Surge and Healing

keterys

First Post
Reduce the number of healing surges of all characters by 4*.
When a character takes a short rest, they are restored to full hp at no surge cost.

There are a few abilities you'd need to change as a result - most particularly the bard song of rest ability. Feats which affect amount you heal while resting can probably just be ignored.

* Adjust as desired, based on number of expected combats per day and such. If you do 6+, for example, controllers and certain strikers (like rogues) will be in a tough boat for in-combat healing. But that might be okay.

I haven't tested this, but it does some potentially interesting things, so what do people think? You could in theory mix it up by adding a surge back per milestone, if you want to encourage endless days even more.
 

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Flipguarder

First Post
Reduce the number of healing surges of all characters by 4*.
When a character takes a short rest, they are restored to full hp at no surge cost.

There are a few abilities you'd need to change as a result - most particularly the bard song of rest ability. Feats which affect amount you heal while resting can probably just be ignored.

* Adjust as desired, based on number of expected combats per day and such. If you do 6+, for example, controllers and certain strikers (like rogues) will be in a tough boat for in-combat healing. But that might be okay.

I haven't tested this, but it does some potentially interesting things, so what do people think? You could in theory mix it up by adding a surge back per milestone, if you want to encourage endless days even more.

It drastically lowers the power level of the warden and the Artificer, who both depend on high amounts of healing surges. Hell I have a warden combo that lets me spend 4 healing surges in 1 TURN. Artificers can no longer toss around temp hp. Overall, I think it's a bad idea to not account for class when dealing with healing surges.
But Flipguarder, he meant BY 4, not to 4

Oh, well aren't I just an idiot
Yes, yes you are.

I'm sorry, I'll never do it again
Damned skippy you won't *Violent lazer firing and limb ripping sounds*

OWWW!!! MY MOST OF ME!
Muah-hahahaha!

tumbleweed rolling around, wind blowing
 
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keterys

First Post
Wow, that was a response :)

So, yeah, to cover what this would most likely do...

1) Removes the situation in which someone runs out of surges and the adventuring day abruptly and completely comes to a standstill... it just gets harder.
2) Makes Con mod slightly more important, particularly for certain classes
3) Makes surges more like daily powers - something that is really really nice to have and a huge difference when used, but not completely crippling without
4) Makes it more likely that people will ride the edge a little bit and let people get more injured, avoid just blowing healing - this helps create and maintain a greater illusion of danger (which makes a bigger difference than you might think)
5) Removes a lot of silliness in terms of things like healing standards, taking several short rests in a row, shaman bouncing out of combat, etc, just to maximize the amount of healing per surge.

For games which do very few combats (LFR comes to mind), it might not have a notable effect at all. It _does_ make the artificer's ability to give _everyone_ crazy temp hp out of combat a little rougher. It's not clear to me that it has a big effect on wardens, though?
 

Flipguarder

First Post
If you look at some warden features, paragon paths and utility powers, Wardens use a lot of their own surges for their own healing. While this makes sesne for any defender, the warden is kind of designed to take more damage than any other defender (hence why they have more life than any defender) and thus the elimination of healing surges in any form would effect them near the most of all. Removing 4 surges is not THAT bad, but it is kind of like, "hey you took durable, good job *YOINK*
 

keterys

First Post
True, but do you contend that he's not using _any_ surges for healing outside of combat? Nearly every defender I know burns 1 or 2 at the end of most combats, so after 2-4 combats they're net positive.
 

Markn

First Post
This is certainly interesting and something i will be talking to my group about.

Currently, we are experimenting with the players getting only half their normal number of healing surges that refreshes every milestone. Basically we have found that we tend to have 4 - 5 encounters a day, but by cutting healing surges in half it creates a more tense fight twice a day because there are two fights where you need to be more careful with healing surges lest you run out. It also has the added benefit of allowing the speed of plot to push players on since they refresh surges every milestone.

Just thought I'd throw that out for yoru consideration.
 

keterys

First Post
Your house rule sounds very interesting too. Same goal for making certain situations more tense, while not limiting healing for the day.

I really like removing the need to care about who heals whom for how much after combat, though. If you rest, your hp refresh like your encounter powers, and onward to the action!
 

CapnZapp

Legend
It seems more and more plausible that you could just skip healing surges altogether.

At least if you run a campaign that doesn't involve 6+ combats each adventuring day (such as a campaign not focussed solely on The Dungeon).

The only really interesting part is the in-battle healing; and here I suspect WotC made buying healing surge triggers too cheap.

Basically, I wonder how the following game would play out:
A) remove healing surges altogether. You simply have an endless amount that you don't need to keep track of.
B) reduce healing surge triggers:
1) Everybody has their Second Wind (generally standard action)
2) Everybody can drink a potion (generally minor to ready + minor to drink)
3) Everybody can become magically healed once a combat
This third category then caps the number of Healing Words, Dwarven Armor usages etc etc at one per person. This seems to be a much easier approach than trying to re-cost each and every possible way of getting a healing surge trigger. Instead we simply massively nerf all of them - you will simply want only the best kind each combat (say, your Cleric's Healing Word).

Then adjust combat to account for how your party now can't spam massive amounts of healing, and you're ready to go! :)
 

Markn

First Post
Your house rule sounds very interesting too. Same goal for making certain situations more tense, while not limiting healing for the day.

I really like removing the need to care about who heals whom for how much after combat, though. If you rest, your hp refresh like your encounter powers, and onward to the action!

Agreed. That is one of the things I like about the idea.

You've responded to some threads I've started in the past and you echoed similar experiences in that you have seen 0 deaths. (maybe 1 - can't remember the exact amount)

At any rate, it just feels the threat of death isn't there. I really like the idea of healing surges, I just think they have been executed entirely wrong. Combine this with the low damage that monsters do and you have the makings of a pretty easy game. If a DM tries to increase the difficulty of the fights then you get 3 hour combats that STILL aren't threatening and feel more grindy.

The major drawback to my current experiment has been that no one wants healing unless its from the best source, in this case the cleric. His healing word at 15th level does 6d6 + 11 on top of the healing surge. So when the Warlord/Paladin/Wizard who MC'd as a cleric asks if anyone needs healing the players all respond with "yes, but we'll wait for the cleric". So while fights are more tense at times, they also have spawned the added drawback to some of the players fun because their class power is now devalued since it does not compare to the clerics.

In addition to this, I've been looking at the math a bit more in terms of monster damage. At level 1, where I feel most fights present a danger, the average hit by the average monster with an at-will power does about 8 damage. This accounts for better than 25% damage to most PC's and even more if you are a wizard. By level 15, the average damage is about 15 give or take a few points. By this point, that equates to about 12.5% of most classes and about 18% for the wizard. In my estimation, its way too low. Couple this with even more abilities to trigger healing (so much so that my group almost never uses a second wind) and its easy to see why fights just aren't dangerous. Finally, add on the fact that players feel invincible as long as they see a number above 3 beside their healing surge score and you get players doing tactically silly things because they can get away with it.

It's really a vicious cycle and one thats not easy to deal with.
 

keterys

First Post
Well, I think part of it depends on the difficulty of the campaign and the tactical abilities of the party.

For example, I play and DM an awful lot of LFR, which tends to have very few actually difficult combats. I most often play with a group of folks who are either pretty solid -or willing to listen-, so I've seen us traipse through fights that were near TPKs at adjacent tables.

When I DM, I actually intentionally set things up so damage gets spread around or is controllable (I like things like zones that deal damage if you end your turn in them, or lots of area attacks) so that no one gets away feeling they weren't hurt, but the danger of sending someone from 0 to dead is basically nil, so it's all in death saving throws at that point. I have had multiple situations where someone avoided death by a single save...

But yeah, I think more fights could be more exciting if people had less healing triggers, or at least the illusion that they have less healing triggers. Doing away with healing surges is one possible solution, but I think it has too strong an effect on certain powers that are actually quite solid normally, but are much hurt by not giving a bonus to heals- like healing strike, comeback strike, bastion of health, etc. It also makes life a lot harder for defenders. I mean, I played a defender in a level 1 mod the other day who was the only recipient of heals the entire night of 8 combats. No one else used or needed a healing word, but in two fights I really did need both heals :)

Though, true, I didn't actually second wind either, but frankly I don't consider second wind particularly viable unless you're a dwarf because it's boring. Maybe more abilities should trigger your second wind (especially warden ones).

It is possible that certain abilities like those mentioned above could be bumped to have a bonus to their heal. Some could also be changed to heal a flat amount instead of a surge, or to not cost a surge (frankly, Comeback Strike could just heal without costing a surge)
 

Markn

First Post
I tend to design fights so everyone feels a bit of pain. The defender shouldn't be always taking the pain, plus the fun part of the game is the players overcoming challenges so that their characters can fulfill the role they are designed for.

I really think either healing or healing surges is the weak point of 4e. Having said that, I really do like 4e, it just as certain weaknesses that difficult to work around.

I'm sure it will be a while before our group finds the right house rule for healing surges and damage.
 

Saagael

First Post
I'm sure this has been brought up, but what about increasing the damage that monsters deal. I don't know if there's a formula that will average things out, but I've been doing it during the last few combats and it seemed to shake the players up and make them realize that they aren't invincible even if there wasn't a real threat of death (this group has a lot of ways to heal). Has anyone else found this a viable solution to making things more challenging or intense?
 

keterys

First Post
I actually tend to reduce mob hp by about 20% and up their damage by a bit when I run lately.

Cause faster combats are good things.
 

Markn

First Post
We use half level bonus to damage for monsters. This works quite well for groups who are tactically good at 4e. Damage can be a bit swingy in the sense that if you roll high and add the half level it can be a hard hit, but mostly to the controller or low hp strikers though.

What we are going to try tonight is average damage for the monster and then add the half level bonus. So for example, if it does 2d6 plus 8 normally for a level 15 monster in the MM, then it will deal 15 plus half level bonus of 7 for 22 damage. This does 2 things, it hits harder but also keep some hits from getting too high and conversely there is no low damage rolls on the players. FWIW, monsters only have 75% normal hps to speed up the fight.

I can let you know how it works if you like.
 

Saagael

First Post
That'd be great. I've been looking at trimming the HP off of some monsters, but my players (most notably the fighter and ranger) can hit for 30+ with encounter powers, so I don't want to make most of the monsters 1 or 2 hit monsters. I'd like to know how the damage increase/averaging goes though.
 

Markn

First Post
So our session just ended.

We tried using average damage for both PCs and monsters. Average being the average of the dice plus their static bonuses and this seriously sped fights up a LOT. One fight was 20 mintues and we have NEVER seen an encounter that quick. The rest were closer to an hour.

Monsters were at 75% hp damage and added 1/2 level bonus to damage. To me this really felt like the right mix and if anything maybe bump monster hps up to 80%. We had 3 fights and I have 6 players. Fight 1 was against 2 dweomer eaters and 2 weretigers. That was a tougher fight and I managed to get behind the defenders and took down a ranger and the PCs were worried about losing good gear so they used backup weapons that had lower pluses to hit. The second fight was against 4 salamanders (2 different types), a genasi fireblade and a gorgon. It was interesting but the wizard blew some big stuff and brought the creatures down. Finally, they fought a bunch of slaads and this fight wound up being a cakewalk although I managed to effectively limit some players from attacking for a few rounds.

In the end, everything just felt right. I'd encourage you to try it.

My group, however, has disliked any changes we have tried with healing surges so we are back to normal rules for that. It really dissapoints me but theres not much I can do about that.
 

eriktheguy

First Post
Reduce the number of healing surges of all characters by 4*.
When a character takes a short rest, they are restored to full hp at no surge cost.

There are a few abilities you'd need to change as a result - most particularly the bard song of rest ability. Feats which affect amount you heal while resting can probably just be ignored.

* Adjust as desired, based on number of expected combats per day and such. If you do 6+, for example, controllers and certain strikers (like rogues) will be in a tough boat for in-combat healing. But that might be okay.

I haven't tested this, but it does some potentially interesting things, so what do people think? You could in theory mix it up by adding a surge back per milestone, if you want to encourage endless days even more.

This will really work to extend the adventuring day while forcing your leaders to dole out their healing abilities with care. The only problem I see is when people get healed in combat don't actually end up needing the HP, and they would have been healed at the end of the fight anyways. One option that could get difficult would be to allow characters who received healing but didn't really need it to have their surges back after the battle.

I think this rule works well seeing as you give characters some surges back after milestones.

I also like that your rules add some value to previously useless spells like cure light wounds (which take standard actions, but heal without surge use).

Bard song of rest: When you take a short rest after an encounter, all allies who can hear you and spent at least 2 surges during that encounter can regain one healing surge. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to your charisma modifier.
 

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