Skip to Content

How about auto HP/MP recovery at the end of a battle in RPG?

14 replies [Last post]
larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

In most classic Table top and video game RPG, HP and MP could be seen as the attrition of your expedition. The more you progress, the more points you lose and eventually, you are going to pull back. Since in many RPG, MP can be converted as HP with healing spells, your total attrition is equal to approximately:

HP + ( nb_of_times_healed X healing_spell_strength )

That has the consequence in some RPG of using MP mostly for healing and magic users most of the time hold back their spells for later in case something worst shows up. But it's hard to judge the encounters you are going to get later in the expedition unless you are going down to fight a boss.

So I had an idea to put attrition as a separate concept, and prevent players from holding back their spells since I want magic to be used intensively. The idea is simple:

At the end of combat, all HP and MP are recovered to their maximum.

The amount of HP and MP would be a bit smaller, since you only need to survive a battle, not the entire dungeon. Now that has the consequence of having infinite HP, therefore no attrition. So my idea is that certain stronger attacks(or added effects) would cripple your character which would reduce his max HP for the entire expedition. Draining monsters, could reduce max MP. So you would get a form of attrition over the course of the expedition, but you do not need to hold yourself during battle. You can use your whole MP for the duration of the battle since you know all the monsters you need to fight against.

If there is party spells that last for the duration of the expedition, it would reduce your max MP while the spell is active. So it would reduce the potential you have in each battle. This mechanic would also avoid the bug in Wizardry, where you can skip going to the inn by sending your spell casters at the inn and healing yourself with spells in the dungeon. As for items like healing potions, either they are usable in battles as healing spells, or either they can recover the max HP to reduce the attrition.

How do you like the idea? Did I miss any problem?

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Other ways to get healed

Healing during or after a battle. I always find this a bit imbalanced. Healing is often a miracle to happen.

So, have you ever thought of having the healing effect being proportionate to the health status?

After all, if someone has been bleeding a lot. Healing goes slower.
So, what if health down to 50%, can be healed to 100%.
But 40%, can only go up to 80% with one spell.
25% needs 2 spells for 100%. Effectively, +75% health is twice as costly as +50% health.
10% remaining health would need 3 spells in order to get to 80% health. 4 spells for the 100%.
1% health needs 7 spells to reach 100%.
0% health.... is dead anyway.

I hope you see the logic in this.
I wonder if you can use it for your game though.

Either way, a player will be forced to heal in time. Or else the health might drop below a threshold of no return. That is, if the healing spell also has a cooldown to it.

gamesomuch's picture
Joined: 06/01/2022
other limits on hp and mp

A couple of games came to mind when reading this post:
First was Darklands (1992) which had for each character Endurance and Strength. Lighter attacks that didn't penetrate armour reduced Endurance while stronger penetrating attacks did damage to both Endurance and Strength. After combat Endurance was near fully healed but Strength was not. Restoring Strength required resting for days or using expensive potions. The reduced strength made that character less effective in combat. Okay it's a bit different to what you're suggesting but it's worth looking at for comparison.
Second was Darkest Dungeon and specifically the healing spells in that. Healing spells would only be allowed during combat and this took a precious turn for that spellcaster - an opportunity cost. It's very difficult in that game to restore health back to full so there is attrition. Again worth looking at just for comparison.
Overall I think attrition in RPG games is important to ratchet up the tension and to increase risks as they delve deeper into a quest. But a character or party that pushes itself to the limit (near death) should receive (much) greater rewards than one that plays it safe and returns to base to recover. Darkest Dungeon achieved this better than any other game I can think of.
Another thing to consider is specific bodily injuries such as a broken leg (reduced character speed) or a concussion (reduced MP). This is much harder to keep track of, especially if it's a board game, but can force the character to adapt it's tactics.
But yeah I think you're going in the right direction by a having a smaller pool of HP and MP which recover after each battle. As you've said it encourages magic to be used more intensively and dramatically which makes it far more interesting than simple HP storage.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
This makes me think about a game like Diablo...

Whenever you had little potions left or your inventory is full of unidentified items ... The player uses the "Town Portal" spell and returns to the village to either identify items and/or buy more magic potions (Healing and Magic).

This is one approach. But it is not the only one.

What if you health and magic were restored to 100% AFTER EACH LEVEL?!

This means that the party sets up camp near the exit of the level in preparation to go down to the next level and see what baddies are there. But this REST and time to HEAL makes sense that ALL party members go to 100% HP and MP.

This is another approach. But again there are more.

Another way is to prepare players for the NEXT "Phase" of the levels. Like if you get come to an area which has a lot of Healing Potions and Magical Potions. And various items which may help the player in the next phase of the level.

This means that the level is broken down into several "areas". This reminds me of the Legend of Zelda on the Wii. Not sure about the NES or SNES versions ... but generally speaking the levels restore the player before a BIG battle or an encounter which will require much Health and Magic.

I'm sure there are other ways of doing it too... These are some of my thoughts on the concept of attrition. As with games like Legend of Zelda, it's the OPPOSITE through levels (inverted-attrition???)

Cheers @larienna.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I have "darkest dungeon", I

I have "darkest dungeon", I just did not have the time to play it yet. I guess I'll to explore that game too.

In my case, HP could be seen as stamina, so when you get hit, they are not serious injuries and you can recover easily. Maybe if you lose all your HP you do not die and you could come back at the end of the battle if the rest of the party wins. But my objective if to make characters die often, so I might not use this route.

Else, I was thinking to allow MP recovery in other ways, like draining monsters MP, meditating, etc. But for meditating, it implies that after battle you would meditate and recover everything.

I cannot just recover MP and not HP, because player will auto heal with their spells. So HP implicitly heals too.

Else maybe setting up a camp to rest could auto recover HP/MP. Maybe you can only setup camp is specific areas to avoid camping after each battle. This is an in between solution (You have temporary attrition and permanent attrition). You do not recover every battle, but you can recover often. Maybe camping grounds can be used once per expedition or you need a special item to camp. So you must plan your camping. Or maybe like souls game, camping makes some monsters returns.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Hmm... A thought...

You could maybe do like in Ultima 5: You can rest and heal anytime... But each time you do, you have the choice to set a GUARD. That guard does NOT HEAL nor do they replenish their MPs either. What can happen if you don't SET A GUARD, is that enemies can attack you while you sleep.

So this means while your PARTY MEMBERS are asleep ... The enemies can deal damage until each of your party members "awakens".

The difference with the GUARD is that although HEALING and REGENERATION is stopped, all members are immediately waken by the GUARD and can immediately BATTLE the enemies without suffering "free attacks/wounds".

In addition the ONLY way you could LEVEL UP in Ultima 5 was SLEEPING and being visited by the Ghost of Lord British. He would raise levels and fully HEAL all party members whenever he appeared!

That was very cool... Because sometimes you NEEDED to be "restored" to MAX HP/MP.

Anyhow just something else to think about. Best!

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I played Ultima 4 in the

I played Ultima 4 in the past, I think there was no guard at that time, but effectively you could get attacked. I think they wanted you to find good camping spots.

On BGG, they say that apparently: dragon ages, Legend of Mana, Final Fantasy XIII, and Final Fantasy Tactics use the auto healing technique.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013

Somehow I feel that camping is the way to go.
If the monsters are weak, a player can cover several area's until having to camp.
When monsters are stronger, the player needs to camp at the spot.

Maybe make places where camping is made easier. Like an oasis (Warcraft 3)
But you need to keep monsters comming in every so often. They too want to reach the oasis.
This might create options for the players. Camp at the oasis and use the extra mana for healing and stuff. But staying too long will cause more battle's. Or, camp at a spot where monsters hardly appear.

I wonder though, are players in co-op or racing against each other?

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
It's for a video game, so

It's for a video game, so it's single player. Still, even my new board games ideas are mostly only solo games.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Then your initial idea sounds

Then your initial idea sounds neat.

The player will not have a maximum health after a "rest". But one that is lower due to effects caused in previous battles.

I think you could do the same for the mana?

The question would be: does the player need to get items in stock, before entering a "dungeon"? Or can the items be found in the same place as where the effects are caused?

An increase of the effect might occur when going deeper. While the items can be found less. Something like that.

Or, when pre-purchased. The items needed would simply deplete. It is up to the player to guess what items are needed. And how much is needed.

I don't know if you plan on having limitations on the player, in regards to items they can carry?

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
One problem with item

One problem with item management is that if hold by a character, it's hard to shuffle items between characters. If it's part of a common inventory like in some final fantasy, it is way easier to manage. But it's more abusive to use in battle items directly from the inventory.

So as a compromise, I was maybe thinking that expandable items like potions could be equiped in a certain amount of slots like any other equipment. And that is the only items you can use in battle. Between battles, you can restock from your inventory to your character.

On the other hand, the inventory could have a limit on the number of items, or just no limits. I don't think I want to manage individual item weight like in Skyrim. It's just annoying and complicated. Still, an item limit could be interesting, as it allows having upgrades that increases the limit.

Still, not sure if that limit could be relative to the number of characters. A party of 6 characters would have an inventory 3 times bigger than a party of 2 characters.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Game "Physics" depending on the number of players

I probably steer away from what you have in mind here. And ramble a bit. But maybe you get new idea's.

If you want to limit the number of items per player or hero in a party. Yet, you don't want to have a party of 6 having 3 times more items than a party of 2.

How about looking at the game as if there is a total of a fixed ammount of items for the entire party?
Then divide them up among the party members.

Example: the game is fun when the party has roughly 24 itmes.
An upgrade adds 6 items.
If a 2 player game commences, each member can carry up to 12 items.
And the upgrade adds 3 items for each member.
If a 6 player game commences, each member can carry up to 4 items.
The upgrade would add 0.5 items for each member.

Now, I made that mistake on purpose.
There are ways to get the correct upgrade here, which would be +1.
- The upgrade is much more expensive now. But you need to write more rules for the players. Unless it is a video game, simply program it and tell the players it changes on the number of players.
- The players need to upgrade several times.
- The upgrade was for one player or party member to begin with. And is always +1, regardless of how many items they already can carry. Why??? Because the total ammount of items is 24. And +1 per upgrade would be on top of the total ammount of items.

"The BackPack Hero"
It could be possible that one of the party members puts skill points into what it can carry around. And thus supplies the other party members with items, when needed. Perhaps the backpack hero is specialized in getting better upgrades.

Back to the number of items for the whole party.
If 5 members are present.
Then you would expect 5 items per member.
But you don't have to do this. You could also put them in any order. And divide the 24 over them, with the last member getting the ability to only carry 4 items.
Maybe you want to randomize this a bit, and some members might be able to carry 6 items.
If your idea was only 4 members with 10 items in total, this system works great.
2 members can carry 3 items and 2 members only 2.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I guess I'll have to think

I guess I'll have to think first what is the original purpose of carrying items:

1. Bring expendables to be used during the expeditions
2. Carry loot that was found in the dungeon.
3. Carry key items used by the adventure

That is the usages that I found is I exclude currently equipped weapons.

Key items could be put in a separate pool and take no space at all in the inventory. I have seen this in many game to avoid the burden of managing key items.

Expendables, needs to be carried in limited quantity. I could make it a separate pool by making those expendables equipable and preventing the player to equip new items during the expedition. A bit weird. New expendables could be found as loot too. There is a good reason to limit those items, as it greatly increases attrition potential for expedition or battles.

I want people to bring back loot, but I am not really sure I want to limit the amount of loot the player bring backs. I see no problem in bringing back to the surface an entire armory. Else if there is a unit limit, players will have to decide in the dungeon which equipment is worth bringing back. Do I really want to deal with this while being in the dungeon?

It's more a matter of separating mind set and game play mechanics. I see that item management should be done in a pre and post expedition experience, not something you do during the expedition.

So this is why, for convenience issues, I don't see the interest in limiting the amount of items that could be carried. Or maybe those limits could be lifted or expanded pretty quickly. (item warps, bigger packs, carriers, etc). The number of items per player is mostly for the logic that 1 character should be able to carry less items. But I could have a fixed limit for the entire party since I was already willing to have no limit.

I think that could give unidentified items a purpose. Do you risk keeping in your bag an item that could be worthless.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
My preference

I always loved that I had to plan accordingly with how much items I could carry.

It is a minecraft story of the old.

How much food? Material to craft new items on the spot... or only the tools that would deplete over time as well?
What to loot? What to search for.

This was certainly most fun when 1 food item would fill 1 slot.

These days, you can stack 64 items.
Not only that, but once you have an ender chest and the right diamond pickaxe, you can treat it as an extra safe keep of important items. No need to worry when you die with that, now would it?

So... exploring caves became more of a work, than an adventure...

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Many recent game, like

Many recent game, like Forager, has that concept of having a limited nb of item types, but almost an infinite amount for each of those items.

You can hold let say: Wheat, heal potion, iron and berries. But you can hold any amount of each like 15 wheat, 20 potion, 2000 iron and 5 berries.

I think such structure makes sense in crafting games since you need to accumulate a large amount of resources.

Personally, I would limit the amount of items you bring into the dungeon because you do not want to have 1000 healing potions. But putting a limit on that also restrains the amount of loot you can bring back. Which is not something you want to restrain much.

In theory, I would need 2 pool with different sizes, the pool of items you bring to the dungeon and the pool of items you pull out of the dungeon. Thematically, it makes no sense to have 2 separate pool unless the loot you find magically warp itself to the city. A bit like torchlite where your familiar can bring back loot to the city.

I could also make all loot unidentified. So that if you do find a potion, not knowing what it is would make it very risky to use. So it's like having indirectly a pool of items you pull out from the dungeon.

Else I would need specialized item slot in your inventory. Like, unlimited inventory, but you have 8 potion spots. You cannot bring more or hold more at once.

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut