Pathfinder Player Companion: Healer's Handbook (PFRPG)

3.60/5 (based on 5 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Healer's Handbook (PFRPG)
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Good for What Ails You!

Whether it's for getting patched up after a fight, dealing with a debilitating disease contracted in a fetid dungeon, or negating the effects of a terrible poison in the middle of combat, eventually every adventurer needs a healer. Most healers have their own agendas, though, and these don't always end at mending their allies' ailments. With Pathfinder Player Companion: Healer's Handbook, characters can learn to efficiently heal their patients—without finding themselves reduced to being walking first-aid kits.

Inside this book, you'll find:

  • Healing-focused archetypes for 10 classes, such as the angelfire apostle cleric and invigorator paladin—plus options for arcane healers, such as the faith singer bard and arcane physician wizard.
  • Feats geared toward characters who like to heal on their own terms, plus feats that allow any adventurer to harness her own vigor in the heat of battle.
  • A host of new options to customize features for classes that dabble in healing, including focused blessings for warpriests, new paladin mercies, druidic herbalism, and a shaman spirit specialization.

This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-914-1

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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New basic options for classes? Sold!

5/5

Book gets five stars for some really neat stuff design-wise. It expands the basic options for some classes- no archetype compatibility issues, no extra features you don't care about or trading out stuff you wanted. If you play a Druid or a Paladin, you now have additional options on your list. I'd love to see more of this in future books!

If you're a Druid, you can get an alchemist-esque potion-making ability for Nature's Bond. There are some balance issues on the money part of it, so I recommend GMs go with "you can stockpile, but not sell". Could be a good idea to rule that expensive material components still cost money, too.

If you're a Paladin, you can choose from three new bond choices instead of a weapon bond or mount. More healing, a communal ward against evil, or being one terrifying avatar of divine justice. In addition, there are a bunch of new choices for mercies ranging from things that are great for a character arc to cementing your position as the last thing an evil wizard wants to run into.

Another really neat design choice that I'd love to see more is explicitly compatible archetypes- the Alchemist's healing archetype is designed to work with Chirurgeon, addressing overlapping features. Having two compatible archetypes with similar goals is great for character customization- you now have three levels of healing archetype to apply (one, the other, or both). Also solves the big issue with Chirurgeon while it's at it! Both Alchemist archetypes are pretty awesome, and do a great job of expanding character options with good balance.

Clerics get an archetype that doesn't mess with their domains. Whoo! Warpriests and Shamans get subblessings and subspirits.

That said, this book will contain disappointments for people looking for certain things (as some of the other reviews show):
-There's really only one good thing for the heal skill, an inexpensive magic item to expand its effectiveness. Nonmagical healing in the book is not very impressive otherwise.
- If you wanted more healing on non-healing classes, this isn't the book for you. It's a book about making the existing healers better at their job or giving them more options while they do it.
- Sorry, evil Clerics. You're still preparing healing spells in slots like before. You can now use them for torture or manipulation, though, so those spells will be more versatile.

All in all, a great win for character versatility!


Some good options

4/5

This book is all about healing, as you probably guessed. But how does it provide more healing options?

Mainly Archetypes. Just over a dozen. Most are meh, a few are bad, and a few are good.

There are also some Feats. An interesting Feat chain is now available for characters with a 13+ CON, that lets them "rest" as a standard action to re-gain HP.

Outside of Archetypes and Feats, there are a few Traits and Magic Items and Spells that offer a bit here and there, but nothing too earth shattering from what I saw.

Overall I think this is a good book. Not quite 5 stars, and a bit on the bland side, but good.


2/5

A book on healing is going to be a very daunting task, so it's hard to judge too harshly here. I'm not terribly impressed with this book, but I'm not angry I purchased it either.

In general, I found the majority of the Archetypes very lacking, especially the Angelfire Apostle I was most excited about.

I'm also a bit disappointed that the book starts out describing how the ability to heal (including removing conditions and raising the dead) is the most miraculous and wondrous feat of all magic, but then the book basically goes out of it's way to hand it out like candy. I'm of the opinion that there is already too much available, cheap healing as is, and it's detrimental to the game, so adding even more, and basically stomping even more over the line of one of the defining traits of divine magic (vs Arcane, Occult, and Martial abilities) was a really poor call. Again, just my opinion.

It lacked much in the way of non-magical applications (or expansions) for the Heal Skill, or even much in the way of talking about healing equipment or goods.

Unfortunately, I just found most the material bland and/or mediocre. On one hand, I love just how much crunch they put in this book, and am honestly surprised with how much they touched on so much variety, (a trait for this deity, an option for that one), I didn't really expect to see.

I also like some of the spells the book offers, but at the same time, I really wish they where a few Spell Levels lower so that they might actually be used in play. Or at least had lesser versions.

I think there was just far too much split focus for this product to really have been that effective. No real Channel Energy or Lay On Hands options, and as I mentioned, nothing really for the Heal Skill. There is a bit for Occult stuff, but even being not a fan it looked kind of lackluster. For the most part, this book doesn't really make Being the Healer Fun as it offers a few different ways to do so, without really helping to much to do it well or that interestingly.


Healing Can Be Fun

4/5

Some interesting options for healing and curative related spells, powers, etc.

The good
-New kineticist wild talents, oracle mystery, witch hexes and patron, paladin divine bonds and mercies, bardic masterpieces, alchemist discoveries, warpriest blessings, and druid nature bond.
-New feats that allow you to heal yourself.
-Some interesting new archetypes.

The bad
-No new channeling, lay on hands, or healing enhancing feats.
-No healing focused archetypes for non-casters(except one monk and one ranger).


(Magic) Healer's/Supporter's Handbook

3/5

This book's kind of hard to get a perfect read on because it's so densely packed, but what I've been picking through seems average. There's a few interesting options such as the Angelfire Apostle that effectively adds a breath weapon to healing spells and the spell Balance of Suffering which allows you to heal one target at the expense of another's life force, or the Phoenix Feather which is just a Phoenix Down, or the Paladin stuff which is all pretty great. But a lot of the stuff just seems very bland at best. The Arcane Physician for example is probably the most "meh" thing in the book, since it's just a Wizard that gets healing spells. That's really about it. There's also a weirdly high amount of options dedicated to status suppression and miscellaneous support abilities instead of actual healing, such as the Sacred Attendant who gains the ability to boost Charisma checks.

Also, most of the options in the book are caster-oriented. There are two non-caster archetypes (a lesser but unchained-friendly version of Monk of the Healing Hand and a Ranger that's okay at finding plants), and the Combat Vigor feats are more work than they're worth unless you're a Fighter with plenty of feats to spare to make them worthwhile, not to mention they're self-only unlike a wand of a cure spell.

tl;dr, if you're expecting new uses for the Heal skill or new alchemical healing items, or feats and abilities that make even the least magically-inclined Barbarian into a somewhat viable out-of-combat healer, this isn't the book for you. If you're looking for new ways for your existing healer to heal more differently, then pick this up.


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Scarab Sages

Lanitril wrote:
If you top back off to full after that, are you then suddenly immune to the poison already in your system? Gotta admit, there's some weird design in the monk for this reason.

If you were able to top off, yes, you'd be immune to the poison, but the effects you've already suffered are still there (be that ability damage, drain, unconsciousness or whatever). If you become damaged again, you lose your immunity and presumably have to start making saves again if the duration hasn't expired. Given that both monks are immune to disease, and the original becomes immune to poison at level 11, it's a pretty weak replacement.

As for Unchained Monks and poison.... if you were worried about poison, you could choose the Diamond Body ki power and remove the poison. Not an option for this archetype since it disallows that ki power.

Dark Archive

There are a couple of things from this that my Life Oracle in Hell's Vengeance is going to enjoy using. *rubs hands in malicious glee*


Anyone have a favorite archetype from this book?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Invigorator. Badass buddy paladin.

Also the example artwork of a Skinwalker Paladin of Iomedae is friggin awesome.


Any other artwork using non-core races?


I must say that Samurai feat has quite a bit of potential for making an annoying character that refuses to die.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Any other artwork using non-core races?

Not in this one I believe.

In the Qadira book though we have Geniekin AND an awesome Qlippoth Tiefling.

Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:

Invigorator. Badass buddy paladin.

Also the example artwork of a Skinwalker Paladin of Iomedae is friggin awesome.

It's actually Seelah with an agathion bond. (There are three variant divine bonds for paladins in the book, and one of them allows you to bond an agathion spirit to your healing hands for a substantial bonus on healing with Lay On Hands and Channel Energy.)

Basically, Seelah got the right to bear arms in this book. ;-) (Or maybe they are leonal arms. Hrm....)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Invigorator. Badass buddy paladin.

Also the example artwork of a Skinwalker Paladin of Iomedae is friggin awesome.

It's actually Seelah with an agathion bond. (There are three variant divine bonds for paladins in the book, and one of them allows you to bond an agathion spirit to your healing hands for a substantial bonus on healing with Lay On Hands and Channel Energy.)

Basically, Seelah got the right to bear arms in this book. ;-) (Or maybe they are leonal arms. Hrm....)

Ah, I missed the Variant Bonds.

I thought it was Seelah at first but then I noticed the arms so I was thinking "Sweet! Skinwalker Paladin!"


Darn, not a skinwalker paladin. But interesting none the less.

Are there any new traits in the book?

Any new alternate racial traits?

Is there anything in the book nobody has asked about?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Some stuff I really liked! Not answering further details questions on these- you'll have to get the book for that.

The Alchemist archetypes are both great. There's a healing archetype in the vein of Chirurgeon that stacks with it and works well. Interesting, because I think this might be the first time an archetype allows stacking despite indirectly touching the same feature! I'd love to see more in this design vein. Anyway, it reduces the action economy problem with healing in combat for its first heal in combat, and allows Alchemist to tag people with healing spells rather than force-feeding them if they drop unconscious. If anybody wants to play a healing-focused Alchemist, this is a great choice, and pairs well with Chirurgeon.

The other archetype is even cooler. It's very streamlined, so I can't say a whole lot about it without giving away the details, but it has a bit of the feel of the Shaman to it. Enjoy your wandering domain (with a limited duration, sorry) and your wandering discovery (which you can decide on part way through the day)! Anybody who wants to play a divine Alchemist (and don't worry, it doesn't touch your "casting" or bombs) will enjoy this, and it also works for somebody who just wants to play an Alchemist with some cool mechanical effects. I didn't want to play a divine Alchemist before, but I do now. Bonus- it stacks with both the healing archetypes.

The other really cool thing is more choices for some basic class features that haven't been touched outside of archetypes. Druids now get a third option for Nature Bond, allowing them to produce free (if difficult to sell) potions and prepare infused extracts, making them more like an Alchemist. I've liked the idea of a scholarly research Druid, and this plays into that nicely. While it's not the extra firepower of domain spells, it does let you stock up on low-level things for the future, and hand out some self-only spells to party members. Paladins get a lot of love, with new options for Mercy and Divine Bond. For Mercy, there are some options that function as spells, protecting the healed ally in some way for a while. Scaling DC Sanctuary is one of the coolest ones, to spoil a little bit. Divine Bond now allows selecting an Agathion Bond (focused healers will want to consider this one), Angelic Bond (good for keeping your allies safe from harm), or Archon Bond (good for being a terrifying avatar of vengeful justice).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dragon78 wrote:

Darn, not a skinwalker paladin. But interesting none the less.

Are there any new traits in the book?

Any new alternate racial traits?

Is there anything in the book nobody has asked about?

Yes.

No.

Maybe.


Dragon78 wrote:

Darn, not a skinwalker paladin. But interesting none the less.

Are there any new traits in the book?

Any new alternate racial traits?

Is there anything in the book nobody has asked about?

Yes, no, yes.

There are some interesting traits, like tying the act of healing to various social skill checks. Almost all the traits are regional, although there are a couple of religion traits.

It's not really the sort of book for alternate racial traits, since there aren't races with thematic ties to healing- except maybe Aasimar? Healing is a class thing.

There's stuff that folks haven't asked about, but the point is to not spoil everything.


Yeah, there isn't a positive energy planetouched race or anything along that lines. But it would have been cool to see some alternate racial traits for at least the core races that were healing focused.

Glad to hear that Paladins finally got another option for their divine bond.

Any other art worth mentioning?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dragon78 wrote:

Yeah, there isn't a positive energy planetouched race or anything along that lines. But it would have been cool to see some alternate racial traits for at least the core races that were healing focused.

Glad to hear that Paladins finally got another option for their divine bond.

Any other art worth mentioning?

A badass dark skinned gnome.

(Maybe Halfling? But with those stylin eyebrows my monies on Gnome)


I was really excited about a skinwalker paladin. I'm adding that to my list of characters I want to play.


I love the Paladin's Divine Bond options, the Angelfire Cleric archetype, the 3rd level Bardic Masterpiece, the Trollskin magic item, the fact that the Alchemist archetypes leave the bombs intact...there is just so much to love about this book! Thanks to all who wrote for this edition of Player Companion.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
jedi8187 wrote:
I was really excited about a skinwalker paladin. I'm adding that to my list of characters I want to play.

Me too :(

And I'm already playing a Witchwolf Tortured Crusader ^w^


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I just wish my shipping notification would arrive. I have to finish leveling my witch before we play tomorrow, and I'm itching to see the new spells and hexes!

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If you like healing and fixing things, you will like the Major Hex.


How many bardic masterpieces are there?

What are warpriest blessings like?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dragon78 wrote:

How many bardic masterpieces are there?

What are warpriest blessings like?

2

Technically no new Blessings, they're Subblessings that modify other Blessings like Subdoamins.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:

How many bardic masterpieces are there?

What are warpriest blessings like?

2

Technically no new Blessings, they're Subblessings that modify other Blessings like Subdoamins.

Anything for Zandu? (my LN warpriest of Irori with Healing and Knowledge blessings?)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:

How many bardic masterpieces are there?

What are warpriest blessings like?

2

Technically no new Blessings, they're Subblessings that modify other Blessings like Subdoamins.

Anything for Zandu? (my LN warpriest of Irori with Healing and Knowledge blessings?)

Two different ones for the Healing Blessing.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Two different ones for the Healing Blessing.

OxO


Anything for sorcerers in this one?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Anything for sorcerers in this one?

Very little.

Contributor

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Two different ones for the Healing Blessing.
OxO

They work like subdomains, so if your god grants access to the named subdomain, the god also grants the focused blessing.

One is *really* good if you have problems with friends dying all over the place.


Very little is at least something.


Do we get any new weapon or armor magic properties?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Nope.


Is there anything in the book that enhances healing spells?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
If you like healing and fixing things, you will like the Major Hex.

I do like that, and we don't have a divine caster. Thanks! Still no shipping notification, but I need to finish leveling. Hopefully my DM will let me switch my Major Hex next week.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Is there anything in the book that enhances healing spells?

Yep, from traits to archetypes.


What existing Warpriest blessings do the new subblessings modify? What are the names of said subblessings? Does the new Anglefire Apostle give up or restrict domains in any way?
Thanks!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Angelfire Apostle does not modify domains.


So is there any artwork of monsters? If so then what are they?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
So is there any artwork of monsters? If so then what are they?

Aside from the cover? A bunch of dead Kobolds that pissed off Amiri.


So basically it's art of the archetypes, items, etc.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Yep.


What is your favorite thing in the book?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
What is your favorite thing in the book?

The Stoic Caregiver archetype.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
What is your favorite thing in the book?
The Stoic Caregiver archetype.

They are badass, and would have been the perfect archetype for the Cleric of Pharasma in our RoW campaign.


Does any of wild talents have a GP cost to use?


Dragon78 wrote:
Does any of wild talents have a GP cost to use?

I don't think any presently-published wild talent has a gp cost...


Actually the purging flame one does if you want to add a restoration effect in addition to the break enchantment one.


Fair enough. I'd forgotten about that one. ^_^


Actually we both had until I was reminded about it earlier this week;)


Is there anything in there that addresses clerics being weaker channelers in later levels than paladins or oracles?


How many new spells are in the book?

Are any of them of the necromancy school?

Are any of them on the wizard/sorcerer spell list?

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