How many times can we make healing rolls per day?

Not sure if I am missing something but the core rules say that you can make a medical roll using INT + Medicine to heal someone for a number of HP’s equal to the medics Medicine score. Same thing with healing robots using repair.

But how many times per day should this be allowed in combat? Out of combat the core rules say you can get healed once per day… so if someone rolls to heal you during combat - does that count for your once a day healing check?

The RAW is that First Aid is a combat action and thus happens during combat. Outside of combat you need to rely on food/drink/chems or rest.

I usually allow one healing roll per PC once combat is ended to demonstrate that first aid approach but after that its Food/Drink/Chems and rest.

Problem with rules as written is that, technically, even stimpaks are not allowed outside combat - they can only be administered with a ‘Take Chem’ or ‘First Aid’ action, which aren’t available outside combat turns, and chems are not one of the options listed for long-term recovery.

While I can somewhat see first aid being only of use during the heat of battle (and I would probably go with Grendel’s suggestion of allowing one attempt at the end of combat), I just cannot see stimpaks losing their efficacy after shooting stops - I’d really like to hear the designer’s intent behind this totally counterintuitive rule.

NB: From a balancing standpoint, I get that you want to limit healing capabilities, and first aid basically costs nothing but time/actions (which is a scarce resource during combat, but rarely outside of it). But stimpaks do have a cost in caps and encumbrance, so there already are limiting factors present - and using them outside of combat would totally be in line with the way they work in the pc game(s). I just don’t get it…

Stimpacks in this system are used only for treating an injury and HP recovery. They can still be used out of combat to treat an injury/gain HP, but that will be the only benefit. The only true healing in the game is rest and medical treatment to completely remove injuries and the chance to reopen the wounds.

“They can still be used out of combat to treat an injury/gain HP, but that will be the only benefit.” does not make any sense to me in this context, as:

a) Rules as written, stimpaks cannot be used outside of combat - that is the core of my complaint; and

b) I cannot see why anyone would complain that stimpaks are “only” able to heal injuries and HP loss; those are the only wound effects in the game! Well, besides dying, obviously, but a stimpak can also be used to stabilize a dying patient - so it’s not what they do I am complaining about, but when they are effective.

Let’s say I am scavaging an otherwise deserted building in the Wasteland and get injured by a trap - as this is not a combat scene using initiative, actions etc., I would not be able to heal my injury with a stimpak. This does not make any sense to me, and I’d very much like to know the intent behind this rule.

NB: Poison, Illness etc. require different methods, but I am totally ok with that, as I find it both plausible and true to the pc game.

That is an extremely narrow reading of the rules. It isn’t as if there’s a physical first aid button that simply stops working when you’re not in combat.

The problem here is twofold - players seeking to “optimise” the fun out of a game by taking reasonable ideas to absurd extremes (it happens with every game) and GMs seeking limits to keep their players from doing that.

Here’s the thing: at no point in my decades of gaming have I ever seen a system that hard-limited how many times you could make a healing skill test (or equivalent) per day that actually made sense - it was always an arbitrary limit to avoid abuse by players “optimising” the fun out of the game. It just doesn’t work.

Part of the reason it doesn’t work is that real-life healing doesn’t work that way. You can’t just put bandages on someone infinitely forever and fill up some imaginary health meter. There’s a context to healing that the abstractions common to RPGs often can’t handle.

My diatribe aside, let’s try to put this debate to rest:

Within Combat healing is handled by specific actions, such as First Aid and Use Chem. First Aid covers immediate trauma care - dealing with wounds as they happen (If you do it an hour later, and it’s the third time you’ve looked at that injury, it isn’t really first aid) - so naturally it cannot be used outside of combat. Use Chem is listed as a combat action because it’s an action which will occur in combat, and most chems have effects which are short-term boosts that are mostly effective in combat.

Outside of Combat what activities you can perform is largely left at the discretion of the GM based on the prevailing narrative (this is the part that’s being overlooked). You cannot typically perform First Aid outside of an action scene, as noted above, because first aid is done as soon as possible after the injury occurs… but if a character takes damage (say, from a trap or hazard) outside of combat, First Aid is entirely justified (at GM’s discretion). Similarly, there is nothing to prevent you taking Chems outside of combat, but we shouldn’t need to spell that out explicitly - it is a thing the character can attempt to do, so they can do it, but outside of combat, the GM may need to adjudicate some specifics. Long-term care (specifically for injuries, as HP are restored fully by rest) is a matter of a medic assisting a patient’s natural healing, rather than the medic doing specific things themselves.

Stimpaks are an awkward item. Strictly speaking, they just restore HP, but in narrative terms they give a kick-start to the body’s own healing mechanisms. In the midst of combat or other dangerous circumstances, they’re great for first aid - those are the times when you need an immediate boost - but they can’t heal you completely (in a narrative sense - remember, the game mechanics are an abstraction), and sooner or later you just need to have something to eat (that accelerated healing would burn calories), get some fluids, rest and let your body get on with fixing itself: just pumping yourself with Stimpaks can’t be healthy. This is why the bulk of healing out of combat comes through food, drink, and rest.

Mechanically speaking, Stimpaks are most useful in combat. They provide either a small instant boost of health (or treating an injury) as a minor action, or a much-enhanced First Aid action. Food can’t be consumed during a fight, and drinks can be but as a major action instead (but most drinks you’re probably drinking for the other benefits - only Nuka-Cola Quantum and Refreshing Beverages provide better healing than a Stimpak in combat).

Outside of combat, only the most basic food items - raw fruit and vegetables, the most common forms of raw meat, most pre-war preserved foods, the kinds of things you can scavenge easily - provide less healing than a stimpak. If you can stop, set up a cook fire, and cook something simple, it’ll almost always provide more healing than a stimpak can. And, at the end of the day, six hours of sleep restores all your HP and lets you test to heal injuries (which is easier if you treated them with Stimpaks earlier). As long-term medical care is added onto rest, it only cares about injuries, because a character who has rested already has all their HP back.

In summary:

  • There’s no actual limit on the number of times you can make healing rolls per day; the limit is based on context. You can attempt a First Aid action as many times as you like in combat, and at GM’s discretion (typically after taking damage) out of combat, and Stimpaks can be used as part of any of those with no limit other than your number of Stimpaks.
  • Long-term medical attention is technically an assist on a character’s normal END + Survival tests to heal injuries when they rest; it is not a separate healing test. Stimpaks don’t heal injuries, they just treat them (and treated injuries are easier to heal)
  • Stimpaks are not useful for long-term care (because if you’re getting medical attention, you’ve already rested and got your HP back, and you’re already healing injuries, so treating them is redundant).
  • Outside of combat, using a stimpak to regain HP is less efficient than eating in most circumstances. It’s allowable at GM’s discretion, but food and rest will restore HP outside of combat much more effectively.
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First, let me thank you for taking the time to give such a comprehensive explanation - I really appreciate your work on 2d20 and ongoing customer support. But I guess we have somewhat different expectations when it comes rules texts:

I agree that GM’s discretion always applies, and context is important. And this is exactly the point of my complaint: As Fallout is not based on and thus, supposedly, does not ‘model’ reality, but a computer game, I think ‘common sense’ works differently here - and I am of the decided opinion that rules should be clear and concise enough that a GM gets the needed context. Is the stimpak rule meant to limit players’ who might otherwise abuse them? Is it to model the computer game? Is it to model some ‘reality’ that most of our shared imaginings are based on? I have no idea, especially when first coming upon Fallout through the 2d20 rpg, and thus I think it is the corebook’s task to spell out such considerations more explicitly.

In my opinion, if the indie school of rpg game design has taught us one thing, it is that rules benefit from explicating core concepts and the intentions behind them, even (or rather especially) when everyone thinks they are common knowledge/sense. And in this one regard, I think Fallout 2d20 falls flat - there are some parts that are clearly inspired by the pc game, others that build upon its 2d20 rpg heritage, and as your “diatribe” shows, even some considerations of verisimilitude with our reality. Does it work without your clarifications? Yes, absolutely. But I think 2d20 rpgs in general and Fallout in particular suffer from ambiguous and even inconsistent wrtiting, and pointing out those perceived faults only serves to better them as technical documents, in the long run - as evidenced by current games compared to earlier ones. YMMV.

A major factor here is that “The Stimpak Rule” isn’t a hard absolute rule. It’s an interpretation you’ve come to. You’ve decided to presume that things are stricter and more absolute than is necessarily the case.

And, as my post points out… I’m not entirely sure what you think you’re losing out on because of this supposedly unbreakable rule: it’s 50 caps for 4HP restored, and the biggest advantage (speed of use) is irrelevant outside of combat. You get more HP for less cost from grilled radroach.

The only circumstance that doesn’t cover is treating injuries, and, well, if your GM is such stickler for RAW that they won’t let you take a First Aid action outside of combat when you’ve got one or more untreated injuries, then you should probably find a new GM.

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“I cannot see why anyone would complain that stimpaks are “only” able to heal injuries and HP loss”

Let’s be clear that I wasn’t complaining at all. I was only pointing out that the injury would still exist, if the location takes another hit, the injury could be reopened. The only thing that removes this possibility is rest.

I usually do First Aid during combat as per the rules, one First Aid roll immediately after combat and if something happens outside combat I allow one roll to simulate that immediate nature of First Aid and it works pretty great.

You use ‘stickler to RAW’ as a derogatory term, and I think this is part of my problem with your approach. I think rulebooks should be used as written, except in special circumstances - otherwise, why bother designing and writing them down? You say the stimpak rule is not " a hard absolute rule" - but then, which rule is? Of course, a rulebook cannot cover every possibility and GMs have to adapt rules for their own game, but in my opinion those adaptations should be made based on the design principles of the game as much as possible. And for that, I would like more guidance from the rulebook - you have enough experience with Fallout 2d20 to easily tell what constraints should not be tampered with, but that’s not necessarily the case for new players like me. Besides, more concise rules would probably not put off old hands that are used to do their own rulings, but help those like me that want a bit more guidance.

But I guess this is just not the way you view and write games, which might explain some of the difficulties I have with the 2d20 line. That’s a shame, because I really like most of the games’ settings, but sometimes things just do not fit, and it is better to look elsewhere. I guess the loss is mine in this case. :wink:

Oh, and I want to apologise for probably coming across a bit rude at times - I feel quite strongly about this topic, and not being a native speaker does not help, either. But I really do appreciate you taking your time to discuss topics like this and want to thank you for your answers here and on other social media - I just wish more of those would make it into the books before going to print. :slight_smile:

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The best advice for most games is to try what feels right. Just be clear to your players that you’re trying something new/different and things may change or revert as needed for the fun of everyone (including the GM) at the table.

As a quick rule of thumb, I’d consider healing out of comabt like that :

  • not taken damage since you last first aid, no new first aid as you’re already patched up
  • taken damage since : one test allowed to patch up tha tfres hdamage (not matter how many times you’ve been hurt as fist aid means patching up all your hurts)

Wounds being a special case letting you try to fix each wound ( with increasing difficulty if you fail the roll) - but a roll to fix a wound will not give back HPs if you’ve already been first-aided