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RPG Superstar 2015

Healing without a "healer"


Advice

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Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

In one of the games I'm playing in right now, I've been the party healer, and won't be likely to get out of that role anytime soon. I've had two characters each specialized to varying degrees in healing and control, but I'm a bit tired of playing a dedicated healer and would like to try out something different.

It's somewhat popular wisdom that a dedicated healer isn't necessary, and the power of cure light wounds wands seems to be well-known 'round these parts. My experience with wand-based healing is all tied up in 3.5, however, and I can't speak much as to how effective it is in Pathfinder.

Due to certain temporary campaign restrictions, I'm unable to play a Cleric, Inquisitor, or Paladin. I'm definitely not keen on playing another witch (both of the previous healers were hedge witches), and I'm a bit weary of playing a druid (as I played one as a healer in 3.5 and would prefer not to repeat that).

That leaves me with Alchemist, Bard, and Ranger as characters with some healing capability (with both Bard and Ranger being able to easily use wands). Off the wall options might include any character with a high Use Magic Device modifier, I suppose.

But I'd hate to doom the rest of the group because I want to play something different. While I should play what I want, if the group dies, I may not get to play at all (as it would likely mean a break in gametime for this group).

So, my questions, essentially, are these: In your experience, how much healing is really required? Have wands historically been enough for you? How much in-combat healing is enough?


Play whatever you want. When someone dies from lack of a healer highly suggest they roll a class with healing spells of some sort.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

TheRonin wrote:
Play whatever you want. When someone dies from lack of a healer highly suggest they roll a class with healing spells of some sort.

I have a hard time being that vindictive at the table. :P


Your going to get a hundred different opinions. Its all up to your group, play-style, and DM.

How long do your fights take?
How much damage does the party usually take in an encounter?
How much healing do you have to do on your healer during combat?
What are the other characters in your party?
What tactics/CC do you have in the group?
Does your DM throw alot of status effects at your party like negative levels, disease, poison, ect?

All of these questions factor into whether loosing a dedicated healer is a big deal. You can do without a healer... but only if your group is set up for it.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Dragonamedrake wrote:

Your going to get a hundred different opinions. Its all up to your group, play-style, and DM.

How long do your fights take?
How much damage does the party usually take in an encounter?
How much healing do you have to do on your healer during combat?
What are the other characters in your party?
What tactics/CC do you have in the group?
Does your DM throw alot of status effects at your party like negative levels, disease, poison, ect?

All of these questions factor into whether loosing a dedicated healer is a big deal. You can do without a healer... but only if your group is set up for it.

Oh, I understand all that. Don't get me wrong. I'm just curious about the experiences others have had, so that I can hopefully contextualize my experience in the game so far and decide how far I need to go on the healing front.


Play what you want, you shouldn't be forced to play a healer. And if you are being forced to heal, maybe you should find another group to play with.

Also, alchemist's can use wands (but not scrolls) of any spell (formula) on their class list without needing to use UMD, which includes all cure and heal spells. Though you will need to take an archetype (or discovery) to allow others to use your healing (or any) extracts.

How useful wands will be depends on what lv you are playing to. Wands should be enough at the lower lvs, but around mid-high lvs you will be going through wands fairly quickly.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Some Random Dood wrote:
Play what you want, you shouldn't be forced to play a healer. And if you are being forced to heal, maybe you should find another group to play with.

Why do people say this? What business is it of yours who I play with? For the record, this group is one of friends that I've had for over a decade. I volunteered to play the healer initially, and after my death, it's not as though someone else was going to abandon a character they like to take over that role for me.

Thanks for the bit about the mid-levels, though. That's the kind of stuff I was looking for.


Another weird thing you could do as an alchmeist is to take the spontaneous healing and healing touch discoveries. Together, at level 20 you get 100 hp per day through a fast healing 5 that could be used to save you from death, or you could give them in 5 hp increments to allies as a standard action. Not too useful in a fight unless you are stabilizing a dying character, but it could be useful to lessen the amount of time you'd put into extracts and wands.

Plus it makes it easier to tank if you are going for a Hyde build.


Summon monster spells eventually give you access to healing spells. Summon Monster 3 I know can get lantern archons with aid (temp hp is kinda like healing at least). Later you can get cure spells and even heal. Not as effective as a straight up cleric, but it's something.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

lemeres wrote:

Another weird thing you could do as an alchmeist is to take the spontaneous healing and healing touch discoveries. Together, at level 20 you get 100 hp per day through a fast healing 5 that could be used to save you from death, or you could give them in 5 hp increments to allies as a standard action. Not too useful in a fight unless you are stabilizing a dying character, but it could be useful to lessen the amount of time you'd put into extracts and wands.

Plus it makes it easier to tank if you are going for a Hyde build.

I was considering those discoveries on an Alchemist before I made the witch that died last night, actually. The Chirurgeon would go well with that, too, since they get Infusion for free.

It's one of the most interesting options I've seen so far, and it's probably on my hypothetical list somewhere.


Kevin Morris wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
Play whatever you want. When someone dies from lack of a healer highly suggest they roll a class with healing spells of some sort.
I have a hard time being that vindictive at the table. :P

I understand, but there comes a time to break the cycle. You are as entitled as anyone at the table to have fun.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Kevin Morris wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
Play whatever you want. When someone dies from lack of a healer highly suggest they roll a class with healing spells of some sort.
I have a hard time being that vindictive at the table. :P
I understand, but there comes a time to break the cycle. You are as entitled as anyone at the table to have fun.

And I will, ultimately, have fun no matter what I play because I'm playing with some of my oldest friends. Even so, of course, I'd like to optimize that fun, as a character that contributes well will be more fun for me and more fun for the rest of my group.

The two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

Dark Archive

Play a bard. Everyone loves bards.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Dust Raven wrote:
Play a bard. Everyone loves bards.

Except me! I can't stand them--well, actually that's not really true. I just think the flavor is far too specific, which makes it difficult for me to come up with a concept I'm excited about.

However, bard would also cover another thing the party's really been missing: a good face. We've gotten ourselves into some major trouble with our stupid mouths so far!


Kevin Morris wrote:
Dust Raven wrote:
Play a bard. Everyone loves bards.

Except me! I can't stand them--well, actually that's not really true. I just think the flavor is far too specific, which makes it difficult for me to come up with a concept I'm excited about.

However, bard would also cover another thing the party's really been missing: a good face. We've gotten ourselves into some major trouble with our stupid mouths so far!

Check out the archetypes then, they are a great way to change the default flavor and pick up some new abilities along the way, and theres some great bard archetypes! Archeology, Arcane Duelist, Dervish Dance, Dirge Bard, Water Singer, Thundercaller and many others.


Dragons love bards. They make the most interesting crunching noises.

Especially since you seem like you might not be starting at level 1, this might be interesting to you: Ogre's Mr. Hyde build This lets you make a true heavy hitter while still being able to use extracts. Might want more int than the suggested amount though. Since extracts are based on your stats while preparing them, rather than using them, you can easily go for large amounts of strength without worrying about your intelligence.

I particularly like the idea of vivisectionist, and it stacks with chirugeon. It would definitely free up your discoveries if you did not go for bombs, and you would have less int with this build, so maybe sneak attack is a better option. It really takes advantage of the three natural attacks (thus three attacks at full bab) of feral mutagen.

The guide was released before some of the things such as spontaneous healing though, so a bit of discretion is needed.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

TheRonin wrote:
Kevin Morris wrote:
Dust Raven wrote:
Play a bard. Everyone loves bards.

Except me! I can't stand them--well, actually that's not really true. I just think the flavor is far too specific, which makes it difficult for me to come up with a concept I'm excited about.

However, bard would also cover another thing the party's really been missing: a good face. We've gotten ourselves into some major trouble with our stupid mouths so far!

Check out the archetypes then, they are a great way to change the default flavor and pick up some new abilities along the way, and theres some great bard archetypes! Archeology, Arcane Duelist, Dervish Dance, Dirge Bard, Water Singer, Thundercaller and many others.

I've never liked giving up Inspire Courage (which a few of those do), but Thundercaller actually looks pretty cool. The game hasn't been using anything outside the main line of books, but I might shoot that one at the DM and see what he says.

Dark Archive

Kevin Morris wrote:
Dust Raven wrote:
Play a bard. Everyone loves bards.

Except me! I can't stand them--well, actually that's not really true. I just think the flavor is far too specific, which makes it difficult for me to come up with a concept I'm excited about.

However, bard would also cover another thing the party's really been missing: a good face. We've gotten ourselves into some major trouble with our stupid mouths so far!

Being the group face is always a nice position to fill. Bards can be any flavor though. Traveling minstrel to cheerleader to master orator to warrior skald to just about anything else you think might sound inspiring. My wife played a gnome bard who functioned as an Indiana Jones style treasure hunter, using oratory and acting to "draw fire" or "bark commands" (either one actually being Inspire Courage or Inspire Competence).

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

lemeres wrote:

Dragons love bards. They make the most interesting crunching noises.

Especially since you seem like you might not be starting at level 1, this might be interesting to you: Ogre's Mr. Hyde build This lets you make a true heavy hitter while still being able to use extracts. Might want more int than the suggested amount though. Since extracts are based on your stats while preparing them, rather than using them, you can easily go for large amounts of strength without worrying about your intelligence.

I particularly like the idea of vivisectionist, and it stacks with chirugeon. It would definitely free up your discoveries if you did not go for bombs, and you would have less int with this build, so maybe sneak attack is a better option. It really takes advantage of the three natural attacks (thus three attacks at full bab) of feral mutagen.

The guide was released before some of the things such as spontaneous healing though, so a bit of discretion is needed.

I'll probably stay away from a melee alchemist since the group already has three melee (and one close-range gunslinger), but I've seen that guide before. I've got a Hyde-type on the list of things to play...eventually. Sometimes I wish I could play in a different game every day just to get through all the characters.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Dust Raven wrote:
Kevin Morris wrote:
Dust Raven wrote:
Play a bard. Everyone loves bards.

Except me! I can't stand them--well, actually that's not really true. I just think the flavor is far too specific, which makes it difficult for me to come up with a concept I'm excited about.

However, bard would also cover another thing the party's really been missing: a good face. We've gotten ourselves into some major trouble with our stupid mouths so far!

Being the group face is always a nice position to fill. Bards can be any flavor though. Traveling minstrel to cheerleader to master orator to warrior skald to just about anything else you think might sound inspiring. My wife played a gnome bard who functioned as an Indiana Jones style treasure hunter, using oratory and acting to "draw fire" or "bark commands" (either one actually being Inspire Courage or Inspire Competence).

Part of my problem is that I find the idea of bardic performance somewhat...difficult to swallow, I think. I actually think it fills a very great role in a party and love having a bard around, but I have a hard time zoning in on a concept that involves someone singing, orating, or dancing in combat.

But I have trouble making Fighters, too, 'cause my ideas never seem to aim that way (though the 2 skill points/level doesn't endear me toward the class either).


A hexcrafter magus would allow some healing with the healing hex and a with a wand of infernal healing your at least as good as any other partial healer class.

The big issue i find though isn't the hp healing its the restorations ext. which are a little harder to do without the divines.

Alchemists can make infusions of restoration also the alchemist is able to use wands therefore as a non healer healer they are possibly the best choice.


Thundercaller doesn't give up Inspire Courage thankfully, neither does Arcane Duelist. But Arcane Duelist works well as a support melee character and it sounds like your party has quite a bit of that how is.


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Kevin Morris wrote:
Dust Raven wrote:
Kevin Morris wrote:
Dust Raven wrote:
Play a bard. Everyone loves bards.

Except me! I can't stand them--well, actually that's not really true. I just think the flavor is far too specific, which makes it difficult for me to come up with a concept I'm excited about.

However, bard would also cover another thing the party's really been missing: a good face. We've gotten ourselves into some major trouble with our stupid mouths so far!

Being the group face is always a nice position to fill. Bards can be any flavor though. Traveling minstrel to cheerleader to master orator to warrior skald to just about anything else you think might sound inspiring. My wife played a gnome bard who functioned as an Indiana Jones style treasure hunter, using oratory and acting to "draw fire" or "bark commands" (either one actually being Inspire Courage or Inspire Competence).

Part of my problem is that I find the idea of bardic performance somewhat...difficult to swallow, I think. I actually think it fills a very great role in a party and love having a bard around, but I have a hard time zoning in on a concept that involves someone singing, orating, or dancing in combat.

But I have trouble making Fighters, too, 'cause my ideas never seem to aim that way (though the 2 skill points/level doesn't endear me toward the class either).

You aren't singing and dancing! You are manipulating reality and the hearts and minds of your allies with your very presence!


Kevin Morris wrote:
TheRonin wrote:
Play whatever you want. When someone dies from lack of a healer highly suggest they roll a class with healing spells of some sort.
I have a hard time being that vindictive at the table. :P

Sometimes such action is needed to remind your group how fortunate they are to have someone who likes to play healers.

Druids are probably my favorite class BTW.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

TheRonin wrote:
Thundercaller doesn't give up Inspire Courage thankfully, neither does Arcane Duelist. But Arcane Duelist works well as a support melee character and it sounds like your party has quite a bit of that how is.

Yeah, Thundercaller does a pretty good job of getting rid of performances I'm not interested in and keeping the ones I like. Incite Rage looks like it would be pretty fun against enemy spellcasters, too.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Bertious wrote:

The big issue i find though isn't the hp healing its the restorations ext. which are a little harder to do without the divines.

Alchemists can make infusions of restoration also the alchemist is able to use wands therefore as a non healer healer they are possibly the best choice.

The lack of restoration kept me from going with a bard with the previous character, actually. We're only 7th level, so even a wand of it for UMD would be a decent chunk of my funds.

Bard would definitely help this group out more than a Alchemist would for things beside healing, though, so I'd say it's still on the table--especially now that I've been pointed to the Thundercaller.


One obvious option I didn't see mentioned is an Oracle. You still have access to all the cure spells. Chr is your caster stat, so it can make for a decent Face. Plus you can still focus elsewhere... take the Oracle of battle for instance. Remember, since your casting divine spells, Spell failure due to armor is not a problem.

Scarab Sages

Thanks to Infernal Healing being on their spell-lists, a Magus or Summoner could do a little backup healing in a pinch, if the party doesn't have a moral problem with detecting as evil for a brief time.

I noticed that Oracle isn't on your forbidden list, and an Oracle of Life can apparently make a decent healer.

It sounds like your group is a bit melee heavy already, so I'd definitely consider a Bard. Between performance and CLW on the spell-list (and likely a decent UMD score for wands of lesser restoration, etc.) that should cover a few bases, and if you get to play with some fun spells that a cleric type wouldn't necessarily have, like charm person, grease, sleep or lock gaze.

The more melee attacks going on, the more those bardic inspiration bonuses are going to stack up and change the tenor of the fight. I usually go with oratory, just because I'm not a fan of music-based bards, and prefer the notion that my 'bard' is a master strategist, offering good tactical advice to his allies (or a religious zealot, preaching from a holy book and inspiring righteous zeal in his allies), instead of strumming a zither.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Set wrote:

Thanks to Infernal Healing being on their spell-lists, a Magus or Summoner could do a little backup healing in a pinch, if the party doesn't have a moral problem with detecting as evil for a brief time.

I noticed that Oracle isn't on your forbidden list, and an Oracle of Life can apparently make a decent healer.

It sounds like your group is a bit melee heavy already, so I'd definitely consider a Bard. Between performance and CLW on the spell-list (and likely a decent UMD score for wands of lesser restoration, etc.) that should cover a few bases, and if you get to play with some fun spells that a cleric type wouldn't necessarily have, like charm person, grease, sleep or lock gaze.

The more melee attacks going on, the more those bardic inspiration bonuses are going to stack up and change the tenor of the fight. I usually go with oratory, just because I'm not a fan of music-based bards, and prefer the notion that my 'bard' is a master strategist, offering good tactical advice to his allies (or a religious zealot, preaching from a holy book and inspiring righteous zeal in his allies), instead of strumming a zither.

Actually, that's my fault: Oracle isn't allowed, either. If it was, things would be so much easier for me! ;)

I'm definitely leaning more toward Bard at the moment. Inspire Courage and Haste would be pretty big with the current party make-up. The hope, of course, is that we'd be able to kill much faster and therefore need less healing.

But I have to admit I'm nervous about that working in theory! This DM's games have often proven my theory (and the common wisdom) quite inadequate over the years.


Kevin Morris wrote:

And I will, ultimately, have fun no matter what I play because I'm playing with some of my oldest friends. Even so, of course, I'd like to optimize that fun, as a character that contributes well will be more fun for me and more fun for the rest of my group.

The two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

Well said, sir.

That being said, I hope that next campaign you will choose your character first, and let the others form around you. I say this only because I often find myself in the same boat as you. :)

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Kevin Morris wrote:

And I will, ultimately, have fun no matter what I play because I'm playing with some of my oldest friends. Even so, of course, I'd like to optimize that fun, as a character that contributes well will be more fun for me and more fun for the rest of my group.

The two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

Well said, sir.

That being said, I hope that next campaign you will choose your character first, and let the others form around you. I say this only because I often find myself in the same boat as you. :)

I try to! My biggest issue is that I'm the sort of player that waits to have good details on the setting and also at least some members of the party, so I can create a character that blends well not only with the group, but with the world at large.

Since those concepts sometimes take time to bake, I usually lose to the folks who made their class decisions before really talking to the DM.


Here is a list of classes that can handle healing. Keep in mind healing HP is the easiest thing to heal. Ability damage and conditions like blindness and cursed also fall under healing.

Primary Healers
Cleric, Oracle, Witch (Healing Patron)

Secondary healer
Paladin, Alchemist, Inquisitor, Witch

Minor Healer
Bard, Druid, Ranger

Bards, Druids and Rangers are not good healers as they lack the ability to deal with a lot of conditions. Probably the most important non HP spell is restoration. At lower levels lesser restoration works but you will need restoration to deal with negative levels and permanent ability damage.

if you can play Samsaran use the Mystic Past Life alternative racial trait to pick up the spells you need. Get restoration and any other healing spells on your class list.

Dark Archive

Kevin Morris wrote:

Part of my problem is that I find the idea of bardic performance somewhat...difficult to swallow, I think. I actually think it fills a very great role in a party and love having a bard around, but I have a hard time zoning in on a concept that involves someone singing, orating, or dancing in combat.

But I have trouble making Fighters, too, 'cause my ideas never seem to aim that way (though the 2 skill points/level doesn't endear me toward the class either).

If bardic performance poking your suspension of disbelief a little too roughly, consider an archetype which alters or all but eliminates it.

Another option it so not think of it as performance, but as of coordination. The bard forms the backbone of a group's tactical effectiveness. He's shouting warnings, pointing out an enemy's weakness and otherwise keeping the team informed of what everyone on both sides are doing. Mechanically this is represented by a bonus to attack and damage rolls and against fear effects. Visually it's represented any way you want. You don't actually sing to use Versatile Performance to make a Bluff check, so you shouldn't have to actually sing to use Inspire Courage.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Dust Raven wrote:
Kevin Morris wrote:

Part of my problem is that I find the idea of bardic performance somewhat...difficult to swallow, I think. I actually think it fills a very great role in a party and love having a bard around, but I have a hard time zoning in on a concept that involves someone singing, orating, or dancing in combat.

But I have trouble making Fighters, too, 'cause my ideas never seem to aim that way (though the 2 skill points/level doesn't endear me toward the class either).

If bardic performance poking your suspension of disbelief a little too roughly, consider an archetype which alters or all but eliminates it.

Another option it so not think of it as performance, but as of coordination. The bard forms the backbone of a group's tactical effectiveness. He's shouting warnings, pointing out an enemy's weakness and otherwise keeping the team informed of what everyone on both sides are doing. Mechanically this is represented by a bonus to attack and damage rolls and against fear effects. Visually it's represented any way you want. You don't actually sing to use Versatile Performance to make a Bluff check, so you shouldn't have to actually sing to use Inspire Courage.

I've done the battlefield strategist once before (as a Battle Herald). It still slightly rubbed me the wrong way. I know it shouldn't, but it does. Alas, alas. Maybe I just hate bards. I blame the 3.5 iconic.

Scarab Sages

Kevin Morris wrote:
I've done the battlefield strategist once before (as a Battle Herald). It still slightly rubbed me the wrong way. I know it shouldn't, but it does. Alas, alas. Maybe I just hate bards. I blame the 3.5 iconic.

Gimble or Devis? Neither's milkshakes brought folk to the yard, it seems. Still, neither was as yikes-worthy as Mialee, the Iconic 'Woman'-With-An-Adam's-Apple...

In addition to the battlefield strategist, my other favorite bard option is the evangelist, calling out religious aphorisms and spiritual affirmations and whatnot, to inspire folk. (Works best if teamed up with people who share at least related faiths, such as members of a polytheistic or pantheistic culture, which is less common in Golarion, obviously.)


TheRonin wrote:
Play whatever you want. When someone dies from lack of a healer highly suggest they roll a class with healing spells of some sort.

This. And if your gaming group is worth their salt, they will realize that you've been "typecast" into the healing role and ask if you want to play something else.

I'm not sure what "popular" or "conventional" wisdom dictates that a bunch of players with Cure Light Wands is better than a dedicated healer class, but they've certainly never played in one of my campaigns. Without a dedicated healer (or archetype/variant of a class that heals), most of my parties would be dead from day 1, battle 1.

If your campaign is so easy that you never die and can spam a Cure Light Wand after every fight and press on, then your DM needs to step up the CR. Part of the fun of the game is the risk of death in combat. Plus, if you have 5 fighters, who has the UMD skill anyways?

I am still of the school (and it may be old school) of thought that an arcane caster cannot use Divine magic devices and vice versa. Unless you're a Bard, in which case you can use either.


not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but just skimmed and thought i'd add my 2 cents if no one has mentioned it.

try playing a sorcerer who takes infernal healing and greater infernal healing. with umd you can use cure light wands, and just heal if you feel like it, and do sorcerer-y things if not. might be fun.

Shadow Lodge

Kevin Morris wrote:

I'm definitely leaning more toward Bard at the moment. Inspire Courage and Haste would be pretty big with the current party make-up. The hope, of course, is that we'd be able to kill much faster and therefore need less healing.

But I have to admit I'm nervous about that working in theory! This DM's games have often proven my theory (and the common wisdom) quite inadequate over the years.

Talk to your DM. The Thundercaller should do fine if you can end fights quickly, use your spells to heal HP, and rely on UMD and scrolls for the occasional condition relief. Soothing Performance at level 12 is a help.

But you could run into problems if the DM expects you to have access to healing magic that Bards don't get. I played an Inquisitor recently as the sole healer in a game, and I'd just hit level 10 when the DM threw some serious poison at me. "Got Neutralize Poison?" No, I'd just picked up level 4 spells, I only had two known, and one of them was Cure Critical because unlike Oracles, Inquisitors don't get those for free.... This was also around the time in the campaign that I was spending all my 3rd level spells on Remove Disease. That sort of mismatched expectations can be stressful, even if the party survives.

Given your position the DM may allow you to swap out the Thundercaller's lightning storm for the Songhealer's Healing Performance to give you some sort of access to Heal. That could be all the help you need, if you're really interested in the Thundercaller. But...

You really do have the right to play the character you want to play. I understand you don't mind and don't want to upset anyone, but if you're not having fun because you're expected to fill a role, or if your party is in serious jeopardy because you've decided not to fill a role, something needs to give and it looks like you've been giving.


I think it very much depends on your playstyle if you need a dedicated healer.
All those stating that they don't need a healer can't be wrong. And I don't think their battles are all so much less difficult.

But in our games we always have some kind of healer and we really need it.


Umbranus wrote:

I think it very much depends on your playstyle if you need a dedicated healer.

All those stating that they don't need a healer can't be wrong. And I don't think their battles are all so much less difficult.

But in our games we always have some kind of healer and we really need it.

Exactly right. If I came across as though I mean any party without a dedicated healer will fail, that's not what I meant. Although, reading my original response makes it seem that way.

In the higher levels, if all players don't have some form of self healing (assuming they don't have a dedicated healer), there are going to be issues.

By no means will I "force" a player into a classic role (which I define as fighter, wizard, cleric, thief). But I will force the party to tell me how they compensate for it.

I can come up with an NPC healbot if need be, just to make sure everyone has fun, but I'd rather not. Interparty dynamics and assuming the classic roles with actual humans makes for a more hearty gaming session.

Perhaps I just surround myself with old school dice rollers, but when around the creation table people are comparing character notes, if some classic role is empty, usually someone will point it out and say "In that case, since we have no healer, I will employ THIS idea".


Umbranus wrote:

I think it very much depends on your playstyle if you need a dedicated healer.

All those stating that they don't need a healer can't be wrong. And I don't think their battles are all so much less difficult.

But in our games we always have some kind of healer and we really need it.

You have a healer and the GM can plan (or not worry about healing) accordingly. The real question is to what extent the GM would change things if you didn't have a healer (which could be as simple as dropping in extra potions, or wands if there are people to use them).


In some cases some potions don't do the trick.
We recently had some fight vs some trolls and the like. There was a short corridor with larger rooms at both ends.
The front like was in the corridor with two trolls fighting two enlarged PCs, when the troll leader started tossing the things from his neclace of fireballs or how it is called at us. So fireball after fireball detonated among us.
Our life oracle could channel enough to negate the damage for those who did their saves.

We had already used up our own area spells in earlier fight with more trolls.

I really don't know how we would have managed that situation without a healer capable of channeling.


If you were a couple of levels higher i'd suggest a Razmiran Priest sorcerer as at 9th level they can use their own spell slots to power divine wands and scrolls without burning them up so 1 scroll of lesser restoration would do the trick.

Otherwise i find myself thinking an Evangelist cleric gets to weaken his channeling to gain inspire courage, competence, and heroism so maybe you could get together with your gm and reverse the idea for a bard.


Umbranus wrote:

In some cases some potions don't do the trick.

We recently had some fight vs some trolls and the like. There was a short corridor with larger rooms at both ends.
The front like was in the corridor with two trolls fighting two enlarged PCs, when the troll leader started tossing the things from his neclace of fireballs or how it is called at us. So fireball after fireball detonated among us.
Our life oracle could channel enough to negate the damage for those who did their saves.

We had already used up our own area spells in earlier fight with more trolls.

I really don't know how we would have managed that situation without a healer capable of channeling.

Without the channeler, he may have built the encounter differently

My players don't have a healer with channeling, so I don't build encounters that depend on channeling. I'm not going to effectively force someone to play a character they're not interested in, or have grown bored with, by building encounters that are unwinnable otherwise.


My party doens't have a healer most of the time and it isn't an issue. A wand of cure light wounds handles out of combat healing and you don't generally need it in combat.


Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:


Without the channeler, he may have built the encounter differently

My players don't have a healer with channeling, so I don't build encounters that depend on channeling. I'm not going to effectively force someone to play a character they're not interested in, or have grown bored with, by building encounters that are unwinnable otherwise.

We play an AP and I guess that not much would be changed if we didn't have a channeler.

Likewise we still encounter traps after our Rogue changed to some other PC. And I think that's ok.

In these boards here you often read posts that can be read as: If you have a dedicated healer you're doing it wrong.
And they keep on saying that encounters would be easier without a healer, not harder. If that in only because the GM is pulling his punches for parties without a healer that would be nice to know.
Would save us from puzzling about what exactly we are doing wrong.


Umbranus wrote:
Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:


Without the channeler, he may have built the encounter differently

My players don't have a healer with channeling, so I don't build encounters that depend on channeling. I'm not going to effectively force someone to play a character they're not interested in, or have grown bored with, by building encounters that are unwinnable otherwise.

We play an AP and I guess that not much would be changed if we didn't have a channeler.

Likewise we still encounter traps after our Rogue changed to some other PC. And I think that's ok.

In these boards here you often read posts that can be read as: If you have a dedicated healer you're doing it wrong.
And they keep on saying that encounters would be easier without a healer, not harder. If that in only because the GM is pulling his punches for parties without a healer that would be nice to know.
Would save us from puzzling about what exactly we are doing wrong.

No its based on math most of the time. Its not as true at lower levels but channel scales pretty poorly. So much so most of the time a channel even if it heals 3 party members will heal less combined then one good damaging character will do in a round. Or less then one good monster will inflict.

Of course there are exceptions like there is for all things but largely the math supports dedicated healers being sub-optimal.

-Edit- Also on topic there is songhealer bard. Yes its not great but it gives access to between battle Heal that can handle much of the conditions that are near impossible to deal with since the major divine classes are bared.

It does not stack with thunder caller but it does with soundstriker still giving you nukes that don't eat spells per day. Sure preformance rounds might be a concern so go half-elf for extra rounds from alternate favored class bonus.

Editor, Jon Brazer Enterprises

Weirdo wrote:
You really do have the right to play the character you want to play. I understand you don't mind and don't want to upset anyone, but if you're not having fun because you're expected to fill a role, or if your party is in serious jeopardy because you've decided not to fill a role, something needs to give and it looks like you've been giving.

This keeps coming up, so I want to reiterate something:

I am the only person making a new character. The DM's games often have a wide variety of situations and challenges, and healing is generally necessary in some form or another. If I do not make a character without access to at least some healing, the group will not have one, we will all very likely die, and we will not have a game to play. I would rather play than not play, and I think the rest of the group would agree with me. I want to make sure my character has access to healing, accordingly, but I want to look for different options than I'd been employing previously. So, I made this thread to ask about others' experiences, especially with respect to wand-based healing, as it's often been said off-the-cuff that wands of cure light wounds are all you really need.

Please stop insinuating that my group is terrible because we're in a situation where we need a healer, and I am the only person in a position to fill that role, as the other characters are pre-established. This thread should have never been about the character of the players involved in the game.


While the advice to "play what you like and let the chips fall where they may" might be a bit harsh, the concept is worth considering. Executing that choice can be done in a way that is not "vindictive".

I would recommend that you play a supportive healer who can do other things. Druids are great, so are witches. They have enough healing that they can be the healer, but they also give you the opportunity to gradually train the party away from the need for in-combat healing, and as they learn to rely more on tactics and less on buckets of hit points, then you can move your druid away from dedicated healing to more rewarding encounter activities. And you can still keep enough critical heals ready that if the need arises, you can again fill that dedicated healer role for an especially difficult encounter.

Right now my two active characters are a witch and a druid, and as our groups have developed more effective tactics and coordination of our efforts, I rarely have more than a couple of heal spells memorized anymore.

Marathon Voter 2014

Play a melee or controller Oracle. You can enjoy either of those roles, yet still 'switch out' your spells for healing spells on the fly if your party needs some extra healing oomph from time to time.

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