Heal from Zero poll

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'Heal from Zero' refers to the rule:  "If you are healed while your hit points are below 0, your hit point total first changes to 0"

Note: the poll is considering just the mechanic itself (i.e. either choice assumes play is balanced accordingly).




Update: the previous poll evidently allowed for unlimited voting, so it was remade. Vote again if you don't see the graph.

I can't really think of a reason not to like it. I mean, it's not a big deal, but... Well, yeah, it's not a big deal.

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The primary problem has been iterated numerous times.  Combining the fact that healing is a word of power, and cure minor wounds is an at-will cantrip, it is very easy for clerics to keep people popping back onto their feet in a fight.

The "dying" zone functions best as a buffer that penalizes the player (removing him from combat and putting him in bleed-out peril) without always killing him.  With the current mechanic, "dying" is an invitation to coup-de-grace by any intelligent foe.

If that was somehow fixed, I would have no problem with heal-from-zero. 
I can't really think of a reason not to like it.

Mainly that after all these years I still remind 4e players about the rule (indicating that it's not intuitive to them), but some other points were brought up here and here.


I like it and its really a service to the Dying rules.

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It's not a big deal, but it doesn't work for me. Obviously, this is a rule for modularity.
I don't mind it, but I do wish that cure minor wounds was changed so that it only stablized anyone in negative hitpoints. 
I voted "don't like" but that is not actually all that accurate - what it is that I don't like is negative hit points. HP should stop at zero, so all healing would then be from zero without having to mention "if you are below 0 HP, first set your HP to 0 and then heal."

Without negative HP, we could just have 0 HP mean you are dying, devise how long someone is dying before they are dead with a number of modular rules (examples: 1 round per level; until you fail X Constitution saves of DC Y; everyone is dying but stable until an action is dedicated to finishing them off or healing them; 0 = dead, so deal with it, etc.) and reach the same effective situation without having to include the idea of negative HP.

That's probably just me though, but I have never understood why negative HP started getting included in game rules - with HP defined as arbitrary units of measuring how much longer you can stay alive and in the fight, going past "nothing left" doesn't make sense... and it makes even less sense when "nothing left" does not equate to a measurement of zero.

To me, it's like fuel in your fuel tank (note: I mean the actual fuel equates to HP, not that the fuel gauge and its ability to fall below the E and the car still run - which would be more like a warning that you are at or below 10% HP - equates to HP)  - you drive and you drive, but when you are out of gas (at 0) the car stops going... you can't actually have "-3 gallons" in your fuel tank, so why does "-3 HP" get a pass allowing for illogical expression of quantity?



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I voted like it because I do. I can remember healing badly injured people in 3e and earlier and not getting them above 0 so it really did nothing but waste a turn. It was a real problem for non-optimized healers. It may need limited in Next because the availability of easy at-will healing. I'm thinking the first application of Cure Minor Wounds just returns somebody to 0 and the second grants them a few HP. That makes it fine for trying to save people but not useful for constantly getting people back up in a fight.
The primary problem has been iterated numerous times.  Combining the fact that healing is a word of power, and cure minor wounds is an at-will cantrip, it is very easy for clerics to keep people popping back onto their feet in a fight.

The "dying" zone functions best as a buffer that penalizes the player (removing him from combat and putting him in bleed-out peril) without always killing him.  With the current mechanic, "dying" is an invitation to coup-de-grace by any intelligent foe.
 



This.

Having commonly available abilities that instantly bring downed PCs back into the fight is a terrible idea. The end result is that people that are knocked down are treated as still being combatants and are finished off.

Having a PC drop and removed from that combat isn't a big deal. Having a PC outright killed is something you want to avoid.

Heal from zero just encourages Coup De Grace on fallen PCs.

Not to mention even if you don't do that, it has your combats turn into a lame version of whack-a-mole, where PCs are popping up and getting taken out, only to pop-up again.

Heal from zero just encourages Coup De Grace on fallen PCs.

wouldn't the opposite be true?
If it takes two heals to some moron up and murdering again, down is effectively out.

That's probably just me though, but I have never understood why negative HP started getting included in game rules - with HP defined as arbitrary units of measuring how much longer you can stay alive and in the fight, going past "nothing left" doesn't make sense... and it makes even less sense when "nothing left" does not equate to a measurement of zero.

It helps if you think of HP as actual wounds, with 0 merely being the point where you fall unconscious.  Someone can hit you with a hammer until you lose consciousness, and that's zero, but there's nothing stopping them from continuing to hit you while you're unconscious; and the more beat up you get, the longer it will take you to recover from that, and eventually you'll be broken to the point where you can't recover - death.

Personally, I would like to see the healer's role in combat change to that of mitigation - prevent people from getting hurt in combat, and leave all HP-recovery to out of combat.  Letting downed combatants return, sometimes trivially, has been a major source of combat dragging on and on, throughout the past few editions.



The metagame is not the game.
Heal from zero just encourages Coup De Grace on fallen PCs.

wouldn't the opposite be true?
If it takes two heals to some moron up and murdering again, down is effectively out.



You want down to mean out, or at the very least reserve revival abilities for higher level spells, which are rare occurances.

Heal from zero basically comes from 4E where it was necessary to constnatly return PCs to combat because combats took 1-2 hours to resolve, so getting KOed early and having to sit out the whole thing wasn't an option. In D&DN combats are fast, so having to sit out for 5-10 minutes is seriously not a big issue.

Ideally you want the situation to be where people that get KOed are out of the combat but can heal up during a short rest so they can return to the adventure afterwards.

Personally I'd like to see some rule where healing downed people just stabilizes them, but they need a short rest before they actually wake up. A high level spell could arguably break that rule, but that should be the standard.

It needs to be an unusual occurance for a downed PC to re-enter a fight.
The "dying" zone functions best as a buffer that penalizes the player (removing him from combat and putting him in bleed-out peril) without always killing him.  With the current mechanic, "dying" is an invitation to coup-de-grace by any intelligent foe.

If that was somehow fixed, I would have no problem with heal-from-zero. 



No more so than it ever was....  Sure, in other editions a foe could leave you to bleed out.  But if they're intelligent?  Why would they if they know you've got a healer close by on your side?  Better to kill you & just be done with you.

So, how would you "fix" that?  Make it a hard-coded rule that if a foe is in the negatives they are no longer a valid target for attacks or something?
Personally I'd like to see some rule where healing downed people just stabilizes them, but they need a short rest before they actually wake up. A high level spell could arguably break that rule, but that should be the standard.

Why not "nobody's dead until everyone is"?

Without negative HP, we could just have 0 HP mean you are dying, devise how long someone is dying before they are dead with a number of modular rules (examples: 1 round per level; until you fail X Constitution saves of DC Y; everyone is dying but stable until an action is dedicated to finishing them off or healing them; 0 = dead, so deal with it, etc.) and reach the same effective situation without having to include the idea of negative HP.



The idea behind negative HP is that you are less likely to die from simply bleeding out than you are from bleeding out while on fire.  In other words, if you just have a save made every round then you have to add in another mechanic for what happens if something attacks you while you are unconscious.
It's not a big deal, but I'd like to see an additional (maybe optional) rule like if someone drops uncouncious, he should not take an action (he can only move) until he has a short rest. So, he can be healed from zero, he is saved, but falling unconcious has made him exhausted so he can't be active during rest of the encounter.
I voted that I like it but I think the problem with healing and HP in D&D Next is that Cure Light Wounds is an at-will cantrip.

4E had good ideas when it came to its life-and-death system, with its main fault being three things:


  • too many boosts to healing surges (in terms of # of surges per day, and amount of HP restored)

  • too many starting healing surges

  • death saving throws as designed give you 50% chance failure, 45% chance doing nothing, and only 5% chance of being able to come back to contribute (which means you can have as many as 5 rounds doing absolutely nothing before dying)


On the plus side...


  • surgeless healing gave very small amounts compared to even base healing surge value, and were severely limited in number


    • the only at-will healing in 4E so far requires that the recipient of the heal hit an enemy "tagged" by the healer, which prevented the very shenanigans found in D&D Next's healing as of post time

    • frankly I would've preferred that they restricted surgeless healing to regeneration only

    • speaking of regeneration, regeneration itself stopped when you were at 0 HP, which still prevented the shenanigans we find in D&D Next's Cure Light Wounds


  • there were very limited triggers to healing


    • Second Wind and rolling a 20 on death saving throws are your only baseline sources of triggering healing surges, and healing potions were eventually rendered as inferior sources of healing once your healing surge value exceeded that which the potion gives

    • If all leaders were granting only "spend a healing surge" instead of "spend a healing surge and add Xd6 + modifier" -- like what they did with leader type Character Companions -- we would have far less complaints about healing IMHO


  • surges were a daily resource


    • yes there's a ritual that lets you swap around the surges, but remember that the ritual itself costs 1 healing surge to activate, so if PCs had, let's say, 4-8 surges instead of what they currently have, that's a huge sacrifice for the PCs


  • death saving throws in theory allowed fatality in spite of the "deal bloodied value in damage to kill a PC who has 0 HP" rule, so no amount of HP padding, or even heal spam, can save you once you fail your third saving throw


It's kinda why I like how 13th Age does it: all PCs get only 8 recoveries (healing surges), the amounts they recover are class-based and enhanced by CON modifier, healing is very restricted -- cleric can only grant free recovery use 2/battle [no boosts unless the cleric pays for it] -- and death saving throws are very fast to resolve: roll a 16, spend a surge (nat 20 gets you to take actions that round), but 15 and lower, failed death save.

I've actually considered implementing a 4E houserule where your CON modifier enhances your healing surge value and not the number of healing surges available, same with Durability, Dwarven Durability and all other stuff that add to healing surges.  Then adding another houserule where all healing modifiers are removed (so healing is based exclusively on surge value).  *Then* adding 13th Age's rules on death saving throws.  Finally, all healing involving "as if you recovered a healing surge" would instead be "spend a healing surge", so no bypassing of the healing surge restriction... although to compensate for this, I'd add a rule where if you need to spend a healing surge but you don't have a healing surge left, you instead gain half the normally recovered HP [so if you have a daily spell that lets you heal 4 healing surge's worth of HP for the price of one, you instead heal 2 healing surge's worth of HP], with the restriction that you can only use this rule to heal up to your bloodied value if you have no healing surges available during a short rest.

But the heal from 0 HP rule itself?  Nah, not really a problem.  Could probably be gamed a bit, but between forcing the healer to spend multiple rounds to bring his friend back to a fight -- forcing two players to sit out of the combat's duration -- and ensuring that everyone gets to go back to the fight ASAP, I'd go for the latter instead of the former.

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don't like it. I don't see how a change fixes any of the problems with negative HP, death or dying. Maybe the combat length is a problem but I've noticed that if they can take you to 0, usually they're taking you well past -10, especially at higher levels.


There's probably a rule expanding the number of negative HP that I missed in the packet somewhere, but all the same since this packet is all about damage and HP bloat, I don't really see what purpose this serves except to drain more spells out of the cleric.

It helps if you think of HP as actual wounds

No, it most certainly does not, and here is why: anyone can kill anyone else with a single stab wound.

If HP are actually measurements of the severity of a wound, then the maximum HP anyone could ever have would have to be within the damage range of even the least threatening of daggers.

Also, that just plain isn't what hit points are described as.

The idea behind negative HP is that you are less likely to die from simply bleeding out than you are from bleeding out while on fire.

That does not require HP to be tracked into the negatives to accomplish.

Example: the 3rd edition D&D design crew could have incorporated the number "10" into how many HP are between a character being disabled and a character being dead by stating that each character has HP equal to 10 + those gained from their Hit Dice and Constitution modifier, and then had the exact same rules for what happens at 0 HP and below happen at 10 HP and below.

That same principle can be used with Pathfinder's "death at negative Constitution" and D&DN's current "death at negative (Constitution+Level)" and never have to have a notation involved that implies you are somehow in HP debt.
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So here's a question: if coup de grace is a problem when deciding to easily heal downed characters, why not remove coup de grace from the game?  99% of the time, a monster at 0 hit points isn't ever going to get back up, so other than being a mechanic that autokills dying players, what's it there for?

To let players abuse Sleep?  Yeah, I can live without that, lol. 
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The idea behind negative HP is that you are less likely to die from simply bleeding out than you are from bleeding out while on fire.

That does not require HP to be tracked into the negatives to accomplish.

Example: the 3rd edition D&D design crew could have incorporated the number "10" into how many HP are between a character being disabled and a character being dead by stating that each character has HP equal to 10 + those gained from their Hit Dice and Constitution modifier, and then had the exact same rules for what happens at 0 HP and below happen at 10 HP and below.

That same principle can be used with Pathfinder's "death at negative Constitution" and D&DN's current "death at negative (Constitution+Level)" and never have to have a notation involved that implies you are somehow in HP debt.



I mean... sure, they could have done that.  It would be mathematically identical.  I think HP 0 is a more intuitive point to say "I'm so hurt I've stopped functioning" than HP 10 or HP Con + Level is though (I can picture people going below a positive threshold and not realizing that they've fallen unconscious).

HP is abstract anyway, so I don't see that -10 to X makes more or less sense than 0 to X + 10.  HP barely makes sense at all if you look at it too closely (which is why I generally don't).  HP 0 doesn't mean "I'm precisely out of health, energy, luck, divine favor and assorted mystic factors"; the system isn't that granular.
It helps if you think of HP as actual wounds

No, it most certainly does not, and here is why: anyone can kill anyone else with a single stab wound.

If HP are actually measurements of the severity of a wound, then the maximum HP anyone could ever have would have to be within the damage range of even the least threatening of daggers.

Also, that just plain isn't what hit points are described as.

In every edition to date, a single non-magical dagger strike has been perfectly capable of killing any character (barring very unusual character traits, like if a character is a construct or undead).  That most character are competent enough to turn that lethal strike into a less-lethal one, as long as they aren't entirely helpless in the situation, does not diminish the fact that any weapon can kill someone from full HP all the way to actual death in one go.

Supporting evidence aside,* and specifically on the topic at hand, you should at least be able to think of the sub-zero HP as being purely physical.  The playtest packet even calls out zero HP as when damage applies directly to the meat.**  Since we know you've been severely hurt whenever your HP are below zero, it shouldn't be much of a stretch to say that a more damaging hit that knocks you further below zero results in greater injury that puts you closer to death and further from recovery.

*Damage Types, in the How to Play document: "All damage has a type. The type of damage an attack deals helps describe how a creature or an object is being harmed when it loses hit points."  To put that another way: When an attack deals damage, lost hit points represent actual harm done to the creature.

 **Hit Points, in the How to Play document: "An attack that reduces you to 0 hit points or fewer strikes you directly, leaving a bleeding injury or other trauma, or it simply knocks you unconscious."
The metagame is not the game.

woot HP disagreement time.


Seriously though, do we have to have this discussion again? Nobody agrees and the rules allow for both interpretations so let's just agree to disagree and look at the pure mechanical advantage of this rule.


I don't see any advantage at all. It doesn't help with the incongrous nature of 0 HP/negative HP. The negative HP cushion is nowhere near enough to really consider in any event because the damage dealt per attack balloons out so much that it engulfs the margin (20-25 at lvl 20), it doesn't make fights faster. It doesn't even make things easier to understand.


I can see plenty of disadvantages though. It allows the coup de grace thing which is hella lame, it drains spells and other healing resources faster than ever before in a playtest that (sensibly) reduces the number of spells available in the first place, it creates an inconsistency with how healing spells work by making HP below 0 not work like HP above 0. It actually has the potential of extending combat tremendously 'cause it ties up characters for 2 rounds if they really want to get that dude back up, which means it's double the time spent not ending the encounter.


It's just a bad idea. Actually there is one advantage: it's easy to ignore.

Sounds like a reasonable argument, kadim.
The poll didn't cover my feelings on the issue, so I didn't vote ;)

I like that you don't have to calculate healing from minus *whatever*, anymore (less math). But this of course leads to whack-a-mole combats, so something has to change.

I'd suggest making it so that anyone taken below 0 HP (who is therefore knocked unconcious), doesn't immediately regain consciousness at positive hitpoints unless they are healed to full HP. Perhaps they should stay unconscious for a few rounds, as the mind needs to recover from the shock. This way, even if they're taking extra damage while down (aoe stuff usually) they won't die if they've been healed up some. They'll still be vulnerable to coup de grace, but the NPC's won't need to do that since nobody is getting back up three seconds after they've been taken out anymore. 
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I voted I don't like it, but its more to the issue. I don't like it from at-will powers, but only during combat. I actually like that it can get people back on their feat outside of combat. I don't know, but there should be some sort of penalty for using it in combat. Maybe people who were unconscience the previous round attack needs to make a con save to act for a few rounds.

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I voted I don't like it, but its more to the issue. I don't like it from at-will powers, but only during combat. I actually like that it can get people back on their feat outside of combat. I don't know, but there should be some sort of penalty for using it in combat. Maybe people who were unconscience the previous round attack needs to make a con save to act for a few rounds.


well i know i and some others on these forums run that you are concious, not necessarrily awake and up
I chose "c", offer options. Heal from 0 is a good baseline but give DMs the option of doing or dumping.
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I can't really think of a reason not to like it. I mean, it's not a big deal, but... Well, yeah, it's not a big deal.




It is a very big deal to some, not me, but some.
Indifferent on the whole, but I prefer not to let players bounce to 0 then heal.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I like that you don't have to calculate healing from minus *whatever*, anymore (less math). But this of course leads to whack-a-mole combats, so something has to change.

I'd suggest making it so that anyone taken below 0 HP (who is therefore knocked unconcious), doesn't immediately regain consciousness at positive hitpoints unless they are healed to full HP. Perhaps they should stay unconscious for a few rounds, as the mind needs to recover from the shock. This way, even if they're taking extra damage while down (aoe stuff usually) they won't die if they've been healed up some. They'll still be vulnerable to coup de grace, but the NPC's won't need to do that since nobody is getting back up three seconds after they've been taken out anymore. 



Yeah, to me having whack-a-mole combats that force monsters to do a coup de grace to end is a straight up dealbreaker.
I can't really think of a reason not to like it. I mean, it's not a big deal, but... Well, yeah, it's not a big deal.

I know the stereotype is that we're all nerds, but I'm happy not to deal with negative numbers.

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I'm happy not to deal with negative numbers.

Don't you technically still have to track negative numbers even with the rule?

Heal from 0 is a fine system so long as something like Cure Minor Wounds doesn't exist. CMW with heal from 0 completely undermines the whole "Dying" concept :P
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I don't mind it, but I do wish that cure minor wounds was changed so that it only stablized anyone in negative hitpoints. 


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I voted "like it", but really I'd be just as happy with a system that doesn't track negative HPs. It worked pretty well in Star Wars Saga Edition.
Heal from 0 is a fine system so long as something like Cure Minor Wounds doesn't exist. [u]CMW with heal from 0 completely undermines the whole "Dying" concept :P[/u]

Too true.  And even assuming that "not heal from 0" is the norm, the fact that Cure Light Wounds exists undermines the whole "Dying" concept too, as you're still healing at-will, which still would encourage coup de grace.

The problem isn't in the healing rule, it's in the spells involved in healing.  A problem that was addressed by 4E's healing surges combined with the lack of at-will healing in the said system.  Not that it was successful in its restrictions since splatbooks eventually gave an overflowing amount of healing, but still there are good ideas in 4E.

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