D&D 5E Slow Natural Healing: is it the best official rule for both Wilderness and Dungeon campaigns?

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
My experience with slow natural healing is that it just puts more pressure on magical healing. This may or may not be seen as an advantage, depending on play style.
Agreed. This was the whole reason why Wands of Cure Light Wounds became such a big deal for a lot of tables in 3E, and why the game eventually switched over to overnight recovery of all hit points.

In Ye Olden Days, because tables knew well enough that going out to adventure when down on HP was foolhardy and that the '1 HP per day' natural recovery did absolutely nothing... the group would sleep overnight, wake up, have the Cleric blow all their spells on just healing, then wait around 24 hours until the could sleep again and then have the Cleric blow their spells on healing a second time (and hope to maybe top most PCs off)... and at some point, the group would feel comfortable going off to adventure when they were almost at full. Anyone remember playing Baldur's Gate I and II? That's exactly what most of us did. And eventually they added a 'Sleep Until Fully Healed' option in the Settings just to save all of us time.

Then in 3E, the game made things a little less onerous on Cleric PCs by making the ability to craft Level 1 Cure Light Wound wands with 50 charges exceedingly cheap-- a Craft Wands feat and like 100 GP or so? So at least that way when the party would bed for the night they could just blow charge after charge after charge of the CLW wand to get people almost back to full and not force the Cleric to use all their spells on healing.

And that became such a prolific tactic by a lot of tables that when it came time to design 4E, WotC just said 'Screw it!' and let PCs regain all their hit points overnight on their own-- seeing as how most tables were already doing that anyway through magic item CLW wand means. And if 4E was not going to have the magic item crafting rules like 3E did... they just decided to change the natural recovery rules to produce the same results.

And now in 5E they continued in the same direction with full overnight recovery. And I don't see that changing any time soon, because there just aren't enough DMs who dislike full overnight recovery due to "verisimilitude" to warrant WotC changing things back to slow recovery times as a default. Because even if WotC did... a lot of tables would just return to the 2E days of taking two, three, five days off from adventuring so that the Cleric and other healing classes can blow all their spells one night on healing, then wait for the next day to regain their slots for actual adventuring.

Sorry DMs... but like it or not, your players just don't want to go on life-threatening adventures when they are down hit points. And that's exactly what will happen if you try and re-institute 'Slow Natural Healing' rules... the players will circumvent them by once again just waiting around a couple days with their thumbs up their butts to eventually magical gain all their HP back via spells.
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Agreed. This was the whole reason why Wands of Cure Light Wounds became such a big deal for a lot of tables in 3E, and why the game eventually switched over to overnight recovery of all hit points.

In Ye Olden Days, because tables knew well enough that going out to adventure when down on HP was foolhardy and that the '1 HP per day' natural recovery did absolutely nothing... the group would sleep overnight, wake up, have the Cleric blow all their spells on just healing, then wait around 24 hours until the could sleep again and then have the Cleric blow their spells on healing a second time (and hope to maybe top most PCs off)... and at some point, the group would feel comfortable going off to adventure when they were almost at full. Anyone remember playing Baldur's Gate I and II? That's exactly what most of us did. And eventually they added a 'Sleep Until Fully Healed' option in the Settings just to save all of us time.

Then in 3E, the game made things a little less onerous on Cleric PCs by making the ability to craft Level 1 Cure Light Wound wands with 50 charges exceedingly cheap-- a Craft Wands feat and like 100 GP or so? So at least that way when the party would bed for the night they could just blow charge after charge after charge of the CLW wand to get people almost back to full and not force the Cleric to use all their spells on healing.

And that became such a prolific tactic by a lot of tables that when it came time to design 4E, WotC just said 'Screw it!' and let PCs regain all their hit points overnight on their own-- seeing as how most tables were already doing that anyway through magic item CLW wand means. And if 4E was not going to have the magic item crafting rules like 3E did... they just decided to change the natural recovery rules to produce the same results.

And now in 5E they continued in the same direction with full overnight recovery. And I don't see that changing any time soon, because there just aren't enough DMs who dislike full overnight recovery due to "verisimilitude" to warrant WotC changing things back to slow recovery times as a default. Because even if WotC did... a lot of tables would just return to the 2E days of taking two, three, five days off from adventuring so that the Cleric and other healing classes can blow all their spells one night on healing, then wait for the next day to regain their slots for actual adventuring.

Sorry DMs... but like it or not, your players just don't want to go on life-threatening adventures when they are down hit points. And that's exactly what will happen if you try and re-institute 'Slow Natural Healing' rules... the players will circumvent them by once again just waiting around a couple days with their thumbs up their butts to eventually magical gain all their HP back via spells.
Wands of clw had a 750gp opportunity cost though. The group could point at it as cause for why they want Bob to stop being rude to them. With 5e though they can't so Bob continues
 

Clint_L

Hero
There are no sets of any rules with healing speeds or resource attrition that are going to work for most people. Every single person and every single table wants something different, so worrying or arguing about what should be the "default" in the game is pointless.

Whatever it is that WotC puts in the book... just change it for (general) yourself. Make up whatever rules you prefer for your table, because you're going to be hard-pressed to get 1 out of every 10 posters here on the boards to agree with your ultimate choices.
True to a point...but the evidence over time is that most players and DMs prefer not to faff about with ultra slow healing and as early as 1e we found ways around it (as pointed out above, at first this mostly amounted to making sure that your party had a cleric, or maybe an extra one or two as hireling NPCs; it later evolved to include magic items) to rapidly accelerate the process, so that in practice "slow healing" just turned into a bit of pointless busywork.

I think it only works when the whole table is very copacetic about it.

If instituted it in 5e, for most groups it will be a rush to get to level 5 so that a caster can have tiny hut, now an indispensable spell, and then it will proceed as above.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Agreed. This was the whole reason why Wands of Cure Light Wounds became such a big deal for a lot of tables in 3E, and why the game eventually switched over to overnight recovery of all hit points.

In Ye Olden Days, because tables knew well enough that going out to adventure when down on HP was foolhardy and that the '1 HP per day' natural recovery did absolutely nothing... the group would sleep overnight, wake up, have the Cleric blow all their spells on just healing, then wait around 24 hours until the could sleep again and then have the Cleric blow their spells on healing a second time (and hope to maybe top most PCs off)... and at some point, the group would feel comfortable going off to adventure when they were almost at full. Anyone remember playing Baldur's Gate I and II? That's exactly what most of us did. And eventually they added a 'Sleep Until Fully Healed' option in the Settings just to save all of us time.

Then in 3E, the game made things a little less onerous on Cleric PCs by making the ability to craft Level 1 Cure Light Wound wands with 50 charges exceedingly cheap-- a Craft Wands feat and like 100 GP or so? So at least that way when the party would bed for the night they could just blow charge after charge after charge of the CLW wand to get people almost back to full and not force the Cleric to use all their spells on healing.

And that became such a prolific tactic by a lot of tables that when it came time to design 4E, WotC just said 'Screw it!' and let PCs regain all their hit points overnight on their own-- seeing as how most tables were already doing that anyway through magic item CLW wand means. And if 4E was not going to have the magic item crafting rules like 3E did... they just decided to change the natural recovery rules to produce the same results.

And now in 5E they continued in the same direction with full overnight recovery. And I don't see that changing any time soon, because there just aren't enough DMs who dislike full overnight recovery due to "verisimilitude" to warrant WotC changing things back to slow recovery times as a default. Because even if WotC did... a lot of tables would just return to the 2E days of taking two, three, five days off from adventuring so that the Cleric and other healing classes can blow all their spells one night on healing, then wait for the next day to regain their slots for actual adventuring.

Sorry DMs... but like it or not, your players just don't want to go on life-threatening adventures when they are down hit points. And that's exactly what will happen if you try and re-institute 'Slow Natural Healing' rules... the players will circumvent them by once again just waiting around a couple days with their thumbs up their butts to eventually magical gain all their HP back via spells.
I never used cure wands. The whole idea seemed extremely stupid to me. If it takes a while to heal, I just see that as a great opportunity for downtime activities.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I never used cure wands. The whole idea seemed extremely stupid to me. If it takes a while to heal, I just see that as a great opportunity for downtime activities.
And that was indeed possible and I think expected back in Ye Olden Times, where adventuring was primarily about treasure hunting (because treasure gave you XP.) When players went treasure hunting, there was nothing wrong with leaving a dungeon after clearing like five chambers, going to town, healing up, doing some downtime, and then going back.

But 3E came about as the transition edition where adventuring was no longer about collecting gold for XP... it was about the narratives and stories that gave PCs purpose for risking their lives. Rescuing people, protecting villages, stopping rituals, washing up on the shores of an island after a wreck, and so forth. And more often than not, these adventures required parties to keep calm and carry on to "solve" or "complete" whatever the issue was before something bad happened. And thus there just wasn't "downtime" to be had. You had to keep going and pushing forward-- no way to go home and "recuperate" for a week via Slow Healing and Recovery-- not unless you wanted that blacksmith's child sacrificed at the dark altar to summon the demon.

So in adventures like that... it was get healed up as quickly and efficiently and completely as possible in order to forge ahead. And the Wand of Cure Light Wounds that could be crafted cheaply by a PC during downtime before the adventure was the best way to accomplish that. Sure, some tables didn't go in that direction... but I remember the talks on boards like this of people who did it all the time because it just made the most logistical sense.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Wands of clw had a 750gp opportunity cost though. The group could point at it as cause for why they want Bob to stop being rude to them. With 5e though they can't so Bob continues
Half-price plus a few XP if one of the PCs crafted the 1st level CLW wand themselves though. And that PC would/should have usually been rewarded/paid by the party for doing so, on top of everyone contributing to the 375gp material cost.

I know my wizard PC got paid by the group handsomely for making several different wands for the party, CLW included (via the assistance of the Cleric PC to cast the spell at the appropriate time during the crafting process.)
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
And that was indeed possible and I think expected back in Ye Olden Times, where adventuring was primarily about treasure hunting (because treasure gave you XP.) When players went treasure hunting, there was nothing wrong with leaving a dungeon after clearing like five chambers, going to town, healing up, doing some downtime, and then going back.

But 3E came about as the transition edition where adventuring was no longer about collecting gold for XP... it was about the narratives and stories that gave PCs purpose for risking their lives. Rescuing people, protecting villages, stopping rituals, washing up on the shores of an island after a wreck, and so forth. And more often than not, these adventures required parties to keep calm and carry on to "solve" or "complete" whatever the issue was before something bad happened. And thus there just wasn't "downtime" to be had. You had to keep going and pushing forward-- no way to go home and "recuperate" for a week via Slow Healing and Recovery-- not unless you wanted that blacksmith's child sacrificed at the dark altar to summon the demon.

So in adventures like that... it was get healed up as quickly and efficiently and completely as possible in order to forge ahead. And the Wand of Cure Light Wounds that could be crafted cheaply by a PC during downtime before the adventure was the best way to accomplish that. Sure, some tables didn't go in that direction... but I remember the talks on boards like this of people who did it all the time because it just made the most logistical sense.
Oh, I get it. Its just not my way. Even in 3e, we played the same way we did in 1e/2e. Not being able to do so in 4e contributed to not playing that for long. I did the same in 5e as much as possible, as I now do in Level Up and the OSR games I favor.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Half-price plus a few XP if one of the PCs crafted the 1st level CLW wand themselves though. And that PC would/should have usually been rewarded/paid by the party for doing so, on top of everyone contributing to the 375gp material cost.

I know my wizard PC got paid by the group handsomely for making several different wands for the party, CLW included (via the assistance of the Cleric PC to cast the spell at the appropriate time during the crafting process.)
I'm aware and aware that wizard could take craft wand as a bonus feat. The gold still adds up and "those cost me exp Bob stop being a jerk" is quite the club when the group starts garnishing Bob's share of treasure for consistently being rude in his play. Also someone needed to be there during crafting for casting clw, either another PC who couldn't be doing something else or an extra expense. As levels and hp increases so too does the number of charges from clw wands needed to fix up Bob.

This is not a case of not punishing melees or making them pay just for being a tank. This is about acting indefensibly with no concern for tactics and self preservation in order to unreasonably charge in trying to metaphorically spike the ball with a short dance while actually tumbling it just because someone else on the team is there to injure themselves catching the fumble
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
You're going to get hit and lose HP, no matter how much of a coward you play your character as. This is a melee tax plain and simple.
You absolutely are going to get hit & lose hp, but that doesn't mean that you should shun teamwork while ignoring people trying to mitigate the risk to the group as a whole. There are lots of ways it could be mitigated such as taking down stray mooks before going after the VIP so they didn't splatter the squishy types or working with anyone doing battlefield control type stuff rather than expecting them to be in constant catch-up to a chaos agent who only cares about being the one to make the big score.


If you think actively cooperating with those examples of teamwork and strategy is a description of playing a "coward" it demonstrates a lot about why the other players in the group need and deserve the leverage they hadin the past with the older & more incremental recovery methods.
 

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