Sunday, August 13, 2017

Crunchy First Aid Rules

First Aid is one of those things that's hard to get right in OSR games. For one thing, healing potions being ubiquitous in a setting raises a lot of questions, but is a good way to facilitate simple healing. On the flip side, having NO healing beyond bed rest and time really limits the options of a party. Maybe you think that's a good thing, or maybe you don't.

This system for First Aid is done to give party members something to do while the others may be screwing around with locked doors or magic users casting or preparing spells. Plus it's still based on resources, but the resources are a bit flexible.

The Four Damage Types
Damage Tracking
Whenever a player takes damage from a direct source, notify the number and write a little letter or symbol next to it dictating its type. If the damage is over time, like from being lit on fire or multiple rounds in the razorblade hallway, keep track of all the damage from that source as one number.

Damage Types
There are four types of damage and a way to cure each.

Sharp damage is from swords, arrows, and claws. It is healed with bandages.

Blunt damage is from clubs, fists, and falls. It is healed with splints.

Elemental damage is from fire, ice, electricity, and acid. It is healed with ointment.

Death damage is from arcane magic like magic missile, poison, the gaze of a basilisk, the touch of an undead creature, and other miscellaneous effects. It cannot be healed with first aid.

First Aid
In order to perform first aid, you must take a turn while another character patches you up. Doing First Aid on yourself is possible but you get a -1 to TOTAL HP healed. You heal 1 HP per Hit Dice you possess + the Wisdom modifier of the healer vs the highest injury you have of that type, and use up one medical supply in the process.

This means that, in ideal circumstances, you'd be healing at minimum 1/6 of your maximum health each turn you get first aid, but since it is healing only the biggest injury at a time and of a specific type, this really cuts it down to size.

I ended up calling this one "The First Kill"
Medical Supplies
Medical supplies are carried in stacks of 3 per 1 load. You can bind one of each type together in each stack, or spread them out, either way. The nice kinds of medical supplies you can buy from the store heal +1 to the total HP healed from use.

However, you can also salvage medical supplies by using your environment. You can make a bandage by using rags, tapestries, paper, and other fabrics in an emergency. You can make a splint with some twine or rope and something straight and hard; like a rusted old sword or a bone. Finally, ointment can be made by melting the fat of the various monsters and beasts you kill, which just requires a fire and a pot to melt it down. These improvised first aid supplies work, they just don't get that store bought bonus as stated above.

This system is a little crunchy but I hope it gives people some thought about how useful magical healing really is if they have to jump through hoops to heal normally, and allows characters to both scale with the first aid system and have more interesting short rest/short downtime actions while they actually explore the dungeon.

I am probably not going to be using these rules anytime soon, but I think they may be fitting for a mega-dungeon where players need to spend a lot more time camping and healing within the dungeon itself, or for groups who want something more crunchy.

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