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D&D 5E Proposed Fix for Whack-a-Mole Healing

Fanaelialae

Legend
5e leaves GMs with very few avenues they can employ as a carrot. Nearly any change to problems like this one start with a need for "ok nerf this list f things like this" before you can even consider a carrot that's still below the munchkinized levels they started with in RAW & plain reading.
That's not true. The primary limit to carrots in this design space is the designer's own creativity. I suggested a spell that grants lots of temps. Someone else suggested that healing received by conscious characters gets a bonus, or that healing can go over your maximum. Adding any kind of benefit to healing a conscious character would be a carrot, whether that be inspiration, a damage bonus, AC bonus, or whatever.

It's easy to be dismissive and say that the game "leaves few avenues to carrots", but before making such a claim it might be worthwhile to give some consideration as to whether or not there's any actual substance to it.
 

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That's not true. The primary limit to carrots in this design space is the designer's own creativity. I suggested a spell that grants lots of temps. Someone else suggested that healing received by conscious characters gets a bonus, or that healing can go over your maximum. Adding any kind of benefit to healing a conscious character would be a carrot, whether that be inspiration, a damage bonus, AC bonus, or whatever.

It's easy to be dismissive and say that the game "leaves few avenues to carrots", but before making such a claim it might be worthwhile to give some consideration as to whether or not there's any actual substance to it.
It has to do with the power level of characters and the system that enshrines it. Take your spell thst Grant's lord of temp hp... it's not needed by raw because all damage beyond zero goes away and a 1hp plsy on hands or first level bonus action healing word from 30(?) Feet from any of the many classes that get it or celestial warlock healing light brings someone back to their feet at minimal codr... if your solution has a higher cost of will go unused unless you've nerfed the players somewhere. Players don't even need magic items belt design so you stent replacing availability of wand A with wand B either your spell needs to be better
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
It has to do with the power level of characters and the system that enshrines it. Take your spell thst Grant's lord of temp hp... it's not needed by raw because all damage beyond zero goes away and a 1hp plsy on hands or first level bonus action healing word from 30(?) Feet from any of the many classes that get it or celestial warlock healing light brings someone back to their feet at minimal codr... if your solution has a higher cost of will go unused unless you've nerfed the players somewhere. Players don't even need magic items belt design so you stent replacing availability of wand A with wand B either your spell needs to be better
As I already addressed in my previous post, heal from zero analysis like yours completely fails to consider the scenario where a character loses a turn because they went down and would get their turn before the healer. Losing an entire PC's turn is a very high cost. Moreover, a PC going down can mean that the monsters move onto softer targets, which is also a high cost, as that can rapidly devolve into a TPK.

Even in the RAW game, preemptive healing is often a good idea. It's simply that the healing spells available often don't provide sufficient healing. If I can be reasonably confident that healing the fighter will keep him up for another round, it's worth it. On the other hand, if I'm reasonably confident that it won't, healing him is a waste.

With a few exceptions, in combat healing in 5e has fairly high uncertainty, when compared to the high damage values that most monsters can output. This in turn pushes up the value of healing at 0, because there is a high degree of certainty there. However, let's just imagine that Healing Word healed a character to full. In most cases, it would be a bad idea to let someone go to zero. You'd want them to go as low as possible without hitting zero, because that would be the sweet spot for such a spell. All the benefits with none of the drawbacks.
 

As I already addressed in my previous post, heal from zero analysis like yours completely fails to consider the scenario where a character loses a turn because they went down and would get their turn before the healer. Losing an entire PC's turn is a very high cost. Moreover, a PC going down can mean that the monsters move onto softer targets, which is also a high cost, as that can rapidly devolve into a TPK.

Even in the RAW game, preemptive healing is often a good idea. It's simply that the healing spells available often don't provide sufficient healing. If I can be reasonably confident that healing the fighter will keep him up for another round, it's worth it. On the other hand, if I'm reasonably confident that it won't, healing him is a waste.

With a few exceptions, in combat healing in 5e has fairly high uncertainty, when compared to the high damage values that most monsters can output. This in turn pushes up the value of healing at 0, because there is a high degree of certainty there. However, let's just imagine that Healing Word healed a character to full. In most cases, it would be a bad idea to let someone go to zero. You'd want them to go as low as possible without hitting zero, because that would be the sweet spot for such a spell. All the benefits with none of the drawbacks.
With healing word available to druid cleric bard & some artificer's the downed player losing a turn before someone playing a druid cleric bardcertain artificers or celestial warlock with healing light can go is not a high chance unless the initiative is creature>downed player unless there is basically no healers in the party. The base system is tuned too far in favor of players. People aren't engaging in your possible coincidence of initiative order because it's just too contrived to be a serious design consideration unless one is trying to find a solution to a party with no healers rather than a solution to wackamole healing.

Yes preemptive healing can be a good idea if healing has good enough c ok st/benefit, but any fix is up against a first level bonus action 30 ft range spell thst can soak one or two crits from an ancient dragon or tarrasque while all kinds of non spell healing abilities like 1hp healing word & basically free healing light still need to be "fixed".
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
With healing word available to druid cleric bard & some artificer's the downed player losing a turn before someone playing a druid cleric bardcertain artificers or celestial warlock with healing light can go is not a high chance unless the initiative is creature>downed player unless there is basically no healers in the party. The base system is tuned too far in favor of players. People aren't engaging in your possible coincidence of initiative order because it's just too contrived to be a serious design consideration unless one is trying to find a solution to a party with no healers rather than a solution to wackamole healing.

Yes preemptive healing can be a good idea if healing has good enough c ok st/benefit, but any fix is up against a first level bonus action 30 ft range spell thst can soak one or two crits from an ancient dragon or tarrasque while all kinds of non spell healing abilities like 1hp healing word & basically free healing light still need to be "fixed".
It's not contrived in a typical party. I would say that in most parties at my table, there is typically only one character who can cast healing word. Maybe another character who could cast CW or some equivalent.

On average, one and a half healers, out of approx 5 characters, with the half healer oftentimes being required to give up an action to heal (high cost). Technically we could say that everyone is a healer because healing potions are cheap, but I don't think that actually bears out in play. Moving to an ally and using your action to administer a potion that might not even get them to their next turn is oftentimes a risky tradeoff.

So yes, it absolutely can and does happen IRL. It's not contrived in the least. I've seen it at my own table plenty of times. If you typically run parties primarily composed of bards, clerics, and druids, I think you're actually the atypical one here.
 

It's not contrived in a typical party. I would say that in most parties at my table, there is typically only one character who can cast healing word. Maybe another character who could cast CW or some equivalent.

On average, one and a half healers, out of approx 5 characters, with the half healer oftentimes being required to give up an action to heal (high cost). Technically we could say that everyone is a healer because healing potions are cheap, but I don't think that actually bears out in play. Moving to an ally and using your action to administer a potion that might not even get them to their next turn is oftentimes a risky tradeoff.

So yes, it absolutely can and does happen IRL. It's not contrived in the least. I've seen it at my own table plenty of times. If you typically run parties primarily composed of bards, clerics, and druids, I think you're actually the atypical one here.
Bard cleric druid an analog with celestial warlock, some artificers. Etc. Cure wounds is only castable by bard cleric druid paladin ranger artificer and celestial sorcerers... wackamole healing is not a loophole, it's the intended design with phb 197 all but explicitly saying that in dropping to 0 hit points and stabilizing a creature. The system failing to support any other option with optional dmg rules that go even further past eleven. A group would need to go out of their way working to meet the dearth of healing you are putting forward as a real concern.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Bard cleric druid an analog with celestial warlock, some artificers. Etc. Cure wounds is only castable by bard cleric druid paladin ranger artificer and celestial sorcerers... wackamole healing is not a loophole, it's the intended design with phb 197 all but explicitly saying that in dropping to 0 hit points and stabilizing a creature. The system failing to support any other option with optional dmg rules that go even further past eleven. A group would need to go out of their way working to meet the dearth of healing you are putting forward as a real concern.
I never claimed whack-a-mole wasn't intended. I said that it is not without significant risks, and that those costs are all too often glossed over in analysis.

I also said that for a DM looking to create a house rule to reduce whack-a-mole, a carrot and stick approach is better than all stick. If you make hitting zero very harsh, but don't offer better ways to avoid hitting zero, then all you've done is made your game more harsh (rather than your assumed goal of reducing whack-a-mole). I, as well as a number of others in this thread, have already made a number of suggestions regarding what those carrots could be.
 

I never claimed whack-a-mole wasn't intended. I said that it is not without significant risks, and that those costs are all too often glossed over in analysis.

I also said that for a DM looking to create a house rule to reduce whack-a-mole, a carrot and stick approach is better than all stick. If you make hitting zero very harsh, but don't offer better ways to avoid hitting zero, then all you've done is made your game more harsh (rather than your assumed goal of reducing whack-a-mole). I, as well as a number of others in this thread, have already made a number of suggestions regarding what those carrots could be.
Your ignoring the forest of the problem to focus on specific trees. These "significant risks" have already been covered over the last few posts and earlier in the thread by others.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!

Institute a "one-magical healing per hour" rule. Any more than that and the character risks DEATH! Make it a base DC with an semi-random increasing DC. Con Save vs DC 10 + the base die of damage that took him down (e.g., if it was a monsters Claw for 1d8+4, then it's +d8; if a knife for 1d4; it'd +d4; etc). The next time magic is used to heal in that hour window, it's DC 12 + base die; then DC 14, 16, 18, etc).

Another possible means, and less book-keeping, would be that every time you get to 0 hp, you take one level of Fatigue. Simple and gives the Players an incentive to NOT want to hit 0.

Another one, which someone mentioned right away, was when you hit 0hp you go unconscious and don't regain consciousness for X amount of time. I'd go with 1d6 rounds and make that a secret DM die roll (obviously!)...THEN you wake up with the HP's in healing....but UNTIL you wake up, you DO NOT have those HP's! Meaning you are still, 'technically' at 0hp... with all that entails (coup de grais for example).

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

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