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Re: (TFT) Healing spells in TFT.

rsmith wrote:
> My questions is how would you summarize the
> healing spells in your campaign?

When my campaign was all TFT, there were none.

My experience with games that have healing spells (especially unrestricted
GURPS magic, and other GURPS games with even heavily-restricted healing
magic), is that it tends to remove a major interesting element of risk
from gameplay, and reduces many elements of decision, and reduces the
possible consequeces of dangerous behaviour. Players and NPCs who are
intelligent and capable with latch on to whatever such infinite healing
abilities are available, and exploit them to the max. This ups the stakes
dramatically too, in the sense that if someone wants to deter an attack,
they may find they have to kill their attackers more often, showing no
mercy, which can tend to make for bloodthirstier situations. Groups of
adventurers with healing magic who start exploiting their abilities can
tend to challenge society and lead to an unbalanced situation (like any
overly-powerful abilities, except in this case, it's harder to punish them
without killing them).

The extreme end of this problem is often found in computer "RPGs", where
the formula is often to make games where you can almost always run away
and heal before really being in danger, while your opponents generally
don't heal (and if you do die, you're expected to restore from a saved
game...). This is the extreme case, but it generally removes the element
of risk from the gameplay, and this has reduced many such games to
endurance tests.

Adding healing spells doesn't necessarily do that to TFT, but I think the
tendency is that way. Players start to treat combat as a low-risk event.

Of course, there are situations where lack of healing can mean the PCs are
nearly dead, and therefore very low on options. Or worse, some of the
players really ought to be resting for a week or more, while some are
still healthy, and want to do something which will take a lot of
real-world time, but not enough game-world time for the others to heal. So
that can be a problem for keeping the other players entertained. There are
some good ways around that though, such as having those players
temporarily play some NPCs.

Also, players who actually enjoy roleplaying "good guys who always win"
will of course enjoy the healing. The popularity of the CRPGs I mentioned,
pop drama, and so on attest to the appeal to that sort of thing. I tend to
think though that TFT fans may have other interests.

TFT is very death-heavy though, with realistic damage values and only a
one-damage-point margin between unconsciousness and death.

I tend to think GURPS does it about right if you add the optional bleeding
rules and multiple wounds. In that evolution of TFT, death is at -1 x HT
(ST in TFT terms), but sharp weapons have damage multipliers, characters
can stay fighting when at negative if they make rolls each turn, and with
the bleeding rules, each serious bleeding injury can cause another point
or more each minute, and with low-tech first aid and more wounded than
physickers, it all works out rather well, IMO. Players can bandage the PCs
first, and thereby have a logical way of keeping themselves alive (and
magic to stop bleeding isn't so powerful as to remove the problems of
serious injury from the game).

When I converted my TFT campaigns to GURPS, I did let some of the wizards'
guilds in regions where players hadn't played much TFT have healing
spells. However I required the spells to use some very expensive
ingredients which brought them in line with the costs and limitations of
healing potions. I also added a rather risky 6-die random side-effect
table which would tend to afflict people who over-used the healing spells.
By greatly increasing the chances of magical side-effects when victims are
magically healed more than once per day, more than once per injury, or
without fresh ingredients, you can retain consequences of injury (and even
add some interesting ones...) without getting your group stuck with some
invalids waiting around while the healthy ones have all the fun.

Anyway, food for thought.

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