Thoughts on healing potions

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Our gaming group recently decided to houserule that potions of healing no longer use healing surges. The primary reasoning is that they were so rarely worth using past level 3, as characters HS values were noticably better. We typically have 4-7 encounters per "work day" (we are approaching late-heroic, almost level 8), so HSs are used sparingly. Granted, we aren't expecting to be toting around dozens of potions, probably at most 1-2 per character each adventure (which typically takes about 4 game sessions, and about 12-15 encounters). We don't even use other potions (tragic, really), but I think we would rule similarly for those as well.

Anyone else use a similar houserule?

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Healing potions are supposed to be used as a last resort, not a default option. They are weak because they are supposed to be, for real healing you have to rely on powers and such. Or buy higher level ones (they're becoming affordable)

If you really want to use potions I'd sooner add a 10th level potion version to heal for 20hp then to remove healing surges, because that just lets you buy boatloads of them and use them at basically no penalty, which could upset the balance (unless you start limiting them)
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If Healing Potions don't use surges, there is no reason for a party not to stock up on dozens of them, and use them like liquid Hit Point batteries. Don't have anything good to do with your minor action this round? Down a potion! Don't want to spend those precious healing surges after a fight? Down 5 potions! At level 8, who CAN'T afford to fill their haversacks with a hundred potions of liquid life?
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In 2e you couldn't buy potions off the shelf in vast quantities...  and so potions actually meant something.  I think putting up prices and creating unlimited magic shops in 4e was a dubious decision.


Hmm I found 625,000 on a dragon, one sec as I run over to the village a pick up a +5 holy avenger :-)


 

Well aside from there being a Homebrew section that might get you better responses to your houserule you're wanting to do, as others have said potions are meant as a last resort.

It's not like 3.5 where potions weren't that expensive and they just healed you because they were basically the only healing you can get if you had no cleric or druid in the team.  That's entirely different from how 4e works.  And maybe you guys are just too use to 3.5 so it's hard to change your ways, but the reason potions use healing surges is because once you've spent your second wind you have no other way to heal yourself with surges unless you have a power/item that allows you to use a surge, or the leader heals you.  And maybe the leader is busy, or maybe in a tough fight they've exhausted all uses of their healing power already.  So you down a potion and it grants you healing at the cost of a healing surge you normally wouldn't really be able to use in the first place.

Cassan, you do realize that it's not really a hardboiled rule that all D&D have to have "unlimited magic shops" right?  That's something that's based on the DM's discretion, not rules of the game.  If your DM allows all magic items no matter what to be bought at magic shops that are in even the dinkiest little village, that's their choice to do.  Nothing wrong with that, but if your not a fan then if you ever DM a game make them harder to find, or make it so they are only in the biggest cities.   

In 2e you couldn't buy potions off the shelf in vast quantities...  and so potions actually meant something.  I think putting up prices and creating unlimited magic shops in 4e was a dubious decision.


Hmm I found 625,000 on a dragon, one sec as I run over to the village a pick up a +5 holy avenger :-)



4E doesn't actually say anything about how, exactly a party might acquire magic items beyond what they find as treasure. In my setting, for example, there are no magic item shops, so anything the party wants they'll have to enchant themselves. This is a change from my last campaign, because in the intervening 150 years, one of the PCs from my last campaign ruined the magic item economy by buying them all up and melting them down for parts, so you can no longer just buy magic items in the open market.
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Oh, I understand about them being last resort, which is why I mentioned we won't be aquiring them in any vast quantities (player tested, DM approved). Perhaps it is our playstyle, but we rarely have a 3-encounter work day, so our resources get stretched pretty thin. Outside of potions of healing, I can't recall what other potions actually made it into 4e, that's how rare they have become! Potions went from one of the most common items in 3e and before to nigh rare as anything in 4e, and I feel that is a tragic thing. I'm not suggesting potions become available in unlimited quantities (I think that is a very bad DM decision). Like I said, if we can get 1-2 each for an entire adventure, we count ourselves fortunate.

Perhaps a different solution is to make a mid-tier potion that heals for your healing surge value, instead of a fixed amount. Have a restriction, however, that only one of these potions can be used per extended rest, so you can't just pop one every encounter.

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In 2e you couldn't buy potions off the shelf in vast quantities...  and so potions actually meant something.  I think putting up prices and creating unlimited magic shops in 4e was a dubious decision.


Hmm I found 625,000 on a dragon, one sec as I run over to the village a pick up a +5 holy avenger :-)



4E doesn't actually say anything about how, exactly a party might acquire magic items beyond what they find as treasure. In my setting, for example, there are no magic item shops, so anything the party wants they'll have to enchant themselves. This is a change from my last campaign, because in the intervening 150 years, one of the PCs from my last campaign ruined the magic item economy by buying them all up and melting them down for parts, so you can no longer just buy magic items in the open market.



And experienced DM's will always make good decisions.  But I think for new DMs, especially younger DMs more experienced with video games who have players that are looking for an Auction House, when you put prices of magic items into the Players Handbook (I would have put into DMG with restrictions) the players will naturally assume they can buy all that stuff.



In 2e you couldn't buy potions off the shelf in vast quantities...  and so potions actually meant something.  I think putting up prices and creating unlimited magic shops in 4e was a dubious decision.


Hmm I found 625,000 on a dragon, one sec as I run over to the village a pick up a +5 holy avenger :-)


 


Just on point of reference it was actually 3rd that introduced the Old Magic Item Shoppe.  4E really toned it down mainly through the expedient of reducing the value for which you could sell something.
Not really, but then again, I don't really like potions. I've probably said this before, but potions are for when your leader fails. I'm always the leader and I never fail. Thus, I don't need potions.

In 2e you couldn't buy potions off the shelf in vast quantities...  and so potions actually meant something.  I think putting up prices and creating unlimited magic shops in 4e was a dubious decision.


Hmm I found 625,000 on a dragon, one sec as I run over to the village a pick up a +5 holy avenger :-)



4E doesn't actually say anything about how, exactly a party might acquire magic items beyond what they find as treasure. In my setting, for example, there are no magic item shops, so anything the party wants they'll have to enchant themselves. This is a change from my last campaign, because in the intervening 150 years, one of the PCs from my last campaign ruined the magic item economy by buying them all up and melting them down for parts, so you can no longer just buy magic items in the open market.



And experienced DM's will always make good decisions.  But I think for new DMs, especially younger DMs more experienced with video games who have players that are looking for an Auction House, when you put prices of magic items into the Players Handbook (I would have put into DMG with restrictions) the players will naturally assume they can buy all that stuff.




Yeah there definitely seems to be a sense of entitlement among a lot of players that they should be able to pretty much buy whatever magical items they want if they have the cash. The magical item rarity system fixed this a little. However, if a player loses a character during play and builds a new one, they tend to use the magic item collection in the builder to pimp out their new characters just so ("got to make sure I start with that frost weapon, so that I can use it with my frost cheese feat combo").


 

In 2e you couldn't buy potions off the shelf in vast quantities...  and so potions actually meant something.  I think putting up prices and creating unlimited magic shops in 4e was a dubious decision.


Hmm I found 625,000 on a dragon, one sec as I run over to the village a pick up a +5 holy avenger :-)



4E doesn't actually say anything about how, exactly a party might acquire magic items beyond what they find as treasure. In my setting, for example, there are no magic item shops, so anything the party wants they'll have to enchant themselves. This is a change from my last campaign, because in the intervening 150 years, one of the PCs from my last campaign ruined the magic item economy by buying them all up and melting them down for parts, so you can no longer just buy magic items in the open market.



And experienced DM's will always make good decisions.  But I think for new DMs, especially younger DMs more experienced with video games who have players that are looking for an Auction House, when you put prices of magic items into the Players Handbook (I would have put into DMG with restrictions) the players will naturally assume they can buy all that stuff.



Which really is probably the best default for new DMs.  Getting fiesty with the magic item availability is probably something that one should go with only as an experienced DM that knows what they are doing.  There are good reasons why video game RPGs have moved full scale into the 'you can buy magic items' model.  Its usually a lot of fun for the players so restrictions in this regard are worth at least thinking twice about.  I actually liked the original 4E system of 20% sale value on magic and buy what you want as I felt that outside of some issues at the highest levels this was a really good balance between the DMing controlling the truely awe inspiring magic in the campaign (to keep it special) and allowing players some fun in shopping. 

I recall in a 3.5 game drinking tea with the hostess of the house as my players got into town after a big haul (my actual DMing duties would not be needed for some time) and commenting to her that 'only in D&D will you see actual packs of grown men excitedly spending hours doing what amounts to window shopping'. 
Our gaming group recently decided to houserule that potions of healing no longer use healing surges. The primary reasoning is that they were so rarely worth using past level 3, as characters HS values were noticably better. We typically have 4-7 encounters per "work day" (we are approaching late-heroic, almost level 8), so HSs are used sparingly. Granted, we aren't expecting to be toting around dozens of potions, probably at most 1-2 per character each adventure (which typically takes about 4 game sessions, and about 12-15 encounters). We don't even use other potions (tragic, really), but I think we would rule similarly for those as well.

Anyone else use a similar houserule?

You can obviously do as you please but I think your messing with a reasonably important element in 4E that should actually be left alone.

Pretty much it breaks down like this:
Traditionally in D&D the game started in 'hard mode' with few hps and few ways to die players where in for a world of hurt.  However if you lived long enough you became a big damn hero and it actually became a lot easier to keep living.  This makes sense in a kind of simulation-y sword and sorcery type of way where we presume that the little people are all actually red shirts and they die in droves.

However 4E is more gamist then this and reversed the things.  In 4E you actually start in easy mode and things ramp up in difficulty as you level.  To break this down roughly at 1-2 level your 2nd winds and other healing powers are so potent in terms of hps gained versus most monster damage that you should be generally doing pretty good just through this manner.  From 3-5 your rich enough to get lots of healing potions and usually have plenty of surges so while the monster damage is now scaling up you can get by on just chugging healing potions but from 6th on things start to get grimmer.  The gloves are now coming off.  With each passing level the difference between your base surge value and the amount of hps gained through potions is just getting worse and worse and its becoming a positive mistake to use potions for anything but the most dire last ditch emergencies.

In reality your supposed to handle this through good tactics at the party level, access to more potent healing from the leaders and generally just better play to insure that your group can tackle the more difficult challanges they face.

I'll note that while I advocate for 3 encounter days (but harder more heavily designed encounters that involve lots of DM prep to include interesting features to make each encounter unique) the default mode of play remains an average of 5 encounters with some adventures being a little below this and some being a little above this number.  

Anything that demands a specific party makeup in a pen and paper RPG (in this case, crappy consumable healing) should be looked at pretty closely.
Consumable healing is garbage in 4E in terms of cost and effectiveness.  Non-leader healing in general is entirely useless outside of heroic, and unless you can use your second wind as a lower form of action, if you need to use it you're probably screwed anyways.  With monsters reliably hitting for over your surge value anyways if you're fighting more than one guy it's basically a useless turn.

If your party wants to drop gold on survivability they should actually get something for their money.
Healing potions are just oh-crap buttons for when the main healer goes down, or when you really need the leader to be focused on something else. The ultility of the healing potion from other editions has been replaced by the usage of healing surges, and the game is much better for it.
Anything that demands a specific party makeup in a pen and paper RPG (in this case, crappy consumable healing) should be looked at pretty closely.
Consumable healing is garbage in 4E in terms of cost and effectiveness.  Non-leader healing in general is entirely useless outside of heroic, and unless you can use your second wind as a lower form of action, if you need to use it you're probably screwed anyways.  With monsters reliably hitting for over your surge value anyways if you're fighting more than one guy it's basically a useless turn.

If your party wants to drop gold on survivability they should actually get something for their money.



Why?  Drinking a potion is not a standard action. Forcing one down a fallen allies throat is. 

To the OP.. normally I wouldn't consider that but you guys are doing 7-8 encoutners per day and not 1 cheesy nova per day so I would consider a potion that cost 2x normal and could be used 1/(encounter or milestone) to be relatively non-game breaking. Consumable costs do matter if gold is tracked properly. If you find that it's too easily abused you can always tweak.
Our gaming group recently decided to houserule that potions of healing no longer use healing surges. The primary reasoning is that they were so rarely worth using past level 3, as characters HS values were noticably better. We typically have 4-7 encounters per "work day" (we are approaching late-heroic, almost level 8), so HSs are used sparingly. Granted, we aren't expecting to be toting around dozens of potions, probably at most 1-2 per character each adventure (which typically takes about 4 game sessions, and about 12-15 encounters). We don't even use other potions (tragic, really), but I think we would rule similarly for those as well.

Anyone else use a similar houserule?


1. All healing potions heal your surge value, not the measly value the book says. When we get to 15th level, we'll decide what to do about lower-tier potions.

2. You can use your second wind as a move action, sans the defense bonus.

These two things make leaders a bit less mandatory, without radically changing game dynamics.

Oh, and I'll second the house rule forum suggestion. You'll probably get more constructive replies there. 
Removing the surge expenditure from potions means HP=GP.  This is not a good thing.
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Check out Potion of Vigour from Adventurer's Vault, which grants 15 (I think) temporary hit points and is about level 9 item.
How about a potion that costs some other resource instead of a healing surge, such as an action point? Or one that imposes some drawback in return for surgeless healing, such as a penalty to saving throws for the rest of the encounter?
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In our games, we mostly use potions as a backup for really bad situations. For instance if someone goes down and there are no heals, and second wind, then we dig out a potion and use it.

We also enforce the rules that you have to take the potion from your belt/backpack as a minor action, and then use another minor to drink it (or standard to use it on an ally).

We still manage fine, and have 3-5 encounters per day without major problems.

I think that healing surges are greatly devalued as a character resource if you can just buy hp with gold. Defender classes have lots of surges for a reason. The durable feat is also in the book for a good reason and constituion as an ability score is pretty good too.

Now, if at lvl 5+ we could just buy 10 hp with 50gp it would be just odd.

As a story element, I have given a few rare potions sometimes that don't consume a surge, but those are rewards that can't be bought/crafted, to make them feel more special.

Check out Potion of Vigour from Adventurer's Vault, which grants 15 (I think) temporary hit points and is about level 9 item.


 


There are three in adventurers vault - levels 9, 19 and 29 which give temporary points in the order of 15, 25 and 35 respectively.  They still use up a healing surge.




Check out Potion of Vigour from Adventurer's Vault, which grants 15 (I think) temporary hit points and is about level 9 item.

 

There are three in adventurers vault - levels 9, 19 and 29 which give temporary points in the order of 15, 25 and 35 respectively.  They still use up a healing surge.



In mid to late tier these are more attractive than the regular healing pots though. 

As far as I can remember, there is also a potion of regeneration that uses a surge, but gives regen 5 while bloodied. That one can save some surges in difficult fights if you drink it at the right moment.
How about a potion that costs some other resource instead of a healing surge, such as an action point? Or one that imposes some drawback in return for surgeless healing, such as a penalty to saving throws for the rest of the encounter?



It would defeat the pupose of the potions since

1) One would only be able to use a healing potion every other encounter.
2)  Depending on the combat the loss of saving throws would either be a horrible penalty or pointless. Especially if the penalties stacked/didn't stack.

A way to get around the need for healing is that literally everyone multi-classes into a leader role to pick up a heal. Its been a long time but I think in a group I played in the dm altered the heal skill and second wind so that Second Wind functioned as a leader heal with the previous benefits and that heal checks to spend your second wind were instead to simply spend a surge. 
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One issue I have with the healing pots in general is that most of the time they are too dangerous to use in combat, surgeless or otherwise. Case in point: ally was dying, used a pot to bring them back to 10 HPs. Monster X continues to bash on newly restored character (the character was still the closest, and the enemy wasn't exactly bright), sending them back to dying land. They just don't do enough to warrent a surge cost IMO. A simple mechanical way to limit surgeless abuse it to limit the frequency of use. Make it usable once per day, or even once per encounter, and now even having an unlimited supply means very little.

In one home adventure, the DM included a special fountain that we could drink from and "all" it did was restore a healing surge. He allowed us to fill up a waterskin, so we had one more dose available, but it was only usable once per day (extended rest). If I could get a cask of that, I'd be happy, but we aren't merchants, we are adventurers. We thanked the gods, and proceeded to finish the adventure, not looking back. Had we even tried to abuse it, chances are the DM would simply have the fountain stop working at some point, etc. Player abuse is easily controllable by the DM, as it should be.

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1) One would only be able to use a healing potion every other encounter.


This would be for more powerful healing potions, obviously. I didn't mean to imply this hypothetical "spend an AP to get some surgeless healing" potion would replace the existing "spend a surge to get 10hp" ones.

2)  Depending on the combat the loss of saving throws would either be a horrible penalty or pointless. Especially if the penalties stacked/didn't stack.


And yet, there are already powers that give you benefits (including healing) for the cost of a temporary saving throw penalty, so the game's actual designers seem to think it's an appropriate cost.
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In 2e you couldn't buy potions off the shelf in vast quantities...  and so potions actually meant something.  I think putting up prices and creating unlimited magic shops in 4e was a dubious decision.


Hmm I found 625,000 on a dragon, one sec as I run over to the village a pick up a +5 holy avenger :-)


 





I couldn't agree more.      Of course you don't have to play that way.    

 Healing potions in 4e don't really work as a last resort because by the time you need them you're out of healing surges anyway.    

I just make them work as a cure light wounds spell. 

In 2e you couldn't buy potions off the shelf in vast quantities...  and so potions actually meant something.  I think putting up prices and creating unlimited magic shops in 4e was a dubious decision.


Hmm I found 625,000 on a dragon, one sec as I run over to the village a pick up a +5 holy avenger :-)


 



If that was a "4e decision" I'd be with you.  But you could buy practically unlimited items in 3e (looking at a FR book that tells me that in Neverwinter I could buy 2,000 gold worth of healing potions off of a cleric per week).  While the default setting of 4e states that PCs can typically find people selling magical items in larger towns, it is by no means "unlimited."  We just don't have charts telling us how much a merchant has anymore, unlike the 3.5 mentality of "spell everything out so the players can rules-lawyer the DM about th setting."  The 4e DMGs allows for restricting magical items present in a shop, or even a lack of shops outright.  

And, on top of that, for those people who completely adhere to the rulebook and can't use any type of mental process to justify it otherwise, they've even created rules allowing for the DM to say "look, you can't just buy that item" or "that item can't even be made."

Yes, if your DM is lazy and/or has a complete lack of imagination regarding the issue, you can buy unlimited items in town.  But I do think that the design decision made re: 4e was to get rid of playing Accountants and Audits.

 
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
But I do think that the design decision made re: 4e was to get rid of playing Accountants and Audits.

But I thought everyone liked to keep track of rations, torches, and when they last relieved themselves...it's the cornerstone of a well-designed RPG...right?

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 I got my copy of Mordenken's Magnificent Emporiam yesterday as a reward and there is a new level one curative potion (potion of cure light wounds) that does not use a healing sure if you have expended all your surges already. Seems to be a good fit, use Healing potions if you have surges and your surge value is less than or equal to ten or the group is out ways to grant a surge, use the potion of cure light wounds if you are out of surges.
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I can see going with something like a Magical Potion Vial or something.  Daily; healing; Regain HP as if you had used a Surge.

If you wanted to throw in more than 1, you could make them Level 10/20/30 (for 1, 2, or 3 surges worth of healing) with the appropriate cost.

The point is, as DM you could do something like this, to give your group a little bit of surgeless healing.  Maybe they are lacking a Leader, and need something to help boost them beyond just Surge heals every short rest, who knows.  If the group ends up with 2 of these, then they can be a little more free with their surges, but 2 surgeless heals a day isn't going to break down the game either.

Another thing I have toyed with, are special potions (or rather fruits, since this was in Dark Sun), that use a surge and heal a Surge +1d6.  If the Person had no surges left, then it only healed 1d6.  This was not a choice they could decide on, to spend a surge or not, they had to be out.  But they were not something that could be bought, only thrown in by me, the DM, when I thought they needed a little boost of sorts.

So, as DM, there are a lot of things you can do, without totally changing the way potions work in general. 

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Removing the surge expenditure from potions means HP=GP.  This is not a good thing.



I don't see how, when GP = Armor, Weapons, Consumables that deal damage to enemies, etc.

Consumables are overcosted in the first place, if your party spends ten grand on 10 HP pots and carries a wagon full of them into the dungeon then they should be able to drink one every turn if they're feeling like it.  Upgrade the action cost or something and it's more than fair.  Money spent on healing is already money not spent on awesome stuff, that sounds like a penalty enough to me.

But I've never quite understood the generally agreed-upon mandate that you have to do the best most boring thing with all your resources according to RAW all the time forever.  If you don't word a houserule carefully enough then yeah, it's open to loopholes and abuse.  If your table is not severely disabled or a pile of jerks, however, then they'll be able to understand what a houserule is meant to do for the game and respect the intention.
Non-surge healing is a big deal in 4e, and not to be passed out lightly.  Maybe in a post-Essentials world, it'd be OK to have 'Rare' (unbuyable, unmakable) potions that don't cost a surge or heal your surge value instead of a fixed amount - the cost/level of such an item is basically meaningless, since they're just gifts from the DM, so there's no issue of bags of holding full of healing potions restoring everyone's hps durring a short rest w/o a single surge spent (like Wands of Cure Light Wounds in 3.x).

The lowly healing potion, BTW, /is/ a mid-heroic item, it's level 5.  The upgrade is 15th and heals 25 hps & gives a save, for a surge, which is a big jump.  If you wanted to introduce a 10th level extra-healing potion that healed 15 (or, since it doesn't give a save, maybe 20) hps for a surge, that could concievably work.

 

 

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Healing potions in 4e don't really work as a last resort because by the time you need them you're out of healing surges anyway. 

They are a last resort in the longer more lethal fights. The type of fights were your leader goes down, runs out of healing powers or more likely two PCs really need healing within the same round. It does not happen often in my campaign, but often enough so that the players make sure there are always one potion per PC and there have been adventures when they actually run out of them (and they actually have a miracle worker cleric, just no backup healing). As such the usefullness of healing potions has nothing to do with the number of encounter per day except in regards that by the time you spend most of your dailies chances are higher you get into a fight with no other healing left anymore.

One issue I have with the healing pots in general is that most of the time they are too dangerous to use in combat, surgeless or otherwise. Case in point: ally was dying, used a pot to bring them back to 10 HPs. Monster X continues to bash on newly restored character (the character was still the closest, and the enemy wasn't exactly bright), sending them back to dying land.

True up to a point, but that just means that you or your players need to use the delay option more. Delay until you are just before the unconscious PC (or at least so that there are no monsters before the unconscious PC's turn), feed the potion and make sure the erstwhile unconscious PC can get out of dodge. The described situation does not just happen with potions, but with regular healing as well.  I am always surprised how little attention many players actually pay to the initiative order and how it impact such things as healing ;)

Healing potions in 4e don't really work as a last resort because by the time you need them you're out of healing surges anyway. 

They are a last resort in the longer more lethal fights. The type of fights were your leader goes down, runs out of healing powers or more likely two PCs really need healing within the same round. It does not happen often in my campaign, but often enough so that the players make sure there are always one potion per PC and there have been adventures when they actually run out of them (and they actually have a miracle worker cleric, just no backup healing). As such the usefullness of healing potions has nothing to do with the number of encounter per day except in regards that by the time you spend most of your dailies chances are higher you get into a fight with no other healing left anymore.




Well we had it happen in our game.  The cleric went down and had no healing surges left.   We thought it was stupid that all the healing potions the party had didn't work on him.    Having a magical item that only works some of the time and not when you need it the most was just wrong in our view.

That's why I created the potion of cure light wounds for my game.   I'm glad to see that WotC has included that  in Mordenken's Magnificent Emporiam.
If I were to House Rule the Potion delema I would say use the higher of the HP gained your surge or the potion.
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 Healing potions in 4e don't really work as a last resort because by the time you need them you're out of healing surges anyway.    
 


When you're out of healing surges, a potion can still bring you from 0 (or less) to 1, as is the rule for all healing that requires spending of healing surges.

In my experience, the last resort thing, when a potion is badly needed, is when the ability to spend healing surges in the encounter has been exhausted, not when HS are exhausted. (Being in LFR may color my views on this, since running out of surges is very rare in LFR but running out of healing powers is common enough in tough fights.)

Also, I've had my own leader characters sometimes get knocked out while they had healing powers still available (one that immediately comes to mind involved my character dropping due to ongoing damage, when I had an immediate interrupt power to heal me when I drop to 0 but couldn't use it because ongoing damage hits on my own turn). That was a mid-paragon adventure in which our party was saved from TPK by the fact the wizard had a few level 5 potions of healing. Downing a potion to spend a 25 HP healing surge to get 10 HP is an incredibly awesome deal, as compared to dying because you have no means to get above 0.   

In 2e you couldn't buy potions off the shelf in vast quantities...  and so potions actually meant something.


 




Sounds tacky like you know a video game -


In 4e a heros own deep resources are more important.



  I think putting up prices and creating unlimited magic shops in 4e was a dubious decision.



Never seen one of those and its entirely  under the dms jurisdiction...though ritualists with abiity to create items we have (items I create and put in the game are sufficiently cooler so it doesnt matter that much)

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The guy who taught us to play D&D 4e ran his potions as restoring a surge's worth of HP without consuming a surge. When we found out that's not the way they're supposed to work we decided to keep using his houserule. Since he kept them rare it worked fine and since the rest of us started roleplaying with HackMaster 4e we're used to magic being rare and run our games that way anyway so we adapted the same houserule in our other games.

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