Why are Wands of CLW such a problem?


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Kerrilyn wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Unlimited healing consumables can also reduce martial/caster disparity. If healing hit points is easy, then casters have an incentive to hold back their best spells whenever possible and let the Fighter have his chance to shine.
? I think the opposite would happen wouldn't it? There's the BBEG. I've spent nothing on healing, and probably won't have to during or after.. so... nova time!

If that's how it works out, that's OK. The martials are the star of the show during the encounters leading up to the boss battle, while the casters rely mostly on wands and hold their spells in reserve. Then, in the boss battle, the casters can go nuts.


the problem with that is not all groups follow the same pattern of "several relatively easy encounters and then go for a big one".

Back when I played 4e, I was in a group which, by nature, spent most of the gaming session doing non-combat stuff, and then ussually had one or two combats at best, which were a bit flashier than ussual. That made it very hard to keep balance between encounter powers and daily powers, as most powers were daily anyways. This do not happen as much in my current group (which I GM), because the approach to the encounters is a bit different.

If we balance the martials vs casters around this idea, it'll still be worrysome for groups that do less encounters per game session. Most games have a BBEG. Not all games have several different groups of bodyguards you have to face in the way to the BBEG


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In our play group, we've never used CLW wands to "top off" HP after every fight. It is pretty rare to need to do that.

One problem with Pathfinder is that healing from rest is nowhere near enough to recoup HP lost in a day. Assume a typical adventure day where you do not use CLW wands all day. The party ends the day fairly beat up. Without use of CLW wands that night or the following morning, you lose a bunch of adventure time. Either you rest multiple days to get back to fighting strength, or your dedicated healer has to start the day off by blowing a large chunk of his/her spells to get the party back to a safe level of HP.

In my play group's experience, at least, if characters could heal back up to full (or close to it) after a night's rest, CLW wands would hardly ever see use.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:

"Throw another fireball Gandalf!"

"Sorry, I only studied it once the night before, I can't do it again,"

"You wha-"
-Death by orcs

Doesn't happen in any fantasy novel either.

It could happen in Jack Vance's Dying Earth books. Hence the term, "Vancian magic".

Plus, I think that's exactly what happened to Gandalf on the Bridge where he was killed (and also vice versa killed) by the Balrog of Moria. He cast a spell to crumble the bridge, but definitely did not seem to have any fireball (or cone of cold) spells memorized.

Saruman also seemed to have distinctly forgotten to memorize the fireball spell when he was done in by a bunch of hobbits. Ran out of spells and died. Too bad.


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Saldiven wrote:

In our play group, we've never used CLW wands to "top off" HP after every fight. It is pretty rare to need to do that.

One problem with Pathfinder is that healing from rest is nowhere near enough to recoup HP lost in a day. Assume a typical adventure day where you do not use CLW wands all day. The party ends the day fairly beat up. Without use of CLW wands that night or the following morning, you lose a bunch of adventure time. Either you rest multiple days to get back to fighting strength, or your dedicated healer has to start the day off by blowing a large chunk of his/her spells to get the party back to a safe level of HP.

In my play group's experience, at least, if characters could heal back up to full (or close to it) after a night's rest, CLW wands would hardly ever see use.

When I played a cleric in D&D 3.5, the cleric converted his remaining spells into Cure spells as the party bedded down for the night. "I have three 1st-level spells and one 2nd-level spell left. Who is down the most?" That became the effective restoring hp during the night: how much healing did the cleric have left. The cleric used most of his spells on buffs and summoning, because preventing damage was more efficient than healing damage. Nevertheless, he still restored more hp than resting restored.

That party also bought every 50gp potion of Cure Light Wounds available in every town they passed through. The market in small towns did not have wands for sale, but they did have 1st-level potions. The rogue was the backup healer in case my cleric was knocked unconscious or on the other side of the battlefield, and she used potions.


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With Pathfinder, the cleric converting all his spells into Cure spells at the end of the day was replaced by gathering everyone to within 30 feet of the cleric for the end-of-day channeling. I thought that replacing the specialized Turn Undead ability of clerics with the more versatile Channel Postive Energy was very good design by Paizo, because it encouraged clerics to use their spells proactively (buffs and offense) rather than reactively (healing).

However, after the group healing via channeling, some PCs were still not at full hit points. PCs are not injured at the same rate. The barbarian who charged into battle, the fighter who served as a one-man front line, or the bard who stepped up to the front line so that the fighter did not have to hold the line alone would lose a lot more hp than the wizard or the ranger archer who stood in back.

The different rates of losing hp creates an imbalance inside the dungeon itself. Some party memberss would be too injured to risk another encounter and the other party members would have lost resources by not health, so they could face one or two more encounters. The between-encounters healing corrected that imbalance, whether it was from a cleric, a bard, a potion, or a wand.

Scarab Sages

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I remember a lvl 1 PFS scenario where the only person who could heal (we didn't have a wand yet) died to exploding skeletons and we were stuck in a cave. Good thing I bought Wandermeal, because we were in that cave for 3 G#*$+~N WEEKS waiting to heal up. A wand fixes the pacing, mechanical boringness of mundane healing and let's us get back to the game.

Every time someone says "we got hurt, so we rest for 8 hours" I can't tell if we're playing the same game because mundane healing takes DAYS.


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I like curing wands since it lets the party keep going. What next? Nerf wands of magic missile?

Dark Archive

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I'm not getting the augment of it's not a good fantasy narrative. I can think of multiple stories where the characters are shown using healing gear/powers appropriate to the setting after battle, which in most cases its assumed their fighting fit after. I think it's immersive to regularly show that are characters aren't untouchable and that they sustain wounds that need dealing with, but this being a not too gritty fantasy setting would magic healing is a thing.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't see the problem this is supposed to solve. I don't find 'resource management' as a puzzle to add anything to the game. In fact, when I run APs, I give every character at start a 'GM gift' item. For every class that can use it, it's a CLW wand. For every arcane caster, it's a full wand of one level 1 attack spell (usually magic missile, but not always). For other classes, I have a discussion with the player what would help their build at about the same cost. This means that even at level 1, characters can keep going until the end of the dungeon without resting. They have to conserve big spells, but as long as they don't take too much damage in a single encounter, they don't have to worry about health, and an arcane caster can always do _something_ in a fight.


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I think the wands of Cure Light Wounds are a problem only in PFS, to the extent that you are apparently considered a jerk player if you don't start acquiring them at the earliest opportunity. But I think the need for such items is mainly a reflection of the fact that PFS groups tend to be randomly thrown together groups whose abilities probably don't complement one another too well.

In home games, things can be radically different, as the example Redelia gave shows. In my campaign, we have enough people with some sort of healing abilities that any potions or wands with Cure spells that we pick up generally go unused -- so we may actually be unaffected by the use of Resonance for consumables except perhaps for our knowledge that they added a rule to discourage us from doing something that we weren't doing anyway.


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Everyone focuses on PFS CLWW but I've also seen Mage Armor wands, Endure Elements wands, etc.

It's always felt more like a utility thing than a 'definite healer replacement' thing.

That being said, I've only seen one or two scenarios where a team burnt through an entire CLWW -- and it was due to incredibly BAD dice luck, with the GM critting at a significantly higher rate than average and the players not being able to get hits (much less crits) in any sort of reasonable number.

Having that investment along made it possible for the party to succeed.

I shudder to think of what is going to happen without that kind of safety net...

Silver Crusade

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I’m not saying Wanda of CLW be removed entirely, but I think there can be a balance between spot healing and full hit points in every encounter.


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ubiquitous wrote:

It's not an interesting choice: you CLW Wand spam because it's the most resource-efficient way of healing between encounters. There's no reason to go into the next fight with less than maximum health when healing is such a minimal cost.

Healing between encounters should consist of interesting decisions, or the time-consuming 1d8+1 roll spam and marking off of charges should be removed for a more efficient system.

You mean like resting for 8 hours because the cleric's spells are now all gone. That is a real interesting decision.


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thorin001 wrote:
ubiquitous wrote:

It's not an interesting choice: you CLW Wand spam because it's the most resource-efficient way of healing between encounters. There's no reason to go into the next fight with less than maximum health when healing is such a minimal cost.

Healing between encounters should consist of interesting decisions, or the time-consuming 1d8+1 roll spam and marking off of charges should be removed for a more efficient system.

You mean like resting for 8 hours because the cleric's spells are now all gone. That is a real interesting decision.

No, the "interesting decisions" involve the PCs figuring out how to avoid being wounded to within an inch of their lives in the first place. How to succeed even though they're gravely wounded. How to grit their teeth and carry the day even if they're doing it with buckets of blood trailing behind every footstep.

CLW wand spamming feels to me like taking a great deal of the heroism out of our adventures. Heroism is overcoming adversity to seize the day, while constantly filling your tank to "full" seems to be sidestepping adversity.

I'm aware that many folks on these forums don't feel the same way, and would (will) be mightily peeved if/when CLW wand spamming is no longer an available solution to their hit point blues. It will mean adapting to a different playstyle - the horror! <g>


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Wheldrake wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
ubiquitous wrote:

It's not an interesting choice: you CLW Wand spam because it's the most resource-efficient way of healing between encounters. There's no reason to go into the next fight with less than maximum health when healing is such a minimal cost.

Healing between encounters should consist of interesting decisions, or the time-consuming 1d8+1 roll spam and marking off of charges should be removed for a more efficient system.

You mean like resting for 8 hours because the cleric's spells are now all gone. That is a real interesting decision.

No, the "interesting decisions" involve the PCs figuring out how to avoid being wounded to within an inch of their lives in the first place. How to succeed even though they're gravely wounded. How to grit their teeth and carry the day even if they're doing it with buckets of blood trailing behind every footstep.

CLW wand spamming feels to me like taking a great deal of the heroism out of our adventures. Heroism is overcoming adversity to seize the day, while constantly filling your tank to "full" seems to be sidestepping adversity.

I'm aware that many folks on these forums don't feel the same way, and would (will) be mightily peeved if/when CLW wand spamming is no longer an available solution to their hit point blues. It will mean adapting to a different playstyle - the horror! <g>

I would very much like something like that; but it's hard to achieve.

You can try your best to avoid that last hit that will kill you, but dice are a thing. If the encounter ahead is anything more than trivial, approaching it with just a few HP left and all other resources gone is suicidal, not heroic. Now, heroes who are in a tight schedule may well accept to try, but then they lose and it's game over.
Also consider that a wizard without spells won't have much fun playing. That's a risk he accepted with his class choice, but that shouldn't happen too often IMHO.


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Wheldrake wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
ubiquitous wrote:

It's not an interesting choice: you CLW Wand spam because it's the most resource-efficient way of healing between encounters. There's no reason to go into the next fight with less than maximum health when healing is such a minimal cost.

Healing between encounters should consist of interesting decisions, or the time-consuming 1d8+1 roll spam and marking off of charges should be removed for a more efficient system.

You mean like resting for 8 hours because the cleric's spells are now all gone. That is a real interesting decision.

No, the "interesting decisions" involve the PCs figuring out how to avoid being wounded to within an inch of their lives in the first place. How to succeed even though they're gravely wounded. How to grit their teeth and carry the day even if they're doing it with buckets of blood trailing behind every footstep.

CLW wand spamming feels to me like taking a great deal of the heroism out of our adventures. Heroism is overcoming adversity to seize the day, while constantly filling your tank to "full" seems to be sidestepping adversity.

I'm aware that many folks on these forums don't feel the same way, and would (will) be mightily peeved if/when CLW wand spamming is no longer an available solution to their hit point blues. It will mean adapting to a different playstyle - the horror! <g>

Why should anyone have to adapt to a different playstyle to the one they obviously enjoy?


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Wheldrake wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
ubiquitous wrote:

It's not an interesting choice: you CLW Wand spam because it's the most resource-efficient way of healing between encounters. There's no reason to go into the next fight with less than maximum health when healing is such a minimal cost.

Healing between encounters should consist of interesting decisions, or the time-consuming 1d8+1 roll spam and marking off of charges should be removed for a more efficient system.

You mean like resting for 8 hours because the cleric's spells are now all gone. That is a real interesting decision.

No, the "interesting decisions" involve the PCs figuring out how to avoid being wounded to within an inch of their lives in the first place. How to succeed even though they're gravely wounded. How to grit their teeth and carry the day even if they're doing it with buckets of blood trailing behind every footstep.

CLW wand spamming feels to me like taking a great deal of the heroism out of our adventures. Heroism is overcoming adversity to seize the day, while constantly filling your tank to "full" seems to be sidestepping adversity.

I'm aware that many folks on these forums don't feel the same way, and would (will) be mightily peeved if/when CLW wand spamming is no longer an available solution to their hit point blues. It will mean adapting to a different playstyle - the horror! <g>

Healing before an encounter can be the fine line between bravery and foolhardiness.

GLORIOUS LEADER: Given the quality of the undead guards we overcame, we should reach the lich's throneroom soon.
POKE THE HEALER: Sir Stalwart is barely on his feet and I am out of healing spells.
GLORIOUS LEADER: We will have to leave him behind.
SIR STALWART: I am never left behind.
POKE THE HEALER: A single fireball could kill him.
GLORIOUS LEADER: It would be irresponsible to take you into battle, Sir Stalwart. You have done your duty for today. Now you must rest.
SIR STALWART: You need me. No-one else can break through the lich's defenses better than me.
LADY LIGHTFOOT: Um, ...
GLORIOUS LEADER: Very well. We will honor your noble sacrifice, Sir Stalwart.
LADY LIGHTFOOT: Idiotic sacrifice, you mean.
GLORIOUS LEADER: I wanted to leave him behind, but our brave fighter has argued well about our need.
LADY LIGHTFOOT: What about the cordial of healing gifted to us by the Queen of the Eastern Elves?
GLORIOUS LEADER: That has only two uses left. It must be saved for only those on the point of death.
LADY LIGHTFOOT: I would argue that charging into battle while as gravely wounded as Sir Stalwart is at the point of death. If the lich's first act is the fireball Poke feared, then Sir Stalwart's sacrifice would be in vain. We need him hale.
SIR STALWART: I concede the necessity. I want to live long enough to break that abomination's bones. But only one dose from the cordial, not two. For others will risk death in that throneroom beside me.

Really, the player of Sir Stalwart did not want to miss out on the big fight, and he was willing to roll up a new character after Sir Stalwart's foolish death. Luckily, the party had reserve healing magic almost forgotten in Lady Lightfoot's pack.

The problem is that a Wand of Cure Light Wounds is not a rare gift from the Queen of the Eastern Elves. Being affordable by 2nd-level characters means it is cheap to 10th-level characters. Small doses of healing are just as effective when applied early to top off a character's hit points as they are when applied when the character is low in hp, so there is no need to save them only for gravely wounded characters.


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The problem with wanting character healing to resemble fantasy fiction is that character injuries don't resemble fantasy fiction.

I'm pretty sure there aren't many novels that are like this:

Conan the Tank wrote:

And then Conan, already bleeding from his many wounds, was hit by three more arrows, but successfully dodged two others. He charged at the sorcerer - as he did so, the skeletal ogre struck him hard with its gigantic battleaxe - but he kept going and struck the sorcerer a mighty blow. The sorcerer stepped back and blasted Conan with fire, and Conan was almost brought low, but he found the strength to keep going and slew the sorcerer with three more mighty slashes of his sword. The undead ogre struck him one more time with that terrible axe, and Conan fell unconscious, but fortunately his companions now caught up and destroyed the last of the sorcerer's foul creations.

"That's the third time today Conan's nearly died," said Bêlit, as she bandaged his wounds. "We really ought to make him wear some armor."

Healing slowly from a wand, or quickly from a Heal spell, or shrugging off arrow wounds with a ten minute rest; none of these are things that happen on a daily basis in fantasy fiction, because heroes don't get injured that much in the first place.

Scarab Sages

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Matthew Downie wrote:

The problem with wanting character healing to resemble fantasy fiction is that character injuries don't resemble fantasy fiction.

I'm pretty sure there aren't many novels that are like this:

Conan the Tank wrote:

And then Conan, already bleeding from his many wounds, was hit by three more arrows, but successfully dodged two others. He charged at the sorcerer - as he did so, the skeletal ogre struck him hard with its gigantic battleaxe - but he kept going and struck the sorcerer a mighty blow. The sorcerer stepped back and blasted Conan with fire, and Conan was almost brought low, but he found the strength to keep going and slew the sorcerer with three more mighty slashes of his sword. The undead ogre struck him one more time with that terrible axe, and Conan fell unconscious, but fortunately his companions now caught up and destroyed the last of the sorcerer's foul creations.

"That's the third time today Conan's nearly died," said Bêlit, as she bandaged his wounds. "We really ought to make him wear some armor."

Healing slowly from a wand, or quickly from a Heal spell, or shrugging off arrow wounds with a ten minute rest; none of these are things that happen on a daily basis in fantasy fiction, because heroes don't get injured that much in the first place.

BOOM!, nail on the head. If our combats and injuries do not resemble the kind of heroes that don't need CLW we are gonna have a problem. All those stories where the healing is rare, we keep forgetting that injuries are just as rare. Gandalf never got no healing because aside from that Balrog nothing ever touched him.

In PFS we get hurt ALL. THE. TIME. and someone who can heal properly is rarely present - but Pathfinders are professional adventurers, of course they are prepared with wands and stuff - wands of cure, wands of infernal healing, wands of endure elements. It's a different fantasy than what we typically see in books, but I've never found it less immersive.

To see the kind of healing the devs seem to want we either need to take less damage or heal more easily from other sources (and they have to be cost effective). So far, aside from how shields work I haven't seen any of that in the 2E reveals. (The new action system might be part of that, but it really depends on how many attacks monsters get and how full attacks/natural attacks or the equivalent work)


Lil kerri thought: real world economics - why are CLW wands so cheap if they always sell out? The magic shopkeeps don't understand supply, price, and demand I guess?

Mathmuse wrote:
The problem is that a Wand of Cure Light Wounds is not a rare gift from the Queen of the Eastern Elves. Being affordable by 2nd-level characters means it is cheap to 10th-level characters. Small doses of healing are just as effective when applied early to top off a character's hit points as they are when applied when the character is low in hp, so there is no need to save them only for gravely wounded characters.

^ Exactly this.

I'm not saying the resonance system is the best thing ever, but there is definitely a scaling problem with CLW wands.

By the way I love your example, Mathmuse! It was fun to read ^.^

Angel Hunter D wrote:
In PFS we get hurt ALL. THE. TIME. and someone who can heal properly is rarely present

Um, this will be a bit of a derailment as this thread is about the CLW wand, but I feel this is .. sorta relevant .. at least..

There might be a reason why there aren't many healers present.

Maybe if there was more variety and power in healing, you might be able to find more healers.

Scarab Sages

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Kerrilyn wrote:


Angel Hunter D wrote:
In PFS we get hurt ALL. THE. TIME. and someone who can heal properly is rarely present

Um, this will be a bit of a derailment as this thread is about the CLW wand, but I feel this is .. sorta relevant .. at least..

There might be a reason why there aren't many healers present.

Maybe if there was more variety and power in healing, you might be able to find more healers.

It's not really a derailment, the obsequiousness of the CLW Wand is a product of the system and PFS is a great way to see those things play out. As it is, we don't have those interesting ways to heal and the wand is the result.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

The fact the Wand it tied to Resonance now is what solves the 'problem' of CLW.

Kinda. Maybe. I think.

But without understanding exactly what the problem is I can't evaluate whether or not Resonance is actually fixing the problem and if it is the best fix for the problem.

The 'problem' is that some people feel that healing wands are Badwrongfun. Apparently resting and getting spells back after a few trivial fights or pushing on until death is 'better' in some fashion.

Because D&D/PF combat is largely an exercise in statistical outcomes, PCs don't behave like characters in books or movies, and that offends some people. But against a reasonable CR encounter, the party *will* get wounded and *will* need healing. Every time, multiple times a day, and wands are the most effective way of dealing that statistical fact.

Its completely unclear what PF2's solution (beyond yet more HP bloat, seen in cleric level up article, though this only delays the inevitable, and does not counter the problem) to the same statistical problem will be. But they're hedging pretty hard on 'wands are bad'

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I’m saying there are better ways to handle hit point recovery in fiction, than CLW Wanda.

I don’t even want the CLW wand gone from the game, but I do not want it to bring a PC back to full health after every encounter the game is not balanced for it, because it means for any enemy to be a reasonable threat it needs to be able to bring a fighter from full hit points to negative in one or two full attacks. If it can do that to a fighter, it can outright murder a wizard.

However if a monster can deal smaller damage, and the player is aware that damage won’t be removed easily before the next encounter it can encourage PCs to avoid some fights, or talk their way out of them or if they must fight, choose some defensive options to help mitigate some of the damage.

Or if the game IS going to assume that PCs are on full hit points at the start of every encounter then PCs should just get their hp back every time you roll initiative. You don’t need a wand of Cure Light Wounds and gold piece tax, because it’s an assumption of the game.

The system we have right now, as it stands where Wand of CLW is the assumed normal, is fictionally unsatsfying and not a consideration in the balance of encounter design.


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Angel Hunter D wrote:
the obsequiousness of the CLW Wand

I think you maybe meant "ubiquity".


Voss wrote:
Because D&D/PF combat is largely an exercise in statistical outcomes, PCs don't behave like characters in books or movies, and that offends some people. But against a reasonable CR encounter, the party *will* get wounded and *will* need healing. Every time, multiple times a day, and wands are the most effective way of dealing that statistical fact.

The party will likely be wounded, yes, but perhaps not life-threateningly so. And the healing needed can be provided by things like actually casting cure spells, or channeling energy, or whatever other limited resources are available. Or you can just accept the fact that you're at 25 instead of 38 hp.

That said, natural healing certainly needs a boost from 1 hp per level. I think I read that it was going to be Con modifier per level instead - I'm uncertain whether that's enough, particularly with larger hp pools, but I'd give it a shot. Personally, I like 5e's full heal on a night's rest, but I gather that it might not be too popular with Pathfinder's dedicated fans.

It does occur to me that toward the tail end of 3.5e, there were a number of classes and abilities that provided very easy (if too slow for combat) healing up to half your max hp. That might be an interesting option: take a five- or ten-minute rest and restore your hp up to half max. If you feel you need more, better spend some resources - either the healer's spells, use a class ability, drink some potions powered by your Resonance, or something.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
not a consideration in the balance of encounter design.

Actually it is. Quite a few of the encounter design guidelines for CR express it as forcing the party to 'use up resources.' That is exactly what they're doing with the wand. They're burning part of their wealth by level (and the charges on the wand), ie their resources, to overcome the effects of the encounter. Its doing exactly what is expected.

In first and second edition D&D (and now again in 5e) players learned to scrabble for every healing potion (and sometimes scroll). Wands are simply more portable versions of the same lesson. The dice decree that you will need to spend money on healing, because the cleric won't be enough (and probably doesn't want to spend their time just being Healbot-2000 anyway).

Staffan Johansson wrote:


The party will likely be wounded, yes, but perhaps not life-threateningly so. And the healing needed can be provided by things like actually casting cure spells, or channeling energy, or whatever other limited resources are available. Or you can just accept the fact that you're at 25 instead of 38 hp.

Given what some creatures can throw out, damage-wise, especially on crits, any damage is potentially life-threatening, and going down in combat is a huge problem for the party- you aren't contributing anymore and the person who now has to heal you isn't contributing that round, (and probably future rounds). By not healing, you've greatly increased the chance the entire party will fail.

As for spells- no. Really no. They're too limited and do to little, and this just gets worse as characters go up in level. Higher level healing spells fall behind the HP bloat far too fast, same as direct damage spells (as opposed to save or die spells).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Voss wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
not a consideration in the balance of encounter design.

Actually it is. Quite a few of the encounter design guidelines for CR express it as forcing the party to 'use up resources.' That is exactly what they're doing with the wand. They're burning part of their wealth by level (and the charges on the wand), ie their resources, to overcome the effects of the encounter. Its doing exactly what is expected.

In first and second edition D&D (and now again in 5e) players learned to scrabble for every healing potion (and sometimes scroll). Wands are simply more portable versions of the same lesson. The dice decree that you will need to spend money on healing, because the cleric won't be enough (and probably doesn't want to spend their time just being Healbot-2000 anyway).

Except 750 gp might be a large chunk of change at 2nd level but by 10th level it’s so insignificant that the party may as well carry around 10 of the things with them. Which means that they haven’t given up anything significant (as far as WBL) in return for always being at full hotness points in every fight.

It would be different if you needed to trade up to a more powerful wand and thus spend a more significant proportion of WBL, but that’s not the case.

However with resonance it will be. You can still heal with a wand of CLW at low level if your party strategy needs it, but at level 10 that healing is too insignificant, it makes more sense to trade up to Cure Serious Wounds. Each point of resonance needs a significantly larger chunk of hit points healed as you climb in levels.


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just to get a better understanding of the problem, what exactly hinders the GM to bring the next encounter to the group while they are waving their CLW around? if they develop a habit of jerking their happy sticks in the dungeon, just don't give them time to do so

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Hythlodeus wrote:
just to get a better understanding of the problem, what exactly hinders the GM to bring the next encounter to the group while they are waving their CLW around? if they develop a habit of jerking their happy sticks in the dungeon, just don't give them time to do so

You do that once or twice your players will take steps to make sure their healing is not interrupted (retreating to the dungeon entrance to get their heals on, hiding in a closet, locking and barring the door), and if you keep pushing them anyway at a certain point your players are going to wonder how these monsters have perfect Player Character radar capable of pinging every time they hear a cure light wounds, but not for instance when the players loot the corpses.

Over 20 levels of play, the game itself needs to take some responsibility for pacing.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Voss wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
not a consideration in the balance of encounter design.

Actually it is. Quite a few of the encounter design guidelines for CR express it as forcing the party to 'use up resources.' That is exactly what they're doing with the wand. They're burning part of their wealth by level (and the charges on the wand), ie their resources, to overcome the effects of the encounter. Its doing exactly what is expected.

In first and second edition D&D (and now again in 5e) players learned to scrabble for every healing potion (and sometimes scroll). Wands are simply more portable versions of the same lesson. The dice decree that you will need to spend money on healing, because the cleric won't be enough (and probably doesn't want to spend their time just being Healbot-2000 anyway).

Except 750 gp might be a large chunk of change at 2nd level but by 10th level it’s so insignificant that the party may as well carry around 10 of the things with them. Which means that they haven’t given up anything significant (as far as WBL) in return for always being at full hotness points in every fight.

It would be different if you needed to trade up to a more powerful wand and thus spend a more significant proportion of WBL, but that’s not the case.

However with resonance it will be. You can still heal with a wand of CLW at low level if your party strategy needs it, but at level 10 that healing is too insignificant, it makes more sense to trade up to Cure Serious Wounds. Each point of resonance needs a significantly larger chunk of hit points healed as you climb in levels.

Yep, it will be a problem in PF2. So healing is going to have to come some other way. The wand 'problem' is solved by pushing the basic reasons it over to some other (as-yet-defined, at least to us) system. It is a treatment of symptoms, not the underlying cause.


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Staffan Johansson wrote:
Voss wrote:
Because D&D/PF combat is largely an exercise in statistical outcomes, PCs don't behave like characters in books or movies, and that offends some people. But against a reasonable CR encounter, the party *will* get wounded and *will* need healing. Every time, multiple times a day, and wands are the most effective way of dealing that statistical fact.
The party will likely be wounded, yes, but perhaps not life-threateningly so. And the healing needed can be provided by things like actually casting cure spells, or channeling energy, or whatever other limited resources are available.

The presence of healing items is largely because clerics, who had all these cool spells, couldn't cast them because they were always converted into healing spells. It made the game very unsatisfying to play a cleric or other healing class when you were pigeonholed like that/cut off from fully utilising one of your major class features.

And I'll echo Angel Hunter D. when you give players plot immunity to injuries, then you can do away with convenient healing. This isn't a story and the authors aren't fully in control of how hurt characters get, the dice are. At it's heart it's a game used to tell a story, but you need to make allowances for the game part.

And whether that healing is CLW spam or some other mechanism won't change your underlying narrative (it takes 30 seconds in game to say "I use 5 charges and heal 23 hp", it doesn't have to be particularly intrusive unless you make it so).

In short if you remove CLW spam either insulate your players from some of the damage they should be taking or give them access to some other form of healing (which may or may not make any more sense than CLW spam) or 'encourage' someone to play a healbot.

Silver Crusade

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Like I said the real problem with CLW is that it gets you to Max hp between every single combat. Encounters are not designed with PCs being at full hit points every fight.

The new game, I assume, is going to be made under the assumption that over the course of an adventuring day the PCs will face some hit point attrition (which they can partially mitigate with spells/items).

If that's not the case, then PCs should automatically gain healing after every fight, no need for the CLW wand.


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I find it hard to believe that adventure authors after a decade of Pathfinder don't take into account that the PCs don't have means to heal themselves after encounters. especiall after reading and GMing encounters that are clearly designed to pull resources, I really do think the authors are smarter than you give them credit for


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Except 750 gp might be a large chunk of change at 2nd level but by 10th level it’s so insignificant that the party may as well carry around 10 of the things with them.

Well, you actually do need ten of them to get a comparable effect due to the fact that you have more hit points at higher levels. Actually, this has me curious: just how much more efficient to wands of CLW become at higher levels?

One mistake I think people make is using wealth by level as our benchmark. If we were talking permanent items that would be appropriate, but we're talking about an ongoing expense in the form of a consumable. As a result we shouldn't measure relative to total assets, but rather relative to income. These are two different things, as can be seen by cross-referencing the wealth by level table with the suggested treasure table, which are not in lock-step. So a 2nd level Fighter expects 137 gp income per encounter (his share of 550 in a 4-man party) and a 10th level Fighter expects 1362 gp per encounter.

At 2nd level a Fighter might have 21 hit points (15 from hit dice, 4 from con, 2 from FCB). A wand of CLW heals for an average of 5.5 damage per use, which is 26% of the Fighter's total hit points. If we presume no wastage that gives 3.8 charges to fully refill the Fighter's hit points. This costs 57 GP to do, which is 41.6% of the character's expected income from a single encounter.

Now let's look at the 10th level Fighter. He probably has a str/con belt by now, and his hit point total could be around 109 (59 from hit dice, 40 from con, 10 from FCB). That same wand of CLW is still healing 5.5 damage per use, or 5% of the Fighter's total hit points. It takes 19.8 uses (again, presuming no wastage) to fully heal the fighter. This costs 297 GP to do, which is 21.8% of the character's expected income from a single encounter.

So it does become more efficient, but not by an order of magnitude. Your healing expenses relative to income will drop by about 50% over the course of those levels. However, the downside is that it takes 5 times longer to heal the same percentage of your total hit points since it's curing a relatively smaller chunk. This doesn't seem unreasonable to me.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Like I said the real problem with CLW is that it gets you to Max hp between every single combat. Encounters are not designed with PCs being at full hit points every fight.

Aren't they? I've seen this mentioned a few times now, but the only rules I see on the matter are an encounter of Y level should force the party to use X% of daily resources. I can't find any encounter design rules that hints or suggests the party should be entering combat at less than (or close to) full health.

You never know when you will hit a major encounter, not healing up after an encounter (or retreating if unable to do so) is a recipe for disaster unless the GM is going to pull punches.

I have GM'd for more player deaths from a player forgetting to heal after a fight than any other single cause (except my own mistakes -
maybe).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Hythlodeus wrote:
I find it hard to believe that adventure authors after a decade of Pathfinder don't take into account that the PCs don't have means to heal themselves after encounters. especiall after reading and GMing encounters that are clearly designed to pull resources, I really do think the authors are smarter than you give them credit for

What about home GMs who aren't running Adventure Paths?

What about home GMs who are running Adventure Paths and have rightfully pointed out that Kingmaker's 1 encounter/day early game is pretty unsatisfying?

What about inexperienced home GMs who are learning how to GM but they have a group of experienced players, and they don't understand why their encounters are getting steamrolled and the players are getting bored?

The game needs to accommodate more than just Adventure Paths after all. But more than that, it would certainly help Adventure Path authors to not have to work against the system to make interesting and fun encounters.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dasrak wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Except 750 gp might be a large chunk of change at 2nd level but by 10th level it’s so insignificant that the party may as well carry around 10 of the things with them.

Well, you actually do need ten of them to get a comparable effect due to the fact that you have more hit points at higher levels. Actually, this has me curious: just how much more efficient to wands of CLW become at higher levels?

One mistake I think people make is using wealth by level as our benchmark. If we were talking permanent items that would be appropriate, but we're talking about an ongoing expense in the form of a consumable. As a result we shouldn't measure relative to total assets, but rather relative to income. These are two different things, as can be seen by cross-referencing the wealth by level table with the suggested treasure table, which are not in lock-step. So a 2nd level Fighter expects 137 gp income per encounter (his share of 550 in a 4-man party) and a 10th level Fighter expects 1362 gp per encounter.

At 2nd level a Fighter might have 21 hit points (15 from hit dice, 4 from con, 2 from FCB). A wand of CLW heals for an average of 5.5 damage per use, which is 26% of the Fighter's total hit points. If we presume no wastage that gives 3.8 charges to fully refill the Fighter's hit points. This costs 57 GP to do, which is 41.6% of the character's expected income from a single encounter.

Now let's look at the 10th level Fighter. He probably has a str/con belt by now, and his hit point total could be around 109 (59 from hit dice, 40 from con, 10 from FCB). That same wand of CLW is still healing 5.5 damage per use, or 5% of the Fighter's total hit points. It takes 19.8 uses (again, presuming no wastage) to fully heal the fighter. This costs 297 GP to do, which is 21.8% of the character's expected income from a single encounter.

So it does become more efficient, but not by an order of...

So getting fully healed goes from about 12 seconds to 1 minute. That is not a meaningful amount of time either, at 10th level, you don't even lose a meaningful amount from your minute/level buffs for stopping to heal between fights.

And a 50% reduction in healing cost at higher level, and no meaningful increase in time.


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remind me again why I think the vanician is broke and is a joke


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


What about inexperienced home GMs who are learning how to GM but they have a group of experienced players, and they don't understand why their encounters are getting steamrolled and the players are getting bored?

Hopefully they see that their players are getting bored and will talk to them. The players, experienced as they are will provide feedback and help and the GMs will learn. That's usually how the cookie crumbles in those situations. And to learn something is nothing one should be ashamed of. But again, maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm just oldfashioned that way, communicating with the players and relying on feedback and stuff

Silver Crusade

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Hythlodeus wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


What about inexperienced home GMs who are learning how to GM but they have a group of experienced players, and they don't understand why their encounters are getting steamrolled and the players are getting bored?

Hopefully they see that their players are getting bored and will talk to them. The players, experienced as they are will provide feedback and help and the GMs will learn. That's usually how the cookie crumbles in those situations. And to learn something is nothing one should be ashamed of. But again, maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm just oldfashioned that way, communicating with the players and relying on feedback and stuff

Sure, I’m all for good communication, but imagine if the game itself could at least give the GM an accurate heads up about pacing and what to expect from an adventuring day.

The encounter building info Gamemastering chapter in PF1 is near meaningless because the game doesn’t make explicitly clear PCs will always be at full hit points between fights, that CLW spam is an assumed part of the game. It’s got other problems too, but this is one of them.

By building a new system from the ground up the developers are able to provide more accurate advice when it comes to encounter building, pacing and the like. Real advice that is useful to people who are new to the game.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Sure, I’m all for good communication, but imagine if the game itself could at least give the GM an accurate heads up about pacing and what to expect from an adventuring day.

sure. a paragraph or two about encounter design would be nice for new GMs. but does those paragraphs missing really justify the inclusion of a clumsy system with all the negatives it brings? or are there easier ways to address that without changing the whole dynamic of the game itself?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Hythlodeus wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Sure, I’m all for good communication, but imagine if the game itself could at least give the GM an accurate heads up about pacing and what to expect from an adventuring day.

sure. a paragraph or two about encounter design would be nice for new GMs. but does those paragraphs missing really justify the inclusion of a clumsy system with all the negatives it brings? or are there easier ways to address that without changing the whole dynamic of the game itself?

You haven't read the new system. Neither have I.

I actually would like to change the whole dynamic of the game, not just because of Cure Light Wounds, but because high levels are a chore to run, book-keeping is out of control in this game, too many fiddly floating bonuses and the idea that I occasionally have to do a full Audit of a character sheet because I'll occasionally make an attack roll for a monster or NPC against a player and find a surprisingly terrible AC or Save at level 8+ and I have to go and see why they don't have all their required Big 6 items to stay competitive.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
So getting fully healed goes from about 12 seconds to 1 minute. That is not a meaningful amount of time either

If you actually roll perception checks for other adversaries nearby to hear the sounds of combat, 1 minute absolutely a meaningful amount of time.

Secondly, healing in general does become more effective at higher levels and it's not just consumables. For instance, a 10th level Cleric who devotes four spell slots at each of 1st and 2nd level for CLW and CMW will heal for a total of 12d8+60 damage, or 114 hit points. This represents 100% of the Fighter's total hit points. The 2nd level Cleric would need to spend all of his spell slots to get a comparable amount of healing (there's a reason that low-level Clerics rely on Channel Energy), whereas the 10th level Cleric didn't even touch his best resources to do that.

Silver Crusade

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Listening through a closed doorway with a -2 penalty for every 10 feet.

If the next room was going to hear something why didn’t they hear the fight?
Do you make the next room’s adversaries roll perception every time the PCs loot the bodies?
Do the adversaries always charge in yelling “stop all that healing! Our encounter isn’t balanced for that!” Even the unintelligent ones?

You pull that on a group of players too often you’re either going to have a riot on your hands or PCs who retreat to the dungeon entrance after every fight to heal up or other solutions see upthread).

It’s just not a viable answer to the way the game is actually run or played.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Listening through a closed doorway with a -2 penalty for every 10 feet.

The DC to hear the sound of combat is -10. Even if the guys who are listening have a +0 perception check and were taking a -11 penalty (listening through a closed door from 30 feet away), they'd still succeed on a natural 1. If we're talking about five adversaries that all make checks separately, then there's about a 76% chance that one of them will roll a 16 or better. This would allow them to hear the sounds of combat through two sets of closed doors and 80 feet of distance. And that's a zero perception modifier. If we're talking something CR-appropriate for a 10th level party, it can hear the battle through stone walls from over 100 feet away.

So yes, combat is extremely easy to hear from a long distance away. If you're just going to have nearby enemies twiddle their fingers after hearing the sounds of battle... well, you don't get to complain that your PC's leisurely have several minutes to cast spells after the fight.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Do you make the next room’s adversaries roll perception every time the PCs loot the bodies?

Nope, just for combat. Anyone who didn't hear the combat (with that extremely low DC) certainly isn't going to hear anything else.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Do the adversaries always charge in yelling “stop all that healing! Our encounter isn’t balanced for that!” Even the unintelligent ones?

More like "there's the sound of battle nearby, I better go help our comrades". Exact response depends on the specific situation, but in general "search for intruders" is a fairly normal response to hearing the sounds of battle.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
It’s just not a viable answer to the way the game is actually run or played.

Sure, if that's not the style of game you want to play then by all means ignore that rule. However, you don't get to then turn around and claim that 1 minute is an insignificant amount of time when you're ignoring the very rule that would incentivize the PC's to not wait around for a minute after a noisy battle.

Silver Crusade

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If the enemies are going to barge in and join the fight then their CR needs to be calculated into the challenge of that fight. So basically round two of every combat of your game basically doubles in challenge?

Cool, so you kill two-five rooms worth of bad guys in one fight literally every combat?

Your games must be very fast. Although each individual battle must take like two hours.

Silver Crusade

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And this is assuming a dungeon crawl.

A wilderness adventure usually has a lot of space between combats, urban adventures can have battles in multiple locations in a day.

Anyway, asked and answered.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Like I said the real problem with CLW is that it gets you to Max hp between every single combat. Encounters are not designed with PCs being at full hit points every fight.

The new game, I assume, is going to be made under the assumption that over the course of an adventuring day the PCs will face some hit point attrition (which they can partially mitigate with spells/items).

If that's not the case, then PCs should automatically gain healing after every fight, no need for the CLW wand.

You (and a couple of others) keep saying that encounters are not balanced for PCs being at full health, but it's simply not true if CR guidelines are to be of any meaning. You have those tables in bestiary where there's average damage for given CR and if you face level appropriate threats, you have to be at full health so you don't get one-shotted down.

I find hp attrition to be pretty crappy for wearing down the PC, because if you rely on it instead of expending other resources, you're (considering standard PC mentality) forcing somebody to play the healer.

If I wanted to make hp based attrition, I would make something like healing surges for out of combat healing or maybe through enhanced Heal skill with cumulative penalty for multiple uses per day.

My biggest problem with CLW is that because of broken pricing math, the higher level spells are useless for healing but it either requires making costs linear instead of quadratic, or removing healing items from standard pricing paradigm.


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It has been hinted at before, but I will say it plainly here. The reason for cheap effective healing between combats is so that the nominal healers can use their spells and abilities in combat where the fun is.

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