HomeGates & GlamoursInitiative, Healing, and Fairness in Old School D&D
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

This is so ridiculous (both the complaint and the reason) that I find it difficult to think of anything constructive/positive to say. The person making it must be a 4E player (where combat healing is an element of tactical game play in an edition where everything is geared towards fights). Even in 3E, most acts of healing would provoke acts of opportunity, negating any advantage provided by individual initiative. Clerics (etc.) that might perform an act of healing in my old AD&D games was usually making a sacrifice to do so…when being bested by opponents it was always smarter to… Read more »

Robert Fisher
4 years ago

Yes. This is one of the clearest differences I’ve noticed between old school games (both BITD and when playing old school games today) versus some of the newer games. And in any case, healing in the middle of combat, except in extreme circumstances, strikes me as really weird. As a complaint against initiative, though, it makes no sense. Not liking that one side can act twice in a row, sure…but there’s nothing about in-combat healing over other actions that makes it significantly worse. I have no beef with cyclical initiative, rolling each round, or no initiative. I can see having… Read more »

Dixie Yinzer
4 years ago

I had never thought of this aspect of old school play, but now that you think of it, I recall that healing during battle was rare in the old days. When I played AD&D 1st edition, we used a rule we picked up from Judges Guild that allowed us to bind wounds if we needed to, which gave us back 1d4 hit points from a round of treatment. It was battlefield first aid. I don't recall players complaining then about the lack of availability of magical healing. You know, I started with group initiative until I noticed in AD&D 1st… Read more »

Charles Taylor (Charles Angus)

I've frankly never been clear on why initiative is necessary or desirable at all. It just makes running combats confusing.

Ripper X
4 years ago

That is some crazy whining there! "I don't like to lose initiative", well who does? I let my players handle the healing, it isn't my job, but I have noticed that if the players believe that they are going to get into some serious trouble, they will have the fighters up front, while the cleric hangs back to just keep the front healthy, but they've got to protect him when he's doing his touch spell.

4 years ago

I am a longtime Old School DM, and I have rarely seen healing magic used during actual combat. The clerics are usually too busy fighting. I have sometimes seen clerics pause during combat to cast spells like bless or protection from evil, but very rarely cure spells.