Healing in combat = doing it wrong?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I've played a cleric a couple of times in Pathfinder (by no means am I an expert), but I can't think of one time that I've cast a cure spell. The Healing domain is incredibly weak - it makes weak spells suck slightly less.

On the other hand, I find Channel positive energy to be incredibly valuable when you have 3 or more party members down in health for at least your average channel heal amount. I put shield other on the tank every day so that usually means 2 people are nearly even in HP dmg.

Most rounds I spend casting battlefield control spells, buffs, debuffs, summon monster, or remove poison/disease/curse etc.

And a wand of cure light wounds is my go-to for out-of-combat healing.

Just my experience.

--Zerothbase

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

{quote=Zerothbase]I've played a cleric a couple of times in Pathfinder (by no means am I an expert), but I can't think of one time that I've cast a cure spell. The Healing domain is incredibly weak - it makes weak spells suck slightly less.

Once again, depends on the DM, group, etc. In our group, we have one cleric and he used his healing touch ability to pull people back from negatives without using healing spells quite often at lower levels, where healing resources were much more limited, and funds were scarce.

The empowered healing for free is also extremely useful as we have one main healer and the adventures the party has been on don't allow extensive down time to rest. Also a factor with a large group is good battlefield control often results in many opponents get focused directly on one or two melee types. I think its probably split 50/50 on combats that require focused healing on one or two characters vs 5-7 people taking damage at once, which at worst may require a channeling burst.

Zerothbase wrote:
On the other hand, I find Channel positive energy to be incredibly valuable when you have 3 or more party members down in health for at least your average channel heal amount. I put shield other on the tank every day so that usually means 2 people are nearly even in HP dmg.

I completely agree, and the shield other spell got a bit of a boost in usefulness and capability in Pathfinder by pairing it with channeling, allowing damage and healing to be more easily managed by party healers.

In defense of the "don't combat heal" side of the argument, as the cleric (new player) has gotten better at managing his healing, he has to do less in general (both during and post-combat), and has gotten a lot more conservative in using up his resources too soon. He encouraged the party to invest cure wands and potions as post battle supplements, and overall the party is less restricted in their continued actions by a depleted cleric.

Dark Archive

if healing in combat is wrong, I don't wanna be right


I would love to do nothing but damage/buffs/offensive actions playing a cleric. It would indeed be optimal to never have to heal.

The dividing line between a mediocre cleric and a great cleric is knowing *when* to heal. Sometimes it's completely silly to heal in combat. If you know the monster isn't going to take out your teammate by the time the monster dies, there's no point -- just heal out of combat with consumables and leave the group heals/spont heals for in-combat support/volume. In most CR = level encounters, you're not really worrying about in-combat healing. . . you should be focused on killing the bad guy.

Healing is usually a reactive art. If you guesstimate that an encounter is going to drain your party's resources by quite a bit, then you should heal early and often. You don't want to waste healing, but you don't want to put yourself in a situation where you need to rely on a dice roll to save the party.

Zurai is correct in stating that in some encounters, damage output clearly outpaces healing capability (this is called a "damage race" in mmo terminology). But in the vast majority of those situations, something could be done to limit damage output. Dividing a battlefield with walls -- blinding a pesky spellcaster -- displacing a front-line tank -- all of those things can greatly reduce damage output. If you (playing a cleric) can reduce damage output, then yes, that is more effective than reactive healing. If you can simply kill the bad guy, that is also more effective than reactive healing.

But once you've reduced the damage output, there's still damage output coming in. At this point it becomes a rate game -- will healing at this point save my party members, or can I get away with doing something offensive? Many, many, many times, you must heal early and often to save party members. Yes, they could have played optimally and killed the BBEG without a heal needed. But people make mistakes -- and it's often up to the cleric to bail them out.

So, for the TLDR people: Healing sucks, but it's a necessarily evil. . .


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think one of the problems is that healing hasn't kept pace with damage dealing in the game.

At low levels, someone can easily do 20 points of damage a round. However, someone healing can only heal like 5 points of damage a round. Therefore you can't keep up - the best you can do is, in a corner case, keep someone up for an extra round to deal out their 20 points of damage.

As a result, healing in combat is like spitting in the wind a lot of the time. It's why healing even out of combat isn't done with spells, it's done with wands of cure light wounds. Channeling is the one exception because it does a good amount to a lot of allies.

I *want* healing in combat to be a better choice... It's just that by the numbers it's often not. If your action can instead do damage or hold someone or do anything else to stop them from dealing out their 20 points of damage - then you've "healed" 4x what you would with a cure spell.


I think the difference in play styles is what's in effect here. My players don't think in terms of mechanics. They think in terms of character. As someone who has actually trained for combat and actually trained to treat wounds in combat, I can tell you that I never would think, "the enemy has so many rounds so my buddy can take a few more shots before the enemy is down. I think I'll wait to heal and I'll just fire instead." My players react to combat the same way. They see the monsters tearing the characters apart and they start healing. They aren't worried about being at full health but they are worried about being severely injured. My players never say things like, "I'm down to 15 out of 45 hit points, can someone heal me?" Instead they say, "by the gods, I can see my kidneys! Help!"

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The thing to remember is that the difference between being at 2 hit points and 200 hit points, from a "what can you do in play" viewpoint, is nothing. A character who's taken 1 point of damage is equally as capable as a character who's taken 200 points of damage... provided that they both remain above 0 hit points.

So what healing in combat is REALLY doing is keeping folks in the battle—aka, keeping them above zero hit points. You don't need to heal folks to max in combat—that probably IS a bit wasteful of the healer's options. But keeping them at a point where they're at a hit point level that prevents them from being knocked to negatives or even killed outright is, in my opinion, a worthy cause for a healer to pursue in a battle.

As for why there's a discrepancy between healing output and damage output... that's because we want combats to be scary and exciting. If a single healer can match a single damager, then the net result is a wash and the battle is an auto win for the side with the healer (provided the healing can last), and that's boring. Healing in combat can and should not create situations where the attacker simply can't win the battle, but they SHOULD help a less powerful character last long enough to perhaps defeat a foe that's more powerful.

Anyway, in my opinion, since a tabletop RPG is SO much more customizable at the table, with the GM able to change things as he wills, the discussion of the raw math of balance between damage and healing is less applicable than, say, the same discussion about a videogame or an MMORPG, where there's NOT a GM running the show. When it's a computer moderating everything, there's a lot less room for on-the-fly adjustments, and as such, you really CAN reduce conflicts down to raw math to determine exact outcomes assuming everyone makes the "right" choices.

Adding a GM into that kind of mix makes those formulas not work, unless the GM is equal to a computer in his rigid accuracy and adherence to every single rule as written. And I'm pretty sure there's no GM on the planet that is.


James Jacobs wrote:
Adding a GM into that kind of mix makes those formulas not work, unless the GM is equal to a computer in his rigid accuracy and adherence to every single rule as written. And I'm pretty sure there's no GM on the planet that is.

Well, I am, but I don't like to brag about it....


James Jacobs wrote:
The thing to remember is that the difference between being at 2 hit points and 200 hit points, from a "what can you do in play" viewpoint, is nothing. A character who's taken 1 point of damage is equally as capable as a character who's taken 200 points of damage... provided that they both remain above 0 hit points.

In our campaign, we use Wounds and Vitality (Unearthed Arcana optional rules), and being below 1/2 and 1/4 Vitality is a problem (fatigued and exhausted, respectively), so combat healing is kinda more important - never mind if you've actually taken Wound damage, which is a whole different level of suck :-(

Suffice to say we fight every fight with everything we've got, because a goblin with a lucky dagger thrust can still do you grievous bodily harm. We're fighting a war against goblins, hobgoblins and ogres, and while we outclass all of the above, a critical hit from an ogre can be a one way ticket to a dirt nap. Needless to say, scouting, ambush and retreat are always top-shelf options for our party.


I just read this whole thread, and as a 25+ year RPG'er {I had the red box, and my very first character was a cleric when i was 13 years old}, I have a few things to say.

First of all: I want the time I just spent reading this thread back. {that's a joke}.

Secondly: When did this game that I know and love become about MAXIMIZING and OPTIMIZING? If you want to maximize and optimize your character, go play World of Warcraft and stay away from my gaming table. These boards are about a ROLE-PLAYING GAME! Play your role. If I'm a healer, I HEAL. I don't consider statistics and rounds and 'how fast that the BBEG is gonna go down', I HEAL MY FRIENDS SO THEY CAN STAY IN THE FIGHT SO WE DON'T ALL DIE. And so they do not have to sit by, doing nothing, while their character is unconscious or dead, while everyone else still gets to play.

TWENTY-FIVE years I have been playing this game, and just about every combat that has any semblance of a real threat is immeasurably aided by a well placed healing spell or two, or three, even. It depends. The ebb and flow of combat encounters do not follow statistical charts. Characters who hit do not deal their average damage; they deal WHAT THE DICE SAY. Combat Encounters deal with the short-run, not a vast sampling of statistical data tabulated over infinite trials. One timely crit, or one unfortunate miss can spell the difference between disaster or triumph. The true joy is in the moment. Picture a heroic cleric, against all odds, bravely wading through his enemies' minions, taking hit after hit, so he can heal his almost-dead companion who is his parties' only hope of defeating the BBE-Demon-with-Ultimate-Damage-Reduction with his admantium/holy/demon-slaying Broadsword. And then the next round suffering a fatal blow from one of the Demon's many minions. His now-not-quite-so-near-to-death ally slays the BBE Demon, and the minions scatter.

Did the cleric act optimally? Uh, likely, no. Did the cleric act heroically? Yes.

So the real question is: Do you play PF to have your character act Optimally, or does your CHARACTER want to be heroic?

Making the statement: Healing in combat is a waste of resources, actions, and time, because the party should drop the enemy before healing is necessary and healing can never keep up with damage dealt is... is... is...

... I don't even know how to characterize it. It's so far outside my 25+ years of RPG experience that I cannot even form words to describe how it makes me feel. It certainly leads me to believe that the persons making this claim HAVE NEVER PLAYED THE GAME AT ALL. {yes, I understand that this is likely not a fact, but I have the right to my opinion}

Keep the math on the WOW boards. This is a role-playing-game. Meta-gaming should have no part. Build a character around a concept, and not around statistics. Develop a character's personality, and not his damage-per-round chart.

And most of all, have fun. And try to resist the urge to tell other people how they are supposed to have fun.

I apologize for this rant, but it was boiling inside me, and had to come out. And that's why I wanted the time I spent reading this thread back.

Thanks for reading and Happy Gaming!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Ezh Darkstrider wrote:
If you want to maximize and optimize your character, go play World of Warcraft and stay away from my gaming table.

With all due respect, stay away from my gaming table and never libel me as a WoW player ever again. I was unable to read the rest of your post after this statement.

After calming down, the rest of your post was reasonably thought out and reflects well on the roleplayer in me. However, the optimizer in me is still balanced against that with the argument of 'you need to know when healng will not help you survive'.


Um, nobody's saying "Never heal!"

The simple fact of the matter is that you will not be effective doing nothing but healing all the time. The effective thing to do is heal when it becomes crucial to heal.

If you have fun sitting back and just healing, well, more power to you.

If others have fun bashing and slashing through enemies while still keeping folks on their feet when necessary, then let them have their fun just as you have yours.

People seem to be getting the "effective" and "fun" concepts mixed together. Do what's fun for you, but if being effective is my fun, let me have that too.

It's that simple.


Ezh Darkstrider wrote:

I just read this whole thread, and as a 25+ year RPG'er {I had the red box, and my very first character was a cleric when i was 13 years old}, I have a few things to say.

First of all: I want the time I just spent reading this thread back. {that's a joke}.

Secondly: When did this game that I know and love become about MAXIMIZING and OPTIMIZING? If you want to maximize and optimize your character, go play World of Warcraft and stay away from my gaming table. These boards are about a ROLE-PLAYING GAME! Play your role. If I'm a healer, I HEAL. I don't consider statistics and rounds and 'how fast that the BBEG is gonna go down', I HEAL MY FRIENDS SO THEY CAN STAY IN THE FIGHT SO WE DON'T ALL DIE. And so they do not have to sit by, doing nothing, while their character is unconscious or dead, while everyone else still gets to play.

The point is that role of healer should not be needed. That does not mean someone who can heal is not needed. Did you read my thread of post on taking things to extremes?

Quote:


TWENTY-FIVE years I have been playing this game, and just about every combat that has any semblance of a real threat is immeasurably aided by a well placed healing spell or two, or three, even. It depends. The ebb and flow of combat encounters do not follow statistical charts. Characters who hit do not deal their average damage; they deal WHAT THE DICE SAY. Combat Encounters deal with the short-run, not a vast sampling of statistical data tabulated over infinite trials. One timely crit, or one unfortunate miss can spell the difference between disaster or triumph. The true joy is in the moment. Picture a heroic cleric, against all odds, bravely wading through his enemies' minions, taking hit after hit, so he can heal his almost-dead companion who is his parties' only hope of defeating the BBE-Demon-with-Ultimate-Damage-Reduction with his admantium/holy/demon-slaying Broadsword. And then the next round suffering a fatal blow from one of the Demon's many minions. His now-not-quite-so-near-to-death ally slays the BBE Demon, and the minions scatter.

Did the cleric act optimally? Uh, likely, no. Did the cleric act heroically? Yes.

I want you to state what you think the "do not heal" party is saying. I think you are missing the point by a longshot.

PS: Capitalizing gaming experience means nothing(it does not mean as much as people would like for it to mean). This is not a shot at you. I have "vets" that ignore constition, and will tell you that support spells are weak. I have a new guy who has learned to not rush into combat.


Ezh Darkstrider wrote:
Secondly: When did this game that I know and love become about MAXIMIZING and OPTIMIZING? If you want to maximize and optimize your character, go play World of Warcraft and stay away from my gaming table. These boards are about a ROLE-PLAYING GAME! Play your role. If I'm a healer, I HEAL.

Saying the others aren't roleplayers and should play WoW and, the next sentence, defining the "role" of your PC as "healer" is kinda funny.


Ezh Darkstrider wrote:
box full of whargarble

Laughter

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Abraham spalding wrote:
Ezh Darkstrider wrote:
box full of whargarble
Laughter

Linkified for those not in the know.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

My latest pet peeve:

People using "go play WoW" as an insult.

Guess what? The Creative Director of Paizo plays Warcraft a lot, and quite enjoys it. He even helped get the d20 version of Warcraft off the ground and into print (originally it was going to be a WotC product and, incidentally, my first hardcover RPG credit, but then WotC decided to get out of the licensed RPG biz and the license switched over to Sword & Sorcery studios).

It IS possible to enjoy playing tabletop RPGs and MMORPGs in the same lifetime. They're different enough games so that they basically scratch different itches, and certainly have quite different ways of playing the game.

It's one thing to take offense at the concept that a tabletop RPG can or should be reduced to a series of mathematical equations. I kind of take offense at that myself. But that doesn't mean it's cool to use other hobbies as badges of shame.

All of which is another way of my increasingly common request on these boards for folks to try to avoid being antagonistic to each other. I understand that we're all passionate about gaming, but that shouldn't be an excuse to lash out at each other. Didn't we all have to endure enough of that growing up in the playground where the bullies lived?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

There's a difference between being a "CharOpMinMaxerMunchkinDweeb" and wanting to act effectively. When someone runs the party fighter who has loads of armor and obvious staying power and he insists on always retreating to the rear rank and firing arrows, leaving the bard to take the front line - in character, that guy's an a-hole. (We've all known that guy.)

In character, you have discrete resources. You have N healing spells a day. That's not the "game rules," that's the reality of your life. If you're cowering and healing my boo-boo rather than doing your best to take down this bad guy, that's a problem for me. I don't care if you're not min-maxed and rolled a 8 strength, I care if you aren't trying to the best of your ability.

If the cleric just chills and heals, and the bard just chills and sings, and the wizard only has self-protection spells, and the fighter refuses to do anything but shoot his bow - you get kilt.

I understand James' point about not wanting healing to be *as* effective as damage output, but I am not sure that's as much of a deliberate conscious choice as he does. The same cure spells existed back in 1e where damage output was half what it is now (if that) and there wasn't the problem of "oh Lord they have a healer we'll never win." And frankly I think it was a bit of an unintended surprise to 3.5e (and thus Pathfinder) exactly how high damage outputs got to be.

Channeling has helped this a good bit, but cure spells themselves are still sucky useful-only-for-wand spells. Probably the right fix isn't to mess with the cure spells, but to cap damage a little more in future editions. I personally have considered putting a level cap on damage or otherwise limiting the untoward abuses which someone can squeeze out of the rules.


Ezh Darkstrider wrote:
The general gist of Ezh's post

I can't tell you how much I agree... folks focus too much on math for this game on these boards imho. Being effective is not necessarily the same thing as being absolutely optimized, and folks can have a lot of fun with "builds" that aren't mathematically perfect.

As a aside note, I don't think he meant the WoW comment so much as an insult... but rather as an example of a game where optimization is pretty much all the players care about. In WoW, folks are -fanatical- abo0ut having the "proper build" and if you don't have it they don't want you in their raid or whatnot. I got the impression that he, like me fears that Pathfinder is becoming more and more like WoW in that kind of prevalent attitude. I could be wrong, but if I'm right I agree 100% with him.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Dork Lord wrote:
folks focus too much on math for this game on these boards imho.

*blinkblink*

Methinks you don't get out much. :P


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I find these discussions odd. It seems to me that nobody thinks you should never heal. It also seems to me that nobody thinks you should stand at the back and ONLY heal. I think the dispute is more about mischaracterising "the other side" than anything else.

Pretty much everyone thinks you should fulfill whatever role your character fulfills and heal "when it makes sense"*.

* Different people will disagree about that, but who cares? The only real issue I can see is when two people are disagreeing whilst playing in the same game.


Ernest Mueller wrote:

And frankly I think it was a bit of an unintended surprise to 3.5e (and thus Pathfinder) exactly how high damage outputs got to be.

Channeling has helped this a good bit, but cure spells themselves are still sucky useful-only-for-wand spells. Probably the right fix isn't to mess with the cure spells, but to cap damage a little more in future editions. I personally have considered putting a level cap on damage or otherwise limiting the untoward abuses which someone can squeeze out of the rules.

I never had a problem with it. I know that is not saying much, but unless you can provide examples I doubt many others will see it as an issue either.


Dork Lord wrote:
Ezh Darkstrider wrote:
The general gist of Ezh's post

I can't tell you how much I agree... folks focus too much on math for this game on these boards imho. Being effective is not necessarily the same thing as being absolutely optimized, and folks can have a lot of fun with "builds" that aren't mathematically perfect.

As a aside note, I don't think he meant the WoW comment so much as an insult... but rather as an example of a game where optimization is pretty much all the players care about. In WoW, folks are -fanatical- abo0ut having the "proper build" and if you don't have it they don't want you in their raid or whatnot. I got the impression that he, like me fears that Pathfinder is becoming more and more like WoW in that kind of prevalent attitude. I could be wrong, but if I'm right I agree 100% with him.

Discussing math only means you understand that it has its place. It does not mean you use a spreadsheet when you make your character. I have a thread on that subject somewhere on here.


Mr. Fishy's pet peeve is whining.


.
..
...
....
.....

Spoiler:

>.> I RP'd a troll rogue with neon-pink hair on a PvP server...

..during combat!

BAM BAM BAM *BLIND* /sleep ...

...*STEALTH*...

/tickle

..

/cheer

/train

*SAP*

/bye

O-o

Spoiler:
ok, so while I loved my toon he was initialy created to hunt down a RL friend who'd vanished from our gaming and was found playing this 'terrible' online game thing......

..such a geek! The shame!...

...a few months later we were all at it!

Yes yes, these stories of gaming glory fill you with joy, admit it.

Spoiler:
O-o! *SAP* o-O!


As I previously asked, please excuse my rant. Dork Lord has it exactly right. It was not my intention to be antagonistic or belittle World of Warcraft or WOW players in any way. I play {entirely too much} WOW myself. I love it. But it's different. That's all I meant.

Pathfinder {and D&D} to me is about personalities and interaction and narrative and character development and creativity and improvisation and creating-an-entity-that-is-more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts, not about optimization and data and math and right way to play and wrong way to play.

{God I want my previous post back; I just got attacked by the post-eating-monster}

My frustration stems from statements like 'Casting Healing spells in combat is always inferior to...' whatever. And 'If you are using healing in combat you are playing wrong because all enemies should be neutralized before the end of the second round of combat.' {Does this satisfy your request, WraithStrike? These were main themes early in this thread, were they not?}

'You need to know when healing will not help you survive' This is a very interesting statement. It's much more complex than it looks at first glance. I don't tend to play many 'Healers' {there was my WOW thinking coming through, as much as I rail against it in the PF context}, I generally play rogues with a smattering of arcane or druidic spell-casting ability, and I almost never shy away from fights because I have always {or at least almost always} been able to rely on my trusty Party Healer to keep me up in my flanking position with a few well-placed healing spells {or effects}, which in turn, helps my front-line fighting ally to deal more damage and soak attacks {with high AC}. For me, healing almost always helps me to survive. Now, did you mean that you should know when to pull a Sir Robin, and boldly run away? Or perhaps know when to expend all you offensive/buffing capabilities {blow all your cool-downs, as it were} because that will be the most effective way to survive? Can you expound on this, TriO?

Obviously, we all want to play an effective character. After all, we don't play this game to play a character that is *average*. {I think} we play this game to play a character who wants to be *heroic*, don't we? For me, it just seems that there exists a segment of our community that is moving the game toward Fourth Edition and the hyper-optimizing tendencies of other games like WOW. And while I will always respect the fact that they are entitled to their point of view, I will fight against it until way past negative ten.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Ezh Darkstrider wrote:
Or perhaps know when to expend all you offensive/buffing capabilities {blow all your cool-downs, as it were} because that will be the most effective way to survive? Can you expound on this, TriO?

Mostly my complaint comes from watching my players stop hitting a monster when it has 1 HP left. When they heal an ally only to watch the monster hit him for that amount of healing and more. I can't count the number of times where I've thought 'I wish they would kill it so we can get back to the RPing!'

A lot of this can be avoided by proper communication and description of the opponents by the DM, which I have been working on in my game. It is also not so much of a problem when you have a larger party or a non-standard party.


Oh, and as long as we're sharing...

My pet peeve is being misconstrued.

*Wail* I'm so misunderstood *Wail*

"/


Ezh Darkstrider wrote:

Oh, and as long as we're sharing...

My pet peeve is being misconstrued.

*Wail* I'm so misunderstood *Wail*

"/

What did you call my mother?!?

*shakes fist*


Quick, simple suggestion:

Cleric about to cast the healing effect gets a passive heal skill check to see the creature is on its last legs before expending his spell. Speaking to your party-mates is free action, no?


Lol

BenignFacist, you're an oxymoron.

;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Hey, I resemble that remark! :3


If I am running a game that can be easily predicted and shoe-horned into a flowchart of what actions are sound and what are not, based on third party research on averages, I am not GMing right.

My baddies are cruel, devious and efficient. If you don't heal, you can be damned sure that they will recognize this and focus their efforts on bringing you down one at a time, in the most efficient and brutal manner I could think of. And I can think of a few.


"Your sword slashes dragon's paw!"

*Writes down some numbers*

"Now it's dragon's turn! The dragon rears on it's hind paws and ... touches the gnash you've left with your two-hander. Blue glow briefly covers the wound and it quickly closes."

*Wizard makes a spellcraft check*

"What spell did he cast?"

"Eeeh... cure light wounds :)"

O_O

Yes, the Dragon has actually cast the Insult/Scare the group... and woe... he healed in comat in the most inefficient way ;)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The other week I ran a combat with some wolves against level 1 pcs. I started with 4 wolves, but their howls had attracted another group that was on their way. I ASSUMED the PCs would run from a pack of 8 more wolves. The Cleric channel spammed and said: "We're ready, lets do this."

The wolves attacked, and it was a close thing a couple of times, except the Cleric was spending all of his actions healing the party where it was needed. When someone got knocked down to 1 hp or lower he'd be there. Running back and forth across the battlefield.

The fight took a while but ended with the PC victory, fairly high HP levels all around.

I was impressed at how effective healing could be.

The Cleric was like: "What's next? I've still got 2 channels left."


Ernest Mueller wrote:

There's a difference between being a "CharOpMinMaxerMunchkinDweeb" and wanting to act effectively. When someone runs the party fighter who has loads of armor and obvious staying power and he insists on always retreating to the rear rank and firing arrows, leaving the bard to take the front line - in character, that guy's an a-hole. (We've all known that guy.)

In character, you have discrete resources. You have N healing spells a day. That's not the "game rules," that's the reality of your life. If you're cowering and healing my boo-boo rather than doing your best to take down this bad guy, that's a problem for me. I don't care if you're not min-maxed and rolled a 8 strength, I care if you aren't trying to the best of your ability.

If the cleric just chills and heals, and the bard just chills and sings, and the wizard only has self-protection spells, and the fighter refuses to do anything but shoot his bow - you get kilt.

Yes, true. When some players create useless characters just because they want a roll playing character, things get bad. Hey, my cleric has str 10, dex 16, con 12, int 16, wis 13, char 10 because he is really smart and agile.

On the other hand the game has become too much about maximizing and optimizing, at leqast on these messageboards. A lot of people on these messageboards treat this game as WoW or Baldur's gate. Threads like The DPR Olympics and Treantmonk's optimization guides are all about math. '...on an averaged roll of 11, x+y=z.'

Seriously how many guides or threads are about role playing?

This whole 'role playing vs. roll playing' is one of the reasons I love and hate the Bard.


Zark wrote:

On the other hand the game has become too much about maximizing and optimizing, at leqast on these messageboards.

Seriously how many guides or threads are about role playing?

Sigh. Roleplaying snobs can be just as bad as the math snobs - not calling you a snob, just saying that 'the roleplaying experience' isn't the sum total of RPGs any more than the dice rolling part of it. I remember my first reading of Vampire:TM, that 20-odd page section of roleplaying snobbery made me want to puke :D. Especially given that 80% of the players played the game exactly the opposite way the designers wanted them to (Woe is me I'm a vampire VS Hell yeah being undead rocks!).

Anyways, roleplaying IMO is something you get better at with practice, where people grasp numbers much more quickly (small jump from grade school math to RPG math) - that's why math threads are so much more common. Also, most RPG players like math. :D


*looks through the thread*

*takes a second look*

*rolls on the floor with laughter and tears in his eyes*

Whoa ... guys. That's just ... it's just hilarious!!!! This thread's been keeping me in stitches for a few days now.

Not that my own opinion can possibly sway anyone (nor would I want it to end the hilariousness of this thread), but here goes:
*classify me in "role player" more than anything else for playtime.
*classify me as "system mechanic" for everything that goes on OUTSIDE of play time. {ie: I love me some system tinkering and "getting" the way things are supposed to work - getting under the hood, etc.)
*that team "role-player" says there's too much math - I'll agree, and can point to any number of threads where people seem to get *really* heated on the "bad wrong fun" of a build being impossible (FAST way for this? go to archives and search for "gish" threads ... YIPES!!!)
*that team "system mechanics" is insistent upon a "one true way" by math and #'s for rationalization alone ==> to forget that there is a TREMENDOUSLY dynamic combat system in place for any RPG that more or less adjusts *any* statement or belief in absolutes.
*that either side keeps harping on the other when all have more or less said "depends on tactics" .... HILARIOUS!!!!!

So, yeah ... keep on keepin' on, brotha's! This thread's making me do a LOT of smiling lately!

*thumbs up*


Helic wrote:

Also, most RPG players like math. :D

No, you're wrong! As an English major, I know for certain that the purple prose of most RPG products is where the real gaming experience is at. At my table, we know the best way to play is to sit around coming up with strings of superfluous adjectives; the most hyperbolic wins!

Spoiler:
:)

The whole discussion above is an amazing example of people's willingness to argue anything, even when they ultimately actually agree. As such, I have no meaningful contribution to it (I doubt such a thing exists). I only wished to add my voice to those who have played WoW, enjoyed it, and never felt this was at odds with role-playing in tabletop RPGs (or even within WoW itself).

I played WoW for two or three years. Those not familiar with the game may be interested to learn there are different kinds of servers: some are Players vs. Environment (PvE), where people just play against the computer except in certain Player vs. Player (PvP) arenas. Then there are PvP servers, where a lot of the focus is on playing against other players. Know what the third kind is? Take a guess. You got it: RP. Yes, there are whole servers of WoW designated for role-playing.

That being said, the majority of people (in my experience) don't actually do it. Many come to RP servers simply because they usually have lower player populations and therefore often run faster and smoother. However, there is a healthy percentage of role-players present, once you know how to find them. And the aforementioned percentage is much higher on an RP server than it is on either of the other kind.

A lot of WoW role-playing happens in non-combat zones; a park or tavern in a city, for example, may see a large number of role-players congregate on a regular basis to act our their various characters. Even these proud role-players rarely actively carry it into combat, because there isn't a lot of time to do so. I, on the other hand, made a point to role-play anywhere and everywhere; and once the tone was set, most others with an interest for role-playing would join in.

As a dedicated DM, I rarely had the chance to play my own, long-term character at the table; and when I did, my vision of the game may or may not have satisfactorily gelled with the other players or the DM I was under. Rather, WoW was my release, and as a player, I did most of and my best role-playing there because I couldn't get it at the tables available to me consistently.

So, to echo Mr. Jacobs above, please do not succumb to the fallacy of drawing lines in the sand between WoW and tabletop RPGs.


Zark wrote:
Ernest Mueller wrote:

There's a difference between being a "CharOpMinMaxerMunchkinDweeb" and wanting to act effectively. When someone runs the party fighter who has loads of armor and obvious staying power and he insists on always retreating to the rear rank and firing arrows, leaving the bard to take the front line - in character, that guy's an a-hole. (We've all known that guy.)

In character, you have discrete resources. You have N healing spells a day. That's not the "game rules," that's the reality of your life. If you're cowering and healing my boo-boo rather than doing your best to take down this bad guy, that's a problem for me. I don't care if you're not min-maxed and rolled a 8 strength, I care if you aren't trying to the best of your ability.

If the cleric just chills and heals, and the bard just chills and sings, and the wizard only has self-protection spells, and the fighter refuses to do anything but shoot his bow - you get kilt.

Yes, true. When some players create useless characters just because they want a roll playing character, things get bad. Hey, my cleric has str 10, dex 16, con 12, int 16, wis 13, char 10 because he is really smart and agile.

On the other hand the game has become too much about maximizing and optimizing, at leqast on these messageboards. A lot of people on these messageboards treat this game as WoW or Baldur's gate. Threads like The DPR Olympics and Treantmonk's optimization guides are all about math. '...on an averaged roll of 11, x+y=z.'

Seriously how many guides or threads are about role playing?

This whole 'role playing vs. roll playing' is one of the reasons I love and hate the Bard.

Zark do you just ignore all my posts? Those number thingies are mental exercises a lot of the time. The guides are there to help people make survivable characters. Yeah, over time most of us will discover these things(character building techniques), but why suffer when someone else is willing to share the knowledge, and if you dont have free time you have time to learn the best options. The other issue is that not all DM's provide the same amount of behind the scenes(fudging and intentionally using bad strategies) help to players, so those that don't come to the table with a decent character get a lot of practice making new ones.

Whether you like it or not math is a part of the game. There is no way to know what someone will roll so we have to go with the average. It is also a good way to know what the best charcter is for what you want to do.

Since I am tired of retyping this I have saved it in a file. The next time it comes up I will just copy and paste. I need to find my thread on this issue also. Thanks Zark. :)


Saern wrote:
As an English major,...

That means nothing. The rest of the post seems pretty accurate though.


Saern wrote:
Helic wrote:

Also, most RPG players like math. :D

No, you're wrong! As an English major, I know for certain that the purple prose of most RPG products is where the real gaming experience is at. At my table, we know the best way to play is to sit around coming up with strings of superfluous adjectives; the most hyperbolic wins!

Victory lies with vocabulary! :D

Quote:
I played WoW for two or three years. <snip> Yes, there are whole servers of WoW designated for role-playing.

Yup. I played on a PvP server for about 8 months. You CAN roleplay on PvP servers. Goodness knows how many hours I spent in Ironforge goofing around with other folks doing wacky stuff, or trolling old instances for the best LOOKING clothes for my toons.

WOW players get bent out of shape about character builds b/c it's a computer game, so only certain parameters apply. You can only do certain boss battles a certain way, or you die - but that's because the game is built that way. Tabletop RPGs are a lot more open and forgiving, and thus more 'creative' builds can still be effective.

Quote:
Even these proud role-players rarely actively carry it into combat, because there isn't a lot of time to do so.

Too true. Real time combat generally makes roleplaying difficult. In this, table top play wins hands down. Heck HERO lets you spout off entire soliloquies that take NO game time - gotta love it!


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

The other week I ran a combat with some wolves against level 1 pcs. I started with 4 wolves, but their howls had attracted another group that was on their way. I ASSUMED the PCs would run from a pack of 8 more wolves. The Cleric channel spammed and said: "We're ready, lets do this."

The wolves attacked, and it was a close thing a couple of times, except the Cleric was spending all of his actions healing the party where it was needed. When someone got knocked down to 1 hp or lower he'd be there. Running back and forth across the battlefield.

The fight took a while but ended with the PC victory, fairly high HP levels all around.

I was impressed at how effective healing could be.

The Cleric was like: "What's next? I've still got 2 channels left."

That is the appropiate time to heal. Especially when over CRed/ECL. If it had just been the 4 wolves: not as needed. But since they attracted 8 more (how much CR increase?) they had to heal in combat.


wraithstrike wrote:
Saern wrote:
As an English major,...
That means nothing. ...

Tell that to all the members of the British army that he outranks!

Sorry if I opened up a whole can of worms with this topic, but I felt there was a consistent dismissal of in-combat healing that I couldn't understand.

I changed my ideas about healing while playing a conjuration specialist wizard in the Alpha and Beta playtests. From levels 1-17 I almost never cast more then one summon spell at a time, though I would frequently use it to summon 1-3 or more creatures, and I had augment summons. When not summoning, I would use spells like grease, ray of enfeeb, and later enervation to great effect. The other party members were all willing to enter melee, and the cleric channeled frequently. These channels would often heal 3-5 injured party members (or summons). Everyone was able to get a little banged up , and we generally knew that there would be a little healing flying around that would not have been possible in version 3.5. I mean, you would never cast a cure spell on a summon, but since channels were going off anyway, my summons lasted much longer. I was even able to take out the dagger and provide a flank for the rogue, and know that I could take a hit or two and get healed soon. These tactics allowed us to take on creatures well higher then our CR, and do very well. In some instances it seemed too good.

Note: Evocation was one of my prohibited schools, and going without it made me really appreciate it. I also never understand how folks think evocation is weak, but that is another thread...


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
meabolex wrote:
The dividing line between a mediocre cleric and a great cleric is knowing *when* to heal.

+1

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Fergie wrote:


Note: Evocation was one of my prohibited schools, and going without it made me really appreciate it. I also never understand how folks think evocation is weak, but that is another thread...

Too many DMs using energy immune monsters and Improved Evasion.


Fergie wrote:
Note: Evocation was one of my prohibited schools, and going without it made me really appreciate it. I also never understand how folks think evocation is weak, but that is another thread...

It isn't that evocation is weak -- it is that blasting is generally one of the weakest options. Evocation has a lot of nice/really good spells -- however at the end of the day losing access to those spells, while not the stuff of sunshine and rainbows, hurts less than losing access to spells from other schools.

That doesn't mean evocation is weak -- it means in several cases it is expendable.

Kind of like enchantment. High level enchantments spells are generally rather rocking however enchantment as a hold is generally considered expendable for the amount of fuss it can cause, the difficulty of knowing how a DM is going to rule the spells, and the fact that "pwning" everything with SOD spells makes for frustration all over the table (from the GM to the other players to the player himself as he gets bored doing the same thing all the time).

This doesn't mean that enchantment is weak, but like evocation expendable.

cure spells aren't just "reactive" it's that they don't come close to keeping up with the damage dealt in a meaningful way. IF a curing spell could actually buy two to three rounds then yes it is effective and a great choice. If all it does is case the monster to have to take three attacks on one target instead of two to drop him then it really didn't do enough -- your friend that was going down still went down and now you have one less spell to do something about the fight with.

My general rules for healing magic as a player:
1. Will it get the target swinging again before he goes down (again)? If not then I've wasted a spell and an action doing something that will have no effect.
2. Can it buy more than one round? If the target has a high AC and is difficult to hit normally but took a lot of damage from a lucky critical hit then I'll heal him to prevent another fluke from dropping him out. In this case it's insurance against bad luck.
3. Do I have something better to do with the spell? If not then casting a healing spell could be better than doing nothing, however if I can cast resist energy or some such instead and prevent the incoming damage that will last longer and I'll do that as damage mitigation.
4. Can I help more than one target? Probably a good thing to do, since it's harder to drop four than just one.


wraithstrike wrote:
Discussing math only means you understand that it has its place. It does not mean you use a spreadsheet when you make your character.

Precisely. Anyone who thinks game designers ignore math when they make a game is delusional. Anyone who thinks that the designers of 3rd edition didn't intentionally and mathematically plot out the basic rules like BAB, saves, DCs, and so on is delusional. Like it or not, the game is founded on mathematical constructs.

Does that mean you should play the game like it's a spreadsheet? No, and I've never once said otherwise. What it means is that you should be aware of the mathematical side of the game. You can use it to your advantage, as a player AND as a DM. I'm not just talking about statistical optimization, either; it's possible to optimize more than just numbers. Anyone who's ever worked together with the other players to build a party has optimized, and since I suspect just about everyone has done that at least to the, "Who's playing the healer this time?" extent, I laugh at all the people who complain about those damn, dirty optimizers.


deinol wrote:

Healing when you don't need to is not the best tactical choice. Healing when the barbarian is about to go down (which in my group means he dies) can be the most important action that needs to be taken.

Combats are dynamic. A wise healer will pay attention to the options and do the best thing for the specific situation.

short and to the point, and i couldn't agree more.


All this angst for a class that's just trying to help YOU have fun (I know laying bleeding and unconscious tends to be unfun for me) is part of why most people don't like playing healers. ;)

Personally, I really enjoy healing/support roles - MMO or otherwise.

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