What is a Wound? An attempt to bridge the divide.

Ok. Well, I do interpret that all damage is caused exclusively by some physical harm, but not all damage is a physical harm.
I think the combat system feels a little more "realistic" that way, and also easier to handle.

Sure. That is totally reasonable. But everyone has a different idea of what makes HP realistic. So for some people, stuff like one day heals and even HD, make their assumptions abut how HP work (which may have worked for the first three editions of the game) unworkable. This is a problem.
 

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Hussar

Legend
The problem lies in adventure modules. A module will play different depending on the type of healing used. It simply can't support both styles. A module based on the assumption that characters will have access to hit die healing surges and healing overnight to full will have tougher encounters than one with AD&D style healing. Parties without access to those resources will struggle. The inverse will make it a cakewalk for parties with 5es current healing rules. I don't see any way to reconcile the two without a whole lot of modification by the dm.

Not necessarily. Most people seem to agree that the time frames for both styles of healing are roughly the same. With the "Natural Healing" crowd, magical healing carries the load and characters are healed in a day, maybe two. In the "Plot Protection HP" crowd, no magical healing is necessary, but hit points still come back in a day.

From a practical stance, there is very, very little difference between the healing rates in most versions of D&D. Even AD&D allowed the cleric up to three 1st level spells per day and Unearthed Arcana mitigated the healing rates for going below zero with the Death's Door spell. Never mind that some groups simply ignored the healing rates in the first place. :D . By 2e, the longer healing rates were gone and clerics still got 3 1st level spells at 1st level.

So, no, there isn't really a huge difference. This is why you can run modules from one edition to another fairly interchangeably, at least from a time scale perspective. Challenges might vary - you'd need to use less critters in 3e and whatnot - but, time frames aren't really affected because PC's generally regain all their HP at the same rate, regardless of edition.

It's only the groups that insist on natural healing rates without magical healing that might be left out with a dual core baseline. But, I'm fairly willing to live with that since I do believe that that's a very small minority.
 

pemerton

Legend
I dunno 'bout you, but I never used poison saves in that way.
From Gygax's DMG, pp 80-81, under the heading "saving throws":

ecause the player character is all-important, he or she must always - or nearly always - have a chance, no matter how small, a chance of somehow escaping what otherwise would be inevitabl destruction. . .

So a character manages to avoide the full blast of a fireball, or averts is or her gaze from the basilisk or medusa, or the poisonous stinger of the giant scorpion mises or fails somehow to inject its venom. Whatever the rationale, the character is saved to go on.


Given that a sting from a giant scorpion can kill a horse, it strikes me as incredible that a person could just "tough it out". So while I never thought about it too hard back when I used to play classic D&D, I've always taken for granted that what Gygax says here might be one explanation of why the PC doesn't die.

Part of why I can take it for granted without having to think too hard about it is because most of the time the mechanics don't oblige me to think too hard about it if I don't want to. (Eg nothing mechanical turns on the difference between "the stinger failed to inject its venom" and "My guy was poisoned but toughed it out".)

If a character makes their poison save, they're tough enough to resist the poison, and if not, they're not. Either way, having to make the save to me always indicated that there was some real threat the character was responding to.
Well for me that's a change that 3E made, by making the save a Fortitude save. (I'm in the camp that thinks the 3E changes to save is far more than just a "rationalisation" of categories. It's turning what was a fortune-in-the-middle mechanic into a simulationist mechanic. Notoriously, this did over fighters in a bad way.)

I'd even say that "fortune in the middle" undercuts the very nature of call-and-response dynamics,

<snip>

FitM suffers the same problems as an unreliable narrator. Which means it might work great for a game about madness and uncertainty, but is not great for most purposes.

<snip>

If a core part of the rules relies on players being fundamentally unsure about the features of the world their characters inhabit, then the apparent reality of that world often becomes unsustainable.

<snip>

I would've thought the problems with fortune-in-the-middle style mechanics would be pretty obvious, and that their application in D&D would certainly be seen as superfluous at the least, but I guess I was wrong about everyone being on the same page about that.

<snip>

I mean, if you're going to use those mechanics, you might as well put them in a Call of Cthulu game, or something, where madness and unreliability are part of the feel.
I actually think this is pretty dismissive. And also it reads like theorycraft, not the experience of actual play. (As far as RPGs go. I've got no experience with improv. And literary narration is a different beast again.)

There are actual, successful RPGs - Tunnels & Trolls, Maelstrom Storytelling, HeroWars/Quest, 4e among them - that rely heavily on fortune-in-the-middle mechanics. None of them is particularly about madness. None of them involves changing the fundamental call-response dynamic of a traditional RPG. Each of them uses a range of techniques to handle the deferral of narration until after the relevant mechanical process has been resolved. You yourself note one of those techniques:

if you remain vague and noncommittal about what each call-and-response phase describes, you give yourself some wiggle room.

Another technique that is particularly common in D&D (as I noted above, it applies to AD&D saving throws as much as to 4e injury and healing) is to frame the mechanics so that they do not depend upon a high level of detail. In no edition of D&D do you need to know whether hit point loss is bleeding or a broken bone before you apply healing. (This is also true in Runequest. It is emphatically not true in Rolemaster.) In 4e you don't need to know whetehr hit point loss is bleeding or faltering morale before you apply healing.

Furthermore, there is nothing in the resolution mechanics that especially encourages this level of detail. For example, in AD&D a player can't get any advantage to a binding of his/her friend's wounds, nor to the use of healing magic, by specifying in detail that a broken limb is splinted, or a gash stitched shut. Likewise, as a general rule in 4e there is no advantage to be gained by specifying the precise manner of treatment undertaken when a Healing check is made. In the language of "call and response", the game rules do not recognise these particularly detailed forms of call as significant or even desirable. (Just as a player who repeatedly calls hit locations in combat can actually push against the combat rules in any edition of D&D.)

What this means is that the mechanical resolution of play does not grind to a halt just because the fictional details have not all been narrated yet. Narration can be deferred without harm to action resolution.

It is true that for those with simulationist sensibilities this might be unsatisfying. As Ron Edwards noted about 9 years ago, deferring exploration (ie establishment of the content of the shared fiction) in this way, rather than at every point during play in a linear fashion, is a common feature of non-simulationist play, whether step-on-up or story-now.

But to equate either of those sorts of play with madness an unreliability is, as I said, just dismissive. And suggestive of theorycraft rather than experience. Plenty of people may not want to play Maelstrom Storytelling or HeroWars/Quest, but these aren't game known for their inability to produce a strong and engaging story via play. I would in fact say quite the opposite!

As far as I am concerned you guys are arguing over personal assumptions that aren't going to be changed by walls of text. Both sets of assumptions are just fine. The problem is Next needs to handle both if it is to get everyone onboard and in its present state it doesn't support both IMO.

<snip>

Best to say "okay there are two basic approaches to healing and HP in Next. Choose the one that works best for your group.
Agreed.

it's just as easy to make a module for a grittier system, there's a group out there where the HP as wounds is just as much a non-starter for those who want a cinematic experience. In short, your statement can be applied to either camp with equal result.

In the true compromise, the extremists on both ends will walk away unhappy. There is no base assumption, only modular ones. No rest mechanics are given as the core, instead placing two basic modules in front of you right from the start
Agreed. You present a common hit point mechanic for PC gen and hit/damage rules, but distinct modules for death, dying and recovery. You probably also need to present psychic damage in a modular way (it can be loss of morale, or Prof X style debilitating brainwave attacks), and to note that the warlord class/theme may not work well with the simulationist module.

For the reasons that [MENTION=22779]Hussar[/MENTION] already gave, I think the adventure design isssues can be pretty easily handled. (Perhaps a sidebar about where to drop the extra healing potions or healing scrolls if you're running the module with "simulationist" healing.)
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
While I mostly agree with [MENTION=22779]Hussar[/MENTION] the rate of natural healing does have interesting implications for how Clerics and other healing classes are balanced. Mainly with stronger natural healing the demand for a Cleric's cure spells is lessened allowing players of Clerics to use more offensively oriented spells. Of course there a few wrinkles here -
  • Some groups will still reserve most of a Cleric's capacity for healing and push for an extra encounter or two in the day. For them the value of healing is inelastic. They have a much higher demand for healing spells than are already present in the game.
  • Tiered spell casting changes the valuation of using spell slots for healing compared to offensive measures. Historically low level offensive spells have a negligible impact as PCs rise in level while healing spells do not diminish in value as quickly when used under safe conditions.
  • Pretty much all roleplaying games are not balanced on a precipice. The calculus of how to approach a given adventure module will vary dramatically from group to group. Level of player caution for instance will probably have a stronger impact on how an adventure plays out then rate of natural healing.
 

JRRNeiklot

First Post
Not necessarily. Most people seem to agree that the time frames for both styles of healing are roughly the same. With the "Natural Healing" crowd, magical healing carries the load and characters are healed in a day, maybe two. In the "Plot Protection HP" crowd, no magical healing is necessary, but hit points still come back in a day.

If you have a cleric. And if he has enough spells. One cleric trying to bring 5 or 6 party members back to full health is going to take a while. Especially at lower levels before he has access to cure serious wounds.

It's only the groups that insist on natural healing rates without magical healing that might be left out with a dual core baseline. But, I'm fairly willing to live with that since I do believe that that's a very small minority.

It's not those without magical healing. It's the average group. A 7th level cleric can cure 5d8+1 hp in 1E. That's an average of 23 points. Not even enough to get the fighter back up if he's hurt bad. It's gonna take several days even with magical healing. Unless the majority of groups are all clerics.
 
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Hussar

Legend
If you have a cleric. And if he has enough spells. One cleric trying to bring 5 or 6 party members back to full health is going to take a while. Especially at lower levels before he has access to cure serious wounds.



It's not those without magical healing. It's the average group. A 7th level cleric can cure 5d8+1 hp in 1E. That's an average of 23 points. Not even enough to get the fighter back up if he's hurt bad. It's gonna take several days even with magical healing. Unless the majority of groups are all clerics.

A 7th level cleric likely has, IIRC, 4 1st level spells and 1 4th level spell. Even a 13 Wis netted you two more 1st level spells. An 18 wis and you have 2 4th level spells as well. That's considerably more than 5d8+1 hp. And, sure, it might take two or three days, but, that's about it. And that's not counting having any NPC healers, being able to go back to town for healing, potions, rings, a druid, or umpteen other sources of healing.

Like I said, 1 day or 3 days, it's not going to make much difference in adventure design.
 

A 7th level cleric likely has, IIRC, 4 1st level spells and 1 4th level spell. Even a 13 Wis netted you two more 1st level spells. An 18 wis and you have 2 4th level spells as well. That's considerably more than 5d8+1 hp. And, sure, it might take two or three days, but, that's about it. And that's not counting having any NPC healers, being able to go back to town for healing, potions, rings, a druid, or umpteen other sources of healing.

Like I said, 1 day or 3 days, it's not going to make much difference in adventure design.

In my games the whole magic shop thing was rare. Players couldn't just walk into town and expect heals. They could expect heals form the cleric, but even then, with 5 members of a party, always a a reasonable chance the cleric falls short. And then there is always the possbility of the cleric being taken down in fight (which happened to us plenty).

But none of this really matters. People can make all the arguments they want that it really doesn't matter, but we already know from four years of 4e it matters enough to enough people that many wont play the game if healing is too fast or not realistic enough. For lots of us, slow natural healing is essential to enjoyment of the game.
 

jadrax

Adventurer
People can make all the arguments they want that it really doesn't matter, but we already know from four years of 4e it matters enough to enough people that many wont play the game if healing is too fast or not realistic enough. For lots of us, slow natural healing is essential to enjoyment of the game.

I am not sure it is a given that it was the healing rates that turned people off 4ed tbh. And while I do think that there is a portion of the fan base that do see Slow Natural Healing as a deal breaker, I am not sure I buy that its anywhere near 50%, I am not really sure most people care that much about the issue at all tbh.

That said, I am totally behind natural healing being modular. I think you are right in that to those that do care, a compromise position is unworkable.
 

Uller

Adventurer
I haven't seen anyone bring this up yet.

What do you do with psychic damage? How does psychic damage play into all of this?


You have to completely rework the HP mechanics to get psychic damage to make sense. But why bother? Here's all we need for the core: A successful attack reduces your HP. Healing makes you recover it. All of the blank spaces in between can be filled by one of several options available from day one.

Ever see someone have a seizure in real life? Psychic damage.
 

pemerton

Legend
People can make all the arguments they want that it really doesn't matter, but we already know from four years of 4e it matters enough to enough people that many wont play the game if healing is too fast or not realistic enough.
I think that you may have misunderstood [MENTION=22779]Hussar[/MENTION]'s point. He's not arguing for quick natural recovery of hp. He's arguing that, whether you use the quick recovery module or the slow recovery module, your adventure pacing won't be very different, because groups who use the slow recovery module will rely more heavily on magical healing of some form or another to speed up their PCs' recovery rates.
 

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