Pathfinder 2E Healing in PF2

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Sorry, that didn't clarify the wounded condition for me- what does it actually do in play? How does it affect you if you aren't dying?

I think an easy way to describe it is - the various dying conditions are the stages you're in as you're failing death saves. When you bounce back due to healing, you pick up a level of wounded condition to mark your place so you can resume dying at the same dying condition if you drop below 0 hit points again.
 

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Retreater

Legend
No - please read up on Wounded.

When you fall to zero hp you gain the Dying condition with a value of Wounded +1 (Wounded +2 if you were felled by a crit). Normally this means you gain Dying 1 when you fall unconscious, since you didn't have any Wounded condition.

Once you do become Dying, your Wounded is increased by one, ready to make dying again more dangerous:

A character with Wounded 2 (having fallen unconscious twice before in this battle), for instance, would gain Dying 3 upon falling to 0 HP, and would be killed outright if felled by a crit. (You die at Dying 4)

I would say this instantly makes any tactic that relies on the game not tracking negative hp evaporates. A good thing.

That is what I wrote, without all the explanation. The simple answer is that, yes, Wounded makes it easier to fail your death save. HOW it does that is by raising the saving throw DC and decreasing the number of fails you are able to accumulate before you die. Otherwise, it has no lingering effect on the character (no penalties to ability checks, attacks, slower movements, removal of actions.) [Other game systems, such as Savage Worlds have penalties for being wounded. The condition in P2 is nothing like that.]

I really wish people would actually learn the rules before responding.

My only confusion with the way I was running it was thinking that Wounded disappeared with magical healing. We were playing that wrong. I corrected that earlier in the thread. Otherwise, I think my understanding of the rules are pretty good, but if you'd prefer to be ENWorld's sole consultant on PF2 rules (because, let's face it, there aren't many of us on here), I can let you handle all the crunch questions that arise. :)
 

Porridge

Explorer
I really wish people would actually learn the rules before responding.

In all fairness, there are a lot of rules in PF2, and it’s hard not to miss some of them. I find posting on sites like this is one of the best ways to learn when there’s a rule you’ve missed!

You remove Dying by receiving even a single HP. That isn't controversial or strange. Every edition of D&D has featured this - that once you get healing you're no longer bleeding unconscious on the ground (which is what "dying" is), you're instead fully functioning ready for action. In PF2 you probably need to stand up, and grab your weapon, so that cost (2 actions) is not nothing. Also your Wounded condition increase by one from becoming Dying.

Wounded is only removed by out of combat healing, simply speaking. You do not remove Wounded just because you drank a healing potion or got a healing spell. So the whack-a-mole problem of 5E is emphatically fixed by PF2, believe me.

There are other conditions that can't easily be removed. At really low levels, you have Diseased. You have Poisoned. At high levels you have Doomed.

I would say Retreater's characterization is not accurate.

Yeah, this matches my experience — going down is a big deal, and PF2 can be quite deadly.

In my games, about half the times someone goes down it’s the result of a boss crit. And since bosses crit all the time, just getting up to get crit again is a recipe for almost certain death. Very tense and scary moments.

Persistent damage is also pretty common in PF2. And going down while suffering from persistent damage or poison makes it very easy to die.
 

Any party without the Medicine skill comes close to what you want. You might also want to look at the Paladin, which I believe is specifically designed to be able to bring up party members between fights.
Confirmed (well, if by look at, you mean remove). A paladin’s “Lay on Hands” renews indefinitely after 10 minutes available at level 1, so in our group (before the undead sorceress joined), the paladin would heal us between battles when we missed the Medicine roll (which we did often, since our 4-person group had no Wis based characters).
 

the Jester

Legend
Hmm. Well, I really prefer a higher element of attrition in my games- I am a huge fan of games where years go by before pcs are high level, and of generational play, where pcs are eventually succeeded by their children. So I don't think the default PF2 healing style would appeal to me. However, I really like the sounds of the wounded condition and how it alleviates the whack a mole problem, even though I don't see that very much in my own games.

Thanks, everyone, for helping to educate me on this!
 

I think an easy way to describe it is - the various dying conditions are the stages you're in as you're failing death saves. When you bounce back due to healing, you pick up a level of wounded condition to mark your place so you can resume dying at the same dying condition if you drop below 0 hit points again.
Kudos, this is the best way I’ve seen of describing the mechanic.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
It prevents whack-a-mole - the minmax tactic where you (in 5E) observe that any monster damage that takes you below zero hp is "wasted" - 5E doesn't track negative hit points.

This makes it far too useful to waste monster attacks on heroes with only a single hp, since 99% of the damage gets soaked by the game rules. Then you bring back the "tank" using the bonus action Healing Word level 1 spell. You really only want it to give a single hit point, so you never upcast it using a higher levelled slot. Even martial characters can learn this spell. You can also use cheap low-level healing potions.

I'm not saying this tactic isn't ridiculous. I'm saying 5E enables it.

I'm also saying that Wounded is a mechanism that comprehensively shuts it down, and more in general makes it undesirable to fall to zero hp (which I want my D&D game to do).

I hated this so much in 5E. This is one of the few 5E mechanics that I truly despise as a DM. I'm sure all the super easy going, casual gaming crowd doesn't even notice this, but man, this just looks like some kind of comedy healing in my mind's eye. We call it pop up healing like some kind of toy that falls over but quickly bounces back up with some kind of ridiculous painted on toy face. I don't despise 5E overall, but this mechanic I do despise.
 


dave2008

Legend
I hated this so much in 5E. This is one of the few 5E mechanics that I truly despise as a DM. I'm sure all the super easy going, casual gaming crowd doesn't even notice this, but man, this just looks like some kind of comedy healing in my mind's eye. We call it pop up healing like some kind of toy that falls over but quickly bounces back up with some kind of ridiculous painted on toy face. I don't despise 5E overall, but this mechanic I do despise.
That is one reason 0 = dead in our games. We will change the dying rules to match if we play PF2e too.
 


Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Dave2008 would definitely have to make sure not to go overboard killing characters with dead at 0. I'm sure he could figure it out, but it might take a few sessions.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
That is one reason 0 = dead in our games. We will change the dying rules to match if we play PF2e too.
I strongly advise you to not add your regular house rules to PF2 before playing it RAW enough to get an intimate understanding of its peculiarities. In this case, we've literally just now established that the Wounded condition comprehensively sorts this problem :)

PS. 0 = dead would just not work in PF2, since just about any combat can drop a character to zero hp, without the player doing any foolishness or recklessness.
 

dave2008

Legend
Fair warning: if 0 = dead in PF2 characters will die with about as much frequency as they did back when you had to roll HP at 1st level so surviving more than 2 hits at 1st level was surprising.
Dave2008 would definitely have to make sure not to go overboard killing characters with dead at 0. I'm sure he could figure it out, but it might take a few sessions.
I strongly advise you to not add your regular house rules to PF2 before playing it RAW enough to get an intimate understanding of its peculiarities. In this case, we've literally just now established that the Wounded condition comprehensively sorts this problem :)

PS. 0 = dead would just not work in PF2, since just about any combat can drop a character to zero hp, without the player doing any foolishness or recklessness.
Thank you for the feedback and I see your point. I don't mind trying it RAW first (I think we would try everything RAW for at least a session or two). However, this is something I think I would need to change. Currently it works well with our bloodied and DR house rule which would help make PF2e more survivable too. They other thing I would probably do is to primarily use level -2 monsters and/or I would have to see if it really is easier (for me) to nerf monsters than to buff them!
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Maybe simply reskin "Dying" to become "Reeling".

I mean, if what you want is that "once you fall, you're dead" and/or avoid the imagery of a fighter cycling through the states of falling unconscious/back up in the fight several times during a single minute... then you could postpone the falling bit and keep everything else the same.

That is, at 0 hp you still gain the condition, now renamed "Reeling 1" or whatever. You remain standing and able to act, but maybe with the Reeling level as a penalty to everything to simulate how you're, well, reeling. Once you get to "Reeling 4" you fall dead, just like what happens at 0 hp in Basic D&D.

On the surface of it, this is a large benefit (I don't have to spend actions on grabbing my gear and my spells don't fizzle, etc) - but I'm not so sure.

Lying still face down is after all a good way to avoid taking further damage until your Cleric manages to pump you full of new hit points - if you keep standing up, monsters would have no reason not to keep attacking a Reeling hero, which would very very quickly indeed make him go from Reeling to Keeling (sorry). I'm thinking many players would voluntarily let the hit that made them Reeling actually strike them to the floor and strike their weapon out of their hand, simply to gain a moment's respite (and to avoid very quickly racking up Reeling levels).

You wouldn't go unconscious, meaning you would avoid the unrealism of two seconds after lying bleeding on the floor now charging the enemy at full capacity, if that's why you added your house rule in the first place, I mean.
 

dave2008

Legend
Maybe simply reskin "Dying" to become "Reeling".

I mean, if what you want is that "once you fall, you're dead" and/or avoid the imagery of a fighter cycling through the states of falling unconscious/back up in the fight several times during a single minute... then you could postpone the falling bit and keep everything else the same.

That is, at 0 hp you still gain the condition, now renamed "Reeling 1" or whatever. You remain standing and able to act, but maybe with the Reeling level as a penalty to everything to simulate how you're, well, reeling. Once you get to "Reeling 4" you fall dead, just like what happens at 0 hp in Basic D&D.

On the surface of it, this is a large benefit (I don't have to spend actions on grabbing my gear and my spells don't fizzle, etc) - but I'm not so sure.

Lying still face down is after all a good way to avoid taking further damage until your Cleric manages to pump you full of new hit points - if you keep standing up, monsters would have no reason not to keep attacking a Reeling hero, which would very very quickly indeed make him go from Reeling to Keeling (sorry). I'm thinking many players would voluntarily let the hit that made them Reeling actually strike them to the floor and strike their weapon out of their hand, simply to gain a moment's respite (and to avoid very quickly racking up Reeling levels).

You wouldn't go unconscious, meaning you would avoid the unrealism of two seconds after lying bleeding on the floor now charging the enemy at full capacity, if that's why you added your house rule in the first place, I mean.
I appreciate the ideas, but I just want 0 to = dead. However, perhaps you start "dying" at 10 HP or something. So you get the dying or wounded condition at 10 HP (or a % of your HP max or something). Not sure yet.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I appreciate the ideas, but I just want 0 to = dead. However, perhaps you start "dying" at 10 HP or something. So you get the dying or wounded condition at 10 HP (or a % of your HP max or something). Not sure yet.
I honestly urge you to reflect why you want 0 = dead. I mean, it was a long time since this was the standard. It simply feels like such an unnecessarily big hurdle to set yourself. I mean, in many other D&D games it's a fairly straight-forward tweak. Not so here. The fact remains that PF2 is designed as a game when a hero can suddenly lose one, two or even all three thirds of her maximum hit points simply due to the GM rolling a '20', followed by great damage rolls. There simply is much less space for the 0 = dead idea than in any other iteration of D&D I've seen.

Thus, I don't see percentages of your hp working, simply because you would regularly go right past that stage to dead anyway!

Perhaps taking a key from Wounds & Vitality would be a better idea - not the whole variant rule, but specifically the idea to rename hit points "vitality" to reinforce that the statistic isn't "hit points" but more like energy and morale - and so less unrealistic that they bounce up and down quickly. And otherwise use the game as-is.
 

dave2008

Legend
I honestly urge you to reflect why you want 0 = dead. I mean, it was a long time since this was the standard. It simply feels like such an unnecessarily big hurdle to set yourself. I mean, in many other D&D games it's a fairly straight-forward tweak. Not so here. The fact remains that PF2 is designed as a game when a hero can suddenly lose one, two or even all three thirds of her maximum hit points simply due to the GM rolling a '20', followed by great damage rolls. There simply is much less space for the 0 = dead idea than in any other iteration of D&D I've seen.

Thus, I don't see percentages of your hp working, simply because you would regularly go right past that stage to dead anyway!

Perhaps taking a key from Wounds & Vitality would be a better idea - not the whole variant rule, but specifically the idea to rename hit points "vitality" to reinforce that the statistic isn't "hit points" but more like energy and morale - and so less unrealistic that they bounce up and down quickly. And otherwise use the game as-is.
I really do understand what your saying and I would definitely play it RAW to start. However, we eventually played 0=dead in 4e and 5e too. So it has been our rule in all editions since 1e. We do treat HP as vitality, thus the bloodied hit points and armor w/ DR rules I discussed in another thread (at least I think it was a different thread). They work together and we would need to find a way to incorporate all 3 into PF2 to make it work for a long running campaign.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
we would need to find a way to incorporate all 3 into PF2 to make it work for a long running campaign.
I guess the only way I can be of constructive help here is by humbly suggesting you question this statement, not take it for granted.

Why is it, do you think, that you (if I'm reading you right here) are unable to play a given game on its own merits? Why doesn't "it work" without these rules? What could make you and your group accept change?
 

dave2008

Legend
I guess the only way I can be of constructive help here is by humbly suggesting you question this statement, not take it for granted.

Why is it, do you think, that you (if I'm reading you right here) are unable to play a given game on its own merits? Why doesn't "it work" without these rules? What could make you and your group accept change?
Those are all good points and I have noted we would try it RAW first, and I am sure I/we could change. The big issue is inertia and we really enjoy the game we are playing with these rules. I can't speak for why my players like the rules, but for me it is the combination of abstraction and verisimilitude that feels right to me that the standard death, armor, and HP rules of 1e, 4e, 5e, and PF2e don't provide. For me it is a conceptual issue, not a game play one.
 


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