Pathfinder Player Companion: Healer's Handbook (PFRPG)

***½( ) (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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***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)

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New basic options for classes? Sold!

*****

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

****( )

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.


**( )( )( )

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

****( )

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

***( )( )

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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Healing for martials?

Then why wouldn't they just kill the cleric?!


Thomas Seitz wrote:

Healing for martials?

Then why wouldn't they just kill the cleric?!

Fair point. I don't want the cleric to be outclassed in the healing arena. I would be keen on something that makes martials a bit more independent that isn't just UMD with a CLW wand or mass potions etc.


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Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Just because every class gets a little healing power doesn't mean the cleric will be replaced or outclassed. They have other options then healing anyway. What we need is a non-caster healing class like a positive energy based kineticist element, a class that focuses on lay on hands and channel energy, or something like that anyway.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Healing for martials is partly already in place if you look at the barbarian's rage power Renewed Vigor. Does it help? Not really.

Still: I don't want to see all classes being able to do all other classes schtick.

I want the classes to stay different and make a difference, to contribute to the game with their different areas of "special".

I want to see mechanics which allow the cleric to expand his options during fights.

I'm tired of being reduced to the walking first aid kid (and don't gimme that crap about "doing damage is far better than healing in combat"; why then is everybody so upset if the cleric opts for something else during combat?) while there's so much more to be found in the repertoire of the cleric's (and oracle's) spell list.

Ruyan.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Mythraine wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Mythraine wrote:
I'd love to see more self-healing options for atheist/agnostic PC's. So far, the Rahadoum style stuff has been underwhelming.

I'm pretty sure that's the point Myth.

Now with white mage, there's the fact since you're burning a different form of magic (almost primal one might say), it's different enough to help with healing in some instances.

Adding in lay on hands for burning arcane reservoir, you might get a decent healer and a more than passing spell blaster together.

If so, then that is excellent.

It's purely speculation at this point.

But on the other hand, Owen reads these threads and it's well-known that he's open to feedback, which is why I always make a point of gushing my personal wishlists all over them. Sometimes things stick.


Rysky wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
I think this might be another book where my expectations are getting a little to high and/or my imagination is just running wild.
I've been there.

Yeah I mean-WHOA.

Huh, so that's what you look like when you shave.

Not normally. I might have to sue that razor company.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gisher wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
I think this might be another book where my expectations are getting a little to high and/or my imagination is just running wild.
I've been there.

Yeah I mean-WHOA.

Huh, so that's what you look like when you shave.

Not normally. I might have to sue that razor company.

Yeah, that... yeah...


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Heck, even an ability that lets you negate the effects of a poison for 1 round per level, doesn't have to be consecutive, but used in 1 round increments.

Maybe an ability that grants you haste while you are poisoned.

Silver Crusade

Interesting. Currently you NEED a Cleric in an AP because only they get the status healing effects at proper levels.

Now I love Clerics, but some weirdos don't, so having another way to pump out the gallons of Lesser Restoration potions that AP PCs are forced to drink would be great. Helpful Halfling Bellflower people for example, or battle medic Rangers.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I know, I say the more classes with healing options the better.


It MUST be mine!

Shut up and take my money!


Why don't you give me your money, Spiral?

Also for non-divine healing ideas, maybe something for people to use Heal checks in combo with Godless Healing perhaps?


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I hope at least one archetype will grant a class fast healing that is a constant effect, none of these x/day or x/rounds/minutes per level stuff.


If it was not mentioned yet, I would like to see something that boost the life oracle or shamans life link ability, instead of staling at 5 hp

Shadow Lodge

0o0o0 O 0o0o0 wrote:
Now I love Clerics, but some weirdos don't, so having another way to pump out the gallons of Lesser Restoration potions that AP PCs are forced to drink would be great.
Dragon78 wrote:
I know, I say the more classes with healing options the better.

I think that's going to be the big issue for this one. Is it going to be a mostly for Clerics or the one that unofficially kills them off and makes even less people want to play the class.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quen Pah wrote:
Interesting, I wonder if they update the 3.5 feat that allowed a person to add their level or something to their healing spell.It has been a while since I have looked at Complete Divine.

Argument Healing which added x2 the spells level on all conjugation healing spells (which included Heal and Close Wounds)...was a great feat and also would love a feat like this in PF.


I'd love to have a few more condition-removal options for Occultists.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

A couple of feats that lets a character get a new save vs a limited list of conditions x/day or once per combat.


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Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
I hope at least one archetype will grant a class fast healing that is a constant effect, none of these x/day or x/rounds/minutes per level stuff.

I sincerely doubt that we'll see anything like that.

DM Beckett wrote:
I think that's going to be the big issue for this one. Is it going to be a mostly for Clerics or the one that unofficially kills them off and makes even less people want to play the class.

Well, honestly, if the only reason someone's playing a cleric is for the healing, then I think they should have more options, personally...though, of course, this is coming from someone who wouldn't touch the cleric with a ten foot pole. Though that has less to do with class features, mostly (minus prepared casting) and more to do thematics...

Anyways, yeah, while I hope clerics will have some good options as the archetypal healers, oracles (particularly Life oracles), shamans (particularly those with a Life spirit as their primary bond), paladins, mesmerists, spiritualists, kinetic chirurgeons, alchemists, occultists, and other such will also get some fun toys, as well as perhaps some classes with less healing such as druids, witches, etc. I'd personally love a sorcerer bloodline or archetype that gets some more healing, but I'm not expecting it...

Dark Archive

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Mythraine wrote:
If so, then that is excellent. I'm also holding out hope for self-healing options for martial characters. I have no idea how that would be done, and doubt it will be covered, but I can only hope!

A rage power that grants fast healing, or improved monk wholeness of body, or improved heal skill unlock for rogues, would certainly shake things up and take some of the weight off of the cleric player, allowing them to do something *other* than heal every single wound, every single round.

There are already arcane classes (bard, alchemist, witch) with cure light wounds, so an arcane necromancy or transmutation school healing spell wouldn't break the game or invalidate the cleric (since the bard already didn't do that).

There's a part of me that wants an old-school WoW style 'shadow priest' that inflicts necromantic / shadow damage, and then, vampiric touch-like, uses that stolen energy to heal themselves and their allies. 'Cause that would rock. Standard action, shadow blast the bugbear, draining it's life-energy. Swift action, redirect half off that stolen life-energy to the fighter that bugbear is meleeing. Damage dealer *and* second-rate healer, all at the same time, with no real out of combat 'healing between fights' options, because they've got to be killin' folk to generate healing energy. That could make a funky kineticist, actually, based on positive energy manipulation (a sort of positive energy draining infusion) or negative energy manipulation (perhaps with temporary hit points / false life buffs instead of actual healing?).


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Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Considering a lot players who like to play clerics don't want to be heal bots, so giving healing options, even really good ones, to other classes will not invalidate a armor wearing, weapon wielding, full caster with two good saves;)


Uhm am I the only one that thinks we might use Godless Healing in an improved fashion some how in this book?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Uhm am I the only one that thinks we might use Godless Healing in an improved fashion some how in this book?

Possible.

Oooo and/or rules for transplanting/grafting fast healing or regenerative abilites from other creatures into your body.

Troll regeneration! But gain vulnerability to fire or acid.
Vampire regeneration! But gain vulnerability to sunlight or positive energy.
LINNORM regeneration! But you want to tear everything's f$$+ing head off.

Scarab Sages Developer, Starfinder Team

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djones wrote:
But on the other hand, Owen reads these threads and it's well-known that he's open to feedback, which is why I always make a point of gushing my personal wishlists all over them. Sometimes things stick.

I do, and I am (thanks for noticing!).

I can't always include things people want for various reasons (ranging from timing to space to plans in other products to design philosophy), but I DO try to keep abreast of what people seem to be excited about.


Sooooo. Any chance of a stealth Cleric re-write? Similar to what has happened with the Fighter lately. Mainly for a way for Clerics to get Life Link, but also to bring some variety outside of spells. I'm not sure if they'd give up spells per day or domain spells or whatever, but just a nice list of options available to them. Perhaps ways for other healers to use them as well.

It's doubtful this would get in unless you already had something like this planned, but just throwing it out there.

Contributor

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Lanitril wrote:

Sooooo. Any chance of a stealth Cleric re-write? Similar to what has happened with the Fighter lately. Mainly for a way for Clerics to get Life Link, but also to bring some variety outside of spells. I'm not sure if they'd give up spells per day or domain spells or whatever, but just a nice list of options available to them. Perhaps ways for other healers to use them as well.

It's doubtful this would get in unless you already had something like this planned, but just throwing it out there.

As the guy who did the "Stealth Fighter" rewrites in both the Armor Master's Handbook and the Weapon Master's Handbook, I personally don't think the cleric can benefit much from any sort of new subsystems. They just don't have enough class features to get up or move around, and they're not a weak enough class to warrant power boosts.

What clerics (and potentially druids) need is a slight dial back in order to justify giving them more class features, and I don't think that you'll see that happen anywhere but in a "spiritual sequel" to Pathfinder Unchained. I don't think that's in the cards, so if you want more "updates" for old classes, the best thing you can do is convince all of the PF players you know to buy physical copies of Pathfinder Unchained.

But hey? What do I know about anything? I'm just a guy on the internet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Alexander Augunas wrote:
... "spiritual sequel" to Pathfinder Unchained...

Next to more Tian Xia and a Tian Xia AP, that´s something i would love to see. Perhaps i should start to consider giving those out to players i like.

Player Companions could be a good place for that actually.
Give us some unchained Tian Xia please! :D

This healing book also got me a bit curious after playing a warpriest.


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Rysky wrote:
LINNORM regeneration! But you want to tear everything's f#*#ing head off.

Ooh now THAT I like but it should relate more to horror rules. :)


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Even if grafting a regenerating creature's body part will not grant you regeneration, the body part could still benefit from regeneration.


All I know is I like the horrific body horror of waking up and finding out your neck is now like 10 feet long. ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You probably would have found out as your head fell from the bed or something like that.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hayato Ken wrote:
You probably would have found out as your head fell from the bed or something like that.

You are MUCH more coherent than I right after waking up.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I would love a feat like augment healing and more channel/lay on hand related feats as well.


Ashram wrote:
How about a spell that can regrow limbs that comes online before I have the power to bring someone back from the dead from a pile of ash in a completely reformed body?

I believe that Regenerate comes online before True Resurrection or the Wish and Raise combo.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

I am looking forward to this for a couple of my PCs, particularly my Oath of Charity halfling paladin.


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Rysky wrote:
Hayato Ken wrote:
You probably would have found out as your head fell from the bed or something like that.
You are MUCH more coherent than I right after waking up.

Same here Rysky. I mostly just wake up and wonder "Why am I not in that inn?"


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Ashram wrote:
How about a spell that can regrow limbs that comes online before I have the power to bring someone back from the dead from a pile of ash in a completely reformed body?
I believe that Regenerate comes online before True Resurrection or the Wish and Raise combo.

Resurrection (not True) is enough to raise someone from a pinch of ash. Both it and Regenerate are Cleric 7, which is odd. If lost limbs actually happened outside GM fiat it would be problematic.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Maybe this book will have a "lesser regeneration" spell to restore one lost limb or organ.


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Now if we only had something that would actually allow you to lose a limb every once and awhile. Its pretty rare anymore.


Val,

That's what vorpal weapons are for.


Vorpal weapons are fixable by Raise Dead, a level 5 spell.

Actually, that's the correct answer if you lose an arm and still have the limb but don't have access to level 7 cleric spells. Just kill amputee, attach the limb to the corpse, and raise him. You're out the material component, but other than that it's easier than restoring a limb to a living target. Which is weird.


Plausible,

No...it's not actually. You need the entire body and if someone carries off the head, you're kind of SOL.


Yeah, I'm assuming you've got the head to reattach. I'm just saying that suicide/death, some sewing, and then Raise Dead immediately after losing a limb (or head) is a lower level way to handle the problem than Regenerate.


Very true, but once head comes off, I've noticed it doesn't come back on without some effort.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

A minor raise dead spell that works only on animals/vermin or any living creature with an intelligence of less then 3.

Grand Lodge

what about making heal even more viable as a skill, let them give temp hit points instead of actually healing. So you could use heal to bandage someone up lets say and they could get X temp hit points.

Could be done as such: Make a heal check to determine the status of an ally, you can then (with a healers kit) restore your level + Wis mod in temp hit points. These hit points last for a total of 15 minutes or until used up, the recipient cannot gain more than a 1/4 of their hit points in this way.

With the skill unlock for Heal

Rank 5: you can add +5 to the amount of temp hit points you heal
Rank 10: you can add +7 to the amount of temp hit points you heal
Rank 15: you can add +10 to the amount of temp hit points you heal
Rank 20: you can add +15 to the amount of temp hit points you heal


Has anyone thought of Contingent Cure Spells?
They would be one spell level delayed, last hours per level and activate the first time their target takes damage.

For example:
Contingent Cure Light Wounds

School conjuration (healing); Level bard 2, cleric 2, druid 2, paladin 2, ranger 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range touch
Target creature touched
Duration 1 hour/level
Saving Throw Will half (harmless); see text; Spell Resistance yes (harmless); see text
When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy which stays with that creature until it becomes needed. The next time that creature takes damage, the positive energy bursts forth curing 1d8 points of damage + 1 point per caster level (maximum +5). Since undead are powered by negative energy, this spell deals damage to them instead of curing their wounds. An undead creature can apply spell resistance, and can attempt a Will save to take half damage.

This spell counts as a contingency spell for the purpose of having multiple contingent effects on a creature at the same time.

Grand Lodge

I like the contingent spells, I guess my only thought of why Divine magic never seems to change is because unlike Arcane it is granted by the gods and they don't "Experiment" with their spells.

Mind you the Arcane ones don't really have "other cool" abilities.


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With several archetypes now able to get construct Familiars or construct Animal Companions, some new ways to heal/repair constructs would be nice.


Raltus,

I think that's why they gave that to Mesmerists IE touch treatments.

I still think that some more stuff for Godless Healing would be nice to see in this book.

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