Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Simplified Wound Weeds & Hit Point Shenanigans

"Wounds and Weeds: Plants that can help keep characters alive" by Kevin J. Anderson appeared in Dragon #82, February 1984 and was reprinted in one of the Best of collections.  It had some good ideas in it for using detailed herbalism in a D&D setting, but was just a bit too cumbersome for my tastes.  Here's my attempt to cut it down to a manageable size.

Adder's Tongue Tea - Doubles natural healing for the day consumed.  25gp buys enough to make into 20 cups of tea.

Birthwort Poultice - Grants a second saving throw against poisons if applied within one round, magic poisons and venom from weird or magical monsters excluded.  15gp per poultice.

Comfrey Root - Heals d4 damage to one wound if applied within one round. 10gp per root.

Dried Bogmoss - Doubles natural healing for up to d4 days. 10gp per bunch.

Garlic Juice - If applied bodily has a 50% chance of repelling insects.  Applied locally it heals one point per each insect sting or bite.  May ward off vampies.  7gp per vial.

Juniperberry Paste - Mash into mouth to grant d4-1 points to any character that is unconscious or at death's door, but further strenuous activity that day will do d4 more damage.  Elves are affected as if by a love/lust potion unless they save versus poison.  15gp per per dose, worth 10 times as much to some elves.

Kingscandle Flowers in Wine - A vial of this painkiller will remove 1 hit point of damage from d4 wounds.  8gp per vial.

Marshwort Leaf - Cures d3 damage, cuts and punctures only. 5gp per leaf.

Saintswort in Wine - Pour onto a single wound, which will be healed d4 points.  10gp per vial.

Sweetweed Poultice - Heals d2 damage on a burn-based wound. 5gp per poultice.

The prices are completely bogus, by the way.  Anderson didn't give any so I just plugged some half-assed numbers in there.  Assume they include a ridiculous mark-up for rude adventurers flush with cash.  Also, don't assume that all herbs are equally available everywhere.

To make some of these work hit points need to be tracked on a 'per wound' basis.  Here is how that would work.  Get out a separate scrap of paper and mark it up like so:

THORGAR'S HIT POINTS    MAX = 24

slashed by orc scimitar 4
punched by angry jester 2
torch to face 6

Now you know that Marshwort Leaf can help with the orc-inflicted cut an Sweetweed applied to the face will soothe what ails you.  Magical healing should probably be applied to one wound at a time.  If you heal a whole wound, any overage can be applied to the next one. Natural healing is distributed randomly.

A five point Cure Light Wounds might be shown like this:

THORGAR'S HIT POINTS    MAX = 24

slashed by orc scimitar 4
punched by angry jester 2 0
torch to face 6 3

Thorgar's player is obviously expecting that Marshwort to help with the orc-slash.

Optional Rule: Any single wound of six points or more is considered a severe wound and incapacitates the character for a -1 to-hit and saves.  The penalty is removed when the wound is reduced to 5 points or less.  That ought to give the players an additional complication to worry about when healing people.

For even more fun track the wounds received and healed on a single record you keep for an entire campaign.