I don’t think I’ve ever met a healing system that I like. My ideal healing rules would need to perfectly balance a bunch of factors:
- Player agency: The rules can’t make it feel like your healing is completely out of your hands.
- Healer agency: At the same time, the skill and care of the person helping you recover should matter for something; a PC healer shouldn’t just feel like a machine that vends restoration.
- Speed: Wounds should heal faster than they do in the real world, so that major damage doesn’t become effectively permanent.
- Slowness: Wounds shouldn’t heal so quickly that players rush into combat without a care for consequences.
- Detail: Enough to keep it from feeling like a generic bucket of “hit points”.
- Ease of tracking: To make sure healing doesn’t feel like accounting.
- Simplicity of system: The healing system should also work basically the same as the rest of the game, without needlessly adding mechanics.
That makes it hard to come up with a really good set of healing rules. The rules in B&C are okay, but I’ve never been especially enamored of them — they’re the sub-system I’d most likely change if I brought out a second edition.
But that’s what blogs are for! Here’s a simplified healing system that I’ve been toying with:
Once per week, you heal a total number of points equal to 1 + the Physician skill of whomever is attending you.
That’s basically it! Some specific considerations:
- If the physician has skill 1, you (the person being healed) decide where to allocate the healed points. If the physician has skill 2 or more, they decide.
- Following the Rule of Four, a physician can attend up to 4 patients with no penalty, up to 16 at an effective skill level of 1 less, etc.
- You can substitute Herblore skill for Physician; Herblore functions here as Physician skill of 1 less.
There’s no die rolling involved here, and for some players, that might mean a loss of agency. (Some people want to roll dice every chance they get, even if it means potential harm to their character!) But hopefully that’s balanced by the choice of where to allocate the points.
If you want a grittier system, make it “per month” instead.
As always, I’m interested to hear how this works if you put it into play!
Edit: After trying this a bit in play, I realized that this rule over-exaggerates the importance of Physician skill. I’ve written up some further thoughts about quick and easy healing rules for B&C.