don't take a solid hit, but it's clear when someone's attack causes pain or fatigue. And occasionally you can get a nasty wound. But some badasses can keep fighting despite several nasty wounds.
Like others, we incorporate fatigue into combat to represent the bad stuff that really hurts. It only happens on a critical hit (possibly) and when you reach 0 hp. However, CON (instead of granting more HP) gives you "free" levels of fatigue.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
@RangerWickett, did you ever play SW 2nd Ed (I think) which used both Vitality (i.e.HP) and Wounds? It has always been my favorite blend of mechanics, the only downside IMO is another numeric to track. Our current system uses fatigue almost like a "condition monitor" from ShadowRun for critical hits and critically failed saves.
 

Windjammer

Adventurer
Furthermore, healing spells and healing potions scaled much better (we didn't need multiple Potion of Healing types) and did not result in 'free HP'
Well, that depends on what you played.

I played 4e for many years and up to upper-end Paragon Tier. Player's Handbook cleric was my favorite and most frequently played class. (Never touched that abomination that is in Essentials.)
I loved playing that class but from a DM point of view it was just a campaign killer. After Divine Power came out, I had enough daily's to neutralize every encounter by dishing out 25 hp of free healing per round until the end of the encounter, 3-4 times a day, over the entire party, one round after the other. Since most campaigns will maximally feature 4 encounters a day, and few monsters will dish out 25+hp per PC per round, my build's healing zones nullified 4e as a game.
So no, I don't agree that 4e had the best healing, since it had too much of it. Mechanically, it was great fun to build and play a cleric (name one other iteration of D&D where you can use Turn Undead to blast elementals and demons, if you take the right feats), great fun to provide powerful and flavorful support at the gaming table. But like pretty much everything else in 4e, the thing fell apart mathematically once you applied any pressure to it. The only 'solution' was to scrap the class and replace it with less OP healing classes like that pointless Essentials Cleric. And that's 4E in a nutshell - pick fun but unworkable vs. non-broken but pointless.
 

Cadence

Adventurer
Supporter
Do any of you have experience with the Wounds and Vigor alternate system in PF? Wounds and Vigor – d20PFSRD

I've been interested in something like it and how it fits in with healing and the resource management, but haven't tried it in a game yet.

My least favorite is 13th age ( which feels a lot like 4e in some ways)...but mostly because everything is based on "days" that are measured by number if encounters and not hours. I need more crunch.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Do any of you have experience with the Wounds and Vigor alternate system in PF? Wounds and Vigor – d20PFSRD

I've been interested in something like it and how it fits in with healing and the resource management, but haven't tried it in a game yet.

My least favorite is 13th age ( which feels a lot like 4e in some ways)...but mostly because everything is based on "days" that are measured by number if encounters and not hours. I need more crunch.
There was a UA of rule variants that proposed a Vitality Pool to go with the HP pool. https://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/UA5_VariantRules.pdf

Your Vitality pool is equal to your Con score, you lose 1 vitality point per 10 Hp taken (2 points per 10 HP if its a critical hit), when HP is at 0, all damage goes to vitality. You regain 1 Vitality per 10 HP healed by spells or features and regain 1+Con mod Vitality per long rest. When at 0 Vitality, you fall to 0 HP immediately.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
4th Edition had the best healing mechanics if you were able to accept the open-ended, situational definitions of words like Damage, Healing, Health, and Wounds that were presented. A sword would either hurt you, or bum you out, or make you unlucky, or tire you out, depending on your mood...so healing was either medical aid, a motivational speech, or a good-luck charm (or sometimes all three.)

It was still better than 5th Edition's healing, though. I mean, at least they tried to define things consistently. In 5E, "slashing damage" reads like something is slashing your flesh. Except it isn't really slashing your flesh until you get healed by magic or a Medicine check. Otherwise you automatically heal it with a nap, which means you weren't slashed at all and you were just sad or tired. Bah.

I do agree that Healing Surges were better than Hit Dice, though.

I guess I've always had a problem with the way hit points and damage have been defined in the game. Because this is a game, and games need points and rules and stuff....they don't really model reality (or make-believe) very well. I've learned to ignore the nature of damage/wounds/healing completely, and just shake my head and change the numbers on my character sheet. "Did that arrow hit you, Carl?" "Hard to say, Bob. All I know is that this 25 here got changed to a 19."
 
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MichaelSomething

Adventurer
I guess I've always had a problem with the way hit points and damage have been defined in the game. Because this is a game, and games need points and rules and stuff....they don't really model reality (or make-believe) very well.
You can make the rules model reality... if you don't mind a good deal of complexity or pacing issues. If you don't mind tracking HP becoming a multi number four step process, then you can make HP model reality fairly well. You'll also not have to mind having a PC taken out of the adventure in the first five minutes due to realistic injury rules.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
You can make the rules model reality... if you don't mind a good deal of complexity or pacing issues. If you don't mind tracking HP becoming a multi number four step process, then you can make HP model reality fairly well. You'll also not have to mind having a PC taken out of the adventure in the first five minutes due to realistic injury rules.
That is the issue though, isn't it. A lot of players struggle between the balance of complexity/pacing and wanting a more gritty, realistic, damage system. I mean, if the system worked well, I would be fine with a 20th level Fighter being killed by a single sword thrust. The simple fact is, IMO, the odds of that happening to a tier 4 PC should be exponentially lower than a tier 1 PC. But, you also don't want to roll half a dozen dice to figure it all out...
 


DnD Warlord

Explorer
If it's based on 4e - yup. There's nothing for the healing to draw on, so it doesn't work. (So you can't go longer just because there's a cleric.)
Yes and no. Most stuff used healing surges, but some of the healers could heal As If they spent a surge
 

FireLance

Legend
Actually, I could decompose 4E healing into a number of elements, and different people may like them all, like none, or like some but not others.

1. Proportional Healing
The most common ways to restore hit points involved spending a healing surge or recovering hit points as if spending a healing surge, which was about one quarter of a character's full normal hit points. In this way, it took the same number of resources to bring any character from 0 to full hit points, regardless of class or level. In other editions, it usually takes more spells to bring a high-level barbarian or fighter from 0 to full hit points than a low-level wizard. One way to partially emulate this in 5E is to have cure wounds restore hit points as if the recepient had spent one Hit Die per level, so a barbarian would recover 1d12 + Constitution bonus hit points per spell level, while a wizard would recover 1d6 + Constitution bonus hit points per spell level. High level characters still need more spell levels to recover from 0 to full hit points, but I can't think of any way to emulate this in 5E without a complete overhaul of healing spells.

2. Self-Healing
Characters could spend healing surges when taking a short rest, or could use an action in combat to spend a healing surge (you can only do this again after finishing a short or a long rest). 5E already has the former. To emulate the latter, allow characters to use an action in combat to spend a number of Hit Dice up to their proficiency modifier - 1, and they can only do this again after finishing a short or long rest.

3. Healing as a Character Resource
Most healing requires a character to spend their own Healing Surge resources, and most healing spells and abilities simply allow the character to spend Healing Surges in combat. Spells and abilities that restore hit points without requiring the expenditure of Healing Surges do exist, but they are limited (a low-level character might only have one or two abilities that allow one character to recover hit points as if they had spent one Healing Surge) and only recovered when the healer finishes a long rest. I think this leads players to be more conscious when their characters lose hit points as the healer has very limited ability to bail them out. Again, I don't think it is possible to emulate this in 5E without overhauling healing spells.

One point that tends to get raised in such discussions is hit point bloat. However, the above elements are independent of the actual hit point totals. You could halve all hit points and still have the above.

Another is the expectation of in-combat healing in 4E, because healer characters are typically able to trigger the expenditure of a Healing Surge as a minor action twice, and regain all uses after finishing a short or long rest. The equivalent healing spell in 5E is healing word, which restores a small number of hit points and requires expending a spell slot.
 

Viking Bastard

Adventurer
Yes and no...if drinking potions used HD it would
Which is how I've been playing it. I really liked surges in 4e as the main pacing mechanic, and I brought a lot of that rythm with me into 5e.

I dont use HD to the same extent as I used surges — surge loss developed into the main "damage" suffered outside of combat in my 4e games but I haven't really used HD in that way — but healing potions essentially allow you to expend a HD in combat, while you are free to use as many HD as you want outside of combat. I assume the PCs to enter most encounters with max HP, and I uae HD as the main gauge (along with spell slots) for the adventuring day.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
I don't like the idea of limiting magical healing because it is external, not internal. You might not have much left in the tank, but that magic gives you more.
It should be noted that 4e did have a few ways in which to heal without using surges – notably, cure light wounds (heals someone as if they had spent a healing surge), cure serious wounds (heals as if they spent two healing surges), and mass cure light wounds (heals all allies in 25 ft as if they spent a healing surge plus your Charisma modifier). These were all daily powers, so if you were a cleric you could specialize in healing and get a little more oomph, but there were still limits.

Another good thing about healing surges and the accompanying healing powers various leader classes had was that they leveled the playing field. Being able to heal twice per encounter (thrice at high levels) with a small bonus to the heal was the baseline for leader classes. With some minor changes, that was the same for the cleric's healing word, the warlord's inspiring word, the bard's majestic word, and the shaman's healing spirit. The artificer's healing infusion worked slightly differently in that it healed without spending a healing surge, but in order to recover the use of it on a short rest someone needed to spend one (which seems like a big power increase, as it allows you to spread out surge use over the whole party even if only one PC is getting the beatdown). The result was that multiple classes could fill the healer role, and you could easily have a fully functional party without a cleric.

It's also a good idea to consider the reason for the healing surge mechanic: the ubiquitous use of wands of cure light wounds in 3e. In 3e, it was assumed that you could easily acquire or create magic items if you had the gold, and a wand of cure light wounds was dirt cheap: 750 gp for 50 charges that each healed 1d8+1 hp (as a comparison, a 4-person party was expected to find a total of 4,000 gp worth of treasure before level 2, and 77,000 gp fron level 10 to 11). 3e was balanced around the assumption that a party would have about 4 encounters per day, with each encounter being relatively easy on its own but sapping some resources in the form of hit points and spells expended, so by the time you got to the fourth encounter you actually had some danger. But the healing stick broke that, because it made it easy to bring everyone back to full hp between fights.

This, in turn, lead to adventure designers filling adventures with harder encounters to provide a challenge. In many cases this lead to fun encounters where players felt like they were actually fighting for their lives, but it also encouraged casters to go nova with all their spells. This in turn forced groups to retreat because the casters were spent. Another side effect was that since the cleric was designed with the assumption that they would spend a significant amount of their daily resources healing people, the rest of their spells were quite powerful. But when they no longer needed to use their own spells for healing, it freed them to use them for all sorts of powerful buff spells and other powerful magic, making the class extremely powerful.

So in 4e, they made being healed the daily resource, not healing someone. So now you could both have fun, challenging encounters and have an attrition mechanic. Now, I'm completely on-board with the complaints that fights dragged on too long and maybe allowed too much healing – those are valid complaints. But to me, that's a question of calibration, not concept.
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
Which is how I've been playing it. I really liked surges in 4e as the main pacing mechanic, and I brought a lot of that rythm with me into 5e.

I dont use HD to the same extent as I used surges — surge loss developed into the main "damage" suffered outside of combat in my 4e games but I haven't really used HD in that way — but healing potions essentially allow you to expend a HD in combat, while you are free to use as many HD as you want outside of combat. I assume the PCs to enter most encounters with max HP, and I uae HD as the main gauge (along with spell slots) for the adventuring day.
Yeah 5E’s hit dice were underdeveloped. Like inspiration. And monsters. And several classes. And encounter design. And about 80% of the DMG.

That frustrates me. Because 5E is a good game that’s somewhat shy of being a great game.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Well, the more I am reading people talking about healing surges, the more I am inclined to think I wouldn't like them. I mean 5E is far from perfect, and frankly I've never liked the rapid healing of 5E by design, but healing surges seem like they would expound that issue with regaining 1/4 maximum hp per use. With roughly 8-10 healing surges a day, you are basically boosting your potential HP pool (in total) by 200-250%
another way of looking at it, since almost all healing effects in 4e cost healing surges, that you only have access to one third of your daily HP pool in any given encounter. Healing effects allowed you to access a bit more of your reserve HP without having to take a rest first.

If we ignore the terms “hit,” “miss,” “damage,” and “heal,” what this basically did was make the HP=stamina model much more concrete. You have a certain amount of energy each day. During a tense situation like combat, you can expend up to about a third of that energy before being at serious physical risk. A blessing from your priest, a pep talk from your commanding officer), a swig of an energy drink, or a John Wick style moment to focus yourself all allow you to push beyond that limit by tapping into your reserve stamina, but you’re still ultimately limited in how much you can safely exert yourself in one day. With a 5-minute breather, you can convert reserve stamina into available stamina, again, up to your daily limit. After that, you need a night’s rest to build that reserve back up again.

When taken as a whole, the common issues many players had with HP and healing in 4e - nonmagical healing, damage on a miss, full recovery on a long rest, daily healing limited by healing surges, second wind, etc... their all follow an internally consistent logic. The problem was that logic isn’t really consistent with the language (hit, miss, damage healing, etc.), and in many cases wasn’t consistent with how people were used to conceptualizing HP in D&D.
 

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