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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Throwing my vote in for more goodies for the White Mage arcanist. Also a healer-type sorcerer bloodline would be cool too as well as the suggestion someone made earlier about Empathic Healing for some of the occult classes :)


I'm trying to gather my thoughts here, but I guess largely, a lot of what I'm looking for is to make in combat healing a viable option more often, and across more classes. Especially to some of the archetypes that already tried to implement more healing.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I would definitely like to see more options for Godless Healing.


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Glad to know Chris is on my side. I mean I know Rysky is too, but more is better. :)


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Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I would love a positive energy plane sorcerer bloodline.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

A spell(0-1st) that cures/removes the effects of alcohol and drugs and another spell(2nd-4th) that cures addiction.


Non-magical means of dealing with restoration-level maladies or no buy. Divine magic's exclusive lock on healing is one of the biggest issues of this game and needs to be addressed.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
Non-magical means of dealing with restoration-level maladies or no buy. Divine magic's exclusive lock on healing is one of the biggest issues of this game and needs to be addressed.

That's kinda the entire point of magical healing.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Really, the only two things I'd really like to see is a (NOT OCCULT) Heal skill Skill Unlock that allows for more mundane means of healing and use, but one that a Cleric or Druid could use just as well as anyone else, without needing a feat or new rules.

Secondly, I'd like to see a lot more ways to utilize healing while also doing other things. Or to do other things and also offer a little bit of healing (Removing/Curing/Neutralizing).


Rysky wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Non-magical means of dealing with restoration-level maladies or no buy. Divine magic's exclusive lock on healing is one of the biggest issues of this game and needs to be addressed.
That's kinda the entire point of magical healing.

The entire point of magical healing is making it so that it's literally impossible to run an effective party without a 9th level caster? I mean, okay.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Non-magical means of dealing with restoration-level maladies or no buy. Divine magic's exclusive lock on healing is one of the biggest issues of this game and needs to be addressed.
That's kinda the entire point of magical healing.
The entire point of magical healing is making it so that it's literally impossible to run an effective party without a 9th level caster? I mean, okay.

... what?

What does that have to do with the first thing?


You can't have an effective party without access to restoration and the other non-cure heal spells on the 9th level curve. One person gets hit with Mummy Rot and you can't get rid of it, your adventuring day is done, over, gotta go back to town and find a cleric before you do anything else.

Wizards do their job better than anyone else by a long shot but it's actually feasible to emulate the wizard's job with other classes if you really don't want to play a wizard. Can't say the same for Cleric/Oracle, and non-magical ways of healing is the best way to resolve this.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Arachnofiend wrote:

You can't have an effective party without access to restoration and the other non-cure heal spells on the 9th level curve. One person gets hit with Mummy Rot and you can't get rid of it, your adventuring day is done, over, gotta go back to town and find a cleric before you do anything else.

Wizards do their job better than anyone else by a long shot but it's actually feasible to emulate the wizard's job with other classes if you really don't want to play a wizard. Can't say the same for Cleric/Oracle, and non-magical ways of healing is the best way to resolve this.

Or do what's already done and get potions, wands, and scrolls.


Dragon78 wrote:
A spell(0-1st) that cures/removes the effects of alcohol and drugs and another spell(2nd-4th) that cures addiction.

Many modules and adventure paths treat remove disease as your go-to spell for curing addiction. Removing the effects of alcohol and drugs is trickier, because drugs and alcohol are, by the rules, considered poisons and thus subject to neutralize poison.


I still hope in a channeling inquisitor.


Channeling Inquisitor huh?

Also don't mind if they managed to make a wild blood mutation from Celestial into Positive Energy Plane bloodline.


Just learned about this...

It's too late to submit proposals, isn't it? :/


Drejk,

Probably.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Maybe, maybe not. Who knows?

Even if it doesn't end up affecting this book, I'm sure it'll be useful for later products. ^_^


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Yes, but I was talking about spells that specialize in those areas.


Dragon,

You were? I thought Drejk was.

Isabelle,

One can only hope.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Too be clear I was responding to Ashram about my wish for spells that cure/remove alcohol/drugs and cure addiction.


Well thanks for clarifying that.

I'd rather still have more features/arcane exploits for white mage myself. That and wild blooded sorcerer that has Positive Energy connections.

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Drejk wrote:

Just learned about this...

It's too late to submit proposals, isn't it? :/

It's too late to submit proposals 99.9% of the time.

That's repeating, of course.


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It's never too late to submit proposals! ^_^

...it is, however, often too late for your proposals to influence the specific product you're commenting on.


Yep. Next time, think faster. :p :)


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Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

It was more then likely too late to submit proposals for this product when it was first announced. But we can still dream;)


Arachnofiend wrote:
Non-magical means of dealing with restoration-level maladies or no buy. Divine magic's exclusive lock on healing is one of the biggest issues of this game and needs to be addressed.

1) Wands of CLW have long replaced the need for a 'healer'

2) Loads of classes have ways to access healing spells

3) If anything the reverse is true, divine magic has virtually no 'lock ins'

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Harleequin wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Non-magical means of dealing with restoration-level maladies or no buy. Divine magic's exclusive lock on healing is one of the biggest issues of this game and needs to be addressed.

1) Wands of CLW have long replaced the need for a 'healer'

2) Loads of classes have ways to access healing spells

3) If anything the reverse is true, divine magic has virtually no 'lock ins'

The problem stated above is Restoration, not Cure : conditions, not HPs ;-)


Condition removal is not exclusively divine and anyway thats why people walk around with decent UMD and scrolls of lesser restoration!

Grand Lodge

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I guess people just want other option than going with the same things over and over and over and over again.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Harleequin wrote:
Condition removal is not exclusively divine and anyway thats why people walk around with decent UMD and scrolls of lesser restoration!

Ah, the good old "Wizards and Clerics are not as powerful because anyone can Use Magic Device scrolls!" argument.

Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Harleequin wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Non-magical means of dealing with restoration-level maladies or no buy. Divine magic's exclusive lock on healing is one of the biggest issues of this game and needs to be addressed.

1) Wands of CLW have long replaced the need for a 'healer'

2) Loads of classes have ways to access healing spells

3) If anything the reverse is true, divine magic has virtually no 'lock ins'

Man, oh man, I had a player once who thought that he and his party could replace the role of a healer with a wand of cure light wounds.

He's very much enjoying his second character in our campaign, a life oracle. >:)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Harleequin wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Non-magical means of dealing with restoration-level maladies or no buy. Divine magic's exclusive lock on healing is one of the biggest issues of this game and needs to be addressed.

1) Wands of CLW have long replaced the need for a 'healer'

2) Loads of classes have ways to access healing spells

3) If anything the reverse is true, divine magic has virtually no 'lock ins'

Man, oh man, I had a player once who thought that he and his party could replace the role of a healer with a wand of cure light wounds.

He's very much enjoying his second character in our campaign, a life oracle. >:)

I once had a party almost last until 5th level with that philosophy. Almost... Needless to say, we haven't had a party since without some type of healer.


Valantrix1 wrote:


I once had a party almost last until 5th level with that philosophy. Almost... Needless to say, we haven't had a party since without some type of healer.

The issue was more that divine classes have somehow cornered the market on healing, I was stating that this isnt the case.

Also that you dont need a 'healer' in the party as a specific role.....it has associations with 'Healbot'!!!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Harleequin wrote:
Condition removal is not exclusively divine and anyway thats why people walk around with decent UMD and scrolls of lesser restoration!

Decent UMD means 6+ skill points per level (or 4+ and skill point rather than HP) and/or INT-based class, UMD as a class skill and not CHA as a dumpstat. Not that many possibilities left then, especially if you do not want to specialize that heavily in UMD


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Harleequin wrote:
Condition removal is not exclusively divine and anyway thats why people walk around with decent UMD and scrolls of lesser restoration!
Decent UMD means 6+ skill points per level (or 4+ and skill point rather than HP) and/or INT-based class, UMD as a class skill and not CHA as a dumpstat. Not that many possibilities left then, especially if you do not want to specialize that heavily in UMD

Alternately, Skill focus can alleviate some of that. (but is a different type of investment)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Rathendar wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Harleequin wrote:
Condition removal is not exclusively divine and anyway thats why people walk around with decent UMD and scrolls of lesser restoration!
Decent UMD means 6+ skill points per level (or 4+ and skill point rather than HP) and/or INT-based class, UMD as a class skill and not CHA as a dumpstat. Not that many possibilities left then, especially if you do not want to specialize that heavily in UMD
Alternately, Skill focus can alleviate some of that. (but is a different type of investment)

Also don't forget the +2 you get for subsequent use of that specific item.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Rysky wrote:
Also don't forget the +2 you get for subsequent use of that specific item.

*stumped* The what now?

Use Magic Device wrote:
Activate Blindly: Some magic items are activated by special words, thoughts, or actions. You can activate such an item as if you were using the activation word, thought, or action, even when you're not and even if you don't know it. You do have to perform some equivalent activity in order to make the check. That is, you must speak, wave the item around, or otherwise attempt to get it to activate. You get a +2 bonus on your Use Magic Device check if you've activated the item in question at least once before. If you fail by 9 or less, you can't activate the device. If you fail by 10 or more, you suffer a mishap. A mishap means that magical energy gets released but doesn't do what you wanted it to do. The default mishaps are that the item affects the wrong target or that uncontrolled magical energy is released, dealing 2d6 points of damage to you. This mishap is in addition to the chance for a mishap that you normally risk when you cast a spell from a scroll that you could not otherwise cast yourself.

That seems to only apply with the activate blindly-portion, that has a DC of 25 normally (whereas using a wand is a DC20).

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Delightful as this tangent of old cleric arguments (and its child-tangent of UMD rules) is, perhaps a product thread isn't the ideal place for it.

Let's at least tailor the rehashed arguments more closely to the product at hand. ^_^

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Franz Lunzer wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Also don't forget the +2 you get for subsequent use of that specific item.

*stumped* The what now?

Use Magic Device wrote:
Activate Blindly: Some magic items are activated by special words, thoughts, or actions. You can activate such an item as if you were using the activation word, thought, or action, even when you're not and even if you don't know it. You do have to perform some equivalent activity in order to make the check. That is, you must speak, wave the item around, or otherwise attempt to get it to activate. You get a +2 bonus on your Use Magic Device check if you've activated the item in question at least once before. If you fail by 9 or less, you can't activate the device. If you fail by 10 or more, you suffer a mishap. A mishap means that magical energy gets released but doesn't do what you wanted it to do. The default mishaps are that the item affects the wrong target or that uncontrolled magical energy is released, dealing 2d6 points of damage to you. This mishap is in addition to the chance for a mishap that you normally risk when you cast a spell from a scroll that you could not otherwise cast yourself.

That seems to only apply with the activate blindly-portion, that has a DC of 25 normally (whereas using a wand is a DC20).

Awww, that sucks.

Per Kali's request, hmm, I wouldn't mind an attunement or item mastery feat to be used with healing items and wands and the like.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Personally I think all classes should have archetypes and feats that grant healing/curative options of some kind.

Grand Lodge

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Dragon78 wrote:
Personally I think all classes should have archetypes and feats that grant healing/curative options of some kind.

I would go for this, a fighter that is a field medic would be a cool idea.


I could get behind that idea too. I actually enjoy healing and I think it would be good for there to be a lot more variety in the classes that can play 'backup/little healer' to the 'main healer' classes like the cleric and the oracle. If nothing else, it would let people feel more free to play what they want without having to worry about how they're going to keep up with condition removal and such at higher levels if no one wants to play a cleric or an oracle.


Kalindlara wrote:

Delightful as this tangent of old cleric arguments (and its child-tangent of UMD rules) is, perhaps a product thread isn't the ideal place for it.

Let's at least tailor the rehashed arguments more closely to the product at hand. ^_^

Like more options for white mage arcanist exploits Kal?


I'd like some feats/items that can modify channeled healing (add an ability score to channeling healing total amount, increase die size, etc), and the same for adding flat numbers to cure spells (amulet that adds +1-+5 to cure spells, or +1/die of healing).

Grand Lodge

Melanis Zbri wrote:
I'd like some feats/items that can modify channeled healing (add an ability score to channeling healing total amount, increase die size, etc), and the same for adding flat numbers to cure spells (amulet that adds +1-+5 to cure spells, or +1/die of healing).

I agree, the problem I see with healing is it is so swingy, I know that damaging magic is kinda the same but a bit more static to healing would be better


I hope (in vain) there's nothing in it for the witch. I recently started playing a "dedicated" healer witch (hedge witch/herb witch with healing patron I love the themes but hate the redundancies caused by this combo) and would be a little frustrated if there's a better option for archetypes, patrons and to a lesser extent hexes.

Silver Crusade

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

Does your GM not allow rebuilding when new material is released? Or retraining rules?


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I agree with Rysky. As a DM/GM, I'd allow for retraining. It shouldn't be that hard to make a character you like, especially if you find something you want to add to.

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