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Clerics: What should they do in combat.


Advice

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What a cleric should do in combat depend on his allies.

Say it's big party or you have allies with a butt load of attacks - then buffing will be effecient - even a simple bless will add 5% to the total damage for the entire encounter - if that is more than your cleric can do with his action - then it's a better option than charging in and killing things.

Now if the party is smaller, or don't have many damagedealers then the cleric could be the damage dealer - then HE should start killing things ASAP.

If the party already have a wizard focusing on BFC (aka playing chess) and a buffing bard the Cleric shouldn't focus on that, but if the party is facing a large group of enemies with no BCF wizard a simple wall of force could devide the enemies into two groups making the encounter easy instead of a huge challenge...

And in combat healing - if the barbarian, syntesist, paladin is doing crasy abount of damage AND you think healing in combat makes you a valued member of the party - and you enjoy doing it - then by all means do incombat healing - but when an enemy is barely standing and you could take him out before he could do more damage - then consider if that would be the best thing to do...

Anyone who have ever been forced into the role of healbot - and didn't like it - will tell you it sucks. But if you like it then that's what you should do. You could also play a Empyral Kight if you wanted to - as long as you have fun, and the party things it's fun to play with you go nuts...

I only do incombat healing if I'm the injured one - and I can get out of harms way. If the paladin just went down to -5 HP, consider what would happen if you heal him a little and he is hit again - he migth die! Better ask him to flee and kill those who harmed him!


Clerics are more versatile than most people would think, and can (almost) always be ready to heal people.

Depending on their stats, they can be decent melee hitters, good archers, or very excellent magical support units.

Shadow Lodge

Bigtuna wrote:
What a cleric should do in combat depend on his allies.

:)

I tend to think what the party does in combat should depend on their Cleric. ha ha


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Cleric: "Hey Paladin at -5 hp, you should flee!"

Paladin: "...."

Cleric: "Look, I'm not going to heal you, because a bunch of people on a message board ran the math and it makes more sense for me to summon something or attack."

Paladin: "...."

Cleric: "Look, you don't have to be a jerk about this. I'm sorry, but you will just take another 90 damage this round if I heal you. It's apparently, according to message board research, not worth my time, despite the fact that offsetting the bad guy's action when we outnumber him 4 to 1 with just one person seems pretty useful. So please flee while I tank."

Paladin's character "Um, I'm unconscious?"

Cleric's character "Oh yeah."


It's not as much 'running the math' as it is 'just thinking about it'.

Unless you only have a weak attack and healing left, there is something better to do than healing, all the imagined situations included.

That said, we must keep in mind that 'better' means something like 'optimal' with the goal of defeating the encounter. There are all sorts of reasons why a cleric should heal, even if 'the optimal action' is not one of them. Hans the Healer heals because his RP demands it. There is nothing 'worse' about that other than 'less optimal'.


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No, not "all imagined situations included". If you're 4 to 1, the monster deals 100 damage per round and you can heal 100 damage per round (or cast a Bestow Curse or whatever) healing is far more effective since it more or less negates the opponent. At that point healing is nearly as effective as a no-save Hold Monster.

And a combination of a (wand of) shield other and some UMD, together with Channel Energy, means you can heal a LOT. Even if just the bard and cleric casts it on the fighter and barb, at say 7th level, the cleric's channels will heal 16d6 per round.


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I'd say "running the math" and "breaking down each choice to make sure you make the optimal decision each time" are probably at least first cousins. But I agree with the second half of your post in that I'm so very glad I don't play with a bunch of bozos who make sure every single thing they do each gaming session is the optimal choice of that moment.

Insisting that there is always something better to do than healing does not make it so. It's theory-crafting (much like communism or the trickle down effect) that sounds wonderful on message board arguments but have no basis on the fact that a well placed heal has saved a TPK on a number of occassions I can think of over the past two months even.

Most of the other arguments have been made, but it's probably worth again noting that most of the time a cleric is healing it is not during the first round of the first combat in a day. He's cast some of those spells, and some of his remaining spells may just not be that useful for the situation going on.

I also still can't help but think that there's a little bit of a psychological dymanic here. Everybody knows that clerics heal and wizards cast fireball, so "us veteran players" have to somehow show that we are of a higher caste than those newbies, so we turn our noses up at such expectations.


Eh, in combat healing has its place for sure, but it should be kept to a minimum IMHO. Its a holding action rather than an offensive action, which means that the combat could drag on longer which requires even more resources.

As for the whole heal 100+ to negate enemy, well if you like 6th level spell slots being used as daze, no argument is going to sway you on how bad a use of resources that is. Daze isn't even a good spell.

Personally the most irritating player I've played with in PFS (and this is multiple people, they just play the same) is the healbot cleric. Whenever anybody takes ANY damage he is RIGHT THERE with the heals, often over healing by half of the spell he used. By the time we get to the 3rd or 4th encounter, he is completely out of spells other, and is out of channels too. What does he do during those encounter? Complain that he is out of things to do and stands around like an idiot. Ignores the fact that he has a weapon, or armor, or proficiency in such. Or that he could have bought 1 use items that are useful in combats like alchemist fires or tanglefoot bags. Or he has built his character to be a dead weight in everything other than healing (Why does a healbot need 18+ wisdom, and is dumping your 3 physical stats worth 1-2 extra channel?). Its very irritating to see a player running a class so poorly.


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notabot wrote:

Eh, in combat healing has its place for sure, but it should be kept to a minimum IMHO. Its a holding action rather than an offensive action, which means that the combat could drag on longer which requires even more resources.

As for the whole heal 100+ to negate enemy, well if you like 6th level spell slots being used as daze, no argument is going to sway you on how bad a use of resources that is. Daze isn't even a good spell.

A no-save Daze that affects any HD is a good spell. Which is what it should be compared to, if anything.


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Agreed: a no save, no SR daze in a 4v1 situation is decent.

A fire extinguisher isn't the most useful part of an aircraft carrier, except for when there's a fire. Sometimes you just gotta heal.


Alright, we've run in circles around healing, and talked about control. Let's talk about buffing.

a) What are the most effective buffing spells in levels 1-8?

b) In what order would you cast them?

c) How many combat rounds do you spend buffing?

Obviously there's no one answer that works every time, but I'm curious in the reasoning behind it; I play in a party with two clerics (5 and 7), and intuitively I think they could be doing more than they're doing, I just don't quite know how.


redcelt32 wrote:

I think the premise "Healing in combat is a less effective action" needs to be caveated with the statement "in a party of 4 players during routine encounters".

The more PCs in the party who are hurt, the better channeling starts to look. Same with buffs however. Healing in combat is a great action if your front line guys is droppping due to poison, several of your party have strong bleeds on them, etc.

It is better to say that healing should be about the third or fourth option after buffing, nuking/meleeing (if you have a decent attack form), using a domain power that is appropriate, unless a party member is dropping.

IMO that is the decision tree of a cleric:

1- Is someone dropping or disabled badly? If yes, fix that.
2- Buff or kill depending on situation and your build.
3- Goto 1.

Of course this is how I play clerics...battle clerics, buff and healbots, may be played differently.

Right. The cleric needs to monitor his party, and do what’s best for that moment. If there’s a party member who has just been critted and one more hit will drop, then heal him.

I prefer Buffing, battlefield control and Channel energy. Unless you have one of those DM’s where he piles hurt on just one PC to the exclusion of all other Channeling is the best way to go. It’s a SU ability, doesn’t provoke, and it doesn’t cost a spell slot. It does keep up nicely with damage. If you figure that the opposition is going to toss Fireballs (for example) sure it only heals half a FB- but half your party should make their save right? One may even evade, one may have ER.

Party buff.
Battlefield control spell
Channel divinity
Massive healing spell on downed guy, if needed.

After combat is when you make sure everyone is topped off.

Of course you can let your tank die, since “he can just roll up another”, but I don’t want to play in that game.


Sloanzilla wrote:

Cleric: "Hey Paladin at -5 hp, you should flee!"

Paladin: "...."

Cleric: "Look, I'm not going to heal you, because a bunch of people on a message board ran the math and it makes more sense for me to summon something or attack."

Paladin: "...."

Cleric: "Look, you don't have to be a jerk about this. I'm sorry, but you will just take another 90 damage this round if I heal you. It's apparently, according to message board research, not worth my time, despite the fact that offsetting the bad guy's action when we outnumber him 4 to 1 with just one person seems pretty useful. So please flee while I tank."

Paladin's character "Um, I'm unconscious?"

Cleric's character "Oh yeah."

Good one.

But it’s really not ‘research”. It’s just the way a few guys play. They have no problem at all if a PC dies, as “he can always roll up another”.

Let me propose to them another version of the game. If your PC dies, you as a player- are out. Suddenly healing in combat would be the bestest more perfectest action in the world.

And, remember- for that PC- he *IS* out. Dead. Kaput. People don’t want to die, nor do they want any of their “band of brothers” to die. IRL, guys take incredible risks to save their buddies.


DrDeth wrote:

Let me propose to them another version of the game. If your PC dies, you as a player- are out. Suddenly healing in combat would be the bestest more perfectest action in the world.

And, remember- for that PC- he *IS* out. Dead. Kaput. People don’t want to die, nor do they want any of their “band of brothers” to die. IRL, guys take incredible risks to save their buddies.

I used to play with a house rule that encouraged more realistic activity from the other players.

As hit points are abstract, I considered 0 to -3 HP to be automatically stable.

-4 to -1000 were all the same thing - horribly wounded. You could not tell be looking at the damage if the gods would be willing to heal the person. There is a big difference between injuries you can survive with a 10 minute ride to a hospital followed by a 30 minute intervention by the staff, and the injuries you can survive if someone channels magic from god within a minute of being hit.

So anyway, if you are reduced to -4 or lower, I roll 1d10 and keep the result secret. I also keep a single roll to stabilize secret. If the stabilization roll fails, you die in a number of rounds equal to the d10 roll. The result could be a 1, so if the cleric doesn't drop what he is doing and pick you up right now, he might get their and find you have a punctured abdominal venacava and have already bled out into your gut, you the gods just called your spirit off and you can't come back.


Spamming Heals in combat is generally not that common and is generally going to be reserved for end-game BBEG battles. Further the need to be close proximity to the target of a heal pretty much means you are a potential target yourself.

Ultimately healing in combat is a reactive action rather than proactive action. Yeah you can heal x amount of HP damage around but unless the rest of the party can drop the monster in that period of time you are just expending critical spell slot resources that could be used to actually reduce the duration of a fight so that less overall damage is done.

Yeah sometimes it's nice to be able to get a heal when something big and bad is biting on you but often I think it's better to summon something like a dire tiger or an lillend and bring more friends and firepower to the party.


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"No healing in combat" is a meme that has outlived its usefulness. It's good advice for those who believe healing is all a Cleric can or should do. But the introduction of 3rd edition was a long time ago by now, we all know Clerics can to a lot more.

So let's just drop it.


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VRMH wrote:

"No healing in combat" is a meme that has outlived its usefulness. It's good advice for those who believe healing is all a Cleric can or should do. But the introduction of 3rd edition was a long time ago by now, we all know Clerics can to a lot more.

So let's just drop it.

Eh, I deal with enough 2.0 refugees just converting over to PF, and enough WoW retirees that its still good advice.

Sczarni

Ascalaphus wrote:

Alright, we've run in circles around healing, and talked about control. Let's talk about buffing.

a) What are the most effective buffing spells in levels 1-8?

b) In what order would you cast them?

c) How many combat rounds do you spend buffing?

Obviously there's no one answer that works every time, but I'm curious in the reasoning behind it; I play in a party with two clerics (5 and 7), and intuitively I think they could be doing more than they're doing, I just don't quite know how.

A) Just in the CRB...

1:Bless, Magic Weapon. Situationally, Hide from Undead or Entropic Shield.
2:Bull's Strength, Bear's Endurance, Shield Other. Owl's Wisdom for monks. Eagle's Spendor for paladins.
3:Magic Circle against [Alignment], Magic Vestment.
4:Divine Power, Greater Magic Weapon, Tongues. Freedom of Movement and Spell Immunity are a bit situational, but solid.
5:Righteous Might, Spell Resistance, True Seeing
6:Mass Bull's Strength, Mass Bear's Endurance, Heroes' Feast, Wind Walk
7:Repulsion is all I can find at this level, and that's not so much a "buff" as a "stay away from me" spell.
8:Cloak of Chaos, Shield of Law, Holy Aura, Unholy Aura

B) Start with anything with a duration in minutes/level, as opposed to rounds/level. Rounds/level spells should be reserved for the surprise round, or perhaps just before the ambush if you're the ambushers. Spell Resistance comes last, obvs.

C) Really only the first round, unless something comes up. If the cleric is disarmed, he might draw a backup weapon as a move action and Magic Weapon it as a standard. I'm not sure about how Bear's Endurance interacts with wounded characters, but it could be useful if your Barbarian is about to run out of rage. The situational ones like Entropic Shield kind of force you to wait until you see the situation-- you don't cast Entropic Shield until you see arrows.

Honestly, buffing in combat isn't really the best use of a cleric's actions either-- the longer the fight goes, the less time there is for the buff to matter... unless it looks like you're losing, in which case the buff could help you overcome the enemy's advantage. Really it's a similar problem with healing-- it helps your side but doesn't directly hurt the other side.


lol VRHM, good point in that it is basically an overcorrection argument. Clerics had to burn their healing bras 20 years ago to claim the right to wear them if they want to now.

If we've moved on to buffs, may I suggest a well-placed resist energy? Also, silence is a pretty good buff, even after the nerf. Freedom of movement, since the one thing monsters really do well is grapple.


Ilja wrote:
No, not "all imagined situations included". If you're 4 to 1, the monster deals 100 damage per round and you can heal 100 damage per round (or cast a Bestow Curse or whatever) healing is far more effective since it more or less negates the opponent. At that point healing is nearly as effective as a no-save Hold Monster.

If you can heal 100 damage per round you can do a whole lot of nastier stuff in one round that will prevent the monster from doing anything ever again. Why would I want to let it do 100 damage again?


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Because if you attack it- it may live, and if it does then a member of your party will die.


This whole thread can pretty much be boiled down to:

Healing in combat is generally awful, because it trades your action for a fraction of an opponent's action.

Unless your heal saves somebody from going down, or wastes the turn of an enemy. Then, you're trading your action for somebody else's action. This is _always_ a good idea, because until about level 7, a cleric's action is worth THE LEAST OF ANY CLASS IN THE GAME.

To summarily answer the OP: As a cleric, your actions are worth less than other people's - everybody else has a better ability, does more damage, or has a better spell list. If, therefore, you can trade your actions for somebody else's, it's almost always worth doing. Thus an emphasis on save-or-dies, Crowd-Control, and only healing when it will save somebody.

-Cross


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Am I the only one who thinks of the concept of 'healing' as encompassing more than just hit point recovery? I consider removing debuffs such as poisons, curses, nasty conditions, and so forth 'healing' just as much as hit point restoration. Certainly in a generic situation no one is going to think that dispelling a hold person from the main damage dealer is a waste of an action, I hope.


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Crosswind wrote:

This whole thread can pretty much be boiled down to:

Nothing. There is no agreement here.


Protection from Evil (and other alignments) is a situational spell, but a +2 AC and a +2 save bonus have saved more than one party, and it or remove fear can be slapped on quickly to allow a second save or suppress an effect -- often very useful, particularly if someone gets hit by a fear effect that will send them running away at high speed. If you don't have a bard at low levels, spamming guidance can give your friends a nice bonus.

My key as a cleric is: heal damage if you must, but it's better to prevent it in the first place. You're not really a battlefield controller like a wizard (there are some things you can do, but you have to know what you're doing and they can usually do it better.) So make your friends tougher, or stronger, or faster, or harder-hitting -- if your buff spell lets the fighter hit once when he would have missed, that's probably an enemy down. Even magic weapon or align weapon can make a BIG difference in how much damage your friends do. Situational, sure, but the cleric is the master of situational spells -- unlike the wizard, you have ALL your spells available instead of just the ones in your spellbook. Just pray for the right one.

Gather information -- divination is one of the most useful spells in the game, if used properly, and commune is massively more powerful than that. But even at low level you have some detection spells the wizards often don't, and there's speak with dead, tongues, and your incomparable Sense Motive. This is more a pre-combat thing, admittedly.

Clerics have some useful debuffs, though most of them have saving throws and wizards/witches are generally better at cursing. You increase your party's overall endurance.

Casting long-term spells before the fight is a real winner -- your actions benefit the party without hitting action economy, meaning you and your friends get the benefit of your spells. I love 10 min/level spells, or hour/level spells. How much will your fighter friend like having greater magic weapon cast on his greatsword so it's +2 or +3 more on top of whatever other enchantments he has?


A cleric's (or any characters') actions are going to be informed by a variety of factors: party composition, equipment, environment, enemies, tactics, personalities, goals, and prior experiences.

Our current group has a couple of lightly armored melee types so my cleric carries a couple of shield of faith spells for them. It's a bone-chilling winter so three of his 1st level spells are devoted to endure elements. We've also encountered many poisonous creatures so he prepares a couple of lesser restorations. Most of the group is human and we've suffered night-time attacks by drow and manticores. For them, he keeps a daylight spell ready along with an obscuring mist if things go south. The cleric has twice found himself lured to the edge of a cliff by harpies so he keeps a pro evil spell ready. He carries a prayer spell for general combat and a blindness/deafness spell for any bad single targets.


JrK wrote:
Ilja wrote:
No, not "all imagined situations included". If you're 4 to 1, the monster deals 100 damage per round and you can heal 100 damage per round (or cast a Bestow Curse or whatever) healing is far more effective since it more or less negates the opponent. At that point healing is nearly as effective as a no-save Hold Monster.
If you can heal 100 damage per round you can do a whole lot of nastier stuff in one round that will prevent the monster from doing anything ever again. Why would I want to let it do 100 damage again?

Uhm... If that healing negates an enemy and you can repeat it, what could possibly be better, barring a no-save autokill spell (and the circumstances you can cast those are very limited)?

It's a no-save-you-suck situation for the monster at that point. And a cleric that's invested a bit in healing (or a healing oracle for that part) can outheal many monsters ability to deal damage, if combined with buffing.


Everything that would shut down that enemy is better.

Crosswind wrote:
Unless your heal saves somebody from going down, or wastes the turn of an enemy. Then, you're trading your action for somebody else's action. This is _always_ a good idea, because until about level 7, a cleric's action is worth THE LEAST OF ANY CLASS IN THE GAME.

Unsubstantiated nonsense. A lvl1 cleric already has command.


Ilja wrote:
JrK wrote:
Ilja wrote:
No, not "all imagined situations included". If you're 4 to 1, the monster deals 100 damage per round and you can heal 100 damage per round (or cast a Bestow Curse or whatever) healing is far more effective since it more or less negates the opponent. At that point healing is nearly as effective as a no-save Hold Monster.
If you can heal 100 damage per round you can do a whole lot of nastier stuff in one round that will prevent the monster from doing anything ever again. Why would I want to let it do 100 damage again?

Uhm... If that healing negates an enemy and you can repeat it, what could possibly be better, barring a no-save autokill spell (and the circumstances you can cast those are very limited)?

It's a no-save-you-suck situation for the monster at that point. And a cleric that's invested a bit in healing (or a healing oracle for that part) can outheal many monsters ability to deal damage, if combined with buffing.

Yes if you can afford to waste the lions share of your daily resources in each fight it's a great plan but it leads very much hand in hand with the 15 minutes work day and DMs often frown upon that and punish you in some way for doing so.

Lets think of it this way, lets say you're fighting a CR appropriate mob said creature can drop X damage per turn you can heal X damage per turn and you used 2 spells to buff up before combat the buffs are whatever probably lower leveled spells.

Said combat lasts three rounds of full attacks and you have roughly 4 to 6 of your highest level spells available lets say 4 since that's more likely than the other. In order to negate the creature you've used 3/4s of your daily allotment of your good spells per day.

In comparison a well placed SoS spell could completely negate all three rounds of damage from the mob for the cost of 1 spell. Assuming said mob isn't the BBeG and therefore the end of your adventure using less resources would be equally sound.


JrK wrote:
Everything that would shut down that enemy is better.

Uhm... You usually don't have any spell that failsafe shuts down an opponent. Sometimes you have one, and sometimes that ability is channeling or casting Heal

If an opponents main ability is to deal damage and you can negate that ability by healing your party the opponent IS shut down, it's just the matter left of actually killing it. Which is for the fighters to do.

If an opponent deals X damage per round and you can heal X damage per round or delay the opponent for a round (such as through Wall of X) or have 50% chance to halve it's damage output for four rounds (such as through Slow).


Black Tentacles, anyone?

Let's assume the caster did invest in a high Initiative.


Black tentacles isn't on the standard cleric spell list. Some domain might have it. Still, it's taken a pretty harsh nerf since 3.5


Healing an ally so the ally can do an action is not failsafe either, since your ally can fail. If that is your argument it can be repeated for every action...

Otherwise, if you look at the cleric spell list (up to 6-level spells since 100 damage healing = Heal) and you seriously cannot find the imagination to find something that shuts the opponent down from that list, you'd be better off playing a fighter or barbarian.


If you know for a fact that the monster is on its last leg and anything will kill it, then yeah damage would be good. In general, you don't know when something's ready to die. If it's doing 100 damage per round and the tank has 50 left, I would rather make sure the tank doesn't die by healing him up. So, healing is a failsafe in that you're certain the tank will survive that round, particularly against an enemy with an unknown amount of HP and unpredictable saves.

Also, there are times where you're up against enemies with SR or spell immunity... my opinions may be biased being that that's been all of my party's latest encounters.


The thing is that you can't always pick from the whole cleric list. This isn't a shroedinger's cleric.


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If a creature does 100 damage per round, and it is not close to death yet, it is prudent to do something that changes that situation instead of keeping the status quo. Better yet to use your spells to prevent that situation in the first place. The only exception to that is when you have nothing left but a weak attack (be it a spell or melee/ranged). But that exactly shows that it is not very optimal to heal in combat.

It is most optimal to not 'reward' or 'support' dim-witted tanks who stay in 100DPR range anyway.

That said, if your tank and cleric are that way for RP reasons, that's fine. The circumstances for which it would be optimal to heal are, however, not as good as reputed in this thread. In almost all of the presented situationed I think "really? You're going to heal with that set of assets?"


If a monster deals 100 damage per turn and you heal 100 damage per turn that creature effectively deals 0 damage per turn and the THREE OTHER characters can take care of killing it. Most spells only affect some opponents - if we're looking at 6th level spells the good ones are such as Harm (only works at living, only touch), Banishment (only works on outsiders), Undeath to Death (only works on undead), as well as decent buffs and summons but those doesn't usually prevent opponents from hurting you, which is still relevant. But you don't always have the right spell prepared, or you might have spent it already, and then you have to look for 5th level spells - which might also be spent/unsuitable and then you're down to 4th level spells in an APL11 encounter of some kind.

I'm all for the "there's usually something better to do than healing" - but there's a big jump from that to say "healing is ALWAYS suboptimal". If nothing else because healing and spells go from a different resource for the cleric - when you've wasted your highest and second-highest spells or they're not useful in that situation (which is often, considering most cleric spells are circumstantially great but at other times worthless) you might have the choice between healing a lot of damage or dealing piddly damage with your mace/bow/whatever or casting spells that are easily saved against or give piddly bonuses.

It was more true in 3.5 where you had to choose between preparing access to Heal and access to Banishment, but here you can prepare Banishment and still whack out ~24d6 heals when you're NOT up against an outsider.


If a monster heals 100 damage, you are either going to suffer a TPK or not. If you are going to suffer the TPK anyway because of being overmatched healing is a suboptimal thing to do.

In the case that the TPK is not around the corner, the monster is either still up and going strong or wounded enough that it seems near death. In the last case you are better off working to kill said monster in a single round than to heal one ally. 4 offensive actions is better than 3.

If it is still going strong it might be the case that one of your allies is wounded/near death or not. In the case he is not you're better off making sure your allies do not get hurt by using control/attacking (if you have that build)/harming foe.

If an ally is wounded/near death you either have some good spells prepared or you have run out and are left with a weak attack of some sort. If you only have a weak attack of some sort you might be better off healing, but this was my original premise. I still think that in this case running is a valid option, but it depends on the resources of your allies.

If you have good spells prepared you'd be better off using those to stop the monster from attacking. Four guys attempting to stop monster is better than three (since there are no failsafe anti-monster abilities). Ilja has been so kind as to post three options (Harm, Banishment, Undeath to Death <- Heal would be a good one instead of UtD) that together mean you can always do something significant to a foe instead of Heal on an ally. The summons are just gravy and always effective.

I'll grant this one single thing: if the wizard is the wounded person and he has good spells prepared then it is a good option to heal the wizard, otherwise your abilities are more effective than what rest of the party can do. The tank can suffer a round of unconsciousness (if he is at risk of death he should withdraw anyway) if it means the cleric can stay offensive, that is what a tank is for.

TL;DR: If you cannot think of a better thing to do than healing (given that it's not the wounded + threatened wizard or you have nothing left) you should be more imaginitive.


Summons aren't always effective. Look, I think it's bad that we talk about two different situations at the same time: Healing/damage of 100/round and 6th level spells as max. 'Cause those shouldn't meed, they're so far from each other (or at least it's far from monster damage).

If we focus on what happens at 11th level, and say an encounter of two CR11 combat monsters (a "hard" CR13 encounter). Their total average damage if all attacks hits should be 100, but their average attacks should be about +19. At this point and with proper buffing, this means they'll hit about 70% of attacks if your party cares at all about AC. So in effect at this level it's about 70 damage per round in a hard encounter.

With a few Shield Others from the cleric and from wands (at 11th level more or less the whole party should have an easy time getting the three hour buff up from a wand as it's only DC20 and can be retried), the damage will be spread around even if the opponents focus.

At this point, the cleric can heal for 6d6 to all party members, so a total average of 84 points of healing, negating the monsters damage completely even if they roll high or manage to attack those with low AC.

Having this ability _forces_ enemies that are mainly damage-dealers to rely on non-damaging attacks or other tactics. It makes their damage irrelevant, without wasting any important resource like high-level spell slots.

Yes, the can potentially cast Banishment if the opponents are outsiders, using a 6th level spell slot, but even a decently optimized caster cleric will have a DC of 23 or so, giving a 40-60% chance of success against each of the monsters. That's not bad, but it's not a clear-cut "this is the better option".


That 70 damage is going to hit one PC if the GM isn't a total buffoon. So your 6d6 = average 21 healing isn't going to do jack squat.

I can also win an argument by constructing a totally fallacious situation in which enemies spread their attacks equally across the PCs, and where one only looks at Banishment as an option instead of the entire list of badass cleric spells, but it isn't going to convince anyone using any shred of common sense.

This is the last straw man I'm going to respond to.


JrK wrote:

Everything that would shut down that enemy is better.

Crosswind wrote:
Unless your heal saves somebody from going down, or wastes the turn of an enemy. Then, you're trading your action for somebody else's action. This is _always_ a good idea, because until about level 7, a cleric's action is worth THE LEAST OF ANY CLASS IN THE GAME.
Unsubstantiated nonsense. A lvl1 cleric already has command.

It's a bit difficult to establish that clerics pretty much have the worst action in the game. Nonetheless, it's true. Cleric spell list is the worst in the game, and full BAB people do a ton more damage. I guess you might argue that bards are in there too.

But you have, perhaps, made the best argument that cleric actions suck in the game: Your claim that the command spell is a good way to spend an action.

The command spell is a close range, single-target Save or Suck spell with a 1 round duration. If this spell was on any other spell list, it would never be taken. Every other spell list either has a long-duration save or suck, or an AOE save or suck...and almost all of them have spells that satisfy both qualities.

Command is lousy. Your belief that it's a good action for a cleric to take pretty much establishes that a cleric action is worth less than anybody else's.

-Cross


Crosswind wrote:
Cleric spell list is the worst in the game

You just totally voided your 'opinion'; probably never heard of CoDzilla. But you are most probably a forum lurker with regenerative capabilities anyway.


JrK wrote:
That 70 damage is going to hit one PC if the GM isn't a total buffoon. So your 6d6 = average 21 healing isn't going to do jack squat.

Do you even read my post? Shield Other means half the damage goes to a second char, and then that's split in half between that char and a third char. And there's loads of ways to make two opponents not being able to target the same character (here's where good battlefield control comes in). So at the very least, even if they DO manage to attack the same target, it's healing 21 of the 35 damage the victim has taken.

Quote:
entire list of badass cleric spells, but it isn't going to convince anyone using any shred of common sense.

The fallacious thing is looking at the whole cleric list _because a specific cleric does not have that option_. Since we'd already mentioned a few spells - Undeath to Death, Banishment and Harm, and since those three fit up nicely with an 11th level cleric having 3 or so 6th level spells (assuming you can get one of those from your domain) I thought to compare the options to those actual spells instead of looking through the whole list. The cleric is NOT a spontaneous caster and don't go shroedinger's wiz on that (or AM BARB might get you!).

I'm not saying this is a perfect example. I'm saying this is a quite common and simple example where healing does a lot of effect if used correctly. Rather than just saying "healing suxxorz" without providing any examples or math at all for the situation and just assuming there's something better to do without explaining what and leaving the door open to whatever you want to throw in.


Uhm... The CoDzilla doesn't really work the same any longer in Pathfinder. 3.5 was a completely different beast when it comes to that. A lot of the cleric buffs have been nerfed, all other classes have gotten melee bonuses, and 3.5 had a plethora of splat books that gave clerics more power through those splat spells and divine metamagic.

If sticking to PF clerics are nowhere close to what they where.


Saying that every party member conveniently has Shield Other on while simultaneously complaining that the cleric cannot look at every spell option... See the irony there? Your 'situations' are at least as artificial as you complain about with my 'look at cleric spell list'. If your party has Shield Other wands, my party has scrolls of every spell the PCs can cast.

The bottom line is still that if you are in that 100-damage situation or anything similar with a wounded ally, you are seriously lacking in imagination if you cannot come up with a better thing than playing healbot.

RP wise that's fine but it's just foolish to think this has anything to do with being optimal.


What? I'm saying that in a party with an 11th level cleric, unless they get ambushed out of the blue everyone WILL have shield other. It's a 2nd level spell cheaply available on wands that lasts for _three hours_. It's nothing stranger than assuming fighters will be hasted or rogues will have access to invisibility.

Cherry-picking cleric spells for the situation, which cannot be done in-game in a LOT of cases, is something completely different.

And your still only arguing in "it shows lack of imagination" or vague things like "4 offensive actions is better than 3" rather than giving actual examples.


Then why is it so strange to have scrolls of all important spells, and optimal spells like Harm/Banishment/Greater Command always prepared? If you assume you always have those wands and always use them every three hours (given a non-ambush which is not unlikely)... That is at least as artificial as a cleric always having the optimal spells + scrolls prepared.

Newsflash: Schrödingers {spellcaster class} is real due to Scribe Scroll.


Because "scroll of all important spells" = about 14.4k investment just for the 6th level spells, if we count about half as important, even if you can make them yourself. That's 10k more than what the wand would cost, even if you do NOT make it yourself. And using one of those scrolls is still using 825 gp (about 1/3 of your share of a CR 13 encounter's treasure), while using the wand is 90 gp. Do you see the difference?

And setting yourself up with harm/banishment/greater command means you've got NOTHING on undead. Just so you know.


And you don't set them up every three hours, you set them up for those three hours you're likely to encounter unusually hard encounters. That usually only happens once a day or so in our games, at least.

During ambushes things get different, but an ambush generally ups the CR by at least 1 so then we should have two CR10 monsters for a hard encounter, which is even less damage per round and so on.


Using the wand thrice (4p party) 3x one charge = 270GP or 180GP if you have two wand users, just to make sure:
1. your channel energy is working optimally
2. in a situation where creatures only try to damage you
3. they get in full attacks to get about the damage of your heals
4. you are in a position where you cannot use a powerful prepared spell (some of which are universally applicable)

VS

Using 825 gp in a situation where you happen to not have the right spell prepared, however unlikely that is given good choices.

Yes, I'm sad I have to spell this out: they are at least as artificial friend. SOUNDS SUBOPTIMAL TO ME...

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