House rule for overnight healing: opinions wanted

Piratecat

Sesquipedalian
I'll likely move this into the House Rules forum once I actually have something concrete. In the mean time, a thought exercise...

I'm considering a house rule that says that you don't heal automatically and completely during a long rest. In fact, you don't heal at all. Instead, you get all of your Hit Dice back overnight (instead of half of them, as is normal.) The idea is that if you bed down when beaten up, use your remaining Hit Dice before resting, and use as many as you like the next morning to get to a level of healthiness that makes you happy. This drains your resources somewhat on the second adventuring day, emulating wear and tear on the characters as they stay out being big damn heroes.

What it solves: my annoyance of "I'm down to 1 hp out of 136 tonight, but I'm fully healed to tomorrow" unrealism.

The question is, where does this rule fall apart? How much more dangerous does it make adventuring? In your opinion, is it more trouble and/or bookkeeping than it's worth?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Boarstorm

First Post
My first thought is that it would likely lead to two-day rests when the party retreats to town.

I don't think that would be a bad thing.

As for resting out in the field... I think it could lead to interesting decisions. It would probably hurt (or at least slow down) styles of play that involve spending several days in a dungeon.
 

Paraxis

Explorer
That is how I would handle a slow healing option if I wanted that for a campaign. You could reduce the amount of Hit Dice recovered back down to half if the resting conditions are not good.
 

Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
I've been considering the same, although while leaving hit die recovery at half. I don't think there are any problems with it, so long as everyone is on board. HP recover still scales with level, but natural healing still takes a little time. It's a good rule if you want to slow the in game rate of adventuring.
 

Astrosicebear

First Post
Clerics would be in high demand to expend all healing prior to resting (as is usually the case anyways).

Like Boarstorm said, 2 day rests might become more common.

Consider a 10th lvl party. RAW they get 5 HD back per long rest and full heal. They have 5HD to use throughout the adventuring day. Lets say they take 3 short rests today and the character uses 3 HD, now he has 2. Ending the day after a medium battle puts the char at 50% health. He goes to sleep waking up with 7HD tomorrow and refreshed.

Consider your rules. Same party and situation. They rest the first night and have all 10HD available (assuming full HP as the other example). They adventure the same and use 3 short rests and 3 HD. They end the same, but now have 7HD to expend. The player is at 50% and on average must expend half his hit dice remaining to heal 50%. So he uses another 4 HD lets say bad rolls. Now he sleeps at 100% and 3HD. Tomorrow comes and he has all 10HD back to adventure with.

Your way actually seems to makes adventuring less risky.
 


W_K

First Post
If you're bothered by the whole abstract hp notion, then I think that your idea is a pretty decent solution for a slow to moderate healing option. You will need to watch out for pacing issues, since the game will generally expect the players to start each day with a larger pool of healing resources, but other than that it looks like a pretty good idea.
 

Henrix

Explorer
I'm more into just letting them get half their HD back overnight, with no other healing.
But I'm clearly into an even slower pace.

(I haven't implemented it yet, wanting to get a good feel for the game first. And, yes, my players will be absolutely fine with me changing the rules as we go along. They won't complain if their characters are 'gimped'.)

But changing how much they get back depending on how their accommodations are is a very good idea.

It makes all other forms of healing much more valuable, of course.

That extra dice for the bards restful song is worth a lot. As is the fighter's second wind.

You might want to look into how you want the healer feat to work.

Healers might well have to spend more slots to just healing - which is a bit boring for them.

One of my players has a Cleric/Warlock, for excellent roleplaying reasons. His ability to cast new healing spells after a short rest will be a boon.

All in all I like it.


It could become very dangerous in long actions where they're only allowed to sleep occasionally before entering the fray again.


The market forces will drive the prices for healing potions through the roof! :D
 

Boarstorm

First Post
Clerics would be in high demand to expend all healing prior to resting (as is usually the case anyways).

Like Boarstorm said, 2 day rests might become more common.

Consider a 10th lvl party. RAW they get 5 HD back per long rest and full heal. They have 5HD to use throughout the adventuring day. Lets say they take 3 short rests today and the character uses 3 HD, now he has 2. Ending the day after a medium battle puts the char at 50% health. He goes to sleep waking up with 7HD tomorrow and refreshed.

Consider your rules. Same party and situation. They rest the first night and have all 10HD available (assuming full HP as the other example). They adventure the same and use 3 short rests and 3 HD. They end the same, but now have 7HD to expend. The player is at 50% and on average must expend half his hit dice remaining to heal 50%. So he uses another 4 HD lets say bad rolls. Now he sleeps at 100% and 3HD. Tomorrow comes and he has all 10HD back to adventure with.

Your way actually seems to makes adventuring less risky.

I don't have time to crunch numbers at the moment, but 1HD per short rest seems... optimistic. 3-4 seems more realistic from my experience. How would that change things?

(I know my players, at least, aren't going to stop for a rest when they're only down 1 measly HD.)
 

Astrosicebear

First Post
I don't have time to crunch numbers at the moment, but 1HD per short rest seems... optimistic. 3-4 seems more realistic from my experience. How would that change things?

(I know my players, at least, aren't going to stop for a rest when they're only down 1 measly HD.)

Could be on the low side. But I was assuming a healer and class abilities to pickup the slack of 1 to 2 HD worth of healing per short rest.
 

Zaran

Adventurer
I'll likely move this into the House Rules forum once I actually have something concrete. In the mean time, a thought exercise...

I'm considering a house rule that says that you don't heal automatically and completely during a long rest. In fact, you don't heal at all. Instead, you get all of your Hit Dice back overnight (instead of half of them, as is normal.) The idea is that if you bed down when beaten up, use your remaining Hit Dice before resting, and use as many as you like the next morning to get to a level of healthiness that makes you happy. This drains your resources somewhat on the second adventuring day, emulating wear and tear on the characters as they stay out being big damn heroes.

What it solves: my annoyance of "I'm down to 1 hp out of 136 tonight, but I'm fully healed to tomorrow" unrealism.

The question is, where does this rule fall apart? How much more dangerous does it make adventuring? In your opinion, is it more trouble and/or bookkeeping than it's worth?

This is how I think it should be done.
 

I'm in similar boat to others here. No hit point healing for long rest. Regain half of hit dice.

So far it has mattered only once which was not coincidentally the same game session in which the player of the cleric was absent.

I've got a limited sample size, and the PCs are only 4th and 5th level right now. I'm anticipating an extended "dungeon crawl" for the next couple/three sessions. I'm introducing some plot to get the party to do A0 - Danger at Darkshelf Quarry. Kicks off Friday night. Maybe I'll have some more useful anecdote after this adventure.
 

Sagiro

Rodent of Uncertain Parentage
I don’t have any philosophical objections, though like some others before me, I’d want to run some sample scenarios to see how your scheme will play out vs. the RAW.

I’ll use my own character in your game, Cobalt, as an example. He’s a Level 15 Rogue with 108 HP and 15d8 Hit Dice. The following scenario will make all sorts of assumptions that probably aren’t *too* far off from how our game usually goes.

Scenario: 3 straight days of typical adventuring days, with modest time pressure. (That is, we can’t take a full day of rest just to spend and replenish HD without making forward progress.) We have some battles each day, during/between which we count on a combo of clerical magic and spending HD to stay upright. At the end of the day, say Cobalt has used up 6 of his 15 Hit Dice.

That means that before he goes to bed after the first day, he gets 40 “free” HP, as he burns up his remaining 9 HD. If it was a brutal day of fighting, he might be down to (say) 20 HP, burn his HD and go to sleep with 60 HP. Then the next day, he immediately spends 9 more to get mostly back to full.

If Day 2 is similarly brutal, he’ll have used up all of his remaining 6 Hit Dice in order to finish the day at 20 HP. Now he’s still at 20 when he wakes up the next day. Even if he spends all his Hit Dice right away, he’ll be adventuring on Day 3 with 88 HP and no Hit Dice remaining; he’ll be relying entirely on our cleric and healing potions.

If Day 3 is similar to Days 1 and 2, he’ll be dead.

Now, that’s a pretty harsh scenario, and we haven’t played enough 5E to know how badly hurt a typical PC will be at the end of a day, and with how many HD left. But this back-of-napkin math makes me think your proposal will be fine, as long as you keep an eye on things and balance your combats accordingly.

(Here’s another way of looking at the math: Say on an average day, an average hero finishes with ¼ of their Hit Dice remaining. The next day (RAW) they start at full health, with ¾ of their Hit Dice. Using your method, they’d start at whatever health they had, but with all of their Hit Dice replenished. Those extra Hit Dice represent (for Cobalt) about 17 Hit Points. So, assuming he finished the previous day down more than 17 Hit Points, it’s a net loss for him.)
 

Dausuul

Legend
"The question is, where does this rule fall apart?"

I don't think it "falls apart." It does increase the PCs' dependence on magical healing.

"How much more dangerous does it make adventuring?"

That really depends on how hard you push your PCs during a regular adventuring day. If they end the day with a decent reserve of hit points and spells left, they can make up the lack with hit dice and cure spells and start the next day at full power. The main effect of this house rule will be that when you push them to their limits, they won't bounce back as fast.

In your opinion, is it more trouble and/or bookkeeping than it's worth?

It doesn't seem like it would cause any more bookkeeping. Whether it's more trouble than it's worth... I guess that's up to you. :)
 

Joe Liker

First Post
I feel like a reminder is in order here: lost hit points =/= wounds. Not even remotely.

I know the whole "slow healing" movement is an attempt to make fantasy healing more logical and realistic, but it misses the point that, despite the fact that spells are called cure wounds and whatnot, most hp damage is not really intended to represent blood on the ground.

If your character gets to the point where he is actually seriously wounded, it's represented by being out of hp, completely. Anything less, and the heroic metabolism is mighty enough to knit itself together and soldier forth.

Even if you disagree on that point, I still don't find it any more logical to prolong the healing process by a mere day. A truly serious wound that won't heal in a single night is not going to heal in two nights, either.

I think if you're using Hit Dice in your game at all, you've implicitly bought into the idea that there are no serious wounds above zero hp. By RAW, you don't regain hp during a rest if you are at zero hp, so in my mind, that's what represents a serious wound.

So while I understand the inclination to discourage what you see as mildly cheesy behaviors such as going to bed with a single hit point because you know you'll be fine in the morning, I would argue that it's not cheesy at all because hit points are 99 percent fatigue, not blood.

If you want to make it so hit points do represent real damage to the body, I'd suggest adopting a system where half of a character's hp are designated "real" and the other half "fatigue." Real hp are not affected by damage until all fatigue hp are gone. Fatigue hp can be healed by all the regular means, while real hp only heal at the rate of 1 Hit Die per long rest. Of course, magic can speed the process considerably.

If I cared about realism, that's how I'd do it, anyway.
 

Wulfgar76

First Post
I'm considering a house rule that says that you don't heal automatically and completely during a long rest. In fact, you don't heal at all. Instead, you get all of your Hit Dice back overnight .

This is exactly what I currently do: all HDs - no HPs

It's a little rough at low levels, but afterward it works perfect for the style I like. Moderately beat up characters simply spend all their HDs before long-resting, then are 'fully charged' in the morning. Severely beaten characters (low HPs, all HDs spent) spend their recharged Hit Dice in the morning, but lack them to spend that day. If a player is very beat up, and wants to return to full health, then it takes a two-day rest, which is fine by me - it adds a layer of realism to resting that I prefer. In my preferred level of 'resting realism', a severely injured character should be spending a whole day convalescing and attending to his injuries, rather than sleeping the night and waking to 100% full health.
 

Skyscraper

Explorer
This is an interesting thread.

My impression is that the result is really dependent on the type of game you'll be playing.

If your game typically includes many fights per day, several days in a row, then your house rule will gradually put more pressure on the cleric(s) to heal the party and/or will increase the gritty feel of the game.

If you want to compensate this by allowing healing potions to be bought liberally, I wonder if it's worth the change. Presumably PCs will have enough gold to buy healing potions, so it'll result in more book keeping to manage potions for a same result of PCs getting healed up at a somewhat identical pace.

If there aren't more healing potions available (i.e. you can't just buy a 12-pack at the corner store), this might result in the cleric having to use more spell slots for casting healing spells. This might be viewed as less interesting for the cleric player (or perhaps not). It might also increase the gritty feeling by increasing the potential leathality of the game, although this is even more dependent on the types of encounters than on the available healing IMO.

If, on the other hand, your game includes frequent down time, and/or few fights per day, then this house rule is likely to result in the PCs having a somewhat equivalent healing power due to more hit die to spend per day due to rapid recuperation of HDs. Presumably, if there are no 2 consecutive days with fights, they'll be back in business as if nothing had happened, HP-wise.

In my games, I typically have less dungeon crawl and often have days wherein there are no or few fights. My situation might be as per the second case scenario above. Except occasionally, when they'll end up having to fight through a castle full of opponents, and on the next day flee the scene with enemies on their backs to fight off.

Open parentheses: in my games, PCs never "sleep in the dungeon". It doesn't happen. They know they'll die if they do it. You simply don't go to sleep in an enemy's base that is still occupied, the enemy would muster their entire force and crush the PCs. So dungeon crawls are limited to a one-day affair, that might take PCs more than 12 hours mind you. Once they're out, hopefully they have what they came for. Otherwise, things get complicated, because enemies will react intelligently if their stronghold has been breached: no "let's put two guards back at the front door like before" nonsense. They are afraid that they'll DIE, as in STOP LIVING, consequently, they will try to figure out what happened, who managed to breach their lair, how they did it, give pursuit if possible and if they think it's worthwhile or if they want revenge, etc... Close parentheses.

Back to the OP's original topic, I think that the idea you're toying with is excellent, and I believe that considering HP recupration rules before starting a campaign can make for an interesting balance to keep the players on their toes by adjusting the HP recuperation with the type/number/frequency of encounters. I will certainly consider how to balance overnight healing in my campaign, with the type of campaign that I'm offering for my players. I really like the base assumption that there is no full overnight recuperation of hit points for story reasons too. And of course, as noted above, I like the added grit. However I do not wish that this results in the cleric returning to a portable font of healing, nor to potions of healing being bought to compensate the lack of automatic healing. I know my own response will probably be to adjust the encounters themselves once the campaign starts, since I'll be homebrewing anyway (even if I use a module as a base storyline).
 

Paraxis

Explorer
If I wanted to run a gritty game, I would institute a house rule that every time you took a critical hit or dropped to 0 h.p you took a level of exhaustion. Exhaustion working the way it does is the best built in mechanic to represent lasting detriment to a character.
 

the Jester

Legend
I'll likely move this into the House Rules forum once I actually have something concrete. In the mean time, a thought exercise...

I'm considering a house rule that says that you don't heal automatically and completely during a long rest. In fact, you don't heal at all. Instead, you get all of your Hit Dice back overnight (instead of half of them, as is normal.)

I've been considering using something like this, too. I strongly dislike the "everything back to full" model of healing.

I've been considering the same, although while leaving hit die recovery at half. I don't think there are any problems with it, so long as everyone is on board. HP recover still scales with level, but natural healing still takes a little time. It's a good rule if you want to slow the in game rate of adventuring.

Yeah, I think leaving recovery at half-HD is good for my tastes.

But changing how much they get back depending on how their accommodations are is a very good idea.

Oooh, agreed.

Something like:

Uncomfortable, no bedroll, sleeping on uneven ground in the rain, etc.: Recover 1/4 HD.

Moderate comfort- bedroll and tent, etc.: Recover 1/2 HD.

Extreme comfort- indoor bed with fireplace, liquor, whores and the best Stygian lotus: Recover 3/4 HD.

Something like that.

Good thread!
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Piratecat said:
What it solves: my annoyance of "I'm down to 1 hp out of 136 tonight, but I'm fully healed to tomorrow" unrealism.

The question is, where does this rule fall apart? How much more dangerous does it make adventuring? In your opinion, is it more trouble and/or bookkeeping than it's worth?

I think you need to look closely at your annoyance. Why is it a problem for folks to gain all their HP back after a rest? If the problem is "unrealism" this might not fix it. After all, what are Hit Dice, anyway? How is spending HD to get back to 139 hp more realistic than just healing to 139 hp without spending HD? It's all metagame stuff, really.

If you wanted realism, you'd probably want to make a more substantive change to the system, perhaps involving injury that requires downtime to get rid of. You might want to prohibit characters from healing all of their HP in one night. I don't know that this would be any more "realistic" for me as a player than just healing everything. And it'd be more accounting.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top