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Pathfinder 2E Discussing a new PF2 healing paradigm

CapnZapp

Legend
Surges are provided as an in-combat healing alternative. When you have five minutes, you heal a surge's worth of hit points but for free; you don't have to spend a surge.
 

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I'm not. Put simply, the Pathfinder 2 game expects you to go into each combat at full health. Combat is calibrated with this in mind. Medicine and focus healing is provided to give heroes the ability to heal up fully between encounters. Combats are difficult enough when you start with all your hit points, and there's normally no reason to not do this.
Before Cody of Taking20 made a video about why he was leaving PF2, he made a video comparing the PF2 and the 5e rulesets. After reviewing (I think) 10 criteria, he gave the edge to PF2.

One of his criteria was long term healing. It made me chuckle that he gave the point to PF2 on the grounds that 5e’s “on a long rest you heal all your hp” was unrealistic, since PF2 does the exact same thing, only on a short rest.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
If only.

PF2 doesn't have short rests. Had there been a rule (or even variant) that said "after a short rest everybody's back to full health" I probably wouldn't have started this thread.

This thread is about those of you who look at focus spells and the Medicine skill (and its feats) and just go cross-eyed. So. Much. Complexity... for a game that doesn't work well if you don't heal back up fully between encounters!

All those rules end up doing is answer the question "will we need 40 minutes or will 30 do?" But who cares...?

At least with these rules there are no dice-rolling, no decision points, no nothing. Just "I need three surges worth of healing so we're ready in 15 minutes" boom done.

The end result is exactly the same* but with way less clutter. :)
*) I guess you save a few skill and feat choices, but I mean in the game
 


kenada

Legend
But doesn't that make the game worse if you do want to care about your plan for healing and how many minutes it takes?
I don’t think CapnZapp runs a style of game where that’s important, so it’s probably a non-goal. However, in my experience, it’s also really hard to create effective time pressure in PF2, so it’s probably not even a big deal even then. I used to be a big advocate for that approach, but it eventually stopped working in my campaign. The PCs got a few levels, and they added a dedicated healer.

If you want to care about that stuff, and you want to facilitate attrition-based play, my suggestion would be to steal system strain from SWN/WWN. It should slot nicely over the default healing system in PF2. System strain limits how much healing you can take. That will make exploration much more dangerous and time much more precious. To avoid TPKs, you’ll want to have a retreat procedure (like the chase subsystem).
 

In my own experience running PF2e, it matters when it matters, most of the time if the players have a procedure established I won't demand to play out how long it takes, so long as we know its possible it happens. If its time sensitive, we track it, just like the difference between encounter mode and exploration mode. Usually that would be if I have enemies who may or may not come into the room at 10 minute intervals.
 

kenada

Legend
In my own experience running PF2e, it matters when it matters, most of the time if the players have a procedure established I won't demand to play out how long it takes, so long as we know its possible it happens. If its time sensitive, we track it, just like the difference between encounter mode and exploration mode. Usually that would be if I have enemies who may or may not come into the room at 10 minute intervals.
What techniques are you using to create time pressure, or is it just the specific scenario where there’s a chance someone can interrupt the PCs every ten minutes?
 

I've experimented with different techniques and haven't found a strict favorite yet--

Random rolls to test the current location a certain wandering band of drunken rowdy ghosts is headed in a looping undead masquerade party culminating in a spectral reenactment of a massacre worked pretty well for that particular adventure.

Sometimes creatures will become aware of the PCs if the 'dungeon' isn't that large so resting just means they'll try and rush in to kill the PCs while they're resting.

Sometimes its a narrative time pressure, if you don't do X by Y, Z will happen.

Sometimes I just need to track time to know when certain times of day will occur, like dawn and dusk, midnight, etc. This is especially true if i just want them to have a sense of how long they've already been down here.

Sometimes, if not everyone is paused for the healing, someone is searching a room or something while others heal, they could technically trigger something worth knowing exactly how fast the healing happened.

Plenty of times I just don't, I know that since time isn't a constraint and they have the forethought to outline a healing procedure that legally works, and doesn't meaningfully consume resources, I just hand wave the actual time passing and be like "yeah you stick around to lay on hands and treat wounds enough to max out your HP" Pathfinder 2e doesn't need to limit out of combat healing resources to be challenging the way DND does, so its not a big deal-- if the players are investing the opportunity cost from a character build perspective, and have the unlimited time I handwave it, like I said, it matters when it matters.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
But doesn't that make the game worse if you do want to care about your plan for healing and how many minutes it takes?
I believe the Medicine rules were created in a PF1 mindset, where it is not inconceivable to keep pressing on (or at least being attacked) at low health.

But PF2 is simply not designed for that. Sure, a moderately experienced GM can calibrate encounters that work for a wounded party, but if you're running stock Paizo AP encounters, it significantly increases the risk of a random TPK. It's just no fun. The game is so very clearly fine-tuned with fully healed heroes in mind.

(It's not that fully healed heroes don't go down. They very much do. But the action economy can spiral out of control if that happens early. Look at it this way: if you're at half health every monster that hits you gets in a critical, so to speak. You just don't want to give them that handicap.)

So. Since the rest of the game presumes you rest up between encounters (again unless you or the adventure quite specifically sets up something else), the rules for Medicine, focus-based healing and so forth comes across as hopelessly out of sync. Those rules are very complicated indeed.

And I'm asking the naked-emperor question: Who says the rules need to be that complicated? Why do you need to make that many die rolls? Why are you asked to make decisions like going for a DC 25 treat wounds or settling for the DC 15 one? It's just a run-away clutter catastrophe imo.

But that's not the clincher. There are several ttrps with highly detailed rules. The clincher is that while highly simulationist rules might suit some games, it does not suit PF2, a game where you simply heal back up fully everytime you get the chance! Trust me, you don't care if it takes you 20 minutes or 40 minutes or 60 minutes. You do it because it is utter reckless not to! And since the healing is free (other than the time consumption) there just aren't any compelling reasons to rush it. PF2 just isn't anything like old D&D. Everything that matters is different.

This thread is for those of you that sees the wisdom in this line of argument. I'm not forcing anyone to abandon the complicated, time-consuming, analysis-paralysis-prone core rules. I'm just showing a different way, where you shuck all the minutiae without losing anything that's good about Pathfinder 2! I truly believe more people would play Pathfinder 2 if Paizo had had the courage to relegate the official rules for Medicine et al to a variant in the GMG, and instead printed something comparably quick and simple to these rules in the CRB! :)
 

nevin

Adventurer
I don’t think CapnZapp runs a style of game where that’s important, so it’s probably a non-goal. However, in my experience, it’s also really hard to create effective time pressure in PF2, so it’s probably not even a big deal even then. I used to be a big advocate for that approach, but it eventually stopped working in my campaign. The PCs got a few levels, and they added a dedicated healer.

If you want to care about that stuff, and you want to facilitate attrition-based play, my suggestion would be to steal system strain from SWN/WWN. It should slot nicely over the default healing system in PF2. System strain limits how much healing you can take. That will make exploration much more dangerous and time much more precious. To avoid TPKs, you’ll want to have a retreat procedure (like the chase subsystem).
yeah in PF you either end up with a game where everything is always critical and must be done immediately, (turning everything into a crisis which means crises are normal and not really crises to the party), or there's no time pressure. There really seems to be no in between.
 

nevin

Adventurer
I believe the Medicine rules were created in a PF1 mindset, where it is not inconceivable to keep pressing on (or at least being attacked) at low health.

But PF2 is simply not designed for that. Sure, a moderately experienced GM can calibrate encounters that work for a wounded party, but if you're running stock Paizo AP encounters, it significantly increases the risk of a random TPK. It's just no fun. The game is so very clearly fine-tuned with fully healed heroes in mind.

(It's not that fully healed heroes don't go down. They very much do. But the action economy can spiral out of control if that happens early. Look at it this way: if you're at half health every monster that hits you gets in a critical, so to speak. You just don't want to give them that handicap.)

So. Since the rest of the game presumes you rest up between encounters (again unless you or the adventure quite specifically sets up something else), the rules for Medicine, focus-based healing and so forth comes across as hopelessly out of sync. Those rules are very complicated indeed.

And I'm asking the naked-emperor question: Who says the rules need to be that complicated? Why do you need to make that many die rolls? Why are you asked to make decisions like going for a DC 25 treat wounds or settling for the DC 15 one? It's just a run-away clutter catastrophe imo.

But that's not the clincher. There are several ttrps with highly detailed rules. The clincher is that while highly simulationist rules might suit some games, it does not suit PF2, a game where you simply heal back up fully everytime you get the chance! Trust me, you don't care if it takes you 20 minutes or 40 minutes or 60 minutes. You do it because it is utter reckless not to! And since the healing is free (other than the time consumption) there just aren't any compelling reasons to rush it. PF2 just isn't anything like old D&D. Everything that matters is different.

This thread is for those of you that sees the wisdom in this line of argument. I'm not forcing anyone to abandon the complicated, time-consuming, analysis-paralysis-prone core rules. I'm just showing a different way, where you shuck all the minutiae without losing anything that's good about Pathfinder 2! I truly believe more people would play Pathfinder 2 if Paizo had had the courage to relegate the official rules for Medicine et al to a variant in the GMG, and instead printed something comparably quick and simple to these rules in the CRB! :)
It goes back to the elephant in the room. Medicine rules are there to make sure that Society Games can continue without healers. In my opinion all the things that just don't fit PF2 well are because of that design philosophy. Nothing can prevent any society group from being effective so there has to be a way to bypass any classes specialties. Thus a driver of rules clutter. I do agree with you. They'd have been better making an optional rule set that society GM's (or other DM's) could optionally use in such situations.
 

kenada

Legend
PFS makes it easy to get a wand of cure light wounds, but healing wand spam was pretty common in PF1 regardless (PFS or not). Treat Wounds is obviously meant to replace that, but it’s kind of a crappy replacement. I wish they had made easy healing the default with gritty rules you could layer on top if you wanted attrition or for healing to be less ‘easy’.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Medicine rules are there to make sure that Society Games can continue without healers.
The rules in this thread does the same job, only infinitely faster and cleaner shrug

But less flippant, because free healing exists you never use spell slots for healing magic between encounters. The Heal spell is awesome, but you use it when you don't have ten minutes. You use it when you only have twelve seconds!

I say free, because in PF2, "one character specializing in one skill and its feats" is hardly a burdensome cost. It's not that you give up on major power. First, feats just aren't significantly powerful. Second, the game separates class feats from skill feats, so you don't even have to sacrifice any class feats.

It's easy to think I'm making too much of a small issue. I'm not. There are so very many design decisions that all interlock into creating this situation, where I can establish the core medicine rules are So. Very. Overblown and complicated for zero benefit.

My point here is that your implicit judgement of Society players is misplaced. By "healers" you mean people with cure light wound (the spell is now called Heal). And by "without healers" you mean the Medicine skill.

But that's not how the game works. A healer can well be someone with the Medicine skill. And indeed it would be foolish for a party to not have or two such characters.

If you don't have any access to Medicine, adventuring will be that much harder, since now you can't pay with time; you have to pay with spell slots or money. And both of those are incredibly expensive!
  • When your Cleric runs low on slots you need to stop for the day; combat is very risky if you have no emergency healing power
  • And potions are incredibly expensive for what you get. They cost a lot (only 4 consumables for one permanent item of any given level) and they restore piddling amounts of healing

tl;dr: in PF2 everybody brings Medicine, no matter how many spellcasting healers you got
 


CapnZapp

Legend
PFS makes it easy to get a wand of cure light wounds, but healing wand spam was pretty common in PF1 regardless (PFS or not). Treat Wounds is obviously meant to replace that, but it’s kind of a crappy replacement. I wish they had made easy healing the default with gritty rules you could layer on top if you wanted attrition or for healing to be less ‘easy’.
Treat Wounds is crappy alright, but not so much for the characters as for the players.

In game it works. It takes half an hour or maybe a full hour sure, but it does the job.

It's out-of-game it's an administrative howler, asking the players to remember who is immune to what, what DC you want to aim for, and never yielding a nice even chunk of healing (always dice rolling), and even making it possible to accidentally kill your friend. And nobody's interested in whether you needed 40 or 50 minutes since nothing else in the game depends on that. New feats even ask you to remember if you got any divine healing that day (so you could chug Elixirs of Life but not Healing Potions).

It's a sadistic nightmare of overblown proportions. Somebody completely and utterly failed to keep eyes on the ball here. Again, why even have those rules when everything else basically depends on the GM ignoring all of it to say "after one hour, everybody's up and running again, do you go left or right?"
 

mach1.9pants

Adventurer
I like the variant you proposed. It is very similar to simmer house rules I used with wounds. The idea being your HP are more fitness and stamina, you get them back really really. Once you're out HP, wounds come into play healing is much harder and costly. Thus things like cure light wounds are now more restore light stamina, don't affect wounded peasants etc, which is a world building thing I like as a side effect. To actually cure wounds requires components (money) and/or time. I use this in 5e and ramped up the challenge a bit, ended 5e whack a mole 0 hit points.

But I digress, if I could convince a group to play PF2, I would certainly trial your rules. Nice one!
 

Not as experienced a DM as some of ya’ll. But when I started running I asked my DM for tips and she said “never ask for a roll if failing ain’t interesting.” Looking at the Medicine skill the penalty for failure is waiting another hour. Or two. That ain’t very interesting
Reading the rules, the intent of the Medicine skill is having you to stop for 10 minutes (recharging your Focus Spells) then keep adventuring for at least an hour before resting again and topping off more HP

As written, Medicine just don’t work. You want to be full health to avoid a party wipe but can only Treat Wounds once per hour AND the amount healed doesn’t scale well. You end up resting for multiple hours between fights.

Fixing healing would be adding a reason to make a Medicine roll. And making that 40% chance of failure on the roll interesting. A benefit for success and penalty for failure that matter. Otherwise you might as well make full HP recovery hour and skim over healing
CapZapp's rules seem fine but don't add a benefit for crits or penalty for failures. And they don't add a reason to bother rolling for Treat Wounds apart from mandating tracking time in ten minute intervals between fights. There's no reward for be a Legendary Medic

What if you had a cap on Healing Surges that could be used each fight? The 4th Ed Second Wind as a Focus Power that you needed to regain. And Treat Injuries could crit to grant a bonus Second Wind in an encounter. Fumbling could reduce your maximum Healing Surges for the day.
 

This itself seems like a really poor and finicky rule that'd I'd encourage people to ignore. Focus spells aren't powerful enough that additional limitations are needed.
I mostly agree, though there is the issue that removing that rule makes the refocusing feats most focus casters get at level 12ish and 18 become much less valuable. This may or may not be a thing you want, but it's definitely a thing.
 

Norade

Villager
I mostly agree, though there is the issue that removing that rule makes the refocusing feats most focus casters get at level 12ish and 18 become much less valuable. This may or may not be a thing you want, but it's definitely a thing.
Given that half of the focus spells aren't worth their word count and the other half are mandatory spells that would cause you to take a long rest if they run entirely dry, I don't see the issue.
 

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