Tweaking Surges: "Wounds"

I really love the mechanic of Healing Surges. But I get that a lot of people don't like them.

The thing is, a lot of the arguments against them are more based on the flavour, than the basic mechanic.

So here's an idea I was thinking about on how to tweak them:

For each 25% of your max HP you lose in any given encounter, you gain a wound. You have a limited number of wounds you can take before you're debilitated (can't be granted HP normally, and can't fight, pretty much crawling/being carried) based on your class and/or constitution.

The rate at which wounds recover is an explicitly variable thing. You can have them recover daily, or take weeks to fully heal.

Outside of combat you can rest up and restore your HP, but the wounds stay constant.

Most healing does nothing to wounds, so a Warlord would restore your HP, your will to fight, but do nothing for your wounds.

The major exception is obvious: Cure Light Wounds heals you 25% of your HP, and heals a wound. Cure Moderate Wounds heals 2 wounds, and 50% of HP. Etc.


How does this differ from Healing Surges? Primarily in the fact that you take wounds IMMEDIATELY from the damage, rather than using HS to restore yourself after the damage.

More importantly, the FEEL of the mechanic is different. By calling them "wounds" you make it obvious that HP are not wounds, per se, and by having them be permanent you show that a warlord isn't HEALING, but rather INSPIRING.


EDIT: An important bit of development from later in the thread can be found here, in case you don't want to browse through it all. 

Plot Cards - When you plan for A, B and C and your players choose 7.

This is definitely very clever. It makes a lot more sense than healing surges. I always explain them as representing the character's ability to be healed. But really that doesn't make much sense.

I think that wounds need to have some sort of other penalty, other than death, or total disability when you have accumulated all the wounds your class allows. One of the thing that makes HP difficult to understand as a direct representation of your injuries, is that your ability to fight stays the same, at full HP, or with just 1 HP. When HP is more of an abstraction, this does not stretch the imagination too much. But with wounds directly representing how injured you are, they need to affect your ability to fight. Maybe they decrease your maximum HP, or maybe the bonuses on your attack and/or damage rolls. The trouble with this, is that it may become annoying to keep track of.
So you want a system that punishes all Leaders that aren't a Cleric for doing their job? 

Why? Is it because Clerics are "supposed" to be the only class that can "heal" people? What a crock.  
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So you want a system that punishes all Leaders that aren't a Cleric for doing their job? 

Why? Is it because Clerics are "supposed" to be the only class that can "heal" people? What a crock.  


This is a fair point. I would suggest giving various class access to powers that eliminate wounds. Warlords could do first aid, artificers could use magical salves, and divine and arcane classes, could have a similar sort of spell. It doesn't have to be the "Cure Light Wounds" spell.

I think the goal is to eliminate the confusing nature of healing surges, and to emphasize the abstract nature of HP.  Of course this also means that you may have to adjust the "dying" mechanic. if HP can be easily restored, then losing all your HP without any wounds, shouldn't kill you. maybe losing all your HP, causes you to fall unconscious, and lose a wound. And then failing death saving throws create additional wounds. So your ability to be killed in battle would be affected by how wounded you were going into it. 
So you want a system that punishes all Leaders that aren't a Cleric for doing their job? 

Why? Is it because Clerics are "supposed" to be the only class that can "heal" people? What a crock.  



Compromise Healing Wound is a 5 to 10 round ritual (The scars are on the inside) and Medical Practices are a non-magical analog (availability is  subject to game world plus might take a little longer although maybe cheaper).
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At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

So you want a system that punishes all Leaders that aren't a Cleric for doing their job? 

Why? Is it because Clerics are "supposed" to be the only class that can "heal" people? What a crock.  


No, I want a system very much like 4e.

Remember, wounds function as a limit on healing, just like surges do in 4e. They are, in fact, the same thing in almost every way. Just flavoured slightly differently. (Rather than using up "healing surges" which some people consider gamist, you gain "wounds")

In 4e, Clerics have surgeless healing, ie. Cure Light Wounds, Cure Moderate Wounds, etc. 

What's the equivalent of surgeless healing in the "wound-based" system? It's being able to heal wounds.


The ability to heal wounds should be precisely as limited as access to surgeless healing is in 4e.
I think the goal is to eliminate the confusing nature of healing surges, and to emphasize the abstract nature of HP.  Of course this also means that you may have to adjust the "dying" mechanic. if HP can be easily restored, then losing all your HP without any wounds, shouldn't kill you. maybe losing all your HP, causes you to fall unconscious, and lose a wound. And then failing death saving throws create additional wounds. So your ability to be killed in battle would be affected by how wounded you were going into it.


I do like this idea. Personally, I'd have it be that you only end up dead if you fail another death save once you're already out of wounds.

Edit: I think M4kitsu's reaction serves to demonstrate just how effective refluffing can be at changing people's opinions. M4kitsu is a staunch defender of 4e, but the moment I refluff healing surges into wounds, all of a sudden the 4e mechanic (where very few classes get surgeless healing, and clerics are the best at it) is terrible.
Now I just need to get it to work in the other direction :p
1 change to healing surges- "Healing surges return at a rate of one per day."

Ritual (heal) Bed Rest- The target of this ritual gains an aditional number of healing surges per day deturmined by a Heal check. The effect ends when the target of the ritual engaves in anything more strenuous than walking to the chamber pot.
 
What's the equivalent of surgeless healing in the "wound-based" system? It's being able to heal wounds.
The ability to heal wounds should be precisely as limited as access to surgeless healing is in 4e. 


That right there is quite clever... 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Wow +1 to OP.  I love 4e. I love all Editions.  I'm a PC in 1E/2E and a DM for 4E, where I use 2E Crit Charts, 1E Hirelings, and 3E Slashing/Percing/Blugeoning (you've prolly heard this before Tongue Out). That being said, even though I love 4E, it doesnt mean I dont see the Op's point.  If I'm not reading it wrong, its so simple its elegant!  Just Check off healing Surges as wounds! Change the fluff, change the verisimilatude (sp?)!  Brilliant!


HP represent turning that near lethal blow into a graze, tiring out etc.


Healing Surges/Wounds represent actually getting hurt.  I mean, hey, they already do this with skill challenges.  i remember the 1st 4E preview adventure had a skill challenge when people were trying to escape the guards and escape the city (Sembia I think, Chris Tulach the awesome author), where someone fell over the wall (failed athletics check/roll) twisted an ankle or something, and lost a healing surge, I.E. got wounded.


4E has a lot of great ideas, its just that bad things happening (murder suicide with head of DDI), hasbro rushing it out the door, and bad marketing hurt it; among other things not to do with mechanics/fluff, which are awesome.  Think about it, if they were treated as wounds from the get go, would so many detractors say that it didnt have the 'feel of D&D'?   


I always liked the non-rolled HP for 4E idea.  That way, no more Wiz with 8 Con having more HP then the dwarf Barbarian with a 20 Con just due to poor rolls.  My only problem was and is that 4, 5, 6 per level left the Wiz and Ftr only 2 hp apart.  Looking at it from a HP and Surges = Wounds perspective, it makes me feel that the original 4E designers figured it out, but due to many outside factors through no fault of their own, rushed the idea before it was fully playtested/implemented.  Now looking at it from a new perspective (think i actually posted something similar to the OP before, defending 4E healing Surges) the wiz and ftr being only 2 hp = turning lethality into graze doesnt bother me so much. Why? Because that Fighter still has alot more Healing Surges=Wound Points then the Wizard!


Now, only if DDI will let us modify our character sheets in the online builder Cool 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/8.jpg)

A very nice system, indeed.  One that I use myself (with minor variations).  The only thing I would change (to keep a bit more compatability with 4E) is that the "wounds" don't start until "Bloodied" (50% of full hp).  Voila!

-DS
I don't have as subtle an understanding of HP and healing as the OP or "that****poet", so I don't feel I can add anything here. I just want to give props. This is a very interesting solution. I'd love to see this explained in the PHB. It would help my players who loath long combats, to understand the flavor of it. Its a good example of why fluff should be tied to mechanics. When a mechanical thing happens that has strong connection to story/fluff it cues the strong storytellers in the group to sit up and think Ah! I understand this! Those players will recount the mechanical parts of the adventure as story elements which helps bring tactical players into the story. True you don't need mechanics to tell a story but when the story comes partly out each player's imagination and another part of it comes from the unpredicable and the mechanical parts of the game it takes on a life outside of one person's mind.
Yeah, this is very elegant. I commend you for your clever implementation. I'm not sure whether or not the older generations would like this, but I'd play with this.

Again, a detailed fluffy description in the rules about how wounds are the only real damage et cetera et cetera is nice, as long as we 4th-ers get a sidebar that explains how that rule was created, why, how it was balanced and all that. 
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
Would the converse apply too? Let's say someone loses an arm (they blindly inserted their arm into a hole and a blade trap severed the arm at the bicep.) Would we say, "Okay, losing the arm is the equivalent of losing a healing surge."

Could this be a permanent surge loss until a ritual or other means was able to grow the arm back?
 
Ever since I read the injury/wound rules in Green Ronin's A Song of Ice and Fire RPG, I was intrigued to find a way to incorporate wounds into 4e.


  
A sound proposal which, without tweaking, is impractical in application. These mechanics require too much cross-checking. Just take a look at how it would look in play:

Wizard starts with 24|24 HP and 0/5 wounds inflicted
Orc attacks wizard, dealing 10 points of damage
Wizard is down to 14 HP; he has taken a total of 42% damage, which puts him at 1/5 wounds.
Goblin attacks wizard, dealing 1 point of damage.
Wizard is down to 13 HP; he has taken a total of 46% damage, keeping him at 1/5 wounds.
Warlord heals Wizard for 1/4th his maximum health (6)
Wizard is now at 19 HP; he has taken a total of 46% damage this encounter, and taken 1/5 wounds.
Goblin attacks wizard, dealing 3 points of damage
Wizard is down to 16 HP; he has taken a total of 59% damage this encounter, and has now taken 2/5 wounds.

As you can see here, you would need to keep track of the total percentage of damage a character has taken in battle, which is recieved by calculating the percentage of damage they take on a per attack basis. End result: simple mechanics get needlessly complicated just for the sake of "feel".

A sound proposal which, without tweaking, is impractical in application. These mechanics require too much cross-checking. Just take a look at how it would look in play:

Wizard starts with 24|24 HP and 0/5 wounds inflicted
Orc attacks wizard, dealing 10 points of damage
Wizard is down to 14 HP; he has taken a total of 42% damage, which puts him at 1/5 wounds.
Goblin attacks wizard, dealing 1 point of damage.
Wizard is down to 13 HP; he has taken a total of 46% damage, keeping him at 1/5 wounds.
Warlord heals Wizard for 1/4th his maximum health (6)
Wizard is now at 19 HP; he has taken a total of 46% damage this encounter, and taken 1/5 wounds.
Goblin attacks wizard, dealing 3 points of damage
Wizard is down to 16 HP; he has taken a total of 59% damage this encounter, and has now taken 2/5 wounds.

As you can see here, you would need to keep track of the total percentage of damage a character has taken in battle, which is recieved by calculating the percentage of damage they take on a per attack basis. End result: simple mechanics get needlessly complicated just for the sake of "feel".




This is rather easy to tweak though.

1) Jot down on your char sheet (on the side of HPs) your Wound Value (or whatever you want to call it). For the above Wizard, that is 6 HPs.
2) Every time you take any kind of "healing", such as inspiration, magical shield protection, healing spells and the like, you reset your count. This is sound from a verisimilitude approach, because when you regain HP something happens that allows you to get back in the fight.
3) The above example becomes:

Wizard starts with 24|24 HP and 0/5 wounds inflicted
Orc attacks wizard, dealing 10 points of damage: that is more than 6 but less than 12, so the Wizard gets one Wound.
Goblin attacks wizard, dealing 1 point of damage, for a total of 11 damage (you have written 10 on the sheet, so that's easy). Not enough for a second Wound, which is at 12 damages.
Warlord heals Wizard for 1/4th his maximum health (6). The Wizard writes down 5 damage on his character sheet, and a slash.
Goblin attacks wizard, dealing 3 points of damage. The Wizard signs 3 on the right side of the slash. Not enough for a Wound.
Orc attacks Wizard, dealing 15 damage. The Wizard signs 18 on the right side of the slash instead of 3: it's enough for 3 Wounds, which put him at 4/5 Wounds taken and 1 HP remaining.
The Warlord inspires the Wizard again, another 6 health. The wizard cancels everything on his character sheet and writes down "17 |   ".
Two Goblins attack the Wizard, dealing 3 and 4 damages. The wizard signs 7 on the right of the slash and says "I'm down, and I have 5/5 Wounds. Please save me!"

It does require tracking two numbers instead of just one, but it's not really as drastic as you made it sound.
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Ideas for 5E
A sound proposal which, without tweaking, is impractical in application. These mechanics require too much cross-checking. Just take a look at how it would look in play:

Wizard starts with 24|24 HP and 0/5 wounds inflicted
Orc attacks wizard, dealing 10 points of damage
Wizard is down to 14 HP; he has taken a total of 42% damage, which puts him at 1/5 wounds.
Goblin attacks wizard, dealing 1 point of damage.
Wizard is down to 13 HP; he has taken a total of 46% damage, keeping him at 1/5 wounds.
Warlord heals Wizard for 1/4th his maximum health (6)
Wizard is now at 19 HP; he has taken a total of 46% damage this encounter, and taken 1/5 wounds.
Goblin attacks wizard, dealing 3 points of damage
Wizard is down to 16 HP; he has taken a total of 59% damage this encounter, and has now taken 2/5 wounds.

As you can see here, you would need to keep track of the total percentage of damage a character has taken in battle, which is recieved by calculating the percentage of damage they take on a per attack basis. End result: simple mechanics get needlessly complicated just for the sake of "feel".



There is no tracking needed.  The number of hit points you take before taking a wound is currently called your surge value and it is printed on your character sheet.  All you would need to add is a place to tick off the number of wounds.

I like the OPs suggestion.  I am not someone who can't abstract the concepts of HP and Healing Surges, but if there are those who can't this seems a reasonable compromise. 

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This is definitely very clever. It makes a lot more sense than healing surges. I always explain them as representing the character's ability to be healed. But really that doesn't make much sense.

I think that wounds need to have some sort of other penalty, other than death, or total disability when you have accumulated all the wounds your class allows. One of the thing that makes HP difficult to understand as a direct representation of your injuries, is that your ability to fight stays the same, at full HP, or with just 1 HP.  .



In real life the Military did studies to show the impairing effects of injury basically they concluded soldiers were either 96 or better percent or completely disabled with no inbetween. However that may be deceptive based on other sources people even horribly injured experience surges of adrenaline that allows them to function inspite injuries which when after the stress of the current danger will impair them almost completely. IE wounds should impair after they combat they were taken in.
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Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

A very nice system, indeed.  One that I use myself (with minor variations).  The only thing I would change (to keep a bit more compatability with 4E) is that the "wounds" don't start until "Bloodied" (50% of full hp).  Voila!

-DS



That is a good catch, and having a Wound when you take a crit for a more gritty option too.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

+1. This idea is GREAT.
+1 to this as well. I am a fan of the older editions, but this is a very elegant solution that I would love to see implemented. It reminds me of a cross between the old optional system of “numbed and useless” that the 2E Fighter’s Handbook offered mixed with the Healing surge mechanics from 4E. All in all it really appeals to me.
Heroic Reserves (instead of HS) do have a better sense of having a potential for more versatile use however...
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Best of all, no death spiral effect. Very much like the idea.

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Best of all, no death spiral effect. Very much like the idea.



Never heard this term before.  Can you explain?

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Best of all, no death spiral effect. Very much like the idea.

Never heard this term before.  Can you explain?

Several game systems include penalties based on the number of wounds you have, such as taking a penalty to attack rolls/defenses for every wound you had. The problem with that approach is that the more wounded you get, the more likely you will get more wounded, thus a negative spiral effect. Things like a critical hit might as well be a deathblow in those game systems.

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EDIT: the description above is better.


A "death spiral" is where each hit you take weakens you, makes you take penalties to your defenses or attacks. So whichever side gets the first hit in, is going to be at an advantage.

Essentially, the fight ends up being a foregone conclusion long before it's actually over. Either the PCs get the first hit in, in which case they'll probably win, or the enemies do, in which case the PCs probably lose.


EDIT: the interesting thing with Garthanos's suggestion, where wounds have effects only after the encounter in which you gain them: is that it allows wounds to be effective in showing that you've been weakened, without having an actual deathspiral within one encounter.

EDIT: the interesting thing with Garthanos's suggestion, where wounds have effects only after the encounter in which you gain them: is that it allows wounds to be effective in showing that you've been weakened, without having an actual deathspiral within one encounter.




Does it make sense for each class to have this ability? I can definitely see the martial-hero fighting through the pain, but is this something casters should get? Perhaps its a class feature of the fighter, and/or a feat that can be taken by other classes.
+1 from me as well.

I would do a minor tweak, with respect to 4E (obviously we don't know how D&Dnext will look):

Upon being wounded, a player can choose to take a wound and recover HPs equal to the surge value as an immediate reaction (limiting it to once per turn, rather than say a free action) or the player could opt to simply take the HP damage rather than take a wound and recover some HPs. If a player is reduced to 0HPs, they MUST take wounds to make up for the negative deficit (or if they are at exactly zero) and are knocked prone (even if they end up at a positive HP value).

Healers simply heal wounds and the dice roll add-ons are applied to HPs as normal. Surgeless healing does both wounds and HPs.

This makes healers less-necessary during combat. It makes after combat "healing" change such that you wouldn't be able to burn a surge to heal after combat and therefore healers are more necessary after combat (to recover those wounds before going into a battle).

If a player decides to take the HP damage and survives the combat with no wounds (e.g.) and 1 HP, there should be some mechanism to recover HPs automatically. Every "short rest" recovers a surge value of HPs or some other time mechanism.

HPs may have to be tweaked down or surges up or both to hit that sweet spot. You are unconscious at 0 HP or less, and taking a wound every round unless you make a death save. You die at MAX wounds and 0 HPs.


Gritty rules could include auto wound on crit (although as 4E stands, the extra damage would probably force a player to take the extra wound anyway...) and/or wound tables similar to pathfinder/3.X crit tables, but the aforementioned death spiral might make that a bit too gritty. a Penalty to move and skills = 1/2 total wounds might be fine for a "I'z woonded, helpz!" effect. Forgoing the defense and attack penalty to avoid the death spiral, but a skill check/movement penalty gives a decent sense of dragging your feet or holding a limp arm.
Cool idea, OP. 

I think this does require extra bookeeping.  A typical fighter's HPs goes up and down through a long encounter, he may take several Wounds and come out at full HPs.  But I think that's what your addressing.

It is less work to Healing Surge after the fact than take Wounds while you play. 

I definately like HPs and Surges or Wounds as two categories, and I like that your have differentiated them.  I really like that you chose Wounds, playing to Cure Light Wounds, etc.

I think HPs should be encounter based.  You die from HPs during an encounter. 

And then Wounds can be adventure based.  I had the idea to increase number of Surges so it wasn't so much a way to die, but then make them come back at the rate of one per day.  So you can push yourself through an adventure, like you push yourself through a fight, but have to pay a more realistic price - a long recovery, even with the help of healing.

The OPs Wounds sound more daily, which is cool too.  I just think 24 Hour mechanics hinder the storytelling.


EDIT: the interesting thing with Garthanos's suggestion, where wounds have effects only after the encounter in which you gain them: is that it allows wounds to be effective in showing that you've been weakened, without having an actual deathspiral within one encounter.


Does it make sense for each class to have this ability? I can definitely see the martial-hero fighting through the pain, but is this something casters should get? Perhaps its a class feature of the fighter, and/or a feat that can be taken by other classes.


Why shouldn't they get it? Did you see Garth's post and the reasoning behind his suggestion?
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.

EDIT: the interesting thing with Garthanos's suggestion, where wounds have effects only after the encounter in which you gain them: is that it allows wounds to be effective in showing that you've been weakened, without having an actual deathspiral within one encounter.


Does it make sense for each class to have this ability? I can definitely see the martial-hero fighting through the pain, but is this something casters should get? Perhaps its a class feature of the fighter, and/or a feat that can be taken by other classes.


Why shouldn't they get it? Did you see Garth's post and the reasoning behind his suggestion?



Yes, pardon me if I misunderstood. Garthanos referred to a military study concerning soldiers in combat. Aren't some classes more like soldiers than others? Soldiers go through a training process which is designed to change their mindset towards combat. I have had many players design characters who seem less like soldier-adventurers to me. Perhaps I was wrong to propose it as fighter-class feature, but I would like to see the fighter set apart from other classes in new ways.
Yes, pardon me if I misunderstood. Garthanos referred to a military study concerning soldiers in combat. Aren't some classes more like soldiers than others? Soldiers go through a training process which is designed to change their mindset towards combat. I have had many players design characters who seem less like soldier-adventurers to me. Perhaps I was wrong to propose it as fighter-class feature, but I would like to see the fighter set apart from other classes in new ways.


Soldiers go through training, but there is no training to prepare you for what to do when you're injured. Obviously I don't mean first aid, that's a no brainer. But you can't train yourself to not be injured. What he was saying was that either the injury is small enough that it barely hinders you during the fight or it's a massively debilitating wound. Training doesn't change the physical effects of a bullet going into you.

As for some classes being more like soldiers than others, I disagree. All classes are supposed to represent heroes/adventurers, people that are a cut above your average person. They are more like different kinds of soldiers. Just like how in the Army there are hundreds of different jobs, some combat and some support, but they are all soldiers. The characters are all heroes, even if some have more supporting roles while others are in the thick of it.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
You have to be careful about flavoring people's characters too much. People have to have the freedom to create their own PC. Not every player wants to play the hardcore-dedicated-badass that will fight through the pain.

My grandfather-in-law took a piece of shrapnel four inches long through his leg and walked back to base from a forward observation post behind enemy lines. When they pulled the shrapnel out of his leg he walked back! Not everyone would do that.

One of my players made a wizard who was the son of goat-herding mountain folk. He specialized in illusion magic cause other magic was too scary. oh, and he liked to knit wooly hats. I don't think the player who dreamed that up would have seen him as the fight-through-the-pain soldier of glory type. She probably would say he was more likely to pass out.

If I was playing a PC who could fight even though his shoulder, ribs, and arm were broken. I would want that to be the exception, not the rule. It makes my character unique.
You have to be careful about flavoring people's characters too much. People have to have the freedom to create their own PC. Not every player wants to play the hardcore-dedicated-badass that will fight through the pain.

My grandfather-in-law took a piece of shrapnel four inches long through his leg and walked back to base from a forward observation post behind enemy lines. When they pulled the shrapnel out of his leg he walked back! Not everyone would do that.

One of my players made a wizard who was the son of goat-herding mountain folk. He specialized in illusion magic cause other magic was too scary. oh, and he liked to knit wooly hats. I don't think the player who dreamed that up would have seen him as the fight-through-the-pain soldier of glory type. She probably would say he was more likely to pass out.

If I was playing a PC who could fight even though his shoulder, ribs, and arm were broken. I would want that to be the exception, not the rule. It makes my character unique.


Adrenaline makes people do strange things. You hear a lot of similar stories that come from normal everyday people. Like I said, training doesn't change the physical effects of injury, and that is what Garth was referring to. Had that piece of shrapnel severred certain muscles, your grandfather wouldn't have been walking anywhere (not to take anything away from him of course, there is also the mental aspect where some people would just quit regardless of physical capability).

And while I understand your point about flavoring, PCs have long been assumed to be heroes and be a cut above the rest. I can say with certainty that it at least goes back to 2e, possibly earlier.

And keep in mind that HP is abstract. It represent some physical damage, but that is only a very small part of it. So taking HP damage does not always represent fighting through the pain, nor does spending a healing surge. In the case of the character you mentioned, her HP damage could represent luck or maybe arcane energy (as an illusion specialist she puts up an unconsious displacement effect when threatened, but this wears down over time, however you want to fluff it really). If you see every HP loss as suffering physical damage, then that character concept (well really any character you want to be remotely realistic) does not work beyond low levels.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
Kingreaper, how do you see a party without a cleric healing wounds in the middle of a dungeon/adventure? Wands and potions of cure wounds?

Also, I'm not quite sure I'm understanding why this wouldn't take a good amount of bookkeeping. Maybe I missed where it was explained clearly, but say:
I'm a fighter with 40 hp.
I take 11 damage, and so I take a wound and drop to 29 hp.
I then get healed by the warlord for 9 damage, and so I go up to 38 damage.
A couple rounds pass without me taking any more damage or healing.
I then take 8 damage, dropping to 30 hp.

Do I take a wound because I dropped to 3/4 of my hp again, or do I not take a would because I haven't yet taken another 10 damage (after the 10 damage that dealt me my first wound)? Do I have to remember from the last time I got hit (several rounds ago) that I had racked up 1 point of damage toward taking another wound, and now I have to remember that I've taken 9 damage since my last wound and if I take any more damage I take another wound? I feel I must be missing something. 
Kingreaper, how do you see a party without a cleric healing wounds in the middle of a dungeon/adventure? Wands and potions of cure wounds? 



Nah, such things bypass the whole point of the wound system.

In general, you don't heal wounds in the dungeon, just like you don't gain surges in the dungeon. Clerics can do it, but only to a limited extent. Other leader classes may also have a limited ability to heal wounds, as they do in 4e (surgeless healing=curing wounds).

It might be possible to get a rare, wound-healing potion, but they wouldn't be something adventurers could expect to make or buy.

Depending on the groups preferences, you may be playing Heroic (All Wounds Heal Overnight): Low Fantasy (3 wounds heal per night) or Gritty (One wound heals for each day of rest) or any other rate of healing you like.

This is part of why I feel the default should be that at least the first few wounds have no real impact on combat prowess. However, it'd be very easy to make modules, such as a Grim'n'Gritty module, that mean that every wound matters.

Also, I'm not quite sure I'm understanding why this wouldn't take a good amount of bookkeeping.

{snip}
Do I have to remember from the last time I got hit (several rounds ago) that I had racked up 1 point of damage toward taking another wound, and now I have to remember that I've taken 9 damage since my last wound and if I take any more damage I take another wound? I feel I must be missing something.


No, you're right, the basic system I proposed in the OP does result in difficult tracking. 

It's possible to make it simpler, by various different means, although they all have their own difficulties.


You could have a wound occur every time you pass one of the 1/4 boundaries. That's simple to track.
The problem with that system, what about healing?
A solution: Make all healing be multiples of 1/4 of the targets HP. Anything above and beyond that is Temp HP, not healing, and is tracked seperately, as THP has always been.

Or, you could have a wound occur only the FIRST time you pass each boundary in the encounter. So if you hit 3/4, get healed, go back to 3/4, there's no new wound. This increases the value of healing quite a lot. Whether that's good or bad, I dunno. It's certainly simple.
It does mean that you can only get a max of 4 wounds per encounter. But that's not too bad a thing. 

Or, instead of those options, you could have it so wounds only occur if you take more than X damage from a hit.
But that means lower-level enemies are unlikely to leave you with wounds. Problem? Maybe. If it is, add in "If you take more than X damage OR suffer a critical hit".


The post in the OP was just the most basic implementation, there's a bit of carving required still to make it work just right.
Depending on the groups preferences, you may be playing Heroic (All Wounds Heal Overnight): Low Fantasy (3 wounds heal per night) or Gritty (One wound heals for each day of rest) or any other rate of healing you like.



Ah, this makes sense to me, and I like it.

I definitely feel that the math needs to work in some way that doesn't require any bookkeeping.


I definitely feel that the math needs to work in some way that doesn't require any bookkeeping.


Did any of the three in my post above catch your eye as a particularly good one?
I'd just set some generic times instead of tracking wounds/surges. In my current game I just say that an extended rest is 1 week+. There's no need to track it exactly if the characters are just using that time to recover. Either they can take one or they can't. Much simpler that way.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.

EDIT: the interesting thing with Garthanos's suggestion, where wounds have effects only after the encounter in which you gain them: is that it allows wounds to be effective in showing that you've been weakened, without having an actual deathspiral within one encounter.




Does it make sense for each class to have this ability? I can definitely see the martial-hero fighting through the pain, but is this something casters should get? Perhaps its a class feature of the fighter, and/or a feat that can be taken by other classes.



The funny part is the idea is based on real medical information about anything from soldiers to well ordinary joes.

IT sounds like something heroic but ... humanity are pretty built in that way our biology doesnt like death spirals  either.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Kingreaper, how do you see a party without a cleric healing wounds in the middle of a dungeon/adventure? Wands and potions of cure wounds? 



Nah, such things bypass the whole point of the wound system.

In general, you don't heal wounds in the dungeon, just like you don't gain surges in the dungeon. Clerics can do it, but only to a limited extent. Other leader classes may also have a limited ability to heal wounds, as they do in 4e (surgeless healing=curing wounds).

It might be possible to get a rare, wound-healing potion, but they wouldn't be something adventurers could expect to make or buy. 



Make them induce a healing coma, rather flavorful but has a built in nasty effect... look I am a paper weight for N minutes. (ie they are a ritual in potion form)
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 


Or, instead of those options, you could have it so wounds only occur if you take more than X damage from a hit.
But that means lower-level enemies are unlikely to leave you with wounds. Problem? Maybe. If it is, add in "If you take more than X damage OR suffer a critical hit".


I like this option the best. I would use your "wound value", or 1/4 of your HP as the amount of damage you have to take in one go, in order to suffer a wound. The critical hit option wouldn't really affect most monsters you are fighting. A typical monster of your level would do that much damage on a crit anyway. It would however affect minions, which I think would make them too dangerous, for something with 1 hit point. The other thing that this system would do is decrease the overall number of wounds that you take. In order to balance this, you'd either have to decrease the number of total wounds, or the rate at which they come back. I'd prefer the latter, myself.

Of course as long as you use any option, other than tracking the amount of damage you take, they cease to become a reflavoring of healing surges, and become something else entirely. This isn't necessarily a problem, but it's worth mentioning.