D&D (2024) What would you put in 1D&D from 4E?

2. Bloodied. I basically started using this because I had players keep asking me if an opponent looked bloodied. They basically explained it as half or fewer hit points. I didn't like it at first, but it grew on me. It is a simple way to telegraph how injured opponents are. I mean, it is fun to try to go all Matt Mercer and describe in detail the condition of an enemy, but it quickly get repetitive even if you are fairly creative and good at improv, especially if there a large number of combatants. At some point, saying someone is "bloodied" just keeps things moving. But it always bothered me that there was no mechanical significance and I'd like to read more about how the bloodied condition (if it was a condition) worked in 4e.
The Bloodied conditions on its own is really just that keeping score on whether you're at half hit points or less or not.
But because it's a condition explicitely called out in the game mechanics, other abilities can key off of it.

You could have a necromantic spell or assassin ability that deals extra damage if the target is bloodied.
You can have a Barbarian get more dangerous when he's bloodied.
You could have some divine abjuration spell that gives you protection only when you're not bloodied (probably something about Grace and looking like a God) or when you're bloodied (probably something about having the Gods aid you)
You can have a monster that launches a powerful attack when it gets bloodied.
You can have a feat that gives you extra damage against a bloodied foes.

It is a nice mix of game mechanic and (combat) story telling tool, basically. Because you're so hurt, your enemy is smelling your weakness. Because you seriously hurt the enemy, he's pulling out all the stops. Because you seriously hurt the enemy, he is discouraged and changes to a defensive tactic or retreat. Because you're seriously hurt, you don't appear as unbeatable as before.

Even without any additional mechanics, it gives you a pacing mechanic and a way to tell how the combat is going, without needing to explicitely give the player hit points values or anything. "Two of you are bloodied, but none of the enemies are? This isn't going well, consider a retreat or taking out the big guns". "That enemy is bloodied, we should focus on him to take him out". "Your friend is seriously hurt, you should heal him!"
 

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Oh sure... I dunno how the actual formating could/would/should go... but so long as the timing was evident on when they were used, the more timing windows gives you more variance on how things play out.
When it comes to reactions, interrupts and the like, I sometimes think it would really help to nail it down to a very small number of possible triggers, to make it easier to spell out and look for a simple few key events during combat that are easier to track. The more complicated the condition, the harder it is to keep it in mind and notice when it's coming up. (For monsters, it might be good to have an option they can use only once during the entire encounter, so the first 3 times you forgot won't matter as much.)

A somewhat narrow list would be something like:
  • You get attacked
  • Someone else gets attacked
  • You get bloodied
  • Someone else gets bloodied
  • You make a Save
  • Someone else makes a Save
  • Someone else moves
This is still a lot, and the list could be narrower, but not without losing a lot of options. "Someone else" can perhaps be specified further between Ally or Enemy, that is still easy to check, and might become obvious in the turn. "Someone else gets attacked: The attacker may reroll the attack" is probably not something you give to an enemy, and you don't use if the attack already was a hit.
 

Deekin

Adventurer
Healing surges were an attempt to incorporate video game mechanics. Never a fan.
Genuine question: What video games have a mechanic like healing surges?

The way I see it, healing surges were a pretty unique mechanic to try and fix three fundamental issues with DnD healing.

1. DnD healing isn't impactful: generally, monsters can do more damage as an action than you can heal. This means, outside of getting someone up who's been KOed, healing is a suckers game, where you waste resources to draw out a fight you're already losing.


2. Healing is too available: outside of combat and the action economy, there really wasn't a cost to fully healing between encounters. This was more of a 3.5 problem, with the Wand of CLW, but is still a problem with some 5e spells.

3. Healing eats one Player's resources, but everyone else wants it: Everyone needs healing to keep playing the game, but it eats up the clerics resources. Spell slots are the clerics have fun resources, and I don't want to spend them undoing mistakes made by the rest of the party. It's why no one likes playing a healbot.


Healing surges and the X Word powers were attempts to adress all these issues. By making a healing surges heal one quarter of your HP, you guarantee that a full attack from the enemy won't just undo your action, and make sure that a well timed heal can change the tide of a battle. By making sure each character has a limited supply of healing surges, it adds consequences to healing, and shifts the resource consumption off thr Cleric and onto the whole party.

They are a unique little game mechanics that solves a lot of the problems with elegance and style, plus you get a mechanic to represent someone pushed to the edge of defeat, before reaching deep inside of themselves foe that last reserve of power that they need to win.
 
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I like Healing Surges precisely because they DON't work like a video game.

In a video game, you have low level healing potions that you chug, but when you get more HP they become obsolete because they can't fill you up and are replaced by better and better healing potions. This is exactly how 5e works. Exactly. Like a video game.

On the other hand, healing surges are both narratively and mechanically better. From a narrative perspective, it doesn't make sense that a super healthy and tough fighter is barely healed compared to his optimal state next to a wizard after drinking the exact same potion or getting the exact same spell. The way it works in 5e compared to 4e is exactly opposite to what you'd expect from the narrative and it's because of gamey game reasoning.

Mechanically, healing surges are nice because they give every class a hard daily limit, despite some classes having short rest features, because there isn't unlimited video game healing potion mechanics in play. Also, it combats the down-and-up problem with healing 5e because you can actually get healed and then take hit before going right back down. Cure wounds actually becomes more valuable in a meaningful way.
 
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Bolares

Hero
I like Healing Surges precisely because they DON't work like a video game.

In a video game, you have low level healing potions that you chug, but when you get more HP they become obsolete because they can't fill you up and are replaced by better and better healing potions. This is exactly how 5e works. Exactly. Like a video game.

On the other hand, healing surges are both narratively and mechanically better. From a narrative perspective, it doesn't make sense that a super healthy and tough fighter is barely healed compared to his optimal state next to a wizard after drinking the exact same potion or getting the exact same spell. The way it works in 5e compared to 4e is exactly opposite to what you'd expect from the narrative and it's because of gamey game reasoning.

Mechanically, healing surges are nice because they give every class a hard daily limit, despite some classes having short rest features, because there isn't unlimited video game healing potion mechanics in play. Also, it combats the down-and-up problem with healing 5e because you can actually get healed and then take hit before going right back down. Cure wounds actually becomes more valuable in a meaningful way.
I agree with your general point, but just for clarity, healing potions in 4e are still a fixed amount of HP, they burn one of your surges to recover a fixed amount of HP. I always hated that.
 

I agree with your general point, but just for clarity, healing potions in 4e are still a fixed amount of HP, they burn one of your surges to recover a fixed amount of HP. I always hated that.
That's totally fair as a preference but that's part of what I like about them. It isn't infinite Diablo potions because there's a daily cap on how often you can keep bringing people back from the brink over and over. It's definitely a departure from 3e's infinite CLW wands or 5e where you can come back from zero hp 20 times a day from 3 points of healing each time.
 

Bolares

Hero
That's totally fair as a preference but that's part of what I like about them. It isn't infinite Diablo potions because there's a daily cap on how often you can keep bringing people back from the brink over and over. It's definitely a departure from 3e's infinite CLW wands or 5e where you can come back from zero hp 20 times a day from 3 points of healing each time.
Maybe I wasn't clear. I hate that potions burn your surge for a fixed amount of HP independent of your Surge Value. I love healing surges, but potions in 4e really suck IMHO, specially for defenders.
I think they should give HP based on your surge value, even if it's a fraction of it.
 

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