My party needs healing


Advice

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I'm running a party that is:

Druid -5
Druid -6
Fighter -6
Witch -6

They are too far along and cannot be changed. But, I'm having a harder and harder time not killing them because they are weak on healing. I've given them all the cure light wounds they can carry through various loot, but I need some other ways to buff them without totally breaking their classes. Any ideas?

Note: there might be something obvious but I am newish to Pathfinder (I played DnD for most of 70/80s, and then got into the game again via Pathfinder).

Thanks.


Witch and druid can learn cure ____ wounds spells. That and caution should get them what they need.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Suggest one of them use their next feat to get leadership and a healer cohort?

Ultimately, they need to take ownership of their own limitations. So what are they doing to fix their lack of healing?


Context - they are 12 and 13 years old. This is my daughter and here friends and they have played 7-8 sessions with me. I totally got them hooked :)

I wasn't concerned about party balance when we had our first game because it was just a little dungeon crawl intro. But then they wanted to keep going and they are too attached to their characters. I have to take them to complete this adventure (2 more sessions).

I'd like to both help them, and also teach them about party balance. Not having a true Cleric + their lack of experience, has been super tough as a DM. I've had to pull back and open escape routes several times. I've already killed both Druid's animal companions twice.

I'll guide them on the witch and druid cure___ spells, and I'll need to read up on leadership and healer cohort feats.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

I'd think a party with that mix would have more healing than most actually. Sure, they're missing a cleric and channel energy, but 3 of the 4 can cast healing spells, as well as use wands.

Let them buy or find a wand of cure light wounds, that plus the druids and witch healing should be enough. Without channeling they'll have a bit harder time healing effectively in combat, but in between fights they should be good.

Also, the witch can take the healing hex as well.

Liberty's Edge

The witch could also take the Cauldron hex (which includes the Brew Potion feat) and make potions of Cure Light Wounds and Cure Moderate Wounds on the cheap, if she knows the spells. She cannot make a potion pf Cure Serious Wounds because it's a fourth level witch spell.


Good call on the witch hex - I didn't see that.

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Silver Crusade

Witch can take the healing hexes. Druid can, as has been pointed out, heal. Cauldron hex is also an option...

Easiest solution, you control the game. Add more potions of healing/wands/scrolls of cure spells.

Scarab Sages

You can also drop a pair of boots of the earth as treasure found. It can provide all the out of combat healing needed by the team. It's not really needed with this party makeup though.

Really the bigger problem that healing hp is going to be status removal, unless the witch has the healing patron.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
D6Veteran wrote:

Context - they are 12 and 13 years old. This is my daughter and here friends and they have played 7-8 sessions with me. I totally got them hooked :)

If they're that young, I suppose you can cut them some slack. One option is to let them recover a bunch of their hit points after a fight without using magic. Basically, house rule a faster healing system. Maybe recover half the hit points they lose in the fight? Or 1 hp per level after every fight? Or a straight 5 or 10 hit points?

Another alternative would be to not throw too much nasty stuff at them. Include encounters they can negotiate their way out of.


You might offer them a Ring of Curing.

Ring of Curing


That's a neat item. A bit expensive though. Definately a ring you wouldn't wear all the time.


D6Veteran wrote:

Context - they are 12 and 13 years old. This is my daughter and here friends and they have played 7-8 sessions with me. I totally got them hooked :)

I wasn't concerned about party balance when we had our first game because it was just a little dungeon crawl intro. But then they wanted to keep going and they are too attached to their characters. I have to take them to complete this adventure (2 more sessions).

I'd like to both help them, and also teach them about party balance. Not having a true Cleric + their lack of experience, has been super tough as a DM. I've had to pull back and open escape routes several times. I've already killed both Druid's animal companions twice.

I'll guide them on the witch and druid cure___ spells, and I'll need to read up on leadership and healer cohort feats.

Leadership might be a a good idea as you can control who/what the NPC is. But it can also be a bad idea, as they end up relying on it, instead of learning and playing "smarter".

Also, maybe take a page out of the Mythic rules or hero points sub system. Mythic characters get something called Recuperation, that causes them to be fully healed after 8 hours of rest and they can use a mythic point to spend 1 hour and heal half their HP and regain their daily abilities. Give them all one, maybe two points, so that way they can take a breather if they get too roughed up. It takes long enough time that things get "broken up" if they are time sensitive, but not so long as to end the adventuring day.


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Bill Dunn wrote:
Ultimately, they need to take ownership of their own limitations. So what are they doing to fix their lack of healing?

This.

Right here.

If THEY want more healing, then THEY must make that happen, not wait around for the GM to coddle them.

D6Veteran wrote:
Context - they are 12 and 13 years old. This is my daughter and here friends and they have played 7-8 sessions with me. I totally got them hooked :)

OK, given that context, I'd make it pretty easy on them.

Forget the Leadership feat. That's pretty complicated for first time players, especially younger players.

Just have a cleric wander by and encounter them. Preferably right after they have a really tough fight and they're all lying around licking their wounds (the druids might be literally licking them). The cleric offers to heal them, but then says he's currently "in between jobs" for whatever reason you think would entertain these players. Young girls? I'd go the romance route. This particular cleric fell in love with the daughter of someone important and they were discovered. It led to a Romeo and Juliet kind of tragedy and his order kicked him out for causing the death of that girl. Now he's wandering the land, looking to atone for his past and he thinks finding these adventurers is a sign. Why a sign? Because his god has sent him on a quest that he cannot complete alone. And Presto! now you have a plot hook AND a healer.

Make the guy really good at healing but not very good at much else, and make him a little dim-witted so they don't constantly look to him for leadership. Also, if they're playing female characters, make him a her instead - no awkward in-character romance interests between the GM and his pre-teen players...

It's a win for everybody. They get a healer without changing classes or rebuilding their current ones, none of them have to play two characters (main and cohort), and the GMNPC has a background story, reason to be there, and is not the kind of character to take over and become the party leader or even the party voice, so he's mainly a roleplay dud and doesn't steal scenes.

But THEY still have to make it happen. They hire him, befriend him, give him a share of the treasure, etc. Just make it clear that this is a very good and/or necessary thing for them to do.


Two druids and a witch? You have three healers right there. Toss in a wand of Cure Light Wounds and you're fine. Just don't go overboard with APL+3 encounters and you'll be fine.


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Thing here is that they are young and inexperience. That means you need to teach them.
NPC in a cleric (or other healer) to help them through some spots, and also teach them about shoring up their weaknesses.

In effect, have the NPC be the mentor that you the DM are.
Have the cleric occasionally talk about his/her old adventuring buddies.
Talk about the roles in the party (melee, ranged, dealing with traps, face-man, healer, spell support); you can role play this out as fireside chat, as a sentimental old veteran looking to pass the wisdom along.
Don't let the NPC become a crutch; after all, his/her time has passed; it's time for a new generation.

You said that this adventure will be completed in two sessions, right? Don't worry too much about fixing their current characters, look to setting them right for future adventures.


DM_Blake wrote:


Just have a cleric wander by and encounter them. Preferably right after they have a really tough fight and they're all lying around licking their wounds (the druids might be literally licking them). The cleric offers to heal them, but then says he's currently "in between jobs" for whatever reason you think would entertain these players. Young girls? I'd go the romance route. This particular cleric fell in love with the daughter of someone important and they were discovered. It led to a Romeo and Juliet kind of tragedy and his order kicked him out for causing the death of that girl. Now he's wandering the land, looking to atone for his past and he thinks finding these adventurers is a sign. Why a sign? Because his god has sent him on a quest that he cannot complete alone. And Presto! now you have a plot hook AND a healer.

Brilliant idea! It also gives me a way to build the memorable moment I've been looking for in the next closing couple of sessions. Thanks!


Lots of excellent feedback here! Thanks again!


Seems like a bigger problem might be party make up.

Scarab Sages

VonDien wrote:
Seems like a bigger problem might be party make up.

Nah, Fighter is there, two druids is easily a replacement for cleric and wizard, as does a witch. The only thing they are really missing is skills, but if they all picked different skills there should be enough to cover it, not to mention the utility offered by the witches familiar, the possibility of ACs, and the utility offered by wild shape.


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

There is also a witch hex that at the level of this party lets the witch cast Cure Moderate Wounds on each party member once a day.

I wonder whether the real problem might be that 3 out of 4 party members are relatively squishy, with the result that they are taking more damage than they should be taking? Druids and witches can replace clerics as healers reasonably well but probably won't last as long on the front line of battle as clerics do.

One experiment to try might be to have an NPC fighter join the party temporarily and see if that helps them take less damage.

Scarab Sages

Druids are no more squishy than clerics. They have decent armor options (better than cleric, actually) and have heavy shields. They can be in melee just fine. Witch is squishy, but they are more wizard than cleric.


Imbicatus wrote:
VonDien wrote:
Seems like a bigger problem might be party make up.
Nah, Fighter is there, two druids is easily a replacement for cleric and wizard, as does a witch. The only thing they are really missing is skills, but if they all picked different skills there should be enough to cover it, not to mention the utility offered by the witches familiar, the possibility of ACs, and the utility offered by wild shape.

Yeah, I think the problem is less the party makeup and more the players being too inexperienced to know what their classes are capable of. I don't know what their builds are but an archer fighter, a wildshape druid, a caster druid, and a witch is a perfectly reasonable and functional party at most any level of expertise.

Actually, you might want to look into how your players are spending their gold OP? PC defenses get really trash towards the mid levels if you're not spending gold on boosting them, which isn't something that's going to be immediately obvious to a new player. If they're not running with proper Big Six gear that would likely play a large part in why they're having a hard time staying alive.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I think the problem may be that they don't know how to apply decent battlefield control and tactics to avoid injury. Keeping the bad guys at a disadvantage keeps your team from getting injured all the time.


I love the idea of the grizzled old veteran mending their ailments and regaling them with tales of adventure.

If this is on Thanksgiving weekend, maybe make a session out of leftovers/baking cookies/s'mores around a fire, et al?

You could combine your own player experiences (as the grizzled vet's tales) with cautionary tales of game play (advising about nasty stuff like mummy rot, lycanthropy, getting horribly cursed by the slams of clay golems, eaten alive by swarms, rot grubs, ad nauseam) with some hang-out time.

Sovereign Court

Arachnofiend wrote:
Actually, you might want to look into how your players are spending their gold OP? PC defenses get really trash towards the mid levels if you're not spending gold on boosting them, which isn't something that's going to be immediately obvious to a new player. If they're not running with proper Big Six gear that would likely play a large part in why they're having a hard time staying alive.

This.

I've run into many veteran players that don't really get how to boost their AC properly, much less 12-13 year old kids.

I've been GM for my nieces/nephews before - some around that or younger. It's fun - but a very different ball of wax. One big advantage of them vs. older players ignorant of such things - the 12-13 year old kids won't take offense if you tell them what gear they should probably purchase.


I suggest taking a crossover from 5th Ed D&D. After a short rest of 1 hour or more let them spend their level in Hit Dice. I.e a 5th level Druid can get up to 5d8 hp back. After a full rest they get all their hp back. I run this house rule frequently and it means cleric characters aren't essential and if they are there they can spend the spells doing fun stuff rather than just healing.

Taking on an extra character to a party of already 4 people is quite a lot of extra responsibility for a GM. I'd keep things simple and help them out a bit in other ways.

Healing hex is excellent (effectively 4 extra 2nd level spells) and I believe it can be used offensively against undead!


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Actually, you might want to look into how your players are spending their gold OP? PC defenses get really trash towards the mid levels if you're not spending gold on boosting them, which isn't something that's going to be immediately obvious to a new player. If they're not running with proper Big Six gear that would likely play a large part in why they're having a hard time staying alive.

This.

I've run into many veteran players that don't really get how to boost their AC properly, much less 12-13 year old kids.

I've been GM for my nieces/nephews before - some around that or younger. It's fun - but a very different ball of wax. One big advantage of them vs. older players ignorant of such things - the 12-13 year old kids won't take offense if you tell them what gear they should probably purchase.

This sounds like a pretty easy issue to fix from the DM side of things just by dropping the necessary loot. Simplest option is to have your PCs stumble across the remains of a failed adventuring party.


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Arachnofiend wrote:


Actually, you might want to look into how your players are spending their gold OP? PC defenses get really trash towards the mid levels if you're not spending gold on boosting them, which isn't something that's going to be immediately obvious to a new player. If they're not running with proper Big Six gear that would likely play a large part in why they're having a hard time staying alive.

That's a good point! I've been generous with loot but they are buying things like . . . wait for it . . . ponies. I mean, two of them are 12yr old girls. I'm not going to tell them not to get pony.

I think I'll have an NPC loan them some AC boosts while they are in town planning the next segment of their adventure.


Turin the Mad wrote:

I love the idea of the grizzled old veteran mending their ailments and regaling them with tales of adventure.

If this is on Thanksgiving weekend, maybe make a session out of leftovers/baking cookies/s'mores around a fire, et al?

You could combine your own player experiences (as the grizzled vet's tales) with cautionary tales of game play (advising about nasty stuff like mummy rot, lycanthropy, getting horribly cursed by the slams of clay golems, eaten alive by swarms, rot grubs, ad nauseam) with some hang-out time.

Love it! Great idea. They like it when the sessions are heavy on the role playing aspect.


D6Veteran wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:


Actually, you might want to look into how your players are spending their gold OP? PC defenses get really trash towards the mid levels if you're not spending gold on boosting them, which isn't something that's going to be immediately obvious to a new player. If they're not running with proper Big Six gear that would likely play a large part in why they're having a hard time staying alive.

That's a good point! I've been generous with loot but they are buying things like . . . wait for it . . . ponies. I mean, two of them are 12yr old girls. I'm not going to tell them not to get pony.

I think I'll have an NPC loan them some AC boosts while they are in town planning the next segment of their adventure.

Don't knock the ponies. And the motivation they'll get when something eats them. ;)


D6Veteran wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:


Actually, you might want to look into how your players are spending their gold OP? PC defenses get really trash towards the mid levels if you're not spending gold on boosting them, which isn't something that's going to be immediately obvious to a new player. If they're not running with proper Big Six gear that would likely play a large part in why they're having a hard time staying alive.

That's a good point! I've been generous with loot but they are buying things like . . . wait for it . . . ponies. I mean, two of them are 12yr old girls. I'm not going to tell them not to get pony.

I think I'll have an NPC loan them some AC boosts while they are in town planning the next segment of their adventure.

You probably wouldn't have any issues just giving them what they need; if they don't have a cloak of resistance because they decided to buy a pony instead then they're definitely not going to be able to abuse the extra WBL.


Arachnofiend wrote:
D6Veteran wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:


Actually, you might want to look into how your players are spending their gold OP? PC defenses get really trash towards the mid levels if you're not spending gold on boosting them, which isn't something that's going to be immediately obvious to a new player. If they're not running with proper Big Six gear that would likely play a large part in why they're having a hard time staying alive.

That's a good point! I've been generous with loot but they are buying things like . . . wait for it . . . ponies. I mean, two of them are 12yr old girls. I'm not going to tell them not to get pony.

I think I'll have an NPC loan them some AC boosts while they are in town planning the next segment of their adventure.

You probably wouldn't have any issues just giving them what they need; if they don't have a cloak of resistance because they decided to buy a pony instead then they're definitely not going to be able to abuse the extra WBL.

unless they abuse the ponies... but then you can sic PETA on them....


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If you're handing them a "grizzled old vet" of a healer, you've also got an in-world way of offering optimisation and tactics advice.

"You're a Druid aren't you? I've seen Druids entagle whole platoons, or create mud to slow down distant foes. Something like that could buy us time to reposition next time we fight."

"I recall two warriors I fought alongside a few years back. Both loved their shiny trinkets. With the loot from an Orc lair one bought himself a magic sword, the other a ring of protection.

The Orcs came looking for us about a week later. The first volley of arrows pretty much bounced off the fella with the ring! His mate wasn't as lucky. The funeral was very tasteful, mind. I officiated it myself."

Scarab Sages

Lots of good advice given so I will simply stand up and clap... Way to go getting a younger generation addicted.. If they keep up through the 'drama queen' years ahead it will be a big help to them I feel..


2 druids and a witch. Healing should not be in that sentence. As mentioned above, use control spells, which will prevent the party from taking damage. For example, Wall of Thorns.

Another way of doing it is having them face opponents with these spells (Entangle, Fogs, Sleet storms, Pits) in a very -non- deadly encounter, where the caster is played very stupidly (any caster I play by definition..I'm terrible at them). They will feel how powerful these things are, and when they roll Spellcraft, you can tell them "it's a wiz/sorc/druid/witch spell of 2nd level" and they will "oooh- aaah!".

Hopefully.

The Exchange

I think the witch forgot slumber hex and glitterdust, and the party forgot to buy a wand of CLW. Please tell me they bought mw studded leather barding for their animal companions..(what animal companions are they running, anyway?)

The druids can even summon small earth elementals to surround the bad guys. If you think you want to ignore an augmented summon earth elemental, wait till it hits you, you'll change your mind pretty quick.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

During one of your upcoming sessions, have them encounter a pal that becomes a close friend, something like a Lyrakien Azata cleric 3 - who comes with mongo healing abilities, including remove paralysis and lesser restoration.

Then again, wands of cure light and lesser restoration work too.


Just a Mort wrote:

I think the witch forgot slumber hex and glitterdust, and the party forgot to buy a wand of CLW. Please tell me they bought mw studded leather barding for their animal companions..(what animal companions are they running, anyway?)

The druids can even summon small earth elementals to surround the bad guys. If you think you want to ignore an augmented summon earth elemental, wait till it hits you, you'll change your mind pretty quick.

No on the mwk Studded Leather Barding. In fact I need to look that up.

They do have wands of CLW.

They are running a Wolf and a Leopard (as a big cat).

Tell me more about small earth elementals . . . are you saying I advise them each to summon an earth elemental behind the enemy, to give bonuses?


Corvino wrote:

If you're handing them a "grizzled old vet" of a healer, you've also got an in-world way of offering optimisation and tactics advice.

"You're a Druid aren't you? I've seen Druids entagle whole platoons, or create mud to slow down distant foes. Something like that could buy us time to reposition next time we fight."

"I recall two warriors I fought alongside a few years back. Both loved their shiny trinkets. With the loot from an Orc lair one bought himself a magic sword, the other a ring of protection.

The Orcs came looking for us about a week later. The first volley of arrows pretty much bounced off the fella with the ring! His mate wasn't as lucky. The funeral was very tasteful, mind. I officiated it myself."

This is good. I could probably run a whole session that is part fireside chat and some sort of confrontation at the Inn the the party either has to break up or choose sides.


Arachnofiend wrote:
If they're not running with proper Big Six gear that would likely play a large part in why they're having a hard time staying alive.

What is "Big Six gear"?

Part of the problem is I'm new to DM'ing Pathfinder ;)


I know there is an official Big Six, but off the top of my head:
Magic Weapon
Magic Armor
Stat Headband/Stat Belt
Cloak of Resistance
Ring of Protection
Amulet of Natural Armor


D6Veteran wrote:
Tell me more about small earth elementals . . . are you saying I advise them each to summon an earth elemental behind the enemy, to give bonuses?

Summoning is pretty sweet in Pathfinder. It provides a lot. You can summon creatures to basically act as a wall in between you and the enemy. You can summon creatures behind the enemy to provide flanking bonuses. You can summon creatures that you can ride to give you flight. You can summon creatures which can attack for you and do a lot of damage. You can summon creatures which have special abilities which can aid the party.


Canonically it's something like

Amulet of Natural Armor
Magic Armor (and shield if appropriate) or Bracers of Armor
Ring of Protection
Cloak of Resistance
Belt or Headband of primary stat
Magic Weapon or Amulet of Mighty Fists/Fang

Some classes want both a belt and headband (eg. con and int for the witch or str and wis for the druids)
Some classes won't want a weapon (eg. the witch)
Some classes can't use an ANA because they need an AMF (eg. the druids if they wildshape)

The save, DC, attack bonus, and AC curves for monsters just assume players are at WBL and spending most of their gold on these items or equivalents (eg. Barkskin can substitute for an AMF if you cast it for every battle).


Atarlost wrote:
Some classes want both a belt and headband (eg. con and int for the witch or str and wis for the druids)

To be clear, almost every class eventually wants both. A wizard could use more constitution or dexterity for defenses. A fighter could use more wisdom for saves. It's just a matter of priority, and big six implies a high priority.

I imagine Atarlost understands this, but others may not.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In addition to the veteran advisor, you may want to put them against creatures that have bad tactics. That way the bad tactics can be explained -- so they can learn from other creature's mistakes. Things like only attacking the creature that most recently hit them, or charging into massed arrow fire and a defender with a pole arm of some sort.

I find that very few people get upset when you point out NPC mistakes -- even if it is the exact same mistake they have been making. It allows them to fix their own behavior without the embarrassment.


I found the witch to be one of if not the best healer in game. They have the healing hex which with spell hex vulnerability is great for healing in terms of getting hit points back. You'll still want healing for cure disease, remove poison, heal, regenerate, restoration, raise dead, resurrection and such.

Scarab Sages

voska66 wrote:
I found the witch to be one of if not the best healer in game. They have the healing hex which with spell hex vulnerability is great for healing in terms of getting hit points back. You'll still want healing for cure disease, remove poison, heal, regenerate, restoration, raise dead, resurrection and such.

This doesn't work anymore. Hex vulnerability was errataed to specify harmful hexes only.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Melkiador wrote:

I know there is an official Big Six, but off the top of my head:

Magic Weapon
Magic Armor
Stat Headband/Stat Belt
Cloak of Resistance
Ring of Protection
Amulet of Natural Armor

And if the originator of this thread is unfamiliar with the "Big Six", it is likely that his players have ACs that are too low. Note that several of these items boost AC, namely the magic armor, magic shield, ring of protection, and amulet of natural armor. A belt of dexterity could also help with AC for characters who wear light or no armor and focus on that stat ahead of strength or constitution.


DM_Blake hit it on the head. GMNPC is the way to go with a group like this. I do almost the exact same thing with my boys. They like to murder-hobo, so I play the helpless female cleric that's good at healing and occasionally hitting something with her heavy crossbow. That's exactly how I'd approach this situation. But!!! I would definitely talk to them outside of a session and help them to understand the versatility of the classes they've chosen. I've found that nothing makes this hobby more addicting than the fact that you can intelligently discuss it in very cool ways, even when you aren't playing, and don't plan on playing any time soon. :)

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