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Tweaking healing skill?


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew


So as the Heal Deadly Wounds skill says,

Heal Deadly WoundsWhen treating deadly wounds, you can restore hit points to a damaged creature. Treating deadly wounds restores 1 hit point per level of the creature. If you exceed the DC by 5 or more, add your Wisdom modifier (if positive) to this amount. A creature can only benefit from its deadly wounds being treated within 24 hours of being injured and never more than once per day.

So assuming a max of +6 Wisdom mod at high levels of play, we're looking at a max of 26 points healed for 20th level, which at this point is a banged knee and since PCs are often not able to spend the time for normal healing, would just burn charges from wands or spend leftover channels before sleeping. So there is little reason to go beyond what is needed to make a First Aid/Stabilization check.

So, a suggestion is that each +5 that the DC is beaten by, another Wisdom mod worth of damage is healed.

Or perhaps lowering the Deadly Wounds DC to 15 so a PC can get more milage out of their wisdom mod?


I rewrite for treat deadly wounds needs to go further. The high Wis mod makes a difference at low levels, when the DC is hard to reach. By the time the DC is easy to reach, the Wis mod makes little difference.

I agree that the base DC should be 15. To encourage the fact that healthy people heal faster, the patient's Con mod might be a nice perk. Characters with high Con need the extra healing anyways. I could come up with a complicated formula for this, but simplicity has its value too.


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The issue with the Provide First Aid, Provide Long-term Care, and Treat Deadly Wounds checks is that they're more or less realistic, which, when put next to magic, makes them virtually useless. A "banged knee" is all it was ever intended to heal. A person brought to within an inch of his life is not going to be fine the next day with a day's rest and a single medic patching him up and feeding him root-infused tonics; instead, they'll most likely not get worse, and maybe even BEGIN to heal, but based on WHY they're within an inch of their life, they could take weeks at best to be back to normal. This is reflected realistically enough with the Heal skill, and before you start improving it with + this, or + that, you need to ask yourself how grounded you want to keep the skill before it starts to mimic magic entirely - which the other skills for the most part do not. You could then get into martial/caster disparity territory, but in this case, I think the real culprit is the HP mechanic, which is a necessary evil in most d20 systems.

To actually answer your question: I think lowering the DC isn't a bad idea to make the skill useful at lower levels, where it actually makes a difference. Maybe even make it a scaling DC: 15 + [1/2 HD (minimum 1)] - [Con mod]. Like Ciaran Barnes said, a healthier person should be easier to heal; a truly frail person with a negative modifer in Con is going to be much harder to staunch bleeding for than an olympic-level athlete. Like I said above, adding more numbers is a tricky thing.

If you want to make the Treat Deadly Wounds check truly make a difference and be a valued ability, consider using it as a 1/day/person primer to treat a followup magical heal effect to be Empowered. Now, it has real value (a free Metemagic effect), makes sense within the setting (the Heal check acted as a head-start for the healing magic, making the actual spell more efficient), but doesn't unbalance the game (must be out-of-combat (1 hour action), and once per day).

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I houserule that with a Heal check, you can maximize magical healing on the patient for the next few minutes while they rest. It aligns with how medical practice interacts with magical healing in my world where proper mundane treatment is vital to ensuring a patient heals correctly.


You could borrow this use from Kirthfinder

First Aid: If a character has lost hit points, you can restore some of them. A successful check, as a fullround action, restores a number of hit points equal to your Heal check results. You can take 20 on this check by spending 2 full minutes. First aid can be performed on a character once per fight in which he or she is injured, to a maximum amount of damage healed equal to the amount sustained in that fight.


There are some good ideas here so far.

Here is a tangent, but another nitpick of mine. If a wizard and a barbarian are both beaten and bloodied within an inch of the their life, it takes twice as much healing (natural or magical) to get the barbarian fully healed.

There was a "fix" I saw in a rewite of the pre-AD&D rules where the dice used for a cure spell was determined by the hit point dice used by the character. Obviously, this is probably ill-fitting for Pathfinder when multi-classing is involved, but I thought it was clever.


I think Treat Deadly Wounds is about right as it is. It's not meant to be a substitute for magical Healing, which is already awesome, and really is just the mundane skill used by commoners when they can't afford a Cleric.

I'd like to see Treat Disease and Treat Poison tweaked though. Rather than a +4 competence bonus to the next save, I'd rather see a stackable +2 bonus (multiple healers being better than one), much like Aid Other. To offset everyone in the party making an attempt, trained or not, anyone failing the Heal check gives a -1 penalty to their save.

Adding to that, instead of a bonus to their next save, a successful Heal check could give an extra save now, rather than a bonus later.

If those aspects of Heal make it too powerful, Treat Deadly Wounds, Treat Poison and and Treat Disease could be available only to those trained in it...as it is, the average peasant, generally untrained in Heal, has a reasonable chance of helping someone with a deadly disease, which I don't think should be the case.

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Ciaran Barnes wrote:
There was a "fix" I saw in a rewite of the pre-AD&D rules where the dice used for a cure spell was determined by the hit point dice used by the character. Obviously, this is probably ill-fitting for Pathfinder when multi-classing is involved, but I thought it was clever.

That's a cool idea, but the economics totally fall apart.


You could do a power attack styled adjustment, taking a -1 to your check for a bonus on the effect if successful. For every 4 ranks in Heal, you can accept another -1.


Another answer might simply be to borrow from later DnD editions and allow a heal during a rest up to a limited number a day. In fact if you want limit to a number of dice of healing equal to their level. even better if the dice rolled is HD (even with multiclassing it works just look at the levels taken and thats your pool of healing.


Cyrad wrote:
I houserule that with a Heal check, you can maximize magical healing on the patient for the next few minutes while they rest. It aligns with how medical practice interacts with magical healing in my world where proper mundane treatment is vital to ensuring a patient heals correctly.

I did something similar to this once. Successful Heal check = max dice for the Healing spell. If the DC was exceeded by 10 then the spell (only if cast outside of combat) was empowered.


Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
I houserule that with a Heal check, you can maximize magical healing on the patient for the next few minutes while they rest. It aligns with how medical practice interacts with magical healing in my world where proper mundane treatment is vital to ensuring a patient heals correctly.
I did something similar to this once. Successful Heal check = max dice for the Healing spell. If the DC was exceeded by 10 then the spell (only if cast outside of combat) was empowered.

Cyrad & Lazlo, what are the DCs for your Heal check? How long does it take? I mean, I could see saying that it takes 15 minutes of treatment to get this benefit, so don't try this trick in a dungeon corridor! But Lazlo, it sounds like your parties could do so...


For the max heal with skill check yes it could be used in combat, but not for the empowered effect. That was an out of combat tactic only. As for the DC needed, that was based on a sliding scale of every - 20% total HP lost was a + 2 DC with a base heal check at 15. If below 0 hp and dying the DC was bumped to 30. As the roll was a free action it was used with every Heal spell or similar effect (Lay on Hands, etc) and was a good way to stabilize heal spells for more predictable numbers. A DC 15 for a skill which has points invested in it is not that hard to hit after all.

Note: This was one variant we experimented with. For the full break down of the Injury and Dying rules we adopted feel free to check out my Obsidian Portal page.

Sovereign Court

Aethera campaign setting has a nice alternate use for the heal skill to heal up people, you might consider checking it out.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The Scholar, a class in playtest for Drop Dead Studio's Spheres of Might, can make a Heal check as a standard action to restore 1hp + 1hp per point they beat the DC by. Starting at Level 10 they double the healing provided and can make the check as a Move action. They can use this ability a number of times per creature each day based on their ability modifier (INT in their case). In my experience it still doesn't beat magical healing but it's far more useful than the normal skill, especially since the healing is based on a skill which can be increased easily.

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