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


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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
But cure spells is a key subclass feature of life clerics and divine souls... Did you ban them?
Didn't have to. Players knew going in what the house rules for the campaign were and made their class and subclass choices based off of them.

Had someone brought up Life Cleric or Divine Soul I would have reminded them, but it was unnecessary.
 

Dausuul

Legend
What would happen if all magical healing and healing potions did not increase hitpoints, but only created temp HP?
What I think would happen:

1. Starting in the mid-levels (the point where gold starts piling up faster than PCs can spend it), it would be routine to stock up on potions of healing and drink them after every skirmish, providing a buffer in case of ambush. Actual healing spells would be reserved for pre-buffing before major combats. In this role, they would be very powerful.

2. Since temp hit points don't stack, there would be a strong preference to buff with spells that heal a lot in one go, rather than spreading out healing over multiple rounds/targets.

3. In-combat healing would basically never happen; you have removed the best use case for in-combat healing (reviving a fallen comrade), and even in other use cases, the need to anticipate where damage will fall is a serious hindrance.

4. Without the ability to top off your hit points and revive fallen allies using potions, a healer's kit would be must-have equipment, and the Healer feat would be in extremely high demand.

5. Upon reaching 11th level, using heal as a pre-buff before a big fight becomes a no-brainer. 70 extra hit points for the party tank is insane.
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
Frankly, the game works fine by just removing all the healing spells in their entirety from the game too if you want really gritty.

I did that for my Curse of Strahd game. No magical healing spells worked in Barovia. The only "healing" came from spending hit dice during rests, the paladin's Lay on Hands (which I allowed for roleplay reasons) and the Healer feat. Doing that made things plenty gritty which is what I wanted for that campaign. It took a bit of time for the players to learn these new expectations... but that was part and parcel for learning how to deal with being in Barovia. Not much worked "normally" in ways they were used to.
Yeah that's the kind of approach I like.

Most of the ideas I put up here I would only implement for a certain setting. Your idea is actually great for Barovia. How did the players respond to it? I imagine it helped add to the feeling of dread to the place.
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
Didn't have to. Players knew going in what the house rules for the campaign were and made their class and subclass choices based off of them.

Had someone brought up Life Cleric or Divine Soul I would have reminded them, but it was unnecessary.
That's right. For campaign setting rules you have a lot of leeway as long as you're upfront a out it in your session 0
 

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
What I think would happen:

1. Starting in the mid-levels (the point where gold starts piling up faster than PCs can spend it), it would be routine to stock up on potions of healing and drink them after every skirmish, providing a buffer in case of ambush. Actual healing spells would be reserved for pre-buffing before major combats. In this role, they would be very powerful.

2. Since temp hit points don't stack, there would be a strong preference to buff with spells that heal a lot in one go, rather than spreading out healing over multiple rounds/targets.

3. In-combat healing would basically never happen; you have removed the best use case for in-combat healing (reviving a fallen comrade), and even in other use cases, the need to anticipate where damage will fall is a serious hindrance.

4. Without the ability to top off your hit points and revive fallen allies using potions, a healer's kit would be must-have equipment, and the Healer feat would be in extremely high demand.

5. Upon reaching 11th level, using heal as a pre-buff before a big fight becomes a no-brainer. 70 extra hit points for the party tank is insane.
Thanks @dausappreciate your thoughts.

point 3 and 4 are kind of intended consequences. It allows for anyone in the party to take on a healer role, which I kind of like.

As for the others like heal for buffing, yeah that's what I would find interesting. I'd like to see how it changes PC behaviour into going to dangerous places. I imagine it'd be quite fundamental.
 


loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff
Publisher
Healing already sucks ass, and everyone already has too much HP, so I honestly don't see any reason to worsen both problems.
 

reelo

Adventurer
Thanks for the tip. I'll look it up.

For the sake of the thread, can you summarise?
Bear in mind this is an OSR game, but the idea behind it is (imho) awesome.
8134e739d3b57c80cc8b274afe091aa9.jpg
 

Blue Orange

Explorer
This might be a little 'out there', but it reminds me almost of some of the early editions of the game--Cure Light Wounds gave you a lousy 1-8 HP back and you didn't get Cure Serious Wounds until 7th level, so you wound up having to rest a lot to recover HP. I played some of the computer games based on 1st ed (Pool of Radiance (1988) is probably the best example of this), and you would carefully pace your exploration around having places to rest (small out-of-the-way rooms with one entry). You didn't want to get into too many fights because recovery was difficult.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Bear in mind this is an OSR game, but the idea behind it is (imho) awesome.
8134e739d3b57c80cc8b274afe091aa9.jpg
This is pretty close to Wounds and the Fatigued condition in SW d20 and other similar systems.

In 5E, a commoner (4 hp), by RAW would be down and dying from many d8 damage weapons, especially if any decent STR modifier is added. Personally, my goal would be a system were a commoner could die from a critical longsword (d8-type weapon) if good damage was rolled.

So, with no modifiers for STR, etc. a critical d8 weapon would be 2d8. Since a commoner has CON 10 and 4 HP, 14 damage would kill them instantly about 10% of the time. Critical hit--drop dead. 95% of the time it would deal at least 4 damage, making them possibly drop unconscious and bleed to death anyway.

What more, having additional damage actually reduce the CON score means max HP drop as well.

I have to think about this more, but these are all good things IMO. Spells and magic could restore HP, but not replenish CON--only rest and such could do that.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
...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.
Speaking just for myself, this is an argument for not doing it. But if that improves the game for you, then go for it.
 

Vael

Hero
I'm of two minds here. 5e, maybe (maybe) went too far with discouraging pre-combat buffing, given Concentration and shorter spell durations. Precasting heals might shift that back a bit. OTOH, I think it's too narrow to only grant temp hp. I've considered "Shielding Ward" as an additional spell that does grant 1d10 temp hp at range (cast as an action) as another spell to go with Cure Wounds and Healing Word. Merely to add more diversity.
 

Not in my experience. Heck my current group doesn't have a healer at all and made it to lvl 15 without anyone dying. So, IME, magical healing isn't really needed. It all depends on your playstyle.
I would also like to know what their exact builds are as well. I'd argue a group with a Life Cleric or any other healing focused subclass is at a serious detriment in keeping up with groups who do not such a character if they do not use any healing (magical or otherwise) in combat.

You can have a group of all glass cannons and survive sure, but put those cannons up against an encounter where their damage cannot just burst down the threat before it can actually harm them and I'd wager they will drop just as quickly as the monsters they normally out dps.

Semi-related, if perhaps jaded, tangent to this whole discussion: why are considering punishing players for playing a defensive or healing focused build by NOT those who focus on damage? Were this an mmo forum and not discussing a team focused tabletop game this sort of reminds me to how you'd see where the rogue and mage equivalent players are whining and complaining about how healing builds are OP and should thus be nerfed because they can't beat them in a duel, or god forbid, be dumb enough to argue that healers "aren't needed" because they "slow down the dungeon run and don't ever even come close to the top of the DPS meters".

Back on topic though, if you want to change healing to be less magical it's up to you, but I urge as I did previously that you consider increasing options of non magical healing and technology levels in your world elsewhere.
 
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dave2008

Legend
I would also like to know what their exact builds are as well. I'd argue a group with a Life Cleric or any other healing focused subclass is at a serious detriment in keeping up with groups who do not such a character if they do not use any healing (magical or otherwise) in combat.

You can have a group of all glass cannons and survive sure, but put those cannons up against an encounter where their damage cannot just burst down the threat before it can actually harm them and I'd wager they will drop just as quickly as the monsters they normally out dps.

Semi-related, if perhaps jaded, tangent to this whole discussion: why are considering punishing players for playing a defensive or healing focused build by NOT those who focus on damage? Were this an mmo forum and not discussing a team focused tabletop game this sort of reminds me to how you'd see where the rogue and mage equivalent players are whining and complaining about how healing builds are OP and should thus be nerfed because they can't beat them in a duel, or god forbid, be dumb enough to argue that healers "aren't needed" because they "slow down the dungeon run and don't ever even come close to the top of the DPS meters".

Back on topic though, if you want to change healing to be less magical it's up to you, but I urge as I did previously that you consider increasing options of non magical healing and technology levels in your world elsewhere.
@MostlyHarmless42, you quoted my post, but much of your post doesn't seem to be directed at me. Is there something specific you wished for me to respond to?
 

dave2008

Legend
This is pretty close to Wounds and the Fatigued condition in SW d20 and other similar systems.

In 5E, a commoner (4 hp), by RAW would be down and dying from many d8 damage weapons, especially if any decent STR modifier is added. Personally, my goal would be a system were a commoner could die from a critical longsword (d8-type weapon) if good damage was rolled.

So, with no modifiers for STR, etc. a critical d8 weapon would be 2d8. Since a commoner has CON 10 and 4 HP, 14 damage would kill them instantly about 10% of the time. Critical hit--drop dead. 95% of the time it would deal at least 4 damage, making them possibly drop unconscious and bleed to death anyway.

What more, having additional damage actually reduce the CON score means max HP drop as well.

I have to think about this more, but these are all good things IMO. Spells and magic could restore HP, but not replenish CON--only rest and such could do that.
Using Con as a serious injury pool of hit points is essential what my group does with "bloodied hit points," and if I recall you are not keen on the concept of a 2nd pool of hit points.
 

@MostlyHarmless42, you quoted my post, but much of your post doesn't seem to be directed at me. Is there something specific you wished for me to respond to?
My entire first two paragraphs are directly related to your quote, which is why I quoted you. I want to know what builds your players are becuase you are making claims they got to level 15 just fine and therefore arguing that healing is not needed in 5e because of it.

I happen to largely agree with you, but I point out that one anecdotal story does not empirically prove that 5e as a system does not require healing or that healing is unnecessary. It is one data point at best. Other variables that might influence the evaluation of your particular group that I'd be curious to know:
1) How often does your group short rest or long rest? Do you often discourage them from resting?
2) Do you use any varient healing rules?
3) How many healing consumables does your group use in a typical adventuring day?
4) How many encounters (and what difficulty) do they typically have in any given day?
5) Has your party ever had to grapple with issues that do NOT revolve around killing x number of y mobs and if so how did they accomplish it and with how much difficulty?

Again I agree with you that I don't think the game requires a healer to function, but a single data point is a poor argument.
 

dave2008

Legend
My entire first two paragraphs are directly related to your quote, which is why I quoted you. I want to know what builds your players are becuase you are making claims they got to level 15 just fine and therefore arguing that healing is not needed in 5e because of it.

I happen to largely agree with you, but I point out that one anecdotal story does not empirically prove that 5e as a system does not require healing or that healing is unnecessary. It is one data point at best. Other variables that might influence the evaluation of your particular group that I'd be curious to know:
1) How often does your group short rest or long rest? Do you often discourage them from resting?
2) Do you use any varient healing rules?
3) How many healing consumables does your group use in a typical adventuring day?
4) How many encounters (and what difficulty) do they typically have in any given day?
5) Has your party ever had to grapple with issues that do NOT revolve around killing x number of y mobs and if so how did they accomplish it and with how much difficulty?

Again I agree with you that I don't think the game requires a healer to function, but a single data point is a poor argument.
Got it and thank you for the clarification. I am getting ready to head into a meeting, but will reply in more detail later.

FYI, we haven't been able to play since the start of the pandemic (we don't so virtual) and I don't have my player's character sheets, so I will have to go off my memory.
 

dave2008

Legend
My entire first two paragraphs are directly related to your quote, which is why I quoted you. I want to know what builds your players are becuase you are making claims they got to level 15 just fine and therefore arguing that healing is not needed in 5e because of it.
First clarify, making to 15th level and "just fine" are not the same thing ;) Here are there builds. If you need something more specific let me know (PS we use all feats, no +2 ASI):

Variant Human Fighter Battlemaster
Variant Human Fighter Battlemaster
Variant Human Rogue Thief
Variant Human Rogue Scout (aka Ranger)
High Elf Wizard - Enchantment

I happen to largely agree with you, but I point out that one anecdotal story does not empirically prove that 5e as a system does not require healing or that healing is unnecessary. It is one data point at best. Other variables that might influence the evaluation of your particular group that I'd be curious to know:
1) How often does your group short rest or long rest? Do you often discourage them from resting?
it varies a lot, but we average about 3 encounters per long rest
2) Do you use any varient healing rules?
Yes, HP heals normally, but we have a 2nd pool of BHP (bloodied hit points). These are actual meat points and heal very slowly: 1/week of rest. When BHP = 0, you die (we don't use death saves), and these don't increase with level. The max BHP for a human is 10, but most of the group has less than that (since it is difficult to max stats).
3) How many healing consumables does your group use in a typical adventuring day?
Almost none. Healing potions are not a commodity in my setting. They are rare and expensive.
4) How many encounters (and what difficulty) do they typically have in any given day?
varies, but 3 encounters is the average. difficulty varies too, but I have never really tracked it. My players are old school and try to solve encounters creatively vs. jumping into combat at the drop of a hat. If they see an encounter that is to tough, they will retreat.
5) Has your party ever had to grapple with issues that do NOT revolve around killing x number of y mobs and if so how did they accomplish it and with how much difficulty?
All the time, it just depends on the scenario. It is not completely uncommon to have encounters they can't handle simply with brute force.
Again I agree with you that I don't think the game requires a healer to function, but a single data point is a poor argument.
I was just trying to give a data point, not argue. I am fine with my group playing the game the way we play and enjoy it.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Using Con as a serious injury pool of hit points is essential what my group does with "bloodied hit points," and if I recall you are not keen on the concept of a 2nd pool of hit points.
No, not terribly, which is why if I implemented such a rule I would probably just have it directly remove CON, and when CON = 0, you are dead (or dying). It would be also doubly dangerous because as your CON is reduced, your max HP would suffer accordingly. Personally, I don't mind this because I like very lethal and harsh survival games, but it won't appeal to many IMO.

Otherwise, I do think your system works well and could be applied (or a variant of it) to many tables easily if they wanted to adopt it. :)
 

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