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Challenging players, resource depletion and wands of CLW


Advice


So the guidelines in the CRB say that 4 APL fights will deplete your party of 100% of its resources, signaling an end to the adventuring day. Resources are spell's, consumables and potions. However with wands of CLW the only time you run out of hp is when you run out of charges (and the higher level you get, the more wands you can afford).

What does "100% of the party's resources" mean when the only resource half of your "typical" party (fighter, rogue, cleric and wizard) has are hit points, and wands of CLW remove the scarcity of that resource?

I'm inclined to just ban wands of CLW, but that just moves the "optimal" hit point regenerator to wands of CMW, or scrolls, or potions, or wands of infernal healing. I'm extremely hesitant to ban all healing items (or all cheap healing items). A party should be able to manage its resources how it best sees fit. So what do I do? How do I challenge the players when they auto regen HP every single combat?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't think this is what is meant by resources, or else WBL becomes a joke. I think resources is supposed to mean per day usable powers and things like that. That means consumables act as a way players can stretch their resources a bit further, and perhaps not run out by the end of the day.


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100% of resources means that. When the cleric can't heal the rogue and fighter anymore, they are out of resources.

When your wizard and cleric are out of resources, they call it quits and the rogue and fighter have to join them. The fact they "only" have HP to manage as a resource is a better thing for you. It ducks when your party can go in more than 4 fights and still have spells and stuff.

There is also the option of just limiting how many CLW wands they are getting, the world does have finite resources.

Any money they put towards healing is money they aren't spending on permanent upgrades, costing them in the future. Plus some books hand out healing like it's candy.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
the only resource half of your "typical" party (fighter, rogue, cleric and wizard) has are hit points

That party composition, while iconic, isn't very common. Classes with no daily resources are in the minority (and they're usually among the weakest). You're more likely to see something like Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Wizard.


Those guidelines are wrong so I wouldn't get too hung up on them. CR in general is kind of misleading. Seriously compare a
Immortal Ichor and an Apostate Devil and tell me they're equally challenging. A cleric could buy a wand at level 2 and it wouldn't be a poor investment.

Using up that resource in one fight isn't going to happen, it would take a ridiculously long time and at that level a PC is going to have health around 12-24 range ish. Fully healing a party of 4 is probably going to take between 6-12 charges, and only then if the whole party was at deaths door.

This applies to most wands honestly, its just that a lot of them are garbage so people don't bother.

Banning wands of cure wounds is an option, but can I ask why you think this is necessary or a good idea?
All it means is your players will spend more time resting to recover from combats than actually playing the game.

Your party having topped off HP doesn't mean you can't challenge them. They still run out of spells, channels, rage, performance rounds and various other resources. So they will still run out of steam, they're just less likely to have a fatality in the final combat of the day when they're running out of resources. Having full HP also means you can use slightly more challenging creatures that hit a little harder more often.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
So what do I do? How do I challenge the players when they auto regen HP every single combat?

It's not really a problem as long as they are burning charges and wands. If they had constant powers or something that just let them recharge between fights it would be different.

The money or treasure they are using for wands is money they didn't spend on constant enhancement bonuses or other constant effects, so that's not really a problem in most cases. Wands, scrolls, and potions will run out and need replacing. They tougher the fighters and barbarians are means that's just more charges needed to replace those spent 'resources' that should be depleted.

Other things you can do is have alternate effects, poisons, disease, ability damage. Things that might take resting, or at least lesser restorations and such to mitigate. Even using wands, those aren't great for in combat, and even one or two extra fights will likely mean the healer will have used whatever spells they have (even without needing to use the slots on healing because of the wands) and then they're still tapped (and if they aren't using those spells, they've basically wasted them by holding onto them.)


So the problem I had last AP I ran, and a problem I've seen on a number of occasions, is that any fight which doesn't have a risk of dropping (into unconsciousness) is just not worth having. I've heard "can each Spellcaster scratch off a couple of spell's each and we scratch off a few charges and move on" has been uttered on more than a few occasions, and what's worse is when we do play it out and it is acomplete waste of time. Attrition of resources is what the adventuring day was designed around. With instant HP regen HP stops being valuable in any combat that doesn't risk 0 HP for one or more PCs.

As for the iconic party: fighters are still a staple at our table. But yes, there's a reason I put typical in quote marks.

As for the guidelines: how many fights a day do your players get throughout? What level challenges are you throwing at them? How do you challenge your players without risking death every single combat?


Another way of looking at it is: what is the purpose of the 'four encounters per day' guideline? As far as I can tell it's to ensure that PCs can't use all their most powerful powers all the time; they have to be make strategic decisions about whether to use their one fireball now, or save it for a later emergency.

If players knew they were fighting one encounter per day, they could use their most powerful spells every time. Which means fewer interesting decisions to make.

Note that this issue doesn't arise at all with fighters or rogues who have no daily resources to conserve (except their hit points, and spending those isn't really a decision they get to make).

If you allow players infinite healing between battles, that doesn't change the situation much; it just means that casters are rewarded for using minimal spells in combat and letting the Fighter do most of the work, since the only thing he's using up is cheap hit points.

If this leads to them casting no spells at all, then it just means the battles are too easy.


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I don't understand how being able to heal between combat makes it pointless...
A) healing is a resource
B) they'll be using other resources
C) combat is supposed to be fun, I don't think healing prohibits having fun.


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Scratching off spells is the point of battle. Your party's spells are not infinite.

It sounds like you aren't giving them a challenge at all and that your party may be min-maxing a bit. Try applying the Advance Template to all your monsters.

Why are there fights where the fighter cam do everything? Why are there no archers or mage showering down damage to your backline? Why does the wizard bother showing up if he can literally go through a battle doing nothing? There is a serious balance problem if the fighter can solo the enemy mooks before they even get close to the wizard or cleric.

Enemies want to win. If a character dies, it is part of being an adventurer. You have a cleric that should have some form of reviving depending on level. Don't be afraid to throw some things that are nasty at your party. Don't be afraid to change the book if that is what you are running.

It also sounds like your party doesn't care for the game if they just want to skip over battles and remove random resources. That or some cheating.


Cursed wounds, like from clay golems would mitigate the cure wands, since those typically won't have the CL needed to overcome the ability, but realistically, you can't use that all the time, unless the dungeon itself had that kind of curse or effect.

If your PCs are getting through more than 4 encounters a day, that's perfectly fine, just take it in stride and plan your encounters and the adventure accordingly. It's when they are just doing one encounter or 'the 5-minute adventuring day' where they just blow their wad and stop and take one day between each fight where you have trouble.


Healing is not a meaningful resource when wands of CLW become cheaper and cheaper as you level.

Fights where there is no meaningful danger to PCs eventually stops being fun.

Wanting to skip fights that have no risk of danger in order to get to a more fun portion of the adventure is not tantamount to cheating.

Saying "don't worry about it" is all well and good. But it doesn't help me make the game more enjoyable. How do I make fights enjoyable without risking someone dying every single fight?


Then make fights meaningful. Your pcs party has a cleric. They are going to have healing. Deal with it. Throw more HP damage at them. Throw str damage at them. Throw disabling effects at them. Throw called shots at them.

If fights have no meaningful danger, that is the DMs fault for not throwing a proper challenge at the party, not a wand of 275hp.

People die in fights, it happens sometimes. If you don't want your party to die, keep strict track of their HP and start pulling back your punches when they get low. Dying sucks, but I'd honestly prefer remaking a character every other session to a "you never die, the boss is 4 levels under you" campaign.


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Thanks SorrySleeping. I was looking for advice. I should have known "throw more damage at them" would have been the only solution and "it's all my fault" if the players don't enjoy themselves. Nothing further needs to be said.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:

Healing is not a meaningful resource when wands of CLW become cheaper and cheaper as you level.

Fights where there is no meaningful danger to PCs eventually stops being fun.

A fight can present a meaningful threat without the PCs being wounded to begin with.

Quote:


Saying "don't worry about it" is all well and good. But it doesn't help me make the game more enjoyable. How do I make fights enjoyable without risking someone dying every single fight?

harder longer fights, to counteract the fact they have full hit points at the start.

If your PCs were on low health the fights that you're doing now would risk them dying every fight.

You can't have challenging high stakes fights without risk of death. The two go hand in hand.


Chromatic: So the only solution is throw Max CR fights at your party? Is this what everyone just does in Pathfinder? The published adventures certainly don't.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Chromatic: So the only solution is throw Max CR fights at your party? Is this what everyone just does in Pathfinder? The published adventures certainly don't.

Well no, that isn't what everyone does, because most people don't think every fight should be a challenge. Most people understand some fights should be a walkover. Especially as the PCs level up and become more powerful, the chances they meet stuff they can easily stomp rises.

Published adventurers are written for 15pb low optimization parties. If your party is using a better pb than that or optimizing, or using advanced tactics then you should adjust the adventure.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
As for the guidelines: how many fights a day do your players get throughout?

Depends on the campaign. For my homebrew, however many made sense for the situation - the focus was on making each individual battle interesting, not resource management. For my last AP, we were skilfully going through AP dungeons, fighting as many as eight encounters a day by carefully conserving spells and using healing wands. Note that this was essentially a self-imposed limit and most of the time we could have easily left and rested whenever we wanted.

John Lynch 106 wrote:
How do you challenge your players without risking death every single combat?

Well, not by having them go into battle at half HP, because that doesn't really work in Pathfinder when many monsters can take you from half HP to dead in a single round. And probably not by pushing that onto the Cleric (or Life Oracle or whatever) because that just means your adventuring ability is directly proportional to the power of your mandatory full-time healer.

So I prefer making the battles themselves interesting. Two ways of doing this are:
(1) Setting the correct level of danger to be exciting but not unfair. This usually means either:
Knowing your party well and creating encounters to challenge them specifically.
Some kind of fudging. ("They're having too easy a time of it; I think I'll have the monster in the next room wake up and burst in during the next round. No, wait: one of them has gone down to a lucky crit. I think it can sleep a little longer.")
(2) The illusion of danger. You, the GM, might know that the second dragon is just an illusion, but the players don't know that.
(3) Add some details that make the encounter memorable even if the PCs lives aren't at much risk. For example, innocent bystanders who need protecting, a complicated environment, villains with personality, atmospheric detail, the need to be silent, etc.


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Published adventures have a history of being easy after the first few levels. They deal with all player types, and hit the lowest player type, non power gaming players that don't have extensive system "maatery". This is how it is for every adventure path.

You are asking a question. "How do I deal with a party that tons of healing?" I gave you an answer. Don't get snippy with me.
1) You can use a lot of different effects over hp damage. Every stat can take damage too.
2) The party can not change the adventure. If the battles are boring, only the GM can change that. Things duck as a GM sometimes, but it what we do.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
So what do I do? How do I challenge the players when they auto regen HP every single combat?

Look at it not from an in-game time perspective ("Oh, in a couple minutes, they're good to go!") but from an at-the-table perspective. From that perspective there's no effective difference between:

"We spend two minutes using the CLW wand till everyone is at full"

AND (on the other extreme)

"We spend two weeks at full bed rest until everyone is at full"

Unless you want to RP every second of every minute of every day of the game, you're going to skip past that time either way. At the table, the two situations take the same time and have the same experience.

To put it a different way:

SCENARIO ONE

PLAYERS: "Well, we've used up all of our HP/healing resources for the day on those first four rooms. I guess it's time to travel back to town to rest until we get our spells back and cast all our healing spells tomorrow and then rest one more day so we have full spells. Then, on to room five!"

SCENARIO TWO

PLAYERS: "Well, we've used up 8 charges of our CLW wand on those first four rooms. Now on to room five!"

The challenge is exactly the same in either scenario. As is (at least in my experience) the fun for both the players and the GM. YMMV.

Dark Archive

Chained encounters can go a long way towards making healing only via cure light wounds very tricky. It happened to my table during the special at Gencon, even with multiple wand users if there are only 1 or 2 rounds before the next combat...

On the AP side there are plenty of opportunities, the base perception DC for combat is ridiculously low, and in reality most areas are so small that even with doors others will quickly hear the combat. I don't do this all the time, but I just finished ROTR and I did this in the Spire and it made for a very epic encounter and they had a channeling cleric. You obviously don't want to seem heavy handed about it, but every 'optimal' strategy has a downside risk.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I admit I was really surprised coming into Pathfinder and finding the omnipresence of cheap wands of cure light wounds. I may be misremembering, but I played a lot of Second Edition D&D and I think it was *much* harder to heal unless you had a Cleric--and, of course, a Cleric's spells were soon exhausted. (I'm not sure if maybe wands were for arcane spells only?) It was a different experience than the "scratch another charge off the 50 charge wand and away we go" thing that Pathfinder sometimes has.

On the other hand, I find at higher levels of play that hit point damage isn't that big of deal--it's the burden of ability score damage, ability score drain, negative levels, and the like which can be the deciding factor in whether a group presses on or retreats.


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Another way to think of it: By extending the "fifteen minute adventuring work day" through CLW wands, the game is opening up opportunities for increased dramatic tension and narrative agency. The PCs no longer have to constantly interrupt the flow of dramatic action to trek back to somewhere safe to replenish their HP. As envisioned below...

Spoiler:
Mordor. Pass of Cirith Ungol. The bodies of several orcs lie scattered about.

FRODO: How are you, Sam?
SAM: Well, I'm down to 2 HP, Mister Frodo. And we don't have us a priest or nothing.
FRODO: Alright. Where's the nearest settlement safe to rest at?
SAM: Since that Gollum fellow knows all about that ranger camp, I guess it's that Minas Tirith place. Probably a week's journey, on foot, since poor old Bill got et by them tentacles.
FRODO: Sigh. I guess we head back.

*TWO WEEKS LATER*

Mordor. At the base of the Cirith Ungol pass. The bodies of several orcs lie scattered about.

FRODO: How's the HP, Samwise?
SAM: 100% used up, Mister Frodo.
FRODO: Sigh. Back to town.

*TWO WEEKS LATER*

Mordor. Plateau of Gorogoth. The bodies of several orcs lie scattered about.

FRODO: Seriously? Again?
SAM: Well, Mister Frodo, you know how it is. Thems was the fourth band of orcs we ran across.
FRODO: Son of a balrog...

*ONE WEEK LATER*

Ruins of Minas Tirith. The bodies of several orcs lie scattered about. As do several halflings. And pretty much all of the important NPCs who couldn't make it on the last eagle to Valinor.

SAURON: Bwahahaha! The GM banned easy healing! Middle Earth is MINE!!!


John Lynch 106 wrote:
Chromatic: So the only solution is throw Max CR fights at your party? Is this what everyone just does in Pathfinder? The published adventures certainly don't.

Add different elements to an encounter.

Example: Add a timing mechanism where the party has so much time to complete a task in a combat or something happens.

Example: Add a timing mechanism where the party has so much time to complete a series of tasks and they don't have time to dilly dally with slow healing wands.

Example: Put in skills usage into combat or encounters such that the PCs have to overcome obstacles other than their direct foes in a combat. (e.g. blend a goblin hideout with the TV show "Wipe Out")

Example: Put in a puzzle aspect where the party has to figure out and accomplish something in the middle of a combat.

Example: Open a combat with a trap, an explosive fireball, or just one character falling down a cliff into a raging river with crocodiles and sea salt elementals (everyone else is trying to save them while the victim is trying to live). :-)

In one of the latest encounters I ran, a group of foes were preventing the party from reaching a set of hostages. After a couple rounds, a druid in wolf form cast Plant Growth and caused thorny bushes to become a larger impediment. Some assassin vines were caught in the effect and started attacking everyone, good and bad guys, while one slowly wiggled closer to the hostage.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:

Healing is not a meaningful resource when wands of CLW become cheaper and cheaper as you level.

Fights where there is no meaningful danger to PCs eventually stops being fun.

Wanting to skip fights that have no risk of danger in order to get to a more fun portion of the adventure is not tantamount to cheating.

Saying "don't worry about it" is all well and good. But it doesn't help me make the game more enjoyable. How do I make fights enjoyable without risking someone dying every single fight?

Players can and will heal up after every combat, to full or nearly full. If you take this away all you'll do is have parties rest after 1 or 2 combats. You'll also force a party to have a dedicated healer (which is a s!%$ty role to be forced into). And when they've used up their daily spell slots for it the party well rest too. Probably before because even the cleric doesn't want to spend all his spells slot on healing because they want to otherwise contribute to the combat.

The other thing is, in my experience with an optimized party an encounter with a CR equal to the party's level is a cake walk. In order to challenge my party sufficiently, I use CR+3 encounter, starting around level 5 (before that the party is too squishy). Remember, the base guideline of 4 encounters at CR = party level is designed for a party in which a wizard has power attack (and 13 strength), the fighter spent all their feats on skill focus for different skills, etc. The base assumption is for people who are "bad" at this game from an optimization and mechanics viewpoint.

You don't need to remove healing between combats to have the game be challenging, you just need to increase the danger in a combat to be significant enough that players may be knocked unconscious. If you can force a cleric to spend an actual spell slot on in combat healing, you're probably succeeding. Challenging the players really means forcing them to use limited resources such as spell slots or other per day abilities.

If players don't need to use those limited abilities then the combat ins't really a challenge, and you should increase the CR or hand wave the battle. Because it's okay for the party to encounter a thief well below they're level that they apprehend/kill/whatever and that you don't actually have combat, and resolve it by just talking through what happens.

Honestly banning healing just creates more problem than it gets rid of. Sure, fights are now scarier to the party because they wont have full HP going into it. But now, after 1 or 2 fights they're much more likely to stop/retreat/etc. And this create the problem that spell casters and those with limited resources are much more likely to use them all up. Why bother conserving your limited abilities when you're only going to have 2 fights that day, so you can go all out and cast all 6 of your prepared fireballs in the first combat. Because you've got several disintegrates prepared for the second combat.


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1) hit them in other ways. Curses, diseases, ability damage, poison, sundered equipment, crippling wounds, negative levels, long duration debuff spells, etc. These typically cause players to choose between restoring resources and accepting a debuff. Most of these aren't solved with cheap consumables

2) Make fights more interesting. Back and forth roll to attack gets extremely dull quickly. Use special abilities, terrain, hostages, traps, magical anomolies, special equipment, tactics, etc to keep fights dynamic

3) Alternate win conditions. Not every fight need be about both sides just trying to kill one another. Stopping the cult leader from reaching the teleportation, protecting the orphans from trolls, and disabling a bomb with a countdown are all good examples. Even if they live through the fight and heal up they didn't necessarily win

4) CR rather sucks as a system. Its better than nothing but on level CR will get wiped out easily. CR+3 is a decent challenge for those familiar with the system. Also watch out for specific abilities or lack there of that should have changed their CR. IE pounce

Also I would discourage you from removing cheap healing. In a game I ran like that the players just went camping, ALOT. Quite boring really


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SorrySleeping wrote:
It ducks when your party can go in more than 4 fights and still have spells and stuff.

Why?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

The problem with CLW wands is that it makes it easy to stockpile heals. This is why I removed wands from my campaign and replaced them with potions that cost the same as a single wand charge. People are much more mindful of resources when every party member has to carry their own supply of magic beverages.


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Tableflip McRagequit wrote:
SorrySleeping wrote:
It ducks when your party can go in more than 4 fights and still have spells and stuff.
Why?

Awful calm of you there, Tableflip.


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Tableflip McRagequit wrote:
SorrySleeping wrote:
It ducks when your party can go in more than 4 fights and still have spells and stuff.
Why?

Indeed, its also a very incomplete picture of gameplay reality I believe, the notion of 4 encounters and done.

An APL 4 party has very different levels of resources than an APL 18. Only extremely rarely did 4 combats render my high level party totally out of resources where it probably happens with frequency to most APL 4 parties. In fact I'd go as far to say my high level party totally screwed up if they found themselves that depleted while still active in an adventure ... a TPK (or at least multiple deaths etc.) would be right around the corner. The time to retreat for R&R is before they got that depleted. Probably also true of the APL 4 party but much more likely they'd get out alive if they did immediately head for the exit upon running out of resources. Only very grim and gritty campaigns with an equally grim and gritty GM is going to pursue and pound on a retiring lower level party (and they are going to learn to retreat after 3 encounters not 4) ... not so much at higher levels.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Jhaeman wrote:

I admit I was really surprised coming into Pathfinder and finding the omnipresence of cheap wands of cure light wounds. I may be misremembering, but I played a lot of Second Edition D&D and I think it was *much* harder to heal unless you had a Cleric--and, of course, a Cleric's spells were soon exhausted. (I'm not sure if maybe wands were for arcane spells only?) It was a different experience than the "scratch another charge off the 50 charge wand and away we go" thing that Pathfinder sometimes has.

Well, yeah, it is different. The addition of simple item creation rules to 3rd Edition D&D and a rough economy linking character level to wealth was probably the single-most significant change to the game. Wands went from being mostly offensive spells and quirky utilities (like treasure or enemy finding) and rare to being storehouses of 50 castings of virtually anything and common. That not only made healing between fights fairly trivial, it also severely undermined the value of skills and class-based special abilities that were duplicated by spells. Who needed a rogue when a wizard with wands of knock and invisibility were around?

That said, it was always still possible to play 3e in a fashion much closer to 1e/2e as long as you chose to play down the magic item demand-based economy and relied on found treasure instead of the local MagicMart.


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Gulthor wrote:
Tableflip McRagequit wrote:
SorrySleeping wrote:
It ducks when your party can go in more than 4 fights and still have spells and stuff.
Why?
Awful calm of you there, Tableflip.

I've been meditating.


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Pour Water:

Pathfinder isnt always very smartly designed system because it is a derivation of something from the 80s that has kept some glaring issues.

One of these is healing. Healing not a strong option in combat (unless ...cheesed to stilton). It is just an annoying burden that does but sort of doesnt apply a resource tax.

It's an innefective mechanic in Pathfinder (to convey woundedness throughout the day) and I honestly think it should just be dropped or changed. If you have 2 minutes to heal, you're back to full. What party doesnt have a Wand of Cure Light? If the next fight is coming up smack after this one, I see the point, however there are better ways to create tension, and if they were healed it'd allow you to throw something more interesting anyway.

Other hand-me-down things that just bog Pathfinder and dont add anything interesting:

Not being able to roll. Classes lacking whole blocks of Knowledges or skills because "flavour, people that fight never read dur hur" (Im sorry Conan, I still love you). No mechanic to add this reliably. Isnt it GREAT at the table and we're all having FUN when you pull out this wonderful creature that's so interesting that..no one knows anything about it and cant even roll to see if it is a) a BEAR, b) a WOLF or c) A TREE or possible a grumpy small grandpa with a red hat, still possibly a bear though (because Trained Only, exarbecated example none the less applies when looking at rules in detail).

Or...that wall is a mural depicting a something something because hey history sorry Im not telling the party that these ruins are from the Jiksta imperium, or that they walk the halls of a sacred Ydersius egg laying temple short of a Obi Wan Kenobi Please Help Me Hologram that tells them EXACTLY whats going on. Because they can also find scriptures...but Linguistics. So you need to put the notes of a researcher there that has already been there (yay we feel so special for being the first to oh nvm) or put an NPC that knows more than them (yay we feel so special for being the first to oh nvm and also dumb).

Perception. Redundant and spammy. Why doesnt everyone get perception? Why is it the most important skill? What is the fun of asking for perception to a party to tell one person they see -this- then they tell everyone they see -that- so making it a highest only. What do you tell the person with 5 less? "you see a little less than what Im about to describe to your party member".
It can be used effectively but it is easy to fall into...pitfalls, you just didnt see that coming.

Resources and handicaps. The more the game developed the more they have tried to set different and more engaging resource systems than all-day or vancian casting. Yet..too little and now with Starfinder we return to very many of these problematic and bland, rules bogged issues (all of the above).
Measure of a character's actual conceivable fatigue and mental state is non existant in PF (outside from Ok I cant move or I've gone Cthuluing Be Right Back Never. Arent most great fantasy stories half of the time about that? In what state was Frodo when he got all the way to Blackpool, I mean, Mordor? Any fight that has been about the nimble warrior escaping enough til the other one is sluggish? Poisons, at least with the Unchained, have been made a little dynamic.


John Lynch 106 wrote:

So the guidelines in the CRB say that 4 APL fights will deplete your party of 100% of its resources, signaling an end to the adventuring day. Resources are spell's, consumables and potions. However with wands of CLW the only time you run out of hp is when you run out of charges (and the higher level you get, the more wands you can afford).

What does "100% of the party's resources" mean when the only resource half of your "typical" party (fighter, rogue, cleric and wizard) has are hit points, and wands of CLW remove the scarcity of that resource?

I'm inclined to just ban wands of CLW, but that just moves the "optimal" hit point regenerator to wands of CMW, or scrolls, or potions, or wands of infernal healing. I'm extremely hesitant to ban all healing items (or all cheap healing items). A party should be able to manage its resources how it best sees fit. So what do I do? How do I challenge the players when they auto regen HP every single combat?

I just want to point out one major misnomer: Cure wands don't "regenerate" HP "automatically," they have charges for a reason. It costs 750 gold per wand, and the healing can be nice (9), or it can be poor (2). So, in some cases it costs 5 charges, and in others only 1 or 2.

That being said, banning Wands that heal HP altogether, or putting a uses per day limit on them, would be the more simple solution, one that I'd certainly endorse, because I shouldn't have to rely on a magical wooden stick of healing, regardless of my class, to adventure.

Last I checked, Cure Wands aren't part of the Big Six...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This a crappy solution that I'm not down with:

Device effects (including healing wands) all have a cool down time before the same target can be affected by that or any other device effect, but spells are unaffected. That GM allows the wielders of charged items D6 (or similar) rounds to patch things up, etc. before continuing.

One good thing is that higher level casting lower level spells with dice can add extras, still only X dice.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:

So the problem I had last AP I ran, and a problem I've seen on a number of occasions, is that any fight which doesn't have a risk of dropping (into unconsciousness) is just not worth having. I've heard "can each Spellcaster scratch off a couple of spell's each and we scratch off a few charges and move on" has been uttered on more than a few occasions, and what's worse is when we do play it out and it is acomplete waste of time. Attrition of resources is what the adventuring day was designed around. With instant HP regen HP stops being valuable in any combat that doesn't risk 0 HP for one or more PCs.

As for the iconic party: fighters are still a staple at our table. But yes, there's a reason I put typical in quote marks.

As for the guidelines: how many fights a day do your players get throughout? What level challenges are you throwing at them? How do you challenge your players without risking death every single combat?

This sounds more like the players aren't enjoying the encounters in the first place. Healing economy isn't going to solve that problem.


To "challenge" healing I would not ban Wands of CLW.

Some solutions:
- Think of other resources that will limit the day/effect of the party, that are in retrospect more important. Arcane Pool, Smite charges, 5th Level Spells. These are the ones that can as easily "kill" a party low on them. If your pala is out of smite and your wizard on cantrips it might be over. Leave healing as is, let the party spend resources on these candy sticks. Your life will be simpler and you will focus on more fun aspects of the game :P

- Maximise healing out of combat. Or let people recover instantly after X minutes. Forget HP out of combat as a mechanic (my prefered one). If you want to link fights and not give a breather either have to wait X rounds to start healing or some such.
This method will allow you to pack a punch every time you want to and not have to track your player's hp.

- Max use of healing received per day per person. Bound to CON? I think this is a weak one, but if you want to make healing matter, consider it.


For low levels, more survival-oriented starts can stretch those resources. Can't go buy another wand if you're stuck on an island for the first few levels. (I'm looking at you, That One Adventure Path....)

You could also try the Wounds & Vigor system from Ultimate Combat. It makes healing a bit more expensive when the PCs make it below their wound threshold.


If a module focuses on reading dead languages, PC casters will have to burn combat and healing oriented spell slots on comprehend languages. If the client(adventure hook) gives the party a traveling spell book as a signing bonus, instead of healing potions, and it contains only utility spells, then that also shortens the spell day.

Keep in mind that the whole purpose of such rules is to challenge players minds more than dice. If the Cleric takes the healing domain instead of some impractical domain, you are doing your job.


John Lynch 106 wrote:

So the guidelines in the CRB say that 4 APL fights will deplete your party of 100% of its resources, signaling an end to the adventuring day. Resources are spell's, consumables and potions. However with wands of CLW the only time you run out of hp is when you run out of charges (and the higher level you get, the more wands you can afford).

What does "100% of the party's resources" mean when the only resource half of your "typical" party (fighter, rogue, cleric and wizard) has are hit points, and wands of CLW remove the scarcity of that resource?

I'm inclined to just ban wands of CLW, but that just moves the "optimal" hit point regenerator to wands of CMW, or scrolls, or potions, or wands of infernal healing. I'm extremely hesitant to ban all healing items (or all cheap healing items). A party should be able to manage its resources how it best sees fit. So what do I do? How do I challenge the players when they auto regen HP every single combat?

Where? Because I can't find it in my CRB or on the PRD (neither 'resource' nor '25%' helped). A fuller context might help me figure out if you've made a mistake or the statement is wrong. Because either way it just doesn't make sense.

Why would people buy consumables if they were required to use them by the CR system? I'm pretty sure it's physically impossible for me to burn 12 or 13 wand charges every single battle. Let alone non-combat encounters, where I am apparently still supposed to burn 12 charges of my wand of Magic Missile. Why did you explicitly list resources (spells, consumables, and potions) and then complain that HP doesn't deplete. You didn't list it as a resource. Also, if all characters lose 100% of their HP they probably die. Are only the Rogue and Fighter required to lose 100% of their health?

I really just think you got some bad information and are now trying to mutilate the system to make that information work instead of getting the right information.


it only counts renewable resources ie spells hp ect consumables aren't on the list


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Where? Because I can't find it in my CRB or on the PRD (neither 'resource' nor '25%' helped).

You're right. That nugget from the DMG never got reprinted in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook.

Anyway, thanks everyone for the helpful replies.

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