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

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Does this remnant not seem strange, though? If 5e's regular out-of-combat healing is already so strong (which I say it is), why did they keep this option in there? Was there someone in WotC who said, "Well, if we don't keep this healing surge option, we'll have PCs dropping like flies," and really meant it?
Although I played & ran earlier editions other than 4e, the logic behind 5e's surge inclusion is pretty bewildering design in the extreme. Has anyone from wotc ever commented on their logic with that one?

Here's how strong I've noticed out-of-combat healing to be in 5e: our party habitually hits any available magic shops for healing potions and buffs, assuming they've the scratch for it. And every once in a while things'll get so hairy in combat that they'll drink some potions, yes. But never--not even once--have I seen anyone in our party use the hit dice option in a short rest. It just hasn't happened. We just get our Tiny Hut up and running, take a long rest, and come out of there fresh as daisies.

I'm inclined to call 5e's out-of-combat healing over-generous, if anything.

Yep. Seems quite generous to me.

I'm not awesome: I just blindly stumble onto a consensus view every once in a while and people jump to the inference that perhaps I'm not entirely mad.
This pretty well aligns with my experience as well. It's so unusual that anyone uses hit dice to recover at all to the point that it's almost a pointless restriction to only get half of them back on a long rest at the same time players get all hp & all abilities back. Dialing up healing with potions/wands/etc is easy while having the benefit of still allowing the gm to say "oops" & just curtail the supply if they dialed it too far by accident. Going the other way has so many inputs for the GM to consider with their own downstream impacts that it turns into something far more difficult than it sounds.
 

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Although I played & ran earlier editions other than 4e, the logic behind 5e's surge inclusion is pretty bewildering design in the extreme. Has anyone from wotc ever commented on their logic with that one?


This pretty well aligns with my experience as well. It's so unusual that anyone uses hit dice to recover at all to the point that it's almost a pointless restriction to only get half of them back on a long rest at the same time players get all hp & all abilities back. Dialing up healing with potions/wands/etc is easy while having the benefit of still allowing the gm to say "oops" & just curtail the supply if they dialed it too far by accident. Going the other way has so many inputs for the GM to consider with their own downstream impacts that it turns into something far more difficult than it sounds.
It's really simple. Hit Dice are there so they can claim "look, you don't need a Cleric to play 5e!". Some people manage to run games without healing classes just fine, with a few back end adjustments, and I presume, ample short rests.

I played a lot of AL and home games where the 6-8 encounters benchmark was not the standard, and you basically get all your resources back at the end of the adventure, so I have never used hit dice. Which, now that I think about it, explains some of my frustrations with the healing mechanics the game has.*

Between adventure healing is just handwaved, so I'm solely focused on trying to keep the party going in combat, and getting rid of goofy status effects that you can't shake off under your own power.

And it turns out, if you have good healing options, you really don't need Hit Dice at all, making them fairly vestigial for some games.

*I do remember an adventure in AL where the Bard's Song of Rest came up, but as a Fighter, I could just Second Wind my way to full hit points, and I was also giving out temps with Inspiring Leader so I never needed to bother with them.
 

I'm inclined to call 5e's out-of-combat healing over-generous, if anything.
Yep, it is in comparison. But I think the goal is to allow the 6-8 encounters per day. Which means things like clearing out a typical basement/cave dungeon, or a castle, or other stronghold can usually be done in 1 adventuring day. That helps prevent the whole resting in the middle of clearing out the stronghold issue.

6-8 encounters is still more than I usually want when populating a stronghold, but it's a pretty good target imo.
 


I quite like the healing system in 5e. In-combat healing abilities provide value, but if you don't have any of that you still have options for short and long rests, even stabilization checks. I don't like the 15-minute work day scenario when PCs alpha strike and then immediately call it a day. But that's an issue with the players, not necessarily the game.

I do kinda miss the play loop that you had in older editions, where, lacking a cleric, you would have to take days or even weeks off from adventuring to regain lost HP, sometimes switching to secondary characters for that duration.
 


J-H

Hero
What about non-Life Clerics? I mean, what if you decided, I don't know, to play an Arcana Cleric and your party expects you to keep their hit points out of "critical hit drops me to 0" range?

I know my opinion is the outlier here, but I have always found it quite frustrating to be told "lol, just keep them at 1 hit point, and they'll be fine after combat".

Because you get a short rest after every fight? Let alone a 10 minute break?
I've only seen a Life cleric played. RL time barriers.

Both groups I DM for use short rest healing pretty regularly... well, the high level one less, but that's because I don't throw "5 random encounters a day" at them and they spend a lot of time traveling... but at low levels when they were in Castle Dracula they did.
 

Shiroiken

Legend
One of my recent characters was a healing based cleric (Nature, not Life). I never used Healing Word, letting the Bard use that in combat since I often used my bonus action. Instead I focused on out of combat healing or action based combat healing. Yes, damage pretty much always outpaced healing, but it really didn't matter since everyone entered just about every combat at/near full HP. Only a few times did more than 1 PC ever drop to 0, and almost all of those were big boss fights (there were 2 notable low level fights that just went bad for us). A well timed upcast Cure Wounds, Mass Cure Wounds, or Heal can swing everything.


But nothing says it won't. It is literally a roll of the dice.
Actually it's not. Unless the DM hides the initiative order or you roll each round, the cleric (bard/druid/whatever) can simply choose not to cast the spell if the enemy is going between him and the downed PC. Casting Healing Word in that case only makes sense if: there's AoE or environmental damage, the enemy continues to attack the downed PC, or they already have a failed death save (making a "1" death).
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
But nothing says it won't. It is literally a roll of the dice.
He's very likely to. Again, roll of the dice.

And this is where probability helps you understand, I've made the computation for you, and it shows that even in the at most 25% of the case where not only he does act before you but also manages to hit you, there are still at least two benefits. You can repeat your own convictions time and time again, this is pure maths and really simple.

On top of that, the initiative order is displayed for everyone to see, which allows for actually a much higher percentage of the right healing or other action being chose.

Or again, with competent healing, I could have not gone back to dying instantly.

And that is not the 5e design, combat healing was designed on purpose to be inefficient, again to avoid people getting bored by interminable fights. It works incredibly well at our tables, and I'm pretty sure that this "fun first" design is one of he main reasons for the success of 5e.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
And this is where probability helps you understand, I've made the computation for you, and it shows that even in the at most 25% of the case where not only he does act before you but also manages to hit you, there are still at least two benefits.
How on Earth can you make a computation without knowing any of the variables? You might know the PHB orc's initiative, but not the Cleric or the Fighter's. Or the Fighter's AC. And this is only assuming one orc.

And the other two are not actual benefits, just the cold calculation that says 'sucks to be you' to the players whose turns are being wasted.
 

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