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D&D 5E What if healing spells only created Temp HP?

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
What would happen if all magical healing and healing potions did not increase hitpoints, but only created temp HP? I can think of a few impacts:

  • Clerics, Paladins and Druids might think of using spells to buff characters before they go into a fight
  • If a character is downed, magical healing will not get them up for the fight
  • D&D as a society would have less cleric types healing people of cuts, bruises and other physical ailments
  • Allowing a PC to have only one "lot" of temp HP puts a cap on buffing, and strongly encourages upcasting/using higher level heal spells
  • Might affect player psychology and PC behaviour going into a fight with a large temp HP pool
  • Might still be used in combat
  • Makes magical healing less appealing overall
The inevitable question for all these posts is "why?" which apart from just for fun, I think the intention behind this would be:
To make magical healing less immersion breaking (for me), and to change the incentive from clerics to being healbots to being precombat buffers.

I like the idea of a cleric or paladin conducting a rite before a battle and buffing up the party, or a druid conducting some kind of ritual to do the same. It both feels more thematic to me, and also I'm hoping it would disincentives the choice that many healing classes have to either get to act on their turn, or to heal someone else in the party. For some players that's not a problem, for others, it feels like a tax.

Secondly, and this is my personal preference, i'd like to see mundane healing get more focus. I like the idea of a cut down healer's feat where a use of a healers kit and a successful medicine check could restore 1d6 hitpoints flat with the same caveat that a PC/creature can only beneft from this healing once per rest. The healer feat would still be a boon because of the +4+hit dice bonus to healing, as well as being able to restore a dying creature to 1 hitpoint which would with the above ruling make this the only way to get someone back in the fight in the middle of combat. This to me opens up more possibilities for any character to being a healer and I like that.

I suspect some of you would not like this at all. But whether you do or you don't, I'd be interested in your thoughts as to what you think it'd change.
 

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commandercrud

Adventurer
I think this is a fantastic idea. I currently use the gritty realism and lingering injuries variants, but I wish I had thought of this when I started my current campaign. I'm totally using this next time.
 

So my only thoughts from a mechanical standpoint:
1) Consider implementing house rules for more advanced medical technology, mundane healing and frankly technology in general. Crafting will certainly be a big part of this. Even if you are trying to simulate a "historically accurate" medieval setting (in which case my first question to you is which region and time perod specifically?), one must remember that while they did not possess electricity or knowledge of germ theory they were NOT the bumbling idiots completely unaware of all life's ills modern society seems to think they were. They understood the idea that you don't drink from water when someone was sick, quarantining, and had quite a wide variety of mixtures of various herbs and aides for healing. They also had quite a few customs in society designed to help prevent the spread of disease: hint, people drinking or eating with their pinky up comes from one such tradition, where they washed their hands upon entiring a dining hall and were expected to keep their pinky clean and unused so that they didn't taint the spice bowls. It was a BIG breach of etiquette to not follow said customs as well.

The biggest difference removing healing magic as a potent cure all would be disease being far more prevalent. To be perfectly blunt, from a world impact standpoint the big game changing spell is NOT cure wounds, but Lessee Restoration. Do not underestimate the value of a 3rd level priest or druid being able to outright cure even just the common cold with a brief touch. Possessing even just two or three such spellcasters in town would literally save entire villages during the winter (and widescale it would likely also stagnate medical advancement significantly. After all why learn what causes colds when someone can just Cure it? I mean it is often depicted in fiction that during the dark ages that priests were actively shunning science and "praying" for their patients (which fyi while it happened is also a bit of a hyperbole), but in such a d&d world? It actually WORKS!

2) More relevant to players, changing healing to temporary health would outright destroy any class feature or spell that current generates temporary health and should probably be monitored. Personally I would advise you change temerpory hp rules as well if you would go this route. Find a reasonable "cap" and let temp hp stack up to that point. (Twice or thrice their level perhaps? Con mod per level?)

Honestly if I wanted to do something like that, I'd probably make some sort of wounds/vigor system and differentiate that somehow, but that's kind of off topic.
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I agree it would be better.
  • Make most ''instant'' healing spell grant THP (Ex: Healing Word)
  • Make those that already grant THP ''in advance'' grant more (ex: False Life)
  • Make those that actually cure wound (ex: Cure Wounds) allow to recover HP, but only in a regen style. Something like: For 1 minute, or until it falls to 0 HP, the target regain 2-3 HP per turn.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I think this would shift the emphasis from whack a mole when people go down to trying to time the whack a mole to just before they go down.

If you want the clerics to spend less time healing, do less damage. PCs can be threatened by things other than death. Superman, Spider-man and Batman don't have t have every battle be a life and death struggle they barely survive - in fact if every battle is like that it gets to feel either boring or contrived. The tension in their batttles often comes from what happens to others should the hero fail.
 

aco175

Legend
I was thinking of a cool idea to have some sort of drug to symbolize the temp HP, then I thought of this from Batman.

1613780015854.png
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
people drinking or eating with their pinky up comes from one such tradition, where they washed their hands upon entiring a dining hall and were expected to keep their pinky clean and unused so that they didn't taint the spice bowls. It was a BIG breach of etiquette to not follow said customs as well
That is not even remotely true.

Per Miss Manners, in the 17th Century, when tea was first brought to Europe from China. It was sipped from handle-less cups and "anyone with any sense kept as few fingers as possible on the (yeow!) hot cup." Since only the rich could afford to drink the expensive, imported tea, the gesture became an affectation, sticking around even after teacups with handles came along.

Extending your pinky outward is bad etiquette. Your tea sandwich should only require three fingers to pick up. Same with your teacup.

What should you do with your pinky?

TUCK IT UNDER!

Pinky out tells the world that you were raised in a barn. Or by wolves. Or by barn wolves. In a barn.
 


6ENow!

The Game Is Over
What would happen if all magical healing and healing potions did not increase hitpoints, but only created temp HP?
It is an interesting idea.

It would allow buffing of a temp HP pool prior to losing them, freeing casters and other healers to do other things during combat. However, it might also lead to players being a bit more reckless with the "extra" temp HP going into the fight. There would be an experience curve in learning to curtail enthusiasm.

Spell slots would be used prior to combat, and thus if the temp HP end up not being needed, the slots could be wasted in essence, when they might have been used for something more important later on, possibly during a fight.

D&D having a bunch of cleric healing minor things depends entirely on how common you want them... In my games, a healer doesn't go around using spells all the time because you never know when they might really be needed.

Capping the temp HP (as per normal rules) would keep this to a minor buff, and I can't see many casters upcasting spells when, again, more powerful slots might be vital for other uses later on.

So, while I think this idea has some merits, I think it has a lot of potential pitfalls, especially at higher levels when a small buff of THP is not as useful.

I am still more in your idea here:

About reducing the HP pool, but allow it to auto-replenish after each encounter. It makes individual encounters more dangerous.
 


cbwjm

Hero
What would happen if all magical healing and healing potions did not increase hitpoints, but only created temp HP? I can think of a few impacts:

  • Clerics, Paladins and Druids might think of using spells to buff characters before they go into a fight
  • If a character is downed, magical healing will not get them up for the fight
  • D&D as a society would have less cleric types healing people of cuts, bruises and other physical ailments
  • Allowing a PC to have only one "lot" of temp HP puts a cap on buffing, and strongly encourages upcasting/using higher level heal spells
  • Might affect player psychology and PC behaviour going into a fight with a large temp HP pool
  • Might still be used in combat
  • Makes magical healing less appealing overall
The inevitable question for all these posts is "why?" which apart from just for fun, I think the intention behind this would be:
To make magical healing less immersion breaking (for me), and to change the incentive from clerics to being healbots to being precombat buffers.

I like the idea of a cleric or paladin conducting a rite before a battle and buffing up the party, or a druid conducting some kind of ritual to do the same. It both feels more thematic to me, and also I'm hoping it would disincentives the choice that many healing classes have to either get to act on their turn, or to heal someone else in the party. For some players that's not a problem, for others, it feels like a tax.

Secondly, and this is my personal preference, i'd like to see mundane healing get more focus. I like the idea of a cut down healer's feat where a use of a healers kit and a successful medicine check could restore 1d6 hitpoints flat with the same caveat that a PC/creature can only beneft from this healing once per rest. The healer feat would still be a boon because of the +4+hit dice bonus to healing, as well as being able to restore a dying creature to 1 hitpoint which would with the above ruling make this the only way to get someone back in the fight in the middle of combat. This to me opens up more possibilities for any character to being a healer and I like that.

I suspect some of you would not like this at all. But whether you do or you don't, I'd be interested in your thoughts as to what you think it'd change.
This could be pretty cool. It would largely solve the yoyo healing thing everyone goes on about, might even make some fights more deadly because of it since it won't be easy to get people back up during the fight.
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Yeah IMC magic only restores HP it doesnt mend wounds - so anyone who doesnt also get some First Aid skill will contiunue to bleed out or be infected or be dead from drowning.
 

p_johnston

Explorer
I could also see this lowering the amount of fights a group is able to get into between rests (which could be good or bad depending on campaign type).

So in my experience it's typically only one or two people who end up getting really beaten up (unless something goes wrong). With healing spells as is the party can concentrate most of its healing onto the people who are taking the most damage. If spells don't actually heal HP the only real healing the available is HD leaving half of the parties effective healing stuck with people who likely don't need it. This effectively means that once the tank/s run out of HD the adventure day has to end. Both because the temp HP from a cure wounds will very rapidly fall behind what a characters expected HP is and the fact that once someone falls down without any HD left they are unconscious for 1 to 4 hours.

In short right now adventureing days end when the Tank/s are out of HD, and ALL the healers run out of healing spells. With them being temp the adventuring day ends when the Tank/s are out of HD.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Yeah IMC magic only restores HP it doesnt mend wounds - so anyone who doesnt also get some First Aid skill will contiunue to bleed out or be infected or be dead from drowning.
(Emphasis mine.) This is interesting.

If you accept the idea of hit points at 0 indicates serious injury, bleeding, etc. maybe just make is so healing magic and potions only work as long as you have at least 1 hp. Until 0 hp, all other damage is minor, or just uses skill or luck to avoid the damage. It makes things like poison an issue, but that has always been the case using hp in D&D.

This would make getting 1 hp back part of the Healer Feat or recovering with time, etc. I'll have to think more about the ramifications...
 





Stalker0

Legend
So I can see two ways to go about this:

1) Temp HP as a "buffer", that extends your hitpoints. Effectively an energy shield for all intensive purposes. The main question here is...how much buffer can various spells grant. Does CLW give 1d8 + wis temp hp.... can I cast two or three casts of the spell to get triple the hp?

In flavor context, in this model regular people would rarely utilize clerics, unless the job they were undertaking was particularly difficult or dangerous.

2) Temp HP as a "temporary stitch". Kind of like that fix a flat substance you put in a car tire to keep it going for a while, in other words a temporary "hold off" of the damage taken. This model might be better served with a new damage type (similar to subdual). Effectively a healing spell converts damage into "delayed damage". Delayed Damage doesn't effect a character until the magic wears off, and then the delayed damage becomes regular damage again....with any and all consequences.

This works more closely to traditional healing (aka you only apply the effect as the result of injury, not as a buff before the injury) while at the same time still allowing for regular injuries to require a good amount of time to heal.

In this model, people would go to the cleric for a "patch". Mr Farmer broke his leg, and the cleric is keeping the leg workable so the farmer can still work...but the leg will still require a longer time to heal. In this version, people would need to go to the cleric more regularly than the base model to maintain a similar benefit.
 

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