It can be fun to delve into controversial topics in the tabletop RPG space. And what better way to wallow in these chats like a pug in mud than dropping my own brand of wisdom with some player options to back it up? That’s what was going through my mind when I noticed an article that caused a little bit of noise on Twitter not too long ago. It seems that the Game of Dragons folks are working on revamping their alignment system. Devils don’t all have to be evil, they say.
You know that I can be a bit of an alignment absolutist. When I saw that headline, I started cooking up a little story about a mad scientist and his captive devil. Something about a debate on whether outsiders are truly sentient, a bit of angel blood transfusion, throw in some body horror with a medical motif, and maybe a few other things worthy of their own spicy content tags. But I decided to pump the breaks this time. Mix it up with something a little less monstrous and a little more medicinal.
Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the blog that keeps it faithful to the flavor while not too afraid to take a swing at the mechanics. Today I’ll be entertaining a last-minute deviation from my usual grim affairs by presenting an alternative means of battlefield healing. But first, let me set the mood.
Majari’s wooden blade comes down over the shoulder of the well-worn training dummy, sending a sharp snapping sound through the air and a flash of pain through his muscles. His fingers maintained their grip on the hilt despite his body’s protests.
The training sword struck again, beads of sweat dripping from his flexing arms after impact. He allowed a himself that little flex. A curling of the toes. A twitch of the left eye. Anything to break the repetition.
The voice of his trainer wasn’t helping with that. In fact, her cadence was as numbing to the mind as the drills were to his body. Good for focusing on the task at hand, no doubt, but it clashed with the question bouncing around his brain with an intensity that only grew with each strike.
“Again. Your stance is faltering.”
She noticed. She always noticed. Majali’s legs were turning to jelly, and his arms weren’t far behind. Even worse than that was his focus. “I don’t get it.” He huffed between swings. “We’ve been at this all day.” Again. “I came here asking.” Again. “For healer’s training.” Again. “What does this have to do…?”
Mercifully, her hand tapped his wrist. It was Lady Lanius’ way of saying he’d had enough. “Iomedae’s chosen are many things. Healers, defenders of the people, keepers of the peace. But we must also inspire those around us to better themselves.”
“I mean, I understand that. Set a good example. Show everyone that there’s a better way. I get it.” By now, Majali’s arms have gone slack at his sides, his eyes half open. He was tired, frustrated, and maybe a little disappointed. “What do sword drills have to do with tending to the wounded?”
Lady Lanius said nothing in response. Instead, she reached to the wall for a training sword of her own. Standing before the training dummy, her powerful form dropping into a stance, she took a moment to center herself before bringing her blade down on her stuffed opponent.
Again. And again. And again. With swings practiced countless times, she fell into a trancelike rhythm. “Join me,” she spoke without breaking her pace, “when you are ready.”
Majali would have groaned out loud in protest, had he not felt the strength slowly returning to his body. Already, he was at his senior’s side, fingers tightening around the hilt of his weapon.
Strangely enough, he wanted to hit the dummy again.
Inspiring Zeal Spell 1
Cast [3 actions] material, somatic, verbal
Range 30 feet emanation
Duration until the end of your next turn
You bolster your allies and lead them by example. You and all allies in the area gain 6 temporary Hit Points. If you successfully Strike a foe or succeed at hitting a foe with a spell that requires an attack roll within the duration of this spell, both you and the effected allies are healed for 4 Hit Points by the inspiring display. As this healing comes from bolstered faith, it works the same for both the living and the undead.
Heightened (+1) The amount of temporary Hit Points increases by 6 and the amount of healing increases by 4
One of the interesting things to come from my indulging in other RPGs is that I get to see how they handle basic roles and mechanics we’ve come to expect. Take healing, for example. We have our usual ways of restoring hit points and our alternative flavor methods of doing the same, but they’re fairly similar. Meanwhile, the Discipline priest from World of Warcraft has a fascinating mechanic where it can heal allies by casting damage spells. I’d be lying if I said they weren’t a big inspiration for this article.
Looking at different means of healing leads to some fun ideas. Pathfinder 2e already has an interesting alternative for anyone with the proper training to be the party healer without having to resort to your typical healbot cleric. It makes you wonder what else could work. A purely preventative healer who uses temp HP? A vampiric aura that heals allies who damage enemies? Maybe a way for the party to split damage among themselves? So many ideas, so little time.
It’s something to think about for later. And speaking of later, come back next time and I’ll show you how to build a fully fleshed out character with just the Equipment chapter.