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Re: (TFT) Healing spells in TFT.

At 11:12 PM 9/3/03 -0400, ErolB1@aol.com wrote:
In a message dated 9/3/2003 8:35:21 PM Central Daylight Time, pvk@oz.net

> 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.

My experience matches yours, except on one point: I find the "major element
of risk" to be *boring* rather than "interesting."

For me, having reduced consequences for dangerous behavior is the whole
*point* of playing RPG's: I play to vicariously experience doing things that I can
not, dare not, or ought not do in real life. Being "realistically" screwed
over while doing these things is counterproductive, to my way of thinking. If
that's going to happen, why should I bother playing at all?

Naturally, the important thing is to figure out what's most fun for you and your players, and play that. Every player plays for different reasons, and different rules and game worlds are better or worse for different players. It sounds like you know what you do and don't enjoy, and have some good rules for it.

I hope I didn't give the impression I was saying my own tastes were right for everyone. I was just discussing the question I quoted, which asked what other people did for healing rules in their games.

For my personal tastes, I look for games with realistic cause and effect, important consequences in the balance, and the ability to use skill and cunning to tip the scales. I enjoy the vicarious experiences you describe, but for me it's enough that no real-world damage is done - the game-world damage I like to remain fairly realistic and serious, so that there is more at stake when dangerous situations occur.

TFT (and moreso, GURPS) can provide all those things. Clever and realistic tactics can (and often, must) be used to escape grisly consequences. If I use my skill to escape serious injury while many others are near death, it's a lot more rewarding to me if I've managed to avoid something important (not just that my armor won't need to be patched and cleaned as much as those who got blitzed). Escaping a tough situation becomes more rewarding and memorable. It also helps me relate to and believe in the game world, and makes the events seem much more intense.

You wrote, "If that's going to happen, why should I bother playing at all?" In RPGs without map-based tactical combat, and with slugfest combat systems where injury is unavoidable, that's a more unavoidable question than in TFT or GURPS. It's also a major reason why I don't like to play such un-tactical slugfest games. To me, the fun is in being able to avoid having awful things happen. To a lesser extent, if every injury is "just a flesh wound," then to me, there's less to get excited (or to care) about.

My own solution was to make "natural" healing very fast - fast enough to
compete with the relatively rare magical healing. I agree that PCs and smart NPCs
will try to exploit fast magical healing to the max - it would be strange if
they didn't. But while I don't like the grittiness of realisticly slow healing,
I also dislike the idea of "magical healing as the norm, at least among PC
types." So I try to jigger things.

Sounds like a good compromise for what you're looking for, with less of the problems that come with instant healing magic.

One thing I've considered, but haven't done, is to make healing potions
convert injury to fatigue, rather than simply eliminating injury.

Neat idea!

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