Crucible of Souls
Damage, Dying, and Healing
Damage, Dying and Healing
This system could perhaps be simpler but it is meant to be a bit more forgiving of lethal damage, and to reduce or eliminate the necessity of having a cleric in order to recover hit points. Even as regards clerics, it aims to reduce or eliminate the pressure of devoting so many of their spells to healing. Hit point recovery is not so wildly disproportionate to the amount of hit points the character actually has.
Hit Point Levels
If you have even 1 hit point then as a general rule you have no penalties or limitations to your characters actions. Being reduced to less than 1 hit point for any length of time has consequences.
Hit Points 0 To -3 (Shock)
Characters reduced to the range between 0 and as low as -3 hit points might remain conscious, but they always have some additional incapacity. If the damage that put you into this hit point range was from one blow, or one source of damage, then you can remain conscious, but incapacitated, AND you’ll recover 1 point per round until reaching 1 hit point. However, even after reaching 1 hit point you’ll be incapacitated for 1-6 rounds. If the damage that put you into this hit point range was from multiple blows (such as multiple attacks from a single NPC or monster), or multiple sources of damage in that round (melee blow from one opponent AND then damage from a spell from another opponent), then you do fall unconscious. You then also lose 1 hit point per round and even after being healed to 1 hit point or greater you’ll be incapacitated for 1-6 turns. After that you may resume normal activity with no penalties.
Any means of practical aid or hit point restoration will at least stop the hit point loss even if it doesn’t give the character any hit points.
Hit Points -4 To -7 (Major Trauma)
Characters reduced by any means to the range of -4 or below are immediately unconscious. They will also lose an additional 1 hit point per round. Any means of practical aid or hit point restoration will stop this loss though it need not necessarily give hit points back to the character. If returned to at least 1 hit point they will be conscious but still incapacitated for 1-6 turns. After that they may resume normal activity with no penalties.
Hit Points -8 And Lower (Death’s Door; Irrevocable Death)
Characters reduced by any means to -8 or lower are unconscious and continue to lose 1 hit point per round. Any means of practical aid or hit point restoration will stop this loss though it need not necessarily give hit points back to the character. Even if they avoid death and recover to positive hit points they will remain unconscious for 1 turn per negative hit point and still wholly incapacitated for at least 1-6 days before they can resume normal activity.
The hit point total for final, irrevocable death varies. As a baseline that threshold is -10 hit points, but characters apply their Constitution adjustment to that amount. E.g., a Con bonus of +2 means you die irrevocably if you reach -12, not -10. A Con penalty of -2 would mean the character’s irrevocable death threshold is only -8. Once a character reaches that maximum negative hit point value they are dead (end of story) and will only ever be revived again by exceptional magical means.
By default, a PC must deal with all the rules that apply when reduced to a given category despite the fact that they might quickly be brought to positive hit points by various means. However, at the DM’s discretion, the effect causing the hit point loss may be one where the PC should recover more easily and the DM may reduce the associated restrictions and penalties, though there should always be some consequence that needs to be dealt with.
Recovering Hit Points
Outside of the effects already described, there are five usual ways for characters to recover hit points:
Clerical care or spells
Inherent class/race abilities
Magic items such as potions or rods.
At the end of any combat in which a character takes damage which does not reduce him to 0 hit points or lower, he can recover up to 25% of current damage (that damage being considered to have been only temporary fatigue) – IF he can rest for 1 full turn immediately. You can recover fatigue after any battle unless something else is preventing your fatigue recovery (e.g. poison effects or other ongoing damage). Any damage retained after fatigue recovery is no longer considered fatigue – it is wounding that must be healed by other means. Players must use care in tracking damage totals for their characters so it can be discerned what can be recovered as fatigue and what can’t.
If a character cannot or will not rest for that turn immediately following combat then he loses that opportunity to recover fatigue. If reduced to 0 hit points or lower by any means, including temporary damage, a character cannot recover fatigue, though the temporary damage will otherwise be recovered normally (as previously detailed). Not all damage is accumulated during combat so the DM has leeway to allow fatigue recovery in circumstances other than combat – but does not have an obligation to do so.
Time spent in natural recuperation restores 25% of a characters normal hit points per week – assuming “complete rest” and/or reasonable, non-specialized and non-dedicated care. If it is necessary to determine the number of points recovered by the day, the points are simply distributed as evenly as possible per day. That percentage value or the time required may be adjusted up or down at the DM’s discretion. Reasons for doing that may include that proper rest and care are limited or unavailable, other debilitating factors are at work (diseases, poison, etc.), the benefits of special herbs and remedies are being considered, or the character is actually under dedicated care by “healers”. [Note that a typical cleric is NOT the same thing as a practiced and skilled healer. Only deities whose particular portfolio includes healing, safety or similarly appropriate areas of concern will have clerics who are considered to be “healers”.]
Natural healing includes things like herbal and alchemical remedies and treatments. The details for such things will vary widely and as such are not defined here. These mostly increase the percentage of hit points to be recovered naturally over time, or else increase the speed of recovery itself (e.g., 35% of hit points per week is recovered; or x points per 5 days instead of per week). All PC’s will be able to avail themselves of natural healing substances and actions unless specified otherwise. “Natural” remedies and treatments are small and still take a significant amount of time compared to magical effects which remain more powerful and faster.
Clerical Healing and Daily Healing Limits
Clerical Healing falls under two sub-headings: ritual healing, and spell healing. Both types of healing give out hit point recovery in amounts of hit dice rather than hit points, but there are limits to the amount that an individual cleric can hand out and that any given PC can receive. That limit is that in any 24 hour period the cleric cannot hand out more dice than he has levels and a recipient (including clerics) cannot benefit from more dice of healing than they have levels. This is called the Daily Healing Limit (DHL).
A cleric cannot exceed a character’s DHL by any means, no matter what spells he has memorized for the day or what ritual healing has or hasn’t been performed. No character, including clerics themselves, can benefit in a day from more dice of healing by spells or rituals than they have hit dice. Researched along those lines will never succeed and it will never be discovered, except perhaps in an artifact or by divine intervention.
To promote the less frequent use of wisdom as a “dump stat” for everyone except clerics, all PC’s may add their Magical Attack Adjustment (MAA) for high wisdom as a bonus to each die of ritual healing (but not spell healing) they receive in a day, similar to how constitution adjusts hit die rolls. Naturally, a MAA penalty will reduce ritual healing benefits.
With ritual healing all characters can regain lost hit points through religious rites conducted by clerics. The cleric and any recipients must be undisturbed for at least 1 turn while a deity is invoked, divine power is granted to fill the servant’s request and the healing is manifested. Not all clerics even have this ability. Clerics might have this ability exchanged for some other benefit depending on their deity. Clerics who actually worship deities of healing or having similar portfolios might actually have an increased capacity to hand out healing rather than be limited to [HD=Cleric’s level], however, other PC’s will still be restricted to their own DHL.
The cleric otherwise enables hit point recovery in an amount of dice up to the equal to his level, so a 5th level cleric hands out no more than 5 dice per day. The type of dice given/received is determined by the actual recipients hit dice type. For example, a 4th level cleric can give out 4 HD of hit point recovery through ritual. If it were all given to a wizard character then that character would recover 4d4 lost hit points. If given instead to a 3rd level fighter that character could receive 3d10 and the cleric would still have 1 die left over to assign to another character, such as a thief who would gain 1d6 hit points. Clerics can also recover their own hit points in this way.
It requires 1 full turn of ritual to provide healing, although multiple characters can be healed at the same time. Multiple rituals can be performed in a day but the DHL for an individual PC is unchanged.
The ritual cannot be performed in combat as it requires undisturbed prayer, meditation, holy symbol manipulation, etc., and of course the recipients can’t be doing other things during the ritual. The need for immediate healing in combat is the reason that clerics may still use spells for healing.
Spell healing allows spells like Cure Serious Wounds to be used instead of the ritual described above for faster healing in or out of combat. However, the DHL still applies to both how many dice the cleric can give out and how much a character can receive in a day. Spells only enable the healing to be distributed faster. Note that spell descriptions were revised to grant additional Hit Dice of healing instead of xd8+x hit points.
Inherent Class or Race Healing
Two obvious examples of this would be paladins laying on hands and monks with their self-heal ability. These abilities stand as they were originally written, though perhaps they have even greater benefits now due to their usefulness in the midst of combat when much of combat healing from clerics has been limited. These limited healing abilities do NOT apply to the DHL – characters can receive their DHL and still benefit fully from laying on hands or a monk’s self-healing abilities.
Hit points recovered by druids in shapechanging also falls under this category. The polymorph self spell incorporates an amount of healing when changing back to the recipients original form and this has also been changed to be a single die of healing, again dependent upon the type of hit dice the character actually has rather than being a d12 for everyone – but this does not count towards a characters Daily Healing Limit.
Healing by Magic Items
This is actually surprisingly limited in AD&D (certainly because healing by spell was so heavily relied upon). Potions obviously. Staff of Curing springs to mind as does Keoghtom’s Ointment. Ring of Regeneration. The odd periapt or other item. Rules for these will be dealt with as they arise.
Death and Resurrection
NPC’s will generally treat death and the raising of the dead with great solemnity and respect. It should not be treated as merely a high-powered super-healing spell by players because it WILL prompt appropriate reactions from NPC’s. NPC’s (if they know of it having happened) will treat raised characters differently than those who have never returned from the dead – even if there’s no game-rule effects beyond what’s already written. Resurrection magic was never actually meant for use by NPC’s. They simply gained the benefit because it WAS put into the game for the PC’s, or more precisely for the benefit of the players. That means the spells are on the standard spell lists but nobody should read into it more than that.
NPC’s won’t simply quote a price and cast the spell. NPC’s that knew the PC will grieve at the loss of friends and cohorts – even if the other PC’s do not. They will react appropriately if they see that close friends and associates (the other PC’s) aren’t grieving or aren’t at least expressing appropriate concern over what’s happened. NPC’s casting the spell will do so with lengthy and solemn preparation and ritual. When PC’s are disrespectful of the bodies of another dead PC or cavalier about the process of resurrection NPC’s will have negative perceptions of that character and their attitudes. NPC’s will react appropriately when they become aware that a character has died and been raised because, “that just doesn’t happen”.
It is not a DM’s decision to make as to what attitudes and opinions a player character will have on life, death and the afterlife, nor to decide for the player that the character (unsurprisingly) will yet again choose life instead of a blissful afterlife. What IS the DM’s concern is to have NPC’s react to those attitudes and decisions appropriately and that’s likely all it takes to solve most problems that resurrection presents to an ongoing campaign world.
NPC’s will reliably elect to NOT return from the afterlife – they are in a blissful afterlife; a better place by most standards, and in any case once reaching an afterlife they will change perceptions that they had as mortals. They need sufficient justification to give that up which PC’s don’t need and won’t have.
The casting time for Raise Dead is actually “Special”. There is still a 1 day per caster level time limit – the body must reach the caster within that time frame. The cleric then consecrates the body for 1 round “stopping the timer” and enabling it to be raised with less additional time pressure, though the ritual must still be performed “in a timely manner” thereafter. At the very least preparations for the ritual must then take place which will require a minimum of 1 day per level of the deceased. The final ritual itself requires 1 turn.
This does not guarantee resurrection – it only provides opportunity. The deceased must still pass the resurrection check. Failing the check means the character can try again, but each failure costs the recipient 1 point of constitution – permanently. If your CON gets below 3, just give it up and roll up a new PC.
The casting time for Resurrection is also “Special”. The 10-year per caster level time limit for casting the spell is changed to just 1 year per caster level. This can be extended to 10 years per level if the deceased had actually agreed and prepared to be resurrected at some future date, making those arrangements prior to their death. They must also then BE dead for a minimum of 10 years before they can be resurrected.
Preparations for the Resurrection ritual must take place just as with Raise Dead which require 2 days per level of the deceased. The final ritual requires 4 hours to cast. Resurrection, however, requires no raise dead check. Resurrection can only work ONCE on any individual PC – ever. Raise Dead could still be used again later, but Resurrection is a one-time-only thing.