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Pathfinder 2E Pathfinder 2e: is it RAW or RAI to always take 10 minutes and heal between encounters?

ReshiIRE

Explorer
I've seen a lot of references to the game being designed around HP being only, say, a resource in fights, not between fights; i.e., that the players should spend some time and resources (like healing potions, healing spells etc.) between encounters where they take damage that reduces them below 80%-ish HP. Essentially, that characters should pretty much always take between 10 and 30 minutes to heal up if they were damaged (and at-least 10 for Focus Spells). It certainly does seem intended that players take a few hours before adventuring to heal up if they haven't fully healed after a rest, due to the fact you don't heal back to full HP on one.

From what I have read and reading between some lines on encounters, that makes sense, and people have given some good arguments that fights that happen closely together should have their XP added together, as they are essentially one 'combat', e.g. fighting guards in a castle might begin with a trivial encounter of a few guards, but it could become a severe one as other guards are brought in. And I already knew that the game is pretty different from 5e, and if this is all intended then that sounds like a huge reason why 5e players struggle with the game.

However.

I have not found an actual page, paragraph or reference to the text of the core rulebooks that explain this.

Where is it written in the CRB or Gamemastry Guide that it is generally expected that the players be full or close to full HP between encounters?

I am not precluding, in my question, the idea that I have missed something; I have definitely confused some rules that were actually simple due to formatting (counteracting is a LOT easier to understand if you simply break up the paragraph its in and remember level is added to profiency) or that my experience with 5e is blinding me to where the game states things. But I would like to read it in the book itself or in the words of the writer, to better understand whether this is simply common knowledge or what the community has decided is the best.

(I also want to double check that this applies to HP only, and that it's okay for players to say go into a severe encounter missing spell slots from fighting low and moderate encounters previously).

I would also like to know what are the risks of say, the party finishing a moderate encounter, and then going on to fight a trivial encounter without taking a ten minute rest, and then fighting another trivial encounter without resting after that, without all the players being on full HP. Does that definitely make that combination an Extreme Encounter - whereas if the players rested between each it'd make them more like a session of Moderate to a Trivial to a Trivial encounter?

Although I assume this to be the case, should I take special care that if players don't get Trained in Medicine and take Healers' Tools, etc., to include a good amount of Healing Potions - or should I set up encounters so that they're more spread out and of a lower difficulty?

Finally, I guess I should remark that I haven't yet had experience with the system, but that I would love to run it (particularly RAI) and that this does sound like a great way to space out combat and downtime naturally - but I do ask how this affects dungeons. What is the best way to ensure that narratively, it makes sense that the PCs have the ten minutes to brace themselves between fights? Should I have them go back a bit into safer zones, and only use random encounters if they attempt a risker time frame? Or for the stories I want to tell, should I treat that breather more like a 5 minute break, where it's more realistic that more intelligent creatures won't necessarily have combined together into a powerful encounter or have set up a particially nasty ambush?
 

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kenada

Legend
Supporter
It’s an assumption made to reason about the guidelines for building encounters. If the party’s readiness didn’t matter, then you could have someone go down unexpectedly in a trivial encounter, but they’re defined as “so easy that the characters have essentially no chance of losing; they shouldn’t even need to spend significant resources unless they are particularly wasteful.”
 

CapnZapp

Legend
There's nothing specific. The game never says "you're a fool to not heal back up between fights". And indeed you could end up with a party where nobody invests in Medicine (or just dabbles).

But the harsh reality is that you're basically fracked if you do that. No other route comes even close to the utility of out-of-combat healing (heal spells, lay on hands, wands, potions etc none of it).

And the game definitely needs you to stop advancing in the dungeon (or wherever you're exploring) if you lack more than a few hit points here and there.

Having half the party enter a combat at half hp can easily mean losing an entire round (where you need to spend your actions on getting back up instead of making monsters go down). This can easily mean the encounter's challenge shifts a whole category (from moderate to severe for instance). Yep, the balance is that tight.

It's perhaps hyperbole to say "it's suicide to keep on adventuring when not at full health".
The question is instead: "why the hell are you pressing on at less than full hp when healing back up is so cheap and plentiful?"
And Medicine is what makes healing cheap and plentiful.

Yes, you could waste a lot of playing time following the rules, calculating exactly how much hp each Treat Wounds gives you, making all the little busy-body decisions "do I settle for DC 20 or do I go for DC 30?" and so on.

But the truth is that you could be the GM and just let the player characters heal back up after each fight and you wouldn't lose a thing. You would instead play the game exactly as Adventure Paths and the encounter guidelines intend you to, and you would save a bunch of time not spent on minutiae.

tl;dr: the game totally expects you to start each encounter at full health so why not simply start each encounter at full health and accept that the resource minigame just does not include hit points in this edition
 

Retreater

Legend
I don't recall ever having seen it spelled out in the rulebook, but a full-heal between encounters is a relatively easy activity for a party to do, even at very low levels. So it would require a GM fiat to disallow it, and based on how I've seen encounters play out in official Paizo adventures, I think the assumption is that everyone starts every battle with (nearly) full health - to do less than that really hampers the party.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
It's easy for a new GM to be taken by surprise by finding a game like PF2 that sincerely expects you to accommodate a 20-40 minute rest period after basically every fight though. Especially since published APs make zero concessions to help make this expectation a fact. Not only does their maps not take precautions to help make the constant start-stop rhythm natural to achieve, their maps routinely sport encounters just a few yards apart...

..and the encounter math would break if those monsters were to come to each other's aid.

So... yeah.
 

Retreater

Legend
It's easy for a new GM to be taken by surprise by finding a game like PF2 that sincerely expects you to accommodate a 20-40 minute rest period after basically every fight though. Especially since published APs make zero concessions to help make this expectation a fact. Not only does their maps not take precautions to help make the constant start-stop rhythm natural to achieve, their maps routinely sport encounters just a few yards apart...

..and the encounter math would break if those monsters were to come to each other's aid.

So... yeah.
I think this adventure design issue comes from a reliance on Flip Mats as a format tie-in with the adventures. The maps are too small to accommodate that pacing and even the movement within encounters.
When I was designing my mega-dungeon for OSR, I was already at the scale of 1 square = 10 ft. I further expanded it during the playtest to be 1 square = 20 ft., with many long passages, combat-free rooms, etc. The first level of the dungeon alone was probably the distance of three levels of the Abomination Vaults.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
I think this adventure design issue comes from a reliance on Flip Mats as a format tie-in with the adventures. The maps are too small to accommodate that pacing and even the movement within encounters.
I can only say that the game would have been straight up much better if the byzantine and hyper-detailed rules for Medicine were just put on the garbage heap and basically replaced by "if you get a few minutes to recover, you regain all your lost hit points".

That way, Paizo would have been writing adventures for the game they actually do publish, rather than some game they think they publish for...

I stated as much already back in March:
PF2 healing options are misaligned to the needs and expectations of the game.
 

payn

Hero
I can only say that the game would have been straight up much better if the byzantine and hyper-detailed rules for Medicine were just put on the garbage heap and basically replaced by "if you get a few minutes to recover, you regain all your lost hit points".
I like the idea of a battle medicine feat that allows those who wish to invest a way to heal in combat without magic. Though, I totally agree about medicine being too convoluted for its own good out of combat.

Looking at PF2 holistically, it was designed to get out of resource attrition on the adventuring day and move it to the encounter. Trying really hard to hide that design has really caused nothing but problems. YMMV.
 

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
I can only say that the game would have been straight up much better if the byzantine and hyper-detailed rules for Medicine were just put on the garbage heap and basically replaced by "if you get a few minutes to recover, you regain all your lost hit points".
Capn, I often strongly disagree with your posts, but this one is pretty much on the mark.

Healing to full hitpoints between fights is basically automatic, if the party has enough time to do it. Sure, you might fail a few rolls (especially at low levels) but the only real question is how long it takes to heal everyone, not whether or not it's possible.
Now that my players have reached 9th and more recently 10th level, healing them can take more than 10 minutes. Sometimes a lot more, despite several PCs having the relevant feats to heal multiple patients every 10 minutes, instead of waiting an hour to try again.

The thing I don't like about PF2 RAW healing is that it eats into table time. Since I've been running adventures on VTT for many months now, after a big one or two-hour fight, I'll generally take a quick pitstop/vape break and tell my players, "hey, can you guys manage the healing, and tell me how long it took? I'll be right back." So that generally works out OK-ish. But it's unnecessarily time-consuming, and table time is a precious thing.

So, assuming no major debilitating conditions (Infernal Wound is a big exception) instead of asking for a string of Medicine checks that use up table time, I'll simply ask how much everybody is down, and state, "10/20/30/40 minutes later, you're all fully healed and have had time to refocus. And study the (whatever strange stuff) is in the area." Usually, the players say, "that sounds about right," and we go on with the adventure.

The rules for healing, especially the rules about raising target DCs for greater healing effects, are unnecessarily complex and byzantine. It would have been far better to present a streamlined system with a single floating results table that reads out in terms of the number of 10-minute segments used, rather than the number of hit points regained.

But hey, any DM can abstract the healing intervals however that works best for him & his players. You can save the actual rolls for situations where you expect the healing interval to be prematurely interrupted.
 

Retreater

Legend
I feel there's good (or even great) stuff about PF2, sometimes buried under minutiae or hidden in a poorly organized rulebook. If it were streamlined to my preferences, I don't doubt I'd prefer it to 5e.
As it plays now, it feels more like a clunky beta release.
Maybe PF3 will get it right - but it's more likely Paizo will make it a PF1.5.
 

Justice and Rule

Adventurer
Healing has always been problematic in the D&D world because with Cure Wounds you can basically get an entire party up and running in a few minutes if you do things right. Healing Surges were probably the smartest abstract of that in 4E, even if they had some wonky bits, but at the end of the day I'm guessing there's some consideration for Adventurer's League/Pathfinder Society in these games: while a guy like me would love to have mechanics that force players to heal for a week or two, people who go to a game shop once a month for their only game probably don't want to waste that much time.

The Medicine change is a good one if only because it makes non-magical healing very viable, and thus allows people to always have healing options. The problem is that you can just keep doing it, which I suspect is a feature rather than a bug: you're meant to be able to heal up to full if you don't have a Cleric, thus allowing you to get away from having to have a healer in the party. But for a guy like me, who wants more attrition... it's irritating. My solution was to limit the unlimited healing options you could use per-day, though I was looking at doing something a little more complicated with Medicine.

(I don't mind the DCs... I guess I just internalize that stuff much more quickly than others, so it doesn't really bother me)

Years ago pretty early in 5E I came up with "Wound Points", based on one's Constitution Stat along with using Wound Thresholds from SW:SE. It was at the least kind of complicated and I never got to use it outside of a test game. The idea of Strain from Worlds Without Number (Thanks @kenada ) seems like an interesting way of possibly doing it. I know there are Vitality rules in the DMG that I haven't read because reading the word "Vitality" in that context just gives me bad flashbacks to SW:RCR.

But at the end of the day, it's a hard problem to fix given both the mechanical problems (magical healing on demand) and the non-mechanical problems (We live in a Pathfinder Society).
 
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As others have said, in practice PF2e has moved away from hit point attrition on a strategic level being relevant as a default. I also do agree that its perhaps a bit obscured, but its too obvious once you go down the rabbit-hole of looking at how Medicine works for it to be reasonably viewed any other way.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Years ago pretty early in 5E I came up with "Wound Points", based on one's Constitution Stat along with using Wound Thresholds from SW:SE. It was at the least kind of complicated and I never got to use it outside of a test game. The idea of Strain from Worlds Without Number (Thanks @kenada ) seems like an interesting way of possibly doing it. I know there are Vitality rules in the DMG that I haven't read because reading the word "Vitality" in that context just gives me bad flashbacks to SW:RCR.
The Stamina rules don’t seem as bad as the usual wounds/vitality system. They (more or less) split your hit points in half, and that’s it. There’s no extra punishment for taking a critical hit. It’s just a way to change the pacing of recovery. Resolve pools are optional, so groups can decide whether or not they want attrition in their games.
 




Justice and Rule

Adventurer
The Stamina rules don’t seem as bad as the usual wounds/vitality system. They (more or less) split your hit points in half, and that’s it. There’s no extra punishment for taking a critical hit. It’s just a way to change the pacing of recovery. Resolve pools are optional, so groups can decide whether or not they want attrition in their games.

Those are interesting in limiting the short-term, but again I'm more about long-term attrition. With those, you might have trouble with a running fight because you won't be easily able to heal up to full, but a day of downtime and you'll be just like new. I like the idea of having to spend a week or two recovering. I feel like 5E encouraged my players go just break-neck around the place, even with "gritty" healing on.

In this case, I like having multiple options to heal. But I also want some limiting factor so that you don't just recover in a single day. Looking over the mechanic, Strain seems like a fantastic way of managing that: typically speaking a PF2 party isn't for lack of healing (especially with Fonts for Clerics), but I want them to have to manage that in some way. Having so much means that long-term healing isn't really something that happens... unless you put in a limit. Strain... that looks like it could do it.

The only situation I'd say that you might be able to heal from without Strain is from 0 hitpoints (which is fine, since the Wounded condition means you're not going to get much out of that edge case). In fact, you could probably do something about having levels of Wounded limiting how much strain you can recover until the condition is gone. Lot of potential in adding in that limit, just like Healing Surges were meant to do in 4E.
 

Retreater

Legend
Talking to my wife last night, we were discussing about how 4e might actually be the superior version of PF2 (except being out of print and not being on VTT). That's probably a topic for another thread, but something I'm interested in talking about.
 

Talking to my wife last night, we were discussing about how 4e might actually be the superior version of PF2 (except being out of print and not being on VTT). That's probably a topic for another thread, but something I'm interested in talking about.

I can see the argument, but I think in a number of areas 4e just felt A Bridge Too Far for me, where PF2e stays on the right side of that, but that can't be but a subjective feeling.
 

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