Why do Bards get Healing Spells?


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One thing I don't get about Bards is why they get Healing Spells on their spell list. Its been established in the fluff that Bard Spells are Arcane Magic. No where in the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list (The Archetypical Arcane Casters) does it give a character an ability to heal wounds, with the exception of a few necromancy spells that drain life like Vampiric Touch. This also is an oddity for Witches who also get Healing Spells but then again they do get their powers from some demi-deity sponsor who may have divine magic so that makes greater sense than a bard having healing spells.

This definitely causes conflict in a lot of settings like Dragonlance where it specifically says that healing magic is DIVINE.

As for fixes to this problem, here are two suggestions:

1. Remove all healing type spells from the Bard spell list. Instead give them access to a wider array of other spell lists.

2. Give Bards the option of being "Divine" casters, perhaps sponsored by some God of music or other performance style deity.


The Bards have healing spells (Cure X Wounds) because Bards have always had healing spells, in every previous version of the game that exists. So legacy would be one reason.

The second is their role as 'a little bit of this, a little bit of that'. They can try their hand at many roles, anything from a 'real' arcanist to a healer or archer. Never as good as the real stuff, but still passable.

Personally, I wouldn't mind playing with either of your suggestions. Perhaps a set of spell-lists and the bard gets to pick one at creation? (ie one list with a bit of extra illusions, one list with some necromancy on it ect)

Also: Nice avatar :P


Im not sure why bards have healing spells specifically. Guess there was a legend about a song that could heal.

Bards cast from their magical music. So I see no problem in them having healing spells.

I think Infernal Healing is an arcane healing spell iirc.


Healing spells are Positive Energy that is not exclusive of deities.

Arcane magic already has access to Negative that is the polar opposite and is usually schtick of evil clerics.

Also witches do magic as a wizard in that they manipulate reality though expertise, it's just that the Patron teaches them how to do it instead of them researching the formulas through tomes.

Still it is harder for arcane caster to access healing spells, but in Golarion it is recognized that some nondivine casters can do healing, as Razmir heavily employs bards and witches posing as clerics to legitimize his false religion.


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Most Bard spells focus on mind control effects (persuasion), illusions, and assisting. Healing is a form of party assistance, so it fits in that role (the "arm" for arm/hammer/anvil theory). They were the only core arcane class with healing, yet it fit their role of helping the rest of the party be awesome.

Bards also get glibness - no other core casting class gets glibness.


Bard magic is the magic of music. All their verbal components are song or similar verbal performance, to the point that Silent Spell can't even be used on Bard spells. In a way, it isn't even "magic", so to speak, as successful experiments have been done with sound vibrations used to promote healing and altered awareness even in real life. So it kind of straddles the line between a real concept backed up by arcane magical umph. Moreover, the nature of HP is kind of vague, compositing both physical injury as well as a kind of "plot armor". Bard healing focuses more on rejuvenating your stamina and reinforcing the "plot armor" aspect. Listening to the healing music of the Bard bolsters your stamina and morale and lets you stay in the fight longer.

If you want to make a change to bring it more in line with a particular setting, change it such that Bard "healing" is split between about 1/4 actual HP restoration, and the remaining 3/4 is given as temporary HP. That should adequately reflect the nature of the situation. Divine magic (and arcane derived divine magic) actually give healing to the target while straight arcane healing only affects the target to more readily heal themselves.


The problem lies in a dumb idea introduced by someone in the early AD&D that healing magic is divine only. There is no need to fix anything except for Dragonlance. Which is the sole D&D setting where there is explicit bond between healing and divine power. And even there wizards managed to make an item with healing power.

In D&D heal spell was wizard magic-user spell.


Dragon Lance is a D&D setting, so it doesn't really apply for Paizo Bards. Nothing I've learned about Arcane Magic has led me to believe that it can't regrow skin cells, replace lost blood, and repair broken bones. The fact remains that Divine casters are vastly better at healing than Arcane casters, but just because the quintessential Arcane casters can't really do it doesn't mean it's an oddity.


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Might be because bards were originally fighter/rogue/druids, perhaps. Either way, doesn't really matter. Sure, sorcerers and wizards don't get cure spells, but bards and witches do. Not sure if you'd classify an alchemist as an arcane caster - they're certainly not divine casters in my opinion, at least - but they get them too.


In an explanation that doesn't go 'the power of music man', I will say- Bards are jacks of all trades.

They are travelers that pick up a bit of everything useful for their life on the road. They learn a bit of swordsmanship from their fighter friend. A few skills from the rogue. A few spells to get past guards and ease up trade from the wizards. So why shouldn't they learn a bit of healing from the cleric in order to patch themselves up?


Sorcerers and Wizards actually do have access to a pair of healing spells, Infernal Healing & Greater.

So healing is not a specifically divine ability in Pathfinder even if you discount Witches and Bards.

If you're playing Dragonlance with Pathfinder classes and it really bugs you that much, just pull their healing spells, but this is a self-created problem that has nothing to do with what other Arcane casters can do. Every single Arcane caster, save the Bloodrager, can access a healing spell. And even Bloodragers might be able to, but I don't know of one.


Azten wrote:
Isn't all magic in Dragonlance granted by the gods though?

Sure is. Solinari, Lunatari, and Nuitari (the three moons) provide magic to arcane casters, as I recall.

To answer the OP's question, though: if you have an objection to Bards getting the Cure line-up when Wizards don't, just remember that Wizards can research new spells at GM discretion. I have a bigger objection to Wizards than I do Bards, mind you, since Wizards already do everything.

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Because bards are jack of all trades. They learned their magic from a variety of sources throughout their travels. It's what the bard does.

If it doesn't make sense in your campaign setting, then change it. Honestly, I wish heal spells were necromancy effects anyway.

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kestral287 wrote:

Sorcerers and Wizards actually do have access to a pair of healing spells, Infernal Healing & Greater.

So healing is not a specifically divine ability in Pathfinder even if you discount Witches and Bards.

Given the origins of that spell, the point could be argued. ^_^


Kalindlara wrote:
kestral287 wrote:

Sorcerers and Wizards actually do have access to a pair of healing spells, Infernal Healing & Greater.

So healing is not a specifically divine ability in Pathfinder even if you discount Witches and Bards.

Given the origins of that spell, the point could be argued. ^_^

What aspect of its origins are you talking about?

Grand Lodge

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For the various reasons already listed, this isn't a "problem" that needs to be "fixed."

-Skeld


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kestral287 wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
kestral287 wrote:

Sorcerers and Wizards actually do have access to a pair of healing spells, Infernal Healing & Greater.

So healing is not a specifically divine ability in Pathfinder even if you discount Witches and Bards.

Given the origins of that spell, the point could be argued. ^_^
What aspect of its origins are you talking about?

The fact that it originates from the god Asmodeus?


Lessah wrote:

The Bards have healing spells (Cure X Wounds) because Bards have always had healing spells, in every previous version of the game that exists. So legacy would be one reason.

Its been a while, weren't second edition bards using the straight mage spell list?


Wish and Limited Wish also allow an arcane caster to use healing spells.

Lots of money, but still is a Wizard healing (or reviving) someone through arcane magic.


Voadam wrote:
kestral287 wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
kestral287 wrote:

Sorcerers and Wizards actually do have access to a pair of healing spells, Infernal Healing & Greater.

So healing is not a specifically divine ability in Pathfinder even if you discount Witches and Bards.

Given the origins of that spell, the point could be argued. ^_^
What aspect of its origins are you talking about?
The fact that it originates from the god Asmodeus?

Which in no way means that it's not an Arcane spell.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kestral287 wrote:
Voadam wrote:
kestral287 wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
kestral287 wrote:

Sorcerers and Wizards actually do have access to a pair of healing spells, Infernal Healing & Greater.

So healing is not a specifically divine ability in Pathfinder even if you discount Witches and Bards.

Given the origins of that spell, the point could be argued. ^_^
What aspect of its origins are you talking about?
The fact that it originates from the god Asmodeus?
Which in no way means that it's not an Arcane spell.

What it does mean is that it's a setting-specific special circumstance spell with baggage attached.

If we're sticking to non setting specific rules, than those two spells aren't included.

Sovereign Court

It goes with the class in that Bards pick up little useful things and bend it to their own purposes.

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Because laughter is the best medicine.

I imagine a bard's CLW tickles.

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If you're really worried about preserving Krynn flavor, bards need a serious rework anyway. The time period where "no healing except divine magic" is important is also "no spontaneous casting" so you'd also need to rework bardic spellcasting to use a spellbook and be influenced by the moons - if the flavor of that period is important to you. Later in the timeline when magic is just floating about everywhere, I'm not sure there is as much of a problem with bards having cure spells. Pretty sure all the 3.5 Age of Mortals Dragonlance books didn't change their spell list.


This article should help you figure it out.


As has been said above, bards are the jack-of-all-trades class. You have to be able to do all trades to... jack it...

Honestly, when I have new players come to my table and they ask me what the Bard's deal is, I tell them to re-imagine the flavor a little less as wandering minstrel and more as renaming the class to "Adventurer." A bard has access to pretty much every ability you would need to successfully adventure (the archaeologist archetype probably more so), and their job is, essentially, going around on adventures and talking about them for money. It's easier to swallow that way, since new players are usually "Huhuhuhuh so I play the lute and sing and make people stronger? Huhuhuhuhuh, pass..." instead of looking at the abilities over the flavor. So I generally lay it out that way.

I also tend to emphasize that they can heal, spontaneously, which means that if the party lacks a healer (common with new groups that I've DMed for) they can have one in the bard/adventurer. That's actually what sold the class for one guy in one of my groups, who's in a party consisting of a wizard, barbarian, rogue, slayer, and himself.


Voadam wrote:
Lessah wrote:

The Bards have healing spells (Cure X Wounds) because Bards have always had healing spells, in every previous version of the game that exists. So legacy would be one reason.

Its been a while, weren't second edition bards using the straight mage spell list?

Yes, they were. I'm also pretty sure that 3.0 was the first edition to give bards their own spell list.


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Bards get healing spells to repair hymens so that the nuns at the convents they "visit" don't get in trouble.

Bards are gentlemen after all.


Luthorne wrote:
Might be because bards were originally fighter/Thief/druid, perhaps. Either way, doesn't really matter.

FTFY

This is also my feeling as to why the Bard has healing spells. Originally the bard was what we would consider a divine caster. Their original spell list was the Druids.


<melodrama>Does no one believe in the healing power of art?</melodrama>


As mentioned above, originally the Bard was the equivalent of the ultimate prestige class. In first edition, if you ran into a Bard, he was pretty serious stuff.

Most probably the D&D inspiration for the Bard came from the Taran Wanderer series by Lloyd Alexander (and the myth/history that he drew from, for those that don't know the books, the Disney Movie The Black Cauldron was based on it.) In that mythology, Bards are a lot like Druids, having a strong connection to the natural world and their music was part of that. And of course many many cultures have found music to be strongly related to divinity.

Which is why Bards have healing magic. However, why Bards are arcane in 3.x is something I can't really answer, except perhaps that the charm aspects felt more arcane to the designers and at that time only arcane magic had spontaneous and charisma based casting. All divine magic was wisdom based.


I'd say the bard became arcane because in second ed he could cast wizard spells if he found them.

This became ironic because due to the xp curve... Bards cast higher level spells sooner than wizards.

Because bards.

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There's an Arcanist archetype, (White Mage) that lets them cast cure spells now as well.

I agree with the general consensus that divine casters being the only ones with healing spells doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If they're the best at casting them, then they are doing their job right.


Lab_Rat wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
Might be because bards were originally fighter/Thief/druid, perhaps. Either way, doesn't really matter.
FTFY

Still broken. There was no class called fighter in first edition AD&D.

Grand Lodge

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Dave Justus wrote:


Which is why Bards have healing magic. However, why Bards are arcane in 3.x is something I can't really answer, except perhaps that the charm aspects felt more arcane to the designers and at that time only arcane magic had spontaneous and charisma based casting. All divine magic was wisdom based.

Bardic flavor is something you don't generally associate with .... church.

Also an important distinction needs to be made... Bards don't "get" healing spells, Healing spells are in the selection they can choose... they have to devote spell picks to them if they want them. But they get access no matter what in terms of wands and scrolls. So if the idea of your Bard having a cure wounds spell bends you out of shape... then don't choose them.

The Exchange

Well, there's emulating cleanse or cure critical wounds with a limited wish. Although... talk about a waste...


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Atarlost wrote:
Lab_Rat wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
Might be because bards were originally fighter/Thief/druid, perhaps. Either way, doesn't really matter.
FTFY
Still broken. There was no class called fighter in first edition AD&D.

Um...wasn't it...Fighter (sub-classes Paladin and Ranger), Cleric (subclass Druid), Magic-User, Thief (subclass Assassin)...and Bard at the back of the PHB right next to Psionics?

Also in what context are Pathfinder bard cure spells broken? Short of hyper-optimized corner cases?


Bards are never any good at healing... Even the Songhealer is a crap archetype that isn't worth the trade offs.

Even the Witch is a better healer than the bard.


PIXIE DUST wrote:

Bards are never any good at healing... Even the Songhealer is a crap archetype that isn't worth the trade offs.

Even the Witch is a better healer than the bard.

I wonder why the Arcane Healer Bard never comes up in these discussions. He even has Channel Energy


Rerednaw wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Lab_Rat wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
Might be because bards were originally fighter/Thief/druid, perhaps. Either way, doesn't really matter.
FTFY
Still broken. There was no class called fighter in first edition AD&D.

Um...wasn't it...Fighter (sub-classes Paladin and Ranger), Cleric (subclass Druid), Magic-User, Thief (subclass Assassin)...and Bard at the back of the PHB right next to Psionics?

Hmm. You're right. I could have sworn the class was called "fighting man." Maybe that was OD&D?


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If wizards were given access to cure spells, it would not be a power-up. What, use their precious spell slots to restore (not buff, but restore) other PCs to factory mint condition AFTER they have taken damage? They've got far better things to do! Or at least they ought to. Any wizard in a party of normal size who wanted the ability to heal others would want it for role-playing reasons, not because healing would represent a pathway to increased power. That's one reason Pathfinder gave clerics the ability to channel healing energy in addition to spells--they were trying to do away with the idea that clerical spellpower was best used as handing out bandaids. Even bards have better things to do with their spell slots in and out of combat than heal, unless no one else is in a position to do so. But as to why they have the ability in the first place, bards started out way back when (before 2nd Ed AD&D) as the first and prototypical prestige class (before the term even existed, in fact), a PrC that required them to work through levels in fighter, thief, and druid before they got any levels in bard, so they always did have the ability to heal and there's never been any game balance reason to take that away from them.


The Bard class in 1e AD&D required multi-classing as Fighter-Thief-Druid, and the healing magic came from the druid class.

I think it was all based on legends of bards from real-world cultures. The druid-stuff included in the class probably comes from Orpheus of Greek myth who tamed and moved animals, rivers and trees with his music.
The Greek god of music Apollo is also the god of healing, so a figure who sings stories, plays a lyre and heals is a very old icon.

Its not so much about in-system rules (arcane vs divine magic definitions), but about how the class if flavored based on its literary sources.


Celtic Druid tradition has some bardic traits as well.


Historically, "druids" were religionists and "bards" referred to a class of poets and scholars, and they were often the same. Myrddin (Merlin) was often depicted as a warrior and bard in early stories. The original D&D bard was based on such Anglo-Saxon stories, with a little of Orpheus thrown in.

The 2e AD&D bard was relegated to being a rogue sub-class, and used the mage (wizard) spell list. It is the only D&D bard that has ever lacked magical healing.


Stop complaining and just research a healing spell.


Entryhazard wrote:
PIXIE DUST wrote:

Bards are never any good at healing... Even the Songhealer is a crap archetype that isn't worth the trade offs.

Even the Witch is a better healer than the bard.

I wonder why the Arcane Healer Bard never comes up in these discussions. He even has Channel Energy

The archetype is really meh...

Sure they get channel... but max out at 5 times a day at level 18... that is rarely useful...

And their ability to heal with their perform is lack luster since its not like a continuous heal, you just get Cure X Wound by burning rounds...

The witch Gets Brew Potion (alway ncie to have for free), Ability to use Cure X wounds as a Su ability, Cast Ressurection without needing to burn diamonds, and can take on status ailments on themselves to free up the martial (since its easier to drop Remove Poison on yourself than on the fighter up front)


PIXIE DUST wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:
PIXIE DUST wrote:

Bards are never any good at healing... Even the Songhealer is a crap archetype that isn't worth the trade offs.

Even the Witch is a better healer than the bard.

I wonder why the Arcane Healer Bard never comes up in these discussions. He even has Channel Energy

The archetype is really meh...

Sure they get channel... but max out at 5 times a day at level 18... that is rarely useful...

And their ability to heal with their perform is lack luster since its not like a continuous heal, you just get Cure X Wound by burning rounds...

The witch Gets Brew Potion (alway ncie to have for free), Ability to use Cure X wounds as a Su ability, Cast Ressurection without needing to burn diamonds, and can take on status ailments on themselves to free up the martial (since its easier to drop Remove Poison on yourself than on the fighter up front)

Witches get Brew Potion for free? Also, I'm pretty sure if they want to heal, they have to choose the hex/learn the spell... The Resurrection thing is nice though.

We have a witch in our game right now, as the primary healer, excited to see how that works out.


alexd1976 wrote:
PIXIE DUST wrote:
Entryhazard wrote:
PIXIE DUST wrote:

Bards are never any good at healing... Even the Songhealer is a crap archetype that isn't worth the trade offs.

Even the Witch is a better healer than the bard.

I wonder why the Arcane Healer Bard never comes up in these discussions. He even has Channel Energy

The archetype is really meh...

Sure they get channel... but max out at 5 times a day at level 18... that is rarely useful...

And their ability to heal with their perform is lack luster since its not like a continuous heal, you just get Cure X Wound by burning rounds...

The witch Gets Brew Potion (alway ncie to have for free), Ability to use Cure X wounds as a Su ability, Cast Ressurection without needing to burn diamonds, and can take on status ailments on themselves to free up the martial (since its easier to drop Remove Poison on yourself than on the fighter up front)

Witches get Brew Potion for free? Also, I'm pretty sure if they want to heal, they have to choose the hex/learn the spell... The Resurrection thing is nice though.

We have a witch in our game right now, as the primary healer, excited to see how that works out.

well they get the potion as a hex.

Witches Make awesome healers since they are more than enough to heal OoC, just enough to make decent in combat healers, and have the powerful control elements of te Witch class


Not to mention a wand of hex vulnerability serves double duty on a witch with the Healing hex. It pretty much turns into a wand of cure moderate after fifth level for the price of a first level wand on top of allowing for continual use of the Fortune hex out of combat. Witches are pretty cool. To be fair to Shaman, though, they're arguably much better healers than witches because the Life spirit gives the ability to channel energy. They can also get breath of life and heal on their spell list too, and choosing life as a wandering spirit means that the shaman doesn't even have to really devote any resources to do it.

Grand Lodge

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Puna'chong wrote:
Not to mention a wand of hex vulnerability serves double duty on a witch with the Healing hex.

Expect table variation on that. Many DM's including me, will not allow the hex to work on healing/restorative spells.

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