GURPS101: I Got All the Heals


Been a lot of chatter about the Healing advantage on the forums lately and I always seem to end up in the discussion so I thought I might expound on this a bit on my blog. So…Healing…how does it break down?

Healing as Pieces Parts
So what does Healing do and how does it do it?

  • Requires you Concentrate for one second and a make a IQ roll. Failure means your subject isn’t healed and you lose 1d FP. Critical failure results in 1d damage to your subject and you lose 1d FP.
  • Restore 2 HP per 1 FP you spend. Even a single HP will stop any bleeding. By taking a penalty for your roll (see below) and healing all lost HP you can restore a crippled limb.
  • Remove a disease by making a IQ roll with a penalty determined by the GM. Given example in the Basic Set is +1 for a “common cold” and up to -15 for something like AIDS. The FP cost is twice the penalty.
  • Healing only works on your own race and “similar races” (e.g., all humanoid races in Dungeon Fantasy if you are human).
  • You cannot heal or cure diseases that you are suffering from.

Associated Penalties:

  • -2 if your subject is unconscious.
  • -3 per successful healing of the same type on a particular subject (cumulative). This lasts for 24 hours since the most recent healing.
  • -6 to repair a crippled (but still intact) limb.
  • -1 to -15 depending on the severity of disease (GURPS Powers: Divine Favor, p. 15 has a chart on diseases and what their penalty might be)

Canon Healing Special Modifiers
Here is a short list of modifiers for Healing and where they can be found and a description of when you might need them. Reduced Fatigue Cost (p. B108) and Reliable (GURPS Powers, p. 109) are going to be useful for competent healers even though they are not particular to Healing. Ranged (p. B107) is also useful for characters who can restore others without actually touching them and along with Area Effect (p. B101) can help characters heal multiple subjects at once.

  • Affects Self (Enhancement; GURPS Powers, p. 51): Lets you heal yourself.
  • Affliction Only (Limitation; GURPS Powers, p. 51): You can only neutralize ongoing afflictions.
  • Capped (Limitation; GURPS Powers, p. 51): You can only heal a maximum amount of HP by having a cap on the amount of FP you can spend.
  • Cure Affliction (Enhancement; GURPS Powers, p. 51): Lets you neutralize ongoing afflictions.
  • Disease Only (Limitation; GURPS Basic Set, p. 59): You can only cure diseases.
  • Empathic (Limitation; GURPS Powers, p. 51): You can take on the damage, diseases, or afflictions of a subject instead of healing them outright.
  • Faith Healing (Enhancement; GURPS Basic Set, p. 59): Lets you heal anyone your gods/ancestor spirits/totem deem worthy.
  • Fatigue Only (Enhancement; GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers, p. 31): Lets you heal FP instead of HP.
  • Injuries Only (Limitation; GURPS Basic Set, p. 59): You can only cure HP damage.
  • Own Race Only (Limitation; GURPS Basic Set, p. 59): You can only heal your own race – no similar races.
  • Restore Limb (Enhancement; GURPS Psionics Powers, p. 14): Lets you regrow a lost limb (not just crippled).
  • Xenohealing (Enhancement; GURPS Basic Set, p. 59): Lets you heal things other than your own race.

New Modifiers for Healing
Some new modifiers I’ve posted on the forums or use in my own game:

  • Affects the Dead: You can repair dead bodies and undead for +50%. For +300% you can attempt to raise the dead by healing them of lost FP. If you bring their HP total to 0 or above and they make a HT roll (or a roll against your IQ and any levels of Reliable, whichever is higher), they’re alive again. This is a form of Cosmic. An alternate way to produce the same results might be using Resurrection (GURPS Powers, p. 100) as a alternative ability.
  • Based on Subject’s FP: If your Healing is powered by the subject’s own FP (a common trope in fiction!) then this is a +20% modifier. The subject must be either willing or helpless (and inflicts a additional -2 penalty above and beyond the normal -2) and their FP can never go below 0 FP. If you can switch between using their FP and your own this costs +40% instead. Add a +10% modifier if your subject’s FP can go to up to -1xFP (but no further!)
  • Baneful Healing: Your Healing inflicts a noxious and lasting condition on subjects who are healed (who must be willing or helpless!). Price this as a Backlash (see GURPS Powers, p. 104) at half cost. For example, if every time you heal someone they suffer from Moderate Pain then this would be “Healing (Baneful Healing, Moderate Pain, -10%) [27].” If it can be used as a attack – add a linked Affliction (at the +10% level) if the Affliction must be used every time you heal someone with “Accessibility, only on Healed targets, -20%.” If you don’t have to use it every time, use the +20 version of Link.
  • Heals Lingering or Unhealing Damage: THis allows a character to heal damage that would otherwise require natural healing or some other means his advantage could not normally replicate. For example, a Toxic attack with “Cosmic, Unhealing Damage, Only Divine Healing” could be cured by someone without the Divine or Faith Healing modifier on his trait if he had this modifier. This is +50% for one or the other or +100% for both.
  • Heals Unliving: You can heal objects and other forms of unliving, inanimate matter instead of living eings like the character. This costs +0% if you can only restore unliving matter or +100% if you can heal living and unliving matter.
  • No Penalty: You ignore the -3 penalty for repeated Healing attempts within 24 hours. This is +100% and is comparable to two levels of Decreased Immunity (see GURPS Psionic Powers, p. 21). This is a form of Cosmic. If no other forms of supernatural healing in the setting have this penalty then the GM can remove it and call it a “feature” if he so wishes.
  • Psychiatric Healing: You can temporarily alleviate someone’s mental maladies. This costs +50% and requires a IQ roll at a penalty equal to the cost of the disadvantage(s) “healed” divided by 5. Success indicates that they can ignore the effects of their illness for one hour per point by which you succeed your margin, afterward it affects them normally. Extended Duration (p. B105) can be added to Healing to increase this time. If the GM allows, Permanent Duration may be possible. If using the Stress and Derangement rules from GURPS Horror p. 141), this allows you to restore 2 points of Stress per 1 FP spent and 1 point of Derangment per 5 FP spent.
  • Restore Fatigue: Like Fatigue Only (see above), but you can heal FP as well as HP. +100%.

Example Build: All-Heal
From a forum post I did a while back (and reposted here for posterity).

All-Heal: Healing ( Affects Self, +50%; Cure Affliction +60%; Heals Lingering or Unhealing Damage, +100%; No Penalty, +100%; PM, -10%; Reduced Fatigue Cost 5, +100%; Reduced Time 1, +20%; Reliable 10, +50%; Xenohealing, anything animate, +100%) [201], Use your IQ+10 to heal someone of 10 HP or cure Sepsis (-2 to roll) or Polio (-4 to roll) without spending any FP (see GURPS Powers: Divine Favor, p. 15) or heal crippled limbs that have been damaged by up to 8 HP with only a -6 penalty to the IQ roll. Additionally, it has no -3 penalty to heal subjects multiple times, can heal even normally unhealing attacks, affect any animate subject, and do it as a free action (you would still need to touch your subject).

Powering It Up:

  • For every 6 points you put into the ability, you add a additional 2 HP you can heal at a time or make it easier to heal diseases. This is adding a level of Reduced Fatigue Cost (+20%/level). See p. B108.
  • By adding the Ranged (+40%) and Increased Range, LOS (+40%) enhancements you can now affect anything you can see. This would cost 24 points. (p. B107) for Ranged and GURPS Power-Ups 4 (p. 15) for Increased Range, LOS.
  • For 30 points you no longer have to make a die roll as long as your effective roll is above a 3. Assuming a IQ of 10 you can now cure AIDS with no roll. This is Cosmic, No die roll required, +100%. see p. B103, GURPS Powers (p. 103), or GURPS Power-Ups 4 (p. 6)
  • For 15 points you can now affect everyone within 2 yards of you with a single roll. For every 15 points spent you double your radius. You however must multiple the radius in yards by the FP cost. So if you heal everyone in a 2-yard radius 5 HP, you’d pay nothing, but if you healed them 10 HP, you’d need to spend 5 additional FP (GURPS Powers, p.100). This is Area Effect at +50% per level. See p. B102.
  • For 24 points you can make someone’s severed limb regrow, this incurs a additional -2 to your IQ roll and 2 additional FP. This is the Restore Limb enhancement (GURPS Psionic Powers, p. 13).
  • For 41 points you can bring back the dead! This is use the Resurrection ability from GURPS Powers (p.100) and making your All-Heal ability a Alternate Ability of it. This will need to be adjusted up or down depending on your ability.

Picking Over the Bones
Playing a healer is one of my favorite roles as a player and one major NPCs often fulfill in my campaigns. Being the healer in a campaign is more than just being a “healbot” – they often have diverse roles and can be extremely rich characters when played right. The Healing advantage is just one (supernatural) way of doing that. It does have some “legacy” problems (like the -3 penalty to uses which is ingrained in the basic magic set and thus in this advantage), but that’s easily remedied. All in all it’s a versatile advantage that can be modified and made to do many things it otherwise could not.

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  1. This is yet another case in which, after a player asked me for something, I thought: well, let's see if someone has already done the hard work and posted it somewhere… I end up finding a post in your blog. Thanks! Very useful.


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