Battle Medicine - How Many Hands?


Rules Discussion

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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Data Lore wrote:

Ya, man, channel those bandages through your glaive. What nonsense.

Right or no, any table where that crap happens isnt worth playing at. Frankly, Im curious what kinda DM would bend to such rules abuse.

Hey "man," you may not like the more gamest style of play used by other tables, and consider such things nonsense, but it's not in any way rules abuse when there are no rules supporting either interpretation. To claim otherwise is disingenuous at best.


If the whole table is on board with such gamey "roleplaying", thats fine. I am willing to bet that there are plenty of cases, however, of DMs (likely newer ones) bending to willful rules lawyers rather than making the logical fiction first ruling here.

But, ya, wrap that Spiked Chain around the guys arm to stop the bleeding if thats how your table does it. Its certainly your game too.


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Data Lore wrote:

If the whole table is on board with such gamey "roleplaying", thats fine. I am willing to bet that there are plenty of cases, however, of DMs (likely newer ones) bending to willful rules lawyers rather than making the logical fiction first ruling here.

But, ya, wrap that Spiked Chain around the guys arm to stop the bleeding if thats how your table does it. Its certainly your game too.

i've been DMing since 2nd edition adnd and i find it pretty reasonable as a rule myself.

yes, if it did require a hand free (but certainly not two) i wouldn't mind it either, but i don't mind it as it is now either way.

you keep talking about rules lawyers while the one in fact trying to "rule layer" is you, since YOU are the one that's bending the rules to make stuff appear when there are none.

I had GMs like that as well, hell bend in their vision of "reality" that couldn't accept someone's else imagery.

As for justification, we're really talking about a bandaid that stitches you up in 2 seconds. 2 seconds. So yeah, what i'm envisioning is a kinda alchemical/medicinal superfluid that you just toss on the wound to temporarily seal it.

That takes as much manipulation imo as doing the complicated gestures needed to finalise a spell cast.


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PoohPuss wrote:

1.Does Battle Medicine require no hands to use, since none are specified for the feat's action?

2.Does Battle Medicine require 1 hand to use, since none are specified for the feat's action?

3.Does Battle Medicine require 2 hands to use, since the Treat Wounds for the Medicine skill require that?

The rules, as written, clearly rule out option 3, unless you want to house rule in requirements about using healing tools that run counter to both the description of the feat AND the healer's tools.

Option 1 is the ruling most directly supported by the rules as they are written, but option 2 is probably the original intent of the feat, prior to the playtest rules revision removing a free hand from the manipualtion trait.

Hearing Developer feed back would probably clear up the issue between 1 and 2, but for option 2 to be the correct reading, an Errata would be necessary to add that requirement to the description of the feat itself. No change to the current rules would be necessary for option 1 to be the correct interpretation.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

This seems to be descending into petty mudslinging. Not necessary and likely to get the thread locked and submarining any chance of getting a developer comment or clarification.

Please cut it out.


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shroudb wrote:
Castilliano wrote:

Did you read my post?
I didn't reference...

i did, you inserted rules that don't exist in a rule text.

In fact, Paizo, that you have faith that is on the same page as you, have very very specific and strict rules about "hands" and how many you need for each action.

Especially since you're saying it's for PFS, so strict RAW, the RULES for Manipulate which is the appropriate "how many hands needed" for the action clearly references how many you need:

you need to be able to move them, but they don't need to be empty.

Them the rules.

Afaik, there can't be "my raw is different than your raw" unless you have a different text in your book. There can only be "my rai is different than your rai" because raw means as WRITTEN, not as interpreted.

As WRITTEN you need to do a Manipulate action.

The end. (as far as raw is concerned)

if it's for pfs, and you think that the rules are actually wrong, then get a pfs judge to overrule the official core rulebook if they can, i don't know if that is even possible.

p.s.

it's the exact same rules that allow a sorcerer to cast while holding stuff btw, or do you intend to also overule that and force every caster to have a free hand for somatic components?

If you don't think there can be different RAW, I'm guessing you've never sat in on a religious discussion about holy "inerrant" text. :P

You say you've read my posts, but you don't seem to address anything I've said. Last time you added several arguments I'd never made, including what looks like a quote I never typed.
This time you're saying I've inserted a rule (citation needed) and may even use that rule to hamper spellcasting. Huh?

That assertion highlights how our approaches differ. You seem bent on reading the text like a formula.
It's not. That's my opinion, yet one based on dev commentary.
That difference alters the way the written words get read by us.
That's how we arrive at different RAW. Does that bother you?

When I read "patch up", part of the rule as written in the feat, I think "patch up" in its normal usage. If Paizo had a specific interpretation for "patch up" that differed, I'd go with that. They don't, do they?

I don't think "Manipulate Action needs fixing and therefore I'll go nerf spellcasters." That would be somebody with your approach disagreeing with you. I'm not that person. You seem to be focusing on the icons, perhaps giving them precedence over what seems plain to me by reading the feat. The rule as written.

Anyway, you do you. I'll do me. Hopefully neither of us ever have say over the other in PFS.
Cheers


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The reason why I believe option 1 is the clearest interpretation of the rules as written is because it would have been very very easy to write the feat more clearly to support option 3 if that was the intention.

If the expectation was that Battle Medicine worked identically to Treat Wounds (require healing tools and two hands), except for a change to the amount of time necessary to complete it, and the length of time between when it could be used again, the feat could have said so. Instead, the writers made the active choice to talk specifically about the ways it worked similarly to treat wounds (how you set the DC and how much you heal), and to define everything else about the feat as something different than Treat Wounds. Even clearly setting up "Battle Medicine" as a named action a character can perform, that is not mentioned as an action allowed by the healer's kit.

That is just way too much specificity for me to believe that there was any intention that the feat should be interpreted entirely by the phrase "patch up," which has no rules based interpreation, while everything else about the action and the feat, does conform to the very specific rules definitions the developers employed.

Again, I think it is possible that the developers never meant for the action to be able to be performed without a free hand, but the specific changes made to the rules in the playtest changed the feat to work that way and if that reading is wrong, an Errata is necessary to clear it up.


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Maybe you just swing your weapon so fast that it heats up enough to let you cauterize the wound with a quick touch.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber

Data Lore, your insistence on needing to change grips, drop weapons and then pick them up again, or whatever-you-have is very much like advocating that Flurry of Blows should take two actions because a Strike takes one action and you are making two of them. You should have noticed that the rules do not justify each and every detail of their action economy with the exact flavor you should use, but there is exactly zero basis for simply discarding the notion that the action for Battle Medicine *includes* making a hand free to apply the healing and then change your grip back. Claiming that this is impossible just because the flavor is not explicit (while the rules *are*) and then mocking everyone who disagrees is counterproductive and, frankly, insulting.


Comparing Battle Medicine to, say, Dual Handed Assault, there is a very clear difference in language. That one states that a hand is added to a weapon and then made free.

Its a bit of a stretch that this feat would allow you to toss your weapon in the air, perform first aid and then catch your weapon and keep on trucking. Nothing in the feat suggests that. None of the text suggests that.

So, actually, there is PLENTY of basis for discarding the notion that the action for Battle Medicine *includes* making a hand free.


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Maybe Battle Medicine is basically the Hokuto Shin Ken.
You press the tsubo of your companion - gently with a finger (one hand free), or in vigorous way with a kick (no hands free) - and stop his bleeding.


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Data Lore wrote:

Comparing Battle Medicine to, say, Dual Handed Assault, there is a very clear difference in language. That one states that a hand is added to a weapon and then made free.

Its a bit of a stretch that this feat would allow you to toss your weapon in the air, perform first aid and then catch your weapon and keep on trucking. Nothing in the feat suggests that. None of the text suggests that.

So, actually, there is PLENTY of basis for discarding the notion that the action for Battle Medicine *includes* making a hand free.

What evidence is there that a free hand is required? The only thing that it says is it has the manipulate trait, which explicitly says that can be done while holding something else.


You don't need to use any hands for Battle Medicine and healer's tools aren't a factor as you can't gain any benefit from healer's tools: the only checks it helps with are Administer First Aid, Treat Disease, Treat Poison, or Treat Wounds and the check for Battle Medicine is none of those... AS such, the only thing we have to go on is the manipulate trait and what it requires and that's "You must physically manipulate an item or make gestures to use an action with this trait." It's the same trait as metamagics and trick magic item so "make a few gestures" works.

IMO, it's best to think of it as something like pressure points: hit the right point and it slows bleeding or stops pain. PF1 had the ninja talent that allowed you to "strike at an opponent's vital pressure points, causing weakness and intense pain": the opposite doesn't seem out of place. PF1 also has the Pei Zin Practitioner that uses a paladin’s lay on hands ability with acupuncture. So I'm not sure why Data Lore and other have such a hard time with the optics of Battle Medicine: we aren't really treading on new ground.


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Ultimately the problem is that for some GM's Battle Medicine is gonna be too video gamey for them to like. They're just gonna have to deal with that because it has to be to be competitive with Heal. There's no getting around that, the more impractical you make Battle Medicine to use the more you restrict the game into Clerics being the only viable healer. In a game where reliable healing both in-combat and without is a standard assumption that is really bad - I'm sure some of us still remember the early stages of the playtest, when Battle Medicine was weak and a party without a Cleric was a dead party.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Data Lore wrote:

Ya, man, channel those bandages through your glaive. What nonsense.

Right or no, any table where that crap happens isnt worth playing at. Frankly, Im curious what kinda DM would bend to such rules abuse.

Of course, I see it now, we must treat Battle Medicine as this carefully choreographed, mystical healing technique or some special thing we can somehow throw at folks without our hands. Clearly that is what "You can patch up yourself or an adjacent ally, even in combat" means.

You have read the rules right? this game is a game where every character can do things beyond human skill/speed/physics of our world even "non-magical" ones, as the natural and supernatural are all in one as an extension of skill beyond comprehension. Just cause you can't imagine a situation your willing to accept, or lack the creativity to fill in the gaps that align with the rules and the setting doesn't mean you should push your weird agenda on people legitimately asking how something works. How you want to run it your game is fine, it's your game, but coming here and attempting to mock people who can accept how the game works is pretty low.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
Ultimately the problem is that for some GM's Battle Medicine is gonna be too video gamey for them to like.

This is a game where small characters in full plate weigh 15 pounds and can easily fit in your backpack with room to spare: if "too video gamey" is an issue, Battle Medicine is far from the most prominent one as plenty of integral parts of the game are far more "video gamey" than this. When 8 bedrolls [or tools including a PORTABLE ANVIL] fit in a Bandolier but single arrows don't, "video gamey" is already in your face before you get to Battle Medicine.


This is possibly going to be labeled heresy, but if you actually read the description of healer's tools and all of the different skill actions that utilize tools, it doesn't even seem like administering first aid or treating poison requires 2 hands because healer's tools are kept in pockets and bandoliers as explicitly stated on page 290, thus can be drawn as part of the action of using them.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Since we have TWO characters in our party with Battle Medicine, I discussed this with the group during our game last night. Not 10 seconds in the decision was unanimous: Of course you need your hands to perform Battle Medicine. Doesn't make sense otherwise. So until we hear otherwise from an official source, we agreed that at our table you need at least one hand free to use Battle Medicine.

I think this is the best way for groups to handle it (coming to a common consensus and then getting back to the game) until such a determination can be made.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

One hand free is reasonable. Two hands free makes this an insane waste of time.

Since I mostly play PFS some sort of ruling will be critical.


Unicore wrote:
This is possibly going to be labeled heresy, but if you actually read the description of healer's tools and all of the different skill actions that utilize tools, it doesn't even seem like administering first aid or treating poison requires 2 hands because healer's tools are kept in pockets and bandoliers as explicitly stated on page 290, thus can be drawn as part of the action of using them.

They can be drawn as part of the action but nothing on page 290 says that doing so requires any less hands.


graystone wrote:
Unicore wrote:
This is possibly going to be labeled heresy, but if you actually read the description of healer's tools and all of the different skill actions that utilize tools, it doesn't even seem like administering first aid or treating poison requires 2 hands because healer's tools are kept in pockets and bandoliers as explicitly stated on page 290, thus can be drawn as part of the action of using them.
They can be drawn as part of the action but nothing on page 290 says that doing so requires any less hands.

Where does it say that the healer’s tools require two hands? I tried looking for in several places and never saw that mentioned. Crafter’s tools specify they use two hands in the crafting skill action but nothing like that shows up in healer’s tools. Although none of this applies to battlefield medicine specifically anyway.


If I remember correctly. Healer's Tools section in the item table lists "hands" required.

Liberty's Edge

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No idea what the official ruling will be, but my personal ruling is that you need one hand free and probably need to have Healer's Tools somewhere on your person.

Which seems relatively non-restrictive while still throwing at least a wink and a nod to realism.


Unicore wrote:
Where does it say that the healer’s tools require two hands?

Page 288 under healer's tool [hands 2]. The same page also list hands needed for alchemist's tools [hands 2]. So 4 hands if you're a Chirugeon.


Funny, I am coming at this from a Tome of Battle 3.5 point of view where there are maneuvers that specifically heal your allies in the midst of combat, (even as a direct result of hitting an enemy). So I am fine with it not requiring a free hand.

Grand Lodge

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Deadmanwalking wrote:

No idea what the official ruling will be, but my personal ruling is that you need one hand free and probably need to have Healer's Tools somewhere on your person.

Which seems relatively non-restrictive while still throwing at least a wink and a nod to realism.

I agree with the hand free interpretation but less so about the healers kit.

The closest approximation Battle Medicine has to real life is applying a tourniquet. Although even new "high speed low drag" tourniquets require more than 2 seconds to apply and at least one hand to tighten it. (2 hands would be a vast improvement on time but not an absolute requirement but it is impossible to accomplish while someone is swinging a sword no matter how many hands are used.) Some suspension of disbelief is required in either case.

As a former combat medic I can assure you I had tourniquets at the ready but the emphasis is to always use the patient's gear first. People expecting trouble would have strips of clothing on a belt to minimize these item access troubles. Therefore, I don't think a healers kit is necessary for a once a day combat patch job.

I do look forward to clarification in any case though.


The designers made comments a long time ago that made it very clear Battle Medic doesn't require a separate action to draw any tools, specifically contrasting it with feeding a potion requiring drawing the potion first as a separate action or using a two action healing spell. So that's not really up for debate. How many hands it requires is a little less clear.

Megistone wrote:

Possible interpretation: Battle Medicine is an injection of a very strong extract that makes the body react to injuries, if you do it right.

It's quick and effective, but using that again too soon won't work because the receiver won't react well, or at all.

This has been my head cannon from the beginning. Specifically I tend to think of it as adrenaline. You take it more than once per day and your heart will explode. This also serves as a decent way to explain how it is administered so fast and as one action. The feat not only provides you with the expertise to safely administer this concoction, but a very specific version of the Quick Draw feat that can't be really utilized for weapons against resisting targets.


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The part that I'm curious about is the Skill Feat Natural Medicine.
IIRC, it lets you Treat Wounds with the Knowledge:Nature skill. I had previously thought that Battle Medic would let you do that in combat, but if you don't Treat Wounds with Battle Medic then you wouldn't be able to Natural Medicine with Battle Medic either. A shame, because I wanted a character that passed out some Essential Oils or whatever and told everyone to "Just feel better" or something.
As is, it looks like that concept will probably need to stay as an Exploration-only healer.


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candycolordice wrote:

The part that I'm curious about is the Skill Feat Natural Medicine.

IIRC, it lets you Treat Wounds with the Knowledge:Nature skill. I had previously thought that Battle Medic would let you do that in combat, but if you don't Treat Wounds with Battle Medic then you wouldn't be able to Natural Medicine with Battle Medic either. A shame, because I wanted a character that passed out some Essential Oils or whatever and told everyone to "Just feel better" or something.
As is, it looks like that concept will probably need to stay as an Exploration-only healer.

There are a lot of issues with Natural Medicine - even if you accepted it as just being an out of combat feat it never scales up since being able to heal more with Treat Wounds is tied to your Medicine proficiency. Which means that Medicine needs to be your best skill at all times. Which means that it's better than Nature...

Liberty's Edge

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Arachnofiend wrote:
There are a lot of issues with Natural Medicine - even if you accepted it as just being an out of combat feat it never scales up since being able to heal more with Treat Wounds is tied to your Medicine proficiency. Which means that Medicine needs to be your best skill at all times. Which means that it's better than Nature...

The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that the intent of 'can use X Skill for Y Skill Use' is for the X Skill to replace the normal Skill for all purposes (so Chirugeon would make Medicine scale with Crafting, and Natural Medicine would do the same with Nature). I don't think the rules currently work quite that way, but it seems the clear intent and we can hope it gets errata'd in.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

Since we have TWO characters in our party with Battle Medicine, I discussed this with the group during our game last night. Not 10 seconds in the decision was unanimous: Of course you need your hands to perform Battle Medicine. Doesn't make sense otherwise. So until we hear otherwise from an official source, we agreed that at our table you need at least one hand free to use Battle Medicine.

I think this is the best way for groups to handle it (coming to a common consensus and then getting back to the game) until such a determination can be made.

Thank you, Ravingdork, for this breath of reason.

Ravingdork is one of the few people in this thread who acknowledges the fact that the RAW are ambiguous concerning free hands needed for Battle Medicine.

I agree all down the line - consensus at the table and patience waiting for a clarification.

The one thing we should all be able to agree on is that the rules governing Battle Medicine are not "clear".

I'm not saying that Battle Medicine "clearly" requires two hands and healer's tools. Just that the wording is unclear and counterintuitive.

I mean, they *could* have worded the feat more specifically as a magical effect, saying "With a firm glance and a murmured prayer, you cause the wounds to close." I would be fine with that. But instead the feat says "patch up" and then fails to describe what you are using to "patch up".

How anyone can call this discrepancy in language "clear" is beyond me.

And finally, arguments that some folks make here would carry more weight if they could avoid ad hominem attacks. Just sayin.


I also agree that the most important thing to do with any rule that feels like it has multiple interpretations is to talk it over at your table and make sure everyone is aware of how you want to play it.

For me, playing battle medicine as requiring one free hand feels reasonable enough that I wouldn't argue against it at the table, but I would acknowledge that that was us creating a house rule for our own comfort.

out of the three options presented in the OP, only option 1 would be possible RAW without there being an added errata about the feat requiring an open hand or use of a kit. And the feat could clearly could benefit from a FAQ, perhaps especially because multiple people feel so strongly about the RAI, regardless of which option is correct since there is so much confusion about how this feat works.

If my table also wanted to insist that battlefield medicine required a healer's kit to use, I would never chose that feat for any of my characters and volunteer to play the cleric if anyone else was trying to build a character around non-magical healing, because non-magical healing essentially become an entire build sink that will never be able to be able to participate meaningfully in combat outside of being ready to heal, while the cleric whips out heals without so much as having to shift their grip... all of this for the opportunity to do a thing to each player once a day. Which is why it seems so obvious to me that the developers removed the requirement of using the tools from the feat, and went to such lengths to make it clear that the feat does not use the kit.

Applying first aid in combat (through medicine) is also a horrifically terrible idea as it basically means having 2 combatants sit out at least an entire round, while the cleric with a stabilize cantrip is only ever losing 1 action to stabilize and can even potentially stabilize, heal and attack in the same round if they are in the right position, but that is clearly how the rules work for first aid, so I don't argue against them, just point out that a single 2nd level class feat is far more useful to being a competent combat healer than dedicating a skill and multiple feats over the course of a character's career, especially because the non-alchemist healer requires an investment of at least a 14 in wisdom anyway.

I get why there is an intuitive sense to want to see non-magical healing play according to a certain head cannon about being a field medic, but if the intention was for it to be competitive with magical healing, and use both of your character's hands, then it really needs to be usable more than 1 time a day per character.

Sovereign Court

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I'm always a bit amazed when someone posts "this thing is ambiguous" and someone answers with "no, because I know exactly what it means" or someone says "this thing is causing arguments" and someone answers "no because I know what it means".

We know for sure that it's unclear because there's lots of people arguing about it.

It does not actually "explicitly" list that you don't need tools or hands. It implicitly does by not listing those as requirements, in a text format where normally requirements are listed. But what's uncertain is whether this implication was intentional or accidental. It could be intentional; there's many rules here where they don't put in requirement when they don't intend to require that thing. It could be accidental, because a different piece of the rules changed and this part wasn't adapted to reflect the change.

The printed text doesn't make clear for us whether the implication is intentional or accidental, and there are arguments for both sides. Common sense isn't "common" enough here that we get a consensus. Also, the stakes are high, it could be a life or death matter.

That means that this situation calls for explicit information. If Battle Medicine is supposed to use hands and medkit then it should say so, not leave us with the lingering idea that maybe it doesn't need them. If it doesn't need them (which would be a bit surprising, but perhaps good for game balance reasons), then it needs to say so. Based on the principle "if a rule is not what you'd expect, then you need to be very explicit".


Ascalaphus wrote:


It does not actually "explicitly" list that you don't need tools or hands. It implicitly does by not listing those as requirements, in a text format where normally requirements are listed. But what's uncertain is whether this implication was intentional or accidental. It could be intentional; there's many rules here where they don't put in requirement when they don't intend to require that thing. It could be accidental, because a different piece of the rules changed and this part wasn't adapted to reflect the change...
That means that this situation calls for explicit information. If Battle Medicine is supposed to use hands and medkit then it should say so, not leave us with the lingering idea that maybe it doesn't need them. If it doesn't need them (which would be a bit surprising, but perhaps good for game balance reasons), then it needs to say so. Based on the principle "if a rule is not what you'd expect, then you need to be very explicit".

First of all, I am sympathetic to the fact that a lot of people are confused by this feat, espeically because the way it is described does not line up with the mechanical choices made for the feat.

As the playtest developed, I am sure the mechanical language changed far more often than the descriptive language and it was the mechanical language that was more likely reviewed closely by editors than the descriptive language.

If enough people keep asking about it on Pathfinder fridays and in FAQ requests, I am sure we will find out soon enough what the intent of the feat was, and even the intention of the developers doesn't actually matter as much at your home table, as defining the feat to fit the desired tone and play style of your table.

However, it is probably important to consider the balance aspects of the feat in addition to the feel of the feat in play, and if you are going make it require things that it does not currently need to be useable in play, you might want to think of things to give it a little bit of a boost.

In all honesty, if you want it to require healer's tools and otherwise act just like treat wounds, it is probably best to make it a treat wounds action that can be completed in 1 action and have no additional time stipulation than only working once every 10 minutes. It still won't be as good or as useful as magical in-combat healing and if you don't keep both hands free to use the healer's tool to apply first aid to a dying companion you have a good chance of watching your ally die in the round it takes you to set up your first aid check.

Sovereign Court

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Unicore wrote:
In all honesty, if you want it to

I didn't really say anything about how I want the feat to function. I'm just talking about the need to make it clearer.

It's a life and death issue and the rules are unclear enough that people aren't coming to a consensus on what it's meant to do.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Unicore wrote:
In all honesty, if you want it to

I didn't really say anything about how I want the feat to function. I'm just talking about the need to make it clearer.

It's a life and death issue and the rules are unclear enough that people aren't coming to a consensus on what it's meant to do.

Any life or death issue has to be resolved satisfactorily at your table. Even if you felt the language could not be clearer (as I do), I recognize the final decision is made by the players and GM agreeing to what works for them to be willing to keep playing. If there is a reason the game feels unplayable for you with the rules as written, fix that with those you are playing with. Even if word does come down from on high that the feat was written incorrectly and changed with errata, if you’ve fixed it so that it works at your table then why change?

Sovereign Court

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You think the language is crystal clear, but what about all the people who think it means something else? Are they all really, really dumb or evil? Why aren't they agreeing with you?

Setting this from on high has a couple of advantages:
- Removing a time bomb. Sure, a group can come to an agreement on what it means, but preferably not in the middle of a combat when people have a personal stake in it.
- Yeah, now that you know about the issue you can defuse it ahead of time by having a vote or the GM deciding. But if someone else sets up a group with about half your players, the vote/GM decision could turn out differently.
- Also, that sort of thing can turn into a whole checklist of "what does this group think about that issue, and that issue, and that issue". We had hoped to buy rules that work out of the box.
- Game designers are paid to be good at this. In my experience, not all GMs are so good at making good house rules. I'd be interested in hearing the intent of the experts. I can still make my house rule but with more information.
- Large-scale compatibility such as for PFS requires this to be settled.


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I know that Paizo knows about the no-hands thing because I included it in my feedback for one of the playtest chapters. I specifically remember figuring out that Combat Medic didn't require any hands and specifically built a character to take advantage of that despite being (otherwise) a sword-and-board combatant.

Did I think it was kind of dumb?

Yes.

Did I run with it anyway?

Hell yes.

Do I want it changed?

Not really. The amount of healing you get out of it isn't that much and forcing a player to spend one (or two) additional actions to get the benefit you'll quickly find that no one takes it, or if they do, they don't use it (because pulling out a wand of Heal or a Potion of Cure is Just Better).

As an example, I tried using the Legendary Repair abilities at one point "hey I can three actions repairing my shield mid combat! Wait, no, four, I have to pull out the repair kit. Five, I have to put it back, wait no, six because I need a free hand to pull out the kit. Wait seven because the kit requires two free hands. Ok, so lets see if I got all that: (0) drop my sword and shield, (1) pull out the kit, (2,3,4) repair the shield, (5) put it away, (6) pick up my shield (7) pick up my sword. Oof. F this. I drop the shield (0) and equip a new one (1)."


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Right now it is possible to see that, RAW, one of the three options, option 1 ((Battle medicine requires no free hand to complete, and any manipulation of items held before and after the action is completed is completed as a part of the action, as is true with all other manipulate actions) from the Original Post is possible without any change or additional ruling or clarification. 2 of the options need at least one phrase or change made to the wording of the feat itself to be supported: The only trait listed in the feat is manipulate and the no mention of required items, nor of number of hands used is present.

The people who feel that this reading of the rule is wrong, are doing so because it because it feels wrong to them and they cant imagine that the rules as intended were meant to support option 1. It is perfectly fine to decide to play according to what feels right to everyone at the table, as clearly demonstrated in play by @ravingdork.

One possibility is that option 1 is the intended ruling and the only one actually defined by the rules of a manipulate action and within the feat itself. Changing it to make that more clear might be difficult (having to reword the feat itself to add no actual rule change, but probably change the flavor to make it clear the action works the same way every other manipulate action works unless stated otherwise) and be seen as an attack by people who want to feel justified in interpreting it another way.

Another perfectly reasonable possibility is that , because Option 1 is a subtle change from the playtest, that was never overtly discussed by developers, that an Errata on this issue is on its way. If this is true, it would be wonderful for the developers to let us know that quickly.
Yet another possibility is that the current rules as written could be an accident, but one that the developers are not sure is really going to have a harmful impact on the game and that they are choosing to wait before making an arbitrary ruling one way or another until they see how people respond and if it is generally seen as the life or death issue that you clearly see it as. Making sure they are aware of that is a great idea, but it might still take them some time if there is disagreement or uncertainty about whether the game will be significantly improved by making a change or not. If this is the case, we will probably hear from the developers when they have enough evidence to make sure that they don't later want to go back and change something else about the feat, such as realizing that making it require a set of tools to complete changes it balance in play.


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I'm going to go with needing one hand available & Healers tools ready. Just in a belt pouch or bandolier. The idea of there being a fantasy herb or compound that can invigorate somebody enough to restore HP or a poultice that can be slapped on a wound for a quick trauma patch is fine.

Sovereign Court

Clarification could be as simple as adding this line:

Requirements a healer's kit and 2 (or 1) free hands.

Or this one:

Requirements None. (Unlike Treat Wounds, Battle Medicine does not require free hands or a healer's kit.)

Or something else, in case you need a healer's kit but no hands or something else.


Ascalaphus wrote:

Clarification could be as simple as adding this line:

Requirements a healer's kit and 2 (or 1) free hands.

Or this one:

Requirements None. (Unlike Treat Wounds, Battle Medicine does not require free hands or a healer's kit.)

Or something else, in case you need a healer's kit but no hands or something else.

Adding things that a feat does not use is not usually a wise use of space in a book. Perhaps putting something in the description of feats that says all feats specify what they do require might be helpful but not at the individual feat level.


Definitely needs clarification, but Manipulate is either using an item, or using a gesture. Since nothing indicates that this feat empowers you with Magic (where gestures are provided an exception that you can do it without a free hand), and presumably you have to have an item to “patch”, I’d say the common sense rule applies regardless of whether or not that makes the feat a poor feat.

Look up definition of manipulate: item or gesture. Nothing under the feat accesses gestures, or magic where gestures are given their free hand exception, but the skill (literally every use of the skill apart from Recall Knowledge) uses a healers kit in each instance. Occam’s razor here says use the healers kit. Anything else sounds like a stretch to me.

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