D&D 5E House rule for in combat healing and yoyo at 0 HP


log in or register to remove this ad

NotAYakk

Legend
I think this is the part of the equation most people aren't trying to solve. Maybe the problem of 'yo-yoing' from 0 has to do with the frequency at which people hit 0?
Sure.

If you do the old non-5MWD balance, you get attrition over a day. Hitting 0 HP then happens because you went into a hard fight with far less than max HP.

In 5e, the daily HP contribution (2 short rests) of a L 5 fighter with 16 con is (6+3)*5+4 + 3d10+15 + 5d10+15 = 123 HP, with a single-HP pool of ~59.5 HP. If they add in interception fighting style they can mitigate 2x to 3x that total.

A level 5 cleric who does nothing but heal with cure wounds heals 117 HP (plus their own HP).

Relying on any kind of magical healing becomes very questionable, and fights that require it are pretty extreme.

In addition, spam-casting cure wounds for less than the foe is dealing in damage is a very boring way to play a PC for many people; OTOH, if the healing outpaces the damage, it is boring in just another way.

The HP of the melee fighter types should be a real resource, and it should run low over the course of an adventuring day, instead of the fighter types being nothing but buffers for the real damage-sponges (the healers).

Making pre-0 in-combat healing be stronger just makes damage less threatening and makes the heal-bot role more required.

And post-0 HP healing, if foes are eager about killing downed foes, becomes more of a hail-mary maneuver than anything else.

As a DM, this reduces your ability to throw encounters so dangerous that the PCs are dropped to 0 reliably and treat it as if you didn't already win the fight.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
This ignores the cost in action economy of the character that goes down, not to mention the possibility of that character getting outright killed in the intervening round.
Yep. Risk isn’t being appropriately included in the analysis. Though healing now for 24 vs casting spirit guardians which helps ally disengage and run away due to slowing the enemy. Maybe healing isn’t actually the more effective option there.
 

Reynard

Legend
Yep. Risk isn’t being appropriately included in the analysis. Though healing now for 24 vs casting spirit guardians which helps ally disengage and run away due to slowing the enemy. Maybe healing isn’t actually the more effective option there.
I never suggested it was, just that letting an ally drop is a bad move unless the combat is essentially already in the bag.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
A huge amount of the "0 HP yoyo" is because DMs aren't vicious at 0 HP.

In a typical encounter, someone at 0 HP can be dead before anyone else gets to heal them.

Instead, we have DMs that build super-deadly 5 minute encounter day fights to be "exciting", and then treat PCs with kid gloves once they drop them to 0 HP to not kill the PC.

If a character at 0 HP surviving to be healed is a rare event, then PCs won't treat it as a yo-yo healing opportunity, because healing spells don't work on the dead. Revivify (or stronger magic) is the only option, costing a 300 gp diamond, a full action, and touch range.

Then by late T2/T3 you start having foes that steal, damage or destroy corpses.

Thus, 0 HP isn't threatening enough to avoid. So you added mechanics to up its threat again.

Trust me, if double-tap is common, your "wait to heal until they have 0 HP" goes away. In fact, PCs are likely to start fleeing when at low HP because they fear being dropped to 0 HP. Because 0 HP is a prelude to rolling a new PC, not getting up next turn slowed.
Yes. Being more vicious at 0 is one solution. It does carry its own baggage though. I’d recommend trying it and just being up front with players that enemies are going to more often try to kill downed PCs.

But even then it might not be the best solution for a particular group. I mean you can also solve it with death at 0 hp. I don’t see many recommending that though.

My favorite solutions are ones that keep PCs up while dying. Takes away the targeting downed ally issue many DMs and players have. Also doesn’t cause healing after 0 to have an outsized effect. May even apply slow while at 0 hp.
 

I play support characters quite often and while I will often cast a cure wounds spell to try to prevent a character going down, in the majority of cases I would have been better off using those resources beforehand, to prevent that damage.
Preventing damage through effectively ensuring that there are less enemies hitting your party in the first place will almost always be more efficient that trying to cure it afterwards.
 

Mecheon

Sacabambaspis
Fun story. If you look at heals the same way you do dpr then you’ll find that using your highest level of spell for cure wounds does provide enough hpr to offset the dpr of a single level appropriate foe. On first glance that seems solid. I don’t think we want heals invalidating all of team monsters damage when all of them are attacking 1 PC.
Not all the enemies, but stuff like stunning does similar (Remove a single target) but has bonuses, like the bonus damage. So compared to that, heals aren't doing the best.

1.5 times a single target DPR seems fair. Enough 'oomph' to a heal that it feels worthwhile to use
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Not all the enemies, but stuff like stunning does similar (Remove a single target) but has bonuses, like the bonus damage. So compared to that, heals aren't doing the best.

1.5 times a single target DPR seems fair. Enough 'oomph' to a heal that it feels worthwhile to use
Stunning also has a chance to miss and do nothing. It really should do more than healing when it connects - because heals always connect.

But yes I’m all for buffing healing a bit - just not over the top. It’s just buffed healing isn’t a whack a mole solution on its own.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
I play support characters quite often and while I will often cast a cure wounds spell to try to prevent a character going down, in the majority of cases I would have been better off using those resources beforehand, to prevent that damage.
Preventing damage through effectively ensuring that there are less enemies hitting your party in the first place will almost always be more efficient that trying to cure it afterwards.
The problem is that a game where healing is good universally ends up with either rocket-tag, or non-threatening combat.

Rocket tag is when the only way to kill a PC is to take them out before healing can land. You can see this in a pile of games.

Non-threatening combat is when damage does nothing but drain the tank of the healer. Taking damage isn't a threat, it is just a resource drain on the healer. When the healer runs out of oomph, the day ends.

Both of these where true in 3e. Healing could outpace damage, healers had far more healing resources than warrior types had HP, and a real threat either wiped a target's HP out in one blow or bypassed HP entirely.

4e moved a huge amount of a healer's power budget to the target PC. Running out of HP was a single-encounter thing mostly, and the daily resource drain was on daily powers and healing surges.

5e, at least initially, moved to a model where running out of HP and HD is a daily resource drain. A melee type can contribute more HP than a healer can over an adventuring day, and the use of healing was more of an emergency thing than anything. Spell slots where better used in ways besides healing.

What I see in this thread is people seeming to ask for 3e style healing, what I consider the most boring era of D&D heal-wise; healing that makes non-fatal damage trivial.

The problem I have is that it isn't a huge gap between "healing isn't worth doing in combat" to "healing makes damage trivial". The life cleric in 5e almost bridges that gap.

Moving to 4e style healing would be one way; in that model, you'd allow magical healing to burn hit dice and heal extra that way. Each use of healing would have more impact, pushing it over the "not worth doing" to "big enough to nullify incoming damage of a threatening foe". This does push the game further towards a 5MWD, as more resource can be expended in a single combat (HD), leaving fewer for the rest of the day.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top