... now with 35% more arrogance!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Healing Wounds

On the post about changing Cure Light Wounds so that it only heals damage from wounds and not other sources, azmountaintroll replied "It would require tracking wounds separately from general HP loss. GM's call as to whether the extra bookkeeping is worth it."

But does it?

I suppose if you read the part that says "Removes one wound from a character" literally, as exactly one wound from a multitude of individual wounds, that would imply a lot more bookkeeping. I should not have worded it quite that way, but I was just aiming for a quick discussion, so I was lax in my wording. Also, the wording may seem to be saying that each wound has a hit point rating ("You take 2 points of damage to your leg",) but that's not the intention at all; you still have hit points as a general pool, plus notes that say you are wounded.

... Except maybe there wouldn't even be any notes. For the record, if I were using this form of Cure Wounds, I'd be using the wound system implied in the called shots and edged weapons posts (as well as the posts on the Leech class.) Most physical attacks do wounds to the body; individual wounds are not tracked, just the fact that you are wounded; on occasion, you may take a wound to the head, arms, or legs, which may cause temporary or permanent effects.

The thing is, I'm not sure why you'd have to write down anything other than permanent wounds, and there are basically only four of those (two arms and two legs.) Occasionally, a rare extra like "Left eye missing". Permanent wounds to the head or torso are effectively instant death wounds, so there's no need to track them. Temporary wounds are only important for the temporary effects that go away once treated.

If a character has hit points missing, surely your memory is sharp enough so that you remember whether that character was in physical combat recently? And surely, while a combat is going on, you can remember if a character was hit on the leg? For extended effects, the GM can write down "limping" on scratch paper, crossing it off once treated. We're not really talking about major wound tracking.


  1. One could argue, that with 6+ players at least, a "normalized" wound tracking system would probably be faster than trying to find the scribble that corresponds to the player treated. ;)

    1. What, are you writing notes on random scraps of paper, instead of using one sheet of scratch paper to track all the damage and effects on all characters?

      I could track 10 to 12 characters on one sheet of lined paper. Not that hard.

  2. What would these "other sources" be? Are you referring to the idea that hit points also represent fatigue, grace, luck, etc.?

    Cure spells are part of what convinced me to drop Greyhawk-style HD progressions. A modified version of the ones in Men & Magic would be pretty close to Gygax's description of physical hit points and completely avoid some complications later added to the game. Plus, non-fighter classes would become disadvantaged against certain effects/spells

    1. The other sources would indeed be fatigue, luck, etc. And maybe even damage from some supernatural sources, depending on how you visualize wraith attacks, for example.

      If by "modified version of the ones in Men & Magic" you mean cure spells modified as I described, that's kind of the idea. It seems like every month I hear someone say "hit points can't be luck, no matter what the books say, because Cure Wounds." So I thought "Why not fix that, for the peevers?"

      Not sure what disadvantages for non-fighter classes you are referring to. Could you elaborate?

    2. Oh ... I see ... YOU'RE not the one splitting hairs, you're merely responding to others who are splitting hairs.

    3. Oops, guess I could've worded that better. I was referring to the hit dice progressions in Men & Magic, not spells. I'm thinking that, by adding racial caps (say, 7HD for humans) and applying Constitution only to the first hit die, you'd get something pretty close to the physical hit points Gygax described in the DMG

      The disadvantages would be against any effects that take the target's hit dice into account. Sleep, for instance, would continue to be effective against magicians after becoming totally useless against the equally experienced myrmidon. It really emphasizes the vulnerability of magic-users, and it's this quality that originally attracted me to the M&M progressions