I really like the Mortal Wounds rules in ACKS. However, I’ve found that characters can end up with a large number of permanent injuries after extended play. Although realistic, it’s annoying to keep track of and can lead to disappointed players. In response, I’ve added a new 4th-level divine spell – lesser restoration – which replaces sticks to snakes on the standard cleric spell list and speak with plants on the bladedancer spell list.
Lesser restoration allows characters to heal permanent wounds without needing to roll on the Tampering with Mortality table. However, the spell must be cast relatively soon after receiving the wound (two days per caster level). The restore life & limb spell is also modified to allow healing of recent wounds without side-effects.
In practice, this means that mortal wounds suffered by low-level PCs are likely to become permanent, since they probably can’t afford to pay for a lesser restoration. Similarly, characters who suffer mortal wounds while deep in the wilderness may not be able to receive healing in time. As the characters gain experience (and wealth), it becomes easier to remove debilitating wounds. This is intentional, since players have probably grown attached to their characters by this point.
When PCs are high enough level to gain access to restore life & limb, they may also choose to heal old wounds – but will need to roll on the Tampering with Mortality table. Most of the time, characters are better off accepting small permanent wounds (scars, lost figures, damaged knees and hips) because it’s not worth the risk of side-effects.
Under the ACKS Heroic Fantasy eldritch magic rules, I’d probably add lesser restoration as a 5th-level white magic spell.
Lesser Restoration *
Range: touch (120’)
This spell is a lesser version of restore life & limb. It cannot bring someone back from the dead, but can heal one permanent wound – such as a lost limb, disfiguring scar, or shattered spine (see the Mortal Wounds table in Chapter 6). The injury must be reasonably fresh; no longer than two days old per caster level. For example, an 8th-level caster can heal a permanent wound that was inflicted 16 days ago.
Because this spell only heals recent injuries, it does not require the recipient to roll on the Tampering with Mortality table.
The reverse of this spell is dismember. Except as noted above, it is identical to the 3rd level arcane spell as described in the ACKS Player’s Companion.
Restore Life & Limb *
Range: touch (120’)
This spell restores life to a deceased creature (excluding creatures which are not truly alive, such as constructs, elementals, and undead). The caster can raise a creature that has been dead for no longer than one day per caster level. For example, a 9th level caster can bring a character back to life that has been dead for nine days. However, this spell cannot bring back a creature that has died of old age, lost its head, or had its body cremated.
Despite this spell’s beneficial results, tampering with the body and soul is never without risk. Each time a character is restored to life by this spell, he must roll on the Tampering with Mortality table in Chapter 6 and apply these results.
Because it repairs even lethal damage and regrows flesh and bone, this spell can also heal a character of all permanent wounds. Recent wounds (less than two days per caster level) are repaired without risk to the recipient, but using this spell to heal older wounds requires the recipient to roll on the Tampering with Mortality table. To avoid unwanted side-effects, The caster can choose not to heal old injuries.
If restore life & limb is ever cast on an undead monster, the monster must save versus Death or be instantly destroyed.
The reverse of this spell, finger of death, creates a death ray that will kill any one creature unless a save versus Death is made.