The 'problem' with CLW wand spam


General Discussion

Grand Lodge

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Am I the only one who sees the only actual problem with wands of CLW spam is the fact that no one buys higher tier wands, not actually the use of wands to heal? Healing between combats is basically mandatory for anything more than the most minor combats.

The only reason people buy CLW wands instead of CMW or CCW is the fact that the costs skyrocket exponentially...a wand of CMW is 6x the cost of a wand of CLW, but only does ~2x the healing, and a wand of CCW is 28x the price for ~4x the healing. Anyone with even barely functional math skills can see how terrible a value that is.

Would it not have been easier to fix this 'problem' by simply adjusting the price of healing wands? Make CLW more expensive, or make CMW and CCW less expensive? Maybe even make a completely new healing item that scales with the users level or something?


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There are whole threads of mathematical analysis (fallen down the listing by now, but still there) making this exact point. I don't know why the only possible solution to CLW spam is to add on fiddly new mechanics - but here we are. It seems like a 'treat the symptom, not the cause' sort of thing.


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Well the issue is there really isn't a fix to this. If you have the same wealth system as is in effect now but want level heal 1 to be much more expensive then low-level players can't afford any consumable healing. If you lower the prices of the better healing, it breaks combat.

If you decide to change the wealth per level you get into other issues, because then by pooling money together they can afford gear way above their level and it ruins the balance.

So the only fix to get people to use "expensive" healing out of combat is to limit the amount of times you can use an effect (enter resonance); now people didn't like this change and therefore a free but time consuming option was invented instead.


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Some people buy high-grade wands. (They're more useful in battle than wands of CLW.) But does it matter if people buy them or not? What's the big deal? There are lots of unpopular wands. How many wands of Aid or Bestow Curse or Zone of Truth or Mirror Polish have you purchased lately?


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It is *a* fix. I am certain it isn't the *only* fix. There's always the option to look back at the source of the problem and try to address it there.

I've said previously that this feels (to me) like pushing the solution to a GM-made problem onto the player via restrictions. The problem is the fact that wands of CLW are both widely commercially available and the most efficient source of 'healing in exchange for gold'. The problem is not one the player created, but they are being penalized for reacting in an intelligent and strategic way to the world presented to them by the GM.

The OP referenced addressing the efficiency side of that equation. One could also adjust the availability side of that equation in some way. One could also look at the mechanics by (for example) not making wands the equivalent of 50-dose potions that can be drained a as much or as little as desired at once. Our group has discussed houseruling in wands that have charges per day (like mini-staves) into PF1E - similar to the eternal wands from late D&D3.5 materials.

Grand Lodge

Maybe something like just reducing the price of healing specific wands, then limiting the number of charges per day you can use from them.

I don't see any world where a 50 charge wand of cure critical is worth 21,000gp, you could buy a ridiculously powerful permanent magic item for that kind of gold.

The new system of using skill checks is 1 step away from just topping everyone's HP off for free between combats with a short rest.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Some people buy high-grade wands. (They're more useful in battle than wands of CLW.) But does it matter if people buy them or not? What's the big deal? There are lots of unpopular wands. How many wands of Aid or Bestow Curse or Zone of Truth or Mirror Polish have you purchased lately?

Aid maybe for an NPC or familiar but then you might have better wands. Bestow Curse is a bit better. Mirror Polish seems like one of those... meh spells in general.

And this is anecdotal, but my group was thinking about buying Zone of Truth Wands as they were trying to interrogate a gang/cultist group. In fact they're on maybe their 5-6 member to question? They're considering a wand so the cleric doesn't need to prep it or ask for NPC help.

Depends on the game and the players/characters on what wands you see.


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I mean, plenty of people don't consider it a problem in the first place, and certainly not something worth the mechanically overcomplicated mess that was created in trying to "fix" it.

It was pretty simple. Groups needed downtime healing. CLW wands were the best source of it. Therefore, people used them. We now have another source (Treat Wounds) and the wands are more expensive per healing done, which makes them less practical for that purpose anyway.

The "problem" can be addressed without new systems at all.


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CLW wand spam is a problem that seems to exist nearly exclusively in the minds of the devs. I have never once heard a complaint about it from players or GMs.

Contrast that to the amount of complaints that’s are voiced in opposition to resonance, the system devised to fix this supposed problem.


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pogie wrote:

CLW wand spam is a problem that seems to exist nearly exclusively in the minds of the devs. I have never once heard a complaint about it from players or GMs.

Contrast that to the amount of complaints that’s are voiced in opposition to resonance, the system devised to fix this supposed problem.

Don't blame the devs. They heard more complaints over more years.

For example, a quick web search brought up a thread from 2013: Hating on the Wand of CLW.


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Mathmuse wrote:
pogie wrote:

CLW wand spam is a problem that seems to exist nearly exclusively in the minds of the devs. I have never once heard a complaint about it from players or GMs.

Contrast that to the amount of complaints that’s are voiced in opposition to resonance, the system devised to fix this supposed problem.

Don't blame the devs. They heard more complaints over more years.

For example, a quick web search brought up a thread from 2013: Hating on the Wand of CLW.

Have you actually read that thread? Almost all of it is one person disliking it and everyone disagreeing.

Regarding the OP:

Slyme wrote:

Am I the only one who sees the only actual problem with wands of CLW spam is the fact that no one buys higher tier wands, not actually the use of wands to heal?

[...]

Would it not have been easier to fix this 'problem' by simply adjusting the price of healing wands? Make CLW more expensive, or make CMW and CCW less expensive? Maybe even make a completely new healing item that scales with the users level or something?

Why would you make the wands more expensive? What are you trying to achieve here?

Is it that characters are getting too wealthy and that they should be spending more on consumables?

Is it that there are items in the Core Rulebook that are never bought? Reading the Magic Items section, there are many items that fit that criteria.


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Mekkis wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
pogie wrote:

CLW wand spam is a problem that seems to exist nearly exclusively in the minds of the devs. I have never once heard a complaint about it from players or GMs.

Contrast that to the amount of complaints that’s are voiced in opposition to resonance, the system devised to fix this supposed problem.

Don't blame the devs. They heard more complaints over more years.

For example, a quick web search brought up a thread from 2013: Hating on the Wand of CLW.

Have you actually read that thread? Almost all of it is one person disliking it and everyone disagreeing.

I read half of the first page.

Douglas Muir 406, the OP, hated wands of CLW.
mplindustries, who I remember well as an intelligent poster, hated them, too.
Madclaw commented that the healing made the game more lethal.
Roberta Yang sarcastical remarked that people no longer play clerics so her party sleeps for a week.
Adamantine Dragon predicted that GM will find a way to deal with them.
Jeremiziah disliked them and considered banning them.
Erikkerik thinks wands of CLW are great.
Mergy thinks they are practical.
Krass Kargoth thinks Leadership is as bad as the wands.
BigDTBone talked about GMs.
Whale_Cancer said they distort encounters.
Wyrmholez remarked on Roberta Yang's sarcasm.
Drejk thought wands of CLW were a non-issue.
Count Visage thought healing was irrelevant.
chaoseffect said he rarely saw them used.
SlimGauge described a variant rule.
Kolokotroni was happy to use them.
voska66 never had a problem with them.
beej67 liked them.
Ravingdork commented on Douglas Muir 406.
LazarX also commented on Douglas Muir 406.
drbuzzard said he hadn't seen his party use one.
Halfway through the page, Douglas Muir 406 responded.

Out of 25 posts, 7 said they hated wands, 5 defended wands, and 5 thought healing was a non-issue.

My point is that the Paizo developers heard real complaints. Seven wand-haters in one thread is enough to show that wand hating does not exist nearly exclusively in the minds of the devs.

Mekkis wrote:

Regarding the OP:

Slyme wrote:

Am I the only one who sees the only actual problem with wands of CLW spam is the fact that no one buys higher tier wands, not actually the use of wands to heal?

[...]

Would it not have been easier to fix this 'problem' by simply adjusting the price of healing wands? Make CLW more expensive, or make CMW and CCW less expensive? Maybe even make a completely new healing item that scales with the users level or something?

Why would you make the wands more expensive? What are you trying to achieve here?

Is it that characters are getting too wealthy and that they should be spending more on consumables?

Is it that there are items in the Core Rulebook that are never bought? Reading the Magic Items section, there are many items that fit that criteria.

The problem with wands of Cure Light Wounds that I heard from Slyme and the developers is that they don't like the players using the 1st-level wands instead of the 4th-level wands. A wand of Cure Light Wounds cost 15 gp per charge and healed 1d8+1 hit points for an average cost of 2.7 gp per hp. A wand of Cure Critical Wounds cost 420 gp per charge and headed 4d8+7 hit points per charge, for an average cost of 16.8 gp per hp. That is about six times as expensive, so players prefer the cheaper wand of CLW. Changing the price of those wands to the same cost per hit point healed would remove the incentive to buy the low-level wand.


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Mathmuse wrote:


The problem with wands of Cure Light Wounds that I heard from Slyme and the developers is that they don't like the players using the 1st-level wands instead of the 4th-level wands. A wand of Cure Light Wounds cost 15 gp per charge and healed 1d8+1 hit points for an average cost of 2.7 gp per hp. A wand of Cure Critical Wounds cost 420 gp per charge and headed 4d8+7 hit points per charge, for an average cost of 16.8 gp per hp. That is about six times as expensive, so players prefer the cheaper wand of CLW. Changing the price of those wands to the same cost per hit point healed would remove the incentive to buy the low-level wand.

But what is the underlying issue with using lower-level wands here? Is it that they're not spending enough money on out-of-combat healing and this is causing wealth imbalance? If this is the case, there are other ways of resolving the wealth imbalance.

Is it because in-universe wand-makers aren't selling enough high-level wands? If this is the case, there's a case for making the higher-level wands more attractive.

Is it because their idea of "levelled items" breaks down when people have no impetus to buy the "high-level" version of a category of items? This might be cause for rethinking the idea of levelled items, perhaps.

I'm currently earning about eighty times as much money as I was fifteen years ago. I still drink the same water and beer, and (most days), eat the same types of food. I pay nowhere near eighty times as much for transport as I used to. And my medical expenses have hardly changed at all.


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pogie wrote:

CLW wand spam is a problem that seems to exist nearly exclusively in the minds of the devs. I have never once heard a complaint about it from players or GMs.

Contrast that to the amount of complaints that’s are voiced in opposition to resonance, the system devised to fix this supposed problem.

*Raises Hand*

Count me as one. I can’t stand its abuse to heal to full health every single combat, and the presumption in later PF1 scenarios that that’s what you’ll do every single time. D&D was originally a game about strategic use of resources, it’s why both spells and clerical healing and magic item healing was limited in the first place to encourage picking your time and place for battles rather than charging headlong into every situation. Instead, over the decades we went from strategy to larger and larger pools of resources. Now, people look at you funny If cure light wounds wands aren’t for sale at every thorp and village.

I can’t say i’m perfectly happy with the treat wounds alternative, but at the very least it takes 100 rounds per application and one has to spend hours doing what a bunch of heal sticks would crunch out in 3 minutes, if that, so time restraints to achieve an objective is still a thing. Otherwise, if people are going to heal up with the help of happy sticks all the time, why not just take them out of the game and say people heal to full with 2 minutes of rest?

So now you’re heard at least one complaint on the forms against the happy sticks. :)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mathmuse wrote:
The problem with wands of Cure Light Wounds that I heard from Slyme and the developers is that they don't like the players using the 1st-level wands instead of the 4th-level wands. A wand of Cure Light Wounds cost 15 gp per charge and healed 1d8+1 hit points for an average cost of 2.7 gp per hp. A wand of Cure Critical Wounds cost 420 gp per charge and headed 4d8+7 hit points per charge, for an average cost of 16.8 gp per hp. That is about six times as expensive, so players prefer the cheaper wand of CLW. Changing the price of those wands to the same cost per hit point healed would remove the incentive to buy the low-level wand.

While in principle I agree with this sentiment, in practice getting the costs into the "right" range would require a complete rebalancing of the price scaling in PF2. For instance, to get 4th level wands of heal competitive cost-wise with their 1st level counterparts the price would need to be dropped from 405 gp to something like 95 gp. And that's before considering the fact that I consider 1st level wands severely overpriced in PF2 and in desperate need of a cost drop.

Grand Lodge

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The current PF2 economy needs a hard pass through by the devs for a lot of things, wands being one of them.

As I said before, healing between anything besides the weakest of combats is pretty much a necessity in almost every game I've played in the last 30+ years...the question comes down to what resources the devs want players to use for it.

If they want players to spend gold to heal between combats, they need to reevaluate the cost of higher level healing items, otherwise players will ALWAYS use the most cost efficient means they can to heal...which is why CLW wands are the default in PF1. Unless someone just has so much money they can't figure out what to do with it all, no one in there right mind will ever drop 21,000gp on a healing wand.

The current PF2 treat wounds system seems like they don't want to players to have to expend gold, just time and dice rolls...which might turn out ok, if the math doesn't make people fail half their rolls.


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I mostly despise the thematics of them (some of this being with wands as a charged spell in a can item), also how spending surplus cash was a better bet than say, a character heavily investing into a medicinal skill.

Some of my complaints are solved with how strong treat wounds is shaping up to be.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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The problem with CLW wand spam isn't wands at all.

It's that people want to keep adventuring and extend their adventuring day, but the damage and wound system is set to such a level that often, many (but not all) parties find themselves after one semi-difficult combat either
1. Needing to rest
2. Needing more healing magic than their class abilities can account for

The CLW wand "solved" the issue as it an existing, relatively inexpensive object in the game that allowed people to keep playing.

Take it away, or make it harder to use (cost, resonance, etc.), and you are back to people getting too hurt too quickly for them to be able to have fun playing.

You will not "fix" this issue unless you change the core issue--the rate of damage that occurs and/or the rate of character healing.

Solutions to this issue I have seen in PF1 include things like the Strain/Injury pool, where you take sort of "light/nonlethal" damage first, which heals quickly after combat, and only take more aggressive damage when your out of your "light damage" pool, or when you take a certain kind of damage, etc. These systems can be complex but I have seen them be effective in preventing the magic-items-as-a-bandaid-for-core-game-mechanics problems.

I know--and personally have not have had a chance to test or see how it feels as I've been busy the last couple weeks--they've added in improved ways to treat wounds, etc. in PF2. I've heard mixed reviews, but I hope it resolves some of the true core issue there.

The other thing is the "wand spam" issue is heavily, heavily, heavily dependent upon group and play style, and what kind of adventure they are running. A party with certain tactics and/or well balanced encounters run into this problem less. On the other hand, a GM who really loves throwing hard, lethal encounters at his or her players will find players desperately trying to find a way to survive, oddly enough. Anecdotally -- I've been playing Pathfinder since it came out in 2008 and 3.x before that since 2000. Of the gajillions of hours played, I can think of ONE game where the party needed the CLW wand as backup and that's because the only healer in the party was a bard. I am GMing that game and it also uses an AP where many fights as written are very lethal, especially with a non-traditional party. (We did eventually get a cleric added to the group and I think we'll see the wand used less.) This doesn't mean other people don't more frequently see it happening, it just means it is very much a YMMV issue---and again the real problem isn't the existence of the item, it's the deficiency people are using the item to solve.


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Dasrak wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
The problem with wands of Cure Light Wounds that I heard from Slyme and the developers is that they don't like the players using the 1st-level wands instead of the 4th-level wands. A wand of Cure Light Wounds cost 15 gp per charge and healed 1d8+1 hit points for an average cost of 2.7 gp per hp. A wand of Cure Critical Wounds cost 420 gp per charge and headed 4d8+7 hit points per charge, for an average cost of 16.8 gp per hp. That is about six times as expensive, so players prefer the cheaper wand of CLW. Changing the price of those wands to the same cost per hit point healed would remove the incentive to buy the low-level wand.
While in principle I agree with this sentiment, in practice getting the costs into the "right" range would require a complete rebalancing of the price scaling in PF2. For instance, to get 4th level wands of heal competitive cost-wise with their 1st level counterparts the price would need to be dropped from 405 gp to something like 95 gp. And that's before considering the fact that I consider 1st level wands severely overpriced in PF2 and in desperate need of a cost drop.

Not sure why that would be a problem. The devs set all the prices, so it's just a trivial matter of moving numbers around.

It is effectively the same non-problem that monsters are too superior to same level PCs, leading to more damage that requires healing. The people that set the numbers need to dial things back so that absurd amounts of healing aren't required. Difficulty can be raised by adding more monsters, rather than have each goblin or whatever be a PC equivalent threat for no real reason.


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They can just lower the pricing of higher level items (and by consequence the amount of money expected to be handed out at higher levels) without actually making it linear.

For example, say that scaling for wealth and item costs is, instead of the crazy ramp up they use in the playtest, this:

{(level^2 * level) + level} * 0.5

So, I see the wand of a 1st tier spell is a 2nd level item that is 27 gp. Then a 14th level wand of a 7th tier spell could be 945 gp. That's roughly 2-3 times less than what is currently in the table.

It's still a lot more than 7 times the 27 as would be expected from linear, so PCs can't trivially break the game by pooling money, and it the HP per GP goes down - as it should because it's way more useful in combat. But it's not so expensive that no one would ever buy it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Voss wrote:
They can just lower the pricing of higher level items (and by consequence the amount of money expected to be handed out at higher levels) without actually making it linear.

The tricky part is that they don't want to make high-level items too cheap. Getting a +2 sword for your 3rd level character in PF1 was nice but was unlikely to break anything; getting a +2 sword for your 3rd level character in PF2 is going to completely break game balance.

Of course, ditching potency and going with ABP would potentially alleviate that problem, so if that's the way Paizo ends up going I'm all for it.


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Dasrak wrote:
Voss wrote:
They can just lower the pricing of higher level items (and by consequence the amount of money expected to be handed out at higher levels) without actually making it linear.

The tricky part is that they don't want to make high-level items too cheap. Getting a +2 sword for your 3rd level character in PF1 was nice but was unlikely to break anything; getting a +2 sword for your 3rd level character in PF2 is going to completely break game balance.

Of course, ditching potency and going with ABP would potentially alleviate that problem, so if that's the way Paizo ends up going I'm all for it.

Well, the easy solution to that is to make the +2 sword less powerful. There is ALWAYS going to be GM's that completely ignore the WPL guidelines. Some GM's will throw a 5th level item at level 3 players as a reward for completing a really difficult session. Then there's GM's who give their level 5 players the GP a level 2 party should be getting.

I'd prefer if the game didn't punish me as a GM for wanting to play loose with the loot.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

....Isn't the DM the one who decides what is available in the store. I mean honestly you roll on the random charts Wand of Cure light Wounds hardly ever actually shows up. If your players are finding one in every corner magic shop it's because the DM is putting them there

the Main source of cheap wands is the Players them selves with a Craft Wand feat. 1 dice roll against a low DC and a bit of cash and tadaa one Beatstick of Healing.

This has been the issue since 3E came out. Making Magic items is easy for players to do. Make a more robust magic item creation system and you go a long way to solving the problem.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I find the CLW wands to be a complete non-issue, and in fact necessary to a good game. I do run a very generous on loot game, and one where anything in a book is available on level up. (I play with a house rule where as part of every level up, all characters basically redo their gear completely, and have WBL to spend. If any character in the party has taken a crafting feat, all items that feat would apply to cost half.) The CLW wand means that my players can keep going as long as they want, there's no need to rest to heal. I often give the party a higher level healing wand for free just for convenience. We don't need the game to get fiddly with healing, it's lethal enough (running APs as written) with basically free healing between every combat. (note these comments are for non-PFS games)


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Greylurker wrote:

....Isn't the DM the one who decides what is available in the store. I mean honestly you roll on the random charts Wand of Cure light Wounds hardly ever actually shows up. If your players are finding one in every corner magic shop it's because the DM is putting them there

the Main source of cheap wands is the Players them selves with a Craft Wand feat. 1 dice roll against a low DC and a bit of cash and tadaa one Beatstick of Healing.

This has been the issue since 3E came out. Making Magic items is easy for players to do. Make a more robust magic item creation system and you go a long way to solving the problem.

Yes, as the GM, I decide what is available, and the wand of Cure Light Wounds fit the party well at 2nd level. In my Iron Gods campaign, the party came into money at the beginning of 2nd level due to winnings at the gambling hall. They pooled all that money and bought a wand of Cure Light Wounds.

One of the local clerics had been giving them potions of Cure Light Wounds to aid their mission, and the skald could cast a few Cure Light Wounds directly, but the wand was more reliable.

The wand became less important when the adventure path went through a series of self-paced adventures where the party had plenty of time to rest and heal between encounters. So it lasted a while.

At 5th level, the skald learned Craft Wand and made another one. She used that up and made a third. Mostly she made wands of Magic Missile, Fireball, and Lightning Bolt in partnership with the magus. At 9th level she gained a lyrakien skald Leadership cohort, roleplayed as her apprentice, and gave him the wand of CLW. In-combat healing was a reasonable use of his turns since he had few combat abilities beyond his spell-warrior weapon song. At 11th level, the skald mastered Greater Skald's Vigor so that her rage song granted fast healing 4 and the wand became redundant.

The party, from 2nd level to 17th level, had unrestricted access to wands of Cure Light Wounds. They used 3 of them.

In my Jade Regent campaign, the party wand-maker was an NPC time oracle under my control. She started with wands of Cure Light Wounds, but in the long run preferred to make wands of Cure Serious Wounds and wands of Resist Energy.

In my Rise of the Runelords campaign, the battle oracle provided the healing without resorting to wands. In a campaign where I played an alchemist, it was infusions of Cure Light Wounds. In the Serpent's Skull campaign where I played a barbarian, we had no access to stores at all. Finding healing was a problem, finding arrows was a bigger problem.

I worry more about the triple damage from a +2 sword in Pathfinder 2nd Edition than I ever worried about a wand of Cure Light Wounds. Maybe my worries about triple damage are unfounded--I haven't reached that level in the playtest yet.


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Greylurker wrote:
....Isn't the DM the one who decides what is available in the store. I mean honestly you roll on the random charts Wand of Cure light Wounds hardly ever actually shows up. If your players are finding one in every corner magic shop it's because the DM is putting them there

There's a 75% chance of finding anything below the base limit of a settlement, and anything above a village can handle 750 gp. There's a lot of small towns in the world.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Cyouni wrote:
Greylurker wrote:
....Isn't the DM the one who decides what is available in the store. I mean honestly you roll on the random charts Wand of Cure light Wounds hardly ever actually shows up. If your players are finding one in every corner magic shop it's because the DM is putting them there
There's a 75% chance of finding anything below the base limit of a settlement, and anything above a village can handle 750 gp. There's a lot of small towns in the world.

If you have a problem with that then fudge it. Roll behind your screen and "nope you didn't find one"

Seriously if it's not directly in the hands of the PCs you are the DM. If you want them to have a Wand they find the wand, if you don't want them to have it they don't find it.

or add a quirk to it (your hair grows 1 foot each time you get healed with that wand)

or rule that wands are scaling items from unchained.

There are any number of ways for a DM to control his setting. The only thing he can't control are what his players do with their own options


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Greylurker wrote:

...

If you have a problem with that then fudge it. Roll behind your screen and "nope you didn't find one"
...

That is a great idea. Then when your players figure out what you are doing (which they probably will because you aren't as smart as you think you are), you are likely to have a lot more free time on your hands with the lack of burdensome things like a gaming group and friends.

Or, to put it more bluntly, if you indicate that the game's item availability works a certain way under normal circumstances, then I damn well expect the game's item availability to work that way, and I am going to trust that you aren't just flat out lying to me. If you then decide to betray my trust and change the item availability to "whatever the GM feels like" while still acting as if we are playing by the rules you communicated to us, then I am going to think long and hard about whether or not I want anything to do with you.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Snowblind wrote:
Greylurker wrote:

...

If you have a problem with that then fudge it. Roll behind your screen and "nope you didn't find one"
...

That is a great idea. Then when your players figure out what you are doing (which they probably will because you aren't as smart as you think you are), you are likely to have a lot more free time on your hands with the lack of burdensome things like a gaming group and friends.

Or, to put it more bluntly, if you indicate that the game's item availability works a certain way under normal circumstances, then I damn well expect the game's item availability to work that way, and I am going to trust that you aren't just flat out lying to me. If you then decide to betray my trust and change the item availability to "whatever the GM feels like" while still acting as if we are playing by the rules you communicated to us, then I am going to think long and hard about whether or not I want anything to do with you.

I'm not the one with a problem in the party having a healing wand.

I'm just pointing out if it's a problem in your game it's because you let it be.

Look the simple fact is the players have access to what the DM provides in the campaign.
"There are lots of small towns to buy wands at"

there are exactly as many small towns available as the DM puts in the campaign.

Take Rappan Athuk as an example
The players have access to a Hamlet of 24 people.
the nearest settlement of any significant size is a 30 round trip journey through bandit infested territory. (faster one way than the other if you take advantage of the river)

Take Kingmaker
Until you start your own town, you have Oleg's or you can waste a huge amount of time traveling back to Restov.

The idea that a simple wand is ruining your game and there is nothing you can do about it is Bull.


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Greylurker wrote:
I'm not the one with a problem in the party having a healing wand.

Nobody who posted in this thread has mentioned personally having a problem with their party having a healing wand. We are discussing the problem secondhand, scratching our heads at the extreme solutions that people have proposed for what appears to be a minor problem and musing whether simpler solutions would work. I had to look at another thread to find real complaints about the wands.

Changing the availability of wands by fudging market rolls sounds like an extreme solution rather than a simpler solution.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Mathmuse wrote:
Greylurker wrote:
I'm not the one with a problem in the party having a healing wand.

Nobody who posted in this thread has mentioned personally having a problem with their party having a healing wand. We are discussing the problem secondhand, scratching our heads at the extreme solutions that people have proposed for what appears to be a minor problem and musing whether simpler solutions would work. I had to look at another thread to find real complaints about the wands.

Changing the availability of wands by fudging market rolls sounds like an extreme solution rather than a simpler solution.

It was just an example. maybe a poor one, my point is simply it's not out of the DMs control to limit their presence in the game

Personally I just assume once they are over 5th level the party has one. Heck I've usually given them one as part of a treasure at some point.

I design my campaigns on the assumption that they can get in some healing between encounters. It means I can use more than 5 encounters a day and I don't have to worry about them running on fumes when they reach the boss.

If I want to put some stress on them I can always run encounters close together (give em 2 rounds before the guys in room 3 come to see what all that noise in room 2 was).

Players want to extend their HPs as far as they can, I want them to be able to go as far into a dungeon as they can on one trip. Healing wands serve both those goals really well.

If they go in, then have to retreat to heal for a day, then the monsters have to react. they need to set new defenses or hunt down the intruders, get help or even just run for the hills. The Players know that things will only get harder if they can't get the job done in one run. They need to keep the HPs up and ration spells over the day, because if they come back tomorrow, the monsters are going to be ready for them


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In regards to the Wand of CLW discussion, I think it's important to repeat what I and others have noted previously. Loss of hit points is only one of the many threats that PCs face. Wands of CLW do nothing to help with poison, disease, negative levels, fatigue, etc., etc. Nor will a Wand of CLW do you any good if you just died and really need a Breath of Life or if you just took 100+ points of damage from a dragon's full attack and only a Heal spell will enable to take another rounds worth of such damage.

In my PF1e experience, CLW Wands don't replace characters with "healing" abilities. At most, they supplement them by providing out of combat HP healing so that "healers" can concentrate on other important tasks and threats.


Removing reliable out of combat healing does let you add wearing the party down to the list of stories you can tell (see the design goals) but it comes at the cost of a mechanic which I know the people I game with hate: extended dice tests where all that matters is not rolling a 1 on a d20. They hated it in a game called Alternity which oddly had the same mechanic for the same purpose, at least in the case of a skilled doctor with a starship's sick bay. OK, the crtical failure condition was rolling a 20 as Alternity was a roll-under game, but whatever.


Healing numbers, overall in PF1 and again in PF2, are too low to begin with. If CLW Wand spam was an issue (and I'm not sold that it was), increasing the healing output of the cure spells would suffice. As stated above, the gold / HP drastically increases with higher level wands. The solution would be to rebalance higher level healing spells, such that gold / HP goes down with higher level casting (or at least stays the same).

As for CLW Wand spam, who does that anymore? Infernal Healing has been a spell since 2011. That's seven years of having a more efficient spell available to you. And it's on more spell lists! Catch up with the times, people!


Infernal Healing heals at a rate of just 1HP per round, meaning your other buffs will wear off. And casting it about five times will officially turn you Evil.


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Wait why are people still complaining about CLW? We have Treat Wounds now. What's the problem with that?


Dire Ursus, I posted my own problem with treat wounds about 8 minutes before your post just above. You can find others elsewhere in this thread. Complaining without reading isn't a good look.

Mathmuse, if a fighter with a d12 weapon attacks a level 0 creature it most likely goes down in one hit, a level 1 creature most likely takes a couple. A fighter with a 3d12 weapon most likely takes 4-5 hits to down a level 7 creature, 5-6 for a level 8 creature. Enemy HP scales so fast that multipliers to the damage die as given aren't going to break anything.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Infernal Healing heals at a rate of just 1HP per round, meaning your other buffs will wear off. And casting it about five times will officially turn you Evil.

Spell text specifically says otherwise. Since it is a more specific rule than that applying to evil spells, it wins. Even if the GM wants to be gross about it, the spell text states no long term effect... so you'd be evil only for a short time. Basically... s'all good unless you're trying to RP a lawful goodie good.


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pjrogers wrote:

In regards to the Wand of CLW discussion, I think it's important to repeat what I and others have noted previously. Loss of hit points is only one of the many threats that PCs face. Wands of CLW do nothing to help with poison, disease, negative levels, fatigue, etc., etc. Nor will a Wand of CLW do you any good if you just died and really need a Breath of Life or if you just took 100+ points of damage from a dragon's full attack and only a Heal spell will enable to take another rounds worth of such damage.

In my PF1e experience, CLW Wands don't replace characters with "healing" abilities. At most, they supplement them by providing out of combat HP healing so that "healers" can concentrate on other important tasks and threats.

I have measured a character's combat effectiveness while doing some deep theorycrafting. The role of hit points is unusual, because hit points are purely passive. AC is more active than HP, because -1 to AC affects every attack roll, but -1 to HP affects only the last damage roll.

The ideal measurement of combat effectiveness would be directly related to how likely is a character to emerge victorious from combat. In practice, low-threat combat is pretty much a guaranteed win. Most people assume that the reason to throw a low-threat encounter at a party is to wear them down instead of defeat them. And the wear-down model treats hit points as the primary resource that is worn down.

In my actual campaigns, I found that low-threat encounters could also have the purpose of versimitude (any sensible evil overlord would have guards), plot exposition (the guards boast how they shall taste human and elven blood before the big invasion next week), and skill challenge (let's intimidate the guards instead of killing them). My own players love to bypass the low-level enemies and surprise the true enemies at full strength.

Nevertheless, if the party kills all enemies a combat encounter yet decides that they cannot risk another encounter, then they are not fully victorious. The purpose of the guards was to stop the party from entering the stronghold, and the guards succeeded through their selfless sacrifice. The party could be low on hit points, enfeebled for a day via poison, or had to cast the spell they wanted to save for the final boss. They turn back. The wear-down model is important because the players make decisions via the wear-down model.

WIZARD: Let's turn back. All I have left are my 1st-level spells and my school powers. And my cantrips, if you count those.
FIGHTER: And I am down to a quarter of my hit points.
CLERIC: I can fix that. Cure Critical Wounds!
FIGHTER: Great, I'm up to 50%. Let's check the next room.
CLERIC: Um, I didn't think that through. I am out of healing spells now. We should turn back.
FIGHTER: You still have your trusty mace and your own hit points.
SORCERER/ROGUE: Let me show you what I purchased at the magic shop. A scroll of Fireball for the wizard, and a wand of Cure Light Wounds for the cleric and fighter. Let's press on. I want more treasure for more shopping.

By the wear-down model, the limit of a spellcaster is his quantity of spells and the limit of a fighter is his hit points. The cleric aids the fighter by restoring hit points, so that limit increases to hit points plus healing, while the cleric pays the cost for healing by using up spells. Limited-use abilities such as channeling count as spells.

By spending money for healing, the party no longer loses spells nor hit points. Technically, buying expensive wands for healing does consume party resources. The fighter had to give up upgrading his armor and the wizard had to delay the new Headband of Vast Intellect when they donated to the healing wand purchase. The party has a tougher fight without improved gear and would be tempted to quit early because fighting is hard. If the wand is expensive enough, it balances out.

At 8th level, the wand of Cure Critical Wounds presumably is expensive enough to balance out its benefit. But buying five wands of Cure Light Wounds for the same amount of healing is only one sixth the price. That does not balance.

Dire Ursus wrote:
Wait why are people still complaining about CLW? We have Treat Wounds now. What's the problem with that?
avr wrote:

Dire Ursus, I posted my own problem with treat wounds about 8 minutes before your post just above.

avr wrote:
Removing reliable out of combat healing does let you add wearing the party down to the list of stories you can tell (see the design goals) but it comes at the cost of a mechanic which I know the people I game with hate: extended dice tests where all that matters is not rolling a 1 on a d20. They hated it in a game called Alternity which oddly had the same mechanic for the same purpose, at least in the case of a skilled doctor with a starship's sick bay. OK, the crtical failure condition was rolling a 20 as Alternity was a roll-under game, but whatever.

The abrupt turnabout in design philosophy represented by Treat Wounds makes my head spin. Only avr's comment about how Treat Wounds is a limited mechanic due to critical failure keeps me from tossing my calculations into the trash bin. Alas, a limit based on critical failure feels like something dug out of the trash bin. I never played Alternity, but I have analyzed the math on some other PF1 critical failure skill mechanics, and the analysis says tedious and swingy.

avr wrote:
Mathmuse, if a fighter with a d12 weapon attacks a level 0 creature it most likely goes down in one hit, a level 1 creature most likely takes a couple. A fighter with a 3d12 weapon most likely takes 4-5 hits to down a level 7 creature, 5-6 for a level 8 creature. Enemy HP scales so fast that multipliers to the damage die as given aren't going to break anything.

This still worries me. That sounds like upgrading the enchantment on a weapon as soon as possible will be mandatory. I guess it will solve the wand problem, because no-one will want to spare the cash to buy wands.


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Greg.Everham wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Infernal Healing heals at a rate of just 1HP per round, meaning your other buffs will wear off. And casting it about five times will officially turn you Evil.
Spell text specifically says otherwise. Since it is a more specific rule than that applying to evil spells, it wins. Even if the GM wants to be gross about it, the spell text states no long term effect... so you'd be evil only for a short time. Basically... s'all good unless you're trying to RP a lawful goodie good.

You also need to have someone in the party capable and willing to cast it, which automatically excludes every Cleric that worships a Good Deity (that [Evil] tag on the spell).

So in a straight up good party, the Wizard/Summoner/Witch can do it, at 10 healing per cast a few times a day.

Also - the spell text says the target has no long term alignment change from using it. It says nothing about the caster's alignment, which will shift if you are constantly casting [Evil] spells.

This is in no way a universal replacement for CLW wands.


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Well if you all have problems with Treat Wounds (I find it a perfect implementation for me) then why not talk about ways to change that instead of bringing up the awful CLW wand spam again. The devs have stated multiple times the Treat Wounds implementation is them going in an extreme direction to see how it's received. I'm sure they are open to tweaks.

This conversation seems useless. They aren't bringing back wand spam.


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Mathmuse wrote:
The abrupt turnabout in design philosophy represented by Treat Wounds makes my head spin. Only avr's comment about how Treat Wounds is a limited mechanic due to critical failure keeps me from tossing my calculations into the trash bin. Alas, a limit based on critical failure feels like something dug out of the trash bin.
Dire Ursus wrote:
Well if you all have problems with Treat Wounds (I find it a perfect implementation for me) then why not talk about ways to change that instead of bringing up the awful CLW wand spam again.

I had let it go but if we're going to talk about reliable out of combat healing alternatives I'll re-offer the healing ritual proposal. The default rarity of a ritual is uncommon...shift it to rare and that resolves any concerns over availability. Material components give it a cost. Just need the timeframe shifted to one hour/ten minutes/whatever. Etc, etc. Shortening the casting time also opens up utility rituals for groups without a dedicated caster.

Functionally, though, Treat Wounds works well and my groups have embraced the mechanic. So I don't know that there's really much demand for a different mechanic. The clear message that I've gotten is that my players want reliable out of combat healing and that Treat Wounds accomplishes that.


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The Once and Future Kai wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
The abrupt turnabout in design philosophy represented by Treat Wounds makes my head spin. Only avr's comment about how Treat Wounds is a limited mechanic due to critical failure keeps me from tossing my calculations into the trash bin. Alas, a limit based on critical failure feels like something dug out of the trash bin.
Dire Ursus wrote:
Well if you all have problems with Treat Wounds (I find it a perfect implementation for me) then why not talk about ways to change that instead of bringing up the awful CLW wand spam again.

I had let it go but if we're going to talk about reliable out of combat healing alternatives I'll re-offer the healing ritual proposal. The default rarity of a ritual is uncommon...shift it to rare and that resolves any concerns over availability. Material components give it a cost. Just need the timeframe shifted to one hour/ten minutes/whatever. Etc, etc. Shortening the casting time also opens up utility rituals for groups without a dedicated caster.

Functionally, though, Treat Wounds works well and my groups have embraced the mechanic. So I don't know that there's really much demand for a different mechanic. The clear message that I've gotten is that my players want reliable out of combat healing and that Treat Wounds accomplishes that.

The Once and Future Kai's methods are more elegant and better balanced than Treat Wounds. I would prefer them. However, my math suggests that regular failure giving nothing occurs and you may try again, is unstable. Half the usual healing would be a more balanced result.


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~raises hand~ I'm in the "hate wands of CLW" category. As I've said before, it's mostly because the people who know how to abuse it are playing a fundamentally different game from the people who don't, and that's bad game design. Treat Wounds is elegant in that way because it doesn't rely on players deciding to do the math to realize how it works.

I absolutely want players to have access to out of combat healing, but wands of CLW are a janky fix discovered by the players, not intended by the devs.

For PF2e, it's time for a fix to be built into the system, not to continue the patch job of the previous system.


Treat Wounds is also janky, though. I can use it seemingly infinite times so long as I don't roll really badly, in which case it just stops working all day.

Instead of putting if we can carry on for more encounters on resources, that puts it on the dice. Get a nat 1 crit fail on your first Treat Wounds of the day and then what?

I'd like treat wounds more if it the healing amount was based on your check result with no failure chance and you simply couldn't spam it. Ie: One treat wounds between encounters or something.


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Honestly, while I can see the point of the devs and of the people who dislike them...I can't understand the vitriol. Just don't use them then, or adjust their availability, or in general, find some way to organically enforce the type of playstyle you're trying to get at. That's the beauty of the game, you can change whatever you want whenever you want.

I personally don't desire the development team to make hard and fast rules about limiting such things as part of a core game. Instead, I think such things should be OPTIONAL rules given in a side note if they believe it to be a problem. Let us decide what is best for the game we want to be playing instead of saying we have to play the way they say we do.

In my experience wands of CLW have never been an issue because I never minded players healing up to full, and when I did I limited what they had access to. Players will almost always try to survive the best way they can. Scrolls, wands, potions, whatever they can find to ensure a victory is going to be used and it's just silly to try and think they would somehow limit themselves. I also enjoy the wands a bit because it means that if no one wants to be a healer (because most of my players really hate the mere concept of being forced to play a cleric, just because "we need one". It really makes parties homogenous and uninteresting to always have one cleric around in their opinions), then we still have a reliable way to heal up after a tough fight.

My ideal solution is usually to say "Oh yeah the magic shop has a wand, but it's quite used. Likely a previous adventuring party was raided and this sold off" or similar. The wand only has 10 charges or so. Or to drop a wand as part of treasure rather than saying "you can buy anything".


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There's a core game balance issue with wands becoming less valuable the more expensive they are, though, and I definitely want to see PF2e fix THAT.

The problem is that any reasonable fix for that makes CLW wands no longer a good fit for out of combat healing, which was the main complaint about Resonance on that mark.

Hence Treat Wounds. Which is definitely not an ideal fix. Personally, I would be happier if it was 1/combat instead of "roll until you fail". But that's probably too gamist for most people...


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MaxAstro wrote:

There's a core game balance issue with wands becoming less valuable the more expensive they are, though, and I definitely want to see PF2e fix THAT.

The problem is that any reasonable fix for that makes CLW wands no longer a good fit for out of combat healing, which was the main complaint about Resonance on that mark.

Hence Treat Wounds. Which is definitely not an ideal fix. Personally, I would be happier if it was 1/combat instead of "roll until you fail". But that's probably too gamist for most people...

Seriously, some combination of reducing wand costs and accelerating the increase by spell level of healing would be very, very good for OOC healing without having to go to this.

Treat Wounds is pretty close to the very popular long cast time spell that would heal you up. 10m "ritual" to activate the ability is good. I don't think anyone is unhappy with this concept, so much as the details of how that skill is executed.


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I'm one of those who really hates wand spam.
To me it feels super cheesy and mechanics based, not something immersive on the roleplay side.

The game's I've run as a GM have mostly fallen into the same pattern, the players beat an encounter then stand around for x rounds whilst people spam wands so they can enter the next fight with full HP.

This allows the cleric or other casters to then save more of their spell slots for buffs, adding to power levels in every fight etc.
Due to their near infinite source of cheap healing they won't question fights or consider alternative tactics, it's run in and attack everything because resources are not an issue.

I don't want to have the situation where players are forced to stop adventuring after every fight in order to recover fully, but at the same time I want to stimulate that old school fear and decisions of if the group should push on or should they charge right at that giant rather than employ ranged weapons as long as they can.

I like the new healing skill use because although it in theory grants them full healing, there is a time investment involved, you also (in theory) can't just sit in the centre of a room for 10mins during the assault on the BBEG's base.

I understand why CLW spam happens, and I allow it because it's only fair in the systems rules. However it doesn't mean I enjoy it being and if Paizo can find a way to remove it or tone it back without crippling adventure times I would be more than happy to embrace that.


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Slyme wrote:
The only reason people buy CLW wands instead of CMW or CCW is the fact that the costs skyrocket exponentially...a wand of CMW is 6x the cost of a wand of CLW, but only does ~2x the healing, and a wand of CCW is 28x the price for ~4x the healing. Anyone with even barely functional math skills can see how terrible a value that is.

Once again, this is something Spheres of Power does well. Assuming for simplicity that you stick to the +1d8 Life talents, a potion that heals Xd8 hp will cost 50*X^2 gp. So as you pointed out, smaller, cheaper potions will always be more cost effective, if all you care about is raw hp restored. That said, the larger potions also come with secondary effects. For example, that 2d8 potion might come with the ability to also restore all ability score damage. That 4d8 potion might counter poison, cure loss of senses, end paralysis, and give an immediate Escape Artist check against entanglement and similar. Or you could even make a potion that costs as much as a 2d8 potion, but only heals for 1d8, but even works if the target has been deceased for no more than one round.

Suddenly, there's reason to buy both versions.

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