• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

D&D 5E How should 5E handle healing?

Which of the following statements should be true for Healing in 5E?

  • It takes days, if not weeks to regain hit points by resting.

    Votes: 34 33.7%
  • The Heal skill is very effective, but only out of combat.

    Votes: 52 51.5%
  • The Heal skill is effective, even in combat.

    Votes: 28 27.7%
  • Non-spellcasters can grant temporary hp, but not heal in combat.

    Votes: 29 28.7%
  • Divine spellcasters are the best at healing.

    Votes: 67 66.3%
  • No healing spells for arcane casters.

    Votes: 34 33.7%
  • Healer / leader / support classes can be of all flavors, not just divine.

    Votes: 64 63.4%
  • Classes can have self-healing powers, regardless of flavor.

    Votes: 37 36.6%
  • Each character has an ability similar to Second Wind.

    Votes: 59 58.4%
  • 5E should use Healing Surges or a similar mechanic.

    Votes: 38 37.6%
  • Healing potions and similar items should be easy to obtain.

    Votes: 31 30.7%
  • None of the above / special snowflake.

    Votes: 7 6.9%

  • Poll closed .


Healing is one of those areas where previous editions differ a lot. Originally, it was the domain of the cleric, but then things slowly evolved into the model we have in 4E. Which route should 5E go? It's hard to create a single answer, so I chose a few corner stones and made a poll that allows multiple answers.

log in or register to remove this ad


First Post
IIRC, Healing Surges were a dealbreaker to a lot of people when 4e launched, but I like them. IMO, the balance they introduced in the game excells most complains I've heard/read.
I'd like them to come back in a way or another, but with a different name attached.


First Post
The best thing about 4E was that it got rid of the 15 minute adventuring day in most cases. That had been a problem going back to 1E days. I can now throw 4-5-6 combats as the players as long as they have healing surges, encounter powers and action points. My previous edition campaigns were about 1 big encounter per day going back to the late 70s.

However, I thought healing surges were poorly named and granted too many hit points back to players. It's not just 25% of hit points, it's also whatever bonus the healer has to give as well. So, it's often 25%+2d6+5 or similar.

Additionally, I think it should be tougher to get hit points back out of combat. If you're the 5E equivalent of bloodied, then you need to spend X time after the combat recovering. If you drop to 0 or below, you need to rest for Y days minus your CON modifier (so, a beefy fighter with a 20 CON would need 2 days of rest, while a scrawny squishy with a 10 CON would need the full 7)


First Post
Some of the options are good, but I'd like to add a special snowflake: in combat healing is rare.

I don't really like temporary hit points as a mechanic either. The barbarian type extra hp that's lost (so that damage total stays the same) is better in my opinion. Losing only temporary hit points means that you don't actually take a hit, so AC boost would be simpler, if it can have an equivalent effect.

Other non-healing "support" things characters could do include: AC bonus (lower damage taken), attack bonus (enemies go down quicker) and summoning (meat shields). The first two are fine for non-spellcasters through morale bonus, circumstance bonus from aiding, etc.

Even simply moving a character to safety should be an easier option - dragging your wounded comrade to safety while others cover the retreat is a much more common trope than any kind of in combat healing.


I cant imagine playing D&D without the ability to Second Wind. It just enables another good strategic trick for PCs to have up their sleeve and it is fun!

It also easily enables a wide range of play styles and martial campaigns/low magic campaign/no clerics etc.

I also like healing surges (but maybe another name and/or not just 25% of hp) or some mechanic that makes hp a strategic resource and not just a number than goes up and own without any consequence (unless it goes below 0:p)


First Post
I hope the rules at least clearly differentiate between lethal wounds and the other aspects of hit points (subdual damage, vitality, the ability to ward off blows, whatever).

The basic way of healing of real lethal damage should be through divine magic, which is a classic trope of D&D. Nondivine healing should be rare and limited, like the bard's. The Heal skill should become more useful and dynamic and clerical magic less useful in healing, but it should not make wounds disappear during combat.

On a broader level, damage should be meaningful and healing should take time, although there should be softer ways of playing for those who need them.

As to healing surges, healing "powers" for all classes, nondivine healing classes, and the like, these things deserve only one word on their inclusion in a D&D game: no.


I really like the Healing Surge VALUE but not the Healing Surges, because I dislike daily restrictions (hard to balance as a GM, it depends too much on the adventure itself).

Having a healing-value that is depended on the max HP Stat is very important because in older Editions you always take longer to heal, the more HP you have (so higher Con=longer Healing time). So the ones that have to take the most hits for the group (fighters) take far longer to heal even though they need it the most.


It takes days, if not weeks to regain hit points by resting. Rest should take a long time to heal hit point damage

The Heal skill is very effective, but only out of combat.
Mundane medical skill has even street related already that in combat healing would be impossible

The Heal skill is effective, even in combat.
No. Unless you are a deity, you can't perform surgery while stitching up cuts.

Non-spellcasters can grant temporary hp, but not heal in combat.
This is how I prefer them to do the warlord. The warlord keep his allies going with a bloodpumping speech that gain a surge of adrenaline. Once the battle is done, they can stitch up cuts to heal real damage

Divine spellcasters are the best at healing.

No healing spells for arcane casters.

Healer / leader / support classes can be of all flavors, not just divine.
Yes. They are different flavors AND heal differently. Warlords grant THPs and heal injuries after combat. Bards grant Those through songs or Ups through magic. Druids heal like clerics but to a lesser effect or use their specialty of HP regeneration.

Classes can have self-healing powers, regardless of flavor. Each character has an ability similar to Second Wind.

No. Although I DO want this. It is a dealbreaker to to many to be core. Make it a Module.
5E should use Healing Surges or a similar mechanic.

Like but dealbreaker to too many. Module.

Healing potions and similar items should be easy to obtain.

No. Just no. If the DM was to help out his healerless party, Fine. But Not In Core.

Although I have no problem with potions needed mundane ingredients so a rogue or fighter can take an alchemist theme and make a dozen potions while in town.


Steeliest of the dragons
This is another place for 5e to shine with options that may or may not be included in the game at a group or DM's discretion.

I believe clerics (at least those of beneficent gods) should remain the best, default "healers."

Druids and Bards can use "healing magic" but not as much/as well as a cleric. I'm fine with that.

Paladins' "laying hands" healing is pretty "iconic"/original to the class. So I'd make sure that stayed in.

Necromancers would be the only "Arcane" type I would consider allowing healing...and/but that, only by "draining off the life energy" of some other creature...even if it is themselves...or a tree...or something.

But anyone should be able to take a "healing" skill or "field medic" proficiency or (to use the coalescing 5e vernacular) "Theme" or something to that effect. Everyone should be able (with the appropriate skill/theme) to aid companions, in or out of combat.

If I don't have an enemy barreling down on me, I should be able to forego attacking to staunch the bleeding of my fallen ally. Or as we used to do it, halt the descent into neg's before you got to -10/dead. Not necessarily "add" HP, but at least halt or slow "loosing" HP...and/or only add 1/improve natural healing very minimally.

A "Healing Surge" by any other name twould work much better. A "Second Wind" or "Temporary HPs in combat" or something for those who like the "inspiring" support kind of classes...or even certain other classes (Barbarians being able to "boost" their own HP in their rage, or some such...improve their natural healing/heal faster?) would work fine. But not "POOF! You [anybody of any class] have 10 HP permanently back!"

Healing potions should be available...what "easily" means, I'm not sure. But going into the Temple of the Goddess of Healing should, yes, have potions or Scrolls of "Cure Light" for sale...er...I mean..."donation"...(higher level curatives would probably be kept in the temple vaults, for the faithful only, or not scribed into scrolls at all to maintain the priests' position of importance).

...or the best Herbalist or Alchemist in the land? Sure. Healing potions should be available in a number of ways...and, I would add, with varying effectiveness (dice rolls to determine how many HP you get back. I'd even allow, like, d4, d6, d10...hell, every "d" if you wanted, different types of healing potions.)

"Cure Light Wounds" wands on every street corner ought to be a thing of the past. Crafting their own? Ok...when/if they get really "high" (I'd say, 10+) level...if magic item crafting is part of the game at all.

Finding/discovering a "long lost Staff of Healing" that does all kindsa curative things (with limited uses/charges, of course)? Definitely. Items that allow regeneration, or protect from poison, or what have you. Yes, but really rare...as magic items of any kind ought to be in general.


Remove ads