View Full Version : Thought experiment: variant damage rule

2006-11-17, 12:35 PM
A thought crossed my head the other day. I was thinking about consistency in D&D (not normally a productive endeavor, I know), specifically about healing magic and the tremendous impact it would have on the way people lived. So I thought "Hum. Maybe there should be some limit to how much HP can be restored with cure spells, keeping the cure line of spells as a first aid measure but leaving it unable to just make wounds disappear."

So... the idea is this. Part one: Cure spells affect nonlethal damage only (other means of healing would for the most part be similarly affected). Useless on its own, yes. So, part two: Any time a character takes lethal damage, half the damage is converted to nonlethal damage (creatures with immunity to nonlethal damage are still unaffected by purely nonlethal attacks, but not to the nonlethal portion of a lethal damage attack).

I think this would probably make for a more realistic, consistent world--which is in my book generally not on its own a very good reason to do things. I want a game that's fun and balanced. However, upon further examination I think this variant would have some interesting ramifications on game balance. Healing magic in general would be de-emphasized--not only would cure spells be more limited, but nonmagical healing would be a lot more effective. Four to eight hours of rest would be just as effective at healing as getting topped off with cure spells, although neither method would be able to get you fully healed. Combat would obviously be less immediately lethal, too--being defeated would be much less likely to result in death unless your opponents wanted to kill you afterwards.

I find this concept interesting. Has anyone ever tried using a similar variation? If so, what was the game like? I suppose there should be some means of healing lethal damage other than resting for a week, but it should generally be higher-level, less effective, and beyond all more time consuming than simply tossing cure spells.

2006-11-17, 12:40 PM
Um... no, if you want to go that way just use the Star Wars RPG vitality system(the reason i dont play that anymore is because it sux and is unrealistic) if you were to do what you just said then it would totaly confuse and mess up the game. the health system is fine the way it is

2006-11-17, 01:48 PM
Um... no,

Very well, sir. I issue my rebuttal!

Um... yes.

I realize that adding overhead to the game's bookkeeping is generally not a good thing, but you're keeping track of all of one extra number.

Fax Celestis
2006-11-17, 02:03 PM
I believe UA has a variant HP rule that would be right up your alley.

2006-11-19, 06:25 PM
Here you go. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/damageConversion.htm) The variant rules for armor converting lethal damage to nonlethal damage.

2006-11-19, 06:30 PM
There is also a house rule in UA that makes cure spells and such only turn lethal damage into non-lethal damage, which is then healed naturally. If you adopt that house rule, no spell can cure non-lethal non-damage, which makes brawling, saps and such more dangerous.

2006-11-19, 09:53 PM
Hmmm ... this should've been titled "variant HEALING rule" ...

And here I was looking for a system that caused damage increases with experience ...


2006-11-23, 09:56 AM
How do You deal with stabilizing dying characters? In the standard system, Cure Minor Wounds does the trick, but if with You it just heals nonlethal damage, "dying" is a much more dangerous condition than now. Yes, I know that last part sounds strange.

2006-11-23, 12:54 PM
The various previously published variants are all interesting enough, but one of the key traits of the experiment is making healing slower in the long term, something none of them accomplishes.

How do You deal with stabilizing dying characters? In the standard system, Cure Minor Wounds does the trick, but if with You it just heals nonlethal damage, "dying" is a much more dangerous condition than now. Yes, I know that last part sounds strange.

Ah, that's something else I hadn't mentioned--although it would be easy enough to say that cure spells still auto-stabilize, assuming that tweak wasn't made it would mean the Heal skill would actually be seriously, vitally important.

Do keep in mind that it would take a bit longer to get someone's HP down to "dying" under such a system, too--from full health you wouldn't start dying until you took twice your maximum HP in damage. The nonlethal part of the damage means that for the first several battles of the day getting KO'd does not put you at any risk of dying. Of course, the fact that the lethal part of the damage doesn't easily go away means that as you accumulate damage you get closer and closer to dying over the course of the adventure--you start dying as soon as you take twice your maximum HP in damage regardless of how many healing spells get tossed your way.