My "Insane" house Rule on healing

5ekyu

Adventurer
So, in an amusing thread not on this forum i had fun when two house rules i use were equally branded as "insane" in quick responses in a "tell us some of your your house rules" thread. What was amusing is one made no changes to the "balance of play" and changed not one chance of success (players make all the rolls, not me, so tyey role Ac to "not get hit" instead of me rolling for the orc to hit, etc) while the other one, this one, makes major changes.

But i wanted to share it with you folks just for grins and giggles.

Preamble: My preferences are that the vast majority of the balancing and impactful factors come from PC-related stats, features, abilities - not from specific qualities and quantities of gear. So, majorly impactful effects that come from "stuff" are not my favorite thing to see in games i run. one reason is that whether or not those items appear is mostly Gm fiat, not player driven. Second is i feel that diminishes the player character choices and player choices about their character. So, i vastly prefer limits, resoruces and features that derive from the character, not from "availability" of certain gear.

Problem: What i wanted to address in two separate campaigns was the impact of "healing erquipment." such as "common healing potions." if presented as freely as the DMg and PHb indicate they provide a sloshing PC a rather "limited by availability and gold" ability to recover in just a few minutes lost Hp after any fight. That takes a lot of the "sustainability and value of healing magics and features and places it squarely in the hands of "how many do we find or how many can we buy" Gm control - with a nod for crafting but that also brings in time. (egads i so remember the Wands of CLW from 3.5e)

Disclaimer: i have ZERO concern over "standard scenario balance". I have zero concern that a 5th level party playing under these rules is "more powerful" in ABC scenario than a standard party under standard rules will be. Encounters threats and so on all are done within the context of the game world being played at that table - not some imagined "standard."

Insanity (Solution): In my last campaign and my current one i made the following changes:
gear that actually heals hit points is rare or worse. healing potions are rare, not common.
gear that "allows you to "spend HD" without a rest is more common. Elixirs of Recovery allow you to spend HD and take just an action to quaff.
Magical healing when applied *allows you to spend HD" on the spot to add to the healing done. You still only regain HD at the rate of half-at-most during a long rest though.

To be very very very clear, "before the OMG do you mean even..." a 20th level paladin could touch you for 1HP healing and your could spend all 20 of your HD to augment that heal. So could a single healing word, etc.

it is accepted and known that HD *are* an in-combat resource - but one that recovers very slowly. Scenarios, threats, enemies, encounters are balanced accordingly.

So, with so little "off-the-books" magic healing from gear (common gear) removed this becomes a managed resource that follows you forward through an adventure until you get one or even two good long rests.

So far, it has played wonderfully over an 18 month campaign and the current one which is only about four months along now. Removing "stacks of extra points potions" and their ilk keeps drawing it back to resources that are limited by the characters traits, not gear they find, and which leaves that in the hands of the players to choose to use or hold as they see fit.

Obviously, it changes tactics and some play. but so far the combination has been fine and been fun.

obviously insane but we are crazy that way! :)
 

Larnievc

Explorer
The games I run rarely have PCs using healing magic unless they are in danger of bleeding out. We have short rests as five minutes and long rests are one hour.

You get two short rests per long rest and one long rest per sleep cycle. That makes them pretty buff but they can hack tough encounters and feel like super heroes.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
[MENTION=6919838]5ekyu[/MENTION] - That doesn't sound crazy. It actually reminds me a bit of healing surges in 4e. I kind of like the idea, to be honest.

But I do have some questions. How do you handle things like the Life Cleric? Also, since a paladin no longer needs a "pool" of hit points for Lay on Hands, do you change this to a number of uses per rest? Also, how do you handle the curing of poison or disease with Lay on Hands?
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
In D&D 3.5, where the "Short rest/Long Rest" mechanic didn't exist (i.e. people couldn't quickly recover hit points on their own), we tried a house rule on healing that seemed to work pretty well.

Standard for the Cure spells and effects was to roll some number of D8s and add caster level. The number, and the cap on caster level bonus were set by the level of the spell.

At issue was, of course, the fact that a Fighter who was beaten half to death (i.e. at half hit points) was harder to heal than a Wizard of the same level, and also harder to heal than a lower level fighter in the same condition. That is, it came down to what hit points really represent.

Our house rule was that instead of rolling D8s, we'd roll dice to match the character's hit dice size. Healing a Wiz? Roll D4s. Healing a Barb'? Roll D12s. We had to do a bit of math for mixed classes, to see what would be a fair average, but over all it worked out decently. Not perfectly, but better than book rules.
 

Gadget

Explorer
That does not sound "crazy" to me, but, as previously stated, remarkably similar to 4e's healing surges. I fact, isn't there a alternate healing surge rule in the DMG? I would imagine that this would make higher level healing spells/abilities somewhat less valuable, until Hit Dice got low/ran out. Or a condition needed to be removed.

EDIT: By the way, it would do well for the OP to mark the Post as "5e," now that all the D&D discussion is in one forum, else confusion may ensue. There are those who filter this forum by things like "only 5e" and would miss the post.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
[MENTION=6919838]5ekyu[/MENTION] - That doesn't sound crazy. It actually reminds me a bit of healing surges in 4e. I kind of like the idea, to be honest.

But I do have some questions. How do you handle things like the Life Cleric? Also, since a paladin no longer needs a "pool" of hit points for Lay on Hands, do you change this to a number of uses per rest? Also, how do you handle the curing of poison or disease with Lay on Hands?
I think i wasn't clear - any magical healing like life cleric and paladin's lay on hands works normally. The spell/effect restores its usual HP.

*in addition to that* the person being healed can burn HD.

The other effects like curing disease etc are all fine.

The only reason i mentioned the lay on 1 pt is its one of the most "egregious" examples for someone that does not like the results of this rule.

the only case where I removed "healing" was in removing the healing "items" that produce their own HP for you and replaced them with "HD spenders".

BTW, originally i was thinking about "limit the number of healing potions you can drink between rests" but since that was a rather unsatisfying solution - just apply a limit not tied to PC, i then started looking at a character basis for a limit and then it hit me that "this is what HD can do."
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Ahhh, ok. I missed that part. Still not crazy though.

But now I'm thinking if maybe healing spells amd magic should require HD expenditure. Healing is really easy in D&D. Combined with the sheer number of hit points players can get, maybe it's not a bad limited for a more gritty style of game. I have no idea how I might implement something like that. But could be cool.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
That does not sound "crazy" to me, but, as previously stated, remarkably similar to 4e's healing surges. I fact, isn't there a alternate healing surge rule in the DMG? I would imagine that this would make higher level healing spells/abilities somewhat less valuable, until Hit Dice got low/ran out. Or a condition needed to be removed.
Whether or not the higher levels are more or less useful is shown in the play. if the game shows that you run low on HD often enough to make it worrisome, bigger heal spells make sense. If you see a lot of "shorter work days" not so much except of course that scenarios are balanced to suit the world - so a extra deadly" encounter that is scaled to draw most resources included HD in that mix.

What it tends to do is this... the first resource to be expended on recovery are up to half your HD. those will come back at long rest. Those can only (mostly) be used to regain HP. So, thats pretty much what gets burned first (with low level heal spells or elixirs.) After that, its a solid case of trade-off - HD that wont be back until TWO long rests vs spell slots that will be back after ONE long rest but which can be used for other things too. The other abilities mix in somewhere between that pair.

But, If a Gm wants to make the higher level heals more favored - limit the ND spent by level of spell. So a Cure Wounds at first level slot - only get to add 1HD. Cast it at 3rd or 4th - add 3HD or 4HD. So the "bigger faster" kicks in. i used this in the first campaign when it started in test but dropped it by the time that game left its intro stage because it really did not make a difference in choices.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
But, If a Gm wants to make the higher level heals more favored - limit the ND spent by level of spell. So a Cure Wounds at first level slot - only get to add 1HD. Cast it at 3rd or 4th - add 3HD or 4HD. So the "bigger faster" kicks in. i used this in the first campaign when it started in test but dropped it by the time that game left its intro stage because it really did not make a difference in choices.
Maybe a better way to handle it would be that at their base level, healing spells only allow a person to use HD. So for example, Cure Wounds cast at level 1 could allow a person to heal as many Hit Dice as they wanna spend. But upcasting it grants one additional hit dice for free. So a 5th level fighter getting a 2nd level Cure Wounds cast on them could heal up to 6 HD (Five of their own plus one free HD due to the magic of the spell).

Additionally, Healing Word could be changed such that a caster using it HAS to spend their own HD to power the healing, rather than the target's HD. That gives it a slightly higher personal cost to balance out the bonus action and the range of the spell.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Maybe a better way to handle it would be that at their base level, healing spells only allow a person to use HD. So for example, Cure Wounds cast at level 1 could allow a person to heal as many Hit Dice as they wanna spend. But upcasting it grants one additional hit dice for free. So a 5th level fighter getting a 2nd level Cure Wounds cast on them could heal up to 6 HD (Five of their own plus one free HD due to the magic of the spell).

Additionally, Healing Word could be changed such that a caster using it HAS to spend their own HD to power the healing, rather than the target's HD. That gives it a slightly higher personal cost to balance out the bonus action and the range of the spell.
Those are possible, certainly.

They create very different and engaging choices.

For me, i wanted to use character driven traits to "manage" overall healing and remove it from so strongly influence by gear and fiat.

So this tested out to scratch that itch.

But, everybody got their own itches!!!
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
I've proposed a similar rule, where when affected by healing that takes an action (Cure Wounds, Lay on Hands, drinking a potion, but not Healing Word) you may spend HD equal to the dice of the effect. Lay on Hands and other flat amounts counted as one die for every 5 HPs.

I did dice instead of spell level because (a) not everything has a spell level, and (b) I wanted a Mass spells not to have as huge an effect on each person as an equal level single target heal.

This was in conjunction with allowing an action in combat to spend HD up to your proficiency bonus once per short rest.

What some seem to miss is that moving HD from out-of-combat to in-combat makes no change at all for total potential healing during the day, just makes it more accessible in combat. And right now in-combat healing is considered worthless except for picking up fallen PCs.

Plus HD recovered is one of the only two standard beyond-long-rest attrition (the other being exhaustion levels), which too much of either cna carry over to the next day. Which I like.

In retrospect, I should probably boost Life cleric, as it's ability would become a much smaller percentage of the total.

BTW, I don't give out a lot of consumable healing, nor allow unlimited purchase, so that's already in place for me.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
In retrospect, I should probably boost Life cleric, as it's ability would become a much smaller percentage of the total.
You could allow a Life Cleric to apply their healing bonus to each HD a player spends. Additionally, you could allow them to regain additional HD equal to their proficiency bonus during a short rest. That way they have more resources to use towards healing.
 

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