4E Running player commentary on PCat's 4E Campaign - Heroic tier (finished)

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
I'm certainly curious whether a paladin and a ranger with the heal skill can compensate.
Paladin possibly, with his lay on hands (although the number of times per day depends on Wisdom?)

Ranger with heal skill might be a bit limited in that (IIR) the heal skill can only trigger a second wind, which a needy person might have used already.

In both cases, the other party members are going to have a bunch of healing surges left at the end of every encounter since they can only expend 1 per encounter... fine for getting up to scratch after the encounter is over, but likely to reduce the parties staying power considerably in the middle of a fight.

(in my campaign the paladin died relatively early from the dual problems of spending his healing surges on other people and underestimating the impact of getting surrounded by minions. On other occasions when the party has been without either cleric or warlord for some reason, they've had much less staying power in a fight)

Cheers
 

Sagiro

Rodent of Uncertain Parentage
I'm certainly curious whether a paladin and a ranger with the heal skill can compensate.
You know, an organization as old and important as the Grey Guard probably has chests full of healing potions in the basement. Those potions would be kept in reserve, for when teams of Guardsmen find themselves without enough innate healing ability. ;)
 

Simplicity

Explorer
I'm certainly curious whether a paladin and a ranger with the heal skill can compensate.
I have a ranger and a paladin in my campaign. Along with the cleric. So, I can answer this for you.

Not even close.

That's not to say that they won't survive. A good DM can always keep his players alive one way or another. And good players can always pull something out of their hats. But especially early on, it'll be a tough fight.

The players need to be MOBILE if they want to live. Two rogues can do that. And the paladin needs to mark smartly. But, if they allow the baddies to focus fire on them (as they should be trying to do), its over. The increased HPs of 4e usually mean that players don't go down in one round anymore at least...
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Speaking as one of those players, I have two words for you:

Uh oh.
Yeah, right. You're just trying to get P-cat to underestimate you. He made that mistake once, and he's still trying to pick the feathers out of the veranda...
 

TerraDave

5ever
For my current campaign I made a new world after....18 years, something like that...you don't realize all the little things you take for granted until they are gone. Loads of fun though.

Re this game, the'll miss the leader. As discussed recently in another thread, 4E is plenty deadly.
 

blargney the second

blargney the minute's son
Well, between the paladin and Heal checks you might be able to cover the healing for the first few levels, which is important.

However, leaders have two other important functions: buffs and tactical positioning. They're very important because they're the keystone to the teamwork that 4e play strongly promotes. Once you've missed a few times with important daily abilities or have been unable to get to a position where you can use them effectively, you'll see what I mean...
-blarg
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
You know, an organization as old and important as the Grey Guard probably has chests full of healing potions in the basement. Those potions would be kept in reserve, for when teams of Guardsmen find themselves without enough innate healing ability. ;)
Hopefully, those are some very high level healing potions, or consist of a variant formula that the Grey Guards concocted, because the regular healing potion available to the rank and file recruits are very, very poor quality, and don't heal much at all...
 

Piratecat

Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
I'd be interested in other peoples' opinions on this. I don't mind beefing up the healing potions, but I want to hit the right balance without breaking the game.

Huh. I just learned that I might have to be out at Pixar on the day we're going to game next week. Talk about mixed feelings!
 

Blackjack

Visitor
so why did the players choose what appear to be real world/non-fantasy names? For me at least they break the verisimilitude
See, I'm exactly the opposite. Gibberish, hard-to-remember names feel artificial to me; period names, well, seem to fit the period. The names (and doctoral title) of the PCs may be real-world, but they're not exclusively modern. (Well, except for "Strontium". :) )

Which is to say, I don't think there's a "correct" style for fantasy names. Some folks like medieval-period names, others made-up-from-whole-cloth ones, others Tolkien-style old English ones... heck, I know a GM where all the characters from one of his cultures have Shakespearean names like "Lysander". And many worlds use names from more than one category. So go with whatchalike, that's my philosophy.
 
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Blackjack

Visitor
I don't mind beefing up the healing potions
Two comments here from one of the players:

* our lack of cleric wasn't by conscious choice. We each designed our PCs individually, based on what we each felt like playing; this is what we ended up with. It wasn't as if we got together and said, "Hey, let's have a party of a whole bunch of strikers!"

* Dr. Caldwell is planning on taking the Alchemy feat, to get all the cranked-up healing potions, at level 2. I believe Logan is planning on taking Alchemy then as well. These were character-driven choices, but the fact that they'll also help with healing is a nice benefit at the meta-planning level.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
On to the actual question. I appears that healing potions are designed so that at a given tier they become less and less effective, since they use up a healing surge but only restore a fixed amount of hp.

I think this is quite a good design for 4e - it means that people can rely more upon powers and less on items (which become less and less effective as you advance up the tier).

I think that a better solution would be to place in the various treasure parcels some of the magic items which allow healing surges to be used (or heal as if a healing surge is used). These will fit better within the daily/encounter paradigm than potions which could just be chugged.

e.g. items:

Dwarven Armour
Exalted Armour
tombforged armour
hydra armour
trollskin armour
Belt of Sacrifice

and you could easily make up some more yourself - items which have a daily power that can be used to trigger a healing surge (or regeneration).

Of course, anyone choosing to multiclass into warlord or cleric would be a helpful move too ;)

Cheers
 
One thing I am thinking of doing in my game when it comes to healing and such, is:

This world is somewhat supernatural with lots of superstitions that are actually true. One of which is that if one stands within a crossroads this is a area of safety and security.

As such most people carry a piece of chalk with them to draw a crossroads if need be (essentially a free ritual for everyone). This creates a area that to those not admitted in when the crossroad was created/entered (if it is a natural/artificial crossroads already established) find hindering.

A sentient creature understands that this is only a hindrance, and may still enter (though is unwise). Most non-sentient find this hindrance distressing and will patrol outside till the supernatural energy dissipates.

As such it buys the party time to recuperate somewhat.
 

Simplicity

Explorer
On to the actual question. I appears that healing potions are designed so that at a given tier they become less and less effective, since they use up a healing surge but only restore a fixed amount of hp.

I think this is quite a good design for 4e - it means that people can rely more upon powers and less on items (which become less and less effective as you advance up the tier).

I think that a better solution would be to place in the various treasure parcels some of the magic items which allow healing surges to be used (or heal as if a healing surge is used). These will fit better within the daily/encounter paradigm than potions which could just be chugged.

e.g. items:

Dwarven Armour
Exalted Armour
tombforged armour
hydra armour
trollskin armour
Belt of Sacrifice

and you could easily make up some more yourself - items which have a daily power that can be used to trigger a healing surge (or regeneration).

Of course, anyone choosing to multiclass into warlord or cleric would be a helpful move too ;)

Cheers
Such items would provide a little help, but the default armors tend not to solve the problem of an unconscious PC. When you're unconscious, you don't have the actions to necessary to spend the healing surge.

Haven't had a chance to look at the alchemy stuff much, but healing potions would definitely help because they can always be administered to the unconscious.

My advice to PCat would be to change nothing and see how things go. Should be a fun learning experience for everyone involved. 3.5e was probably way swingier (I guess that's the word?) than 4e is anyways... Other than the stupid ever-present Wand of Cure Light Wounds... (so glad that's gone). If the players want healing, they'll invest in the necessary feats or they'll horde self-made potions. Problem solved. Ish.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
Such items would provide a little help, but the default armors tend not to solve the problem of an unconscious PC. When you're unconscious, you don't have the actions to necessary to spend the healing surge.
Some of those items allow you to expend a healing surge and someone else gets healed (a little like paladin lay on hands), which overcomes that particular problem.

I agree that the best thing would be to see how it pans out before guessing what the problem/solution is though. I've not seen the alchemetical rules, so maybe that is a good enough solution by itself as Blackjack suggests

Cheers
 

Gold Roger

Visitor
Just chiming in, our group was okay for the first three session, where it only had a paladin for healing as well. (it only went bad when there where only two strikers present on session 4).

While boost of getting a cleric in session 5 was massive, since then we had two combats that went critical as soon as the cleric went down, as the party relied to much on his healing. And that cleric was a pure ranged combat cleric, while most leaders are melee combatants.

I'd say, with healing potions on every PC, the paladin (though he will often enough be to busy/the first in the dirt) and maybe some multiclassing on one or two PC's, the PC's will be fine.
 

vagabundo

Explorer
You know, I'm honestly not sure I'll need to. I want to shoot for a level every 5-6 games, which is twice as fast as my last campaign. We game from 7pm to 10pm, minus some time for food, so that's about two encounters per game when you include roleplaying. I suspect that even if I didn't change advancement, we'd still level at the speed recommended in the DMG.

I probably won't track xp, though. I'm more likely to just level people after an adventure every 5-6 games.

The wiki can be found here, and is in the process of being updated: piratecat wiki
I could have written this, that is how close your game is to mine.

I've gone mat-less for most combat encounters. I'm still getting a feel for how to allow players to use some of their PC's abilities, but it is feeling very 1e/2e for me. :D

I've told my players I'm tracking XP and I'm going to level them every month and a half, so long as there was some good sessions in that time. We get around two encounters or an area done per session, usually around 2-3 hours on a Sunday night.

I'm running through KotS and they just had some fun with
Oozes and rats :D
. No leader in my group and they get on fine, mostly.
 

Sagiro

Rodent of Uncertain Parentage
Hopefully, those are some very high level healing potions, or consist of a variant formula that the Grey Guards concocted, because the regular healing potion available to the rank and file recruits are very, very poor quality, and don't heal much at all...
I'm curious as to why you think that. If I'm remembering correctly (and I may not be -- I don't have the books handy), the lowest level healing potion in the PH heals 10 hit points, typically costing a minor action and a move action(?) to draw.

My 1st level rogue has a Healing Surge value of 7 (28 HP), which means this potion is better than a Surge (for pure HP). Since I get 5 (again, might be misremembering) additional HP per level, my Surge won't be as good as the lowest level potion until I'm 4th level. Why do you consider that to be "very, very poor quality?"

(Note: no snark intended. I don't have much actual 4E experience, and am probably missing something.)
 

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