... now with 35% more arrogance!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Healing Limits

Every once in a while, someone complains that clerics are way overpowered compared to other classes because they can "absorb more damage" by stocking up on healing spells. I don't really agree with that, but I'm not going to address the argument itself. Instead, I'm going to suggest a fix: characters can only be magically healed once per adventure.

There's some precedent for this. The clerical turn undead ability works only once per creature per encounter, at least in some early versions of D&D. It does have the benefit of not requiring any change to the cleric class itself, just to the way Cure Light Wounds and Cure Serious Wounds are interpreted.

This, of course, reinforces the idea of short expeditions with frequent trips back to town. Some people complain about this, too, although I see it as a desirable feature.


  1. This is a nifty little idea; if you try it in play, I'd be curious how it works out.

    I have a question about the bit at the end, however, where you say you favor "short expeditions with frequent trips back to town." How do you make this work in a megadungeon/hexcrawl process?

    In my experience, a standard four-hour session can fit about six encounters. If we roll for random encounters/room encounters every X miles of in-game travel, it seems to me that more frequently the party returns to town, the less chance they have to actually encounter new content in the dungeon/wilderness.

    How do you navigate this in your games? Just cut out a certain number of random encounters?

    1. Normally, my dungeons are pretty close to some kind of settlement. A league away, maybe. You're normally only supposed to get one encounter per day of wilderness travel, so it shouldn't be much of a problem. For really close dungeons, I probably wouldn't even bother to roll.

      Plus, maybe I'm running shorter encounters, because six seems small. I had about five encounters in a two-to-three hour session once, and that's only counting actual monsters/people, not other uninhabited rooms.

    2. I run for a group with a distinctly 3e/4e mindset, which I think may slow play somewhat. Gives me something to aspire to next time, anyway! Cheers.

      -- Austin

    3. I was guessing you probably ran either 3e/4e or an earlier edition with lots of combat features that push it towards 3e/4e. As has been said before, OD&D uses 1 minute rounds because a round will usually take a minute to resolve under abstract combat rules, so combats are essentially real-time. A ten or 15-minute combat is possible, but rare. And under those assumptions, six encounters in 4 hours sounds very sparse.

    4. I find my encounters tend to run longer than that, although I run Basic Fantasy (which uses 3e-style rounds). But my players are all primarily Pathfinder players, so I think they tend to be quite deliberative and by-the-book sometimes.