I’ve mentioned before how weird the hit point system from role-playing games really is when you think about it, and I know I’m not the only one. Hit points basically keep track of how close to death a character is, but someone with one hit point is just as effective at doing things as someone at full hit points. You’d think they’d be weaker, but that’s not how it works.
Many games do feature status ailments, however, which include everything from poison and paralysis to being transformed into a pig (a hallmark of Final Fantasy IV).
Health can be restored through herbs in the Dragon Quest series and potions in the FF games. As for curing ailments, the DQ games have different items and spells for different conditions. That appears to have been the case early on in the FF games, but it seems that they’ve largely switched to all-purpose potions and spells to remove all such problems at one time. The main spell in this respect is Esuna, which apparently doesn’t mean anything in particular.
The wiki article suggests that it might be short for “eternal status cure” in Japanese, which would make sense. Oddly, The 7th Saga has a character named Esuna, who specializes in magic.
Sounds like there should be a connection there, but if so, I don’t know what it is.
Throughout the FF series, there are elixirs that restore a party member to full hit points and magic power.
One thing I always found odd was that, in FF6, you can often find elixirs inside clocks. Is it common to put things in timepieces? Maybe it is when you don’t have medicine cabinets. And I seem to recall overhearing someone mentioning that they knew someone who kept marijuana inside a clock. Taking these elixirs is another example of how morally ambiguous RPG heroes often are. I can just imagine someone’s child falling ill, so they go to the clock to get the elixir stashed in there, only to find that it had been stolen by some heavily armed vagabonds. Yeah, you could argue that this kid would probably die anyway if your party didn’t kill Kefka, but I’m not sure how well that would hold up in court.
Really, though, it seems that the ultimate healing tool in these games is simply a good night’s sleep. Staying at an inn will totally restore the party’s hit points and magic power, and some games have tents that accomplish the same thing.
Interestingly, the manual for the first FF said that these tents are tiny when you carry them around but grow to full size when placed on the ground, which can also be seen in Tik-Tok of Oz. There’s probably no actual influence there, but you know how I am about finding links like that. A party of adventurers can’t just sleep in the field, though, perhaps because it leaves them open to attacks by wandering monsters. (The tents are presumably enchanted to avoid such things, but I can’t help imagining some villainous henchmen picking up an entire tent and carrying it to their evil overlord.) Oh, and being put to sleep in battle will NOT restore a person’s health, possibly because it isn’t very GOOD sleep.
It’s kind of rare to see a character eating, but when they do, it usually restores at least some of their hit points. I often find myself wishing I lived in a world where sickness and injury could be cured that easily.