D&D 5E 5e, Heal Thyself! Is Healing Too Weak in D&D?


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Lyxen

Great Old One
You've had eight years to find a DM that would change things for you if you were unhappy. If you've not done so for whatever your reasons were... sorry to hear that. But WotC isn't going to change their entire philosophy of 5E game design just because you're stuck in a game relationship you don't enjoy. At some point you're going to have to be the point person of your own happiness, because if you are waiting on WotC you're pretty much going to be eternally unhappy throughout the entirety of the game's existence.

Especially if the changes run contrary to the 5e philosophy. That does not make then bad changes, but it severely reduces the likelihood to see them implemented, by WotC for sure but also by individual DMs.
 

I think an enormous number of games have conditioned us to expect a 1:1 - 2:1 ratio healing to incoming damage from a non-boss monster, so long as resources last.

I could sit down to play WoW, Skyrim, Overwatch, or a giant pile of other games and get such a result.

That's obviously a poor expectation to have when you switch to D&D, but I find new players who aspire to heal are frequently surprised by the comparatively lower 0.5:1 ratio during combat in D&D.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
And why haven't any of you people who don't like the healing rules in 5E just changed them for your table? The game has been out for 8 years. Have you all just been suffering in silence this entire time? That seems to have been... unnecessary.
I don't run 5e. I only occasionally play it. Essentially all of my D&D play is online (for various reasons, not just the pandemic), so I don't have long-standing connections to rely on for requesting changes or differences. Playing the game as it is written is, more or less, my only option...which is part of why I don't do so all that often. (The fact that it is, in many cases, the only game in town metaphorically speaking is probably the only reason I have played it to any extent.)

And also... so the game doesn't allow you to play every single concept you can think of in an optimal way. Some ways cannot be optimized without adjusting rules. Some ways can't really be done at all without new concepts or re-writes. This should not be a shock to anyone, and is the entire reason games like Champions / Hero System were created... in order to give players the ability to build almost any single concept they could think of in an RPG and have it be pretty balanced across the entire spectrum of the gameplay.

D&D ain't Hero System and it would take a lot of work to turn it into something approaching it. Just ask Steve Kenson. ;)
I...have no idea what this has to do with the topic at hand.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
That was kind of the point of the post- 5e is not balanced in such a way that this is an option, and would require extensive work to make it that way.
Which is why I stand by the statement that healing is anemic in 5e: it is designed to have high-frequency, low-amount healing. That's how the system was built. It cannot be made to be something else without a heavy rewrite, for exactly the reason I gave. PC healing must be compared against monster damage output for these questions, not PC damage output, and altering the damage output of the gamut of 5e monsters is a substantially greater effort than altering player damage output.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Yes, it is, 4e then 5e made it entirely optional, and I think it's a good thing. You can still be one and contribute in other ways, which is cool, because, again, there are very very few people who want that role anyway.
If you are contributing in other ways, you are not a healer. You are someone who contributes in other ways. I mean, I'm not asking for every single action I do be healing, but for healing to be among the most important or memorable contributions. If by the end of the adventure all of the cool things I've done aren't healing related, am I a healer? I'd argue not.
And why haven't any of you people who don't like the healing rules in 5E just changed them for your table? The game has been out for 8 years. Have you all just been suffering in silence this entire time? That seems to have been... unnecessary.

And also... so the game doesn't allow you to play every single concept you can think of in an optimal way. Some ways cannot be optimized without adjusting rules. Some ways can't really be done at all without new concepts or re-writes. This should not be a shock to anyone, and is the entire reason games like Champions / Hero System were created... in order to give players the ability to build almost any single concept they could think of in an RPG and have it be pretty balanced across the entire spectrum of the gameplay.

D&D ain't Hero System and it would take a lot of work to turn it into something approaching it. Just ask Steve Kenson. ;)

Who gets to retain a gaming group for months, let alone years? I've got friends, and we have gamed, but so far I'm the only one who DMs. If I want to play I need to look for a DM to run a game for me. Having a long term stable gaming group is extremely uncommon and a privilege.

Unless your criticism "If you don't like it change it" comes with a warrantied method to house rule as a player/get a stable gaming group, it is just not valid.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
If you are contributing in other ways, you are not a healer. You are someone who contributes in other ways. I mean, I'm not asking for every single action I do be healing, but for healing to be among the most important or memorable contributions. If by the end of the adventure all of the cool things I've done aren't healing related, am I a healer? I'd argue not.

And once more, no-one said this. Why does it always have to be fanatic who want to do just one thing every round of every fight ? And if it's what you like and it's not 100% the most efficient, what exactly is the problem ? It's what you like...

Who gets to retain a gaming group for months, let alone years?

Well, I've known at least half of the people in my gaming tables (about 20 people) for, let's see, about 38 years. And I've continued playing with them even when spending half of my career overseas in the UK, Australia and Singapore, so it's possible, distance and even time zones are manageable you know... And I' know that there are some other gaming friends still playing together here and there on the planet, and I know I would be welcome to play with them again.

I've got friends, and we have gamed, but so far I'm the only one who DMs. If I want to play I need to look for a DM to run a game for me. Having a long term stable gaming group is extremely uncommon and a privilege.

It's not, for us, and then there are clubs and associations, where I went when I was in the UK something like 20+ years ago and who are still friends. It's not a privilege, anyone can do it if friendship and roleplaying is important.

Unless your criticism "If you don't like it change it" comes with a warrantied method to house rule as a player/get a stable gaming group, it is just not valid.

Be friendly and tolerant of the people you lay with. See above for examples.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Where does the proliferation of temporary HP abilities fit into this discussion? There's rather a lot of them.
"Prevention is healing" is a bit of a topic. Is Shield of Faith healing since you get hit less? Is Bless as it increases your saves? Is massive damage healing as foes who are dead don't take actions? (Which brings back to is Bless healing a second time.)

My focus was on healing-as-healing. I like how in 5e everything comes together - that produces a game I enjoy playing. That does not mean Healing is on-par if it wasn't propped up by other rules and subsystems.

There's an active thread right now about the Twilight Cleric being OP. A big part of that is that the economy of tHP granting is too good. How did we get there from a design viewpoint? That's pretty straightforward.

Temp HP aren't protected by the heal-from-zero rule AND tHP have the additional limitation that they don't stack. So in order for actions & resources to be worthwhile to spend on tHP during a combat, tHP need to be inherently on-par with other actions. And we can see that yes, in general the abilities that give them out in-combat (as opposed to long-lasting ones that are more equivalent to out-of-combat healing) are generally better than healing using the same action and resources.

There's also rather more damage prevention in 5E than there has been in any other edition.
I don't quite agree with this. I don't want to get too much into earlier editions that had different design goals, but 4e and 3.x both had a lot more Damage Resist X around. With 5e moving toward a single unified Resist, it's not as common for the PCs except on the curious case of the Barbarian.

Prevention, in this context, is essentially the same as healing provided it doesn't come at the cost of an action, and perhaps not even at the cost of a bonus action although I suspect that's where this convo gets interesting.
I like how everything comes together in 5e - I think that taking all of the systems together, including prevention, gives a fun game. The point I am making is that without other rules propping it up, in-combat healing is weak. We see from practical experience in games that it is often not worth the action unless it has the extra bonus of standing up/clearing death saves from a downed character. And part of that is that there are other methods that are more effective in keeping characters up, from prevention like tHP or bonuses to defenses, to action denial, to killing foes. As 5e is right now it doesn't need in-combat healing to be more effective, but that does not change that it is weak as shows by it not being taken often as a pro-active action, but as a reactive action when it will definitively have the extra perks of standing someone up, including "free healing" of the amount of damage they would have been down below zero if that was tracked.
 

Staffan

Legend
Who gets to retain a gaming group for months, let alone years? I've got friends, and we have gamed, but so far I'm the only one who DMs. If I want to play I need to look for a DM to run a game for me. Having a long term stable gaming group is extremely uncommon and a privilege.
My gaming group has, in a Ship-of-Theseus fashion, been going since about 1996. The composition has changed, but in a continuous/organic fashion that makes it still the same group.
 


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