D&D 5E Heal rate options and adventuring days

slobo777

First Post
The optional heal rates and guideline total xp for adventuring day are not completed rules yet.

However, I did notice that we were given in playtest 2, a dial for heal rates, but no corresponding dial for "adventuring day". To me, the two are linked, but this also brings in adventure-level design and pacing.

It seems reasonably obvious that if a team starts the day at e.g. 75% of total hit points, then what they can expect to achieve in that day is less than a team that starts at 100%.

It's not quite so obvious to me what the corresponding adventuring day or adventure guidelines should be.

With simple daily full healing, you could for instance, design a whole adventure, so that by the guidelines it had 4 days' worth of encounters. Then set a storyline time limit of 4 days to complete the adventure (else the bad plot thing happens) - simply give the players this information at the outset, and allow them to take an extended rest at any point. The players have an incentive to push harder when they are doing well, and have some flexibility when they are unlucky. And the whole PC/monster balance should play out by the standard assumptions of combat difficulty in the rules (whatever they are - currently is seems pretty easy, but quite a bit swingy so it is entirely possible for an adventure to spin off path and need some creativity in any case)

With the slower healing rules, it is not quite as clear to figure out what total xp to put into that same basic adventure design. Putting the same amount of encounters in as with overnight full healing would obviously reduce the PC's chances of success, and make the heroe's goals simply harder to achieve. I'm not sure advocates of slower healing rates are actually looking for that (maybe some are though, especially with the default game assumption being easy mode). Is the answer going to be a simple "less combat and damaging encounters" to go with slower healing?

What kind of "heal-matching" dials or advice for adventure days, or whole adventure design would posters like to suggest for the slower healing rates?

I am assuming a certain amount of "gamism" in the adventure design. For adventures where an assessment of PC chances of success and difficulty upfront is of low importance (lots of reasons and styles of play where this is the case, and I'm not at all anti- any of them), then I guess the heal-rate options are stand-alone and a choice made on what "feels right" in the game world independent of adventure design.

So a secondary question - is the "heal rate" dial effectively independent of encounter and adventuring day guidelines? In other words, if you are a group that chooses to set healing slower than reset-every-day, then actually you will be ignoring the adventuring day guidelines, and doing something else instead?
 
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Rhenny

Adventurer
I've never had much trouble with a short adventuring day, and so far with D&DNext it hasn't been an issue. Perhaps it is because of the adventure types we've been playing, perhaps it is because the monsters don't hit the PCs enough, perhaps it is because after 1st level, the HD healing that PCs have really seems to bolster them quite well for an adventuring day.

In the first playtest package at 1st level, it seemed that the PCs could adventure for hours (exploring, interacting) and then have anywhere near 2-4 combats (depending on difficulty of encounter) before they absolutely needed to rest. In the 2nd package, that number seemed to become more like 4-6+ (we played an original adventure and parts of Blingdenstone).

In both the 1st and 2nd playtest packages, when the PCs gain more HD of self healing, that really extends the adventuring day.

As for adventure design, both Caves of Chaos, and Blingdenstone make it possible for PCs to just go out and encounter a situation have a few combats and then return to a safe area, so if players wanted to take advantage of a short adventuring day, they certainly could. In fact, the way we played Blingdenstone actually has been pretty modular - one 2 hour session PCs interact, explore and combat to complete one of the quests in the adventure. That feels ok to us.

As for slower healing dial or faster healing dial, I think both will work for these types of adventures. To me it really just becomes a question of campaign feel. In a gritty game with slower healing, the campaign calender will pass more quickly as PCs come back to safe points to rest. Unless there is a time constraint in the adventure, they will most likely rest until they are at 100% hp; this is especially true in adventures like Caves of Chaos and Blingdenstone because the PCs can get back to safe areas relatively easily.

As for using xp values to decide how to challenge the PCs, right now it is nearly impossible. The values seem arbitrary. I just wing it, and quite frankly, I think the monsters are too weak to even judge how to build an adventure that will challenge the PCs over a full adventuring day. If I know that I want to challenge the PCs in a particular encounter, I generally just have a 2nd wave of attackers enter the scene at some point during the encounter. Sometimes they are similar monsters, other times they are more dangerous foes. As the game is now, this is the only way I can vary the adventuring day dial. Since using monsters (and making them up) is pretty easy at this point in the playtest, the flexibility of "in game" adjustments works pretty well.
 

slobo777

First Post
I've never had much trouble with a short adventuring day, and so far with D&DNext it hasn't been an issue.

Not really what I wanted to talk about. It's important to the game, and potentially related (in that too loose an adventure can let the players do 5MWD if they want) but a different can of worms I think ;)

As for slower healing dial or faster healing dial, I think both will work for these types of adventures. To me it really just becomes a question of campaign feel. In a gritty game with slower healing, the campaign calender will pass more quickly as PCs come back to safe points to rest. Unless there is a time constraint in the adventure, they will most likely rest until they are at 100% hp; this is especially true in adventures like Caves of Chaos and Blingdenstone because the PCs can get back to safe areas relatively easily.

This is what I'd like to discuss.

My understanding of your suggestion quoted is that slower healing rates might be used by your group to add a little gritty "realism" to injury recovery times in terms of the story. But the impact during an adventure is mainly going to be saying "you rest for 2 (or 3) days" as opposed to "you rest overnight". Perhaps with some flexibility, down to the players whether or not they feel the PCs need some full-on R&R, or are happy with healing up to 80% or 90% of maximum and going for however far that takes them.

That would of course mean that the same time-critical adventure design as in the OP ought to include one or two extra "rest days" in the planned time frame when using the slow recovery options. Alternatively it's just plain harder to succeed in the adventure.

As for using xp values to decide how to challenge the PCs, right now it is nearly impossible. The values seem arbitrary. I just wing it, and quite frankly, I think the monsters are too weak to even judge how to build an adventure that will challenge the PCs over a full adventuring day.

Agreed. The current numbers seem off in multiple ways.

A bit of seat-of-the-pants tweaking is pretty common anyhow IME.

But I'd like to think WotC could get the numbers and advice better as the playtest goes forward. The tweaking and play-by-feel is all very well for experienced DMs, but very few start by intuitively doing this well. If numbers and advice eventually hit a solid playable middle ground, then wannabe DMs don't have to take as many risks, or as long to learn the ropes.

I'm not sure if the xp encounter-level guidelines should include "if the PCs beat the encounter too easily, send in a second wave, same xp cost" . . . ?
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Yes..Slobo, you understand my observation/experience perfectly.

Sorry I began my post kind of off topic, but I think it relates at least tangentially.

I'd be interested in other people's opinions/experiences.

Cheers.
 

the Jester

Legend
Not really what I wanted to talk about. It's important to the game, and potentially related (in that too loose an adventure can let the players do 5MWD if they want) but a different can of worms I think ;)... >snip<

My understanding of your suggestion quoted is that slower healing rates might be used by your group to add a little gritty "realism" to injury recovery times in terms of the story. But the impact during an adventure is mainly going to be saying "you rest for 2 (or 3) days" as opposed to "you rest overnight".

Well, it depends. An adventure with a timeline (see Red Hand of Doom for a particularly excellent example) will, of course, keep advancing while the party rests. Others might have guidelines for how quickly the monsters replace themselves (see Caves of Chaos).

But most importantly, the world keeps moving. I think this is a very important, and hugely overlooked, factor. It plays into the whole "1st to 20th level in a month" problem that 3e and later editions seem to encourage. Which- yes, it's a matter of playstyle preference and taste- some of us find to be a HUGE problem.

Perhaps with some flexibility, down to the players whether or not they feel the PCs need some full-on R&R, or are happy with healing up to 80% or 90% of maximum and going for however far that takes them.

Back in the day, food supplies and their cost were an issue with unlimited resting. If it took 6 days to get back to town, and the party only had 4 weeks of food, they basically had 2 weeks of adventuring time (plus whatever foraged supplies they could find).

Breaking away from "expected wealth by level" stuff will allow a return to this style of game- one where resource management is important. If the party only has 1000 gp between them at 7th level, the cost of food and arrows matters. (Sure, you can take Create Food & Drink as a spell in place of Prayer or whatever, but it's a meaningful choice now.)

That would of course mean that the same time-critical adventure design as in the OP ought to include one or two extra "rest days" in the planned time frame when using the slow recovery options. Alternatively it's just plain harder to succeed in the adventure.

One way to look at this might be to declare that the bad guys take a day off (or half a day, or whatever) whenever they have at least 3 (? 5? 10?) of their number that need to heal up, just like the pcs do.
 

However, I did notice that we were given in playtest 2, a dial for heal rates, but no corresponding dial for "adventuring day". To me, the two are linked, but this also brings in adventure-level design and pacing.
I agree that they're closely related, since both are about recovering resources.

Healing determines how quickly you recover hps or HD. The 'length of the adventuring day' determines how quickly you recover daily powers - which include healing spells. So, alike in kind (both resource recovery) and inextricably linked (because recovering healing spells speeds healing).

The simplest thing to do would simply to put all resource recovery on one dial. If it takes a 6-hour rest to re-memorize spells and re-set other 'daillies,' then 6hrs also restores all hps. If it takes weeks to heal, it takes weeks in your wizard's library to re-memorize spells or weeks of purification and prayer to recover clerical spells or weeks of ale & wenching to get your Barbarian's rage back on tap.

With the slower healing rules, it is not quite as clear to figure out what total xp to put into that same basic adventure design. Putting the same amount of encounters in as with overnight full healing would obviously reduce the PC's chances of success, and make the heroe's goals simply harder to achieve. I'm not sure advocates of slower healing rates are actually looking for that (maybe some are though, especially with the default game assumption being easy mode). Is the answer going to be a simple "less combat and damaging encounters" to go with slower healing?
I think the desire for slower healing is mostly a desire for slower /natural/ healing for the sake of 'realism.' That's the way healing always worked before: natural healing was a very slow, and you might be forced to use it at very low levels, but healing was primarily the responsibility of the Cleric (or other caster, or Rogue with UMD and WoCLW). 5e is headed back that way, the 'dial' allows you to push it back farther.
 

Back in the day, food supplies and their cost were an issue with unlimited resting. If it took 6 days to get back to town, and the party only had 4 weeks of food, they basically had 2 weeks of adventuring time (plus whatever foraged supplies they could find).
I remember those days, and I don't know what's supposed to be so all-fired great about them. But, assuming there was something I'm not remembering, the mechanical aspect of whether your need to take 2 weeks out to heal or 6 hours is pretty trivial:

EX1:

Caller: "Aggro the Axe got knocked to -1 hp, guess we'll have to go back to Homlet and until he heals up."

DM: "Since he's so badly wounded, it'll take a full week for him to recover."

Cleric Player: "But, after one day I can just cast a few Cure Light Wounds on him and hell be at full hps, one more day and I get my spells back."

DM: "Yeah, but because he was knocked to negatives he still needs a full week."

Caller: "Fine, we go back to town and rest up a week, then come back to the door we were working on before those wandering monsters came by."

DM: "OK, mark off your rations, get back your hit points, and pick new spells. Anyone want to buy any more gear? No? OK, when you get back the door is still locked, but the runes have stopped glowing..."


EX 3:

Cleric Player: "OK, who else needs healing?"

Fighter Player: "I do, I got dropped in the surprise round, remember?"

Cleric Player: "Right, I tap you with the Heal Stick until you're healed up."

DM: "Mark off the charges and tell me how many you used so I know how long it takes."

Thief Player: "While he's doing that, I get back to trying to get this door open. I'll take 20."

Wizard Player: "If it's not open by the time everyone's healed, I cast Knock."

Cleric Player: "2 .. 4 .. 2 .. 7 .. 3 .. 9! .. 3 .. 6 .. 5 .. 2 .. sheesh..."

Fighter Player: "One more, I'm down 6."

Cleric Player: "That could waste some healing"

Fighter Player: "You've been rolling '1's."

Cleric Player: "9! See? Wasted 3 hps on you. That's 11 charges you owe to party treasure."


A week plus travel time or a minute plus six seconds, on the mechanics side, it's still just some bookkeeping.

Of course, the whole 'living world' conceit could make it matter a whole lot, and it could impact campaign pacing and player decisions, but, mechanically, it no big deal to tweak healing from between every combat to days or even weeks. Though tweaking /just/ natural healing, not magical healing or other forms of resource-recovery, amounts to a 'natural healing suckiness' dial. If natural healing takes too long, it just becomes another dis-used non-viable/strictly-inferior option.
 
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slobo777

First Post
One way to look at this might be to declare that the bad guys take a day off (or half a day, or whatever) whenever they have at least 3 (? 5? 10?) of their number that need to heal up, just like the pcs do.

I like this. Although the usual scenario is that e.g. 20% of the bad guys are now dead - replenishing or re-enforcing them often makes good story sense, but can make an adventure drag. Finding good rational things for them to do during PC healing time for slower-recovering heroes works for me, and potentially could be written into published adventures.

Published adventures is actually an interesting thing here. Do you think WotC will write adventures to work for one value of the healing dial? I think so, and it will probably be the default re-set overnight. They will eventually have dozens of options like "slow recovery" that affect how the game plays. So the best they can do is write general advice for each one on how to modify adventures so that they still play nicely when you choose slow recovery and e.g. low magic (not a currently documented option, but I imagine it would be popular)
 

slobo777

First Post
I think the desire for slower healing is mostly a desire for slower /natural/ healing for the sake of 'realism.' That's the way healing always worked before: natural healing was a very slow, and you might be forced to use it at very low levels, but healing was primarily the responsibility of the Cleric (or other caster, or Rogue with UMD and WoCLW). 5e is headed back that way, the 'dial' allows you to push it back farther.

From the angle of how to set up an adventure, we don't have to second-guess motivations further than this basic split:

1) "The game needs to be harder, and lowering recovery rates is one way towards it". For this motivation, just set the dial to low recovery and go. Easy.

2) "I like lower recovery rates for some other reason*, but still want to play D&D at the same level of difficulty". For this motivation, there needs to be an understanding of how the lower recovery rates affect what a typical adventuring party can achieve. And this is where I'd expect to eventually see some good published advice.

* might be verisimilitude, I've definitely seen this raised as a concern
 

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