As for the current discussion--I don't think anyone is saying to heal instead of buffing. But sometimes, if you aren't ambushed, you can't efficiently buff during your turn in combat because you already have up all your good buffs before the fight starts, or maybe after your first turn when you add on another round per level buff (with a rod of extend of course). I know this happened for my Runelords group recently in most of their brawls with a whole dungeon section. Unfortunately, the enemies also had time to prep and buff. Hold Person and the like (which I've seen as suggestions) are nice, but let's assume you're like some of the posters in this thread and that enemies usually make their save.
In the situation with fighter who can last three rounds and has it extended to five by healing, a lot of people suggested buffing the fighter instead. If he was unbuffed at the start, this is a very good idea, as he will likely survive more than five rounds with the right buffs. But sometimes, that hypothetical fighter who can hold off the enemies' focus fire for three rounds without healing can only do so because you already buffed him with all the relevant defensive spells in your arsenal. Now healing is the best way left to you to keep him up.
I recently sundered that undead lord's holy symbol of urgathoa and the party went ballistic when they found out she didn't have a spare. Now she has ten.
I don't know why folks claim healing doesn't keep up with damage. Barring critical hits or multiple foes it seems to do just fine. Compare Scorching ray to Cure Moderate. 4D6 (but has to hit on a Ranged touch and get by fire resist and SR) vs 2d8+3, with no chance of failure. 14 pts (IF it hits, etc) vs 13 pts. An Ogre does 2D8+7- IF he hits.
Of course, once can Empower(etc) damage spells, but the same with healing spells, and in fact a simple domain choice gets you all healing spells empowered for free.
Sure, Healing is hardly the best thing to do Round 1, where party buffing or Battlefield control will be far better. But on the last round of combat- is there much use to buff or control?
Healing is but one option, and like others, it's a option that is best used at the right time.
Healing doesn't keep up with NPC damage at all. Even a Str 14 barbarian when raging can do 2d6+9 pts of damage at lvl 1. Generic monsters are kinda balanced, but they also have 11/11/11/10/10/10 base stats. NPCs can hit much harder since they use higher stat arrays.
Heck, I had 2 players in LoF that got the healing achievement feat that grants maximized healing... And they still couldn't spend the actions to try and keep up with damage. When your enemies are capable of 1-2 round full attack droppings of the party tank, healing just doesn't cut it. Much better to just kill/stop/delay the damage source quickly.
Because it doesn't, and as you level up the gap widens until you get to the heal spell. At level 7 you have cure critical which does 4d8+7-25 points of healing on average.
CR 7 Huge Earth Elemental +17 to hit (2 slams) 2d8+9 average of 36 points of damage. It also has DR 5 and 95 hit points.
CR 7 Stegasarous Melee tail +16 (4d6+12 plus trip) 26 points on which is less, but if you get trips your AC is dropped.
CR 7 Hill Giant Melee greatclub +14/+9 (2d8+10)
If that is the rogue he might end up eating 50 points of damage just like anyone else with light or medium armor might eat 50 points of damage, and if they are low enough for the cleric to be healing that is not a good thing.
If the GM uses a level 7 barbarian then it gets worse.
Once again if you have to heal to keep someone alive then do so, but it is better to not find yourself in that situation.
I really have to agree, Kingmaker is awesome but I would recommend having a PC who is willing to step in and heal during combat inn any game.
Not every combat is going to be the same nor is the play-style of every GM or group. Wether you are playing PFS or not there are moments where in battle, healing get you across the line.
Whilst there is something to be said for removing the threat, I get the impression not many people posting have been the one bleeding out whilst the Healer is off doing something else. Perhaps your GM is going easy on you?
in fact, to avoid the metagame aspect of this sort of play. Once a PC is unconscious and bleeding our group doesn't declare the current HP total of the PC lying on the ground.
Hopefully the healer drops a cure spell or channel before anyone is bleeding out if it gets to that point.
Nobody is saying, well I am not saying, don't heal at all. I am saying that most of the time it should not be needed*.
*This assumed certain things that I mentioned upthread. Of course groups and GM's may change how other people end up taking damage.
I play in a pretty active PFS area, with 3-4 tables going 2 times a month. One of my most recent scenarios saw me sit down with no main healers. Everyone at the table was lvl 2-4, so I figure, they should have their own healing items at least, PFS at that level is pretty easy, should be fine. I mean I always have CLW wands or potions on my guys, even if its just so somebody else can use the wand on me ect. Nope. The guy playing the fighter type never carried his own potion or healer use wand. The bard who should know better didn't even spend the PA or gold (even though they had plenty of both) to get their wand (something you get after the first adventure... Duh). Neither of the other two characters did either. I straight up told the party after I found out that the only healing they would get would be stabilization heals and whatever we found. I sure shouldn't have been forced to burn 20 charges off my wand to pay for their stupidity, esp since the fighter type was the kind of idiot that thinks he can solo anything while only wearing light armor (was the unarmed archetype, wanted to stay mobile).
I was so pissed at that group, I had nursed my witch through 8 scenarios without ever taking any combat damage only to be forced to take a couple of hits and burn off ton of charges because none of them were smart enough to bring their own healing. My class has light healing available, enough to be able to use CLW wands, shouldn't be expected to do much more. Up to that scenario I had been averaging 2-4 uses of that wand, enough to top off a character between combats or emergency heals (after all, the meat shields do protect me, I try to provide my share of healing). But to be forced to healbot a party of idiots who have no mechanics of repaying me for use of my loot... Yeah, not a happy pathfinder.
They were kind of surprised about how upset I was about the whole thing too. I straight up told them you don't make the controller character run up and heal people who charge ahead of the party. Every round my character is doing anything other than their hexes or casting their area denial spells is a round wasted making up for other party members stupidity. Pointed out the one round where I nearly dropped was because the fighter got ganged up on and nearly died and I was forced to heal him, exposing me to danger. What should have happened was the fighter shouldn't have charged into where I was going to drop a web, he shouldn't have charged the strongest looking guy (with an obviously poor will save, candidate for slumber). By going forward he exposed the only healer and crowd control guy to potentially fatal danger (I wasn't dumb, I webbed anyways, and slumbered the big guy anyways, but the enemy mooks got lucky and broke free at the wrong time).
Well the problem is with the list of assumptions which varies so greatly from group to group.
I recall playing a character that I described as playing 'basketball' with the bad guys while most people are playing 'baseball' with them. He would deal more damage than 2 other PCs but take that damage in return. Basically he would get his own cleric. It would work, but the amount of damage taken could be high. Meanwhile I've also played a character whose AC someone else described as 'nat 20' and combats with that group could be prolonged as damage was not as readily available.
Both of those parties were outliers to what your assumption would be for the party. Both would skew blanket statements like this.
And that's just dealing with the party and not what they are facing.
You are assuming what many here would consider a very LOW level of challenge. I recall you saying that your typical encounter was basically APL+0. Many of us are used to 'average' encounters being APL+2, or double your average.
Now APL is not the best gauge of what a party can handle and how much threat they face. It's not absolutely linear. But ignoring that for now..
When faced with significantly less challenge support actions are not normally needed and simply mowing through the encounter is the proper response by and large. The idea of scouting is less supported as all it does is allow for the potential of a weak encounter actually being threatening in order for the chance of this weak encounter becoming even weaker.
So while I think we do understand one another, and in fact don't really disagree that much.. I don't think that the soundbite is the best distillation of the situation.
james maissen wrote:
I really only read the thread to here, but just wanted to say: Best post ever.
In-combat healing can keep up with damage against less-than-APL encounters. Other than that, odds of keeping up with the damage aren't good. In my campaign, one NPC the heroes might soon face can do 3d6+17 plus 3d6 points of damage (average 38 points) with a +1 keen greatsword. The NPC is CR 8 (maybe CR 9; I need to look at his stats a bit more closely). The heroes have access to 4th-level spells. 4d8+8 from a cure critical wounds is major expenditure of resources for an average of 26 points healed. The party's healer can do this maybe two or three times per day. The NPC can do his damage every round he hits, and he's got a good chance to score a critical (average 65.5 points of damage if he does, which is enough damage to drop any one of the heroes except the fighter and ranger with one shot).
The heroes are better off buffing their fighter and focusing on debuffing the NPC, especially since the NPC has allies.
Spes Magna Mark wrote:
Blanket statements are never good. ;)
Also you are missing the idea. The concept of in-combat healing is not to maintain the party at full hps. Rather it is to enable to them to perform the actions that they would like to in later rounds.
In-combat healing is a buffing action.
If your fighter will last 3 rounds without healing and 5 rounds with it then most likely you've done far more in terms action economy than those 3 actions. If you have just 2 other contributors those 3 actions have bought 4 actions from them.
And this is before you consider the effect on character choice that lack of hps will make. The fighter low on hps should retreat if the enemy is not also very low on hps. Thus while the fighter might last 3 rounds without healing.. without healing he's likely only going to contribute 2 rounds which further increases the value of in-combat healing in this situation.
The 'better' tactics are going to vary with the group, with the level of challenge presented them, and the specific circumstances that they find themselves in.
assuming spes magna's group is your 4 classic people: fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard
the fighter is facing that nasty npc
so the party rogue has exactly 3 rounds to deal enough damage to that big nasty
now my scenario:
There are many ways of looking at managing the battlefield. The most fundamental way to do so is to look at hit point differentials and party size.
The military in the real world basically does this, but they don't look at hit points, they project out casualties on each side based on probability models of how much force each side can bring to bear on the other side.
Looked at in this way healing in combat is a means of boosting hit point damage that the party can take. Since hit point differential is so obviously fundamental to winning the encounter, this compels many people to conclude that healing in combat is obviously a good tactic since it allows party members to provide their own damage to the hit point equation longer than otherwise. It works too. Encounters can, in fact, be won by keeping party members active in combat longer, so this provides positive feedback to the team for executing the tactic.
But that's only a first-order evaluation of combat. There are other ways that the party can adjust the hit point differential equation. The question each team has to decide is under which circumstances another approach actually has a superior solution to the differential equation.
One of the main factors to consider in the evaluation of different tactics is the unnatural and counter-intuitive mechanic which allows PCs to essentially be at full power in combat until they get down to zero hit points. With that realization it becomes clear that the true role of a combat healer is not to just heal damaged comrades, it is to ensure that no party member drop to zero or below hit points.
In effect that means that any combat healing that does not stop a character from going down is a wasted combat action.
What this means is that optimal combat parties are those who figure out how to manage their damage control. There are many ways other than healing to manage damage control:
1. Buffing (preferably pre-combat)
I could go on. The point is that many of the options that are available will actually do more in many, if not most, combat scenarios to improve the party's damage differential than healing could. And those options are much less likely to end up having been wasted actions in combat.
The problem is that the fighter in Mark's example will not last longer with healing, James.
Well let's see.
Let's assume the fighter has 14 con and max hp per level. Let's say he's level 8 for the encounter with average hitdice per hp with max on the first. This is a reasonable amount for any fighter to accomplish.
So 48+16= 64 hp on the fighter.
First ruond of tests assumes the fighter is not getting healing and is getting hit at least once every round.
Two rounds without healing. Not quite dead but damn close.
So at round 1:
Then Round 2
Then Round 3
Then Round 4
Then Round 5
So overall the fighter lasted 5 attacks assuming cure critical cast on him every round.
However let's bring in the other factors. The cleric has only 3 4th level spells to expend. So...
So at round 1:
Then Round 2
Then Round 3
Round 4 Healing switches to third level 3d8+8
12-38= Well you know.
So at the expenditure of 3 4th level spells and one 3rd level spell the cleric can manage to keep the fighter going for 5 rounds to a normal 2. This means you are spending 4 rounds of actions to buy 2 rounds of actions for another character.
So in terms of action economy you are spending 2 rounds to grant one 1 round of full attacks for the fighter.
Now this test does not assume two things.
1. It does not assume crits.
2. It assumes only one attack. At the CR listed for the npc it's not impossible for the character in question to have multiple attacks theresfore dealing twice as much damage on any given round.
So what should be a better scenario?
One way might simply be to remove the factors that cause this damage to begin with. i.e. the sword wielder. Engaging him at range may be a start, as well as making it so his damage occurs even less often (Displacement on the fighter, various AC buffs, reroll powers etc.)
So by what other ways can we spare the fighter the wrath of the greatsword wielding maniac?
Well in terms of spells equivalent to cure critical there's Terrible Remorse which can buy up to 8 rounds for the fighter if the wielder fails his save and at least one round if he succeeds his first.
Then there's debilitating portent which can halve the damage of the target each round and negate a critical hit.
Summon monster spells can land and get int the way of the sword wielder and force him to waste actions ripping through the wall of summoned flesh to get to anyone else.
Thats all fine and dandy, but you are assuming a 2 man party. Use a scenario like listed above but use a Rogue and a Wizard too. Have the Wizard supply a buff or debuff, and have the rogue attack too.
Now what would happen if the Cleric healed? What would happen if the Cleric ATTACKED the enemy? What would happen if the Cleric used a CC? What would happen if a Cleric used a spell to mitigate damage like Shield Other?
Your scenario is flawed the way it is because it isn't an encounter that will EVER happen as layed out.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
First, let's take the subsequent poster's example where the fighter is splattered in two rounds without healing.
Is the fighter, after taking half his damage in one round and NOT getting healing, going to stay around or is he going to want to retreat? The only reason to stay around is that this is going to be effective. Well if the enemy is dispatched in two rounds then one round's action of in-combat healing is enough to let him handle this without a reasonable chance of death before factoring in crits.
Now I'm not saying that in-combat healing is a panacea. Neither is casting fly or other movement buffs. But they certainly have their place in the party's arsenal.
If the party is taking that level of damage then healing a portion of that back gives the rest of the party breathing room to leverage change. That's a reasonable buff to be throwing in combat. It is essentially your 'throw a summoned monster at them that they will not ignore'.
Basically the cleric in the other poster's example is trading his action for the actions of the rest of the party. Now this assumes that the rest of the party has decent options available to them. That the party fighter's damage is reasonable, that the party mage's actions can achieve more.. that the rogue will be worthwhile after a round of positioning, etc. If the cleric in question has an 'easy button' or 'I win' card then sure play it.. but if trading his actions and resources lets the entire rest of the party gain more increasing their ability to achieve tempo.. then it's a sound choice.
In-combat healing is an option, and in cases it can be the correct buff spell for the cleric to be casting.
Now what would happen if the Cleric healed? What would happen if the Cleric ATTACKED the enemy? What would happen if the Cleric used a CC? What would happen if a Cleric used a spell to mitigate damage like Shield Other?
The cleric is not attacking because he is healing, and I do agree that shield other is a better use of spell slot than healing in this scenario, so is summoning or a lot of other spells.
The Shield Other spell means less spells get used*, and you can get by with more channels once the fight is over.
*That means it is more efficient than curing in the middle of the fight.
If you put a rogue in the fight then the cleric is probably curing the rogue instead.
My scenario only addressed one factor. That was the use of healing as a means to buy more time for the fighter to do his thing. In this it proved exceedingly inefficient by itself. That's all it was meant to look at.
James, in-combat healing is indeed an option. In some cases it is the best option.
I am not one who says that healing should never occur in combat. However, I am one who says that based on my experience, some groups treat healing as a default approach to managing the damage differential in combat. And again, in my experience, there are many times where a different approach would have been more tactically advantageous to the party than simply casting a heal spell.
All I have been trying to do on this thread is help people who may not have really examined all the options to see what options they may have missed or under-estimated. It has also been my experience that healing is generally a reactive action and I have heard several players complain that they don't like being the "healer" because they end up having their actions dictated by the flow of the battle, instead of feeling like they are in control of the battle.
In the case of the party fighter going down in two rounds without healing vs five rounds with healing, I believe that the other strategies listed would actually also have changed the damage differential enough that the fighter could have lasted five rounds or more even without healing.
I don't play healers much. I have on occasion taken that role, but in general I don't like playing healers. In groups I play with I try to encourage the "healer" to be more proactive and find more creative ways to contribute to combat beyond just refilling the party's hit point bucket. Summoning creatures, slowing or obstructing enemies, controlling the flow of battle, buffing the tank... all of these are quite viable approaches that, in my experience, make the player feel more engaged while also improving the odds that the party's big guns remain up and firing.
Perhaps the single most important combat tactic to focus on is to figure out how to give the party's combat characters the opportunity for full attacks while simultaneously reducing the enemy's ability to do full attacks. That alone usually is enough to turn the tide of most encounters.
Last campaign the party used shield other to great effect. Problem was when both the guy who had it up, and the guy who received the spell failed their save against a powerful AoE effect (sepid div IIRC, literately rocks falls). Nearly dropped the caster since he took his own full damage and half of the other guys. He had to pop a cure mass to get the other players a buffer then used his move to get out of the room. He then spent the next couple of rounds healing himself since he had been dropped to 2 hit points. After that he was able to rejoin the fight, but it was really close for him and the party sorely missed his normal contributions. Couldn't be helped since he nearly died in 1 round.
The Shield Other spell means less spells get used*, and you can get by with more channels once the fight is over.
Shield other is the cleric's go-to before combat, often using two of them, one for the fighter and another for the druid's animal companion. Both the fighter and the animal companion have good ACs as well. Buffs that further boost those ACs reduce damage taken and keep them in the fight longer.
As to party composition: ranger with animal companion, fighter, cleric with alchemist cohort, and druid with animal companion. They are sometimes aided by a bugbear fighter NPC and a halfling expert/adept NPC, but these two aren't regular members of the adventuring party. :)
Depends entirely on the animal companion and druid in question. A more caster based druid is willing to blow more on their animal companion than normal. Plus light armor proficiency is only one feat for an overall boost to AC. The alchemist cohort can provide an Infusion of mage armor I believe giving another boost to AC.
So if we had a level 8 Ankylosaurs (high AC, High Strength, nifty ability).
He'd have about 28 AC base at level 8. With light Armor Proficiency or mage armor adding +4 and Barkskin from the druid adding +3 you have a total AC of about 35.
So a CR8 critter would have a very difficult time indeed hitting the ankylosaurus with it's High of +15 to attack. With the most expending a few hundred gold for a usable chain shirt barding.
I play a cleric in PFS. Currently level 9 and I do a lot of in combat healing. But a few factors to consider:
1) my domains are fire and healing. So I also do my share of blasting (fireballs from a cleric never gets old). Healing domain means that even my lowest level cures are quite efficient (healer's blessing means that all my cure spells are effectively empowered - really exceptionally potent for mass cure light wounds - (1d8+9)x1.5 = 15-25 hp healing to up to 9 party members or animal companions. With the option of doing 1d8+9 to undead foes as I did quite effectively in a recent combat.
2) I am highly channeling focused - selective channel, quick channel, extra channels, decent CHA (and exceptional WIS). Quick channel does make a channel as a move action cost two uses of channeling but doing 10d6 burst healing (or burst harm to undead) can turn around an entire combat. Very important to remember that channeling doesn't provoke so effective even if right in combat (if you can selectively channel). I do tend to channel for harm when we are facing undead - but the right channel (and frequently the right quick channel has made a lot of difference in many combats) I've also used my standard to cast an offensive spell (or put up a major buff like prayer or blessings of fervor) and then used my move to heal.
3) I just got it but a reach metamagic rod has more uses than just heal spells at range. It works with any touch spell - so I could for example cast sanctuary at range on a party member who needs to get out of danger.
4) casting spells that buy actions - like Spiritual Ally (or spiritual weapon a lower levels) free me up to do healing as needed. But frequently my best tactic is to wade into combat and provide a flank (and stay within channel range of my party)
Being the healing focused character has been a lot of fun - it forces me to be very tactical. But clerics are also crazy flexible - I usually prepare a very diverse mix of buff spells, reaction spells (liberating command at high levels is massively useful), save of suck spells (command is a staple) and of course as a fire cleric a few choice blasts. (going to start adding admonishing rays as well - 2 ranged touch 4d6 non-lethal attacks for a 2nd level spell is pretty decently efficient).
It all comes down to knowing your party and considering the battlefield. Healing in combat is frequently tactically sound - keeping the whole party up means everyone else can be as effective as they can be. It is also much much stronger with larger parties (especially channels which if the whole party stays within range are exceptionally powerful for parties of 6-7 pcs with a few companions)
Really, that's funny cause I had the opposite conclusion from it.
Let's see the scenario the fighter is taking over half his hps (that are low btw) in damage per round without fail. If the enemy doesn't fail whatever SOS spell that the cleric throws he's dead next round which will mean that the rogue who's now in position won't get his sneak dice..
Now if you have availability to some somewhat broken spells (Terrible Remorse) then you do have a chance to deliver a SoS spell that will potentially cause him to be staggered. Depending how many attacks that 38hp represents this may or may not lower his damage to the fighter. If you were figuring on 'automatically average expected damage' then losing an iterative might still have the fighter getting dropped before your next action.
Let's roll with portent for a second, each attack is basically save or deal half damage. For our maniac enemy let's assume that he fails such a save half the time. His average of 38 is now, on average (but always with spikes) deals 29 per round. Saving on average 9hps/round over a long time. The cure critical that this would be would cure 26 or in other words 3 rounds of this saving. But we don't have a long time. But either way for this to be a better option the fight needs to last longer than you have it lasting.
Now there's the 50% chance that the spell does nothing for the first round after the spell is cast.. and thus the fighter is dropped if not killed (the odds of dealing just 2hps over average damage is much higher than I'd like for the odds of my PC being slain outright).
Even if the spell DOES work on round 1, then the fighter is looking to be at 7hps after round 2s attack. He now is going to be dropped to -12 or -32 in the following round. If he doesn't get healed the bad guy better be dropped. Thus in essence your 4th level spell 'healed' 19hps instead of 26hps. And recall that this was the LUCKY/GOOD result, the other side of the coin had the fighter dropped/dead.
In the situation that you put forth, with healing the fighter has 5 rounds and the rogue has 4 rounds in which to drop the enemy. Otherwise the fighter has 2 rounds, the rogue has 1 round and you have 2 rounds to drop the enemy before the fighter is bleeding to death. The rogue with say 8 less hps will be killed out right in 2 more rounds if he sticks around.. coincidentally that's the point at which the fighter likely bleeds out.
So two situations:
With healing the fighter has 5 rounds and the rogue has 4 rounds.
Without healing the fighter has 1 round, the rogue has 3 rounds (with a flank only if the cleric moves up into melee) and the cleric has 4 rounds. The fighter and rogue at this point in time are dead and the cleric is next.
So are the cleric's 4 rounds worth 4 rounds of the fighter and 1 round of the rogue's attacks? Now add in that the first case has the fighter only dropping on crits (which we're ignoring) while the second case has 2 PC deaths.
How did you come to the conclusion that your scenario advocated for NOT healing in combat?
Now let's consider two other possibilities:
1. The cleric has the healing domain. Now his 3rd level cures are healing 32 on average, so a (optional) quickened channel in the 3rd round will keep the fighter at full hps until the enemy is dead (I'm assuming that you are saying that it took all 5 rounds for the party to finish off the 'maniac' with the fighter & rogue attacking).
2. The cleric plans on healing and had previously cast shield other on the fighter. Now each of them take 19hps of damage each round which the cleric channels each round to fully heal.
The cleric if he satisfies both would have the resources for around 3 of these kinds of fights with healing to spare.
james maissen wrote:
The better idea would be to debuff the monster or buff the fighter so that this situation does not take place. That is the point being made. I under the monster might also be an ambush monster so maybe that was not an option, but that mean someone failed a perception.<--just an example of how to get jump.Getting jumped goes back into the main point of if I have to heal in combat something has gone wrong. There normally better options to make sure that healing is not needed.
I don't think the CR of the monster is a factor for that part of the conversation. The point is that the fighter is up against something that can hit him regularly and very hard.
If the fighter is not getting hit(that much) then most likely he won't need a heal.
A badly made point in my opinion. And in fact, not exactly the point I think he was trying to make.
If you can avoid bad situations that's great.
If you can always deal with APL+0 encounters, that's also great.. they are unlikely to be those bad situations.
When you have easy challenges then sure you can get by without a lot of things. But that does not mean that one should devalue having those things... because one does not always have easy challenges.
When faced with encounters that are little challenge it's true that healing is unlikely and that it's most often the case that simply bulldozing through the encounter is the best move. In essence in combat healing in these situations is insurance against wild swings and devolves basically into preempting downtime healing where normally there is no time constraint.
However when faced with encounters like the one the other poster presented, then healing is really the solution. However the other poster posited a few options for the cleric other than healing and was of the opinion that these were better actions for said cleric. That these actions would, with a disturbing degree of probability, lead to multiple party deaths had me making my objection.
I think his point was flawed.
Likewise I think what your point is should be given with far more caveats-
Given an easy encounter downtime healing should suffice for hp management.
Given smart play more encounters should be easier than they would otherwise be.
When faced, by hook or by crook, with a more challenging encounter then roles like in-combat healing become valued as a party resource.
Then, on a personal note, you tend to have far more easy encounters as the norm and as such you personally might devalue a character in that setting putting a lot of resources towards this seldom needed role.
How does that sound?
Despite all of the preparation you can do, there will always be a time where you have to heal. Crits (both fails on your part and hits on the enemy's part) happen, as do spells that can turn friends against allies. Despite all of the bonus we can add to dice rolls, in the end it is still a matter of luck. This is not to diminish the importance of said bonuses since they do help to sway the odds in your favor, but remember that the enemy can get these same bonuses if built for it. The best laid plans of GMs and PCs often go awry.
james maissen wrote:
This is basically what I am saying:
If "you tend to have far more easy encounters as the norm" means
A. I have CR=APL or APL-X encounter as player or I use them as a GM then that is incorrect.
B. I normally play well enough that I CR=APL to CR=APL+1 encounters don't give me a lot of trouble or the players I run for then I would say that is correct.
Well, if we just assume 50% hit rate, which is more normal then here's the tactics:
r1 The cleric buffs the whole party.
r2. Cleric lays down some kind battlefield control spell.
r3. Cleric lays down some kind of hurt.
4. Fighter is now potentially one hit away from death. Cleric heals fighter. Hopefully what with the buffing, the battlefield control , and the hurt, the battle is almost over. Now, if the foe gets two hits in a row, sure, the cleric may have to heal again.
But see, the optimal tactics- at least in this kind of battle- is for healing to happen after buffing etc. Hopefully then they only will need one round of healing.
So- yes, healing during combat can be the optimal thing, but only at the right time.
I just realized I did not even finish this post. My games are more like scenario B.
A lot of the argument that healing is commonly necessary seems to settle down on the assumption that the "fighter" is getting hit a lot. The whole idea that a fighter would only last two rounds or so without healing takes as a base assumption that the fighter is getting hit probably 50% of the time, and is taking full attacks from the enemy.
When someone suggest that getting hit that often is perhaps avoidable, the reaction is an immediate scoffing along the lines of "you must have a lame GM, we play a more challenging game."
I suppose there is no way to rebut that argument, because no matter what is suggested for buffing, fighting tactics or battlefield control, the response is just a repeat of the "your games are too easy" accusation.
I guess I'll just have to keep using tactics that make my encounters"too easy." That seems to work anyway. My goal isn't to brag about how hard my GM is to outwit, my goal is to make my encounters as "easy" as possible.
Sounds like perhaps I've been successful in that endeavor.
If the fighter isn't taking the hits or the attention of the bad guys, who is? ...The remaining PC's are less likely to survive the damage dealt and are likely to be an easier targets.
Smart enemies will take out the PC's they can hit easily first and are likely to run away from the behemoth who they can't touch...
It's often easy to prepare for encounters if you have the time; but I can name several in Kingmaker and one or two in City of Golden Death that are going to catch you out. It's even worse if you are caught late at night with something off a random table.
one wraith or ghoul is really going to ruin your day at the lower levels, ... I think you are gambling but am open-minded to see how it plays out... it's kinda been tough for some games in PFS
One wraith or ghoul is going to going to be a not very good example. The primary dangers from those monsters are the con drain and paralysis.
I am the last to say buff spells are not worth it.
What might by the problem in this discussion: We could be of different opinion what good AC or good buffs are. My magus was level 6 and had an AC of 21 when he was killed. That didn't keep him from being killed within 2 rounds with one single attack and one full round attack.
What AC are you talking about whan you assume that an enemy will hit only with 50% of all attacks? What AC should a melee guy (Fighter, rogue, paladin, magus etc.) aim for at level 6?
It also matters what the character is built as. In CoT my cleric is weak, has a mediocre weapon but keeping the 5 attack flurrying massive damage monk standing gets far more damage done. Yeah i can try to hit when he is not badly hurt but he is more likely to hit and a lot harder so i would never risk him dropping so i can do my little bit of damage. i can take him from half dead to nearly full in one spell, so i CAN keep up with the damage in most cases. Trying to keep the other player always full hp is a fools errand but keeping the heavy hitters up beats what most clerics can dish out themselves.....
That would be an ac bonus roughly equal to the average attack bonus of the enemies you face. at low levels it is easy to get above this easy, at high levels it can get silly to try.
In one of my PF groups, our cleric is a buff specialist. He spends most of his time buffing and doing battlefield control. We also have a sorcerer who is our artillery.
So a typical battle for us is three melee characters (barbarian, rogue and tiger) two ranged/artillery characters and a buffer.
We almost never need to be healed in combat.
If a fight looks iffy, my druid summons animals to harass, obstruct and spread out the damage. The sorcerer will usually manage to soften up the enemy with his insane initiative bonuses so that just about every encounter means a large fraction of the baddies have absorbed at least one fireball before melee begins. Besides summoning, my druid will use battlefield control to slow down the enemy, frequently allowing the sorcerer another fireball on stragglers.
And once melee begins, raging two-handed barbarians along with pouncing tigers and sneak-attacking rogues usually means the fight doesn't last long.
During all of this our buffing cleric is boosting AC, boosting attack, improving con (which gives hit point boosts) etc.
Usually the buffs the cleric provides are more tactically advantageous than any healing he would do.
For example, he frequently will give my druid "greater magic weapon" bonuses on her bow, meaning that her four arrows per round are 10% more likely to hit. At 8 hours per day, the buff usually lasts through several encounters. Coupled with enemies who are already smoldering from a fireball, she is sometimes able to put two enemies down on her round. That's two enemies that won't be doing damage to the party that needs to be healed.
Every now and then we get into a situation where someone's hit points are low enough that we feel a need to heal. Usually this is only in the biggest, toughest fights, or when some crazy combination of bad party rolls and good NPC rolls creates a sudden crisis.
Usually at the end of the fight we use our CLW wands, some goodberries and some potions to get everyone back up to full health.
My druid usually keeps a CLW handy, just in case, but she almost never uses it. She can cast entangle or SNA spontaneously, so she typically ends up using entangle just to slow down the bad guys.
In general our tactical approach is to reconnoiter, buff up, divide the enemy, use terrain and battlefield control, focus fire and utilize full attacks such that the damage differential is very much in our favor. Healing is a last-ditch tactic and usually the mere fact that healing is being done in combat almost always means "something's gone wrong."
That's just how we do it.
In my 4e game it's totally different. We have an optimized healer and the strategy we employ is to jump into melee and just whale away while she keeps us all alive.
But frankly the PF syle of play is more challenging, more rewarding, and in a PF world, more conducive to avoiding the "fifteen minute adventuring day". One of the most common reasons I've seen parties have to rest is because the healer has run out of cure spells. In 4e that's greatly mitigated by the at-will and encounter mechanic. In PF once you've used a spell, it's gone until you rest again. So in PF I tend to work harder to conserve spell resources, and one way to do that is to swap out one-shot heals with buffs that can last for hours or at least for entire encounters.
I find discussions about action economy interesting, mostly in the fact that they're so subjective, yet everyone talks about them as if their view is definitive.
Things to consider- if debuff is saved against, that's a wasted action. This happens more regularly than casters like to admit, even when they power build.
- high level play changes everything. Multiple opponent combats regularly deal damage at a rate where if a healing spell of some type isn't employed, members will drop. At this level, losing a prty members actions can mean TPK very quickly.
- many folks metagame healing through discussing hit point totals. Remove knowledge of current hit point totals from anyone other than the play controlling the PC and suddenly optimizing action potential becomes more difficult. If some one just had a round where half their hit points were dropped, theyre likely to ask for healing. Healing character doesn't know how much they're on, or how much more they can take. Sure they could try to drop the opponent themselves with a spell, but then see point 1 above. If the creature saves, or survives, that's a big risk to take with your buddies life at stake.
Escalating combats make a healers job much harder. However, as stated by many here, it should be a rare type of combat rather than the norm.
And lastly, party build can change how essential healing during combat is going to be. This has been pointed in numerous threads by every person who starts a post with "in my party".
I like the OP's objective in this thread. He's trying to let folk know that it's god advice, most of the time. Keep the variables in mind above though, because sometimes good advice is wrong in the situation at hand.
A little late, but dropping in here. Wraith, this is part of what I was trying to illustrate. That is, the intent is often to be helpful--it's the perception that changes. That the first poster was irritated doesn't matter--in the end, it's that he's part of a group of voices that 'sound' as though they're saying: 'you're playing wrong.'
Moderation is difficult to do. We moderates just need to be louder. :D
Anyhow, just trying to get across a point. I'm on your side, here. And, I see where some of the frustration comes from--from both positions. Wish it wasn't there, and hope to work towards some of it decreasing.
Wouldn't the game get boring if everyone just used the optimal strategy and tried to do thigns the same way if it was that simple and repetitive. Sometimes healing can backfire For example a few enemy archers pepper the fighter with arrows and an amrored person comes closer. Getting the fighter back up with the will save can then make you out of heals and then take damage later. Level one cleric baddie casts bless on the archers then moves closer and murderous commands the fighter round 2. If the fighter stayed down then you would not take damage from your friend.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
AD, the situation to which you are objecting was brought forth from your side. It presented a situation where clearly hp healing was required.
Hey if you don't need to heal in combat that's great. Likely you haven't been in the situation described by your fellow that also subscribes to your point of view.
But when you have the kind of pressure that a lynchpin PC is going to drop in 2 rounds if buffing actions aren't taken.. then buffing actions become valuable. And in-combat healing is a buffing action.
Meanwhile if the majority or entirety of your combats are such that these things do not matter, then your back has not been up against the wall. For easier encounters where you do not have that level of pressure, it is indeed more efficient more often than not to do an action geared towards ending the enemy rather than shoring up the party.
Now that doesn't address why an encounter is easy. Perhaps that's because you scout very well, perhaps you are that inherently awesome, or perhaps you don't get encounters that challenge you at a level that you are capable of handling.
Whatever. It doesn't really matter.
Many actions like in-combat healing, scouting, buffing, using consumables, etc are not as valued if your party is on calm seas rather than in over their heads.