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5 man party with no healbot


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I'm curious what peoples opinions are on a party that consists of no divine magic users. We're going to be running an undead heavy campaign starting at level 1-level 10. Our intial group composition was:

-fighter (net and trident user)aka BSF
-barbarian (damage dealer)aka glass cannon
-gunslinger (pistelero) aka glass cannon #2
-Bard (treamonks controller bard)
-God wizard <--- me (controller/summoning focus) aka God

Now we have a very old fashioned group, and the DM was unhappy that we didn't have a healer (cleric specifically) in our group. I argued that we'd be fine without a cleric, and that we'd eventually just pick up some wands for out of combat damage. however, after much pressure our barbarian player is now playing a general healbot cleric. They're enthusiasm has dropped greatly, and they don't seem to be having any fun with the class.

At this point I really want to convince my DM to let them switch back to their original class, but everyone else including the DM think that the cleric as a healer is absolutely necessary even if the person playing it isn't having as much fun.

How would any of you go about trying to reason with this group (They're all good friends of mine and we all know eachother well, also the DM say's it's not a plot reason for the cleric so that isn't the reason for the push to make them one).


Well i know cleric used to be THE specialist against undead. Heck channel the heck out of them...you are now a nuke...while healing the party. I know as a gm I get jittery not seeing a healer...think it is just ingrained. Worst case the gm should just let you guys die rather than make someone roll a class they dont want. That or make a npc cleric. My party is kind of close to that and I've been trying to make a archer-cleric but thinking about giving up on it and just doing a ranger and first person down can roll the healer :)


I think the Dungeon Master is either worried about the plot or synergy of the group, but I see no reason why he should be.

An "undead heavy campagin" doesn't require help from a divine caster. If the Dungeon Master is finding it hard to jusitify how to progress the plot (I know you said it wasn't plot related, but I think it might partially be) maybe you should help set up how/why the party is combating this force of undead. An NPC Divine Caster would easily have the motive and cash to hire a group of adventurers to wipe out a couple of zombies on the other side of town, and then happily hire them to fight stronger opponents as they begin to prove their worth.

Honestly divine users are my favorite, but I see no reason why a party can not survive without them. Healing can easily be substituted with a couple of wands (and the Wizard should have Use Magic Device). If you party needs to be constantly healed (to the point were someone has to take their standard action each round to heal) in combat something is wrong. The opponents you are facing are either crushing you tactically, or is a BBEG that is designed to knock you down anyways (so the amount healed would likely be dropped again the next round).

When I play a Divine Caster, I'm playing a diplomatic archer/fighter that has the bonus of being able to heal/buff himself in a pinch. If you merely are a healbot, you serve no purpose to better the group. It is a possiblity that you can convince your DM that it is more of a liability then an asset to have a dedicated healer. The wands/potions approach allows the remaining party member to hold up when one has fallen, while if they do not have these items and the healbot fails a reflex/fortitude save (they tend to do that from time to time) you are now all in trouble.

If the Dungeon Master believes a Cleric is needed for buffing the party, merely point out that a Bard has strong buffs. The Wizard and Bard cover a variety of spells already, so a Cleric isn't needed to fill in any major gaps in your party.

Your synergy seems fine to me, and you should stress that. Since you are familiar with Treantmonk's Guide to Being God you might recognize this portion from the D&D 3.5 version:

"Why isn't the Healer useful in combat? Good question. There are two ways you can live your "pretend" life - reactively or proactively. God will alter reality to prevent damage, a healer will try to do "damage control" (pun intended) after the damage has been taken. Simple truth: The mechanics of the game make preventing damage more efficient then healing damage after the fact. That's not to say a well placed "Heal" or even "CLW" never has use in combat - but if you're doing your job - it should never be required as a primary role."

Since you have the means to take and prevent damage, there is no use for the Cleric in combat. This goes back to my point about him being more of a liability then an asset, why fight encounters designed for 5 men if one of them won't be doing damage. You would be better off playing without the healbot player and just having encounter be scaled down one person. If he returns to a Barbarian he is now again a large asset to the group (he can soak up decent damage and dish it out in turn).


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I've seen plenty of parties work just fine without a healbot cleric. Like you said, wands can do just fine for out-of-combat healing, and in-combat healing has never been a big thing for D&D/PF.

Honestly, I think a lot of "Must have a heal-bot" syndrome comes from people who play MMOs, and don't get that tabletop works differently.

Shadow Lodge

i run a game where there is a player (hey, is that you, James?! :-P) who insists on having a cleric in the party....
Even though I, the Almighty GM, have assured him it is not necessary. there are other ways of healing....
are there not?


Thx a ton FerinusCarnifexVox,

I like the tactic of making the healer sound like more of a liability might be a good strategy. I do think a divine class would be pretty good for the party overall if they weren't pigeonholed into the healbot. In my group it's pretty much assumed that if your a cleric your have to take the merciful healer archetype. tbh I wouldn't even mind this approach, but only if it was the case that the player wanted to play this type of person.

I've been playing with my friends since the late 90's and the DM has been playing since the late 80's, so it's definitely not the MMO syndrome, so much as it's the old role selection where:

you need a fighter, cleric, mage, and rogue and that's it kinda party.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chengar Qordath wrote:
Honestly, I think a lot of "Must have a heal-bot" syndrome comes from people who play MMOs, and don't get that tabletop works differently.

I tend to concur with this argument. Specific classes are not necessary for a group to work--I don't care which class one might be talking about. What makes tabletop so incredibly awesome is that players that learn their class as well as how to work with their fellow players can accomplish any feat in these games, even without the presence of "healbot."

I'm running two PF campaigns currently: RotR & SS. My group make-up for these are as follows:

[u]Runelords[/u]
- Human Undead bloodline Sorcerer
- Elf Infernal bloodline Sorcerer
- Gnome Monk
- Gnome Druid

[u]Serpent Skull[/u]
- Half-orc Ranger
- Half-elf Rogue/Shadowdancer
- Human Diviner
- Human Alchemist

In the first campaign, the druid does virtually no healing at all, as she doesn't designate spells towards it; in the second campaign, the alchemist is the best they've got. These groups perform very well together, however, and have been able to get through even without a genuine cleric/oracle in their party.

I think it's silly to tell players they must have a designated healer in a party. That's simply not true in tabletop games. Let them play what they want, and if that choice makes it more challenging, then so be it. Fun is the most important thing, and around the table fun can be had whatever the class make-up.


Sub_Zero wrote:


At this point I really want to convince my DM to let them switch back to their original class, but everyone else including the DM think that the cleric as a healer is absolutely necessary even if the person playing it isn't having as much fun.

How would any of you go about trying to reason with this group (They're all good friends of mine and we all know eachother well, also the DM say's it's not a plot reason for the cleric so that isn't the reason for the push to make them one).

You got my vote.

If the barbarian player isn't having as much fun now, he should swift back.

The game has no problems being played without a cleric in the group.

Has it been a problem for the party? Or does the GM feel that he need to downplay many encounters not to kill you?

In my opinion it can just provide an interesting challenge. Maybe the glass cannons need to focus a little more on defense to stay alive, maybe you and the bard need to find alternative strategies to keep your primary pets alive.
At the point where the game adds challenges you need to overcome, and you need to take a deroute from the optimization guides, is in my perspective where building a character becomes interesting.


Really don't think it is a mmo syndrome. I've been playing since the 90's and haven't really played mmo's until recently. A party always had a healer and if not we were doomed. That's not really new. Pathfinder saying you don't need one is kind of new to me


Now that I think back on my experiences with the group it has the DM has always played the NPC as slightly retarded. Party deaths were always kept to a minimum, and whenever we ran into a sticky situation the DM always baled us out. Ironically the only deaths that I remember are back when I was playing a cleric myself, and it was always me that died.

It comes down to the DM always having creatures pile up on the fighter and cleric, ignoring the rogue and wizard except for the occasional shot taken by a bow user. Not to mention I rarely seem them use the monsters special abilities. (We've fought 2 dragons, and they both stayed grounded the whole fight)

It was actually treamonks guide that inspired me to even try making an arcane caster class. Till now the guy who normally plays them focused on magic missle, melfs acid arrow, and fireball pretty much exclusively. I never realized the versatility of a wizard until quite recently.

Upon reading what I've wrote I will say it's not as bad as it reads, but it definitely doesn't sound like some of the more interesting groups where PC death is an actual threat.


Sub_Zero wrote:
you need a fighter, cleric, mage, and rogue and that's it kinda party.

So this is definently about your players worrying about the party's synergy. What I said earlier about work, but if they remain in this mindset you should explain why a party used to be composed of these characters. These four characters used to be the almost mandatory group because they complimented eachother to the point where there was no lacking departments in the group.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the original roles of party members:

Fighter
- Primary Melee Damage
- Able to soak up damage, and distract opponents

Cleric
- Secondary Ranged/Melee Damage
- Variety of healing and buffing spells
- Diplomacy Expert to avoid certain situations

Mage
- Primary Ranged Damage
- Variety of helpful utility spells

Rogue
- Primary Tactical Damage (flanking, attacks of opportunity, etc.)
- Stealth Expert to avoid certain situations
- Variety of helpful skills/abilities to insure group survivability

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your party easily covers all of these categories.

Fighter covers the fighter requirements, for obvious reasons

Bard and Gunslinger together cover the requirements of rogue and cleric

Wizards cover the mage requirements, for obvious reasons

The Barbarian is the 5th wheel on a standard 4 party system, but that is not a bad thing. He adds additional damage and tanking abilities that help keep the party alive. He can help protect any lower armored characters that the Fighter can not reach. I'd recommend having one guard the Wizard, while the other watches over the Bard and Gunslinger. Bards and Gunslingers can usually hold their own, but it is always good to keep an eye on any lower armored ally.

Osirion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

No group needs clerics. Period. End of story. DM's forcing people to play certain archetypes aren't doing their job, i.e., helping the group have fun.


Sub_Zero wrote:

I'm curious what peoples opinions are on a party that consists of no divine magic users. We're going to be running an undead heavy campaign starting at level 1-level 10. Our intial group composition was:

-fighter (net and trident user)aka BSF
-barbarian (damage dealer)aka glass cannon
-gunslinger (pistelero) aka glass cannon #2
-Bard (treamonks controller bard)
-God wizard <--- me (controller/summoning focus) aka God

Now we have a very old fashioned group, and the DM was unhappy that we didn't have a healer (cleric specifically) in our group. I argued that we'd be fine without a cleric, and that we'd eventually just pick up some wands for out of combat damage. however, after much pressure our barbarian player is now playing a general healbot cleric. They're enthusiasm has dropped greatly, and they don't seem to be having any fun with the class.

At this point I really want to convince my DM to let them switch back to their original class, but everyone else including the DM think that the cleric as a healer is absolutely necessary even if the person playing it isn't having as much fun.

How would any of you go about trying to reason with this group (They're all good friends of mine and we all know eachother well, also the DM say's it's not a plot reason for the cleric so that isn't the reason for the push to make them one).

The barbarian should play a barbarian. Maybe if the GM is proven to be correct someone can play a cleric after someone dies.

I think someone who can remove status affects makes things a lot easier, but I would not say it is necessary. In undead campaigns divine characters are good for removing diseases and negative energy levels, among other things. As for hit point damage, if the party plays well that will not be an issue most of the time.

I guess the GM does not want anyone to die, but I think it is a part of the game so if someone dies then they die.


Sub_Zero wrote:

Now that I think back on my experiences with the group it has the DM has always played the NPC as slightly retarded. Party deaths were always kept to a minimum, and whenever we ran into a sticky situation the DM always baled us out. Ironically the only deaths that I remember are back when I was playing a cleric myself, and it was always me that died.

It comes down to the DM always having creatures pile up on the fighter and cleric, ignoring the rogue and wizard except for the occasional shot taken by a bow user. Not to mention I rarely seem them use the monsters special abilities. (We've fought 2 dragons, and they both stayed grounded the whole fight)

It was actually treamonks guide that inspired me to even try making an arcane caster class. Till now the guy who normally plays them focused on magic missle, melfs acid arrow, and fireball pretty much exclusively. I never realized the versatility of a wizard until quite recently.

Upon reading what I've wrote I will say it's not as bad as it reads, but it definitely doesn't sound like some of the more interesting groups where PC death is an actual threat.

Maybe he is afraid to have a TPK (everyone dies) and have everyone mad at him. I understand it is hard to scale a fight to possbility kill a couple, but not all players. I learned that when you eliminate the chance of death from a situation all together players begin to become more reckless. Just the other day I decided to have a Pit Fiend kill my entire party because they had it in their head they could crush anything at level 8. They had a chance to run away and another to play tactically, both of which they failed. I allowed them to start again at level 8, but they lost some good gear and are much more careful (basically a NPC revived them using their best gear as funding).


ekibus wrote:
Really don't think it is a mmo syndrome. I've been playing since the 90's and haven't really played mmo's until recently. A party always had a healer and if not we were doomed. That's not really new. Pathfinder saying you don't need one is kind of new to me

A party always need healing, but not a dedicated healer. The MMOs only helped push the idea that a player should put 100% of their resources into a single place. There is nothing wrong with becoming a Master of a field, but if you become too specialized you are too dependant on others doing the rest of the job. I could know ever type of cooking ingredient in the world, but unless I know how to actually cook I am reliant on someone else doing it for me (I at the time being nothing better then an ingredient list). A healthy investment in surrounding fields can go a long way.


The big issue is how deadly the gm is. If the gm tailors encounters to the party and never uses an enemy worse than APL x2 OR APL +3 I'm sure they will be fine. In those games, nothing matters besides comparing damage totals between players. If the gm includes random elements or doesn't care to take the party makeup into consideration (how I run), not having a healer is very dangerous.


I used to think you *NEEDED* a cleric, then I played without one and saw how much better it was. I suspect this will mean my people can play clerics who do not heal in the future, I look forward to this.


I was in a group once that consisted of a melee alchemist, a wizard, a healbot cleric, and a ranged rogue (so pretty balanced, by your GM's standards...the alchemist easily fit in the "Fighter" mold.) The guy playing the healbot was honestly a liability. He did nothing but heal, and we would often have to "save" him because enemies would go after him and he refused to fight, so he would either stand there and channel energy (since it doesn't provoke) or take total defense. He had no magical weapon (by level 8) and no other way to do ANYTHING other than heal. When none of us were hurt, he would take total defense. If he had more than 1 or 2 monsters near him, he would take total defense. And we would have to go dispatch those enemies first so he wouldn't get his butt handed to him.

I will admit he was not a very good player, so your barbarian-turned-healbot might at least be more useful, but my point still stands...a healbot is not necessary. If our healbot could do anything else, such as buff, debuff, crowd control, or just deal damage (either with spells or melee attacks) we would have been able to eliminate the enemies faster and thus, not need as much healing in the first place.

If your GM's argument really is that you need a "balanced" party of Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Rogue, where the heck is your Rogue character? Of your current party, you have no one who is good at detecting traps or who has disable device as a class skill (unless one of them, maybe the bard, took some funky archetype.)

"Unbalanced" parties have often been some of the funnest in my experience. In Pathfinder Society organized play, you are never guaranteed to have a balanced party. One group may consist of Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Rogue, but the next might be Summoner, Summoner, Barbarian, Gunslinger. You find ways to make do, either with the resources you have or by hiring NPCs to cast spells for you if need-be.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ekibus wrote:
Really don't think it is a mmo syndrome. I've been playing since the 90's and haven't really played mmo's until recently. A party always had a healer and if not we were doomed. That's not really new. Pathfinder saying you don't need one is kind of new to me

Our experiences have been way different then, ekibus. I, too, have been playing since '91, and have had many parties--both as a player and running as a DM--that had no healers in them at all. Pathfinder didn't make this a standard . . . it's always been like that at the table, and that's what made the game so great from the beginning. People need not be cornered into roles. The game, regardless of edition (except maybe first!), works fine whatever the players want to play. =)


There's no way you need a dedicated healer, but you might need a potential healer.

I think there are two things to worry about: that rare case when a cure prevents someone from dieing, and being able to hole up for a day or two and drop as many restorations as the group needs to fix stat drain and negative levels.

There are a few ways to get this. First, the GM can stop trying to railroad your party composition and provide a staff with one low level cleric/wizard spell (eg Summon Monster I) and the absolutely necessary cleric spells. That will lock up one skill point/level for the bard to UMD and the wizard can recharge it.

Second, someone can be a Cleric, Oracle, or Druid. There's no reason to take merciful healer or life oracle or any of that crap. You just need to spend a few spells known on lesser restoration, restoration, and heal if an oracle or memorize one highest cure available or heal if a druid or not be a cleric archetype that loses spontaneous cures and memorize one heal when you get it. Build as a front liner, archer, blaster, or necromancer.

Third, someone can be a paladin and carry a stack of restoration scrolls starting at level 9-10.

Honorable mention goes to the witch, who can get restoration from the right patron and can debuff with the best of them. Unfortunately their familiar is their spellbook and it goes away if they die and aren't resurrected or reincarnated quickly enough so they don't really cut it as a sole healer since they need either another witch to share spells with or for someone to always be ready with a resurrect or reincarnate. And that's if the GM is a gentleman about not targeting noncombat familiars.

The first option is the best, of course. Everybody plays what they want and the GM has a safety net. The second is comforting since he could start memorizing those cures if they were actually necessary (they won't be). The third option will work wonders in an undead heavy campaign, but has the stupid honor code.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

most games that I play in do not have a heavy healer, if one at all. In fact right now I am playing a game that feels pretty heal friendly, with me as a bard, and another member being a druid. All that is really needed is a wand or two, or some pots.


Thanks again all,

The last time I talked to him I brought up the subject, and told him my perspective as well as brought in Treamonks guide in trying to show that I wasn't the only one that thought a dedicated healer wasn't essential. Unfortunately that turned out to be a mistake since it was dismissed as, "thats just 1 random persons opinion, and you accepting it". I think if I can argue that the healer will be more of a liability, and the fact that multiple people from multiple playing groups have thrived without a healbot I might get some leverage. If nothing else even if we TPK, I feel that's better then having a player lose interest and potentially quit b/c they're forced into a class they don't want to play.


Sub_Zero wrote:


At this point I really want to convince my DM to let them switch back to their original class, but everyone else including the DM think that the cleric as a healer is absolutely necessary even if the person playing it isn't having as much fun.

Players having fun is absolutely necessary. Everything else can be worked around with a little effort.


I would present it exactly as that Sub. You are all there to have fun, if nobody wants to be the healer he should let you guys learn your way (perhaps he will learn too) But just remember a cleric isnt just a "healbot" though depending on how they are played they can be a party buffer or a divine champion (aka using his own spells to buff himself) But yeah I'm trying to make a cleric and it's just not clicking for me...depends on the player's style :)

Grand Lodge

Bards can use healing wands very easily, because its on their class spell list and they don't even have to roll a UMD check. A god wizard, if played properly, should make the need to heal the party redundent (since the whole point of treatmonk's guide was to tell people how to arrange combat so the enemy never gets to hit you enough to be a real threat). Combine that with a net fighter (who can incapacitate enemies), the fact that your bard is also a controller, a gunslinger (who are fairly good at staying alive), and a barbarian with their tank-like hit-points (and there are rage powers that let them heal), a cleric really isn't totally necessary.

At the end of the day, its more important if the group if having fun. Heck, I've played no healer groups before, and yeah everyone kinda freaked out, and it was difficult for a while, but that was 3.5, where your healing options were pretty limited. But now, well...I think its much easier to survive, especially with a god wizard in there. Honestly, if you want to make a point, have the barbarian's player speak up about his lack of interest in playing the class. No one can MAKE him play the cleric if he doesn't want to, so the only person you really need to convince is him, not the GM. The other players can shout your opinion down because it really isn't your character or your enjoyment at stake. But, if, for example, the cleric's player says "guys, I don't really want to play a healer, and i think if we work together, we can get by without one" no one can stop him. If they think they need one so desperately, they'll swap, or the GM will add an NPC. I mean, in an undead heavy campaign, yes a cleric is a very nice benefit. But it certainly isn't mandatory, especially if you have to sacrifice fun to get there.


Sub_Zero wrote:

Thanks again all,

The last time I talked to him I brought up the subject, and told him my perspective as well as brought in Treamonks guide in trying to show that I wasn't the only one that thought a dedicated healer wasn't essential. Unfortunately that turned out to be a mistake since it was dismissed as, "thats just 1 random persons opinion, and you accepting it". I think if I can argue that the healer will be more of a liability, and the fact that multiple people from multiple playing groups have thrived without a healbot I might get some leverage. If nothing else even if we TPK, I feel that's better then having a player lose interest and potentially quit b/c they're forced into a class they don't want to play.

Most of the board is not "one random person". :)

I would just tell the GM I am not playing a healer. If he wants one in the game that badly he can run an NPC.


ekibus wrote:
Well i know cleric used to be THE specialist against undead. Heck channel the heck out of them...you are now a nuke...while healing the party. I know as a gm I get jittery not seeing a healer...think it is just ingrained. Worst case the gm should just let you guys die rather than make someone roll a class they dont want. That or make a npc cleric. My party is kind of close to that and I've been trying to make a archer-cleric but thinking about giving up on it and just doing a ranger and first person down can roll the healer :)

I hope you were joking with that comment.

Quote:
Channeling energy causes a burst that affects all creatures of one type (either undead or living) in a 30-foot radius centered on the cleric.

Either you heal or damage undead.


Cure light wounds option to heal or to channel damage or to heal, my bad should have worded the sentence properly. Thanks Oh Grand Moff Vixen for grammar policing, couldn't have done it without you. 25 posts in...hmm maybe the wording was ok after all.


Maybe he's worried about "Will Saves". I dont see any blatantly good ones... Wizard, but if there's not a good Wisdom score... eh.

A strategic "dip" into Cleric, with the right Domain/Sub Domain choices could prove wonderful. And, I'd not worry about nerfing.

I'd focus on crafting magic items, and the dip into Cleric make just about ALL spells available.

Someone else can take "Cooperative Crafting", the Bard?


For the past 1.5 years I've been GMing a group that doesn't have a healer. The "healer" is a sorceror that uses wands of infernal healing and 2 rogues that use UMD and wands of cure light wounds. Basically, all of the healing is out of combat. I find that it actually works better than having a healer in the party, because you do more damage so you take less damage.

Anyway, they've been more than fine for levels 1-6, and I wouldn't necessarily even call them optimized (fighter, rogue, ninja, sorc, ranger).

This might change in the upper levels, but I won't know until we play there more. So far, it hasn't mattered with my level 7 fighter either.


A Player's Guide to Healing by OneWinged4ngel (5th spoiler down)(thanks TOZ!)

Guide:

(And, why you will be Just Fine without a Cleric to heal)

Healin'. Patchin' up the wounds. Sewing the Fighter's larynx back in after he took an arrow through the neck and lived and wanted to tell about it. Every player knows the drill. But oddly, a lot of players just use really... silly methods of going about healing themselves, and have some wild misconceptions about how to do it effectively and even how much of a priority it should be.

The Problems

Some players think they *have* to have a cleric or druid to cover the healing role, and place healing as an extremely high priority, even in combat, and even if they don't, many even spend inordinate amounts of money on extremely inefficient healing items that may hurt them more than help them.

To summarize a few common issues:

Players overprioritize healing in combat when there are more effective options available to them.

Players spend too much money on healing, often spending wads of cash on things like potions of Cure Moderate Wounds.

Players believe they can't heal efficiently without a Cleric or Druid or similar class in the party, and view such as an essential role, to the point where some even *force* others to play a Cleric or Druid just so that they can have a dedicated healer, and then downplay the extraordinary talents of those classes and belittle them to a mere healing role, making for an unenjoyable experience for the victim of this treatment.

Many players just don't know how to get the best healing for their buck.

Some Information and Comparisons

First, an effort at dispelling some of the myths. First off, you should probably never be buying healing potions, perhaps with the exception of Cure Light Wounds or a similar level 1 spell. The reason for this is simple. The cost is exorbitant, and it's really not worth it. A Cure Serious Wounds potion will heal, on average, 18.5 hp, and it will cost you 750gp, and it will take either a standard or a full round action to use, and it will provoke AoOs unless you did some further investment to prevent that, and on top of that it probably smells bad and tastes bitter. Yuck. For the same price, you could have gotten a Wand of Cure Light Wounds (275hp total instead of 18.5hp), a Wand of Lesser Vigor (550hp total instead of 18.5gp), or a Healing Belt (Either 6d8 hp (average 27 hp) a day, or 18 hp (same as the potion!) per day if you burst heal, usable as a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.)) Would you rather get 18 hp, or 18 hp per day? Now would you rather use a standard or full action that provokes AoOs, *and* need to draw the item, or would you rather use a standard action that doesn't provoke AoOs? And hey, wouldn't you like the option to heal even more for efficiency, outside of battle? There's even another option, this one for artificers, that costs a mere 50 gp a pop: Infuse an ally with Greater Healing armor. This will give them 6d8+30 total healing (3d8+15 as a swift action, usable twice). As an added bonus, it will even automatically heal you if you get knocked unconscious. The point is... potions are bad. Potions are inefficient. So are scrolls of Cure Moderate Wounds, Cure Serious Wounds, and so forth.

Second, a dedicated healer is not a necessary combat role. Seriously.

First off, healing often does not outpace damage. Moreover, removing an enemy a threat can often be much more effective at saving your allies' necks than going up and poking them with Cure X Wounds. If an enemy were to deal 50 damage to an ally, and you can take that enemy out by either disabling or killing them, then you've "healed" that ally of the 50 damage he would have taken. Additionally, as healing often does not keep up the pace with damage, even if you can't disable the enemy, healing the ally might not be good enough to save them. Instead, you might want to use an ability to help the ally escape, or block the enemy from attacking them (this can be something as simple as Benign Transposition, really). In fact, healing in combat is only situationally a good choice, and is often a subpar tactical option.

Secondly, you can get very efficient out-of-combat healing quite easily without a Cleric or Druid, and indeed a Rogue, Artificer, Paladin, Ranger, Factotum, Warlock, or Bard could fill the healing role with a wand of Cure Light Wounds or Lesser Vigor. In fact, you can even get good, cheap burst healing comparable to the Cleric or Druid's ability at low levels with items like the Healing Belt.

Actually, the Artificer can prove to be a fantastic healer, cheaply (we're talking 37.5% market price here) turning out healing belts, wands of lesser vigor, and providing Greater Healing armor infusions (a mere second level infusion) at an early level. The Paladin and Ranger can use wands of Cure Light Wounds without penalty, and the others can use UMD to master the efficient wands. On top of that, members of *any* class can easily chip in with the very efficient Healing Belt.

These things considered, you really can get by without a Cleric or Druid. In fact, if you do have a Cleric or Druid, they're probably going to be more useful in most combats if they are doing something OTHER than healing, since they have considerable talents in many regards.

How to Heal Effectively
(Author's note: I have excluded a few very potent and efficient means of healing because things like the infinite-healing-for-cheap trap and other such things are just plain abusive, and few sane DMs will allow them)

Blessed Bandages (10gp, MiC page 152): 10gp to automatically succeed to stabilize an ally. Can definitely save a friend at very low levels.

Wands of Cure Light Wounds (750gp, Core): The hallmark of efficiency. These wands will dish out an average of 5.5hp a pop, and with 50 charges that will add up to 275 total healing. This wand gains an advantage over Lesser Vigor in two respects: Speed of use, and the fact that Lesser Vigor is a Cleric and Druid only spell, and thus is only available to those classes and UMD users, while Paladins and Rangers and the like will stick to Cure Light Wounds.

Wands of Lesser Vigor (750gp, Spell Compendium Page 229): These are the most efficient healing wands around! You get 11 hp per pop (though it takes a full minute to gain that 11 hp), and you get a total of 550hp of healing for your 750gp.

Healing Belts (750gp, MiC page 110): For 750gp, *anyone* can heal 6d8 hp a day, and even burst heal for 4d8hp as a Standard action with a Touch range, and does not provoke attacks of opportunity like spells and scrolls. Also, with the MiC rules for adding common effects, you don't even need to worry about "keeping the slot free" anymore. You can actually just say, give one of these to everyone in a party of 5 for 30d8 healing per day, and just subsidize your healing costs. This is a great way to keep everyone alive at low levels. As if this weren't good enough, you get feel-good +2 bonus to Heal checks as a bonus.

Artificers can heal very effectively with Greater Healing Armor (MiC page 12), dishing out 3d8+15 healing *twice* usable as a swift action, and even automatically healing a character should they fall unconscious. Best of all, this only costs you 50gp for a total of 6d8+30hp healing, and is available at a very low level.

Wand of Faith Healing (Spell Compendium): It's kinda cheesy, but it's worth mentioning if your DM allows it. It's exactly the same as Cure Light Wounds, except maximized and only usable on people who share your faith (which can easily just be everyone in your party). I personally don't allow this spell as a DM.

Touch of Healing (Reserve Feat, Complete Champion pg 62): This one is for the actual "healers." As long as you have a healing spell of second level or higher ready to cast, you can heal anyone up to half their total hp (but no higher, meaning you have to use more abilities to fully heal them) for free. Basically, for the cost of a feat, you get a lot of free healing.

Summon Nature's Ally IV (Core): Summoning a Unicorn nets you a free set of 3 CLWs, 1 CMW, and a Neutralize Poison. It has a caster level of 5th, so that'll total 5d8+20 points of healing (and a neutralize poison). It's even something a druid can cast spontaneously. Not bad.

Revivify (Cleric 5, Spell Compendium page 176): Revive your dead buddy for 1000gp as a standard action instead of for 5000gp as a much longer action, and best of all *no level loss.* A no brainer really. You just need to be quick about it, acting within 1 round of the victim's death!

Revenance (Cleric 4, Paladin 4, Bard 6): This spell can target any character that died within 1 round / caster level of casting. The subject comes back to life (as if by Raise Dead except with no penalties) and is able to fight (with a +1 morale bonus on attack, damage, and saves against the person who killer her) for 1 minute per level, at the end of which the character dies again. The real seller here is that it has a wider window to cast than Revivify (1 round / level), and moreover the ally will die at the end of the spell (or after being killed again), often allowing you to use Revivify when it would otherwise be impossible (window passed) or too dangerous (in the middle of combat).

Delay Death (Cleric 4, Spell Compendium page 63): As an *Immediate Action*, the ally becomes unable to die from hit point damage (they'll still fall unconscious, they just won't die.) This means that you can instantaneously cast this spell when a buddy takes their final hit, and they won't die for 1 round/level (during which time you can finish the encounter, then heal them up.) Can definitely be a lifesaver.

Tomb Tainted Soul (Feat, Libris Mortis): This handy feat allows you to be healed by negative energy. This means that a living Dread Necromancer can heal you to full as much as she likes with Charnel Touch, and that you can heal yourself with things like Uttercold metamagiced spells and the like.

Amulet of Retributive Healing (2000gp, MiC Page 69): This handy little doodad lets you double up on your healing 3 times per day. When activated (as a swift action) this amulet allows you to cure yourself of an amount of damage equal to however much you cured your buddy of. So, if you cast Heal on your ally, you can activate this item to use a free quickened Heal on yourself. Works with scrolls and everything, too.

Collar of Healing (5000gp, MiC page 90): As an *Immediate action* once per day, heal your animal companion of 50hp and cures the Fatigued or Exhausted conditions. Keep your little buddy going. As an added bonus, it works at any range (as long as you're on the same plane), and lets you know your companion's exact hit point total at all times.

Heal (Core): Heal is a great spell. It really is. It's the healing spell you actually might want to use in fights fairly often. It heals a ton of damage, and it takes away ability damage, blinded, confused, dazed, dazzled, deafened, diseased, exhausted, fatigued, feebleminded, insanity, nauseated, sickened, stunned, and poisoned. A laundry list of status effects, some of which are quite deadly in their own right! However, Heal is not a necessary party role in and of itself! Again, you don't actually need *any* in-combat healing to have a highly effective party. Still, when you *do* have a Cleric or Druid around, there's no reason they shouldn't have this ready. If you don't have a Cleric or Druid around, you may want to consider a scroll or two of this for those few situations where you really do want a Heal (i.e., your buddy just got blasted for 100 damage and got stunned to boot).

Divine Ward (Feat, PHB II): This feat will help out the "true healers," allowing them to use Close Range instead of Touch Range for their healing spells on one ally by spending your Turning attempts. You can get a similar results with Divine Metamagic (Reach Spell) (Which happens to be doubly useful for, say, a ranged Slay Living).

Augment Healing (Feat, Complete Divine): Add +2 healing per level of the healing spell cast. Simple and effective for a dedicated healer, should you choose to get one.

False Life (Sor/Wiz 2, Core):
Instead of taking up an action to heal during combat, take an action to heal up to 1 hour / level before combat ever happens! See also, Aid (Cleric 2, PHB)

Empathic Transfer (Egoist 2, Psychic Warrior 2, XPH): This useful power is the standy of healing as a Psionic character. The method is a little unique as opposed to standard methods of healing, but it works just as well. You eliminate anywhere from 2d10 to 10d10 (depending on augment) hp of damage from an ally, and transfer half of that damage onto yourself. Combined with Vigor (Psion 1, Psychic Warrior 1, XPH), and Share Pain (Psion 2, XPH) both shared to your psicrystal through Share Powers, the temporary hit points will absorb all of the damage.

Vigor (Psion 1, Psychic Warrior 1, XPH): This power giives you 5 temporary hit points per power point spent, lasting for a minute per level. It's like healing *before* you ever take damage, and lets you buff beforehand in order to avoid the need to heal in combat.

Amulet of Tears (2300gp, MiC page 70): Another source of temporary hit points, this handy item stores 3 charges per day and grants temporary hit points lasting for 10 minutes based on the number of charges spent. For 1 charge, you gain 12 tmporary hit points, and for 3 charges grants 24 temporary hit points.

Share Pain (Psion 2, XPH): This power transfers half of the damage dealt to you to a willing subject, and thus helps a good deal with damage mitigation. It lasts for an hour per level, so can last for a full day's worth of encounters, and a popular use is to combine it with a Vigor (Psion 1, Psychic Warrior 1, XPH) power shared with your psicrystal and make your psicrystal the subject, effectively doubling the effect of vigor and transferring a good deal of hp damage onto a target that is often a noncombatant.

Shield Other (Cleric 2, Paladin 2, Core): This is much like Share Pain, except it deals half of an ally's damage to you, helping you to protect them. It also adds a +1 resistance bonus to saves and a +1 deflection bonus to AC for the target, as an added plus.

Vampiric Touch (Sor/Wiz 3, Duskblade 3, Core): 1d6 damage per two levels, and gain temporary hp equal to the damage dealt. This spell is notable for combining offensive abilities and effective in-combat "healing" into the same attack. This spell is useful in spell storing weapons, or channeled through a Duskblade's "Arcane Channelling" ability. It is generally *not* a good idea for the average mage to run up into melee and try to touch an enemy with it, because the damage will be low and the temporary hp probably won't save you from a world of pain (unless you have other protective spells and such up). Also note that if you're an Unseen Seer or Arcane Trickster, you can increase the amount healed with sneak attacks!

Bloodstone weapon enhancement (+1, page 29 MiC): Stores and casts Vampiric Touch just like a spell storing weapon, except that it's automatically empowered. Basically, this will deal extra damage on attacks equal to (1d6 per two caster levels)*1.5, *and* give the wielder of the weapon temporary hp equal to the damage dealt. Thus, you're adding to damage and to healing at the same time! See also: Vampiric Touch.

Bodyfeeder weapon enhancement (+3 bonus, XPH): This handy enhancement will grant its wielder temporary hit points equal to the damage dealt by any critical hit he dishes out. With an expanded critical hit range, you can expect this to give a steady stream of temporary hp. This enhancement can be granted by an artificer spending a 3rd level infusion and a small amount of gp. (Note: Though "Wrathful Healing" is almost certainly more effective, it's much less likely to be allowed)

Guide wrote:
These things considered, you really can get by without a Cleric or Druid. In fact, if you do have a Cleric or Druid, they're probably going to be more useful in most combats if they are doing something OTHER than healing, since they have considerable talents in many regards.
Merciful Healer wrote:
Channel Energy...cannot choose to target undead.

Your DM forced your friend to reroll cleric, and then neutered his character with this archetype? If this had been me, I would have found something else to do on game night.


I'm currently in a group where death is permenant - no Raise Dead nor Resurrection etc. We also just lost (due to losing a player) our cleric and then our arcane caster (an arcane trickster so we lost our rogue too!). For us death is career ending outcome, not just a financial burden.

The cleric was very combat focussed but there were a number of times where the in-combat Heal or CCW spell was the difference between surviving and rolling a new character. Regardless of tactics, buffs etc sometimes you roll badly, the bad guys roll well and things get dicey.

So while I can understand the "in combat healing is a waste of time" crowd, sometimes it is vital. Is part of that viewpoint guided by the knowledge that if someone does die then you just chuck the body in a bag of holding and go pay a cleric for a Res?


Gallo wrote:


So while I can understand the "in combat healing is a waste of time" crowd, sometimes it is vital.

It is not exactly that simple. There is a thread that expands on the viewpoint.

Quote:

Is part of that viewpoint guided by the knowledge that if someone does die then you just chuck the body in a bag of holding and go pay a cleric for a Res?

We don't advocate allowing people to die. Res's are expensive, and I personally don't agree with the RP aspect of letting a friend die if it can be avoided.

With that said your GM's houserule is a corner case.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A healer of a sorts is always good (they can be built to participate in combat, although I have seen my share of ineffectual builds too).

Some groups play without and you can get away with one if the GM goes soft on you. There are some situations that Divine power can make things much easier and there isn't a substitute.

As a GM in both in PFS and my own home games, encounters with clerics can easily be TPK's and I have to be far more hands on, especially when considering poor tactics amongst a party who might met for first time minutes before being thrown into combat.

The GM should allow you to build your own party, but then you guy's don't get to complain that he/she is being unfair and picking on you when the inevitable wave of undead appear...

All of you at the table should play PC's you are happy with, everyone should be happy.


lastblacknight wrote:

The GM should allow you to build your own party, but then you guy's don't get to complain that he/she is being unfair and picking on you when the inevitable wave of undead appear...

You missed where Hudax pointed out that the archetype the GM is making the player use is useless against undead, didn't you?


In our current party, we have no divine casters. I play a bard, and then there is a magus, a sorcerer and a ninja/monk.

All three arcane casters have mirror image for when things look bad. And the ninja/monk has some UC style that allows him to deflect attacks. So we rarely take very much damage.

When we do, my bard carry wands and scrolls to cure what ails ya.

If we were to assign "roles", I'd say:

Bard: Everything (Social/Heal/Control/DPR (1d8+14 with my longsword at lv6))
Magus: DPR/Tank
Sorcerer: DPR/Control
Monk/Ninja: Scouting/Tank

Tanks as in they are able to stand in the fray and not be taken down.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Atarlost wrote:
You missed where Hudax pointed out that the archetype the GM is making the player use is useless against undead, didn't you?

Not really, I didn't want to 'step on another DM/GM's toes' with my own opinion.

Personally I would be tempted to approach the build to the party a different way. Of the archetypes listed I might personally use the Crusader... but I can't see the benefit in Merciful Healer (with all respect to the GM in question).

Especially in an undead heavy campaign...


My current group has a druid instead of a cleric. We made it through the tough early levels, but there were periods of days straight when we just healed naturally.

4th editions Warlord was a fine addition to the game, although I don't know how it would even thematically make its way into a 3rd/PF game without some hand waiving.


wraithstrike wrote:
Gallo wrote:


So while I can understand the "in combat healing is a waste of time" crowd, sometimes it is vital.

It is not exactly that simple. There is a thread that expands on the viewpoint.

I have been following the various threads on the topic - some of the anti in-combat healing positions presented are that simple. i.e. if you need in-combat healing you are a complete muppet with no idea of tactics, inept arcane caster etc etc


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If the DM says you must have a "healbot" in your party, he should create a NPC. He should not force players to play his NPCs, by restricting a player to a single class. If the DM is making all the choices for his players, then he is just playing with himself, with some friends over to watch.


Personally, I'd say that while there are times when in-combat healing can be a (literal) life-saver, it doesn't fall into the must-have category for every party. There are plenty of times when battlefield control, summoning, buffing/debuffing, and the like are going to be a far better use of a cleric's actions than the Channel Energy spamming healbot. Preventing damage by killing the enemy is better than fixing the damage after the fact.

Plus, the heal-bot cleric isn't necessary for in-combat healing; other classes get access to cure spells, and anyone can get a high enough UMD can use wands and/or scroll in a pinch.


Gallo wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Gallo wrote:


So while I can understand the "in combat healing is a waste of time" crowd, sometimes it is vital.

It is not exactly that simple. There is a thread that expands on the viewpoint.

I have been following the various threads on the topic - some of the anti in-combat healing positions presented are that simple. i.e. if you need in-combat healing you are a complete muppet with no idea of tactics, inept arcane caster etc etc

I am not saying nobody has said that, but it is not a majority view. Anyone saying that has no concept of reality or tactics and their opinion really does not matter.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sub_Zero wrote:

Now we have a very old fashioned group, and the DM was unhappy that we didn't have a healer (cleric specifically) in our group. I argued that we'd be fine without a cleric, and that we'd eventually just pick up some wands for out of combat damage. however, after much pressure our barbarian player is now playing a general healbot cleric. They're enthusiasm has dropped greatly, and they don't seem to be having any fun with the class.

At this point I really want to convince my DM to let them switch back to their original class, but everyone else including the DM think that the cleric as a healer is absolutely necessary even if the person playing it isn't having as much fun.

How would any of you go about trying to reason with this group (They're all good friends of mine and we all know eachother well, also the DM say's it's not a plot reason for the cleric so that isn't the reason for the push to make them one).

1) The only wrongbadfun is spoiling another player's fun. This player is not having fun because everyone else thinks they need a cleric - but they don't think it bad enough that THEY have chosen to play the cleric.

2) You do not NEED a cleric in a party. A wand will do as well for out-of-combat healing and you have a bard who should have Use Magic Device if it's not an arcane wand (not that it should really make any difference).

3) This is Pathfinder, if you REALLY have to have a channeller, a Paladin is a great compromise: they can kick butt with smite evil, then channel to wipe out undead and heal the party.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You absolutely should have someone who can cast Restoration. In-combat healing on demand is also nice, although it still is a thankless job.

The times I've had in my last campaign where the Clerics in-combat healing saved someone essential from dropping are too numerous to count, so I really don't know where people get their "You don't need in-combat healing!" from.


cranewings wrote:
The big issue is how deadly the gm is. If the gm tailors encounters to the party and never uses an enemy worse than APL x2 OR APL +3 I'm sure they will be fine. In those games, nothing matters besides comparing damage totals between players. If the gm includes random elements or doesn't care to take the party makeup into consideration (how I run), not having a healer is very dangerous.

Ofcourse the GM should take the party's composition into account, but with that being said then he should mainly do it to specifically attack some of their weaknesses.

My previous party that i GM'd cosisted of
2 handed paladin/cavalier,
3.5 edition warlock specially tailored to pathfinder imbaness (think ranged magic dps),
sword and board fighter
and a rogue.

They had the warlock and rogue to use magic device if they needed off combat healing. Other than that they all had 1 or 2 healing pots on them, so that they can always run over and stop someone else from dying. I provided the group with an item that had 5 aoe heals a day but couldnt be used in combat due to story reasons, but that was mainly as a substitute for them buying a stack of healing wands.

That being said our group is a bunch of diehard people that use tactic and cunning and way to much courage to win fights, they dont understand the mentality of a 5 min working day. Most of the dungeons i would make consisted of 5 encounters.

This is a dungeon i made for a level 6 party:

1st fight room
6 lvl 6 warrior archers (cultists)
Hp: 37 AC: 17
6 lvl 6 warrior fighters (cultists)
Hp: 45 AC: 19

2nd fight room:
2 lvl 6 warrior archers
4 lvl 6 warrior fighters

1 lvl 7 abyssal sorcerer
Hp: 48 AC: 19
elec resist 5

spells 6/6/4
cause fear, mage armour, shield, burning hands, jump, disguise self
bulls strength, acid arrow, scorching ray, blur, false life
rage, hold person, lightning bolt
------------------------------------------------------

Leoric boss encounter:
phase 1:
2 babau, 1 shadow demon.

Phase 2:
Leoric (as ogre mage with altered regen (stops at 0))
init: +3
attack: +13/+13/+8
dam: 3d6+7 / 1d10+7
Flame tungue (+1 flaming burst longsword, 4d6 dam ray 1/day)
10 Dretch (demon) minions (no dam red, bite attack)

Phase 3:
the cieling falls down in bits, to change the battle grid lookout, also do this during combat (large stones 2d6 dam dc 12 ref)
Leoric becomes a Bone devil and fights till he dies.

So 5 fights in 1 day, all made with tarrain that is favorable for the enemies, The boss fight didnt give them downtime to ress up so they were already wounded there. So with all of these advantages and cosidering the fights were all APL +2 or more i would say a party without a healer can work fine, the key point is simply that they need to know their limitations, and then work to reduce their weaknesses to it.


You never need a healbot. NEVER
That means that you should never have a player stuck doing nothing but healing.

That said, you should have means to heal.

I'm playing in a group currently where the closest thing we had to a divine caster was a ranger. But our characters got by with use of wands, and sheer toughness. The only trouble is with status conditions. Our Ranger got hit with blindness and we had to hoof it to an NPC healer to by a cure.

As long as NPC services are available, it doesn't take much to be sustainable.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And I had campaigns where people were dropped left and right and the fight very much teetered on the edge. The group won because they had a Cleric to keep them up and going.

And I compare that to fights were we had to flee and permanently lost PC's, because we had no healer.

So "never" is wrong. Completely.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thing is, you don't need a cleric to have a healer. Paladins also can channel, and multiple classes have the necessary healing and curative spells.

The bottom line, though, is that a player should not have to be pressured into playing a role that other players think should be filled, but are not prepared to give up their own character in order to fill it.


Never needing a healbot(character built primarily to heal), and not needing a healer(a character than can heal) are two different things.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Change your DM.

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