Healing Surges (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Author: Ghostwheel (talk)
Date Created: August 26, 2009
Status: Complete
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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Healing Surges

Healing surges allow in-combat healing to be more potent, and allow a party to continue on for longer periods of time.

Characters with this variant have a number of "healing surges" per day. Whenever a healing surge is activated as outlined below, a character gains 25% of their health rounded down.

Characters have a number of healing surges per day equal to 4 + one-half their hit die + their Constitution modifier. In the case of multiclass characters, they use the hit die of the class in which they have the most levels. If they have two or more classes that are equal and of which they have the most levels in, they use the higher hit die for the purpose of determining their number of healing surges per day.

For example, a Rogue 2 / Wizard 3 with 10 Constitution would get 6 healing surges per day. Should they take another level of Rogue, it increases to 7 per day due to the Rogue's higher hit die.

Healing surges may be activated whenever a character is the target of an ability or item that heals an amount at least equal to the character's HD (but not one that simply grants fast healing). When this occurs, the target may choose to spend a healing surge to gain extra health equal to 25% of their maximum HP on top of the healing gained from the spell.

For example, if Rodgar the Fighter has a maximum of 100 HP and was the target of a Cure Light Wounds of CL 5, Rodgar would gain 25+1d8+5 hit points if he expended a healing surge.

Spells that heal over time can activate the healing surge only on the first round during which the spell is in effect (if they heal more than the target's HD total that round).

One exception is Heal and its upgrade Mass Heal which allow characters to activate two healing surges at once.

Every three combat encounters (as defined by the DM), characters regain a single Healing Surge, up to their maximum per day.

Under this variant, healing surges are meant to be the main source of healing a character has. Thus, any healing or gain in HP applied to a character (including Regeneration, Fast Healing, and anything else that modifies HP positively) cannot heal a character over 1/2 his total HP while out of combat unless it triggers a healing surge.

Note: This variant is meant to be used in conjunction with the Taking Stock variant. When characters take stock and spend a healing surge at the same time, it is known as a Second Wind. The number of times one can gain a Second Wind is limited according to what kind of armor one wears, and one cannot take an extra Second Wind even if one can take stock again during an encounter if one has reached the limit.

  • Characters without armor or in light armor may gain a second wind once per encounter.
  • A character in medium or heavy armor may gain a second wind twice per encounter, and may take stock once per encounter as swift action.

When using this rule, another character may activate someone's Second Wind through a DC 15 heal check, even if they're dying, though this counts as their second wind and doesn't allow them to take stock again to activate it once more themselves.

Expanded Healing Surges

More than just HP, healing surges exemplify a character's deepest reserves, and allow heroes to fight off even the worst of effects with time, as follows; none of the following uses of healing surges heal any actual damage to HP.

  • After one minute of rest, a character may spend a healing surge to gain another save against one of the conditions listed below or the effects of one spell, supernatural, or spell-like ability with the duration of 1 or more rounds, but not one whose duration is instantaneous or permanent. If this is a spell, supernatural, or spell-like ability, it must be targeted. The effects of this condition, spell, supernatural, or spell-like ability end on that character, but if others are affected by it as well, its effects are unabated for them. If no save is normally allowed, the DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 the original creature's HD + their relevant ability modifier.
    • Conditions: Blinded, Confused, Cowering, Dazed, Dazzled, Deafened, Entangled, Exhausted, Fatigued, Fascinated, Frightened, Nauseated, Panicked, Paralyzed, Petrified, Shaken, Sickened, Stunned. (Fatigue and Exhausted can't be remove if their source is a lack of sleep.)
  • After ten minutes of rest, a character may spend a healing surge to heal one point of ability damage.
  • After ten minutes of rest, a character may spend two healing surges to heal one point of ability drain.
  • After one hour of rest, a character may spend four healing surges to remove one negative level.



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Ghostwheel's Homebrew (347 Articles)
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AuthorGhostwheel +
Identifier3.5e Variant Rule +
RatingUndiscussed +
TitleHealing Surges +