log in or register to remove this ad

 

What are your problems with Healing/Dying mechanics in 4E

keterys

First Post
I wanted to brainstorm a bit about houserules for 4e involving healing (and dying, which seems sorta related). Accordingly, I'm looking to see what problems people run into, to see which could be addressed at all.

I understand that this topic could induce rancor, but please keep it civil and productive. 'I hate healing surges' and 'Martial healing doesn't make sense to me' I can work with, but please don't use it as a platform to just bash 4e, as I am looking at ways to modify that system to make people happier with it, not to sell them on some other system.

Any help much appreciated!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

hailstop

First Post
My problem is that it's too hard to die!

I've never had a PC die due to failing 3 death saves. At higher levels it's very tough to get to -ve bloodied, because of the rule that any healing when below 0 raises you to 0, then adds the healing.
 

Sadrik

First Post
I think that damage is too low in general. The average damage to HP ratio is off.

Surges/HP as morale/healing/death saves, heck it just doesnt work for me, good luck.

You also might find more play in the 4e house rules forum.
 

Woas

First Post
Not really just 4th Edition but the HP system in general regardless of which game uses it, IMO it is too sterile.
 

Markn

First Post
I have several issues - and to be honest - healing surges is one of the worst things in 4e. While I like the concept, its implementation IMO is terrible.

1) There is a big discrepency in available healing between a 1 leader party and a 2 leader party (or more). In a 2 leader party, healing is effectively unlimited and the party is never really threatened unless you ramp up encounter difficulties (which then leades to other issues like long combats) and tactically sound parties requires a much higher challenge than the book suggests, IME.

2) I don't like the set healing surges for a day mechanic. It seems somewhat artificial (relatively speaking of course). It makes the first few encounters nothing but a resource usage sort of thing, and possibly the last fight of the day, a bit of concern for PC lives - but even then, not really.

3) I also find it tough to accept a PC being unconscious and totally at full within a round. It happened in 3e but there was a measuring stick a DM could use for that - the heal spell. No heal, no full HPs. Now it happens every combat. Whats kind of funny is, 4e has taken away the "gotcha" that players experienced in previous editions and has kind of put it on the DM now.

I would strongly prefere a mechanic where PCs had a set number of surges per encounter as oppossed to per day. Its much easier for PCs and DMs to determine the point that retreat is necessary.
 

keterys

First Post
Not really just 4th Edition but the HP system in general regardless of which game uses it, IMO it is too sterile.

I suspect dropping the hp system entirely is beyond my goals. In my initial self brainstorm I put down ways to make things grittier, with some notable things including adding rules for bleeding, wounds (ala earthdawn, star wars' condition track, or Ari's rules as examples), and acquiring diseases from injury, which might be the kind of thing that would address your problem, but I don't know.

Can you cite any examples of systems that do it right for you?

I think that damage is too low in general. The average damage to HP ratio is off.

Surges/HP as morale/healing/death saves, heck it just doesnt work for me, good luck.

You also might find more play in the 4e house rules forum.

Damage is mostly out of scope. Reduced healing is totally one of the things to consider, but if the problem is 'not getting damaged enough' in the sense of not even really needing healing. Yeah, that's a whole different ball of wax.

I'm not really looking for creating the house rules here or looking for help in creating them. I'm looking more for actual objections... and this forum is definitely the one to look for people with objections about 4e, as far as I can tell.
 

Markn

First Post
I think that damage is too low in general. The average damage to HP ratio is off.

This is very true. Compare the damage to max PC hp ratio on 1st level and then compare it to most other levels and you will see that the damage that creatures do, is far less. Forex, instead of 1/5 total hps being the damage on 1st level it drops to 1/7 or 1/8 (these are guesses, as I don't know the actual amount but I guarantee the ratio changes).
 

Markn

First Post
This falls under the dying section:

Coup de grace is not very aptly named. On higher levels its virtually impossible to cdg anyone. You can't do enough damage.
 

keterys

First Post
1) There is a big discrepency in available healing between a 1 leader party and a 2 leader party (or more).

Very good point. Technically I suppose there's a really big discrepancy between 0 and 1 leader parties, too, but there's an interesting balance act there.

3) I also find it tough to accept a PC being unconscious and totally at full within a round.

Do you mean through use of multiple powers? If a single power, how? I'm not even sure at all how you'd manage to get more than 3/4 of someone's health back in one power in 4e, and even that requires real effort or only applies for a level or so (when a 6th level warlord gets that 2 surge power, has a high charisma, has multiple items that add to healing surges)

Coup de grace is not very aptly named. On higher levels its virtually impossible to cdg anyone. You can't do enough damage.

Fair enough. For clarity, do you mean as a PC against monsters, or monsters against PCs?
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I don't like healing surges as implemented in 4e, but I do like the second wind rules from Star Wars Saga Edition. The idea of a hero being knocked around and then surging back into the fight is a good and dramatic one. But 4e terribly cheapens it by making it so easy to invoke and frequently used. SWSE limits it to once a day when at half max hp or fewer (in 4e terms, bloodied). I like that much better.

4e then compounds the problem by having healing potions use the PC's own healing surges to heal up.

The one bright spot with 4e healing surges that I can see is the paladin's laying on of hands. I think it's pretty cool that a paladin sacrifices his own healing ability to heal others. But that's not enough for me to keep the system.

If I had my druthers, I'd limit the healing surge to once a day when bloodied. But I'd also include feats/daily utility powers that allow one additional surge/day like SWSE does (I think you can get up to 2 extras with a talent and a feat).
I wouldn't have leader healing powers use the target's healing surge. I'd just make them encounter powers (or twice/encounter powers such as they are) with a limit on how often they can be used on a single target per short rest. I'd also build some dailies that do significantly greater healing (2-3x surge value).
Healing potions and other magic wouldn't run off anyone's healing surges. They'd just add hp.
I think the surge value of 1/4 max hp would still be valuable. I'd base all leader healing powers on some multiple of the target's surge value. I'd do the same with all healing potions (no burning a healing surge to gain back fewer hp than using a surge).

And since Rocky Balboa usually comes back swinging hard when he surges, I'd give the PC an offensive as well as defensive bonus when he surges.
 

Dausuul

Legend
My problems with 4E's healing and dying mechanics:

#1: The dying mechanic is difficult to reconcile with non-magical healing. My character is reduced to zero hit points and falls down, bleeding out, mere seconds away from death; well and good. But then the warlord yells at him and he snaps out of it and jumps back up, carries on adventuring as if nothing had happened, and is fine the next day? This is the place where the hit point abstraction breaks down IMO. Even with magical healing, you'd think there would be some effect from being on the brink of death.

#2: PCs are excessively blase about being reduced to zero hit points. I have seen healers deliberately hold their healing (heck, done it myself) until someone falls unconscious, because you get more bang for your healing buck if you use it on a target who's below zero hit points. Granted, there are drawbacks to going unconscious, but if the healer is at the right spot in the initiative order - or delays to get to that spot - those drawbacks are minimal.

#3: There's no such thing as long-term injury. I don't want PCs to have to deal with lasting injuries all the time, or even most of the time, but I do want it to come up once in a while.

#4: Some powers inflict hit point damage that really should not do so, e.g., the bard's Vicious Mockery power. If it does hit point damage, that means it can kill. Vicious Mockery should not be able to kill. (Yeah, yeah, I know, it's magic Vicious Mockery... a wizard did it.)

#5: Minions and auto-damage (damage that does not involve an attack roll) don't play well together. I'm a huge fan of the minion rules, but they need to be tweaked so you can't slaughter minions by the truckload using area-effect auto-damage.

#6: As mentioned above, coup de grace isn't.

My solution to #1, #2, and #3 would be to give PCs more hit points, but impose serious consequences for dropping to zero. Once you go to zero hit points, you should be out of the fight and possibly suffer a lasting injury. Healing effects can keep you from dying, but won't enable you to jump back up and rejoin the fray.

For #4, of course, make those powers not do damage, or just get rid of them.

Haven't yet worked out a solution to #5 that I'm happy with.

For #6, make it much harder to impose the unconscious or helpless conditions; balance those conditions as if they were instant death effects. Then make the coup de grace vastly more lethal. Something like: "The victim is reduced to zero hit points and must immediately make three death saves."
 
Last edited:

Markn

First Post
Do you mean through use of multiple powers? If a single power, how? I'm not even sure at all how you'd manage to get more than 3/4 of someone's health back in one power in 4e, and even that requires real effort or only applies for a level or so (when a 6th level warlord gets that 2 surge power, has a high charisma, has multiple items that add to healing surges)

Sorry, I can see how my statement could be confusing. It's through the use of multiple powers. Again most of my experience is with 2 leaders. So, I see a guy drop, learder 1 do a heal, leader 2 do a heal, etc so that it is effectively like a Heal spell from previous editions. As DM in the earlier editions, you expect that super healing once in a while, in 4e, I still shake my head as to how often you can go from 0 to full so often, so quick.


Fair enough. For clarity, do you mean as a PC against monsters, or monsters against PCs?

Both, but the majority of the times its the monster trying to kill the PC that way.

One other thing I just though of - tactically its to everyone advantage to always heal when someone reaches the bloodied value. It would be nice if different strategies warranted it different tactics. Currently, there is no real strategy involved other than figuring out this benchmark.

Food for thought for you - I've been thinking of doing some changes to healing myself. I've been thinking of setting healing surges to a per encounter thing (mentioned in my previous post), say 3 or 4 (the number depends on how gritty you want things). Make second winds a move action, and make them unlimited. Then in addition, remove things like helaing word/inspiring word and giving those classes an alternate ability to replace it. Instead, a leader would give a static bonus to your second wind. Effectively, this means the leader needs to never do any healing, but his presence is still felt by his bonus. Its up to each player to choose when he heals himself. Additionally, the clerics static bonus would give actual hps, while a warlord would give tmp hps via his static bonus further differentiating the leader classes. I haven't thought this fully through but thought you might want to play around with the idea.
 

malraux

First Post
One other thing I just though of - tactically its to everyone advantage to always heal when someone reaches the bloodied value. It would be nice if different strategies warranted it different tactics. Currently, there is no real strategy involved other than figuring out this benchmark.

I've played a dragonborn dragon magic sorcerer; for him, its always better not to heal until he's unconscious. When he's bloodied, all his defenses go up, as does his attack bonus. And because of the way dragonborn work, a single healing word will typically get him out of bloodied unless he's at zero. That said, it is a pretty limited example.

My personal dislike related to the 4e health system is that diseases aren't scary or lasting. The DCs are way too low; I've never seen a single character even fail a disease worsening check.
 

Markn

First Post
I've played a dragonborn dragon magic sorcerer; for him, its always better not to heal until he's unconscious. When he's bloodied, all his defenses go up, as does his attack bonus. And because of the way dragonborn work, a single healing word will typically get him out of bloodied unless he's at zero. That said, it is a pretty limited example.

My personal dislike related to the 4e health system is that diseases aren't scary or lasting. The DCs are way too low; I've never seen a single character even fail a disease worsening check.

Agreed on both counts.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
The one thing I may like to try is when a character is reduced to 0 HP or below and is unconscious, when they heal they still heal from zero, but they are Stunned (Save Ends) or maybe at least Dazed (Save Ends) to simulate the groggieness/discombobulation with sudden wakefulness and position/orientation change.

This would save on the 'wait until they drop to heal them' scenario at least.
 

ppaladin123

Adventurer
My problem is that it's too hard to die!

I've never had a PC die due to failing 3 death saves. At higher levels it's very tough to get to -ve bloodied, because of the rule that any healing when below 0 raises you to 0, then adds the healing.

I have to agree. Negative bloodied is very difficult to hit. My group has discussed using negative surge value instead. I also have the same trouble with the three death saves. We are thinking of making it three failed death saves per extended rest (as opposed to per short rest).

I've also thought of maybe applying some random damage (maybe xd6 depending on tier) upon every failed death save. That would make it possible for the player to die of damage while unconscious. It would also make every death save more dramatic. As it stands, my party members say things like, "I'll heal him next round, he's not going anywhere."
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Its funny, once I talked to Mike Mearls, at the D&D experience where they previewed 4E, and he told me that the healing mechanics were his favorite addition to the then new game. And they did look at a lot of alternatives.

General problem: current mechanics work pretty well in practice (or at least I thought till reading the above) but feel gamist, both in their crunchiness and in how easy it is to heal.

In defense of the system, a few things are worth noting:

*healing surges (and death saves) are limits. You get a lot of surges (and maybe saves in a day), but at some point, the healing will stop. I now from past editions, healing really could feel unlimited.

*Being dropped does have consequences: you might be out of range of healing--hence risk loosing actions and failing death saves, you have to take an action to get up, the DM might be mean and have someone attack your prone charecter (especially if players are always holding back on the heal). (note: I actually do like the dazed rule noted above).

*magic does boost healing: warlords heal, clerics heal better. Its good the system is less cleric dependent, but the magic is still there.

Improvements: introduce somekind of long term damage, at least once in a while, and have a better "story" around healing surges and healing.
 

Jack99

Adventurer
*Being dropped does have consequences: you might be out of range of healing--hence risk loosing actions and failing death saves, you have to take an action to get up, the DM might be mean and have someone attack your prone charecter (especially if players are always holding back on the heal). (note: I actually do like the dazed rule noted above).

The higher level the players are, the truer this seems to become. Especially with an increase in close and area attack from the monsters, it seemed like dying players often got hit by extra attacks. On the other hand, there is a frighteningly high amount of healing at higher level, but none the less. The healer can't always heal. Maybe he is out of range, maybe he has no line of sight, maybe he is stunned, maybe he has to prioritize.
 

Vael

Hero
My personal dislike related to the 4e health system is that diseases aren't scary or lasting. The DCs are way too low; I've never seen a single character even fail a disease worsening check.

Our druid succumbed to Chaos Phage, even with my bard using a ritual and Inspire Competence to add 7 to his Endurance check. Mind you, it was an above level disease.
 

hailstop

First Post
I've never even had my PC's bother with Endurance checks. It's been immediately...Cure Disease! And once you get past about 14th level or so, RAW it's practially impossible to have any substantive failure on the roll.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top