Healing Goalposts


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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There's a lot of threads about healing lately, and frankly I think a lot of the argument comes from differing opinions on what healing in combat is supposed to accomplish.

PERSONALLY I think healing in combat should serve to mitigate the damage the enemy is doing just enough that the party wins the damage race. Just like a buff spell ON AVERAGE mitigates incoming damage, healing only needs to mitigate some incoming damage. Healing does NOT however, have to completely erase all damage taken instantly/within 1 round.

Thoughts?


For example, adding +2 AC to the whole party (say from communal protection from evil) reduces damage by approximately 10%. If the combat lasts 4 rounds, I would think using something that cures 40% of a single enemy attack to the entire party would end up being just as effective in the long run.

The Exchange

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I've seen posts about its 'uselessness', but I haven't been persuaded. It doesn't hasten victory, that's true, but there are other classes (the warriors, wizards... yes, even the rogues) whose job it is to hasten victory: it's the healer's job to delay defeat long enough for that victory to arrive. Sometimes that means giving up a glamorous 20-hp-damage attack so you can keep the barbarian long enough to deliver a 40-hp-damage attack. It's not as glamorous as dealing that 40-hp stroke yourself, but it's a lot better than delivering your 20-hp blow and leaving the enemy with 15 hp and the leisure time to kill off your buddies.


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But aren't goalposts inanimate and should be repaired?


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The usual issue with healing is that (barring anomalous playstyles) there are usually more effective uses for a cleric's actions and spell slots than casting healing spells. Buffing allies and debuffing or killing enemies ultimately mitigates a lot more damage than a cure spell.

That said, the objection is usually more to heal-bot playstyles than to casting any cure spells at all. Patching up the Barbarian so he doesn't go down next round is a good use of a cleric's action. "I hold action to cast a cure spell once someone takes damage" or casting Cure Light Wounds mid-combat at level ten is not a smart way of doing things.


I just double damage dice of healing spells so I don't need to worry about goal posts as much.

But basically:
CLW average heals 10 (which is fine at level 1 or 2 since heals most people to full) [as opposed to the 5.5 hp it heals in normal rules]
CMW heals 21 (which is fine at level 3 or 4 since heals most people to full [as opposed to the 12 hp it in normal rules]
CSW heals 32 (which is fine at level 5 or 6 since heals most people to full [as opposed to the 18.5 hp it in normal rules]

In normal rules the healing spells were made to barely keep up with damage. Why? Because they are the same as 2E versions mostly (okay they added 1 hp/caster, but that barely keeps up with new hp values).


Consider the mitigation effect from healing this way though:
If you can cast a heal every round and each heal clears out 50% of the damage dealt by the enemy you are mitigating 50% of the damage at the cost of 1 spell/round.

Alternatively you could cast a spell like blindness or command which stops the enemy from attacking or a spell like blur or displacement which would either negate a round worth of attacks(being equal to the heals assuming you have a 50% chance or better of the spell not getting resisted which isn't hard) or cause a miss chance that will mitigate 20%-50% of the attacks for the cost of a single spell.

In terms of mitigation these spells are at least equal to healing but they far outpace healing in terms of the value in mitigation in terms of the cost in spells for the mitigation provided. Once the spells can last more than 1 round they become far more effective. 50% miss chance for one spell for 5 rounds per day is the equivalent of 5 heal spells that heal for 50% of the enemies damage.

Obviously the displacement spell would be a better use of resources if you don't absolutely need to cast the heal.


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If you want to just hit stuff, then hit stuff and be a Front-liner (Paladin, Fighter etc..).

If you are a Cleric then people will expect healing (and you should be able to deliver) no excuses.

If your fighter is calling for 'medic' after every hit then he/she needs to be fighting smarter (suggest the: Fight Defensively action - I even give them a buff card at some tables).

The cleric's job is to keep everyone in the fight - there is nothing more annoying than being the one bleeding out whilst the combat rages around you, because your Cleric/Healer is going-for-gold-and-glory. (it's happened, I am old school and when someone goes down, one of the group should try an stabilise the downed PC if able).

Everyone expects a rogue to be able to find traps, a wizard to cast spells, and a cleric to heal.

Anyone can heal out of combat.. it's the in-combat healing where the Cleric shines.


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lastblacknight wrote:
I am old school and when someone goes down, one of the group should try an stabilise the downed PC if able.

I don't think you know what "old school" means.


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Chengar Qordath wrote:
. . .the objection is usually more to heal-bot playstyles than to casting any cure spells at all. Patching up the Barbarian so he doesn't go down next round is a good use of a cleric's action. "I hold action to cast a cure spell once someone takes damage" or casting Cure Light Wounds mid-combat at level ten is not a smart way of doing things.

Yes, this is the centerpiece of the debate.

If 1/4 of the party is using every action to cast healing spells, one of two things is going on.

  • The party is way out of its depth and is just barely managing to survive.
  • The healer is wasting a lot of actions.

Here's what I have to say about healing in combat in my rather detailed post in one of those recent threads OP mentioned.

The Exchange

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What cr is this hypothecated creature/attack? If healing is based on cr-2 it matches damage pretty close (surprisingly on my spot check) Aoe heals are super powerful, but being a spell I like it over channel energy.

Poisons, disease, curses, and any other afflictions are what I see needing a healer for. And that HP should heal pretty fast over night.

Silver Crusade

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lastblacknight wrote:
If you are a Cleric then people will expect healing (and you should be able to deliver) no excuses.

Funny, people seemed pretty satisfied when I hit them all with blessing of fervor, then stone shaped open a hole in the wall of stone that had been used to seal off a couple of party members in a side chamber, then silenced myself to become a 20ft radius oasis of harpy immunity, then (while silenced, thanks to blessing of fervor) cast pilfering hand to disarm one of said harpies of her bow from 30ft away.

No one seemed to be complaining that I wasn't doing any healing.


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lastblacknight wrote:
If you want to just hit stuff, then hit stuff and be a Front-liner (Paladin, Fighter etc..).

Or you could play a Cleric (or Druid or barbarian or any useful class)

lastblacknight wrote:


If you are a Cleric then people will expect healing (and you should be able to deliver) no excuses.

No, they expect you to play smart, as in "proactively" is always better than “reactively".

lastblacknight wrote:


If your fighter is calling for 'medic' after every hit then he/she needs to be fighting smarter (suggest the: Fight Defensively action - I even give them a buff card at some tables).

Or the party needs to play smarter. Your suggestion is BTW not smart since killing is better than getting killed. Or as Sean K Reynolds put it: The game favors offense over defense. Attack bonuses increase faster than AC bonuses, and that's intentional so higher-level fights don't become stale (you hit more often at higher levels, and your iteratives are at least somewhat viable).

One could say: If the fighter is calling for 'medic' after every hit then perhaps it is the cleric that needs to be played smarter

lastblacknight wrote:


The cleric's job is to keep everyone in the fight

True and the best way is to do this is to play "proactively".

lastblacknight wrote:


- there is nothing more annoying than being the one bleeding out whilst the combat rages around you, because your Cleric/Healer is going-for-gold-and-glory. (it's happened, I am old school and when someone goes down, one of the group should try an stabilise the downed PC if able).

Not if it entails a TPK. A standard action to stabilize the fighter is an action the Cleric isn’t doing anything useful and she is only stopping bleeding temporary. The fighter takes a move action to grab his sword and another move action to stand up from prone and by doing so he provokes an AoO and gets killed.

Healing don’t scale with damage dealt by the monsters until you get heal. Even then there are times when healing have problem scaling, for example when you get blasted of when the party faces more than one damage dealer.

lastblacknight wrote:


Everyone expects a rogue to be able to find traps, a wizard to cast spells, and a cleric to heal.

This perhaps it is what you expect, but not what everyone expects.

lastblacknight wrote:

Anyone can heal out of combat.. it's the in-combat healing where the Cleric shines.

No, the Cleric shines when she is played well. When she is played "proactively" instead of “reactively".

Edit:
True, sometimes reactively is an option, but it shouldn’t be the expected default option.

BTW, a Life Oracle is actually a better in-combat healer than a Cleric.


lastblacknight wrote:


Everyone expects a rogue to be able to find traps, a wizard to cast spells, and a cleric to heal.

Korthok the Bloodgorger finds your presumptuous and outdated ways foolish but highly amusing like a monkey throwing poop at a tiger.

When he gives your ruined corpse to his god slaying insect deity to lay its horrid eggs in he will only take one of your wives as a trophy slave.


lastblacknight wrote:

If you want to just hit stuff, then hit stuff and be a Front-liner (Paladin, Fighter etc..).

If you are a Cleric then people will expect healing (and you should be able to deliver) no excuses.

If your fighter is calling for 'medic' after every hit then he/she needs to be fighting smarter (suggest the: Fight Defensively action - I even give them a buff card at some tables).

The cleric's job is to keep everyone in the fight - there is nothing more annoying than being the one bleeding out whilst the combat rages around you, because your Cleric/Healer is going-for-gold-and-glory. (it's happened, I am old school and when someone goes down, one of the group should try an stabilise the downed PC if able).

Everyone expects a rogue to be able to find traps, a wizard to cast spells, and a cleric to heal.

Anyone can heal out of combat.. it's the in-combat healing where the Cleric shines.

A cleric can shine a lot better when he takes actions that prevent him from having to heal, and a cleric's job depends on how it is made. I could make a neutral cleric focused on negative channeling and inflict spells. There are rogues that don't have trapfindinding, and for the cleric "just"(only) wanting to hit stuff I kind of agree, but I don't think even battle clerics intend to only hit things.


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What bewilders me is that the people who want to treat clerics as heal-bots are stuck with the idea that the only options are "reactively heal" and "hit stuff/deal damage." The cleric's job is not to heal damage in-combat, nor is it to kill stuff. The cleric's job is to buff their allies to prevent them from taking damage, or to allow them to kill stuff more easily.


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I suggest reading the examples of play in the 1st edition DMG for some insight into old school play. The death tolls were staggering back in those days. Hint: 0 hp = dead.


I'd say anyone who says the cleric has only a single job/role in combat is being too restrictive with a class that comes with a lot of options. The cleric spell list might not be quite as diverse as the wizard's, but you've still got a lot of variety, especially once you add in domain choices on top of that. And unlike arcane casters, you're guaranteed to know all the spells on your list.

Depending on the situation and build, a cleric might be best served by buffing, debuffing, casting battlefield control spells, throwing out Save-or-Die/Suck spells, blasting, condition removal, melee/ranged combat with weapons, or even healing and condition removal.

Bottom line, the cleric should not be played as a one trick pony. A good cleric build is positively swimming in options, and should use any or all of them as their situation dictates.


My first character was a dwarf cleric in 3.5. He was the front-line fighter in most combats and healed only when someone was close to going down or downed and a heal spell got them back in the fight. He mostly used buff spells, either on himself (being the front-line/tank) or the entire party. He did plenty of damage, made plenty of saves, avoided plenty of damage, and healed plenty of characters. I agree the proactive approach is the superior approach to a cleric, but it also falls on your character concept. A pacifist cleric may buff allies, debuff enemies, and heal where needed, all without active dealing damage.

EDIT: The object is to present the enemy with a greater challenge than the enemy presents you. Causing them to flee, surrender, or ally with you is as much a victory as killing them.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
For example, adding +2 AC to the whole party (say from communal protection from evil) reduces damage by approximately 10%. If the combat lasts 4 rounds, I would think using something that cures 40% of a single enemy attack to the entire party would end up being just as effective in the long run.

A +2 to AC is almost always more than a 10% damage mitigation. Only if your enemy needs a natural 1 or less to hit you, will it be that low.

An example:
Let's say you are level 1, and have an AC of 19, and are fighting an enemy with a to-hit of 4. This means, of course, that baring other factors, he needs a natural 15 or more to hit. A +2 to AC in this case is a 33% damage mitigation (on average, over many rounds of combat). Without the buff, the enemy has a 6 in 20 chance of hitting you, with the buff it's down to a 4 in 20, 2/3 the chance prior to the buff.
You probably knew this already, but many people make this mistake, and therefore think that a simple +2 change to to-hit or AC means little, when they are often more effective in combat than, say, 20% miss chance.

This also has some funny implications.
An AC buff is more effective the more AC you have (up to a certain point of course), and as AC and to-hit don't really scale through the levels, AC buffs are generally less effective with characters at higher levels.


Craig Frankum wrote:

My first character was a dwarf cleric in 3.5. He was the front-line fighter in most combats and healed only when someone was close to going down or downed and a heal spell got them back in the fight. He mostly used buff spells, either on himself (being the front-line/tank) or the entire party. He did plenty of damage, made plenty of saves, avoided plenty of damage, and healed plenty of characters. I agree the proactive approach is the superior approach to a cleric, but it also falls on your character concept. A pacifist cleric may buff allies, debuff enemies, and heal where needed, all without active dealing damage.

EDIT: The object is to present the enemy with a greater challenge than the enemy presents you. Causing them to flee, surrender, or ally with you is as much a victory as killing them.

Buffing and Debuffing both fall under the category of proactiveness. And most of the time, they are both far superior to in-combat healing as a result.


Alright everyone, I get that you all think being 'proactive' rather than 'reactive' is 'better'. That's not the point of this thread. What I am asking is: HOW MUCH healing would a character have to put out to be considered 'on par' with various alternative actions?

Or are you all going to continue to say that healing is bad no matter the numbers someone could come up with?


I think that this class did healing perfectly. Yes, it is written for 3.5, but can be used in PF with essentially no changes.


Well, let's use your numbers, slightly modified. As was shown, a group +2 AC buff should negate much more than 10% of the party's damage (or it was itself a stupid spell to cast in the situation). I'll use the 33% Leisner suggested. Over four rounds, that means it will negate 133% of the damage dealt by the enemy to the entire party; it has prevented more damage than the party would take in a single round.

This means a heal spell, to be comparably effective, would need to cure 133% of the damage the enemy can do as a group.

Which just shows how phenomenally effective a +2 AC buff is. Burn an action and the entire enemy party effectively loses a round.

Is there anything that you can do with a heal spell that will effectively cost the enemy group a full round of combat?

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Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
HOW MUCH healing would a character have to put out to be considered 'on par' with various alternative actions?

To make sure I understand the question, would it be fair to re-frame it as "If my chosen role is healer, how much healing should I be able to put out to be viable in that role?"

The answer is "more than the enemies' damage".

I've not played a dedicated healer myself, but here's what I've seen from other healers I've played with:
First, channeling is a priority. 14+ CHA, probably Extra Channel, definitely Selective Channel and Quick Channel.
Second, targeted healing is inherently weak, so you've got to be careful. The healing domain is helpful for clerics for the free Empower at level 6+. Oracles will need to focus even more on channeling (which isn't so bad, since they don't need to straddle stats with their casting). Metmagic (whether rods or feats) will be helpful on the cure spells.

Also, it seems that healers do best if their allies aren't getting hit very consistently. For instance (basing this on a game I was in), if the baddy needs an 18+ to hit my fighter, then when he does get that lucky crit in, you bust out the cure critical and have time to follow up with a cure moderate because I'm not getting hit every round. Since it takes several attacks before I accumulate enough hits to need healing, the slow output of cure spells becomes less troublesome. Contrast this with a low-AC, high-HP barbarian - he may be able to go a while before he needs healing, but once he does, the fact that he's always getting hit means your cures can never keep up with the damage he's taking. Thus, it seems to me that being a dedicated healer is more effective if your frontliners are AC-based instead of HP-based (though high HP doesn't hurt, obviously).


Jiggy wrote:
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
HOW MUCH healing would a character have to put out to be considered 'on par' with various alternative actions?

To make sure I understand the question, would it be fair to re-frame it as "If my chosen role is healer, how much healing should I be able to put out to be viable in that role?"

The answer is "more than the enemies' damage".

That's a pretty key insight, and better phrased than I could come up with.

Basically, the OP argues that "if the fight's going to last four rounds, and healing at round 4 will bring us to the same point as buffing at round 1, we should be okay."

The problem is that healing prolongs the fight, it doesn't shorten it. That's good, because it prolongs it by meaning you don't lose, but it also means that if you needed to heal damage at round 4, you'll also need to heal damage at round 5, 6, 7,... until the enemy group is dead. Which means if you needed healing at round 4, and the BBEG isn't dead after round 4, you needed to heal enough in round 4 to totally negate a round's damage. And even then, you'll need to do the same thing in round 5...


As a general rule healing in combat should be avoided, but in some cases it is needed. If the battle is almost over and the other player is in danger of DYING from the next attack of the BBEG, and he is able to take down the BBEG if he gets another attack then healing is a good idea. On the other hand if the other player is not going to be killed, or put low enough into the negative to be in danger of dying before the battle is over than healing is not a good idea.

The healers job is to keep the whole party alive. Early in the combat he should not be healing HP but boosting the party or hindering the enemy. One type of in combat healing that can be very useful is condition removal. A blind archer for example is pretty much useless so a spell that brings him back into the combat is a good use of an action. Late in the combat an occasional healing spell may indeed be the most effective use of a healers action, but that is the exception not the norm.

Also keep in mind that the cleric for the most part does have decent HP and should be willing to expend them the same as any other character. If another player is almost down and the cleric is at full hp then he should be getting into the fight so the wounded character can withdraw. All characters should have some form of healing they can do themselves. Potions of healing are fairly cheap and any character higher than first level should have one as a backup. These actions should be taking place at the end of the combat and the cleric should not be rushing into melee in the first round.


Jiggy wrote:


Also, it seems that healers do best if their allies aren't getting hit very consistently.

Situational.

Quote:
For instance (basing this on a game I was in), if the baddy needs an 18+ to hit my fighter, then when he does get that lucky crit in, you bust out the cure critical and have time to follow up with a cure moderate because I'm not getting hit every round. Since it takes several attacks before I accumulate enough hits to need healing, the slow output of cure spells becomes less troublesome. Contrast this with a low-AC, high-HP barbarian - he may be able to go a while before he needs healing, but once he does, the fact that he's always getting hit means your cures can never keep up with the damage he's taking.

Someone who hits often-but-lightly you can deal with. (E.g., a creature with some sort of a flame aura, Ref save for half). Someone who hits sporadically-but-hard you can deal with by stacking cures. Someone who hits often-but-hard you're screwed.

You're right, of course, that low AC can turn "sporadically-but-hard" into "often-but-hard."

But, frankly, I'd rather deal with someone who did 1d8 damage every round guaranteed than a 10% chance of 10d8, because that 10d8 will hit like a fire axe.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
HOW MUCH healing would a character have to put out to be considered 'on par' with various alternative actions?

Enough to ensure that none of your allies die before the enemy does.

Sample situation: your front-line fighter (100HP) is being attacked by an enemy that can inflict an average of 40 damage a round. If you do nothing but cast Cure Moderate Wounds on him every round from a wand, he'll still be alive after three rounds, instead of dead. In most cases, one more extra round of damage-dealing by your allies is enough. If you cast Cure Serious Wounds every round, it would probably give you another round on top of that. Note that it doesn't have to match the enemy damage output to be useful.

Healing is useful. That's not the same as optimal. Obviously, there are spells you could cast that would win quicker and more efficiently, but this depends on you having the right spell prepared, or the enemy failing a saving throw.


Matthew Downie wrote:


Healing is useful. That's not the same as optimal. Obviously, there are spells you could cast that would win quicker and more efficiently, but this depends on you having the right spell prepared, or the enemy failing a saving throw.

Another way of looking at it, in my opinion, is that healing is something you do when your plans fail. This was designed into the cleric class by making Cure spells partially spontaneous; if you have prepared the wrong spell, you can always cure (which is almost always useful, but rarely optimal).

The flip side of that is that you should always try to plan something better than healing.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Alright everyone, I get that you all think being 'proactive' rather than 'reactive' is 'better'. That's not the point of this thread. What I am asking is: HOW MUCH healing would a character have to put out to be considered 'on par' with various alternative actions?

My answer: A cleric should be able to heal enough damage to save another useful party member from going from wounded to unconscious next round.

E.g. Suppose you have a cleric and a wizard, and the wizard will be knocked out by the next successful attack against him. Then the cleric has two choices:

  • A - Cleric casts a healing spell, wizard survives attack and casts a useful spell.
  • B - Cleric casts a useful, non-healing spell, wizard gets knocked out.

    Situation (A) costs one more spell than situation (B), but ends up with a functioning wizard at the end of the round, and wizard spells are often (but not always!) more useful in combat than cleric spells. I'd consider that an even trade.


  • hogarth wrote:
    Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
    Alright everyone, I get that you all think being 'proactive' rather than 'reactive' is 'better'. That's not the point of this thread. What I am asking is: HOW MUCH healing would a character have to put out to be considered 'on par' with various alternative actions?

    My answer: A cleric should be able to heal enough damage to save another useful party member from going from wounded to unconscious next round.

    E.g. Suppose you have a cleric and a wizard, and the wizard will be knocked out by the next successful attack against him. Then the cleric has two choices:

  • A - Cleric casts a healing spell, wizard survives attack and casts a useful spell.
  • B - Cleric casts a useful, non-healing spell, wizard gets knocked out.

    Situation (A) costs one more spell than situation (B), but ends up with a functioning wizard at the end of the round, and wizard spells are often (but not always!) more useful in combat than cleric spells. I'd consider that an even trade.

  • How about

  • C - Cleric casts a useful, non-healing spell that prevents the BBEG from being able to knock out the wizard for several rounds.

    That's rather the point. The useful, non-healing spell did something. And there's a very good chance that what it did was substantially more effective than the healing.


  • More importantly to me is why is the wizard in that situation to begin with?


    Well, the enemy does get a vote, too. And so do the dice. I think it was Napoleon who said that "no battle plan survives contact with the enemy."

    At a sufficiently abstract level, the cleric is the character who gives the party the resiliency ability to react to problems that develop with the plan. But a cleric can also give the plan itself more resiliency and robustness by preventing problems before they develop.


    Orfamay Quest wrote:

    How about

  • C - Cleric casts a useful, non-healing spell that prevents the BBEG from being able to knock out the wizard for several rounds.
  • In situations where the bad guy is almost certainly one round from being incapacitated, it doesn't really matter what anyone does, IMO. But if the cleric's spell only has a 40% chance of incapacitating the bad guy (say), those odds wouldn't sound that great to me; I'd rather have two people ready to free to attack/flee/etc. in case it doesn't work. YMMV, of course.

    TarkXT wrote:
    More importantly to me is why is the wizard in that situation to begin with?

    I certainly agree that clerics shouldn't be healing an uninjured wizard, so I was ignoring those cases. I thought that went without saying, but apparently not!


    hogarth wrote:


    I certainly agree that clerics shouldn't be healing if no one is injured. I thought that went without saying, but apparently not!

    IT's mroe than that. Not only is he injured but he's in a position to get killed.

    Where's the other two to three bozos in this scenario? Why the heck is the wizard overextended past his armored buddy? Did he decide he was bored of bending space, time, and the very metaphysics of the universe with his mind and decided to go hit it with his sword?

    Did they get ambushed? That's cool I can see that. But than we're not talkign about that kind of scenario we're talking about an ongoing fight.

    To me it sounds like things got sloppy. Granted it happens but I think I'd rather have soem real game data to see how often these kinds of scenarios come up, what was going on, group composition, rolls etc. And then determine from there whether healing would have been the best option.

    BEcause hoenstly? If it's the end of the fight the wizard might not have a useful spell to cast.

    Sorry Beardo the Magnificent but you're blocking Kragnar the Faceeater's charge lane. Do us a favor and go limp for a bit.


    hogarth wrote:
    Orfamay Quest wrote:

    How about

  • C - Cleric casts a useful, non-healing spell that prevents the BBEG from being able to knock out the wizard for several rounds.
  • In situations where the bad guy is almost certainly one round from being incapacitated, it doesn't really matter what anyone does, IMO. But if the cleric's spell only has a 40% chance of incapacitating the bad guy (say), those odds wouldn't sound that great to me; I'd rather have two people ready to free to attack/flee/etc. in case it doesn't work. YMMV, of course.

    Who said anything about incapacitating the bad guy? I'm talking about protecting the wizard.

    For example, consider the Shield Other spell. It effectively doubles the wizard's hit points (probably granting more hit points than an equivalent Cure spell would restore), grants an AC buff, and a bonus to saving throws to boot. It also doubles the effect of later healing magic on the wizard, and quadruples the effect of AoE heals (because it heals the cleric's hit point pool as well).


    hogarth wrote:


    TarkXT wrote:
    More importantly to me is why is the wizard in that situation to begin with?
    I certainly agree that clerics shouldn't be healing an uninjured wizard, so I was ignoring those cases. I thought that went without saying, but apparently not!

    Sorry, missed this the first time around.

    I think TarkXT's point is that well-played wizards are better protected than WWI generals. And get injured about as often.


    I think the discussion here is getting slightly off as the goal was to discuss healing benchmarks not the cleric's role in/out of combat.
    That being said I believe the cleric itself is fine as it is and is perfectly capable of being played a number of ways depending on what kind of character you wish to play and how your group plays. Some people want to play a character that heals and supports their party while others would rather raze pillars of sacred fire upon their foes. Keep in mind that a cleric is a devote worshiper of a deity and should fill whatever "combat role" that best embodies first and foremost.
    I think the healing benchmarks are fine as they are however it would be nice to see maybe a "Heal, Lesser" for some more oomph at the levels where damage starts to curve a bit. Maybe as a 3rd or 4th level spell?


    Orfamay Quest wrote:
    hogarth wrote:
    Orfamay Quest wrote:

    How about

  • C - Cleric casts a useful, non-healing spell that prevents the BBEG from being able to knock out the wizard for several rounds.
  • In situations where the bad guy is almost certainly one round from being incapacitated, it doesn't really matter what anyone does, IMO. But if the cleric's spell only has a 40% chance of incapacitating the bad guy (say), those odds wouldn't sound that great to me; I'd rather have two people ready to free to attack/flee/etc. in case it doesn't work. YMMV, of course.

    Who said anything about incapacitating the bad guy? I'm talking about protecting the wizard.

    Sorry, misread it. I guess B and C are just subsets of a more general category, i.e. cast a protective spell. And they would have the same criterion for being "on par" with other actions, i.e. if it helps your useful buddy last for one or more rounds, then it's worth it.


    necroon wrote:
    I think the discussion here is getting slightly off as the goal was to discuss healing benchmarks not the cleric's role in/out of combat.

    I don't think you can separate the two. The true benchmark -- for healing or any other action -- is "is the proposed action more effective than anything else I can think of to do?" For example, a fighter has the choice of firing his bow or charging with a sword (among other things). Normally the charge would be more effective. It takes substantial work to make an archer that is more effective than a vanilla fighter using a specialized melee weapon.

    It takes very little work to come up with an option for a vanilla cleric that is more effective than casting a Cure spell in combat.

    While it's possible to play a cleric who prefers healing to any of the other options, that frankly gimps the character, in the same way that a fighter who specializes in "club" is gimped against a similar fighter who specializes in the falcata, or even the longsword.

    Shadow Lodge

    Hm, it seems like the most basic thing to agree upon is that healing, like most actions in a fight, is situational. Thanks to spontaneous healing, it's a good idea to prepare spells based on what you guess or expect to have to deal with, and if it turns out that one of your spells won't be as useful as you thought and someone got injured, you're perfectly fine with using it to heal instead.
    Though healing after the current fighting ends is the safer option, sometimes ("No, Mr. Barbarian, don't charge those three foes in a defensive line before I've had a chance to buff you! Wait for me!") a snap decision has to be made or a lot of HP need to be topped off.

    Though nobody wants to hear, from the person whose life they just saved, "No, you fool, why'd you do such a stupid thing?", sometimes, healing can be a bad decision, such as CLW on someone who went to -5, and still has a few baddies around him.

    Normally, the best idea over mitigating damage or healing it depends on the players and characters getting to know each other and forming plans. Knowing the GM's patience for table talk can help too, in a meta sense.


    Welp, in my opinion if you want healing to be effective even in the relative situations that it will be used it has to at least match the damage that was taken by the target just now preferably twice as much.

    Why? BEcause if you're going to spend an action to heal you might as well work to negate the action of your enemy by removing the damage dealt. IF you only do it partly you're only buying time.

    And time can very well screw you.


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    Alrighty, so I'm seeing entries for:

    Mitigate the damage done
    Negate the damage done
    Heal more than the damage done

    So we're going to have to come up with some kind of consensus here.


    Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

    Alrighty, so I'm seeing entries for:

    Mitigate the damage done
    Negate the damage done
    Heal more than the damage done

    So we're going to have to come up with some kind of consensus here.

    Only one of those is an actual benchmark. ("Look, I healed one person of one point of damage! I've mitigated the damage done by the Red Dragon's breath!")


    Orfamay Quest wrote:
    hogarth wrote:
    Orfamay Quest wrote:

    How about

  • C - Cleric casts a useful, non-healing spell that prevents the BBEG from being able to knock out the wizard for several rounds.
  • In situations where the bad guy is almost certainly one round from being incapacitated, it doesn't really matter what anyone does, IMO. But if the cleric's spell only has a 40% chance of incapacitating the bad guy (say), those odds wouldn't sound that great to me; I'd rather have two people ready to free to attack/flee/etc. in case it doesn't work. YMMV, of course.

    Who said anything about incapacitating the bad guy? I'm talking about protecting the wizard.

    For example, consider the Shield Other spell. It effectively doubles the wizard's hit points (probably granting more hit points than an equivalent Cure spell would restore), grants an AC buff, and a bonus to saving throws to boot. It also doubles the effect of later healing magic on the wizard, and quadruples the effect of AoE heals (because it heals the cleric's hit point pool as well).

    Also: your claims about the cleric's spell only working 40% of the time are ungrounded--shield other and similar buffs work 100% of the time.


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    TarkXT wrote:

    Welp, in my opinion if you want healing to be effective even in the relative situations that it will be used it has to at least match the damage that was taken by the target just now preferably twice as much.

    Why? BEcause if you're going to spend an action to heal you might as well work to negate the action of your enemy by removing the damage dealt. IF you only do it partly you're only buying time.

    And time can very well screw you.

    I don't think I like this math. If I as a cleric can negate all the damage done by the enemy party, I've negated all of their actions at a cost of one, which is a good trade.

    Even if it's a single BBEG like a dragon, negating all of his actions still leaves us with three free actions for that round. This will eventually kill him.

    Buying time isn't a bad thing; sometimes that's what the cleric needs to do The question is whether he's buying enough time, or alternatively, are there other, non-cure, actions that will buy more time? I submit Shield Other as a good way of buying more time than a cure spell. Add my hit points to the fighter's AND buff him at the same time?


    Orfamay Quest wrote:
    necroon wrote:
    I think the discussion here is getting slightly off as the goal was to discuss healing benchmarks not the cleric's role in/out of combat.

    I don't think you can separate the two. The true benchmark -- for healing or any other action -- is "is the proposed action more effective than anything else I can think of to do?" For example, a fighter has the choice of firing his bow or charging with a sword (among other things). Normally the charge would be more effective. It takes substantial work to make an archer that is more effective than a vanilla fighter using a specialized melee weapon.

    It takes very little work to come up with an option for a vanilla cleric that is more effective than casting a Cure spell in combat.

    While it's possible to play a cleric who prefers healing to any of the other options, that frankly gimps the character, in the same way that a fighter who specializes in "club" is gimped against a similar fighter who specializes in the falcata, or even the longsword.

    I would wholeheartedly disagree as a cleric is not the only class capable of casting healing spells: simply the only class that is cursed with a namesake that implys that is what it should be doing.

    It seems the general opinion (from what I have seen) is that healing doesn't work the way that it is. I do not play many other Pen&Paper RPGs except for Pathfinder/D&D: does anyone have any examples of games in which healing works (in combat) on a basis they feels is well implemented?


    necroon wrote:
    Quote:


    While it's possible to play a cleric who prefers healing to any of the other options, that frankly gimps the character, in the same way that a fighter who specializes in "club" is gimped against a similar fighter who specializes in the falcata, or even the longsword.

    I would wholeheartedly disagree as a cleric is not the only class capable of casting healing spells: simply the only class that is cursed with a namesake that implys that is what it should be doing.

    I don't think you're disagreeing with me. My point is that clerics have lots of options and very rarely is "heal someone" the best one. If you build your cleric around the idea of "heal someone" being the preferred option, you're building a second-tier cleric.

    Quote:


    It seems the general opinion (from what I have seen) is that healing doesn't work the way that it is. I do not play many other Pen&Paper RPGs except for Pathfinder/D&D: does anyone have any examples of games in which healing works (in combat) on a basis they feels is well implemented?

    Well, I'm a tremendous fan of the old Ars Magica system, which I think was superior to Pathfinder in many ways. With regard to combat healing,

  • Combat was ablative; someone with only a few hit points left was seriously hampered in combat prior to dying. This made it practical to fight people to the point of surrender when they could no longer seriously contest.
  • Healing was balanced against other options; the game did not particularly favor offense over defense. If I could cast a Healball that did 5d6 of healing to everyone in the burst radius, it would be a lot more practical.
  • At the same time, healing was only temporary unless you spent expensive spell components to make it so. Battlefield/trauma medicine to get someone home was easy, but it wore off at sundown. This kept parties honest; it was hard to die, but easy to get seriously hurt.
  • Spells were non-Vancian, so if you were good enough you could spam low-level spells in your specialty all day and all night. If you were REALLY good, you could spam mid-level ones. And, of course, you could burn your high-level ones a few times, but they did damage to you as well, so you didn't often do that unless you were in trouble.
  • Spells were more like words of power, in that you could design and customize them on the fly, so you didn't often have to spam spells. In general, the first player with an appropriate spell would win the day, not simply the last caster standing.


  • Orfamay Quest wrote:
    necroon wrote:
    Quote:


    While it's possible to play a cleric who prefers healing to any of the other options, that frankly gimps the character, in the same way that a fighter who specializes in "club" is gimped against a similar fighter who specializes in the falcata, or even the longsword.

    I would wholeheartedly disagree as a cleric is not the only class capable of casting healing spells: simply the only class that is cursed with a namesake that implys that is what it should be doing.

    I don't think you're disagreeing with me. My point is that clerics have lots of options and very rarely is "heal someone" the best one. If you build your cleric around the idea of "heal someone" being the preferred option, you're building a second-tier cleric.

    I had realized that a few moments ago. My apologies: we are more-or-less on the same page.

    Quote:


    It seems the general opinion (from what I have seen) is that healing doesn't work the way that it is. I do not play many other Pen&Paper RPGs except for Pathfinder/D&D: does anyone have any examples of games in which healing works (in combat) on a basis they feels is well implemented?
    Quote:

    Well, I'm a tremendous fan of the old Ars Magica system, which I think was superior to Pathfinder in many ways. With regard to combat healing,

  • Combat was ablative; someone with only a few hit points left was seriously hampered in combat prior to dying. This made it practical to fight people to the point of surrender when they could no longer seriously contest.
  • Healing was balanced against other options; the game did not particularly favor offense over defense. If I could cast a Healball that did 5d6 of healing to everyone in the burst radius, it would be a lot more practical.
  • At the same time, healing was only temporary unless you spent expensive spell components to make it so. Battlefield/trauma medicine to get someone home was easy, but it wore off at sundown. This kept parties honest; it was hard to die, but easy to get seriously hurt.
  • Spells were non-Vancian, so if you were good enough...
  • Interesting.... I like the Healball idea. Do you think perhaps a rewrite of the current healing spells themselves might help?

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