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Misconceptions about not healing in battle


Advice

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WWWW wrote:
Naedre wrote:

Fine, you might be surprised at how much fun it is to roleplay a familiar class differently. :)

But you are correct, I don't think I wouldn't enjoy your table. I frequently make sub-optimal builds to better fit with a character concept, but creating a character with no regard to effectiveness at all? *shudder*

Hmm how would one do this. I guess you could assign stats, skills, feats, etc. randomly.

Perhaps I misspoke. What I meant is we grab the first thing which catches our eye - we dont hunt through options looking for which is the best.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
I suspect it would work out ok socially - we're pretty easy to get along with and dont actually demand ineffective characters.

Just depends on if the other guy demands effective characters. Me, I don't. I love having an effective fighter in a low-op game. He clears the combats out of the way so the roleplaying isn't kept waiting. It's when he makes the game ALL combat that I get frustrated.

And it's groups that brow-beat that player for optimizing that irk me. They make a pariah out of him just because he performs better mechanically. They should be using this as a roleplaying tool, not trying to push he square peg through their round hole.


Kamelguru wrote:


Given that the fighter is an offensive build and the cleric is a highly defensive one, this is possible. If you are talking post buffs

I'm not.. I was thinking straight out of the box. Nor am I talking about hogging buffs. Just that the cleric, as I'm looking to have him played, is desiring to be in the front lines to some extent without being fragile. Part of what this healer brings to the table is the knee-jerk reaction from a bad guy to seeing his target healed and that's go after the healer.

You can see many people respond this way (on this very thread in fact). The build would be designed with that in mind and to play to that. If the bad guy switches targets then the tank-healer has done his job well. He's essentially given the fighter another battery of hps (his own), and when you figure that clerics come with mass healing it's gravy. If the enemy's 'solution' is to cleave.. then the healer has given a +2 to hit the bad guy as well as an effective miss chance (as you have to hit with the first attack in order to try to make the 2nd attack). These are all natural reactions, and in the party's favor.

Kamelguru wrote:


Any given round usually has 10-15 rolls that I now affect. This soon tallies up to 50+ rolls, that are affected by one spell and one class ability.

So you're looking to have the demoralize last for 3-5 rounds on average? Can I ask what your intimidate score is and at what level you're looking at currently?

It's a complete aside.. it's just interesting to see how you're beating the DC by 15 or so on average. I did a little in my head and was coming up with a bit less than that. Perhaps it's the target DC that I'm over inflating, or perhaps you've got a bit more invested in intimidate than I was guessing. Again, it's just a curiosity.

Regardless a dazzling display debuff can be nice when done by a support PC. If you can afford the pair (or more) of feats for it you can even further strengthen your argument as then you're not even burning daily resources. In any event I don't discount that it's a nice debuff and a worthwhile action on the part of your bard.. in fact I think it's sounds like it fits perfectly within the typical role of a bard in a party.

However, in the end if you're saying that it accomplishes more than an action by a healer in terms of damage management.. then that's a bit misleading. Your 10-15 rolls each round are likely spread out between at least two targets (unless you have some perfect bottleneck set up). If it's spread out between two or more then the channel accomplishes more than your debuff does on average, with the added benefit that it doesn't suffer from streaks (those times when you might as well not have cast blur, etc). With the PCs as the favored in the combat, streaks are in the favor of the enemy (i.e. the underdog).

As for the end, when you're asking me what the party arcane is doing.. if the arcane is needing to save the fighter instead of the party cleric then the party cleric had better have a better action furthering defeating the combat than the party arcane would have... Along general lines I'll posit that, for the most part, the party arcane should be the one with stronger actions in that vein, making it less effective when they need to do the job that the cleric could achieve.

-James


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I suspect it would work out ok socially - we're pretty easy to get along with and dont actually demand ineffective characters.

Just depends on if the other guy demands effective characters. Me, I don't. I love having an effective fighter in a low-op game. He clears the combats out of the way so the roleplaying isn't kept waiting. It's when he makes the game ALL combat that I get frustrated.

And it's groups that brow-beat that player for optimizing that irk me. They make a pariah out of him just because he performs better mechanically. They should be using this as a roleplaying tool, not trying to push he square peg through their round hole.

Yeah - we dont see poorly-built characters as a virtue. It's just not something we pay much attention to. (Frequenting these forums was an eye-opener to me - hearing about all the things 'everyone does' that we've never thought of).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Don't believe the hype. A lot of people talk about 'everyone', when they really mean 'everyone I play with'. :)


Don't believe the other hype either. A lot of people say "I do this" when they really don't, they just like to think they should do that. These forums are like Facebook, you don't see the "real" person, you only see what someone wants to present themselves as.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm actually a sea lion.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Don't believe the other hype either. A lot of people say "I do this" when they really don't, they just like to think they should do that. These forums are like Facebook, you don't see the "real" person, you only see what someone wants to present themselves as.

TriOmegaZero wrote:

I'm actually a sea lion.

We are products of each other imaginations.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I suspect it would work out ok socially - we're pretty easy to get along with and dont actually demand ineffective characters.

Just depends on if the other guy demands effective characters. Me, I don't. I love having an effective fighter in a low-op game. He clears the combats out of the way so the roleplaying isn't kept waiting. It's when he makes the game ALL combat that I get frustrated.

And it's groups that brow-beat that player for optimizing that irk me. They make a pariah out of him just because he performs better mechanically. They should be using this as a roleplaying tool, not trying to push he square peg through their round hole.

I am usually more optimized than the people I play with. I don't mind it. I get that the math of character building is not fun for most people like it is for me. It is why I enjoy playing support. I get to facilitate other people who get glory of doing HP damage. And I hold some tricks in reserve for when things get ugly.

What I don't like is people who assume that because I build an effective character, that I am not roleplaying. My PCs are all built within a theme around a core personality. Sometimes the build concept dictates the roleplaying, sometimes the roleplaying dictates the build. There are enough build options out there that you can find effective choices for any concept (within reason).


Lindsay Wagner wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:
Kyoni wrote:
Sir Cirdan wrote:
The simplest way of putting it...a healer is somebody who can cast "Heal."
So how does your gourp survive levels 1-9 ?

Healing after a fight, like most sensible folks? The point is that the difference between Heal and most Cure whatever Wound spell is that Heal is made worthwhile as it cancels out a lot of crippling statuses that can render a character helpless or worse long before HP run out. And if HP is the problem, you heal enough to make a real difference, not just undoing one round of damage.

Also, the earliest level where you can get Heal is 11.

You mean, nobody dies in battle in your campaign? Ever?

Also, regarding healing, a 5th level oracle of life with Energy Body, Life Link and Channel can heal up to (assuming party of 4+the oracle):
- Life link 5x4
- Energy Body 1d6+5 to one ally
- Channel Energy 3d6 to all

in one round. Pretty effective for the level.

I am an avid believer in Life Link/Shield Other but I can't be the only one who realizes that such strategies are doubled edged in the extreme. Life-link is less dangerous since you can end it as an immediate action, but generally these HP-sharing tricks are really awesome right up until the party gets hit with an AoE.

To give an example from an actual game; we once had a cleric that would life-link with other PCs and then focus on healing just herself. It really cut down on issues such as provoking attacks, trying to touch the wounded, and she herself was quite a tank (heavy armor + shield + free hand + high HP). However, sometime a bit later, the party ended up getting hit by an AoE that dealt xd6 damage (like fireball but I forget the exact effect). Now normally that's not too terrible; but suddenly it flooded the cleric with damage and dropped her with burst damage.

Cleric + party members, the cleric took damage for herself plus 1/2 of each other PC's damage, so with an average of 24.5 damage from 7d6 on a failed save, so she would take up to 12.25 damage per party member who failed their save, and around 6 damage per party member who made their save, in addition to getting hit by the blast herself.

That being said, it's a very effective strategy in most cases. It's the primary support mechanic for psionic characters who wish to preform "healing duties"; as such characters can become very effective damage sponges from 5th level onwards. Most typically share Vigor with their psicrystal (getting 5 * level temporary hit points) while keeping Share Pain up with their Psicrystal and Party Members. Psion suffers 1/2 of all the party's damage, splits it 1/2 with their crystal (who has hardness 8), both of which are buffed with tons of temporary HP. :)


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On the subject itself of healing misconceptions; there is something that isn't a misconception. That something is that healing is just terrible in D&D. It's been pretty bad for a long time. It wasn't good in 1E or 2E either, IMHO, and is worse in 3.x/PF.

It's not to say that healing doesn't have its place. Merely that it is not very good at what it does. Healing erases damage. It has no other purpose. You cannot pre-heal like Discipline Priests in World of Warcraft (discipline priests create bubbles or temporary HP to absorb incoming damage to avoid needing to heal in the first place), so healing becomes an entirely reactive action. Which is fine when you get to spells such as heal and mass heal (which are capable of erasing damage and bad effects in enough quantity to really matter), but prior to these critical spells, healing is very bad.

In fact, it's terrible even from 1st level. Just as an example, your average cure light wound spell heals 5 damage. Your average orc wielding a greataxe deals 10.5 damage. At 1st level, you should be encountering around 3 of these orcs. If only one of them hits one of your allies in any given round, you are behind the curve by 5.5 damage. In essence, healing your friends is likely to get your party killed. Let's say you have a rogue with 8 hit points, and they get hit for 10 damage, dropping to -2. You then use your action to heal them to 3 HP. They are now prone on the ground at the orc's feet; and are likely to get torn apart by an AoO or standard attack. Alternatively, you could have tried to wound the orc (5 damage would put your average orc into critical, where they become staggered and can only take partial actions); and your rogue might be spared in favor of a more active target.

There are several big problems that arise here. Healing is entirely re-active, so you must wait for your rogue to suffer the damage before healing him. If you could have pre-healed him, the 5 extra temporary-HP would have meant that he wouldn't have been dropped by the axe-swing; but you cannot do that. You can only race with the orc to keep your rogue alive. However, it is a race that you will assuredly lose because the orc not only deals twice the amount of damage you do without scoring a game-ending critical hit, but you also have - at most - 4 heals per day at this level, versus the orc's infinite weapon swings. This problem is compounded when you realize that we are talking a single enemy out of a group of 3. Not a boss fight, but just an average encounter.

Not just with orcs though. Let's say you've hit 3rd level, and you now sport the more powerful cure moderate wounds, and your average healing is now 12 damage. So you run across some kobolds in a tunnel. The kobolds have point blank shot, and 4 of them bomb your heavily armored Fighter with some alchemist fire. Now at this level, 4 kobolds is an APL-2 encounter (literally easier than easy by standards). The fighter suffers 4d6+4 damage on round 1, and another 4d6 on round 2. That's an average of 18 initial, 14 secondary. You cannot out-heal that. Even if you burn through two cure moderate spells, you will heal around 24 out of the 32 damage, so the fighter still eats 8 damage net loss.

So what about with monsters? Well with monsters you get even worse situations because lots of monsters have dirty tricks like poisons, pounce, and special attacks that give them a tactical advantage. So let's look a bit higher, to around 5th level, when you get cure serious wounds (3d8+5 healing).

Your top healing is now 27 average damage. So your party is walking along in a dense jungle, when they are ambushed by some tigers. Tigers are CR 4, so 2 tigers are a "challenging" encounter. For story purposes, these tigers might be riled up by the local evil druid or something, but they want to eat you and are CR 4 critters that would make for a nice jungle encounter.

So what happens? Well they have a +11 Stealth modifier, low-light vision (good in a jungle), have scent to follow you with, can charge from 80 feet away (effectively giving them a +8 to their Stealth modifier for initial distance) and have pounce, grab, and rake.

So the average DC to notice these tigers who are stalking and watching your party is around DC 29. That's actually pretty hard to make at 5th level, since even a Ranger with 5 ranks, +3 class skill, and +2 wisdom, is sporting only a +10 to Perception. Even with Skill Focus and Masterwork Tools, it's likely to fail.

So what happens? On round 1, tigers charge the party. They slam into the group who is flat-footed with a +12 to hit on their attacks. Tiger #1 leaps on the squishy wizard, hits with all his attacks, and deals 2d6+12 damage from its claws and rolls two +15 grapple attempts, and then 2d6+6 damage with its bite and rolls a +15 grapple attempt, makes the grapple check for at least one of them, and then nails the poor kid with another 2d8+12 damage from his rake attacks. Grand Total: 55 average damage vs your 27 points of healing. That is of course, assuming that the wizard who has an average of 17.5 Hp before Con modifier isn't outright dead.

The rate of healing never keeps up with the kind of damage that you will be dealing with. It is almost always more effective to try and prevent damage from occurring at all. Now after dealing with the orcs, kobolds, or tigers, it's a good idea to restore everyone's HP so they don't get one-shot by the tiger's huge-sized grandaddy-tiger that may or may not show up later. For that, we have out of combat healing. Traditionally done with "happy sticks" (cure light wounds wands that heal around 5 hp / charge, which is 15 gp per charge market price).

Now if healing spells were better, then most of us would be more than happy to advocate using them in combat. The problem is, healing spells are really bad. It's way easier to cause damage than to cure it (pun intended). If healing spells healed 10 hp per caster level up to a maximum based on spell level like tiny heal spells, then we could talk about effective in-combat healing. We might also be able to talk about healing potions that weren't colossal wastes of money. Unfortunately, we don't have healing spells like that, and spells that grant temporary HP are few and far between. Those that we do have tend to be personal spells anyway.

Until then, each time you encounter a foe, you will have to weigh your options during the fight. In this case "cast a cure spell" will almost always fall to more tactically sound actions that involve removing the damage dealers from the equation. The tiger has around 45 Hp. If your wizard was the only poor guy who got dropped, then joining in the fray and beating the now-grappling tiger to a pulp is more likely to prevent incoming damage. Setting something on fire might frighten the tiger as well. Casting sanctuary and trying to get between the angry animals and your friends (thus granting your friends soft cover and immunity to AoOs, which just might save a wounded ally). Or you might decide that Merlin just snuffed it from the initial 55 damage and use this moment for your party to retreat while the tigers feast on his remains (fortunately you got some hair from ol' Merlin before he became Meow-Mix, so you can have him resurrected later).


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Do you think they'd be about right/too good/still too poor if they all healed their maximum amount?


Ashiel wrote:

On the subject itself of healing misconceptions; there is something that isn't a misconception. That something is that healing is just terrible in D&D. It's been pretty bad for a long time. It wasn't good in 1E or 2E either, IMHO, and is worse in 3.x/PF.

That would be the misconception alright.

Healing is a very viable tactic in many circumstances, internet 'wisdom' to the contrary and all.

It's not about erasing all the damage in a given round- though that is possible at times. It is about enabling the recipient to continue to perform their role when they otherwise would not.

-James


At this point it is clear that opinions aren't going to be changed with statistics, scenarios or appeals to recognize the same type of logic.

The "cures-in-combat" folks simply believe that it's an excellent foundational tactic.

Many of us simply disagree and consider it to be a last-ditch emergency.

I would love to put my non-heal-in-combat group against an "equal" heal-in-combat group and see who walks away.


I will say that this thread has made me at least willing to give battlefield control (with emergency heals as necessary) a shot in my game. One of the players volunteered to play the healer, but has been getting bored lately; I decided to step in and let him replace his character with something more fun for him, and I'd provide the healer/controller for the group.

Here's hoping it works out.

...With the charge-crazy barbarian. Yeah. We'll see how long that tactic lasts.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

At this point it is clear that opinions aren't going to be changed with statistics, scenarios or appeals to recognize the same type of logic.

The "cures-in-combat" folks simply believe that it's an excellent foundational tactic.

Many of us simply disagree and consider it to be a last-ditch emergency.

And we're back to the hyperbole... a very far cry from:

Adamantine Dragon wrote:


I've said all along in this ridiculously long thread that choosing to heal in combat is a perfectly reasonable tactic, and furthermore is a perfectly defensible role playing choice.

And then, worse, we have the 'my group is better that yours' or some such juvenile nonsense.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:


I would love to put my non-heal-in-combat group against an "equal" heal-in-combat group and see who walks away.

I mean, really?

Anyway, at this I'm done with this thread. If you want to believe that in combat healing is worthless and that 'there's always a better action' out there.. then so be it and have fun with your games, I just hope too many people don't believe your hype,

-James


james maissen wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

At this point it is clear that opinions aren't going to be changed with statistics, scenarios or appeals to recognize the same type of logic.

The "cures-in-combat" folks simply believe that it's an excellent foundational tactic.

Many of us simply disagree and consider it to be a last-ditch emergency.

And we're back to the hyperbole... a very far cry from:

Adamantine Dragon wrote:


I've said all along in this ridiculously long thread that choosing to heal in combat is a perfectly reasonable tactic, and furthermore is a perfectly defensible role playing choice.

James, there is no inconsistency here. Even though I personally consider healing as a tactic to be a last ditch emergency, I recognize that YOU DON'T. Because I recognize that you play differently and that it is a completely valid way to play, that doesn't mean I play that way. I don't. I play that healing is a last-ditch emergency thing. Understand?

james maissen wrote:
And then, worse, we have the 'my group is better that yours' or some such juvenile nonsense.

I think we can all agree that there isn't much you could do that is more juvenile than calling someone you disagree with "juvenile."

james maissen wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:


I would love to put my non-heal-in-combat group against an "equal" heal-in-combat group and see who walks away.

I mean, really?

Anyway, at this I'm done with this thread. If you want to believe that in combat healing is worthless and that 'there's always a better action' out there.. then so be it and have fun with your games, I just hope too many people don't believe your hype,

-James

Yes, really. I'd love to see it. Because, you see James, I think my tactics are superior to yours. I really do. I think that might even be the reason I use them instead of yours.

Shadow Lodge Dedicated Voter 2014

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Ashiel wrote:
On the subject itself of healing misconceptions; there is something that isn't a misconception. That something is that healing is just terrible in D&D. It's been pretty bad for a long time. It wasn't good in 1E or 2E either, IMHO, and is worse in 3.x/PF.

Actually, magical healing in 1E was *fabulous*, if only because non-magical healing was so poor.

Remember, in 1E you healed 1 hp per night. Not 1 hp/lvl, 1 hp total. (And then if you spent a full week resting, you would also get your Con bonus. Whee!) So a maxed out CLW equaled an entire week of healing.

I remember by the time the group I DM'd for hit 10th level, they would go months without seeing max hit points. I'm pretty sure they went entire *levels* without ever seeing max hit points.

Our cleric never even dared to think about putting a non-healing spell in a spell slot that could contain a healing spell.

What does this have to do with in-combat healing in Pathfinder? Only that old habits die hard. I think one of the reasons why a lot of people think a healbot is necessary in Pathfinder is because in earlier editions they were.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I know I have never felt pressured to have a dedicated healer in the party throughout my time in 3.5


pH, I've been playing versions of D&D since Reagan was elected. My second campaign I played a cleric. He was a battle-cleric. He memorized a few heal spells out of necessity, but our group back then employed very similar tactics to our current tactics.

In fact, if anything we were even more careful and did more to avoid damage. I remember my first wizard running and hiding a lot. At level 1 he only had a single hit point anyway, so healing was a moot point for him, it was probably level 3 before he could reasonably take a hit from a single goblin and survive.

I think what we can agree on is that earlier versions of the game were more lethal. But I don't think that healing was that great of an option back then either.


I think too many of the "healing is useless in combat" crowd and use CLW out of combat are missing an essential point.
A Cleric is very efficient at buffing the party, mitigating criticals and keeping people in the fight...on the rounds they don't need to do that they gave some decent offensive spells or can hold the line in melee.
What the Healers are useless crowd miss out on is the Restorations, Remove Diseases, Neutralize Poisons, etc that they have to mitigate the effects that the party may have suffered....sure the rogue with a High UMD score and heal the party out of combat with a CLW Wand but lets see him reverse the feebleming on your sorceror.
The party having such a healer has the ability to push on with the fight because they can reverse the effects, if your party never faces these effects or after your 15 minutes your DM mollycoddles you so you can go to town and then come back two days later to the same tactical situation then you are getting off easy.
Clerics don't have to ALWAYS heal in combat but they can make the difference in having the party survive the encounter and the NEXT one one minute later...that is unless your DM doesn't want to hear the whining if you get killed because of lack of proper healing and restorations.


Unklbuck wrote:

I think too many of the "healing is useless in combat" crowd and use CLW out of combat are missing an essential point.

A Cleric is very efficient at buffing the party, mitigating criticals and keeping people in the fight...on the rounds they don't need to do that they gave some decent offensive spells or can hold the line in melee.
What the Healers are useless crowd miss out on is the Restorations, Remove Diseases, Neutralize Poisons, etc that they have to mitigate the effects that the party may have suffered....sure the rogue with a High UMD score and heal the party out of combat with a CLW Wand but lets see him reverse the feebleming on your sorceror.
The party having such a healer has the ability to push on with the fight because they can reverse the effects, if your party never faces these effects or after your 15 minutes your DM mollycoddles you so you can go to town and then come back two days later to the same tactical situation then you are getting off easy.
Clerics don't have to ALWAYS heal in combat but they can make the difference in having the party survive the encounter and the NEXT one one minute later...that is unless your DM doesn't want to hear the whining if you get killed because of lack of proper healing and restorations.

Another misrepresentation with that first sentence. As for status affects which were mentioned somewhere else in the thread scrolls, and other classes can handle that.

The idea of the "GM must be taking it easy" was also dealt with.
Now I understand that you did not want to read all of these post, but you could at least ask, and not accuse.
As for the "What the Healers are useless crowd" I thought I handled that in the opening post.


So, most of the real serious power gamers I play with have a list of scrolls, wands and magic items that replace all those spells you listed Unklbuck. When a role can be replaced with a stick or piece of paper, that's not really a compelling argument for that role.

And, just to reiterate for the bazillionth time...

I have not said that healing is "useless in combat."

I've said it is a sub-optimal tactic.

In fact I went to great lengths to demonstrate that it is, in fact "useful" in combat. It's just not as useful as other spells in my opinion.

For example, if you need to get to another town fifty miles away, a bicycle is "useful". But given the choice between a bicycle and an automobile, I'll take the car.

... unless, of course, I just LIKE riding bicycles and have always preferred bicycles to cars.

That's fine too.


Just a reminder:

Naedre wrote:

In my experience, there are 4 basic positions people take on this issue:

1) You should never heal in combat. If someone dies in combat, they deserve it. If someone asks for a heal in combat, they suck and clearly don't know game strategy.

2) Most healing should be done out of combat. Healing in combat is usually not the best idea, but it sometimes the optimal tactical decision. You can play without a full divine caster, you just have to take less risks.

3) Healing is an important aspect of combat. It allows players to make mistakes, it allows for more risk-taking, and it offsets unlucky dice-rolls. You should always have a full divine caster in the party, and atleast some of their feats should help them heal.

4) The cleric's(or oracle's) job is to heal me in combat. If I die in combat, it is the cleric's fault. If the cleric uses any spells except healing spells, he is wasting resources he could be using to heal me!

The OP appears to take position #2. You appear to take position #3. There is quite a bit of overlap between these positions, and depending on your GM, your party composition, and your party's tactical skill, either one could be "right."

Positions #1 and #4 are wrong. Completely and totally wrong. Always.

I primarily encounter people who take position #4 in my gaming store. It is remarkable infuriating. People constantly tell me that I'm playing my Cleric wrong. They insult me for not taking channeling feats. They get upset when they end a battle at 30% hp, saying "they could have died." They pationize me and tell me my role should be healing them.

I primarily encounter people who take position #1 in the forums. I tend to suspect that they take position #1 as a direct result of encountering people who take position #4.


james maissen wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:


Any given round usually has 10-15 rolls that I now affect. This soon tallies up to 50+ rolls, that are affected by one spell and one class ability.

So you're looking to have the demoralize last for 3-5 rounds on average? Can I ask what your intimidate score is and at what level you're looking at currently?

It's a complete aside.. it's just interesting to see how you're beating the DC by 15 or so on average. I did a little in my head and was coming up with a bit less than that. Perhaps it's the target DC that I'm over inflating, or perhaps you've got a bit more invested in intimidate than I was guessing. Again, it's just a curiosity.

I am lv6 and my intimidate is +16 (6 ranks, 4 cha, 3 trained, 3 circlet of persuasion). That makes the average roll of 10 beat the DC for most enemies, and make the shaken effect stick for at least 2-3 rounds. On good rolls, I have them shaken all through the encounter.

And we rarely have the luxury of commanding who the enemy gets to attack, barring invisibility on the casters. Currently playing Jade Regent, with ninjas everywhere, who swarm around us like so many angry anklebiting yappy-type dogs.

Finally, I disagree that "keeping the fighter alive" is not among the things a wizard does as well. I mean, he is better at it, so why not? Given a Haste and an Enlarge Person spell, and the fighter's chances to survive is more than doubled. He has the amazing defense that comes with reach, and kills most anything that step in and attack him. That is far more effective than standing tough and receiving a a cure light and a cure serious (Lv1 and 3, like Enlarge and Haste). Not to mention that 1-5 attacks from the fighter > any blasty spell of levels 1-3. So in one fell swoop, you have defense and offense in one. Which means fewer chances for the enemy to inflict big damage, and less need to heal in combat.

And don't misunderstand me. I have continuously claimed that healing is weak 9 out of 10 times. It happens that we need to cast a cure every now and then. Had the ninja/monk get pelted by sneak attacks in an ambush and go down with a bleed effect. The only thing that could stop him from dying now is to stop the bleed. That was the 1 out of 10 times where I would cure rather than buff/debuff/control, and consider it the absolutely only viable action as to keep someone alive.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Do you think they'd be about right/too good/still too poor if they all healed their maximum amount?

It makes them a lot more attractive, yes. One of the biggest slaps in the face for a healer is when you roll a low roll. Everyone who has ever played a healer has tried to save an ally and rolled +2 HP on a cure spell at one point or another; which means it was a colossal waste of everything. Maximized (for free), healing spells do look more attractive, because they actually look much closer to those lesser heals I mentioned hypothetically in my last post. The initial healing on your cure light would be 9 HP, which would be respectable at 1st level for using a 1st level spell to extend your ally's life. Not quite the average damage from the orc's axe, but it's solid enough healing that I could respect it.

It would help later on as well. It would set the heal rates to the following (minimum caster level - maximum caster level):
Cure Light = 9-13 hp; Moderate = 19-26 hp; Serious = 29-39 hp; and Critical = 39-52 hp.

However, I'd rather see them as being substantially nice for the investment you make with them. I really do believe that modifying them to be like the heal spell, only smaller, would have the best effect. Such as +10 HP / caster level, up to a maximum based on spell level.

Cure Light = Max 20 HP
Cure Moderate = Max 40 HP
Cure Serious = Max 60 HP
Cure Critical = Max 80 HP
Mass Cure Light = Max 40 HP / multi-target
Heal = Max 150 = Max 150 HP / removes status ailments
Mass Cure Moderate = Max 60 HP / multi-target
Mass Cure Serious = Max 80 HP / multi-target
Mass Cure Critical Wounds = Max 150 HP / multi-target
Mass Heal = Max 250 HP / multi-target / removes status ailments

james maisson wrote:

That would be the misconception alright.

Healing is a very viable tactic in many circumstances, internet 'wisdom' to the contrary and all.

It's not about erasing all the damage in a given round- though that is possible at times. It is about enabling the recipient to continue to perform their role when they otherwise would not.

-James

You should probably have read the rest of my post. Healing is very bad. More often than not, there is probably something that you can do that is more viable than just trying to keep one of your allies doing something. Now, mass-healing would have a better argument for that, since you are spending your rounds to ensure multiple people remain standing; but since healing is actually really bad at keeping people alive (as I demonstrated earlier), this is rarely a strong tactic, and more often a waste of time, resources, and actions.

But if you did read my post, you would have noticed I didn't dismiss healing completely. I said it was terrible, but that's because it is. Keeping people alive and kicking is pretty hard to do for a reasonable amount of time through healing compared to other methods which have been discussed at length. In many cases, simply taking a total defense and standing in front of the guy you want to keep functioning is more tactically sound than trying to out-heal incoming damage. You're still wasting your action, but you're not wasting resources and are almost assuredly preventing more damage than you could have healed before heal is available.

But I didn't dismiss it. In fact, what I said was

Ashiel wrote:
each time you encounter a foe, you will have to weigh your options during the fight. In this case "cast a cure spell" will almost always fall to more tactically sound actions that involve removing the damage dealers from the equation.

Which is pretty clear I think. You weigh the pros and cons of your actions before taking them. You then go with the action that has the most weight in a given situation. Now in some situations, you might find that healing the target has the most weight; but given that healing is very sub-par for extending the lifespan of your allies (as easily demonstrated as early as 1st level and becoming noticeably more true as levels progress and damage increases faster than healing) the likelihood of those options outweighing other options is fairly slim.

I myself would like to see healing buffed. I've considered buffing it in my home games, but haven't gotten around to it yet. That being said, the strongest party I've seen was a group of 4 clerics, and in that case healing was not terrible because of the sheer quantity they could muster in short order. Since all the clerics could spontaneously heal one another, and all could heal one-another with Channel Energy, it was not uncommon for the group to fall back and all Channel during the same round, which would result in healing the entire group for respectable HP. It was icing on the cake that they healed with negative energy and thus could harm their enemies at the same time (they had access to a 3.5 feat that let them heal via negative energy, but you can do the same in Pathfinder via Damphirs now).

However, currently healing sucks. It's not entirely useless, but it's really quite bad. It's like comparing daggers to greatswords. In some very specific circumstances (say stealth concerns) the dagger is a good option as a main weapon; but in most cases the greatsword is simply the superior choice for anyone who cares to do it (but most warriors probably carry a dagger as a backup weapon and tool anyway in case they do need it). The most effective healing that exists in the game currently is damage mitigation (DR effects, resistances, and damage-splitting) with Clerics and Psions being my favorite classes for doing so (psions - particularly elan psions can soak obscene amounts of damage if that is your goal, while clerics get spontaneous heals combined with lots of damage avoidance effects which make them healing staples). However, arcane casters and alchemists can get on the game at higher levels thanks to things like simulacrum which can be used to produce combat-weak NPCs who follow you around spamming healing spells. For example, a Solar-simulacrum only has 11 HD, but can spam some cure spells at you like heal, which makes them pretty amazing for the investment. Though your GM might get really nervous about such things though, if they haven't learned how to handle such things yet.


While I have agreed with the 'healing is an out of combat activity', my actual experience playing a dedicated healer was different.

Through Shield Other, Channeling and a high Con score, my life oracle kept our party going in many instances where we would have went down. While I of course cannot say how much would have changed if I had chosen offensive actions each round instead, they shield other portion did however save party members on several occasions, when subject to traps and one-shots.

Many people mention the cure spells, when valuing healing. IMO they come far from what is relevant when considering dedicated healing. Channeling is worth so much more, and shield other / life link will ensure that you get the most out of them.

One consideration I think is necessary in this debate, is the fact the PC hp is often worth more than monster hp. In the APs I've played the enemies tend to have combined amounts of hp that exceed the PCs by a fair amount. If that tend to be the case, then 'healing X damage' becomes worth more than 'dealing X damage'.

For those who disregard dedicated healing, I would suggest you try and play one. Using those optimization skills to make it work as good as possible.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Kyoni wrote:

So if someone at your table said: "I wanna make a battle-cleric and bash enemies after throwing out my bless/divine favor/etc."

would your group accept that and somebody else do the in-combat healing?
Oh sure - its not a rule, it's just what happens. We've been playing as essentially the same group for thirty years - we pretty much always have a fighter, magicuser, cleric and thief fulfilling the roles they always did. Maybe it will be a ranger instead of a fighter or a ninja instead of a rogue or something, but it's basically the same. The variation we see tends to be via the story (although we have played a rolemaster game where we were all assassins).

Next time you start a game, you might want to try something different? nobody is allowed to play a straight "healer", "nuker", "tank" or "skillmonkey". Try to divide stuff differently and see if you can come up with a new set of "roles", just for fun? :-)

Like a Bard, an Inquisitor, a Witch, a Summoner, ...? :D
Try thinking outside the box... :-)

Quote:
Hah! I did a maths/physics/philosophy degree for fun, then worked as an acrobat for ten years before running a bridge club (I'm now an accountant). I don't optimise in rl either. :p

I guess the people I know and me are the exact opposite... was into computers since the age of 10 (now ~30). My brother went from chemistry to cooking and what he learned in chemistry helps him today: link

My friends have stuck to the same line of work since the beginning, afaik.
I couldn't say who is the norm and who's the exception, but from my experience, people tend to specialize in RL, too. :-)


Steve would not do well without a healer. From a conversation we had upthread his group is not really good with tactics*. They struggle with AP's because of how they go up against monsters, and even level appropriate encounters give them trouble. He said that the system is complex, and he does not have time to really learn the best way to deal with it. If he were to try to learn tactics first he would probably eventually be able to play without a full caster though.

*His words, not mine.


wraithstrike wrote:
They struggle with AP's because of how they go up against monsters, and even level appropriate encounters give them trouble. He said that the system is complex, and he does not have time to really learn the best way to deal with it. If he were to try to learn tactics first he would probably eventually be able to play without a full caster though.

Maybe the fact that they wouldn't have a dedicated healer will make them come up with new ways to deal with encounters and improve their gaming fun?

Because I guess dieing all the time in an AP that should be CR appropriate is not that fun... doesn't sound epic/heroic to me... and since I usually put quite some time into my characters creating a background and such I dislike it when the die often. It usually means that I'll stop making backgrounds for that DM and then loose interest entirely (stop playing with that DM) since the characters will feel bland and without flavor. Characters are supposed to be heroic, imho.


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wraithstrike wrote:

Steve would not do well without a healer. From a conversation we had upthread his group is not really good with tactics*. They struggle with AP's because of how they go up against monsters, and even level appropriate encounters give them trouble. He said that the system is complex, and he does not have time to really learn the best way to deal with it. If he were to try to learn tactics first he would probably eventually be able to play without a full caster though.

*His words, not mine.

A fair summary. :)

After thirty years though, we've kind of got used to our routine - roll up characters...adventure for a while in a cool story...all die horribly considerably far from the campaign's ultimate goal (I dont think we've ever made it through to fighting the actual BBEG in any of our campaigns except for one or two which were designed to be super-short one or two level affairs).


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Kyoni wrote:

Next time you start a game, you might want to try something different? nobody is allowed to play a straight "healer", "nuker", "tank" or "skillmonkey". Try to divide stuff differently and see if you can come up with a new set of "roles", just for fun? :-)

Like a Bard, an Inquisitor, a Witch, a Summoner, ...? :D
Try thinking outside the box... :-)

I'm the most likely to do something like that, but our gaming style is a bit like a moth-eaten, battered, old jacket which is well past it's prime but is still your go-to choice.

Quote:
Quote:
Hah! I did a maths/physics/philosophy degree for fun, then worked as an acrobat for ten years before running a bridge club (I'm now an accountant). I don't optimise in rl either. :p

I guess the people I know and me are the exact opposite... was into computers since the age of 10 (now ~30). My brother went from chemistry to cooking and what he learned in chemistry helps him today: link

My friends have stuck to the same line of work since the beginning, afaik.
I couldn't say who is the norm and who's the exception, but from my experience, people tend to specialize in RL, too. :-)

I think you and your acquaintances are definitely the norm. My career path is a curious thing. It got to the point where my family stopped batting an eyelid when I announced some new hair-brained career. (I played poker for a few months too, for a while - that made my mother slightly nervous...)


I think real life people translates VERY poorly to heroic fantasy characters. Real life people are the NPCs in the backdrop, the commoners and experts (depening on your level of education) who have ranks in various skills to reflect their interests and professions.

The PCs are exceptional by virtue of their profession and their role in the game as adventurers and big darn heroes. They are the best (supposedly), or should at least aspire to be so. They are the ones that defeat the monsters that other shy away from in terror. They are the ones that will be made immortal through song and tale.

Thus, it would be more accurate to compare a PC to the best humanity has to offer. Top athlethes, champions, leading minds in sciences and entertainment. You are a cut above, and your actions will affect the world.

BUT. That presents a "problem" in that most people wish to relate to their characters; either by grossly overestimating themselves (typical "Stat yourself" people who give themselves 14+ in any given stat) and/or underestimating the character, so they become more or less a proxy for themselves, complete with their ill-fitting modern views on the notions that it is OK to suck, as long as you try, and have fun. Even when the in-game truth is that if you make a crap character, you DIE, and you might get all your friends killed, and let the BBEG win. And then some people have the gall to go "Why didn't you heal me!?"/"Well, I don't optimize like this is some videogame!"/"Shut up!"

In short: There is a reason why SWAT/special forces/etc place demands on the people who are tasked with the most critical missions where peoples lives are in the balance. Not saying you have to super-optimize every character. Just not playing really BAD ones who contribute next to nothing due to being a Monk/Bard/Rogue/Druid that has spent all his or her feats on becoming the best pie merchant in the kingdom "cuz, Roleplay, not roll-play!".

Demanding that a character is not the equivalent of Rosie O Donnell among the team from The Expendables is hardly unfair imho.

Just my 2cp.


Kamelguru wrote:


Any given round usually has 10-15 rolls that I now affect. This soon tallies up to 50+ rolls, that are affected by one spell and one class ability.
Kamelguru wrote:


I am lv6 and my intimidate is +16 (6 ranks, 4 cha, 3 trained, 3 circlet of persuasion). That makes the average roll of 10 beat the DC for most enemies, and make the shaken effect stick for at least 2-3 rounds. On good rolls, I have them shaken all through the encounter.

So, on average, you have 10-15 rolls/round and you have this for (on average) 2.5 rounds. Thus, on average, you get 37.5 rolls and not the 50+ rolls. I was somehow figuring you to have 6-8 more in intimidate and was wondering where it was coming from. I was thinking possibly some combination of half-orc, a trait, possibly a better competence bonus/higher CHA score and a feat investment.

Kamelguru wrote:


Finally, I disagree that "keeping the fighter alive" is not among the things a wizard does as well. I mean, he is better at it, so why not?
..
Not to mention that 1-5 attacks from the fighter > any blasty spell of levels 1-3. So in one fell swoop, you have defense and offense in one. Which means fewer chances for the enemy to inflict big damage, and less need to heal in combat.

So you think that a wizard's proactive actions in a combat are less impacting than a cleric's? Sure a wizard can ddoor the fighter away to safety or the like. It's not that the wizard can't do this, but rather that the wizard's proactive actions > cleric's proactive actions by and large. It would be nicer if the wizard could be messing up the bad guys and let the cleric keep the fighter doing his role. Whether this is the wizard casting haste on the party, a battlefield control spell, or a glitterdust on a pair or more of the enemy.. those are actions that would be great for the wizard to be able to afford to do. Without the healer these actions are now competing with directly 'keeping the fighter alive'. Recall this was not the wizard enhancing the offense/defense of the PCs, but rather the wizard directly saving the fighter rather than the cleric saving the fighter.

So, in other words, let's assume that the wizard has already been doing his job and that the fighter is in dire straits even with that contribution. At this point a PC needs to spend an action to keep the fighter from dropping. This could be an action by the wizard to get the fighter away instead of the wizard contributing, an action by the cleric to keep the fighter doing his role instead of the cleric taking an action, or the fighter retreating from combat instead of the fighter dealing damage to the enemy and keeping them at bay.

I would rather that the cleric spend some actions than the fighter need to withdraw (full round), pull a potion (move), quaff a potion (standard), move back into melee (move) and then get a single attack near the end of the combat only healed for the amount that a single channel would do. Is the cleric's action really worth the fighter losing not only a full round, but also a full attack round? Add to this that this cleric's action could easily be a move action and also heal his fellow PCs? Doesn't seem right to me.

Let's take your example of your bard demoralizing all enemies within 30 feet. It's a good action on your part. You prevent 3-4 attacks over the course of rounds 2 (for those with worse init than you) to round 6 (near the end of the combat). This is on average and streaks can go either way.

In your example this prevents 36.1 points of damage spread out amongst the party over the course of 5 rounds (rounds 2-6, or 4 rounds measured from your action take your pick). It's a nice debuff and does mitigate the amount of damage that the party is receiving. Whether or not this is enough to relieve the pressure on the party in that respect depends upon the encounter.

But even if it would be, unfortunately combats are not averaged out and smooth. The damage comes in chunks and streaks of dice are bound to occur and when they do there is no promise that they will even out. If a PC in combat is hit early on for enough damage that their actions now will have to be reactive rather than proactive then getting that 15hps back NOW is better than potentially preventing a further 15hps over the course of 5 rounds. That is 5 rounds that they might not have because of that early spike.

As to your 9/10 figure, that boils down to local factors rather than being an absolute ratio. Assuming that the remaining 1/10 doesn't spike to the point of being untenable, then as things stand your party doesn't need to invest in having someone providing competent in-combat healing. That is very different than saying that in-combat healing is not viable, that it is a weak action, that there are more tactical/optimal builds, etc. These have all been said in this thread.

-James


wraithstrike wrote:
If he were to try to learn tactics first he would probably eventually be able to play without a full caster though.

And if he were to have both, then he might do even more.

Playing a party that is comprised entirely of rogues would certainly be more of a challenge, does this somehow impugn the efficacy of the other classes or validate the usefulness (note not the necessity) of a more balanced party? Does that mean that such a party might not be fun or worthwhile? Not at all, only that it is not the only valid option.

In-combat healing is something that a PC can bring to the table. It's useful and helpful, just like many other things that a PC can bring to the table. It's usefulness varies based on degree of proficiency and party synergy with it, again just like many other things that a PC can bring to the table.

That's really the end of the story.

-James

Sczarni

james maissen wrote:
Kamelguru wrote:


Any given round usually has 10-15 rolls that I now affect. This soon tallies up to 50+ rolls, that are affected by one spell and one class ability.
Kamelguru wrote:


I am lv6 and my intimidate is +16 (6 ranks, 4 cha, 3 trained, 3 circlet of persuasion). That makes the average roll of 10 beat the DC for most enemies, and make the shaken effect stick for at least 2-3 rounds. On good rolls, I have them shaken all through the encounter.

So, on average, you have 10-15 rolls/round and you have this for (on average) 2.5 rounds. Thus, on average, you get 37.5 rolls and not the 50+ rolls. I was somehow figuring you to have 6-8 more in intimidate and was wondering where it was coming from. I was thinking possibly some combination of half-orc, a trait, possibly a better competence bonus/higher CHA score and a feat investment.

Kamelguru wrote:


Finally, I disagree that "keeping the fighter alive" is not among the things a wizard does as well. I mean, he is better at it, so why not?
..
Not to mention that 1-5 attacks from the fighter > any blasty spell of levels 1-3. So in one fell swoop, you have defense and offense in one. Which means fewer chances for the enemy to inflict big damage, and less need to heal in combat.
So you think that a wizard's proactive actions in a combat are less impacting than a cleric's? Sure a wizard can ddoor the fighter away to safety or the like. It's not that the wizard can't do this, but rather that the wizard's proactive actions > cleric's proactive actions by and large. It would be nicer if the wizard could be messing up the bad guys and let the cleric keep the fighter doing his role. Whether this is the wizard casting haste on the party, a battlefield control spell, or a glitterdust on a pair or more of the enemy.. those are actions that would be great for the wizard to be able to afford to do. Without the healer these actions are now competing with directly 'keeping the fighter alive'. Recall this was not the...

Didn't you say you were done with this thread?


The Blistering Invective spell also deals damage, and has a decent chance of making enemies catch fire, which illuminates the target, so there is no miss chance if we are fighting in an area with poor lighting, and it might have them stop, drop and roll so that they no longer are burning to death. Some big enemies don't seem to care much that they take 1d6/rd, but its nice to have ongoing damage, as it is another factor to shortening the length of combat. All in all, a very versatile spell that can be used in most any encounter where there are enough enemies who are not inherently immune to fear (something my bard's knowledge helps me determine before I cast it).

Also, I have +16 base. I also have a bag of tricks that allows me to tweak that. Gallant Inspiration, for example, adds 2d4, for potentially +24, if the combat looks like it will go on for a long while.

And 9/10 is not in any means a "scientific" number that has been proven through long and arduous trials. It is the final average I come down to looking back on 20 years of GMing and playing (was lower before we learned to use other spells than blasting). Of course, this factors in a certain level of intelligence, tactical sense and experience on the side of the players. Less experienced/tactical players might come to rely on healing as the mitigator for their lack of system comprehension. And at higher levels, when Heal enters the picture, the viability of healing in combat changes drastically, but more due to the need for negating horrible conditions that cripple you, rather than restoring HP, at least in my experience. Casting Improved Invisibility will defend the fighter who is low on HP, and give him a great edge. Not so much for the crippled, twitching mess that is drooling on the floor.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
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Kyoni wrote:
Justin Ricobaldi wrote:
The very idea of a party prefering to kill enemies before healing teammates and putting enemy erradication as top strategic priority strikes me as a very "Diablo 2" way of playing.

To counter that statement:

the idea of must-have-healer-in-party is imho entirely and only based on MMOs, where people go as far as flame you in party chat if you don't keep them full-health at all times (even when it's entirely unnecessary).

My issue about the entire healing debate is not if a player wants to play a healer... but rather that some people react in ways that make me sad if I want to play a cleric/oracle/witch/... and NOT be the healer.
That same MMO-thinking tends to default to cookie-cutter builds/specs as well, i.e.: wizards are only there for blasting and fighters are the best tanks (which they are not, imho) and only rogues can take care of locks and traps...
that is not true in Pathfinder.

If nobody in such groups feels like playing a healer, these groups tend to force one person to be the healer nonetheless, because they think is mandatory (=compulsory, obligatory).

The goal here is to explain that healers are not "must-have", they are "nice-to-have": If you like playing one, that's cool, but if you don't you shouldn't be forced to, because others refuse to try different tactics.

Imho the one screaming for a healer as necessary, should be the one who has to play it (if nobody else volunteered). :-p

To counter a counter?

Not really I agree with everything you said. I've played in parties with and without healers. It always turns out someone is usually capable of healing even if albeit minutely. And I've never been in a group where someone was forced to be a healer.

However...

The idea of always having a mandatory healer, to me as a concept, is as old as the hills that rpgs started being played on and not exclusive to the realm of MMO's. Though I can surely see where the concept would take flight into the mainstream theory crafting of party-ability dynamics after the success of MMO's.

But high consideration for characters that offer healing has always been a thing. Looking at AD&D 2nd Edition the priest groups, i.e. Cleric and Druid had lower exp requirements to jump level than wizards or even fighters. Such characters would attain higher levels and have more healing capabilities faster to meet with the growing demand for survivability against more powerful monsters. Because healing in combat and out is important.


Kamelguru wrote:


Also, I have +16 base. I also have a bag of tricks that allows me to tweak that. Gallant Inspiration, for example, adds 2d4, for potentially +24, if the combat looks like it will go on for a long while.

You're a bit wrong here as the spell grants a competence bonus which will not stack with the competence bonus from your circlet, so your potential gain spending this second 2nd level slot (and your swift action) is a +0-5 on the attempt (weighted towards the lower end).

Depending on the need for other actions and if the combat looks like it will go on for a long while you might be better served by a second casting of the invective (you have what, four 2nd level slots total, right?) as with a second casting you can reignite bad memories of you in their hearts..

But since you brought up the idea of resources with this example initially, you now are competing with two cure moderates (your example after all) which would heal 30hps in two nice big predicable chunks, rather than the small chance to negate a future hit.

It seems very pricy way to extend the shaken condition on the opponents by potentially 1 round with a decent chance of doing nothing.

-James


I actually find channel to be not as good even at level 1 and 2 depending on how many enemies you face. If you are fighting 6 guys versitile chanel will not help because you do not have a high enough charisma. Casting bless at low levels is better in a larger party though as it affects more people. Chaneling to heal one guy is wasteful.


doctor_wu wrote:
I actually find channel to be not as good even at level 1 and 2 depending on how many enemies you face. If you are fighting 6 guys versitile chanel will not help because you do not have a high enough charisma. Casting bless at low levels is better in a larger party though as it affects more people. Chaneling to heal one guy is wasteful.

This harkens back to the post I made previously. The only time I, as a GM, have found channeling to be very worthwhile is when you have a lot of it in bursts. The 4 cleric party I mentioned made channeling seem cool because they used negative energy and healed via negative energy (they spent their human starting feat on a feat that let them do that, but in Pathfinder a party of dhampires have the same effect). So when one was wounded they would swap off. When all became wounded, they'd all burst a channel energy during the same round. Some 12d6 (av 42) healing at 5th level to all party members + their undead minions was actually pretty BAMF.

However, they had a plan as a group to do a themed team that maximized their potential. On most normal clerics, Charisma is a dumpstat, because channel isn't what it's cracked up to be. A lone cleric at 5th level would only heal around 10.5 HP. Nice out of combat to avoid wasting spells or items, but little more. Pumping Charisma to get a few more uses out of this ability (which gets worse as you gain levels) is a trap. You're better off pumping Constitution or Strength; unless you plan to be undead yourself. In that case, Charisma is more appealing and the extra channels are just gravy.

Liberty's Edge

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doctor_wu wrote:
I actually find channel to be not as good even at level 1 and 2 depending on how many enemies you face. If you are fighting 6 guys versitile chanel will not help because you do not have a high enough charisma. Casting bless at low levels is better in a larger party though as it affects more people. Chaneling to heal one guy is wasteful.

Does bless really help that much, though? It gives a +1 to hit, and a +1 to saves against fear. That's not much. Let's assume a 4-PC party, two of whom are making two attacks per round, and the other two are making one attack per round between them (casting buffs, SoS spells, etc.). In a 5-round combat, that's only 15 attacks by the party. Bless is only going to help the PCs hit on 5% of their swings, which is less than one swing per combat. Add in the chance of a save versus fear, and the odd crit-confirm increase, and we'll say it helps one guy per combat do a bit more damage. Compare that to a cure spell, and there's not nearly the diffference some in this thread have posited. Yes, blistering invective makes the enemies shaken, which is a greater percentage of attacks...but it requires a significant expenditure of skills and languages to reliably work, and even then it's situational.

Now, I'm not saying that curing in combat is always the right choice, or even always a good choice...but many buffs and debuffs aren't nearly as effective as one might think.


Depends what you ahve in the party as well I said it was better in bigger parties. It could not just be one attack. For example at level 2 a ranger can have rapid shot 2 attacks or if tehre is anyone two weapon fighting it helps more. Also use buffs if you don't have line of sight or have allies in front of you.


DeathSpot wrote:


Does bless really help that much, though? It gives a +1 to hit, and a +1 to saves against fear. That's not much. Let's assume a 4-PC party, two of whom are making two attacks per round, and the other two are making one attack per round between them (casting buffs, SoS spells, etc.). In a 5-round combat, that's only 15 attacks by the party. Bless is only going to help the PCs hit on 5% of their swings, which is less than one swing per combat.

Bless has more or less won combats for my group, and it's a staple on my NPCs. +1 to hit is effectively giving everyone in your party an extra level or two for the purposes of hitting things. +5% might not seem like much, but every bit helps. Since it affects all allies within a fair radius, it's a good force multiplier. It can affect you, your party, party minions, and so forth. It can help land iterative attacks, improve combat maneuvers, and improve chances of confirming critical hits (and if you're using some god-awful fumble system, potentially help avoid fumbling).

While +1 by itself is not exactly impressive, it stacks with most things. It essentially erases the to-hit penalty for power attack below +4 BAB, and stacks with fighting defensively/combat expertise, flanking, and has a bit of extra mileage when you have characters in the party with multiple attacks (rapid shot/dual wielding, for example).

It was also indirectly buffed in Pathfinder because it now stacks with Inspire Courage. A bard + cleric can provide the entire party with a +2 to hit, +2 saves vs fear, and +1 to damage at 1st level, and it can last the entire combat (minimum duration is 10 rounds).

As a GM, I use bless frequently on adepts. You would be surprised how effective it is to have a single adept drop a bless spell on a bunch of warriors (remember, it's effectively +1 level for purposes of hitting stuff).

It also helps casters hit with touch-spells.

In essence, I've seen enough PCs hit only because someone said "remember the +1 from bless" to realize that the extra 5% easily makes the difference between success and failure. If you're uncertain as to how much of a difference it makes, run some DPR calculations. The 5% difference has a huge impact over the course of a fight (or even over a warrior's standard attack routine).

A 24/7 magic item of bless would be a very useful and awesome item. I might have to introduce such an item. Perhaps a banner or flag or something. Hmmm.

Quote:
Now, I'm not saying that curing in combat is always the right choice, or even always a good choice...but many buffs and debuffs aren't nearly as effective as one might think.

Bless is most effective in larger parties, or parties with a lot of weapon based-tactics (which includes stuff primarily composed of fighters, clerics, druids, barbarians, rangers, paladins, magi, cavaliers, summoners, alchemists, monks, ninja, samurai, gunslingers, animal companions, etc) since it's effectively +5% damage per round for the entire party. It's very sexy on those with multiple attacks (archers, eidolons, animal companions, wildshaped druids, etc).

It's a good low-level opener. If your party consists of say...cleric, bard, paladin, and wizard, then you can open with bless which will last the whole battle. Your paladin and bard get +5% to hit immediately, as does your wizard (who may be using missile weapons or lobbing elemental orbs at enemies via school power instead of wasting spells). Then you pull your mace and enter battle as well. All in all, pretty decent for a 1st level spell (there aren't many better ones).


doctor_wu wrote:
Depends what you ahve in the party

Of course it does. Likewise, as you said, the situation matters, etc.

The bottom line is that in-combat healing, like bless or other spells and actions have their time and place. There will be times where one action is more sound than another.

Sometimes one might easily confuse the case, especially by listening to blanket statements on the internet while reality can differ.

In-combat healing is a way to let the rest of the party continue to fulfill their roles in combat when sheer damage would otherwise cause them to not do so. It is an enabling action when done right.

But when not done right the action becomes simply down time healing before the fight is finished. Many people seem to confuse the two.

You will find similar reactions and thoughts when dealing with consumables. Managed well the use of consumables multiplies what a party can accomplish, while managed poorly it can quickly become a waste of money.

-James


DeathSpot wrote:
doctor_wu wrote:
I actually find channel to be not as good even at level 1 and 2 depending on how many enemies you face. If you are fighting 6 guys versitile chanel will not help because you do not have a high enough charisma. Casting bless at low levels is better in a larger party though as it affects more people. Chaneling to heal one guy is wasteful.

Does bless really help that much, though? It gives a +1 to hit, and a +1 to saves against fear. That's not much. Let's assume a 4-PC party, two of whom are making two attacks per round, and the other two are making one attack per round between them (casting buffs, SoS spells, etc.). In a 5-round combat, that's only 15 attacks by the party. Bless is only going to help the PCs hit on 5% of their swings, which is less than one swing per combat. Add in the chance of a save versus fear, and the odd crit-confirm increase, and we'll say it helps one guy per combat do a bit more damage. Compare that to a cure spell, and there's not nearly the diffference some in this thread have posited. Yes, blistering invective makes the enemies shaken, which is a greater percentage of attacks...but it requires a significant expenditure of skills and languages to reliably work, and even then it's situational.

Now, I'm not saying that curing in combat is always the right choice, or even always a good choice...but many buffs and debuffs aren't nearly as effective as one might think.

2 PCs with 2 attacks: 4 Attacks per round.

2 PCs making 1 attack per 2 rounds: 1 Attack per round
=========================================
5 Attacks per round
x 5 Rounds
=========================================
25 Attacks, not 15.

But this isn't really a useful analysis, because, while each +1 = 5%, not all 5%s give you the same benefit.

For example, if you only hit on 20s, and you get +1, and now you hit on 19s, you just doubled your damage output. If you hit on 3+, and get +1, and now hit on 2+, you uppped your damage output by 6%. If you hit on 2+, and you get +1, you didn't change your damage output at all, because 1s still miss.

In order to accurately judge the effectiveness of bless, you would have to know the +Hit, AC, HP, and damage of all the combatants and do a weighted average. I don't feel like doing that much work.


james maissen wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
If he were to try to learn tactics first he would probably eventually be able to play without a full caster though.

And if he were to have both, then he might do even more.

Playing a party that is comprised entirely of rogues would certainly be more of a challenge, does this somehow impugn the efficacy of the other classes or validate the usefulness (note not the necessity) of a more balanced party? Does that mean that such a party might not be fun or worthwhile? Not at all, only that it is not the only valid option.

In-combat healing is something that a PC can bring to the table. It's useful and helpful, just like many other things that a PC can bring to the table. It's usefulness varies based on degree of proficiency and party synergy with it, again just like many other things that a PC can bring to the table.

That's really the end of the story.

-James

They just seem to be really laid back from what I understood, and don't care enough to put the time into it. If they play now without a full caster they would probably die. I had a group similar to his. Had they played without a full caster they would die, and die quickly. Some people can disconnect what is cool from what works, no matter how badly it ends. I am not saying Steve's group is in the category, but I have seen it .

Continually dying at level 5'ish makes me think nothing would change though.


Naedre wrote:


2 PCs with 2 attacks: 4 Attacks per round.

I don't think that's what he meant. I think he meant 2 PCs each making 1 attack each and every round for a total of 2 attacks per round coming from the pair of them in total.

As to evaluating the value of the +1 to hit, there are a lot of factors to consider, but your focus is on individual chances while the others have been thinking long term averages.

It really only comes into play when the +1 will bump a hit to a miss. It won't alter natural 1s, nor will it alter something that needs a natural 20 to hit.

If you take the other poster's example and even give one of the main low level fighters two attacks per round, the conclusion is that you expect (on average) that this combat the bless gives one hit that otherwise would have been a miss.

One point that hasn't been brought up is.. does this extra hit matter? If the recipient of that hit would be dropped before their next action in either event then it doesn't. This is part of the nature of combat.. it is not fluid.

Also if the cleric is a fair combatant with say a 50-50 or better chance to hit and can get into a position to do so, then he's burning a resource to give around half of a hit to the party...

What seems like an amazing action in general, can be incredibly sub-par in many situations when they are fully analyzed.

-James

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