View Full Version : Special damage or the extent of cure spells

2007-03-21, 08:26 PM
Under certain circumstances, how would you judge that a character would get special, potentially crippling, damage if it isn't being dealt by a critical hit? For example, I'm looking to crush my party under a falling rock trap. I expect someone to whom this actually happens to get some broken legs, arms, or what have you, but not actually die. I want them to dig themselves out. It doesn't really have to be a falling rock... any severe crushing damage would do it (constriction, bludgeoning damage, etc.)

From here I expect to deal with it two ways: Let cure set andmend bones (something I'm reluctant to do, due to my personal conception of what the spell should do) or make the party deal with something as drastic as having lost the use of a limb. The way I see it, hit points dont efficiently describe actual body mutilation (someone with full hp is as capable of doing things as someone with 1, which is a little silly, unless the only wounds possible are cuts and bruises).

Anyways. Your thoughts?

2007-03-21, 08:35 PM
Take a look at regenerate (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/regenerate.htm). It suggests that the kind of damage you're considering isn't covered by standard cure spells.

Also, take a look at the rules for cave-ins and collapses (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/dungeons.htm#caveInsAndCollapsesCr8).

2007-03-21, 09:24 PM
...or make the party deal with something as drastic as having lost the use of a limb.
My sincere personal opinion: Stay away from this.

It might feel fun for the player to roleplay something diferent at first. But it sucks in the end. Loosing an arm might be acceptable for the player (and even interesting, depending on the character), but loosing a leg is just demoralizing.

And to answer your post:
As far as I know, only Regeneration (or ressurection) recovers lost limbs/organs. Cure/Heal only closes wounds and heals scars.

2007-03-21, 09:31 PM
I second staying away from it, unless you have a really high-level party (in which case it isn't really a threat unless it happens in the middle of combat, so it doesn't matter so much.) D&D rules don't cover limb-loss too specifically (outside a few rare and generally high-level effects) for a reason. If you want to incapacitate the players for a bit, use stat-damaging poison instead, or magic, or something else that they're likely to have a way of fighting back against at their level.

2007-03-21, 09:39 PM
Well, if you ask me, it's generally rather silly to deliberately re-insert specific injuries into a system that abstracts almost all damage away into "hit points". It's not that I'm opposed to grittier, more realistic (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/vitalityAndWoundPoints.htm) rules for injury (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/injury.htm); not at all. But I feel that if you're going to include such things, they should be integrated into the system as a whole, not arbitrarily trotted out in specific instances.

As Jasdoif points out, there are already rules for falling rocks. They do plain ol' generic "damage" like so many things in D&D. Doing something else kinda smacks of "By the mighty power of DM fiat, your characters are subject to penalties that they wouldn't normally have to deal with!" Saying that it's more realistic that way isn't a justification when you're already using an unrealistic ruleset; why change this particular thing? In a way, it detracts from verisimilitude by drawing attention to the fact that the characters normally aren't disabled by getting hurt.

I'm just don't see most players much appreciating "Rocks fall, everybody's crippled."

(No offense intended. I meant this as constuctive criticism, but it seems that I'm not willing to take the time to try to make this sound less harsh. And if you think that that means that I'm more eager to be contrary than polite, well... Guilty as charged, really.)

2007-03-21, 10:26 PM
The problem with breaking people's limbs is that it tends to grind adventuring to a halt. Any halfway rational individual will call off an adventure once they sustain a crippling injury like a broken ankle, arm, wrist, or whatever.

You're not gonna save any princesses if you can't even fight to save yourself, so the effect it will have on the PCs is that they'll go to the nearest settlement, and wait the several months it will take for their bones to heal.

I suppose it could be done near the end of a specific adventure, where the PCs only have one more battle to fight before completing the current quest, to make things more challenging and dramatic. However, risking serious injury as a matter of course is not condusive to the standard D&D campaign. The point is to go on adventures, not to be prevented from adventuring.

2007-03-22, 08:06 AM
OK, I agree, dealing out random disabling injuries can be really discouraging, so I'll avoid those. But let's say the PC did something stupid, like jump out of a 60 foot tree, but survives. Again, simple hit points damage that wouldnt be lethal decrees that he could just keep on running, and makes for an easier game. It is metagaming, and that should be discouraged, but something should still happen that reflects the action.

And something else... when describing the damage dealt by a bludgeoning weapon on a monster (that has little chance of surviving) I for one enjoy mentioning the crunch of his bones.

2007-03-22, 08:43 AM
I think of it this way. In general your characters in any campaign are Heroes. They are the strong,brave, and highly skilled that go out and save all the regular people from the evils of the world.

If a normal guy/peasant breaks an arm he's done. He goes home and rests for months. But a Hero pushes on. I mean whats a broken arm when the life/lives of another/a city/the world are on the line? Heroes grit their teeth, bandage their wounds and push on.

I think the way healing/damage works in DnD reflects that. There isn't anything saying that damage taken isn't serious like broken bones. It's just that as heroes you can overcome their injuries and finnish the job at hand.

2007-03-22, 02:02 PM
Here's a simple exercise that every DM should do.

Make a list of everything about D&D that your players have fun doing. For example, my list is:

1) Roleplaying plot driven interactions
2) Interesting/new combat
3) Puzzles/Riddles/Mystery solving
4) Overcoming challenges with Skills or creative solutions
5) Plot Choices

After I made this list, I removed a whole bunch of non-fun things from my game.

1) Heavy spell component or other equipment bookkeeping.
2) Random Encounters.
3) Repetitive Encounters.
4) Encounters that prevent a PC from functioning normally after the encounter is over, unless they have an opportunity to seek out healing by the end of the game session.
5) Roleplaying inconsequential events (You walk into the bar. The bartender looks up from cleaning a glass for a moment to ZZZZZzzzzzzz......)
6) Railroading the PC's into any situation.

It may be more realistic to include these things, but its not fun. Soon after implementing these changes, my games became much more enjoyable and popular.

If something is not on your list, you should try to avoid it. Occasionally I'll make exception if I have a really good reason, but in general, I avoid it. Buy beer and pizza, roll some dice, have a good time, and try to avoid screwing people over to the point that they don't want to play any more.