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Ranged Healing


Advice

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RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

To my knowledge, there have been very few ranged healing spells in the past editions (perhaps none) and none in PF. I ran across a few in a 3.5 sourcebook and was wondering if anyone else had used them and any possible unforseen consequences. They're of course not as powerful as the standard healing spell but have have medium range.

Andoran

riatin wrote:
To my knowledge, there have been very few ranged healing spells in the past editions (perhaps none) and none in PF. I ran across a few in a 3.5 sourcebook and was wondering if anyone else had used them and any possible unforseen consequences. They're of course not as powerful as the standard healing spell but have have medium range.

It's not an answer to your question (obviously), but I think we have to count channel energy as a sort of ranged heal in PF, right?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Indeed it is, although it's not selective. Close wounds (Spell Compendium, p48) is a spell you can import to Pathfinder that certainly isn't broken in the light of channelled healing.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards Subscriber

As far as I know the only ranged healing in core is Channel or the Mass Cure X Wounds spells.

I think the main reason they don't really exist is partly due to clerics in general being a more up close and personal type of caster. If you were to add range I would recommend increasing the spell level by one and keep the range at Close. (So CLW - Ranges would be a level 2 spell.)

The danger of letting the range get to far is you really open up the ability for a hidden healer to cast spells from a couple of hundred feet away by level 10. This could make it harder for both party and DM to deal with a combat threat and his healer being so far apart.


The Mass versions of the Cure spells are ranged healing.

If that and positive energy channeling aren't enough, consider the 3.5 metamagic feat that lets you turn a touch spell into a ray.


Ranged healing removes a reason to move around the battlefield. This further encourages people to stand still and trade full attacks.

For that reason alone, I would be against it. I like a dynamic battlefield.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
But I certainly don't think you'll break your game. You might encourage clerics to turtle up a bit. If I can heal from range, I might as well wear all the armor in the world.

Andoran

Dabbler wrote:
Indeed it is, although it's not selective. Close wounds (Spell Compendium, p48) is a spell you can import to Pathfinder that certainly isn't broken in the light of channelled healing.

Well, yeah, but Selective Channeling is a no-brainer solution to that problem. It's not like clerics have a ton of must-have feats - or at least it never feels that way when I'm cleric-ing.


Oh, and check out Greater Stauts as well. You can cast though it.

And a mystic theurge could use spectral hand to heal people whereever, I believe.

(hopes spell is same as 3.5 version)


I agree with rkraus2. I really think that ranged healing shouldn't be in the game, for the reasons he stated.

Ken

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

war weaver prestige class as cleric. At later levels you can cast cures through your Weave.

And there are feats to make touch attacks ranged, too. You could simply meta a spell using spell research, instead of blowing a feat on the metamagic feat.

==Aelryinth

Cheliax

My ranger uses the cure arrows from the old Masters of the Wild splatbook. They are pretty expensive, but are nice to have is someone goes down and is too far away, or if the cleric is the one that goes down.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

rkraus2 wrote:

Ranged healing removes a reason to move around the battlefield. This further encourages people to stand still and trade full attacks.

For that reason alone, I would be against it. I like a dynamic battlefield.

I'm not certain I'd agree with that assumption, clerics and other healers would be an increasingly important target to shutdown before they can negate the damage the front line is taking. I would think it would encourage more 'break the line' style tactics like flanking and bull rushing to get close to the cleric. The group with the cleric would be trying to keep people away from the healer possibly using feats like Stand Still, Trip, and Step Up. Ranged attacks and ranged defensive spells would become very important as well, healers with wind stance would be highly valued. I would think a non-mobile cleric would get quickly overpowered.

Forgot about the Mass spells, they've been around for a while, but are mid-high level, channel positive energy is a class ability so didnt really count it as a spell, the area factor and limited uses also reduces its effectiveness considerably even with the Selective Channeling feat.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
rkraus2 wrote:

Ranged healing removes a reason to move around the battlefield. This further encourages people to stand still and trade full attacks.

For that reason alone, I would be against it. I like a dynamic battlefield.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
But I certainly don't think you'll break your game. You might encourage clerics to turtle up a bit. If I can heal from range, I might as well wear all the armor in the world.

I disagree - I think ranged healing will encourage mobility because you can afford to get away from your cleric. That said, the main use for it, given that it is less effective than close in healing, is not to keep boosting hit points in the middle of a fight (let's face it, you are best off just not getting hurt) but to stabilise characters that go down and that you cannot reach before they die.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Dabbler wrote:
That said, the main use for it, given that it is less effective than close in healing, is not to keep boosting hit points in the middle of a fight (let's face it, you are best off just not getting hurt) but to stabilise characters that go down and that you cannot reach before they die.

I would guess that it would depend on the amount of resources available, if there's alot of spell slots unspent or a wand is available, negating damage during the fight would be valuable, but as resources dwindle the focus would shift to saving the heals for the highest need and keeping PC's up.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

There's also stabilize which is ranged, and the celestial sorcerer bloodline celestial fire ability, that heals good aligned targets, as ranged healing.


rkraus2 wrote:

Ranged healing removes a reason to move around the battlefield. This further encourages people to stand still and trade full attacks.

For that reason alone, I would be against it. I like a dynamic battlefield.

I like a dynamic battlefield too.

But in my experience, it's always the fighters standing there trading full attacks and the cleric doing the moving around to cast healing. Letting the cleric stand still and cast healing won't change the "trading full attacks" paradigm very much, if at all.

In my opinion, the best thing about making the cleric move into danger to heal his fighters is that, well, he moves into danger. Intelligent monsters will immediately re-target to remove that healer. Instead of pounding on the super-high AC frontline guys, they redirect their focus fire on the lesser-armored healer instead.

From a POV of a DM wanting to challenge the players, and wanting to consume PC resources, getting in some extra hits because the monsters can hit the cleric more easily than the fighter is a good thing.

And then it adds the tactic that the cleric will have to decide whether to endanger himself, or let that fighter go an extra round or two. He'll be asking himself "Do I think the fighter has enough HP left to survive another round or two, or do I need to run in there and save him right now with all those monsters swarming around him?" And if he decides poorly, the encounter challenge can escalate abruptly.


Oh, don't forget the Shield Other spell. It isn't exactly "ranged healing" but it operates at range to let the cleric take half of the damage from the guy he shielded, and the cleric can heal himself anywhere, so effectively, it means the shielded guy is getting "second-hand" healing in the form of damage prvention. At range.


Interesting. I think there's a real difference here between two different play styles.

Ask yourself the following question:

If you are badly hurt, is it your job to get back to the cleric, or is it the cleric's job to get to you?

Andoran

Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
rkraus2 wrote:

If you are badly hurt, is it your job to get back to the cleric, or is it the cleric's job to get to you?

...and if there was ranged healing, is this quandary then moot?

Shield Other as someone pointed out is a fabulous means. It's especially effective when cast by a paladin - who can then fix his half of the damage via swift action lay on hands. Or as the recipient he can do so and allow the cleric to heal his own half wherever he is during the battle. In either case Shield Other involving a paladin is a great combo.

Robert


rkraus2 wrote:

Interesting. I think there's a real difference here between two different play styles.

Ask yourself the following question:

If you are badly hurt, is it your job to get back to the cleric, or is it the cleric's job to get to you?

That depends.

Ask yourself the following question:

If you're protecting vulnerable party members, like mage, clerics, archers, etc., by putting your slow-moving armor-clad body in harm's way, and you abandon that job to run back to the cleric for healing, allowing those vulnerable party members to get swarmed by enemy, shouldn't it have been the cleric's job to get to you instead?

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Celestial blooded sorcerers have a pretty weak ranged healing power that works once/day on good aligned creatures. I think it heals 1d4+1 per every 2 sorcerer levels.

I'd look it up, but I'm lazy like that.

Edit: and too lazy to read the thread in greater detail, since Joel said the same thing a while ago.


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Maybe it's because I am a DM , and not a player, but I think it is _precisely_ when the bruiser has to leave those vulnerable party members exposed because he has to get back to the cleric for healing, that the battle becomes interesting!

I don't want the party to have a full toolbox with a ready answer for every problem. Because when they do, the fight becomes boring.

Ken


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Complete Divine had Reach Spell as a metamagic feat--turns Touch spell into 30' range ray, +2 spell slot.

I think the Hierophant PRC had a class feature that could extend touch spells to 30', then 60'.

The Eldritch Disciple PRC (ComplMage or Arcane, I forget)was a hybrid cleric/warlock, and could burn Turn uses to make their eldritch blasts heal for the same amount of damage they would ordinarily do.

Shadow Lodge

If you don't mind losing some caster levels, dip into Arcane Bloodline Sorcerer or Wizard and take the Familiar as your Arcane Bond. It can deliver touch spells away from you(I used a Raven for this recently, works out decently).


DM_Blake wrote:


If you're protecting vulnerable party members,...

This then is going to depend on party composition and healing rate. If the archer is a fighter in breastplate, then I'm okay with him taking a hit. Likewise the polar bear with bear companion throwing lighting bolts at people. How squishy are the second-line people?

I'm also more likely to fall back to the cleric if the cleric is fragile or slow. More importantly, I'm going to assess the amount of damage I'm taking with the amount of damage I'm doing and the amount of healing I expect.

Sometimes that's worth it, sometimes it's not.

Taldor

Races of Destiny from Wotc had a healing spell called insignia of healing.
While only healing 1d8+CL it could be used very effectively due to its very large range and ability to cure multiple targets. This was often combined with augmented healing and similar feats/magic items to make it a very potent 3rd level spell.


rkraus2 wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:


If you're protecting vulnerable party members,...

This then is going to depend on party composition and healing rate. If the archer is a fighter in breastplate, then I'm okay with him taking a hit. Likewise the polar bear with bear companion throwing lighting bolts at people. How squishy are the second-line people?

I'm also more likely to fall back to the cleric if the cleric is fragile or slow. More importantly, I'm going to assess the amount of damage I'm taking with the amount of damage I'm doing and the amount of healing I expect.

Sometimes that's worth it, sometimes it's not.

I agree, which is why I said "It depends." In any case, it seems to be the best tactic for the PCs to let their tough guys get up front and stay there, trading full-attacks, and leave it up to the cleric to keep them on their feet.

From the PCs' perspective, having the full-attacking damage-dealing fighter drop out, take an AoO, move back to the cleric, get healed, move back into position, and effectively get only one attack in those two rounds (while taking one AoO) is a sub-optimal tactic. Keeping him up there swapping full attacks, dishing out his high damage output, and dropping enemies, makes much more sense.

From the DM's perspective, anything I can do to disrupt the optimal PC tactics is a Very Good Thing.

So, I like drawing the healer up into melee proximity (if nothing else, it reduces range penalties when the enemy axe-throwers turn that cleric into a pin-cushion, or maybe even puts him into tumble range of some of the more agile enemies, or even in reach range if they have reach).

Those are the reasons why I prefer not to have ranged healing available to my PCs. As for the lack of ranged helaing altering the PCs tactics by getting the fighters to run back to the healer, I've never really seen that tactic used by PCs in any game I've DMed or played, so I think it's a moot point.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Doctor Smite wrote:

Races of Destiny from Wotc had a healing spell called insignia of healing.

While only healing 1d8+CL it could be used very effectively due to its very large range and ability to cure multiple targets. This was often combined with augmented healing and similar feats/magic items to make it a very potent 3rd level spell.

Greater Insignia was awesome. You could heal an entire ARMY with that spell.

The Greater Status spell is also awesome, but higher level.

I repeat that War Weaver levels are awesome from a heal/buff standpoint, also.

==Aelryinth


Unless I'm missing sumething about the selective channel feat, channeling positive energy is likely one reason that ranged healing spells are missing. Unless your party is spread out over more than 60 ft., they're not really needed. The cleric at 1st level (with the feat) can cast almost the equivalent of cure light wounds mass (it gives a few less HP)4 to 7 times a day. That's way more healing power than they used to have in 3.5.
I've been playtesting some encounters for a PF campaign I'm going to GM starting this weekend and that ability can make a party 2 or 3 times tougher than they would otherwise be. That is, of course, assuming the cleric gets to stand back and channel several times during the combat.

Tim

Cheliax

Bursting in combat can be risky even with selective channel. With the number of targets you can exclude now being tied to your charisma bonus, it requires either a high charisma or a few enemies in the fight.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Well, I'm convinced that in theory it would probably limit movmement in combat more than help it and learned there are several ways to get ranged heals that I hadnt considered. I may try it in a random encounter sometime just to see how it plays out though. Thanks for the insight guys. :)


.... Wondrous Item that lets you use Spectral Hand at will. Well worth the cost and the healers can heal from range and still do their thing.

Andoran

Haven't seen this mentioned yet but the metamagic feat Reach Spell (complete divine) allows a touch spell to be fired as a ranged touched attack within 30-ft. for a +2 spell level increase. This will let a healer turn any of their cure spells into a short ranged heal.


Design Wise this Could and Should Be handled with an archetype for the Oracle and Cleric Classes, The trade off Is a simple One, Lose Armor Proficiency and Shield Proficiency, To gain the Divine reach Ability built in to the class, Starting at 15 Feet, 30 at 5th and 60 at 10th or something of the like.

The reasoning behind this alteration is that the Character is no longer required to go into combat Thus should not need any Armor, As mobility becomes a higher priority, Having to maintain line of sight with their target. Effectively turning the Character into a healing Arcane caster.

Not sure why the Development team Has not put something like this together, I am waiting for an Ultimate book though focused on the cleric Druid and Oracle to come out, that Actually gives us something more than additional Domains and Mysteries. Really Compared to Most of the other classes the Healers feel like they have gotten the short end of the stick up to this point


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

My brother came up with this, spell storing on like a hand cross bow. You do 1d4+1dmg but you heal it back


Now there's Reach Spell from the APG, so that pretty much takes care of this problem.


There are ways to get ranged healing. Gravewalker witches can cast any heal spell at range using their poppet. Spectral hand spells allow any UMD skilled healer to cast any heal spell at range. Witches in general can use their familiar to heal. A cleric with a single level dip in wizard or sorcerer can use their familiar, or can cast spectral hand without a UMD check.

If healing at range were truly broken, there would be a lot more munchkin builds with the ability.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Liquidsabre wrote:
Haven't seen this mentioned yet but the metamagic feat Reach Spell (complete divine) allows a touch spell to be fired as a ranged touched attack within 30-ft. for a +2 spell level increase. This will let a healer turn any of their cure spells into a short ranged heal.

Or, the Pathfinder version, APG, p. 168:

Reach Spell (Metamagic)
Your spells go farther than normal.
Benefit: You can alter a spell with a range of touch, close, or medium to increase its range to a higher range category, using the following order: touch, close, medium, and long. A reach spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than the spell’s actual level for each increase in range category. For example, a spell with a range of touch increased to long range uses up a spell slot three levels higher. Spells modified by this feat that require melee touch attacks instead require ranged touch attacks.
Spells that do not have a range of touch, close, or medium do not benefit from this feat.

So for the cost of a feat, any touch spell you want, including all the touch healing spells, can be changed to close range at a +1 spell level adjustment. Add metamagic rods to taste.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As mentioned spectral hand can be used with any touch range spell of 4th level or lower (to include inflict spells, several buffs, etc.). It's mostly seen with mystic theurges, but investing in Use Magic Device and a wand of spectral hand is not a bad idea for a cleric/oracle (alternately, a custom wondrous item that creates a spectral hand effect on command is only 2,160 gp per use per day market price).


The witch can lern a feat with which her hexes affect a secon target up to 30ft away in addition to her normal target.

Later she can lern a feat which let's her use a hex an additional time on a target even if it's a once per day hex. Both work with the healing hex.

That coupled with the gravewalker's poppet makes the withch a very competent ranged healer.


Then there is glorious heat.
After the errata it doesn't heal much but enough to stabilize a dying companion.


riatin wrote:
To my knowledge, there have been very few ranged healing spells in the past editions (perhaps none) and none in PF. I ran across a few in a 3.5 sourcebook and was wondering if anyone else had used them and any possible unforseen consequences. They're of course not as powerful as the standard healing spell but have have medium range.

I've seen a Divine Hunter built primarily as a support character, taking full advantage of their ability to heal at range. They're the only ones I know who get it as a class feature, though, and even then its uses are limited.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

There are ways to get ranged healing. Gravewalker witches can cast any heal spell at range using their poppet. Spectral hand spells allow any UMD skilled healer to cast any heal spell at range. Witches in general can use their familiar to heal. A cleric with a single level dip in wizard or sorcerer can use their familiar, or can cast spectral hand without a UMD check.

If healing at range were truly broken, there would be a lot more munchkin builds with the ability.

Heh - except we don't see a lot of optimized support characters, do we?


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Hmm...do you have to make a ranged touch attack roll to heal a willing target with Reach Spell? Maybe using touch and flat-footed penalties? Or just AC 10?


blahpers wrote:
Hmm...do you have to make a ranged touch attack roll to heal a willing target with Reach Spell? Maybe using touch and flat-footed penalties? Or just AC 10?

In our games we waive the attack roll on a willing subject. By RAW you may have to make a ranged touch attack. I don't really care what RAW says about this, frankly. At any rate, you should be able to negate any Dex or Dodge AC bonus for this sort of "attack".


Probably yes on the ranged touch attack, by RAW -- unless you argue that the spell does not require a melee touch attack when used on willing targets, and therefore should not require a ranged touch attack when used on willing targets. I think that's a reasonable RAW argument in this case.

Cheliax

i always make the touch attack any way. Double damage on crits after all. 1 in 20 chance to heal double as much


Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Name Violation wrote:
i always make the touch attack any way. Double damage on crits after all. 1 in 20 chance to heal double as much

Hope you aren't using the Critical Fumble deck. "Oops, I fumbled my ray. You get healed for 1d8+8 and are sucked into the astral plane."

Cheliax

blahpers wrote:
Name Violation wrote:
i always make the touch attack any way. Double damage on crits after all. 1 in 20 chance to heal double as much
Hope you aren't using the Critical Fumble deck. "Oops, I fumbled my ray. You get healed for 1d8+8 and are sucked into the astral plane."

actually we do. Ever taken an eye out with a wand of cure light wounds? Hilarious.

Cheliax

alternatively you can always take skill focus(any knowledge), pick up eldritch heritage(arcane bloodline) to pick up a familiar that can deliver touch spells for you. i reccomend a thrush, fly speed 40. then take improved familiar at 11th and nab a silvanshee which has lay on hands as a pally equal to your effective level for your familiar (your level -2 in this case)

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