The (Non-)Playtest Experience, or How the Hit Die Mechanic was a Non-Starter

Not open for further replies.


First Post
Though in the end, I'm wondering if it really just make everyone happier and sell WotC more books if the rules variants were all proposed together without any preference attached to them; i.e.," healing can be handled in the following ways" and then naming them without any preference being given, rather than giving a core version and then proposing variants... Its obviously very important to people that THEIR version be "core."

I doubt this will wind up making many people happy in the end at all. Regardless of what happens with D&D Next, there are people out there who will vociferously hate it. There are people who have formed their opinions already. I really don't understand why people think the way they play is how D&D "should" be or how it's "supposed" to be, or even that it's the way "the majority" of people want it to be. Rule number one of market research is to avoid assumptions, until you've seen the survey data you have no idea of what the majority wants. That's likely what WotC is trying to do with the playtest, find out what the actual majority is rather than the anecdotal "majority." In this thread alone you have people claiming that the majority of players see hit points as an abstract resource and others who claim the majority see it as physical damage. Neither side will admit that the definition is debatable, despite the debate of the definition happening right in front of their eyes.

People get way too worked up over this stuff.

I've said many times before, the biggest problem with the edition war is when people start to say what D&D "should" be, as if it's a moral or ethical point. In the end, it's nothing more than a game. A fun game, yes. A game we've all developed memories over, and one we've likely made lifetime friendships with. It's a game we've all enjoyed to greater or lesser extents, and for many of us it's an experience that's become a defining aspect of our identities. The problem is, it's not the game that's responsible for that, it's something entirely different.

There's a term for this: camaraderie. I really do believe that's the shared experience of D&D, it's developing bonds with your friends over an activity that's really just an excuse to build relationships. It's like poker night, or fantasy football or any other thing people do to spend time together. In the end the game isn't sacred, it's not canonized, it's not a moral or ethical platform to base a philosophy over, it's just a game. A fun game, but a game nonetheless.

log in or register to remove this ad


The gap that I am specifically running into is that this is a very, very small part of the game as a whole. There are numerous parts of the game where the healing rules don't even come up directly.

It seems a weird point of contention, is all - enough to decide not to try the remainder of the game.
I can definitely understand where someone is coming from, though. Take spells like Raise Dead -some people refuse to play in games without them (or in games with them). Now, the majority of the time, you don't need to worry about it. However, the impact it'll have on the game's story (and setting!) is big enough that I can understand why people take these stands (if having/not having something ruins their fun).

Would it be helpful for the person to playtest the rest of the rules? Yes, sure. They could give feedback on other things they like or dislike. If they're going in for fun, though? "That one rule" can kill it, for sure.
My belief is that the developers are riding a fine line, and that there are some people who there's no pleasing. I am not certain, but this may be an example of one of them.

Have no doubt - just because my group is casual doesn't mean we're not demanding. We come to roleplay, explore, eat, drink, and be merry. We've played games from many ends of the spectrum - 3.5, Arcana Evolved, 1e, SWSE, WFRP2e, Paranoia, etc. The main thing we want is for it to be approachable by both casual and serious players, with a sliding scale of complexity. I want something that's easy to prepare and fun to run without burying me in details.

So we have some needs, too. Just because we're a casual table doesn't mean we don't have goals.
Which is why I said we should (hopefully) see some dials in the next playtest kit. They need to start showing ("presentation", as I talked about in my previous post) that this game really will allow "your" play style to be played, no matter which "you" they're talking to at the moment.

Are there people that won't be satisfied, no matter what? Sure. Is someone who refuses to play because the setting, genre, or story implications of "you completely heal overnight" being the core assumption (with no good alternative presented) that type of person? I sure hope not, or they'll probably miss out on a chunk of players. Just throw in another "good" option for these people (unlike the "heal level + Con bonus per night"). Give them something on these contentious mechanics.

And, the same applies to your group. Cover the major bases. Aim for 88-90% of people being satisfied with one of your options. That's a damn good start, in my opinion, and it's definitely not out of reach. As always, play what you like :)


They're directly pertinent. What does a hit point become if a 900 lb dragon, undamaged, has only one of them?
Hit points measure how difficult it is to kill a creature. The question is not what a hit point is if a 900 lb dragon, undamaged, has only one of them. The question is, what is it about the 900 lb dragon that makes it have only one hit point. Maybe it's got some vulnerable spot that kills him immediately if it is hit.

What are they when someone can be drill sergeanted back to health? And what "in-combat healing mechanics"? All I see in "healing surges" is a lazily designed gamist contrivance that is so badly named that it draws attention to exactly what it isn't - a form of healing of wounds. These are 4E challenges to the nature of healing and hit points, and lack precedent in D&D. That's pertinent.
What could make a person more difficult to kill in the middle of a fight? Actual healing could, of course, but so could a surge of adrenaline or the restoration of his fighting spirit. Set aside the terminology for a moment. Apart from the fact that they had no formal precedent (though temporary hit points come close), why are they bad?

But you still haven't answered what to me is the most pertinent question: are you arguing for overnight healing to be OUT of 5e, or for the option to have slower healing to be IN 5e?


Hussar, it is probably going to be harder to take out overnight healing than to layer it in.

I really dont think we are the outliers. I see lots and lots of posters who think overnight healing is a bad idea.

I disagree. For one, it's about two sentences to change 4e healing to allow longer healing times. That's it.

However, when I say outliers, I'm referring to those who actually have natural healing play a significant role in their game. Sure, lots of games have longer healing times. Any pre-4e game does. However, it's a rule that's observed in its absence. I think it's pretty safe to say that most groups have some sort of healer - whether a cleric or something similar - and most groups will, on a regular basis, avail themselves on magical healing.

Yes, the healer might die. That's true. But, again, how often are we talking about here? And, how long until the group gets another healer? I would say that we're likely talking a single scenario at most. Typically not even that long since most groups tend to parachute in a new PC's fairly quickly to get Bob back into the game. Couple of sessions at the outside, out of a campaign that likely lasts several dozen sessions or more.

I do believe that a group that routinely uses mundane healing as the primary source of healing in D&D is an outlier.


I've read the friggin' books. I was probably reading them before you were born. Pre 4e hit point damage was damage, period. 4e and beyond, damage is mostly emotional. It needs to change. It was this way for 30 years, and worked fine. This new revisionist interpretation has to go or it's going to piss off a lot of would-be customers. But then, we have always been at war with Eastasia..

That would be pretty neat trick since I've been around longer than the game.

1E PHB describing hit points: "Lets suppose that a 10th level fighter has 55 hit points, plus a bonus of 35 hit points for his constitution, for a total of 85 hit points. This is teh equivalent of about 18 hit dice for creatures, about what it would take to kill four huge warhorses. It is ridiculous to assume that even a fantastic fighter can take that much punishment..Thus, the majority of hit points are symbolic of combat skill, luck, and magical forces.


Re-read what you just quoted.

Really? DMG, page 82: "Each hit scored upon the character only does a small amount of actual physical harm..." Sounds to me like that's an actual physical wound. Luck, sixth sense, et al is a part of it, but however you slice it, you come away wounded. Wounds don't disappear overnight.

A "small amount of physical harm" is not a severe wound such as a compound fracture, torn achilles, lost eye, serious concussion or anything of the sort. It's minor cuts, bruises, and scrapes. That's what a "small amount of actual physical damage" means unless you're this guy:

[ame=]Monty Python-The Black Knight - YouTube[/ame]


First Post
I'm willing to bed dollars to dimes the whole "unrealistic" thing is just people trying to justify the fact that they have always played a certain way and they simply cannot accept change.

I don't really accept that change for its own sake is good. Sometimes the way people play is that way because they enjoy it. It makes no sense to change away from enjoyment to non-enjoyment.

And the BECMI Rules Cyclopedia page 7 defines them as "Your character's hit point score represents his ability to survive injury."

The point is perhaps not these definitions, but how the game has treated hp prior to 4E. Slow natural hit point regain and spell names like "cure serious wounds" and "potion of healing" cemented in the minds of countless players something that makes regaining all hp overnight feel like WOTC has turned D&D into a game of cartoon characters.

I think this is a pretty good point. Some people naturally want hits to be actual hits and damage to be actual damage.

I think the person who declined to play in the original post did the right thing. They chose to not play something they were not interested in after taking a closer look.

I get that some people like more game or story focused abstractions. I really like them myself in some games. But I totally get that other people do not.


I get that some people like more game or story focused abstractions. I really like them myself in some games. But I totally get that other people do not.

This is key. We can argue all we want, this is divisive, people sit on both sides of the line and neither are wrong.

Everybody saw CleverNickName's flowchart, right? It was funny, but only because it was true. WotC will realise this if they somehow don't know already, and both sides will be appeased.

Or, we can keep pointlessly arguing, I suppose.

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
I think this thread has pretty much devolved into pointless arguing with name calling and frayed tempers, so I'm going to close it now.

Guys, we all ought to be aware that there is a spectrum of thinking about hit points and what they mean, and there isn't any need to attempt to convert people who you only know on the internet to your way of thinking.


Not open for further replies.
Remove ads


Remove ads

Upcoming Releases