Let us talk about Healers, and how it ties into everything else


General Discussion


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So, first let me get this out of the way, i wont be playtesting the system, because reasons. Paizo has produced a lot of products i've liked over the years, starting with 3.5 era dragon, so i do still follow this playtesting project.

The specific problem with the playtest materials will be discussed later (the nature of the classes)

So to to get this out of the way: Very few people like playing healers, at all. Fundamentally it is because it is a reactive playstyle, you blow per day resources, often out of combat (because healing has historically not been effective in combat, or at all, more on that later) meaning you usually have to save resources that could be used having fun at the table, and in the cases healing is effective, it is still reactive and rather boring, unless it comes with interesting rider effects. I played a cleric once when i was new to roleplaying in 3,5, hated every second of it, then we discovered how effective wands were, and i had fun again.

The second issue is the old "sacred cow" in DnD that good healing has to come from a divine source (and druids count as divine). Most of the players in most of the groups I've played with have been atheists, and a lot refuse to play divine characters at all (As a christian myself, you could say their religion forbids it :P). This is not tied to any game mechanics, but it is an issue.

The most fun I, or anyone else in my main group has had with healers was in 4th edition dnd, where healing was effective, tied to surges, and came with interesting riders all used as bonus actions in combat.
We left 4th ed because of the gamist and boring skill system (the playtest is doing this too, please stop), and tracking the amount of rider effects and conditional bonuses got exhausting, but everyone agrees that was the most fun they had as a healer.

Suggestions: either go with the stamina/hp system used in starfinder, and make healing in combat interesting, or tie effective out of combat healing to the medicine skill. In d&d 5e, the most effective healing resource is interestingly enough the bandage feat.

The cleric class in the playtest is really, really good (probably top-tier) but people might not play it, mostly atheists but also people tied to abrahamic religions, because worshipping another god in game is too much for some people as well, it does not matter how good you make a specific class, people might still not want to play it, and it also prohibits class diversity and limits design space for new classes.

I was going to talk about wands of clw and the like as well, and how they are frustrating from a dm perspective, but were absolutely necessary in 3,5 and pathfinder, but that might be another thread.


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As a nonbeliever myself, playing Cleric has never been an issue. After all, it’s a fantasy world where the gods are real and present, so of course it doesn’t give me issues. Until now i never knew anyone who had any :)

That aside, Cleric is definitely off target when it comes to healing. The whole healing system relies on clerics way too much and monsters do hit often, meaning healing up is more necessary than ever.

Full approval on the Medicine skill. Current healing feats are quite uneffective, and can only be used once per person. Some way of converting time spent off-combat into health regained would benefit everyone, from the barbarian who couldn’t solve a riddle to save his life to the bookish wizard who needs to catch a breath.


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Oh, and to add to it: Almost no one has power fantasies about healing, there are no major super heroes or anime protagonists with healing powers of any note, so most new players naturally stay away from those classes, healing magic also messes with fiction and world-building, like quests to find the antidote.
One of the major dm:s in my group tries to peer pressure people into playing healers, and i do sometimes, but it is seriously not fun. As a dm i have sometimes just added npcs for that purpose, or allowed leadership for a cleric/oracle cohort, which is all they want anyway.


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Telefax wrote:

Oh, and to add to it: Almost no one has power fantasies about healing, there are no major super heroes or anime protagonists with healing powers of any note, so most new players naturally stay away from those classes, healing magic also messes with fiction and world-building, like quests to find the antidote.

One of the major dm:s in my group tries to peer pressure people into playing healers, and i do sometimes, but it is seriously not fun. As a dm i have sometimes just added npcs for that purpose, or allowed leadership for a cleric/oracle cohort, which is all they want anyway.

As a dedicated healer main in several MMO's as well as a roleplayer whose favorite class is hands down the Oracle, I take offense to the notion that we don't have power fantasies about being a healer. They're just a bit different from most people's.

One, a lot of hearer mains aren't pacifists unless they're in the medical field in real life. I'd even go out on a limb and say most of us tend towards the opposite, we really like whacking the enemy in the face. Because of this, we don't like wasting our time healing our allies, buffing them is fine as we all know the only reason that fighter got the last hit on the BBEG was from the haste spell we cast on them. This also ties into point two, healers like to make themselves and their allies as excruciatingly painful to kill as possible. This goes double for ourselves, healers are probably the only other group of people besides "tanks" who actually enjoy the thought of getting hit with a weapon. It's just that the healers usually has them either reducing the damage to practically nothing with defensive wards and armor and/or heals it faster than they tan take damage. (One of my favorite video game stories was the time I soloed a field boss by just chipping away at it with my basic attack and spells cast from HP, cause I could literally heal myself faster than it could damage me.)

This is why Paladins, Oracles, and Clerics are still quite popular even with things such as CLW spam. Cause unlike just about every single video game ever -- excluding Warframe -- all of the primary healers in D&D/Pathfinder are in the thick of it alongside the other martials. Paladins are right there, in the thickest parts of the fighting as one of the hardest classes to kill in PF1e. Add in the ability to heal themselves as a swift action, and you can see why healers flock to it. Clerics and Oracles might not have the same martial prowess or action economy the Paladin has, but Clerics get Channel energy (AOE heal everyone nearby is a decent use of a turn) and instead get a massive 9th level spell list filled with all sorts of buffing and support spells. The fact you can hit yourself with many of them as well and go to town on some unlucky heretic is just an extra level of sweet that most games with healer classes don't give.

You may have noticed I mentioned Warframe earlier. Well, that's because I consider the game to be the best implementation of what a healer main wants out of their power fantasy, period. Three of the Warframes or classes in the game can be described as pure healer/support frames: Trinity, Oberon, and Harrow -- each representing the concepts of light, medium, and heavily armed supports in the exact opposite order you'd expect. I could go into way more detail about the three, but I think I will just go over my personal favorite: Trinity. Despite appearing to be the classic white robe healer with the lowest armor in the game and sub-par health and shields, she's actually the the hardest of the three to kill, surviving things that would kill some of the dedicated tank frames. How? well, despite the fact she has no real damaging abilities, she can still use every weapon in the game, like all frames. One of her generates more energy (MP) than it costs to cast and another redirects most damage and status effects to nearby enemies. But the ability that makes her the healer's dream is her "ult" (which can be used whenever you want so long as your infinite effectively infinite energy pool can pay the cost) which fully restores all party members to full HP and Shields instantly even at long range. Oh and gives everyone 75% damage reduction. The end result: a frame who gets into melee almsot as much as Valkyr (a barbarian themed frame who is literally invincible while "raged" ) with over 95% damage reduction at all times who can still prevent someone from dying with a single button.

So how does this apply to Pathfinder 2e? Well, let's look at what healers want:
> Healers like being proactive about preventing people from dying.
> Healers like killing enemies, cause a dead enemy can't harm the party.
> Healers like not dying.
> Healers like attacks to target the guy least likely to die, which may be themselves.
> Healers don't like healing unless it's the difference between life-and death or it can be combined with the first two things listed here.


Heh, i said "almost" no one. And i dont think we are as far apart as you might think. I have not played warframe,but you are describing playing support, which has other aspects to it, and is not supported in most rpgs. I was mostly talking about pure hp recovery, which has been mostly ineffective from 3.0-pf. It actually works in the pf2 playtest, but only really with the cleric.


I play Paladin in almost every online game that allows it specifically so I can be a melee type who can also heal. Your "almost" no one might be smaller than you think.


Healing is VERY strong mid-combat this edition, the epic scaling on the Heal spell part of the combo of is why Cleric is so good.

Scarab Sages

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It still boggles my mind that Pathfinder, and most modern RPGs, haven't learned from the old Guild Wars Protection Monk, undoubtedly one of the most popular specializations for their support-themed class.

The basic idea was that Prot monks were proactive healers, and the player based loved them for it. Providing high amounts of damage blocking without actually restoring hit points is a really cool way to proactively support, and most modern d20 RPGs have had systems in place that mimic it for ages! (Ever heard of Temporary HP?) Why we don't have a cleric archetype, paladin variant, or heck, make Abjurer wizards cool by giving them cool, temp-hp support spells just makes no sense to me.

Paizo, this is your moment. Make Temp HP an effective form of proactive damage mitigation. It will inspire so much variety in the game.


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Another player here who was VERY proud of his Life Oracle for Hell’s Rebels. My character played an instrumental part in several battles where wave upon wave of overwhelming force was thrown at the group, and in one very tough encounter, I kept everyone standing with a combination of quick channels and targeted spontaneous healing and buffing, so that the rest of the group could do their job of offense. It was not a situation where “one more offensive character would have helped more than a healer” - had I not been performing my role, we would have lost half the party in one round to sheer direct damage. So I did fulfill my “healer power fantasy” that day. :)

That said, I do think a cleric or divine sorcerer at this point is VERY important to group makeup in PF2, something which games like D&D 5 have solved by their use of “healing hit dice” on short rests, and Starfinder solved with stamina and resolve. I do NOT LIKE separate stamina pools, but some kind of limited rest mechanic to regain a little bit of hit points would be welcome, just NOT back to the unlimited healing sticks of PF1 or 3.5 - those things made it way too easy to be at full hit points at every single encounter of the day. If people want the Cure light sticks again, might just as well say you start every encounter automatically with full hit points and cut out the middle man...


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There is a major dislike for reactive healing. That is pretty fair and that is what we got. Players tend to really like healing that doesn't cut into their ability to act on the combat though. Passive healing and preemptive healing aught to be the baseline for any healing focus class, or that class is going to have the rug pulled out from under them when proactive/passive healing classes enter the game.


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Nothing about healing is fun. It is way too big a part of the game.

In movies and television, including fantasy, where melee or ranged combat occur, heroes don’t take significant damage very often. If they do take significant damage, it’s in the climactic battle, or it affects the story in a significant way. When real fencers get better, they don’t get more “hit points” to take more damage, they get better at getting through defenses and more importantly, they get better at blocking damage. Ranged combatants get more accurate but also get better strategies at using cover and getting around opponents protections and at getting opponents to expose themselves to attacks. Maybe we don’t need combat to always be inflicting massive damage on player characters. Maybe we could make combat itself more fun and make those attacks that get through mean more instead of whittling characters down in health in combat like Thanksgiving turkeys.

Instead of using AC, roll for defense. Rolling for defense is kind of already built in. PC AC starts at 10 and gets modified for dexterity and armor and other modifiers. An average roll on a d20 is 10.5. Instead of using the 10, use the die roll and add all the other modifiers.

Then make defense more interesting. Make it more a battle of wits.

For melee, do more with parrying. Do more with the direction that the strike comes from. Do more with alternating from fighting defensively to aggressively. Do more with strategies like feints. Weapons like quarterstaffs should be a lot better at blocking other weapons. Dual weapons should be a lot better at catching weapons, and getting past one or two weapons could be made more interesting.

Ranged combat could do more with feints to make characters think that their opponent is open or not. Getting in and out of cover without an opponent seeing the opening could be treated more as a useful skill.

Counterspelling has been too hard. It shouldn’t continue to be, and it be fun and feel like an accomplishment. Giant unavoidable damage from spells should be less a part of the game. Magic should be more mysterious and interesting and less damaging rays and exploding balls of energy. It should be more genuine fantasy and less duplication of science fiction. It should be more otherworldly summons, clever illusions, and things that just put opponents in a state of horror.

Maybe it should be easier to get opponents to run away or surrender.

Maybe there’s a better way to handle things than constantly carving the PCs up with damage levels that put people in ICUs.


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I really enjoy playing healer. And honestly, reactive healing isn't that bad. It's only bad when you're playing the type of Cleric/Oracle that only focuses on healing and thus doesn't have anything to do until they can reactively heal (and I suppose the nerve wracking higher levels of play where you have to constantly heal and worry that you either won't be able to keep up with the damage or run out of healing).

Otherwise, you do can still contribute by either smacking enemies, shooting enemies, blasting enemies, or buffing/debuffing and still be able to save your party's butts from death. It's really fun to keep people alive by the skin of their teeth, knowing the only reason they managed to down the big bad is because you were there. Or to have the party take a fireball (or multiple fireballs) to the face and just say nuh-uh and wipe that away. I mean, those old Mercy play of the games in Overwatch where she brings her whole team back for a massive turn around are super awesome and really exemplify 'ultimate healer power fantasy'.

I will say however, that it's not cool if every healer is the same cookie cutter build with some mild flavor differentiations on top (gosh Life Oracles were boring). Which is why they really do need to make Druids, Bards, Paladins, Divine Sorcerers, and Alchemists capable of supporting a party (without necessarily reducing themselves to solely healbots to do so). I hope that means giving those classes some stronger healing abilities and adding some better out of combat healing so nobody has to be reduced to being a healbot.

I also hope that they keep an eye on Clerics. I know their heals are really good and they're practically a required party member. But I do worry that they'll get reduced to doing nothing but healing with the current system. Especially with how nerfed buffs and summons are - which did need some nerfs, but not to the extent Paizo took it. Those used to be the bread and butter of Clerics, but now most of the good buffs (and all summons) require concentration; which means you can't contribute with buffs/summons and get to do your big cool AoE channel at the same time. At least not until level 14, but waiting until almost 3/4 of the way through your character's career for that does not seem acceptable.


Lyricanna wrote:
Telefax wrote:

Oh, and to add to it: Almost no one has power fantasies about healing, there are no major super heroes or anime protagonists with healing powers of any note, so most new players naturally stay away from those classes, healing magic also messes with fiction and world-building, like quests to find the antidote.

One of the major dm:s in my group tries to peer pressure people into playing healers, and i do sometimes, but it is seriously not fun. As a dm i have sometimes just added npcs for that purpose, or allowed leadership for a cleric/oracle cohort, which is all they want anyway.

As a dedicated healer main in several MMO's as well as a roleplayer whose favorite class is hands down the Oracle, I take offense to the notion that we don't have power fantasies about being a healer. They're just a bit different from most people's.

One, a lot of hearer mains aren't pacifists unless they're in the medical field in real life. I'd even go out on a limb and say most of us tend towards the opposite, we really like whacking the enemy in the face. Because of this, we don't like wasting our time healing our allies, buffing them is fine as we all know the only reason that fighter got the last hit on the BBEG was from the haste spell we cast on them. This also ties into point two, healers like to make themselves and their allies as excruciatingly painful to kill as possible. This goes double for ourselves, healers are probably the only other group of people besides "tanks" who actually enjoy the thought of getting hit with a weapon. It's just that the healers usually has them either reducing the damage to practically nothing with defensive wards and armor and/or heals it faster than they tan take damage. (One of my favorite video game stories was the time I soloed a field boss by just chipping away at it with my basic attack and spells cast from HP, cause I could literally heal myself faster than it could damage me.)

This is why Paladins, Oracles, and Clerics are still quite popular even...

All of this, plus, a last thing I, and most dedicated healers I know, like is a well timed save. Sadly, this never applied to dnd/PF due to:

In older systems that was kinda impossible due to the rocket tag nature of the game (even if you did an emergency huge heal saving someone, he was still 1 crit away from death)

Now, if they do manage to accomplish their specified target of "no more rocket tag battles" this can finally be a thing here too. A strong burst heal bringing back the target and take him out of danger.

Contributor

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Madame Endor wrote:

Instead of using AC, roll for defense. Rolling for defense is kind of already built in. PC AC starts at 10 and gets modified for dexterity and armor and other modifiers. An average roll on a d20 is 10.5. Instead of using the 10, use the die roll and add all the other modifiers.

Then make defense more interesting. Make it more a battle of wits.

For melee, do more with parrying. Do more with the direction that the strike comes from. Do more with alternating from fighting defensively to aggressively. Do more with strategies like feints. Weapons like quarterstaffs should be a lot better at blocking other weapons. Dual weapons should be a lot better at catching weapons, and getting past one or two weapons could be made more interesting.

Ranged combat could do more with feints to make characters think that their opponent is open or not. Getting in and out of cover without an opponent seeing the opening could be treated more as a useful skill.

So a big issue with doing "roll-off for Defense" is that it REALLY slows the game down, especially if you're a system that allows players to make multiple attacks during a turn. If you've ever GMed for a parry and riposte-focused Swashbuckler, you'll know what I mean.

How would you propose curbing that issue?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Having now experienced it in play, I would REALLY like to see Starfinders stamina/hit point/resolve mechanics in PF2.

That said, I don't have a problem with divine healers or healer roles in FRPGs. I also tend to find clerics, oracles, and other religious-classes among the most interesting in FRPGs.


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I dont really play mmorpgs, but i have played a LOT of MOBAS, and overall i prefer playing tanks/support, the best support classes are imo the ones that focus on shielding, buffing etc, and i also like playing healers from time to time in rpgs, just never clerics, because reasons. In my case it is from souring on them because i got peer pressured into playing the group healer one time too many, and i overall think a game works better if you dont make a class mandatory, it gets stale.


Telefax wrote:


So to to get this out of the way: Very few people like playing healers, at all.

I love playing healers.

But that's becuse I used to do it a lot in LRP, where there was a real skill in keeping your hands on the melle character's head for 30 seconds and saying the magic words without getting hit.

I play a couple of healer types in PF / PFS and when the circumstances are right they ae great fun, but I think the main reason people find them boring is that the ratio of damage done to healing achieved is all wrong. If PF2 can manage to redo the maths so that a healer being there makes a difference between the fight being won or lost then it is much more interesting than the PF1 paradigm of "maximise damage is always the most effective thing to do".


Alexander Augunas wrote:

So a big issue with doing "roll-off for Defense" is that it REALLY slows the game down, especially if you're a system that allows players to make multiple attacks during a turn. If you've ever GMed for a parry and riposte-focused Swashbuckler, you'll know what I mean.

How would you propose curbing that issue?

Actually, I do play, duelist and swashbuckler characters, and I love parry and riposte. It is a little slower than having the attacker make all the rolls and making weapon combat in gameplay all about offense and nothing to do with defense, but I like being a part of defending itself. It also feels more like really fencing.

There are things going on now in gameplay that are REALLY slowing down the game:
* Hitpoint whittling. Requiring multiple hits to take down opponents.
* Needing players to take actions in the middle of combat to heal characters in the middle of combat to keep them in combat.
* Needing players to take actions to heal their own characters and companions in the middle of combat like take healing potions, use spells, or use other abilities.
* Needing players to take action in the middle of combat to remedy conditions that take characters out of combat or reduce their effectiveness.
* Needing to take time at the end of combat to heal characters of damage so that they are less likely to be killed in the next encounter.
* Needing to constantly sleep and spend time out of encounters after a tiny number of encounters to heal, restore healing spells, and make healing items.

What I’m proposing to speed things up is to make successful hits or extraordinary actions count more and do more damage, more likely to kill the opponent outright, more likely to disable them, or more likely to make them flee or surrender. Even if there are a similar number of actions in encounters, reducing out of encounter healing and rest speeds up play and gets more encounters in.

Currently, players feel successful in weapon combat because they come up with clever strategies, score successful hits, do significant damage, and disable or kill their opponent. Dramatic tension is inserted from opponents damaging player characters, and player characters surviving that damage.

In a game where successful hits do more, there’s less grinding down of hit points to make players feel a little part of the success and feel less dramatic tension from their characters losing hit points, active defense can be a way to up the successes and dramatic tension. Maybe we don’t need active defense. Maybe having all the rolls in for offense is satisfying enough for most players. I like the idea of active defense, and think that could help with a game where things are rebalanced a bit and make it feel engaging. It also just feels more like being in real combat.

No matter what, we currently have a game where hit point whittling slows down the game a lot during and after encounters, and few people enjoy being given the job or feeling obligated to take the job of healing the damage from all of the hit point whittling, but healing is an integral part of the game to keep players from encounter to encounter. It seems like there are ways to address this.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would like to see options for self-healing or recovery, something like the short rest mechanic would be great. Especially when Battle Medic takes such a high check to be effective, and only functions once a day.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I would like to see options for self-healing or recovery, something like the short rest mechanic would be great. Especially when Battle Medic takes such a high check to be effective, and only functions once a day.

Goodness, I hope this will never happen! As one of seemingly many healer fans (both in RPGs and MMOs), we do *not* want more self-healing, as it will convince people healers are pointless. Instead, can't we please get more pro-active abilities? Temp hits points (and significant amounts per action, please - at least as much as current heals of the same level), reaction-based AC or DR buffs, more support for Shield Other type playstyles, and so forth. Please?

Some different offensive-support tactics would be good, too. Maybe some ranged debuffs that target TAC, rather than saving throws?


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Makarion wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I would like to see options for self-healing or recovery, something like the short rest mechanic would be great. Especially when Battle Medic takes such a high check to be effective, and only functions once a day.

Goodness, I hope this will never happen! As one of seemingly many healer fans (both in RPGs and MMOs), we do *not* want more self-healing, as it will convince people healers are pointless. Instead, can't we please get more pro-active abilities? Temp hits points (and significant amounts per action, please - at least as much as current heals of the same level), reaction-based AC or DR buffs, more support for Shield Other type playstyles, and so forth. Please?

Some different offensive-support tactics would be good, too. Maybe some ranged debuffs that target TAC, rather than saving throws?

I fully support self-healing/recovery if it's non-combat. It's not really fun to be blowing your limited resources out of combat. If they introduce such a thing, healers will still be super necessary for fighting the bbeg, or for any fight where people are rolling poorly/the GM is rolling well. And if they do actually gave them some reasonable buffs, then they definitely won't want to be forced to decide between using their resources on those (fun) vs saving them to use out of combat (not really fun but necessary when there are no alternatives).


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Zorae wrote:
Makarion wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I would like to see options for self-healing or recovery, something like the short rest mechanic would be great. Especially when Battle Medic takes such a high check to be effective, and only functions once a day.

Goodness, I hope this will never happen! As one of seemingly many healer fans (both in RPGs and MMOs), we do *not* want more self-healing, as it will convince people healers are pointless. Instead, can't we please get more pro-active abilities? Temp hits points (and significant amounts per action, please - at least as much as current heals of the same level), reaction-based AC or DR buffs, more support for Shield Other type playstyles, and so forth. Please?

Some different offensive-support tactics would be good, too. Maybe some ranged debuffs that target TAC, rather than saving throws?

I fully support self-healing/recovery if it's non-combat. It's not really fun to be blowing your limited resources out of combat. If they introduce such a thing, healers will still be super necessary for fighting the bbeg, or for any fight where people are rolling poorly/the GM is rolling well. And if they do actually gave them some reasonable buffs, then they definitely won't want to be forced to decide between using their resources on those (fun) vs saving them to use out of combat (not really fun but necessary when there are no alternatives).

Thing is, for many of us, those things *are* fun! As a dedicated healer, it feels awesome to know you carried the day. In fact, I wish more fights were attritional, rather than rocket tag.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Makarion wrote:
Zorae wrote:
I fully support self-healing/recovery if it's non-combat. It's not really fun to be blowing your limited resources out of combat. If they introduce such a thing, healers will still be super necessary for fighting the bbeg, or for any fight where people are rolling poorly/the GM is rolling well. And if they do actually gave them some reasonable buffs, then they definitely won't want to be forced to decide between using their resources on those (fun) vs saving them to use out of combat (not really fun but necessary when there are no alternatives).
Thing is, for many of us, those things *are* fun! As a dedicated healer, it feels awesome to know you carried the day. In fact, I wish more fights were attritional, rather than rocket tag.

I believe you are Zorae are more or less saying the same thing - in combat healing is awesome and fun, out of combat healing... less so.

In any case, I strongly agree with this thread. Clerics are too necessary (when I tried to run Doomsday Door without a cleric, we had a party member die on the third encounter), and non-magical healing is too weak. I would strongly support a Medicine skill feat (or even just a base use of Medicine!) that is capable of doing meaningful out of combat healing. Like PF1e's Treat Deadly Wounds, except not useless.

I am also definitely in favor of more proactive healing so that clerics can be more fun in combat.


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Madame Endor wrote:

Nothing about healing is fun. It is way too big a part of the game.

In movies and television, including fantasy, where melee or ranged combat occur, heroes don’t take significant damage very often. If they do take significant damage, it’s in the climactic battle, or it affects the story in a significant way. When real fencers get better, they don’t get more “hit points” to take more damage, they get better at getting through defenses and more importantly, they get better at blocking damage. Ranged combatants get more accurate but also get better strategies at using cover and getting around opponents protections and at getting opponents to expose themselves to attacks. Maybe we don’t need combat to always be inflicting massive damage on player characters. Maybe we could make combat itself more fun and make those attacks that get through mean more instead of whittling characters down in health in combat like Thanksgiving turkeys.

I'll absolutely agree with this part. I'm not a huge fan of D&D/PF's "get hit every round, take tons of damage, use up healing spells" approach. Most tabletop RPGs don't operate on the assumption that PCs will get seriously injured on a regular basis, and while a character might have a healing spell or skill, there won't be a party member dedicated to healing like in D20 games or MMOs. Pretty much every non-D20 system has armor soak damage to some degree, so you can shrug off a lot of the lesser hits or only take minor damage from them, and only get badly hurt on rare occasions of bad luck or particularly dangerous foes, at which point being so badly hurt is serious business (and thus dramatically appropriate).

I'm not sure if I agree with the idea of rolling for defense. AC is already basically taking 10 on the proposed defense roll (and it finally has a skill component to it in PF2 now that you're adding level rather than basing it entirely on magic items), so it seems like it would slow the game down unnecessarily and add an extra element of random chance. Yeah, a lot of other RPGs have defense rolls where you basically determine if you hit in melee with opposed combat skill checks, but those RPGs were designed with that in mind and the degree of success usually determines damage so it matters a lot more. Attacks in D20 are more of a binary pass/fail unless they crit, where the amount of damage dealt has nothing to do with the accuracy or skill of the attack.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd like an AC roll if monsters and NPCs attacks were changed to flat DCs of 10+Attack Bonus.

But I doubt Pathfinder will break that particular sacred cow.


MaxAstro wrote:
In any case, I strongly agree with this thread. Clerics are too necessary (when I tried to run Doomsday Door without a cleric, we had a party member die on the third encounter), and non-magical healing is too weak. I would strongly support a Medicine skill feat (or even just a base use of Medicine!) that is capable of doing meaningful out of combat healing. Like PF1e's Treat Deadly Wounds, except not useless.

I'm personally hoping our group gets to run every part without a cleric to see what happens. But I can guarantee that based on the surveys, they can tell if clerics are actually becoming too necessary for party survival.

(Anecdotally, our party had a druid and a paladin and were perfectly fine. One casting of Heal for burst 4 and four Lay on Hands of 1d4+3, along with the fountain, were plenty to keep them going.)


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After Playing Doomsday Dawn, I'm annoyed how indispensable clerics are. The healing other classes can offer up doesn't come close, and feat based healing has the disadvantage of extremely high checks.

Of course this is made worse by the gulf in accuracy between PCs and NPCs at the moment.

They really need to tweak the math in this game: Rest recovery tied to Con means damage sticks across days, High DCs on feat based healing means low chance of success, and High fragility of PCs makes combat both dangerous and a chore.


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twintails0 wrote:

After Playing Doomsday Dawn, I'm annoyed how indispensable clerics are. The healing other classes can offer up doesn't come close, and feat based healing has the disadvantage of extremely high checks.

Of course this is made worse by the gulf in accuracy between PCs and NPCs at the moment.

They really need to tweak the math in this game: Rest recovery tied to Con means damage sticks across days, High DCs on feat based healing means low chance of success, and High fragility of PCs makes combat both dangerous and a chore.

While I do not agree with the latter part of your post, because I find combat at the moment is not lethal enough and my PCs can just run mindlessly into it, I totally get the first part of your post.

It's not the necessity of bringing a healer that annoys me (this is less to avoid PC death than to not make the adventuring day 2 minutes long anyway).

It's the fact that EVERY healer has to be a Cleric of Sarenrae or Pharasma, because of how good the Healing domain is and how good Clerics are at healing to begin with.

The OP stated that some players' religion in real life might make them uncomfortable with the idea of playing a devout class, even in a fantasy world.
I'm the opposite: I'm an atheist and this is precisely the reason why it bothers me.
I don't want to be forced into being a worshipper to contribute to the party as a healer.

I could be a decent healer, in PF 1.0, with a Witch, a Shaman, a Life Oracle, hell, even some weird combinations such as Wizard with Life hexes from an archetype.

I get that this is just the core rulebook and other options for healing have yet to be presented.

At the moment, the only thing I can think of that would make other classes able to compete with a healer Cleric is to find a way to give them Channel Energy - or something similar.

I really don't like that idea.
The Druid herbalism from 1.0 was a very nice concept: why not build on it to offer Druids a decent healing option? That would make them good healers and be more fitting of their class.
The Bard could have a Composition Cantrip akin to Life Bond, for example, and be a decent healer with an ability that matches their character's theme in the first place.

There are possibilities but what has me worried is that Paizo staff seemed like they decided to disregard them on purpose.


dnoisette wrote:


At the moment, the only thing I can think of that would make other classes able to compete with a healer Cleric is to find a way to give them Channel Energy - or something similar.

Angelic-blood sorcerer can get Channel Energy, but only once per day.


The Narration wrote:
dnoisette wrote:


At the moment, the only thing I can think of that would make other classes able to compete with a healer Cleric is to find a way to give them Channel Energy - or something similar.
Angelic-blood sorcerer can get Channel Energy, but only once per day.

I know that, but the once per day thing is not enough for a dedicated party healer. :)


dnoisette wrote:
The Narration wrote:
dnoisette wrote:


At the moment, the only thing I can think of that would make other classes able to compete with a healer Cleric is to find a way to give them Channel Energy - or something similar.
Angelic-blood sorcerer can get Channel Energy, but only once per day.
I know that, but the once per day thing is not enough for a dedicated party healer. :)

Isn't the answer then for the Sorcerer to take Cleric Dedication?

oh wait.


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A Cleric can be a healer w/o trying. So much so they don't have to have a healer mindset (just a willingness to choose positive Channeling).
This is a good thing.

Traditionally, having a healer in the party has been a default. Though I've seen exceptions (even as high as 17th), it's just like having a tank in front is required or having access to arcane utility spells (both w/ exceptions as well). The fact this default healer can be valid in melee, have their spell slots for other uses, and/or focus on skills is also a good thing.

I think PF2 has also given many options to work around not having a healer, even w/o CLW spamming. They don't work well in-combat, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. In-combat healing has to be powerful to be worth the action cost, so should require investment (except as mentioned for the Cleric who just gets it).

My problem (minor, BTW) w/ PF2 healing is that the secondary healing classes (Druid, Paladin, Divine Sorcerer) have a hard time filling the in-combat healer role unless they invest pretty much everything (as in all their spell slots or many of the Paladin's class feats).
I've seen an Animal Druid do very well w/ his companion, and a Paladin do well on himself. They made for an excellent front line duo, but it did take two to fill a role a Cleric can fill while yawning.
Again, a minor problem because it might just make for good combat balance or it might be that Channeling is just too good out of the gate.
The classes, w/ items and perhaps Goodberries for Plant Druids, might be more than sufficient. Just not so much in combat.


We had a Paladin and a Cleric for our first run. Front rank was the Pally and my Wolf (I was a Ranger). Cleric was kind of middle rank cause he wasn't too bad for melee, back rank was my Ranger and a Sorcerer. As a result our group was very steady for most of the adventure. My Wolf probably took the worst of it I think. Once you figure out if a monster can or can not bash you in the face for trying to heal, the Pally didn't have much problem and the Cleric kind of kept his eyes more on my wolf after a bit.

Not sure how we would have done if we only had one of the two, but together we didn't have a lot of trouble


Healing can be themed to be "more fun" depending on the class. Paladin used to have a Paladin's Sacrifice which was thematic, but cool--thing is, the 2e version means none of their immunities apply. So, why is the paladin any better off doing this than another class?

UnBarb had "healing" due to its temp hps. I haven't gotten my players to make a 2e barb, yet, and so have not tested it. But, there are ways to do this that are conceptually thematic and not just "apply hit points bing."

These options need to be available to each class in some way. Perhaps a rogue could spend class feats to gain some sort of "healing alchemy" ability. The anti-poison!

This reduces the reliance on any one character, and reduces forcing someone into a role. Just make it so that everyone's inclined to dip a little into those capabilities...but in a thematic way.

Sovereign Court

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I think P2 should take inspiration from Starfinder, because that hit point system turns out to work very well for a wide range of tastes.

Starfinder recap:

For those who aren't familiar: Starfinder gives you a pool of Hit Points (HP), Stamina Points (SP) and Resolve Points (RP). SP and HP go up by 4-8 per level, depending on class and constitution. RP is your primary ability modifier plus half your level.

If both your Stamina and Hit Points reach 0, you're unconscious. If the last thing that damaged you was lethal damage, you're also dying. On your turn, you can spend a quarter of your Resolve to stabilize (usually 1RP), or if you're already stable, to regain 1 hit point.

Out of combat, you can take a 10 minute rest and spend 1 RP to regain all of your SP.

The Envoy (a sort of bard) can heal some SP on his allies, but only once per ally until that ally spends RP to rest.

The Mystic (a sort of oracle) can use spells and abilities that cost RP to heal HP.

There are healing serums available for money that heal HP.

What makes this work so well is that it achieves a lot of different things we want from healing:


  • A party can get by with no healer whatsoever. Just survive the encounter, rest 10 minutes and you can go again. HP damage will slowly wear you down but you don't necessarily take HP damage every encounter.

  • You can buy some healing for money, but you can only heal HP with it, not SP. So you never entirely escape daily resource limits (the worry of the CLW wand).

  • Because you can heal a lot of SP for one RP, but you don't have endless RP, it's attractive to not rest for every small scuff but to see if you can do 2-3 encounters before resting. It means traps can do some attrition too.

  • Although a healer isn't mandatory, they sure are helpful, especially if one guy is doing all the face-taking in combat. Just like in P2, monsters in Starfinder tend to have a good chance to hit PCs so the one in front is going to get hurt. A healer gives the party an advantage in combat, but you could gain a different advantage with another striker or such.

The Starfinder system works well both for people who don't want to play a healer, and those who do. It plays well with the expected attrition of daily resources but you can use emergency potions to heal people. If you're loaded with money you can even use potions all the time, but it won't break the game because only half your total health can be healed by them.


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Zorae wrote:

I fully support self-healing/recovery if it's non-combat. It's not really fun to be blowing your limited resources out of combat. If they introduce such a thing, healers will still be super necessary for fighting the bbeg, or for any fight where people are rolling poorly/the GM is rolling well. And if they do actually gave them some reasonable buffs, then they definitely won't want to be forced to decide between using their resources on those (fun) vs saving them to use out of combat (not really fun but necessary when there are no alternatives).

I mean, I find healing fun. In combat. When we ran dd2 (was the first time several of us played the system, including me), I picked Cleric becusee it's a running joke that I always play healers. Feedback I got suggested the party was REALLY glad I did. Multiple people were pulled back up from the brink of death in an instant because I was there, and the only person who was at serious risk of ever dying was me... because I got crit by a trap, one shot, and they didn't have me to try and fix it.

That said, we literally rested after every combat. Why? People were taking all kinds of damage. Don't know if the DM was rolling well or we had a weak party (Rogue Wizard Cleric Ranger Bard) or what it was. But people were being blasted from full to "next hit will put you into dying" constantly and I was burning all kinds of healing.

In combat, that feels fine. I'm clearly making a real difference and "the party can't die because I'm healing them" IS my power fantasy. Out of combat? That sucks. We had no real way to recover except rest, and if I burned my healing spells in downtime, I no longer had them in combat, and nobody else wanted to go in combat whenever I was out of healing. (The rest of my spell slots didn't feel all that consequential and aside from Sanctuary letting me move around with near total impunity never made the kind of impact that Heal was making.)

I find it weird that I invested a bunch into Medicine and basically got no use out of it whatsoever, whereas simply sleeping recovered all kinds of HP. That was uninteresting and IMO backwards.

Being able to try and use a skill like that to patch people back out of combat would have given us more options to keep going instead of constantly resting and been more interesting, since someone is actually using it and someone else could have assisted in it.

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