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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3.60/5 (based on 5 ratings)

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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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1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
What effects in game make you lose limbs and organs? And I'm not talking about crit decks or 3PP. Where, in the game, do rules obligatorily mandate that you lose a limb or an organ?

Give it time. As far as I'm concerned, regenerate needs some niche protection. ^_^

Gorbacz wrote:
Bleed is a trivial hindrance given that any magical healing removes it entirely. Not to mention the fact that PF fights last 3-4 rounds on average, reducing the impact of any damage over time effects.

This is 100% truth.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

regenerate seems to be a spell that was introduced to handle story-mandated limb loss and to give ground for homebrew/3PP called shots/crits systems. But as it is it's weirdly disjointed from the super-abstract hit points system, where damage is less "physical harm" and more "taking away from your heroic invincibility until you go below 0 and that one blow does to you what a bite from a Colossal dragon does to people in real life, or what it would do if dragons would exist".

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I'm about 150% sure that regenerate is only here because it was in 3rd Edition... and was only in 3rd Edition because it was in 2nd Edition. ^_^

At this point, though, effects that actually require it are almost all story-mandated or subsystems.


There are few creatures that can remove limbs, organs, etc. and the sword of sharpness doesn't exist in Pathfinder. But that just adds to the argument that the regenerate spell should be a much earlier level spell. Maybe we will get a lesser regeneration spell.

Also I have used bleed very effectively as a swashbuckler and have seen it used very effectively against me.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah. Regeneration is stronger than fast healing in some ways. But there are many types of magical healing that can make certain conditions and types moot. Regeneration is one of the only a handful of methods to actually grow back or restore missing limbs. Naturally it's very very high level or high cost. The issue is resource grind and instant sudden death or debilitation that can come from trekking through long dungeons. Unless you have that constant heal factor, it will wear you down. Also just because things are marked as player companion does not mean enemies or npcs can't use the same tricks. If the enemies had infinite healing set ups, people would struggle to counter them without the players giving the GM information.

Really things should not become an arms race between GM and player. Players should be strong. They are adventurers, heroes, people who can handle the dangers that exist within the world. But the threat of death should also not be trivial. Sure it should be less likely as pcs get stronger, but if the player gets unlucky, does something stupid or is just ground down under shear weight of damage and conditions... Yeah. They should be at risk of dying.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Verzen wrote:
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.

Fast healing is completely overpowered as a permanent effect. Think about it. Combat finished? Great. I'm fully healed.

After.

Every.

Combat.

Thats how most adventurers with access to wands of CLW or better yet infernal healing work.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

My only problem with regeneration as the spell is that apparently reattaching a limb requires the same magical power as bringing someone who was previously a smear on the ground or a pile of ashes back to life via resurrection.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Verzen wrote:
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.

Fast healing is completely overpowered as a permanent effect. Think about it. Combat finished? Great. I'm fully healed.

After.

Every.

Combat.

Thats how most adventurers with access to wands of CLW or better yet infernal healing work.

But. Again. You're using resources. Resource economy. You don't have an infinite supply of infernal healing or CLW.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Verzen wrote:


But. Again. You're using resources. Resource economy. You don't have an infinite supply of infernal healing or CLW.

No, but you have enough.

Hypothetically if say, a feat lets you heal yourself with fast healing one. A feat kinda equates to 5,000 gp. Thats six and a half wands of CLW: which is more than any of my pathfinders have burned through in 12 levels of play. its over 1400 points of damage healed. A raging barbarian with no ac might find that kind of trade off favorable but most people won't.


I would pay 5000GP for a feat even if it is run, endurance, etc. I would pay more for the good ones. Though I would hate to see how expensive leadership would be;)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:

I would pay 5000GP for a feat even if it is run, endurance, etc. I would pay more for the good ones. Though I would hate to see how expensive leadership would be;)

Apparently the game assumes that Endurance is worth a bit more than 5,000gp... ;)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Don't forget that slotless magic items cost twice what they normally would. ^_^

Grand Lodge

Ooo, really looking forward to getting this tomorrow as a subscriber.

Verzen wrote:
Level 1: Invigorating Chord. Fast healing 2 to everyone within 30 feet. This healing increases by 1 per every 5 levels of Skald. Replaces raging song. Counts as a performance.

There's a Masterpiece that does something very similar:

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/bard/bardic-masterpieces/maste rpieces/life-budding-in-salted-earth-sing-string-wind

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
Don't forget that slotless magic items cost twice what they normally would. ^_^

And to which slot would you assign a free feat? :P


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Don't forget that slotless magic items cost twice what they normally would. ^_^
And to which slot would you assign a free feat? :P

Whatever slot it is, a slotless Ioun Stone does not fill it.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
And to which slot would you assign a free feat? :P

Depends on the feat. They make all kinds.

Endurance: chest or feet
Run: feet
Power Attack: hands
Deadly Aim: eyes
Combat Expertise: wrists
Any metamagic: head
Alertness: eyes

Those are just some examples, off the top of my head. ^_^


Lovely cover!


It is a lovely cover.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

For those complaining about cheap fast healing, may I point out the Boots of the Earth, a 5k gp boot item that grants you fast healing 1 while you remain stationary on the ground. Now granted it won't work when flying, on a ship, etc, but for 90% of the time you will be on the ground and able to use it.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ellias Aubec wrote:

For those complaining about cheap fast healing, may I point out the Boots of the Earth, a 5k gp boot item that grants you fast healing 1 while you remain stationary on the ground. Now granted it won't work when flying, on a ship, etc, but for 90% of the time you will be on the ground and able to use it.

I follow the PFS ruling that this item is 1/day.


PFS ruins everything:(

Anyway, soon we will find out what is in this book.


Only a couple of days till they start shipping, right?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

should be out today!
Healing affects many aspects of the game (recovery) so this will be very interesting (new rules and items)...

If you have a problem with Infernal Healing, there's always Celestial Healing... 8^0


1 person marked this as a favorite.

looking forward to when this thread is not just an arguement over fast healing.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
jedi8187 wrote:
looking forward to when this thread is not just an arguement over fast healing.

The healing process will be slow... like that ioun stone that heals you one point of damage every couple minutes.


Well one the PDFs come out I am sure that talk about fast healing will end;)...unless there is something fast healing related in the book:)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
jedi8187 wrote:
looking forward to when this thread is not just an arguement over fast healing.

Wow. 54 new posts! Made me wonder if someone got their Shipping notice early and things were being divulged...uh, no. Just another tangent debate that took over the Product Discussion thread. Sigh.

When I get my PDF, the first thing I will look at is the Angelfire Apostle. I am hoping they did some wonderful things to truly weaponize channeling energy.


can we just group hug??? 8^)

{Black Eye'd Peas music} I gotta healing that tonight's gonna be a good fight...

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.

*sets google alert for Skeld posting*

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Fourshadow wrote:
jedi8187 wrote:
looking forward to when this thread is not just an arguement over fast healing.

Wow. 54 new posts! Made me wonder if someone got their Shipping notice early and things were being divulged...uh, no. Just another tangent debate that took over the Product Discussion thread. Sigh.

When I get my PDF, the first thing I will look at is the Angelfire Apostle. I am hoping they did some wonderful things to truly weaponize channeling energy.

Make that 58.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

How about 'Meatball Surgery'? Accelerated healing at higher difficulty.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

A group hug activated healing effect, that would be awesome.


Dragon78 wrote:
A group hug activated healing effect, that would be awesome.

Can you have violins playing in the background as your manifestation?


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
A group hug activated healing effect, that would be awesome.
Can you have violins playing in the background as your manifestation?

No! Only kazoo sounds and the occasional triangle noise!

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dean HS Jones wrote:
*sets google alert for Skeld posting*

We were asked by Mr. Sutter in this thread to not be so detailed with our personal previews, so I wouldn't expect what had become the traditional treasure trove of mouthwatering info. Which is a little disappointing, sure, but I think totally understandable!

(Chris Lambertz also popped in later to clean up and ask that any discussion of that particular request/preview policy be discussed in Website Feedback, rather than a Product Discussion thread)

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
regenerate seems to be a spell that was introduced to handle story-mandated limb loss and to give ground for homebrew/3PP called shots/crits systems. But as it is it's weirdly disjointed from the super-abstract hit points system, where damage is less "physical harm" and more "taking away from your heroic invincibility until you go below 0 and that one blow does to you what a bite from a Colossal dragon does to people in real life, or what it would do if dragons would exist".

Agreed. I would like to see Paizo adopt or create something akin to the bonebreaker system from Skirmisher in Insults & Injuries where things like the amount of dmg you take from a hit and your ability scores can cause more harm than just HP dmg. A fight with a Hill giant becomes exponentially more terrifying when he can break all the wizard's bones alongside that HP damage.


Healing through the power of love(emotional, not physical);)


I hope that doesn't mean getting a table of contents is still off limits thought Andrew.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Healing through the power of love(emotional, not physical);)

I would absolutely physical love based healing, we already have the awesome Companion to the Lonely ^w^


1 person marked this as a favorite.

How about a Calistrian/Shelyn whip that channels healing energy or you can store a wand in the handle to deliver touch healing at range? Shelynite healing bondage to counter Kuthite S&M stuff.

"Just stay in this position and the bones will heal in no time. I will be back in a bit to check for chafing."

Magical Safe Words that free people from paralyzing/hold spells.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MannyGoblin wrote:
How about a Calistrian/Shelyn whip that channels healing energy or you can store a wand in the handle to deliver touch healing at range?

Technically you can do the latter via the weaponwand spell from Inner Sea Magic...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Luthorne wrote:
MannyGoblin wrote:
How about a Calistrian/Shelyn whip that channels healing energy or you can store a wand in the handle to deliver touch healing at range?
Technically you can do the latter via the weaponwand spell from Inner Sea Magic...

too many jokes possible... must refrain...

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Andrew Mullen wrote:
Dean HS Jones wrote:
*sets google alert for Skeld posting*

We were asked by Mr. Sutter in this thread to not be so detailed with our personal previews, so I wouldn't expect what had become the traditional treasure trove of mouthwatering info. Which is a little disappointing, sure, but I think totally understandable!

(Chris Lambertz also popped in later to clean up and ask that any discussion of that particular request/preview policy be discussed in Website Feedback, rather than a Product Discussion thread)

Right.

I got my shipping email a little over an hour ago, but I'm not going to be discussing the products. I'm not here to cause Paizo any problems or step on their toes with regard to sharing what's in their books. There have been a few posts like the ones above asking me/us to curtail our sharing and so I'm going to do as I've been asked.

-Skeld


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Skeld wrote:
Andrew Mullen wrote:
Dean HS Jones wrote:
*sets google alert for Skeld posting*

We were asked by Mr. Sutter in this thread to not be so detailed with our personal previews, so I wouldn't expect what had become the traditional treasure trove of mouthwatering info. Which is a little disappointing, sure, but I think totally understandable!

(Chris Lambertz also popped in later to clean up and ask that any discussion of that particular request/preview policy be discussed in Website Feedback, rather than a Product Discussion thread)

Right.

I got my shipping email a little over an hour ago, but I'm not going to be discussing the products. I'm not here to cause Paizo any problems or step on their toes with regard to sharing what's in their books. There have been a few posts like the ones above asking me/us to curtail our sharing and so I'm going to do as I've been asked.

-Skeld

I don't understand why they have taken that position. I don't think that people should be posting in great detail, but in the past getting some specific subscriber feedback has always been my reason for purchasing the books. Knowing that there are bits that I will find useful is what makes me want to buy a product as soon as it comes out. If we only have the brief product descriptions to go by, then I'll probably just start waiting until the new rules are available for free on other sites.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Gisher wrote:


I don't understand why they have taken that position. I don't think that people should be posting in great detail, but in the past getting some specific subscriber feedback has always been my reason for purchasing the books. Knowing that there are bits that I will find useful is what makes me want to buy a product as soon as it comes out. If we only have the brief product descriptions to go by, then I'll probably just start waiting until the new rules are available for free on other sites.

Completely agreed. Subscriber hints have convinced me to purchase several books (most recently Blood Beasts was a hard no until I heard what was in it and that it wasn't race restricted). When a great or surprising product comes out I want to support it and maybe read the fluff. It doesn't always work, Paths of the Righteous was a hard no that the leaks didn't convince me to buy.

This one is in a maybe zone for me, but will be easy to miss if I don't hear anything concrete about the contents ahead of time.

Dark Archive

Skeld wrote:
Andrew Mullen wrote:
Dean HS Jones wrote:
*sets google alert for Skeld posting*

We were asked by Mr. Sutter in this thread to not be so detailed with our personal previews, so I wouldn't expect what had become the traditional treasure trove of mouthwatering info. Which is a little disappointing, sure, but I think totally understandable!

(Chris Lambertz also popped in later to clean up and ask that any discussion of that particular request/preview policy be discussed in Website Feedback, rather than a Product Discussion thread)

Right.

I got my shipping email a little over an hour ago, but I'm not going to be discussing the products. I'm not here to cause Paizo any problems or step on their toes with regard to sharing what's in their books. There have been a few posts like the ones above asking me/us to curtail our sharing and so I'm going to do as I've been asked.

-Skeld

I have asked James Sutter personally over here about this:

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The First World, Realm of the Fey

and will wait for his answer. ;-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Wait, after all these years, they're now getting all "hush hush" about their products? Sorry that's just...stupid. Micromanaging customers is a quick descent into being a less-friendly company.

Is there an off-site where someone is sharing info then I can go to instead?

Silver Crusade

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

It's my understanding you can still say stuff like "this is gonna be great for people who use Bastard Swords" but not "at level 4 this replaces your Rage Power and you get scaling bonuses to attack".

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