Edit (19/10/10): Modified fatigue to affect skill checks
In a recent article, I commented on the shortcomings of healing surges as a player resource, and how I felt existing patches to be lacking. Today I present a house rule I’ve been tinkering with that intends to allow characters to keep fighting after they run out of surges, though at a significant disadvantage.
The following house rule extends the healing section in Player’s Handbook, p.293. (and its equivalent in the Rules Compendium - can’t give a page reference since I don’t own the book).
Running out of surges
When you would be allowed to spend one or more healing surges and regain hit points, if you are out of healing surges and not fatigued, you can choose to regain that many hit points instead. If you do, you become fatigued until you take an extended rest.
When you would be allowed to spend one or more healing surges and regain hit points, if you are out of healing surges and fatigued, you can choose to regain that many hit points instead. If you do, you become weakened and grant combat advantage until the end of your next turn. You cannot do this while weakened.
- Can’t run
- -2 to attack rolls
- -2 to skill checks and ability checks
- -2 to defenses against attacks with combat advantage.
The rule above allows DMs to plan for long adventuring days without having the players accidentally forced into an untimely long rest. The intention is that fighting when out of surges is possible and somewhat effective, but not desirable. Inevitably, some characters will be affected more by fatigue than others - a Warlord, for example, could Commander’s Strike all day long regardless by it. Nevertheless, even if a character can somehow minimize the impact of the penalty to hit and the occasional weakening, the defense penalties should still prove painful enough.
I have attempted to cover as many loopholes as possible with the wording, but it is very likely that something has slipped through. As far as I know, this rule allows for fair use of healing potions (which would grant the same number of HP), and prevents exploits related to expending surges you don’t have for non-healing purposes. Any insight on possible improvements would be appreciated.