Unlimited Healing: Take Two

May 6th, 2007

Sorry for the lack of updates. Life has been quite hectic over the last several months.

My previous post on solving the problem of unlimited healing is itself problematic, because it would increase the likelihood of rampant chaos effects with healers, primarily followers of Shallya. Since witch hunters would not tolerate the existence of Shallyan priestesses who, in their eyes, routinely traffic with the forces of Chaos (as evidenced by common chaos manifestations), it does not seem to make sense to attempt to limit the casting of healing spells by increasing the likelihood of calling down the curse of Tzeentch.

So, back to the drawing board. Fortunately, I may have hit upon a simple, elegant solution that does not involve Chaos at all: healing spells tamper with the recipient’s life force, and thus should come at some cost. I propose that every time a successful Heal spell is cast upon a wounded PC, that PC suffers a -10% to his or her Toughness score.

This solves many problems:

1) It places a firm limit on the amount of magical healings that can be performed on a character. Once the Toughness score is reduced to less than 10%, no further magical healings can take place. Of course, the character can always avail himself of mundane healings by physicians or other skilled characters, but magical healings are out of the question until the Toughness score increases again (I would allow the Toughness to recover naturally at a rate of +10% per day, until the full Toughness score is attained).

2) The character suffers long-term consequences from combat damage. The PC will have to decide whether a magical healing is worth the sacrifice of a -1 TB. This TB acts as a “damage soak” for every hit, so in many instances it is better to have an intact Toughness score than to regain 3 or 4 wounds.

3) There are consequences to multiple healings. After 2 or 3 successive healings, the PC is quite vulnerable to further combat damage and much more likely to receive Critical Hits while he waits for the Toughness score to rise. His willingness to engage in combat should therefore be tempered by the increased likelihood of permanent damage.

Another option would be to remove the Toughness from the spellcaster, but then the PCs may simply avail themselves of multiple spellcasters or priests without much adverse effect. Far preferable to deduct the cost from the wounded character.

In this article I have only addressed magical healings and left mundane healings alone. Mundane healings have their own inherent limitations within the game and so should not be subject to the one I listed above. Should it become necessary to limit mundane healings, I would propose a -5% Toughness penalty instead of -10%.

I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts, as I have not yet had the chance to playtest this solution to the healing dilemma.

7 comments to “Unlimited Healing: Take Two”

  1. Nice, simple and clean.

    I might consider making all of the penalty go away after a good night’s sleep (instead of just ten percent), but that’s the only tweak I can come up with right now.

    Hopefully, some groups will playtest this soon enough and get back here to report 🙂

  2. Interesting. Zapp’s idea might work well in addition. I’ll have to ponder this.

  3. Interesting alternative rules – but I’m still a little confused by what your exact issue is with how the healing works now.

    The only healing spells I can find are Blessing of Healing, which can only be case once after each combat and only restores one wound anyway); Earth Blood, which can only be cast on yourself and, whilst a little ridiculous in effect does require a Jade wizard with the lore who is supposed to be able to channel that sort of energy in any case; and light magic spells.

    Perhaps a reasonable fix would be to make it so that you could only be healed magically once after a fight in which you were wounded?

    In any case, unless one of the players is a magical healer, as a GM there is a very simple option available to you: don’t let the PCs get near a magical healer. Either combat crops up again or you’re sufficiently remote that finding an appropriate wizard is difficult. Unless you’re in Altdorf, finding them is usually going to be something of a challenge. If you are is Altdorf, what have you done to earn such a casting with them?

    Ultimately though, all this is up to personal taste of the GM and the players. If you feel you need more penalties for this kind of healing, I can see this effect working quite well

  4. Just wanted to make sure noone misses the fact there is an official optional rule written by Andrew Law addressing this very issue on page 231 of the Tome of Salvation supplement.

  5. Darkmoon,

    You seem to have missed not only certain arcane lores, but also the divine lores of Sigmar and Shallya, contains healing spells.

    While I agree there are some easy solutions as to handle NPC healers, the main problem we’re discussing is when the player characters have access to Lores with powerful healing spells.

    In summary, any group containing a Sigmar Priest will enter each and every encounter fully healed. While Tzeentch’s Curse and the risk of insanity serves to curtail general spellcasting somewhat, when it comes to casting healing spells specifically, most if not all play groups will quickly conclude the risks does not outweigh the benefits.

    After all, what threat is Tzeentch if you are dead?

    So, the issue revolves around how to place additional restrictions on the healing magic so that it doesn’t work against the grim and perilous atmosphere of WFRP even when learnt by player characters.

  6. I’m amazed you see it as a problem, that have to be fixed with rules. If players keep abusing healing spells, just make the god not listening for a couple of days.

    Or rule, that only a single Heal check and heal spell may be cast each time the character has been wounded.

    Besides that, you can encourage the Priest player to restrict his healing. A Shallya priest may refuse to heal someone who dumbly hurl himself into trouble all the time. XP could be awarded for good roleplay.

  7. I think the point is being missed here. WHile the alternate rules are a great idea, I think the whole concepts has been forgeotten. True, the healing powers in the game are great but that is the point. A Priest of Sigmar or a Pristess of Shallaya are revered throughout the old world. The reverence comes from this great power they wield to heal the wounded. That’s why either one is a welcome companion to any group or army.

    I do however, agree with aprivouse post about a palyer refusing to heal do to a characters actions. A priestess of SHallaya would not let a person die but not necessarily bring them back to full health. Like all followers of any God they would feel the need to teach a lesson to the injuried. A warrior Priest of Sigmar would do the same, seeing the injuuries as a mark of pride and honor. I think that a little extra role playing could go a long way toward resolving the “super healer” issue.

Leave a Comment