|Cory Stafford 29|
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Declarations that in combat healing is not needed or is a waste of time are very tiresome. Perhaps it's true for your game but it's not for mine. I have a very large group (6-8 players, 2 animal companions plus a conjuration wizard that reliably litters the battlefield with summons) which makes channeling insanely more efficient than many other options available to my cleric. Having such a large group also means it's difficult for my character to even get into melee range if he were so inclined, which he's not--that's his AC's job.
Why am I so certain that I require channeling and in-combat healing? Because the dark tapestry oracle I played before this cleric could not keep his party members alive. Not even with 2 bards and an inquisitor lending a hand. Each day would begin with us burning the majority of our spells to heal the damage we still had from the encounters the day before, leaving us tapped for buffing, debuffing, summoning or offensive casting.
Now, it is true that the DM for this game has an aversion to CLW wands. It's also true that the optimization of this group is probably on the average side at best and the damage we take might be on the high side but these things only serve to illustrate my point: your game is not my game. Can we stop with the "healing is a waste of time" pronouncements already? It is a serious disservice to those whose games resemble mine more closely than yours and does nothing to improve peoples' opinion of clerics as a class.
Even in the kind of game you are describing, healing in combat is generally* wasting an action that could be better spent preventing more damage from coming in... by killing the thing that can damage you. The only "style" of game where healing is efficient in combat is where the GM is going to fudge the encounter so the monsters do not die until the players lose hp and have to recover. Otherwise this isn't a style issue, it's a math one and the math says healing is inefficient in most situations.
In healing combat is generally not very efficient, but it is not necessarily a waste of time. No matter how good your party is, there will be a time when you need to heal in combat to prevent the death of one or more party members or to keep a member of the party up for one more round that is much better at killing the enemy than you are. Sometimes it's better to channel to get a few party members conscious or to give the barbarian one more round of full attack to make the enemy dead than to cast a buff or damaging spell or even attack yourself.