View Full Version : Overhealing someone

2016-02-09, 06:09 PM
I've been thinking about how Wheel of Time does healing at the beginning of the series...

I like the idea that some (read most) of the healing comes from the individual being healed, and so if they are too weak or the healing poured into them is too powerful it can actually do more harm than good. In fact, if the healer is not careful they can literally kill the patient they are trying to cure.

With that in mind I have been thinking about instituting this house rule in my PF and 3.x games...would be interested in your guys' thoughts.

Too much positive energy can burn out a weak life force. Healers must be careful to stabalize and slowly nurse a patient to avoid a large shock to their system.

Anytime the hit points regained from a healing spell ( Cure X Wounds or Heal) exceed the target's current hit point total the target must succeed a fortitued save DC: HPs regained - 10 or succumb to system shock.

System Shock:
If a conscious character succumbs to system shock they gain no benefit from the healing spell that was cast and immediately fall unconscious for 1d4+1 rounds.

If an unconscious character succumbs to system shock they gain no benefit from the healing spell that was cast, fall to -1 hitpoints if they are currently above that, and fail a death saving throw.

Basically what this means is if you cast Heal on someone that is unconcious and dying, you are probably going to kill them...It is just too much energy to pour into a system that is already on it's last legs.

2016-02-10, 01:36 AM
To be entirely honest, while the effect is flavorful and interesting for a game world, I would avoid nerfing combat healing in general. As it stands in 3.x healing is something you really don't do later on in life, when you can instead remove an enemy from the fight and patch up later. Making healing basically take extra turns causes it to be an even less attractive option.

What you could do instead, to bring the flavor without the nerf hammer, is give people penalties when their hp is exceeded by healing done instead so that the cleric is not having to worry if he's going to kill someone at a vital point in time. (You know, -1 to-hit and AC for x rounds based on excess healing or some such.)

2016-02-10, 09:15 AM
The Wheel of Time d20 book does this by having healing spells convert lethal damage to non-lethal damage, which you heal naturally. But as said, nerfing healing in dnd is basically just a good way to make sure characters die. The only combat healing that should normally happen is as a last-ditch effort to avoid death, and WoT never used in-combat healing like dnd. SilverClaw's Whitelight Shakes (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=3098490&postcount=77) disease is a much better way of adding danger to healing, though I don't like the stats so much as the idea. A delayed problem that doesn't interfere with immediate objectives and survival, but if contracted will cause serious problems if you don't stop and deal with it-and you can't just keep using magic.

But that's not what you're looking for, you want a way to do Wheel of Time healing in dnd. The thing is, did anyone actually ever die from healing in those books? Not that I remember. The worst that ever happened was. . . a month long eating binge after a curse removal, which doesn't make any kind of sense (in fact most of the big shot "healing" wasn't even hp healing, it was trying to kludge past curses/ability drain without the proper spells). If you want to model a limit on how much healing you can take, it's best to base that on your hit points-you actual maximum hit points than the amount of damage you currently have, because otherwise healing would make no sense. The limit I figured if I ever decided to use some sort of excessive healing problem was more than your full hit points: you can be magically healed up to your full hit points without problem, but past that it could get worse. Say, in your second set you're fatigued, after twice your full hp you're exhausted, and each heal past that forces a fort save vs black out until the exhaustion is cleared (that's 1 hour). Maybe if some foolish healing kept spamming you after you blacked out you'd start saving vs death, but at this point you've healed more than twice your max hit points in a single day. You could slap fatigue/exhaustion penalties on any ability damage/drain recovery as well, though in that case I'd definitely remove the extra costs from the Restoration line.

It should also be noted that Wheel of Time, as a mostly gritty combat setting, is not a high level dnd campaign. Or rather the main characters are quite obviously the only people with any serious levels. The people at risk of dying from careless healing magic are the mooks with 1-4hp, who if dropped to -9 will take more than twice their max before regaining consciousness. Main characters could and did fight all day with tons of healing backing them up when needed, and survived just fine. Furthermore, tons of dnd monsters absolutely assume the PCs can and will recover from all sorts of things either immediately or by the next afternoon, so any restrictions must always be met with extra care in monster choice. The WoT d20 book's monsters where quite underwhelming-but being meant to be combat-able by mostly mundane characters (as if anyone would ever have a party without a channeler) it was quite understandable.

2016-02-10, 10:04 AM
It's a great concept, but I would definitely consider balancing potential offensive use of this house rule when compared to other immobilizing spells.

E.g. if I'm a level 12 Cleric with 22 wisdom, the Hold person DC 19. But if I cast Heal on a foe, the DC to resist that is 22. If they fail the DC, the next DC to withstand system shock would be 120 (!). Drawback's that Heal is a touch spell + shorter duration of unconscious effect; advantage is that target can't attempt a new save every round but is just unconscious for 1d4+1 rounds. Also consider the effects on Mass cure critical wounds and Mass heal (with even higher initial DCs), as these could decimate entire groups of enemies.

2016-02-13, 11:49 PM
Personally, my idea was always that too much positive energy would give you cancer - or at least tumors.

sterling vermin
2016-02-14, 01:28 PM
This feels waaaaaaay too harsh. If you went with this I think you would have to majorly scale back every encounter the players run across lest they get TPK'd quickly.