Okay, I know what you’re thinking: why bother with percentage based healing? It’s too many rolls and needs a calculator. I won’t pretend to say that I’ve solved that particular problem or that this system will making your game faster.
I wrote this because Labyrinth Lord is rather short on healing in the early game and, at one of my player’s suggestion, I wanted to see if I could make healing more effective. See, after a large fight, even with two healers, the party had to camp out for days to heal everyone back up and prepare their entire first level of spells as Cure Lights Wounds.
I included the idea of bandages (1gp each, apply one shortly after taking damage to heal 1 hp and prevent bleeding damage, takes 1 Turn to apply) and healing tonics at half the price of a healing potion (heals 1d6 hp, only one quaffed per day), but it still wasn’t enough sometimes.
In the end, we’ve been testing this percentage healing out and it’s been going well so far and I believe that the time spent using a calculator a few times has been much less than the time spent organizing camp and hoping to avoid a random encounter for two in-game nights in a row.
So percentage healing looks like this:
Cure Light Wounds: 10+1d12% – On average, six heals will fully heal a character
Cure Moderate Wounds: 15+2d12% – On average, four heals will fully heal a character
Cure Critical Wounds: 20+2d12% – On average, three heals will fully heal a character
I can go into more detail if people like, but I arrived at these values by working out the average hitpoints of various classes at various levels, but particularly at levels where these spells become available. I assumed that Fighters would have a CON bonus and that a Magic-user is lower than average.
I then worked out how many of a spell one might require to heal a character fully (or nearly so). I worked out the averages of these and eventually came to these numbers, which I think are much more memorable than something that might be slightly more accurate.
The reasons for D&D not to use percentage based healing are quite justified, considering the hitpoint system. This won’t work well for level 1 characters and it might be inappropriate for level 18-20 characters.
A character with less than 20 hp (at a bare minimum) will find that he’s far better off with receiving 1d6+1 hp. Don’t bother implementing this system until the party is at least Level 5 or 6, perhaps even 7 if some character don’t have CON bonuses. This will work much better if you’re using the Advanced HD optional rule (basically, most classes use one die higher for hit points).
Naturally, those characters with a lower maximum hit point total will receive far less healing than those with more.
One reasoning for this is that, a Fighter’s ability to absorb damage is more of a reflection of his training at avoiding the worst of an attack and sustaining a much less severe one instead. This is where percentages comes in. If the loss of one quarter (25%) of a character’s hit points could be represented by a deep arm-wound on a Thief, a Fighter might have taken three hits that could have been much worse, but these shallower wounds are only now taxing his body in the same way as the Thief’s injury. So if the Thief is healed by 25%, his single deep arm wound and the Fighter’s three shallower wounds close up.
Low-level heals will remain useful much longer than before. If your character has got 50 hp at Level 10, getting at least 5 hp back with a Cure Light Wounds is quite handy. The inverse is also true: high-level heals are largely useless on low-level characters, but generally work as intended on characters of an appropriate level.
Let me know what you think. If anything’s unclear or if you have anything to add I’ll be happy to expand on it in the comments (or add it to the article).