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    GilesTheCleric's Avatar

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    Default Constitution Progression by Level, the Wand of Lesser Vigour, and other Goodies

    You say you'll change the constitution...we all want to change your head
    Stat-boosting spells and items are par-for-the-course for lewt and go-to item purchases. But, what about when that stat boost isn't to a primary stat like int for wizards or str for barbarians? Healing, whether it's in-combat or outside is never an enjoyable prospect. But, maybe with enough hp from con increases, it wouldn't be a problem... right?

    Increasing max hp in order to make healing more efficient isn't doable until level 11 at least. Until then, it's Wands of Lesser Vigour (SC 229) at 750gp a pop for most folks. Now, these are wands so they give quite a lot of bang relief (what sound do spells make anyway?) for your buck. In fact, with the WoLV each hp only costs 1.36 gp to heal. Even the forum-renouned Healing Belt (MIC 110) only achieves 27.7 gp per hp, though it is of course more useful in combat.

    With the WoLV as a given for most parties, how does it stack up to the amount of health PCs will typically have?

    Spoiler: First, what are some reasonable maximums for hp by level?
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    By level twenty, a character can easily have a con score of nearly 40 with some investment. However, prior to obtaining a +5 inherent bonus, either through tomes (DMG) or multiples Wishes, 30 is a more reasonable upper limit to expect.

    Bear's Endurance, Righteous Might, and Greater Visage of the Deity (SC 231) used as example buffs. VoP refers to Vow of Poverty (BoED 48), which will give a total +8 enhancement bonus by level 19 which increases max health by another 20 points.


    In the above image, each vertical box is one charge consumed from your wand. Starting at level 1, one charge will heal most characters to full. But by the time the party is level five, it might take three, four, or more charges -- and that's per character dropped to zero! Not only will this run your wand down quickly, but it also takes a lot of time; four uses of the wand will take over four minutes of waiting for the entire healing effect to complete.

    Efficiency of the efficient, or, to be efficacious
    Let's take a gander at a graph of how many charges are required to heal to full, to save the pain of counting all those little boxes and the sighs of reluctance at the shared party fund being slowly consumed.
    Spoiler: Average number of LV charges to slowly return from the brink of seeing the pearly gates
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    Well, that seems like a fairly large number of charges, especially when remembering that this is per character -- most parties will have three more folks who may also need healing. But don't fret! Putting everything into perspective should provide enough sugar to make this easier to swallow. For perspective, let's include in our analysis how long a wand will last. WotC has set the average number of encounters per level to 13.3, each of which should use up roughly 1/4 of a party's resources (such as spells, consumables, hp). Can a whole party make it an entire level -- or several -- on a single wand? Let's see.

    Wand costs at low levels
    Well, look at that. See? Maths saves the day once again! With only one wand for the whole party, it's possible to almost make it to level 4. Of course, WBL probably doesn't allow a party to purchase a 750 gp item at level one, even by pooling their resources. However, even if maths can't... oh wait, it can. According to my calculations, a party will use, on average, .24 of a wand at first level, .4 of a wand at second, and .6 of a wand at third. However, knowing this only helps when we remember the partially-charged wand rules from DMG 214 (and MIC 227 implies that we should probably stick to increments of 10, which seems reasonable anyway). So at first level, a 1/5 charged wand will cost only 150 gp (37 gp per member), and at second a 2/5 charged wand will be 300 gp (75/member). At level three, WBL increases from 900 to 2700, so purchasing a full wand should be a reasonable choice, especially given that it should last for the entirety of level 3 and a good chunk of level 4.

    If the party uses nothing but Wands of Lesser Vigour for their healing until level 11 (when Heal, the most efficient conjuration (healing) spell, typically comes online), they'll spend roughly 10k on wands (healing everyone for about 7700 hp total!). For an entire party, this constitutes 5.1% of their wealth (196k total), a pittance. However, if your GM allows a custom magic item of endless healing (say, a command word-activated ring of cure minor for 900gp, or a ring of cure light for 1800), those will start to be more efficient cost-wise than WoLVs after level three for CMW (~970gp will have been spent on WoLV total), and before level five for CLW (at which point ~2500 gp will have been spent on wands. At a level-vs-level comparison, CMW will cost less than WoLVs at 6th (1000 gp spent for this level), and CLW at 9th (1800 gp for wand charges to make it through the level). Of course, GMs likely will not allow a magic item of infinite healing, and the drawback to the slotted item would be that a character is required to spend his or her standard actions every round, for what will probably be 30 rounds (three minutes!) per character.

    Metagaming (more than we already have!)
    Now, if the GM really is strictly following the 1/4 resources rule, the best way to make the wands last longest is actually to have less hp. In contrast, GMs who consider consumable resources to not continue to count against WBL after use wouldn't be penalizing buying many wands, so having high con in that case is fine. For those who fall in between those two ends of a spectrum, a combination of wands with other options like class features (spells, vigour auras, etc) and items (the trusty Healing Belt) should do the trick -- essentially continuing to play the way that your group likely already does. There's no need to change how you stat your character or buy items; Wands of Lesser Vigour will always be affordable.


    Further graphs -- homebrewed con score increases for low-magic games, those that eschew the use of WBL for ability score increases, and the PHB2's recommended item progression.

    Spoiler: OldTrees1's Percentage of WBL method
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    Spoiler: DracoDei's every-other-level brew
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    Spoiler: Grod_The_Giant's alternating ability increase brew
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    Spoiler: Golden Ladybug's VoP-like ability increase brew
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    Spoiler: PHB2's recommended item progression
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    Last edited by GilesTheCleric; 2017-10-28 at 09:29 AM.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Constitution Progression by Level, the Wand of Lesser Vigour, and other Goodies

    This data is beautiful.

    Thank you for considering so many different progressions.

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    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Constitution Progression by Level, the Wand of Lesser Vigour, and other Goodies

    In fact, with the WoLV each hp only costs 1.36 gp to heal. Even the forum-renouned Healing Belt (MIC 110) only achieves 27.7 gp per hp, though it is of course more useful in combat.
    This is what jars me out of the reading: you are comparing an expendable resource (WoLV) to a non-expendable one (HB). Over time, the gp:hp cost of the HB approaches 0, as it renews its 3 charges each day and never runs out.

    You seem to be comparing the lifetime hp:gp cost for WoLV to the one-day cost for HB. That's apples to oranges.

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    Default Re: Constitution Progression by Level, the Wand of Lesser Vigour, and other Goodies

    I don't have any real numbers to back it up, but the numbers presented here feel really wrong to me. Anecdotally, in my last campaign we played from level 6 to 13, using wands of vigor nearly exclusively for healing, and used up a total of 6 wands in that time frame. Which seems to be a fraction of what your numbers predict. I don't know if the incoming damage my groups experience is just significantly lower than what you expect, or something else, but something seems off here.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?


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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Constitution Progression by Level, the Wand of Lesser Vigour, and other Goodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    I don't have any real numbers to back it up, but the numbers presented here feel really wrong to me. Anecdotally, in my last campaign we played from level 6 to 13, using wands of vigor nearly exclusively for healing, and used up a total of 6 wands in that time frame. Which seems to be a fraction of what your numbers predict. I don't know if the incoming damage my groups experience is just significantly lower than what you expect, or something else, but something seems off here.
    That's about right, if I'm reading the chart correctly. It looks like 6->13 is about two wands per person consumed, so 6-12 wands depending on party size. Also, that seems to be assuming that the party each takes about 25% damage, and the wands are the sole healing source - so a couple high-defense people that rarely take damage, or having some spells used for healing, would reduce it. And if summoned creatures are used as the primary tanks, it could be much lower.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2015-03-27 at 06:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Constitution Progression by Level, the Wand of Lesser Vigour, and other Goodies

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    This data is beautiful.

    Thank you for considering so many different progressions.
    Thank you very much! If there's any brews or methods that I missed, please let me know and I'll add them to the dataset.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stegyre View Post
    This is what jars me out of the reading: you are comparing an expendable resource (WoLV) to a non-expendable one (HB). Over time, the gp:hp cost of the HB approaches 0, as it renews its 3 charges each day and never runs out.

    You seem to be comparing the lifetime hp:gp cost for WoLV to the one-day cost for HB. That's apples to oranges.
    That's a good point. In my mind it made sense to compare two of the most commonly used healing items, but I should either make a separate section for infinite-use items, or add a wand of CLW and/or Faith Healing for better direct comparison. I had been considering expanding the post to include an appendix about the most efficient infinite-use items; do you think that would be worthwhile?

    Comparing wands to charges/day items is still a valid comparison wrt situations in which max single-day healing is being evaluated, but of course that comparison will always heavily favour wands or 24hr/instant-duration effects. As I recall, The Healing Handbook was more oriented to general methodology than with analysis, so would I be stepping on its metaphorical toes if I were to discuss those efficiency match-ups?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    I don't have any real numbers to back it up, but the numbers presented here feel really wrong to me. Anecdotally, in my last campaign we played from level 6 to 13, using wands of vigor nearly exclusively for healing, and used up a total of 6 wands in that time frame. Which seems to be a fraction of what your numbers predict. I don't know if the incoming damage my groups experience is just significantly lower than what you expect, or something else, but something seems off here.
    These numbers are maximums, and are of course made with a good number of assumptions (13 encounters per level, and everyone taking 1/4 damage each time) as icefractal mentions. I, too, was a bit surprised at how much healing would be necessary (191 hp per character spent to level from 6 to 7, up to 532 hp/character to level to 13, given a focus in raising con; those numbers drop to 150/PC at six and 370/PC at thirteenth if con is barely touched). I'd suspect that for any group you're in, at least one person would have a strong grasp on tactics and character building, and would likely slip below my (maximum) averages.

    If the entire party plays that way, then the numbers could be significantly different. If you have the con scores for your character/party for each of those levels, I can plug them in to see how much above below? the average you are on wand usage.

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    That's about right, if I'm reading the chart correctly. It looks like 6->13 is about two wands per person consumed, so 6-12 wands depending on party size. Also, that seems to be assuming that the party each takes about 25% damage, and the wands are the sole healing source - so a couple high-defense people that rarely take damage, or having some spells used for healing, would reduce it. And if summoned creatures are used as the primary tanks, it could be much lower.
    You're close; 6 to 13 shows 4.32 wands/person, with the assumptions that you listed. However, that number corresponds with the highest line on the graph -- if every character takes every opportunity to increase con, giving them approximately 19 con at level six and 26 con by level thirteen (on a base d8 HD). All of my extrapolations from the graphs assume the maximum. For a d8 character who has placed only a few points into con (such as with the "inherent increase" progression), about 3.03 wands is the average for that same time span.

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