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Is the 'Healer' a necessary or useful role?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:


Now as others have also said. It is very possible to make a cleric that is not much of a healer. But he has them on his spell list so he can use the wands and scrolls that others buy.

and heck he can always prep an "emergency" heal or two.. just in case.


Well, yes, in combat healing is sometimes necessary. Let me qualify this a bit. There’s a school of playing where they call PC’s “toons’ and where losing your PC just means rolling up a better PC, who is inserted seamlessly into the campaign. No one really cares about the ‘character’ per se. Now, I don’t like this school, but if the WHOLE PARTY plays this way, it’s not “badwrongfun”. But if we take the game out of the MMO onto the tabletop, I (and many others) prefer to roleplay the characters as more than a set of DamagePerRound dealing stats. If so, then of course you will want to save your friend & companion from dying. Sometimes the only way of doing this is to heal during combat.

What’s nice is that Paizo knows the healbot role is boring, and so has added Channeling. You can channel as a su, while fighting, saving your spells for better, more fun stuff.

OTOH, it’s usually bad tactics to just “top off” during combat. Reserve in combat healing to critical moments or use a Channel late in the combat.

What’s more important is that the Divine caster has so much more to add to the party than the occasional in-combat heal spell or Channel. Party boosting is likely one of the very best things you can do, and the OP’s party has little of it. They also have some very important spells that remove conditions, or do battlefield control or summons or add utility or even do some nasty area damage- and again, the OP’s party is lacking in all those things (altho the Magus can toss an occ fireball, etc, but a magus mostly boosts himself).

Finally, the OP’s party has no class that can use a wand of CLW-without UMD. Also, those wands add up, and burning thru them can mean the party doesn’t buy cooler stuff that adds pluses forwever.


Blueluck wrote:
Given this party so far:
  • Monk
  • Magus
  • Fighter (Two-handed)
  • Gunslinger

I would probably take one of the following 8 classes:

  • Alchemist
  • Bard
  • Cleric
  • Druid
  • Inquisitor
  • Oracle
  • Paladin
  • Witch

Any of these characters can be build in multiple interesting ways that don't focus on healing, yet can still throw out a little heal when it will save a character's life. Also, they're all capable of wielding a Wand of Cure Light Wounds bought by the party.

or

a

  • Rogue
  • Ninja
  • Sorcerer
  • Anything with the dangerously curious trait

Nunspa wrote:

You do realize that he CAN make a hard hitting melee cleric right?

Find a god who uses a two-handed weapon (Szuriel comes to mind) get to heavy armor, make sure he channels negative energy, get the channel smite feat.. and go to town!

Heck there is this STUPID Paladin/Oracle build that gets Cha to both saves and AC

you don't even need a god who offers a 2hander, simple weapon proficiency offered by the cleric nets you the longspear and cestus. the longspear may only deal 1d8, but it has brace and reach, and weapon dice are irrelevant compared to all the static bonuses you will be piling. and heavy armor only requires a single feat for the cleric. the cestus is for threatening up close when you clearly need another free swing.


DrDeth wrote:

Well, yes, in combat healing is sometimes necessary. Let me qualify this a bit. There’s a school of playing where they call PC’s “toons’ and where losing your PC just means rolling up a better PC, who is inserted seamlessly into the campaign. No one really cares about the ‘character’ per se. Now, I don’t like this school, but if the WHOLE PARTY plays this way, it’s not “badwrongfun”. But if we take the game out of the MMO onto the tabletop, I (and many others) prefer to roleplay the characters as more than a set of DamagePerRound dealing stats. If so, then of course you will want to save your friend & companion from dying. Sometimes the only way of doing this is to heal during combat.

What’s nice is that Paizo knows the healbot role is boring, and so has added Channeling. You can channel as a su, while fighting, saving your spells for better, more fun stuff.

OTOH, it’s usually bad tactics to just “top off” during combat. Reserve in combat healing to critical moments or use a Channel late in the combat.

What’s more important is that the Divine caster has so much more to add to the party than the occasional in-combat heal spell or Channel. Party boosting is likely one of the very best things you can do, and the OP’s party has little of it. They also have some very important spells that remove conditions, or do battlefield control or summons or add utility or even do some nasty area damage- and again, the OP’s party is lacking in all those things (altho the Magus can toss an occ fireball, etc, but a magus mostly boosts himself).

Finally, the OP’s party has no class that can use a wand of CLW-without UMD. Also, those wands add up, and burning thru them can mean the party doesn’t buy cooler stuff that adds pluses forwever.

the real reason they should take a divine caster is not for the hit points that can be fixed by a cheap wand. but for the condition removal aspect.

the best yet most boring healer out there has got to be the life mystery oracle build. they provide lotsa healing, but are easily bored outside of nonlethal encounters unless they deliberately build themselves around these issues such as by being dual cursed or by taking the blackened or haunted curse for example.


It looks like you need to carry face and healing duty. If traps are a thing in your group you need to cover that too, though the monk might be able to do the trap finding if you can do the trap disarming.

Seeker Oracle might work. Oracles, since they aren't limited to a single domain slot, can build around their mystery spells to a far greater degree than clerics can build around domain spells so battlefield control and blasting are much more workable rather than having basically nothing until wall of stone or flamestrike. I'd say take diplomacy, sense motive, disable device, bluff, and one personal use skill (as a 10 int human probably using favored class for more spells known), probably putting the favored class before it offers first level spells into something with fixed DCs like swim or climb.

There's really no need to build as a healer since enemies are going to drop fast with as many martials as you've got. You know cures automatically. Just make sure to learn the restoration line, heal, and breath of life and pick a mystery with fun spells for a sorcerer role with emergency healing.

Shadow Lodge

I've made a cleric in Pathfinder Society that was meant to be healing-focused. Biggest mistake I've ever made, he is incredibly boring to play.

On the plus side, he has very occasionally saved the party in some of the toughest battles. Don't underestimate channelling when your party is getting screwed. I've been in a couple of situations where I had to channel every round just to keep us alive. Not many situations, granted, but when you need it, you're grateful.


In response to OP:

Yes, a healer is necessary; in the same sense that a trap-monkey is necessary. No, you don't 'need' one, but if there are traps that you need to get past (especially ones that are potentially lethal) you're going to benefit greatly from having one.

I played in a campaign without a healer once. We had a Barbarian (me), a Fighter, a Rogue, and a Sorcerer. Not a one of us had thought to buy a wand of CLW, or any other healing item, for that matter.

What happened? We started the game in the middle of an out of the way town in the middle of nowhere, that we all just happened to be staying in when the local fanatic decided he wanted to try Dinosaur meat. The first fight was easy enough; we found a stegosaurus, beat it until it stopped moving, then brought it back and let the psycho have his fill. He ate it, liked it, and payed us very well... then he asked if we'd be willing to go after a different species, for an even bigger reward.

Well, we all wanted to. However, the first fight had left the fighter with half his health bar, me with even less (I had taken a tale spike to the torso), the rogue with a limp, and the group sorcerer... untouched, but still unable to help us get back on our feet.

Being a small town, there was no one to hire to heal us, and the dino we were supposed to go after was even bigger than the last one.

It took the group four days of nothing but resting (with a doctor providing heal checks to speed the process) before we were back to full. We were fifth level, and my character had had 70 hit points, all of which had been lost in the battle (The dino crit. on me). That left me in a hospital bed, while the other three party members went around town RPing... not their fault, not the DMs fault, simply something that happened because we didn't have someone who could poke me and have me back at full health in minutes instead of hours.

In conclusion: Is someone devoted to healing necessary? No, as long as you have someone who Can heal.
Is a healer necessary? In battle; no. Out of battle; No, but recommended.
Should you have some type of healer in the party? So long as that's not the only thing they do, then yes. If it is the only thing they do, well... guess no one else is going to need to waste time or money on something to heal them.

Grand Lodge

Hm...well, a lot of people claim you don't "need" a healer and that it can be a waste of time to heal when the enemy is trying to kill you.

Based on personal experience, i think this is over optimistic. Maybe its just the DMs I've been up against, but fights usually veer so dangerously close to fatal that spending an action keeping the party alive is vital. Whereas attacking or trying to incapacitate the enemy has a chance to fail entirely, healing at the very least guarantees a little more bought time.


the barbarian Bruce, played buy a guy named Andy, has difficulty staying alive. and he refuses to buy magical armor because it is so expensive, despite having tens of thousands of gold pieces and constantly performing reckless activities. plus there is the fact he only has a 22 STR and not much else attribute wise. usually, he is saved by the cleric, or one of the 2 oracles of the party. how many 8th level martials only have an AC of 15, without factoring rage?


In MOST cases you can wait until the end of an encounter to restore hit points. However, if you end up dealing with poisons, instant-onset diseases, curses, and massive debuffs from enemy spellcasters (especially witches), having someone who can undo debuffs can be crucial.

Also, if you end up out of your depth (CR +3 encounters, back-to-back encounters, hill giant with a Large pick crits your wizard) you can need in-combat healing to make an escape. Victory may be out of reach.

Also, I have found if you use the Critical Hit deck, you are MUCH more likely to need in-combat healing.

Grand Lodge

The party healer is a bit misunderstood. I think most people hit on it by saying its not 'needed'. But, it depends on your GM.

I've played a healing focused cleric, a melee focused cleric and a battle oracle. So far, I like the oracle the best for its ability to heal while fighting and focus stats better than a cleric. It also ends up with plenty of spells per day to throw out heals between fights and buff.

That being said, I have the problem of firehose GMs throwing out enough damage for multiple healers. My current game has 3 players able to heal and usually we run out of spells after 3 fights. His favorite way to 'challenge' the party is to kick up the attack bonus to meet the highest AC in the group meaning everyone else gets hit on very low numbers. He also increases their hitpoints and the number of monsters. Needless to say, theres a lot of damage dice flying around behind the GM screen. Ok, I think im done complaining now.

I strongly discourage a focused party healer. Its boring as hell, just leads to frustration for the player and some GMs just want to throw more damage to keep the healer busy. I do encourage 2 half healers (witch, druid, inquisitor, etc) though. That way nobody is stuck playing the healer, everyone has something to do in combat and if one healer goes down the other can bring them back to life.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm going to turn this around. Instead of "is a healer necessary or useful?" I'm going to just answer the question: "What is the best way to manage healing in Pathfinder?"

Healing is not "required" any more than any other role is "required." You can make do, and in super gritty games some players might even like the concept of being laid up in a hospital bed for a week to recover from a particularly difficult fight. But most players will want to have the ability to recover overnight or at most with one day of dedicated healing.

Healing is also not restricted to pumping up hit points. Healing includes restoring ability damage, recovering from disease or poison or even dealing with cursed conditions. Again, in a super gritty campaign it might be fine for someone to heal serious ability damage over a few days but most players will want to have the ability to deal with such things quickly.

Finally "emergency healing" can be the difference between a dead PC and a PC who lives to fight another day. Such situations should be uncommon, perhaps even rare, but eventually even the most effective tactical teams will make a mistake or run into a sequence of bad luck.

Those are the things that make healing important from a game mechanics and game play perspective.

To have the most effective healing capability a party should have the ability to satisfy all three of those needs.

Having said that, there are many, many ways to satisfy those three needs without having one of the party be dedicated to healing, particularly in combat healing.

Battle clerics are one of the best options. Clerics can be very effective melee combatants, and are particularly capable as tanks. Clerics have a very good selection of combat spells and they can substitute healing spells for any currently prepared spell for emergency situations. This is probably the most common approach my groups have taken to the healing issue.

Druids are almost as good, but have lesser healing capability and can't substitute a heal spell in a pinch. However, druids can use wands or other magic items to heal and with a bit of preparation can be ready to deal with any emergency healing themselves. Druids are also great melee and can even be solid ranged combatants.

I'm sure there or other classes similar to druids (witches, oracles, etc.) that can be treated the same way. However, those classes may not have access to all of the same non-hit point heal spells that clerics and druids do.

Paladins are probably the best "pure" martial class that can do healing as well. I personally don't care for playing paladins, but the party in my current campaign I am running has a paladin healer and he is doing fine.

Even if you don't have a divine spellcaster in the party, a sufficiently high UMD with wands and scrolls can perform the same function. Classes that tend to do well with UMD are bards and sorcerers, but even non-charisma based classes can do well. My druid has invested heavily in UMD so that she can use ranger combat spells from wands. Any class could do the same with CLW wands.

Finally, a character who takes the "leadership" feat can attract a dedicated non-combat healer as a cohort or follower. This is even more effective if the cohort or follower is given wands so that they don't rely on their lesser class levels for all their healing ability.

The bottom line of all of this is that healing is important, but the vast majority of in combat healing I've seen done playing this game is literally wasted action. I have seen party after party where the healer believes his/her job is to keep the party members "topped off" so that they are at or near full hit points throughout the fight. That is by far the least effective sort of healing and not only extends the fight by wasting action items on unnecessary in combat healing, but it also greatly contributes to the "fifteen minute adventuring day" since healers of that sort run out of healing spells very rapidly.

So yes, have healing available for your party. But treat healing as a critical resource management function, not as a knee-jerk reaction to someone taking an arrow to the knee.


I really like the way AD explained it. Excellently written.

Cheliax

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
My druid has invested heavily in UMD so that she can use ranger combat spells from wands.

:O

You...just solved an issue my wife and I were having with her idea for a halfing bow-using druid that flies around on her Roc animal companion.

We were struggling to figure out how to increase her ranged damage as she leveled without access to some of the more fun rangery spells like Gravity Bow and such.


Lamontius wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
My druid has invested heavily in UMD so that she can use ranger combat spells from wands.

:O

You...just solved an issue my wife and I were having with her idea for a halfing bow-using druid that flies around on her Roc animal companion.

We were struggling to figure out how to increase her ranged damage as she leveled without access to some of the more fun rangery spells like Gravity Bow and such.

Yep, my dryad/elf druid is an archer druid whose most common combat tactic is to ride her large tiger animal companion so that she can maneuver while still getting full attacks with her +1, shocking bow using PBS, precise shot, rapid shot and many shot, so four arrows per round. Given the chance she'll use her "gravity bow" wand to boost her arrows to 2d6 damage each. So even without a str bonus (her str is 10) she does 3d6+2 per arrow and she usually hits about 60% of the time. So figure around 30 damage per round with her bow, with the potential from a crit or from higher than average rolls to do better. In one particularly great round of combat she did over 75 points of damage with her bow.

No, she's not equaling the party raging barbarian, but she does OK. Plus when we get to the big fights she buffs up her AC and becomes a buffer/battlefield controller.

I love my druid... She is by far the most flexible character I've ever played.

(Update/Caveat: I am now playing a witch in another campaign, and I'm starting to wonder if the witch is even more fun/flexible than the druid...)

Cheliax

No no for flexible druids you're going to want to go back to the 'Succubus in a grapple' thread.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lamontius wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
My druid has invested heavily in UMD so that she can use ranger combat spells from wands.

:O

You...just solved an issue my wife and I were having with her idea for a halfing bow-using druid that flies around on her Roc animal companion.

We were struggling to figure out how to increase her ranged damage as she leveled without access to some of the more fun rangery spells like Gravity Bow and such.

Think caster. Druids can be amazing as offensive and battle control casters.

Cheliax

Wait so you want me to build a caster instead of the concept that we actually want to build?


I seem to be in the minority, but I've seen too many combats where either someone would die or the party would have to retreat without an in combat healer. Cases where the party can't retreat because the "monsters" would or could pursue picking off the PCs one at a time. In many of these cases another fighter type or mage wouldn't have saved the party, but the cleric could by healing them.


Vod Canockers wrote:
I seem to be in the minority, but I've seen too many combats where either someone would die or the party would have to retreat without an in combat healer. Cases where the party can't retreat because the "monsters" would or could pursue picking off the PCs one at a time. In many of these cases another fighter type or mage wouldn't have saved the party, but the cleric could by healing them.

This does not contradict the concept of in combat healing being an exception, emergency only based activity.

However, depending on what you mean by "many combats" if I were in your party I might suggest revisiting tactics that are leaving party members open to near-death on a regular basis in combat.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

...

This does not contradict the concept of in combat healing being an exception, emergency only based activity.

However, depending on what you mean by "many combats" if I were in your party I might suggest revisiting tactics that are leaving party members open to near-death on a regular basis in combat.

Sometimes it is the party tactics.

Sometimes it is the GM. Some of them really like to do this. (I have to watch myself to keep from doing this too much.)


Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

...

This does not contradict the concept of in combat healing being an exception, emergency only based activity.

However, depending on what you mean by "many combats" if I were in your party I might suggest revisiting tactics that are leaving party members open to near-death on a regular basis in combat.

Sometimes it is the party tactics.

Sometimes it is the GM. Some of them really like to do this. (I have to watch myself to keep from doing this too much.)

Yes, I am aware that there are some GMs who believe that unless they are knocking someone unconscious they aren't doing their job. As I said, I find that sad. When I encounter such a GM I do my best to turn it into a learning opportunity for the GM.

There are so many other and better ways to make the players feel vulnerable and at risk.

Cheliax

Also, I think certain distinctions have to be made on a few levels, regarding player/group composition.

A group of players that have gamed together for a long time, know each other well and know the game well certainly are a much different animal than one where it's a bunch of folks new to Pathfinder and/or gaming.

Even a random PFS table of experienced gamers may well benefit from a healer, if tactics/strategies aren't vibing or the party composition just doesn't lend well to the scenario's enemies.


"Healer" is anyone who is able to restore hit points to themselves or others. A rogue with Use Magic Device can be a healer if his GM gives him enough wands of Cure Light Wounds. Because of this, a healer is nowhere near necessary; there are work arounds, form house rules to loot manipulation.

However, healers are undoubtably useful, but in my opinion they're only useful if the player truly enjoys playing the role of healer. Like having a rogue in the party or a bard, having a healer adds to the types of challenges that the GM can throw at their players; you're probably not going to do series of damage-intensive encounters against a party without a healer, after all, but if you have one its an option you can look into.

Like anything, a good GM assesses their party and makes the story work for the players. Adventuring parties should never broil down to a formula.


The role of "healer" is definitely one that needs to be at least a secondary one for someone in the party, but one thing I love about PF is that you can fill that role and not even be a divine caster, and even within the divine casters, there is a lot of character options. In the OP, he could play a druid, a fire oracle, or even a cleric with the fire domain and still get a fair number of fire spells while still being able to fill the "healer" role as needed.

As for the tactic of feeling that you have to pummel the players into unconsciousness, I tend to avoid it personally. If they are doing that well in combat, I simply mix up the type of encounters and set it up so that of all the options they have to get out of it, fighting is the worst one. That challenges them without making them feel like the world's punching bag who can simply call for a cleric and their sword to solve all their problems.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

...

This does not contradict the concept of in combat healing being an exception, emergency only based activity.

However, depending on what you mean by "many combats" if I were in your party I might suggest revisiting tactics that are leaving party members open to near-death on a regular basis in combat.

Sometimes it is the party tactics.

Sometimes it is the GM. Some of them really like to do this. (I have to watch myself to keep from doing this too much.)

Yes, I am aware that there are some GMs who believe that unless they are knocking someone unconscious they aren't doing their job. As I said, I find that sad. When I encounter such a GM I do my best to turn it into a learning opportunity for the GM.

There are so many other and better ways to make the players feel vulnerable and at risk.

Weekly William is one of those DMs. if he hasn't knocked at least 30% of the party unconscious, rounded up. he feels he isn't doing his job. and since monsters tend to autohit anyway past level 6. armor class becomes less important and we begin focusing on offense.


As a DM I let my campaigns play around the PCs in my group, whereas it seems a lot of other DMs I've seen do it the other way around. I do, however, ban wands of healing because they almost entirely remove any feeling of desperation in an adventure when you can press "Wait: 1 Hour. Engage. Wait: 1 Hour. Engage." I also limit the number of healing potions for about the same reason; once you find one hoard of treasure you're really not going to enter combat without being fully healed, and I think that trivializes some encounters. It's been accepted at all of my tables because I balance it by giving the Heal skill some love (can make an OOC Heal check, one per encounter, and get hitpoints back for every point above 15 they get). I also tilt my encounters based on this; makes every hit from a horde of goblins matter if you don't have someone with healing spells, and moving on with low hitpoints and a lack of "chug n' plug" I've noticed makes the players a lot more cautious and willing to think outside the box.

So really it's dependent on the DM. For my campaigns my players usually like to have some sort of healer role, but I don't punish parties for not having one. I like everyone making it out at the end of the night, but I won't pull punches. I once had a PC bleed out in Eberron's Mournland (where wounds can't heal, magically or otherwise) from an accidental zombie crit that applied bleeding.

Sczarni

So, just speaking out of experience, and how most my campaigns go....
My answer listed by priority

1. Depends on how your DM sets up the encounters. Forget judging based on modules, because most experienced DM's will modify module encounters to to be appropriate to the context and party level, so base this consideration on the GM. Point here is, some DM's like to long, drawn out battles, which may require a heal or two. Some like short, powerful encounters, that healing won't make a difference for: you kill him quickly, or you kill him and he takes out 1 or 2 of your party members, and only tactics will save you. Take this into consideration first and foremost.

2. With that considered, consider how defensive minded and offensive minded the party is. If you'd rather focus on shutting down their abilities to prevent them from killing you, then make sure you're able to do so. If you'd rather play defensive, have high ac/save items, and maybe some arcane defensive spells.

My usual suggestion, and what often works out best for me: have one player be a secondary healer, like a paladin, bard, or offensively minded cleric or oracle. That way you can save those party members who really could use a minor heal when it counts, but can hang with the rest in offensive situations.


Abadar wrote:
My usual suggestion, and what often works out best for me: have one player be a secondary healer, like a paladin, bard, or offensively minded cleric or oracle. That way you can save those party members who really could use a minor heal when it counts, but can hang with the rest in offensive situations.

Druid, and now witch, also work well in this role.


Dedicated Healer is a great role for a DM run NPC to bulk up a team of PCs. I question it's value as a full PC simply because it's so reactive of a role and for the most part the transition between 2e and 3.x/PF has left the impact of healing and direct damage spells somewhat lacking in terms of their ability to keep pace.

Healing HP damage in combat is occasionally a useful action but in many cases it simply can't keep pace with the incoming damage from high CR foes and it's often more useful to use that action on something other than healing such has buffing/debuffing/removing debuffs.

I'm not so dogmatic as to say you can't have fun playing the iconic staff cleric that just does the full healbot routine but one of the reasons why 3.x/PF buffed the cleric so much was that the healbot role is one that very few people like to play.

So my general advice is to let PCs play more dynamic build and class choices and if there simply isn't enough PC healing then think about supplementing that with a NPC healbot build.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Vod Canockers wrote:
I seem to be in the minority, but I've seen too many combats where either someone would die or the party would have to retreat without an in combat healer. Cases where the party can't retreat because the "monsters" would or could pursue picking off the PCs one at a time. In many of these cases another fighter type or mage wouldn't have saved the party, but the cleric could by healing them.

This does not contradict the concept of in combat healing being an exception, emergency only based activity.

However, depending on what you mean by "many combats" if I were in your party I might suggest revisiting tactics that are leaving party members open to near-death on a regular basis in combat.

There is not much you can do when monsters take full attack actions against a single PC and do more hits than the PC has to begin with, or when two or three monsters hit a single PC, or even multiple PCs.

Some highlights (or lowlights) a single PC (fighter) was facing a giant spider, the situation only allowed one-on-one combat. If a second PC hadn't been using a lesser restoration wand on the fighter, the Str loss from the poison every round would have quickly downed the fighter.

Being attacked by 4 Elder Water Elementals, the 2d10+10 per attack drops hits quickly, and they get two attacks per round. The DR 10/- meant that my rogue was doing a whopping d6-1 per hit, and they are immune to precision damage and crits (so much for the keen rapier).

Then there was the blue dragon doing 50+ hits a round to a single PC, the Paladin stayed up for three rounds only because she healed herself and was healed by the cleric, my Rogue went down in a single attack after sneak attacking it.

When you fight monsters that can do 1/3-1/2 or more of the PCs hits per round, you need in combat healing. (If your GM is fighting his monsters stupidly, then feel lucky.)


Legacy of fire AP.....One word....Sarenrae!!!Cleric, Palidian, Druid, Inquistor or Oracle of her faith. It will pay off for you.
also look at Trait of faith

Ambassador
Source Taldor, Echoes of Glory pg. 13
Requirement(s) Sarenrae
Your natural abilities at mediation and compromise manifested at a young age. For as long as you can remember, you were always more able to solve disputes and carefully settle violent disagreements than others. You gain a +2 trait bonus to Diplomacy checks.

Cleansing Light [Source Faiths of Purity pg. 13
Requirement(s) Sarenrae
Your faith is pure and strong, and your positive energy purges undead. When dealing damage to undead with your channel energy, you can reroll any damage die that shows a natural 1.

Cleansing the Twisted Source Legacy of Fire Player's Guide pg. 9
Requirement(s) Sarenrae
You have studied well the many religious texts that chronicle Sarenrae’s neverending struggle against Rovagug and his monstrous offspring. Your fighting style works particularly well when you utilize slashing weapons against aberrations. You gain a +1 trait bonus to slashing weapon damage against all aberrations.

Dawn Renewal
Source Halflings of Golarion pg. 31
Requirement(s) [Halfling] Sarenrae
Your morning prayers often send a welcome spark of divine vitality into your most recent patients. When you use the Heal skill to provide long-term care, your patients heal an extra 2 hit points at sunrise.

Flame of the Dawnflower [Link]
Source Advanced Player's Guide pg. 1, Qadira, Gateway to the East pg. 23
Requirement(s) Sarenrae
You have been raised to view yourself as a blade in your goddess’s service, or you have taken that duty on for yourself. Whenever you score a critical hit with a scimitar, you deal an additional 2 points of fire damage to your target.

Illuminator Source Faiths of Purity pg. 13
Requirement(s) Sarenrae
You speak unusually well when you are filled with the light of Sarenrae. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Diplomacy checks, and Diplomacy is always a class skill for you.

Strength of the Sun
Source Legacy of Fire Player's Guide pg. 9
Requirement(s) Sarenrae
You take solace in the purifying light of the sun. During the day, you gain a +1 trait bonus on all Charisma-based checks.

Casting DEf as a Oracle is CHA check.

Under Siege
Source Taldor, Echoes of Glory pg. 14
Requirement(s) Sarenrae
In order to maintain your devotion to Sarenrae in Taldor and stay alive, you and your fellow worshipers developed a complex system of hand signs and facial gestures to identify yourselves as faithful in the Cult of the Dawnflower. You gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff and Sense Motive checks. One of these skills (your choice) is always a class skill for you.

Cheliax

I thoroughly enjoy playing a healer in PFS.

That being said, my healer also buffs, provides aids/flanks, thwacks baddies with his longsword and generally does most of the party face stuff regarding diplomacy and knowledge checks.


Vod Canockers wrote:


When you fight monsters that can do 1/3-1/2 or more of the PCs hits per round, you need in combat healing. (If your GM is fighting his monsters stupidly, then feel lucky.)

The last fight my druid's level 8 party took on was vs a young adult red dragon (CR 13), a level 8 sorcerer and a level 7 cleric.

Our party was my druid, a rogue, a barbarian and a sorcerer.

In the first round, the sorcerer and rogue took on the sorcerer. The barbarian took out the cleric in the first round. That left my druid to deal with the dragon.

A summoned tiger was really all that was needed. The dragon was unable to melee with anyone else due to the summoned tiger's position, so it used its breath weapon on as many of the party as possible, which meant the rogue, my druid's AC, the barbarian and the sorcerer. My druid managed to stay out of range. Evasion is nice, btw, both the rogue and the druid's AC avoided any damage at all.

So, after the first round where the cleric was dispatched and the enemy sorcerer was badly hurt, all of the party except the sorcerer tackled the dragon. My druid summoned two more tigers in the fight. It was a close fight, the barbarian and the summoned tiger took the brunt of the dragon's full attacks, but with all the focused fire we had on the dragon, it only lasted a few more rounds.

Our unfortunate sorcerer, however, lost his battle with the other sorcerer and my druid had to end up sending one summoned tiger to take out the sorcerer.

In the end we had an unconscious sorcerer and some very badly hurt party members, especially the barbarian.

But we did no in combat healing. My druid, btw, took exactly zero damage.

Oops, my bad, memory problems. Actually the first thing my druid summoned was a rhinoceros. Rhinos are awesome. The rhino was summoned in advance as we suspected we were approaching a red dragon's lair, and the battle began with the rhino charging the dragon.

Another update. In case it wasn't clear, one of the primary purposes of the summoned animals was to surround the dragon with things that absorbed his full attacks so that the party didn't absorb them. Also the rich target environment very much encouraged the dragon to use its breath weapon, which meant it wasn't using its full attacks.


Vod Canockers wrote:

There is not much you can do when monsters take full attack actions against a single PC and do more hits than the PC has to begin with, or when two or three monsters hit a single PC, or even multiple PCs.

Some highlights (or lowlights) a single PC (fighter) was facing a giant spider, the situation only allowed one-on-one combat. If a second PC hadn't been using a lesser restoration wand on the fighter, the Str loss from the poison every round would have quickly downed the fighter.

Being attacked by 4 Elder Water Elementals, the 2d10+10 per attack drops hits quickly, and they get two attacks per round. The DR 10/- meant that my rogue was doing a whopping d6-1 per hit, and they are immune to precision damage and crits (so much for the keen rapier).

Then there was the blue dragon doing 50+ hits a round to a single PC, the Paladin stayed up for three rounds only because she healed herself and was healed by the cleric, my Rogue went down in a single attack after sneak attacking it.

When you fight monsters that can do 1/3-1/2 or more of the PCs hits per round, you need in combat healing.

No you don't. Against monsters who do that kind of damage, healing can never possibly keep up. Against monsters like that, you need better tactics, better battlefield control, you need to reduce the amount of damage everybody is taking before it happens.

Web or Grease them. Summon monsters to take the damage for you. Debuff them. Buff your allies. Protect them so they take less damage.

If you do that, a single spell accomplishes much more than a cure spell of the same level.

Of course, if things really go south, you may have to resort to combat healing, but it should never be the first resort, because it is a terribly inefficient use of your time and spells.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:

The last fight my druid's level 8 party took on was vs a young adult red dragon (CR 13), a level 8 sorcerer and a level 7 cleric.

Our party was my druid, a rogue, a barbarian and a sorcerer.

In the first round, the sorcerer and rogue took on the sorcerer. The barbarian took out the cleric in the first round. That left my druid to deal with the dragon.

A summoned tiger was really all that was needed. The dragon was unable to melee with anyone else due to the summoned tiger's position, so it used its breath weapon on as many of the party as possible, which meant the rogue, my druid's AC, the barbarian and the sorcerer. My druid managed to stay out of range. Evasion is nice, btw, both the rogue and the druid's AC avoided any damage at all.

So, after the first round where the cleric was dispatched and the enemy sorcerer was badly hurt, all of the party except the sorcerer tackled the dragon. My druid summoned two more tigers in the fight. It was a close fight, the barbarian and the summoned tiger took the brunt of the dragon's full attacks, but with all the focused fire we had on the dragon, it only lasted a few more rounds.

The way you describe it makes it sound as if the tigers appeared right away. Did you take the 1 round casting time into account?

But other than that, this demonstrates exactly what smarter tactics look like.


mcv wrote:
... Of course, if things really go south, you may have to resort to combat healing, but it should never be the first resort, because it is a terribly inefficient use of your time and spells. ...

I was about to get all upset until I read these couple of lines. I am glad to see you aknowledge that is sometimes necessary.

Many people on these boards insist that it is never necessary or even desirable. No one should ever heal in combat. If you think it might be a good idea you are just wrong.


mcv wrote:

The way you describe it makes it sound as if the tigers appeared right away. Did you take the 1 round casting time into account?

My druid is a lion shaman (fluffed as a tiger shaman) so her cats are summoned as a standard action.


Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
mcv wrote:
... Of course, if things really go south, you may have to resort to combat healing, but it should never be the first resort, because it is a terribly inefficient use of your time and spells. ...

I was about to get all upset until I read these couple of lines. I am glad to see you aknowledge that is sometimes necessary.

Many people on these boards insist that it is never necessary or even desirable. No one should ever heal in combat. If you think it might be a good idea you are just wrong.

As a rather prominent member of these boards who gets involved in these discussions rather regularly, I have to point out that your straw man here is almost entirely untrue.

It is almost NEVER stated that healing is ALWAYS wrong. Virtually everyone who challenges the role of a combat healer concedes that healing in combat is SOMETIMES necessary. If there are any who say what you claim is said, they are rare, rare, rare indeed. And dead wrong to boot.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The big problem with healing to counter heavy hits is you need a LOT of healing at once to make the difference. If you're losing 2/3 of your HP a round, healing 1/3 back just means you aren't completely dead next round. Laudable, but not as good as preventing that damage from ever landing.

My latest game had the rogue dropped to negatives from full in one full-attack. The monk tripping the enemy was more effective in the party surviving than the clerics channels. The channels were important, but debuffs saved them from a TPK.


mcv wrote:


Of course, if things really go south, you may have to resort to combat healing, but it should never be the first resort, because it is a terribly inefficient use of your time and spells.
.

I don;t know why keeping your buddy alive is so terribly inefficient.

I suppose if your table treat PCs as "toons" and a newer better PC is right there on top of a pile of a dozen or so, then it is inefficient.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is a healer useful: Yes.
Is a healer necessary: No.

No class/role is essential, but all are helpful. Which ones are most helpful depends on encounters and style. Have fun with whatever you choose.

I will now quote my own players, "Quick! Somebody! Save the Cleric!" Every group I've gamed with, clerics are highly regarded, and always heal in combat..


DrDeth wrote:
mcv wrote:


Of course, if things really go south, you may have to resort to combat healing, but it should never be the first resort, because it is a terribly inefficient use of your time and spells.
.

I don;t know why keeping your buddy alive is so terribly inefficient.

I suppose if your table treat PCs as "toons" and a newer better PC is right there on top of a pile of a dozen or so, then it is inefficient.

The biggest reason is that healing capability has been far outstripped by damage output. As several people have stated above, healing in a great many situations can no longer keep up with the damage being dished out, and stopping the damage from occurring in the first place has become more efficient in most cases. Healing in combat still has it's place, but it is definitely smaller than it used to; tactics and damage prevention have become more important overall.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

...

As a rather prominent member of these boards who gets involved in these discussions rather regularly, I have to point out that your straw man here is almost entirely untrue.

It is almost NEVER stated that healing is ALWAYS wrong. Virtually everyone who challenges the role of a combat healer concedes that healing in combat is SOMETIMES necessary. If there are any who say what you claim is said, they are rare, rare, rare indeed. And dead wrong to boot.

A year ago I probably would not have agreed with you. But now yeah, you are probably right. But the few people who do say that are so vehement about it go on and on about it and are so aggressive about telling you how wrong you are that it feels like more people are saying that than really are.


sunshadow21 wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
mcv wrote:


Of course, if things really go south, you may have to resort to combat healing, but it should never be the first resort, because it is a terribly inefficient use of your time and spells.
.

I don;t know why keeping your buddy alive is so terribly inefficient.

I suppose if your table treat PCs as "toons" and a newer better PC is right there on top of a pile of a dozen or so, then it is inefficient.

The biggest reason is that healing capability has been far outstripped by damage output. As several people have stated above, healing in a great many situations can no longer keep up with the damage being dished out, and stopping the damage from occurring in the first place has become more efficient in most cases. Healing in combat still has it's place, but it is definitely smaller than it used to; tactics and damage prevention have become more important overall.

That's simply not true. Remember, healing does not get a save, a to hit, or SR, nor is it reduced by resistances.

When a wizard is dealing out 4D4+4 from MM (which can't be resisted, nor saved, no miss- but it can be blocked by items, spells or SR) the cleric is doing 4d8+7, which is more or less twice.

Fireball? It can be resisted and saved against, not to mention SR. So, yes, a 9th level wiz can drop 9D6 to all, while the cleric channels only 5d6. But fireball can be resisted and saved against, not to mention SR. If a party member saves, the healing does more. If he has merely ER 10, the Channel and the FB are about the same.

Now, yes, there are some nova builds that can dish out more than that, but of course you can build healers that can max out their healing too (I have a Healer class from 3.5, the class from the Mini Handbook, and he could easily outpace damage). In any case, rarely can damage outpace a Heal or mass heal.


You need a combat healer at low levels so that you can get to the high levels so you're OP min/maxed character can kill everything before you get hit somehow (and I'm still convinced the DM is going easy on you).

Not to mention, healing doesn't have to outpace damage, it just has to speedbump damage. This is a principle all real men learned playing Pokemon.


DrDeth wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:


The biggest reason is that healing capability has been far outstripped by damage output. As several people have stated above, healing in a great many situations can no longer keep up with the damage being dished out, and stopping the damage from occurring in the first place has become more efficient in most cases. Healing in combat still has it's place, but it is definitely smaller than it used to; tactics and damage prevention have become more important overall.

That's simply not true. Remember, healing does not get a save, a to hit, or SR, nor is it reduced by resistances.

When a wizard is dealing out 4D4+4 from MM (which can't be resisted, nor saved, no miss- but it can be blocked by items, spells or SR) the cleric is doing 4d8+7, which is more or less twice.

Fireball? It can be resisted and saved against, not to mention SR. So, yes, a 9th level wiz can drop 9D6 to all, while the cleric channels only 5d6. But fireball can be resisted and saved against, not to mention SR. If a party member saves, the healing does more. If he has merely ER 10, the Channel and the FB are about the same.

Doesn't channeling in combat also heal the enemy? If the wizard is using a 1st level spell to do 4d4+4 damage, wouldn't the appropriate comparison be a cleric using a first level spell to heal 1d8+5 damage?


DrDeth wrote:
When a wizard is dealing out 4D4+4 from MM (which can't be resisted, nor saved, no miss- but it can be blocked by items, spells or SR) the cleric is doing 4d8+7, which is more or less twice.

At the same time, MM is at the low end of the damage scale and you're assuming that those 4d8 are going to be friendly to you and roll high. At the same level, you have started running into monsters that can basically auto-hit on anything other than a 1 multiple times a round, with each attack doing on average as much as the single healing that is trying to keep up. Magic is not where damage output outstrips healing; archers and raw melee fighters can put down a real hurting without much effort at higher levels, often multiple times per round, making damage mitigation and dealing damage yourself more useful as you go up in level, with the usefulness of in combat healing decreasing proportionally.

My experience is that at low levels it's necessary, at mid levels, it's helpful, but by no means the clear and obvious best choice in most circumstances, and once you hit the double digit levels, the math of in combat healing often can't keep up with the raw power that both sides can bring to the fight unless you really work to max out the healing capability at the expense of being able to attack even remotely effectively. PF makes it easier and a bit more effective a bit longer than 3.5, especially with channeling, but it still reaches a point where it takes extreme circumstances for it to be a particularly useful option, usually once the numbers exceed pre 3rd edition numbers. 3rd edition, for better or for worse, pushed a lot of the combat numbers up a lot faster and a lot higher than earlier editions, and the healing spells got left behind.


There are many ways to examine the effectiveness of in combat healing. Comparing a single healer to a single damage dealer is perhaps the least useful analysis I've seen yet. Even in a case where a party has a fully dedicated healer, the party is rarely fighting a single opponent, and when they are, that single opponent is usually a total brute that does massive damage. In most cases the party is facing several enemies all of whom do damage, and the totality of the damage done is almost always well beyond what any single healer can do to "keep up".

I have pointed out before one of the things that I think is key to this entire discussion, but which I have not seen discussed much other than my own posts. So I'll bring it up again.

Viewing in combat healing as a necessary tactic is an entirely self-fulfilling prophecy. Once you accept as a basic principle that in combat healing is part of the core responsibility of the group, tactics are generally built around that assumption and tactics that rely on in combat healing actually do require in combat healing.

But this is a very difficult concept to get across. I've gone through the process with almost every player I've ever gamed with. "We need a healer" is one of the most common assumptions I've run into with players and when I suggest that in combat healing is not an optimal tactic, the initial reaction is almost always "are you crazy?"

And yet, over time, with every group I've played in (except my 4e group, which is a whole 'nuther situation) we have eventually evolved into groups where healing in combat is an emergency only tactic and we typically throw a heal on a character in less than 25% of our encounters. Those heals are almost always only used in major boss fights, and not always even then.

It has been my experience that the players as a group enjoy the emergency only tactics more than the dedicated healer tactic because nobody has to be the band-aid box for the party. And as much as it seems to be a default assumption among many that dedicated healers are necessary, it is almost as much, or more, a default position that playing the healer is the least enjoyable role in the party.

If people believe healing is a critical and necessary part of their basic combat tactics... well, it will be. If they don't believe that, it probably won't be.


The good thing at P&PRPGs is that there is no fix roles like "Tank, DD & Healer". Even a cleric with healing domain has a second domain, could take power attack, a two-handed weapon and bash some heads.

We always have a "healer" in our group and we're happy about it, especially when the front line "fighter" drops to 10 hp and get the "heal 130 hp!" from the oracle (of fire) ;)

Sure most times it's better to kill the enemies as fast as possible, but sometimes it's not possible (mob-wave encounter, obstacles, big battle field etc.) then you will love your healer/protection-caster ;)


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
... It has been my experience that the players as a group enjoy the emergency only tactics more than the dedicated healer tactic because nobody has to be the band-aid box for the party. And as much as it seems to be a default assumption among many that dedicated healers are necessary, it is almost as much, or more, a default position that playing the healer is the least enjoyable role in the party ...

Usually I would agree that it isn't fun (though I have known some players that love it). We are playing Carrion Crown right now. In this I am currently playing a life oracle that his built to max healing. I can easily heal over a 1000 points a day. But the real reason I like it is that healing both from cure spells and channel positve are a blaster character against undead. Which we are seeing in most fights. I also bicked a few other fun key spells. I simply love chain of perdition.

But after this, I will probably not play a dedicated healer for a long time.

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