A moofable feast.

Be brave enough to burn and you'll be brave enough to fly.

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I agree with you that most people complaining about immersion aren't thinking hard enough about it.

But you really can't blame people for being confused about healing surges when all DnD leading up to it (including stories with a healing system inspired by DnD-style RPGs, such as ToMU) has represented hitpoint restoration mechanics as being represented by wounds literally closing up, something that *always* broke immersion for me. Why is Cure *Light* Wounds capable of healing 99% of the world's humanoid inhabitants from "on death's door" to "perfectly fine now thanks", and why does it mean less to a guy who's only claim to fame is that he's been fighting in dungeons for a long time?

This was an issue long before healing surges existed, really.

Well, that's just it... if they were talking about the problems of HP in general, I could see them being confused though I'd hope that once they saw what 4E's really going for they'd go, "Oh, that actually makes more sense."

But they're holding this up as a brand new problem that 4E introduced or exacerbated.

And incidentally? All healing that's above the "here's a couple points as a small side benefit of this other thing" is now based on surge value, so it does scale up like you'd expect it to... Cure Light Wounds always heals 25% of your maximum HP, Cure Moderate Wounds always heals 50%... even interpreting HPs as "how dead you are", the same spell that brings you back from half dead at level one will do the same at level 30.

Yeah, but I'd say 4E did kind of exacerbate one problem that already existed even if it did "fix" healing spells. If by "exacerbate" you mean "bring to one's attention a less-obvious problem with HP/Healing conceptualization, one that everyone made from the very beginning, even you and me."

If healing surges are equated with cure spells, and cure spells are already equated with "wound-closing-you're fine-no-scar" (complete with some BS about why CLW works miracles on anyone but an experienced adventurer) then the only rationalization that doesn't involve retroactive concept shifts (clerical healing is just as abstract as hitpoints, no magic wound fixing for you!) is that healing surges work *exactly* like the previously understood concept of divine healing even outside the mechanics; no surprise that that is a sticking point.

I'd also say that the retroactive concept shift--which comes to the same basic conclusion as the immersion-breaking one in that it conceptualizes clerical healing as identical in scope to healing surges, but flips it around so that healing was always only a metaphor--is the only way to satisfactorily resolve this now-more-obvious problem.

Yeah, I just can't agree with you. You're making some logical leaps that are just that... leaps... and treating them as if we should take them as given.

Who said that clerical healing is equated to healing surges?

I said the value of HP restored is equal to it.

But there is no Law Of Meta-Cosic Convergence that decrees that if the immediate net benefit of Actual Wound Healing Clerical Powers or Magical Healing Potions is mathematically equal to the value of a non-magical resurgence ability then they must be representing the same thing in game terms.

That's like saying if a falchion attack by someone with Strength mod +3 does 2d4 +3 damage and a magic missile by someone with Intelligence mod +3 does 2d4 +3 damage, then the only logical conclusion is that the wizard is throwing a falchion.

Is it obvious that the wizard must be throwing a falchion?

If not, then I don't see how the problem you're positing is obvious, either.

Edited To Add:

And there's actually an important distinction to make, with regards to Cure Light Wounds and its bigger brothers - while the amount of HP restored is based on the recipient's healing surge value, they actually don't cost the recipient a healing surge to use. At a mechanical level, the damage is just gone, in a way that it isn't when an ability triggers an actual healing surge some other way.

Likewise the Paladin's lay on hands ability, pretty uniquely so far, costs the user a healing surge rather than the recipient... the toll passes to the Paladin.

Edited at 2009-07-21 09:12 pm (UTC)

Healing surges not eating a use makes things a bit better, but still a little weird, mostly because the net effects are still the same. It's identical to if you gave someone a free healing surge that you just used instantly, with the same in-game and meta effects as a real healing surge.

It's just hard to buy that if the only differences are cosmetic that there's a difference at all. (the thing about the falchions is different since not only does "magic missile" does not reference falchions, but there are separate calculations made when you activate them).

Say that we accept that divine magic is "true" healing while healing surges are simply adrenaline boosts mixed with renewed focus. Some of the complications associated with not getting "true" healing can be modeled with enough mental contortions; your "hit an old war wound with crit" example. But others cannot. Stuff like infection or bloodloss, for example, or anything that would logically differentiate surges from true healing. True healing may fix a sprained ankle, but trying to fix that with a surge would result in a temporary fix at best (lasts as long as your focus does) *at least relative to true healing*, whereas the model treats it as equally permanent, regardless of any other factors that may or may not be in play.

This does not necessarily imply that healing surges are instantaneous wound closing; perhaps a healing surge simply keeps you functioning "well enough" with a sprained ankle, until it is healed in a week or so. But then why does CLW have the same effect, even though it's supposedly perfect healing? It's a lot easier just to consider CLW as much of an abstract non-wound-closing form of healing as healing surges are.

I don't follow your logic at all. I really don't. What you're presenting as the most straightforward and logical and obvious conclusion seems to me to be a torturous stretch.

Separate calculations? 2d4+3. 2d4+3. If you think it's coincidence that magic missile does as much damage as a pretty good weapon attack... that's a deliberate design choice, just as it's a deliberate design choice to have 25% be the base amount of HP restored by most healing. They call this the "surge value" because that's how much you get when you surge, and because you've already figured it out, non-surge-using healing spells reference it.

CLW's only relationship to healing surges is that it heals the same amount of HP. You might as well say that a two hundred foot drop is the same as an ancient red dragon because they can both kill a level one character.

What exactly prevents a CLW's true healing effects from being represented by the same amount of restored HP as a healing surge? If CLW arbitrarily restored 20% or 30% of your HP instead of 25% (surge value), would you have an easier time accepting that it was something different?

And the fact that it doesn't use up a surge is non-trivial... it blows your model out of the water entirely. If I use my second wind to "shrug off" a wound, I have to rest to regain that healing surge... the body has to recuperate. If I receive a CLW, the damage is just gone. Saying "It's like receiving and immediately using an extra healing surge" is adding two steps... two steps... to the process that are only required if we must account for your conclusion that divine/supernatural healing and martial/mundane healing must be the same thing.

Deleted comment; sorry I didn't see your earlier post about distraction. I'll repost tomorrow or abstain if you prefer.

It's okay, I read the comment notification in my email.

And your logic does fail. I'm not trying to be belligerent. I've shown you the gap. You have yet to fill it in for me. Your explanation requires us to invent steps that don't exist if we don't invent them. It's a violation of Occam's Razor.

First, "different calculations, schmifferent schmalculations". If a Warlord inspires you, you use one healing surge and regain your surge value + xd6, whereas if you use your second wind you use one healing surge and regain your surge value, period. Other things that involve healing surges or invoke the surge value without using one add different modifiers.

It's the concept of "surge value" that they share among each other, and that's nothing more than a base amount, said amount being "25% of your HP". What I am saying and what you are ignoring is the fact that all these healing methods use that same base is a matter of the consistency of mechanical design that is no different than the same consistency which means that at-will spells have base damage values that are equivalent to ordinary weapons.

2d4 is 2d4. 25% of HP is 25% of HP.

You want to ascribe in-world significance to the one pattern but not the other. I don't find that logical.

And if we're going to assume that Cure Light Wounds replenishes a healing surge and then takes it away, why not assume it inflicts 20 damage and heals [healing surge value +20] in the same moment? The answer is that we don't need to add that extra step in to account for what's happening so there's no reason to assume it's happening and in fact we'd look kind of cross-eyed at anyone who suggested it was happening.

A lost healing surge is the mechanical indication of "actual damage", accumulated fatigue and injury that lasts after the immediate shock and pain of combat. If one method of healing actually uses healing surges (subtracting one from your stock) and the other simply uses it as an already existing benchmark for how much HP you get back, I'd call that fact significant. It means they aren't doing the same thing mechanically, which means it's not likely they're doing the same thing in-character, and since the thing that a healing surge use does that a cure light wounds doesn't do is the thing that the system uses to represent lasting damage, I don't see how it's logical to conclude that the CLW is behaving the way you would describe it.

That part that's bolded isn't bolded for shouting; it's bolded because it's the crux of the matter. The rest... talk about what is or isn't the same calculation... I think it lends weight to my side, but that's the core of the argument: they do two different things, and the thing they do different involves the game's value for "the toll your body has taken".

At the end of the day, this is a matter of flavor/fluff rather than mechanics and you're welcome to play it your way if it ever comes up. But divine, miraculous, supernatural, or magical healing being actually divine, miraculous, supernatural, or magical isn't some D&D trope that doesn't exist outside of D&D-influenced fantasy. Jesus did not say, "Lazarus, come forth... and shake it off! Me Christ, it's just a flesh wound!"

I mean, I could probably think of works of near-fantasy/low-fantasy I've read where "divine" healing turned out to be really effective psychosomatic stuff, but this game actually has stats for deities. When it says that a Cleric's abilities work through divine power, I think we can take them at their word. And this gets back to why I was talking about magic missiles and falchions... you ask why it's so important that they work differently in-character. It's the same reason that magic missiles and falchions work differently in-character even though they both employ the same mechanics (roll dice, add modifier, subtract total from HP): one is a mundane martial implement and one is an arcane spell.


Actually, I'm going to amend it... the real crux of it is, you can play it however you want. I stand firm that your way makes absolutely no sense to me, but it doesn't have to.

Edited at 2009-07-22 07:22 am (UTC)

My problem (illustrated by the lengthy now-deleted example that I guess you read half of?) is still that any mechanical differences between CLW and healing surges only last a day, no matter how badly you were injured. To me, that's like saying they're basically identical in effect, given the nature of injuries, it's just that CLW has a temporary advantage attached to it.

Sure, a cleric's healing does work differently than the warlock's inspiration power, but both of them work differently from a paladin's Lay on Hands, and I definitely don't envision that as wounds disappearing from the layee's body and appearing on the layer's (which he then endures through willpower), or some sort of psionic shit like that. I think of it as working the same way as clerical healing/surges, which has identical effects and complications as a healing surge (including blood loss/infection if you want to tack those on)

And when I think of fantasy healing not based on DnD, I think of several things (and I don't even have to use the p-word to do it!) that aren't "okay you're absolutely perfect now!": the first and most obvious is the magic speeding up your natural healing processes, which is equatable to the free healing surge analogy I mentioned earlier, which will result in some wound closure, but doesn't erase it perfectly even if you're technically at "full" hp. There is "your wounds are still there but I magically strengthen your chakra/ki/Essence so you heal faster." aka "homeopathy really exists and I'm using it now, kthnx." It's still magic.

I also conceptualize hp and healing surges as representing different things from each other, whereas in yours, a healing surge expenditure changes what a wound is represented by (at first it was represented by HP loss, now it is represented by a lost surge). I think of HP as the net effect of wounds on a person; healing surges are the willpower to ignore them (also your body's ability to clot them and resist infection). Neither of which require "divine perfection," even if they might be aided by deities if you really need it.

I tend to think of clerical healing as letting your god shoulder your burden without depleting your reserves. Lay on Hands then involves the Paladin shouldering the burden without depleting the woundee's reserves.

Somehow though I feel we've had this argument before in a different context. It might help if I can see where you're coming from on this too?

I was actually thinking along the lines that a healing surge = divine wound closure right up until the point that I started reading about the Warlord, at which point the whole concept just sort of folded up, slipped into its carrying case, and was shipped off to parts unknown.

The warlord has no divine power, nor any ability to make wounds close up. All the descriptions are very much more in line with cinematic healing: the action hero gets shot in the shoulder, or maybe gets hit with some sort of sharp industrial tool, and he's hurt. But a scene change later, or just a moment to harden up his determination to win, and he's right back at it. Blood's still there. Hole in his shoulder? Still there. But he's using that arm again.

I'd almost say they're akin to analgesics- no actual healing, but the pain's gone.

It always amazes me how much the people who want to talk about immersion also want to treat HP like it's a video game life force bar and then they act like anything that's incompatible with that view is what's being unrealistic.

THIS. The video-gaming of tabletop really annoys me. But I am also going to be the one who argues that the immersiveness of a game is only as deep as its DM-- no rule, or lack of a rule, is going to do it for them, or for the players for that matter.

Well, yeah, that was kind of my overall point... or rather I'd say that it's a collaboration between the DM and the player. But I do agree with the general point that weirdly arbitrary rules can jar you out of immersion. The thing is, you have to be immersed to begin with for that to matter.

Pretty much... basically, I agree with what you've said in this post, overall.

The part I find most amusing about this is putting it in juxtaposition to complaints that 4th edition makes D&D too much like a video game because it 'feels' like an MMO rather than an RPG with all the powers, quick recovery, and so on.

I've heard that one too, but it seems to me that the main difference between tabletop and an mmo isn't in the ruleset, it's in the fundamentals-- is the story being told my computers with limited response options, or by a DM's interaction with the players? I don't have a problem with additional powers and abilities given to players, and I don't think that those alone make it more like a video game.

Now, DMs coming up with stories that involve collecting 5 of this and killing 10 of that to gain rewards... that would would be making D&D like an mmo, imho.

What's really hilarious is that one person on the forum said they were going to, as "satire", set up a game in a public place with five people who would all sit there and play D&D4E and act like it was an MMO and ham up the "video gamey" stuff to prove a point... about the system mechanics, somehow.

Magic Missle Massacre

Silly sidenote to your point about magic missle. In my head it always I took it kinda literally. I always pictured bolts zooming out in all directions with glowing contrails, then homing in on the target Macross style. I loved busting out with 5 at once at level nine. Always made my day.

Re: Magic Missle Massacre

Yeah, the fact that you can only cast one at a time is something where I feel 4E has suffered a bit of a lamentable loss from previous editions, just because that was such a part of the spell for me.

I have a homebrew variation called Magic Missiles that trades the damage modifier to split it up into multiple missiles of 1d4 each... so two missiles at level 1, and as many as four missiles when you hit the highest tier. To me, hitting more targets for less damage is more controllery, anyway.

Re: Magic Missle Massacre

Have you playtested it against minions yet? It looks to me like it might be unbalanced to give an at-will multi-target power considering its ability to auto-splat them even at high levels. What about Feating into it as an encounter power, like the 'multiclassing' powers?

Re: Magic Missle Massacre

It's really strongly based on the Ranger's Twin Strike, which can already target two minions at level one. The main differences are lower base damage than a Ranger weapon, higher effective range, and the further subdivision at level 21 instead of doing extra damage.

Anyway, Thunderwave can target up to nine minions at level one. So can Scorching Burst. Both are at-will. You're not likely to get nine minions standing in a perfect square, but it's not hard to get two or three, sometimes plus a non-minion. Hitting all of them is another matter. Minions don't autosplat unless you hit them.

Magic Missiles is actually underpowered against multiple targets, compared to those spells. Its advantage is its flexibility: the targets don't have to be bunched up.

That... apart from nostalgia... is the main reason I think this would be a good addition for Wizards. Minion-splatting strikes me as the domain of a Controller.

The real damage concern would be when you start getting implements with enhancement bonuses. For multi-attack powers, those stack per attack. No advantage over the blast powers when targeting multiple opponents, but if you launch all the missiles at one... and they all hit... it could be taking a lot of damage from your wand's pluses.

Of course, again, hitting's far from a sure thing in this edition. But after seeing how it goes in playtest, I might explicitly make it so that each missile has to target a different enemy.

Re: Magic Missle Massacre

Excellent point about Thunderwave. I completely brainsneezed that particular power. Have you considered making it chaining, with the requirement that the next target be different than the current one? Something like:

Attack: Intelligence vs Reflex
Target: one creature
Hit: 1d4 damage. Make a Secondary Attack
Secondary Target: one creature other than the previous target
Secondary Attack: Intelligence vs Reflex
Hit: 1d4 damage.

At level 11, you may make a second Secondary Attack after the first. At level 21, you may make a third Secondary Attack after resolving the second.

So, at the extremes, you could pop 2 guys twice or four guys once. And I'm not sure what you do if there's only one badguy left. Pop the second one on the Fighter and forgo the final one?

Re: Magic Missle Massacre

Correction: the Make a Secondary Attack shouldn't be tied to the initial hit. You make it, and all the others, regardless of whether the 'previous' attack hits or misses.

Re: Magic Missle Massacre

Pardon my spamming. Latenight stream of conciousness. Knowing the results before assigning the attacks may be just as broken. Maybe:

Target: 2 creatures
Hit: 1d4

At level 11 you may target up to 3 creatures, or increase the damage against one target by 1d4. At level 21 you may target up to 4 creatures, or increase the damage on up to 2 creatures by 1d4.

I'm not sure that's quite right either, but it's getting closer and I'm too tired to see the flaw ATM.

And it hardly matters at all unless the implement stacking on your original version flops the playtesting.

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