[RPG] Is this variant rest rules alteration balanced?

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I have been running a campaign for a while now, close to 2 years, and I have a bit of a problem with the healing systems. I plan on using variant rules for the upcoming campaign. (I think it would be annoying to implement those rules now, more than halfway through the campaign.)

My problem is that I think the healing is way too much, especially since you expend no resources. So I plan on using Slowed Natural Healing for long rests from the DMG, page 267.

Characters don't regain hit points at the end of a long rest. Instead, a character can spend Hit Dice to heal at the end of a long rest, just as with a short rest.

And maybe giving a benefit for using healing kits.

It's what to do for the short rests, that I'm having trouble figuring out. There is Healer's Kit Dependency, from page 266 of the DMG.

A character can't spend any Hit Dice after finishing a short rest until someone expends one use of a healer's kit to bandage and treat the character's wounds.

But I think it is a bit too harsh. So my idea is adding

Otherwise, the character regains hit points equal their level, or 10, whichever is lower.

I'm not really sure of the part I added. Because I think they should heal a bit on short rests, but I don't know if it is too much, or too little.

I like the rule because it would really encourage people getting Healer's Kits, which I think is important. Because most people aren't Wolverine, whose wounds heal at an extremely rapid rate, without any treatment. Which is what I feel like healing in 5e is. Example, you get repeatedly stabbed in the chest by a dagger, bringing you down to 1 HP, you fight the assassin off. Then you sit down for an hour, or go to sleep, and then you are completely fine. The wound does not matter, it does not impede you at all. Some players RP accordingly, but most of the time, there is no mechanical disadvantage to being heavily wounded, and currently healing. Which seems like complete BS to me. If you don't care about your D&D game being "realistic", that's completely fine, but I want to at least make it believable. That may sound weird, I mean, there is magic and dragons. But that's just how I like to DM. Besides, I also feel like it's a good challenge.

I would also change the bard's Song Of Rest, to add to when a player heals on a short rest, even if they don't roll roll hit dice. I would also allow using Herbalism to create healing salves, that help on both short and long rests.
‚ÄčI think that may help lessen the blow of having to use Healer's Kits, in order to use Hit Dice on short rests.

Is this a good way of doing it? Is it balanced?

Best Answer

Personally, I think your idea is balanced. That 10 base healing for higher level characters might be a bit low but it's okay. I think you could be more forgiving or adding a bonus to healing during a long rest, as it's not the same quickly patching a wound before going to combat to actually having a couple of hours to fully clean, and treat the wounds. Maybe let then heal up to two hit dices instead of one, and regain expended hit dices if they get the full sleep cycle. In the end the balance it's not really about how much total hp they heal in the night, but how much damage you plan to do to them during the day. If they heal a bit of hp but can cruise through the encounters, the game will be roughly the same as if they fully heal at night. Instead if each encounter is life-risking, and most of the win are phyrrics, healing low hp at night will get them killed very fastly, and even if they fully heal with a long rest, getting to said rest can be near impossible (night encounters, having to fight for several days in a row where camping isn't safe, time-sensitive plot lines, crippling the characters with poison/ hard to heal wounds). Our campaign is one such as the last example, and it's one of the hardest campaigns I have played.

Additionally, I want to point out that we mostly use the normal sleep rule, and we don't have much problem with it, nor we think it's overpowered. This is due how we roleplay. For example, taking a dagger hit for 1d4 doesn't mean to be literally stabbed by a dagger. For us, it means that parrying/defending from the attack took 1d4 "fatigue" points. Additionally, if someone gets a serious wound (from something like taking a critical hit, or roleplaying events), they are incapacitated until they can get their wound healed up, and rest for a reasonable amount of time. Finally, after severe encounters, we take up to a week of rest and clerical healing to get ready to continue adventuring, and fighting during those days means a severe disadvantage.

Lastly, remember that the rule 0 of the game is that you make the rules, there is nothing wrong in telling the fighter that took a critical sneak attack to the kidney that he will have a disadvantage in str/cons roll for a day while his cleric finishes healing the damage. While the players won't probably like changes like these at this point of the campaign, you could try talking with them about implementing a wounds system, but in return, you will be slightly more forgiving with the encounters while you guys balance it out. Most reasonable players won't have issues with changes if properly discussed, and in the end, things are roughly as hard/fun as they were before the changes. Don't try to make the game mechanically harder for them, but try to make it more realistic.