I have created a fairly lengthy blog post on my thoughts about healing in DDN which can be found here:
For those who don’t want to read the whole thing, I will summarize my proposal here:
Healing is a type of module that can be used to adjust certain parts of the game to achieve the desired feel, tone, and style of game. The default healing rules must follow the same principles as the core rules: simplicity, understandability, ease of use, veteran familiarity, and rookie accessibility.
During combat, any character can take the “quick breath” action to regain a small static number of hit points. A character can only take this action if they meet three conditions – they must not be threatened at the start of their turn, they must have at least one HP, and they must be at or below half their max HP.
At the conclusion of a combat, characters will have a “quick recovery” to regain half their max number of hit points as longs as they have at least one HP.
During an extended recovery you regain all your HP, as long as you have at least one HP.
I have created three specific self-healing methods – catch breath, quick recovery, and extended recovery – each of which works with the simple core rules. In their default form they require no extra tracking or resource management and rely on calculations done once per level. Together they also provide a common language that can be used in designing various resource management systems that can sit on top of the core.
The healing dial can be “turned down” to make a grittier game by reducing the number of hit points gained and frequency or availability of these mechanics. In a similar way the dial can be “tuned up” for increased durability by increasing the number of hit points gained in these mechanics.
To me, this kind of rules construction is what the promise of modularity is all about.