How well can a party get on without a healer?


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Background: I'm starting a new campaign that everyone expects to last for a long time. This is a group that has already played a multi-year campaign to level 20. I played a wizard in that old campaign and loved it. (I know wizards can problematically outshine other players at high levels, but I was support-focused enough and they were focused enough on their damage dealing that it actually worked out well.) I was the last player to commit to joining the new campaign, so we already had a melee fighter tank, a ranger (or possibly rogue), and a bloodrager. A couple people might be willing to switch, but overall everyone is pretty committed to their characters and roles. Everyone, including the DM, recommends that I play a healer of some sort. I've spent really a very long time playing around with possible builds, including shamans, clerics, and even witches. But I miss my wizard. I have begun to question my group's basic presumption that every party needs a healer. Maybe it's not entirely motivated reasoning to think that what we really need is some form of an arcane CC/support/utility caster.

So what do you think? Could I go full wizard/arcanist, strand my party without a healer, and still have a decent party composition without my DM having to rescue us with a healer DMPC? (It is relevant to note that he is generally willing to provide us with pretty liberal access to diverse magic items.) If not, would a cleric/oracle cohort for mostly out-of-combat utility healing be sufficient in a party with no other healing? (I will also note that neither my DM nor I are huge fans of playing cohorts.)

Evidence in favor: I know there is a popular school of thought that damage is best prevented, not healed. Healing certainly can't keep pace with damage, and so eventually healing is a losing game in any battle that goes on long enough. In CRPGs I like to play heavy control parties with that general philosophy, although I usually find healing too useful to forgo altogether. Blitz attacker parties work on the same basic principle -- after all, if they're dead, they can't hurt you -- and this party might do well with that model as it has three main damage dealers. I can't help but remember that in my last campaign with this group, our battle oracle didn't spend much in-combat time healing, as he was far more effective as a self-buffed damage machine. As a wizard, I could help control the battlefield to make healing unnecessary, as I did in the last campaign. Magic items (or a cleric cohort, DM permitting) could help us heal outside of combat.

Evidence against: All of the above said, in-combat healing can definitely be dead useful. Sometimes you just need to give the DPS one more turn or two before they drop, and you can't always prevent all the damage (inevitably, enemies make all their saves, roll crazy high to hit, and so on). Also, someone needs to be able to deal with ability damage, status effects, etc., whether in combat or out. And while a wizard (or rogue) will eventually be able to UMD at least some of this if the DM allows enough access to magic items (which I think he would, and I could take magic creation feats to help), it'll be a problem at low levels due both to low UMD and limited gold.

(I should say that as large as my old wizard has become in my imagination, I also recognize that there are good versatile builds of several other classes. Hell, if you use Wandering Hex with a Shaman to get the Arcane Enlightenment hex of the Lore Spirit, you can straight up get rotating wizard spells, and my DM's liberal magic item policy could give me even more access to wizard magic, all on top of the Shaman's admittedly somewhat circumscribed existing mix of the witch, cleric, and druid lists. That's a fair way toward a non-crippled Mystic Theurge, which, if it were better, would be my ideal class -- I always want all the spells! That's all just to say that I think I probably could really like a character of a different class, even if I'm not nearly as drawn to them right now. What I most want to play is a versatile prepared support/utility caster with a good spell list. That sounds most like a wizard to me, but I'm willing to give anything a good look.)


You've already made the best arguments pro and con. What do you think? Play what you want, make the game what YOU want it to be. Healing doesn't keep pace with damage, so having a dedicated heal-bot in the group is not a worthwhile allocation of resources.

Say you play a wizard, take a familiar, and give it the Sage archetype. Using the retraining rules you get the familiar to swap it's level 1 feat for the feat Extra Traits, giving the familiar Pragmatic Activator and another trait that gives it Use Magic Device as a class skill with a +1 Trait bonus. Finally, you take a 13 Charisma for your wizard and take the feat Evolved Familiar, giving the familiar the Skilled evolution and choosing Use Magic Device for your little buddy.

From level 1 on, all you need to do is make sure you're taking a skill point in UMD yourself and your familiar starts off at level 1 with +11 on it's skill check. As you level and the familiar's Int increases, so will this skill check. By level 3, with 3 skill ranks and your familiar's Int being an 8, your familiar has a +14 on UMD; on a roll of 6 or higher your familiar could be activating wands of CLW to heal your party members.

This frees up your wizard to use all of the battlefield control and other spells needed to keep your party safe, every round.


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Keep in mind that when people say that you don't need a healer. They mean that you don't need "in combat healing". In theory you can rely on wands of curing and use magic device but IMO that is an unnecessarily expensive approach.

While it is doable it means that you're essentially playing without a safety net. In the ideal scenario you don't need in combat healing, the reality is, there are encounters where someone is having to cast healing spells in combat because if they don't the party will wipe.

One of my old DMs would sometimes joke about a convention group he had where everyone was a fighter with a ring of sustenance. They didn't need food and water, barely needed any sleep and also had no healing. So, their method of healing after a fight was to sit around a campfire staring at each other for weeks to rest back up to full HP.

TLDR;

Can it be done? Yes
Do I recommend it? No

Now, that being said there's no reason you can't be a wizard that can heal.

You could consider variations of the following builds

White Mage (Arcanist)

Spoiler:

Key concepts: A Healer that uses arcane exploits to heal
Alignment: Lawful Good
Race: Human
Racial Trait: Heart of the Fey
Traits: Precise Treatment and (Battlefield Surgeon or Scarred by War) and/or Blessed Touch
Class: Arcanist(7), Sorcerer(1), Arcanist(X)
Bloodline: Solar
Exploits: Bloodline Development(1st), familiar, Quick Study, Fiendish Proboscis
Archetype: White Mage (Arcanist)
Optional Arch: Unlettered Arcanist (Arcanist)
Familiar Arch: Protector
Suggested Domains: Medicine, Healing, Community
Key Feats: Healer’s Hands (1st), Signature Skill[heal] (1st), Extra Reservoir(3rd), Believer’s Boon (5th), Believer’s Hands (7th)
Suggested Feats: Quick Channel, Reactive Healing, Curative Mastery, Restoration Mastery, Purifying Channel, extra channel, Incredible Healer
Key Features: • Can spontaneously cast cure spells by spending reservoir points.
• Gets all Standard and Optional Healing abilities
• Has full access to all arcane or witch spells (see optional archetype)
• Can split damage taken with familiar

Doctor of Medicine (Wizard)

Spoiler:

Key concepts: A Healer that uses “science” to cure
Race: Human or Half-elf
Key Race Traits: Heart of the Fey & Focused Study(human) or Adaptability (Half-elf)
Traits: Precise Treatment and (Battlefield Surgeon or Scarred by War) and/or Blessed Touch
Class: Wizard(5th) / Pathfinder Savant (10th)
Arcane School: none
Arcane Bond: Familiar
Archetype: Arcane Physician
Familiar Arch: Protector
Key Feats: Skill Focus [Perception] (1st), Healer's Hands (1st), Eldritch Heritage[Solar] (3rd), Arcane Discovery[Faith Magic](5th), Magical Aptitude (5th), Adept Channel(7th), Improved Eldritch Heritage[Cleansing Flame] (11th), Greater Eldritch Heritage [Healing Fire] (17th)
Suggested Feats: Quick Channel, Reactive Healing, Curative Mastery, Restoration Mastery, Purifying Channel, extra channel, Incredible Healer, Victory Through Unity
Key Features: • Can Convert Healing Potions and Remedies on the fly
• Gets all Standard Healing abilities
• May pick up to 9 Healing Spells (after 6th level)
• Has full access to all arcane spells
• Can split damage taken with familiar

Devout Doctor (Wizard)

Spoiler:

Key concepts: A wizard taught to heal by a divine patron
Alignment: Lawful Good
Race: Human
Key Race Traits: Heart of the Fey, Focused Study
Traits: Precise Treatment and (Battlefield Surgeon or Scarred by War) and/or Blessed Touch
Class: Wizard (10th) / Pathfinder Savant (10th)
Arcane School: Necromancy (Life)
Arcane Bond: Familiar
Familiar Archetypes: Figment or Protector or Valet
Suggested Domains: Medicine, Healing, Community
Archetype: Pact Wizard HH (Mercy) or Hallowed Necromancer
Curse: Covetous
Key Feats: Skill Focus [Heal] (1st), Believer’s Boon (1st), Magical Aptitude (3rd), Arcane Discovery[Faith Magic](5th), Believer’s Hands (7th), Skill Focus [Perception] (8th), Crafting Feat [any] (9th), Adept Channel(11th), Eldritch Heritage[Solar] (13th), Improved Eldritch Heritage[Cleansing Flame] (15th), Greater Eldritch Heritage [Healing Fire] (17th)
Suggested Feats: Quick Channel, Reactive Healing, Curative Mastery, Restoration Mastery, Purifying Channel, Improvisational Healer, Incredible Healer, Healer's Hands (Conduit), Victory Through Unity
Key Features: • Can Spontaneously cast Cure Light Wounds (Pact Wizard only)
• Gets all Standard and Optional Healing abilities
• May pick up to 9 Healing Spells (after 12th level)
• Has full access to all arcane spells

For my healing builds, the following is what I mean by "Standard" and "optional" abilities.

General Healers

Spoiler:

Key Abilities: Channel Positive Energy
Optional Abilities: Lay on Hands
Key Spells:
Cure: Cure Light, Cure Moderate, Cure Serious, Cure Critical, Breath of Life, Heal
Curse: Remove Curse, Break Enchantment
Disease: Remove Disease
Poison: Delay Poison, Neutralize Poison
Revival: Raise Dead or Reincarnate, True Resurrection (Optional)
Stat: Restoration
Suggested Gear: Meditation Crystal, Healer's Satchel, Vest of Surgery, Shawl of Life-Keeping, Vestments of War, Ring of Protected Life, Inheritor's Light
Note: Healer’s Hands + Signature Skill (Heal) makes any character good at healing.


A party without a healer is viable if the DM is prepared for that. They have to change the way they write/prepare adventures so that meaningful combat comes at a time when players will have an opportunity to spend days in recovery, or perhaps go through lots of consumable healing.

If the DM is running canned material, like an AP, then the material likely assumes all the bases are covered I suspect the DM will feel a healer is necessary, and for some adventures, specifically a cleric. If the players don't want to play a healer, then the DM has two choices: (1) allow one player to make a 2nd character to be a healbot, (2) attach a healbot to the party as a trustworthy NPC.


Quote:
If not, would a cleric/oracle cohort for mostly out-of-combat utility healing be sufficient in a party with no other healing?

IME yes. If the GM doesn't like that, you will need to get some reliable Wands of Cure Light Wounds. (This essentially requires you to craft those wands, and it's hard to do that if you don't have Cure Light Wounds as a spell.)

Please do not go without any sort of reliable healing. Far too often, PCs will not be able to advance the plot because they're too scared to do anything dangerous... because they're half-dead and simply cannot advance.

PF assumes multiple dangerous encounters per day, but PCs don't have enough hit points if they don't get healing. The pacing is not the same as Lord of the Rings, where wounded characters can take long breaks to heal up even though the world is coming to an end.


While in combat healing may not be effective, out of combat healing is a necessity. While a dedicated healer who does nothing else may not be needed a party does need someone who can heal. Healing is defined by two functions restoring HP and removing conditions. Of the two condition removal is the more vital. Wands of cure light wounds are probably the single most efficient form of restoring HP and are cheap and usually easily obtained. As long as one or two characters can use wands of cure light wounds they party can has a method of restoring HP.

Condition removal is a lot more difficult to perform because there is no single item that will do it all. You can usually use scrolls and other items for this but this usually requires a larger investment because there are so many different conditions you need to remove. Some of the conditions rarely come up, but when they do they can render a character useless. Blindness is a perfect example of this. If you don’t have a way to remove this it will render most characters useless. Negative levels are fairly common so those have to be able to be removed or your party is permanently weakened. Bringing back a character from the dead is also something that is occasionally needed. Without someone in the party who is able to deal with removing conditions the game got a lot more difficult.

You can always travel to back to town for healing if necessary. This is far from an ideal situation because it may they delay cause things that have a time limit to fail. It also means that while you are doing that the affected character may be out of commission. Nothing is worse than sitting around for a whole game session with absolutely nothing to do. This should only be used for the most extreme cases.

If the second character is a ranger and has not chosen an archetype that trades away spells you have some healing in the party. Rangers can use wands of cure light wounds and get some condition removal spells on their spell list. They can provide some healing but it is probably not enough.

To supplement this your wizard could put ranks into UMD to allow him to use scrolls and wands. The only problem with this is that it will require a larger than normal investment in healing resources. If the party like many has a pool of gold to purchase items for the party as a whole more of this pool is going to have to be dedicated to healing leaving less for other things. This may mean that the shares for the individual characters are less. If not your character may have to devote more of his own gold to healing leaving you with less for your own needs.


Witches and Bards get healing spells too. There are certainly ways to play Arcane casters who also deliver healing. I like that Lord Special K also points out though that you need some condition mitigation, stat healing and so on from "healer" types in order to fill that role completely. I just feel that these spells and abilities don't need to be the primary focus of the character is all.

On the flipside however there are shaman builds out there who have an amazing range of spells, tons of versatility, and still serve as decent "healer" types. A buddy of mine built one with levels of Shaman and Brawler combined with a reach weapon to deliver a multitude of conditions by 8th level by dealing non-lethal damage to foes, all while using spells and his "familiar" to keep the other PCs buffed and healed mid-fight. The healing wasn't completely restorative, more like a band-aid to get us to the finish line against tough foes.

Do you need someone DEDICATED specifically to healing? I still say no, though there is definitely a need for those abilities to exist somehow in the party's resources.


Oh, and one other thing to remember: if someone in the party is going to use UMD to use wands/scrolls to fill a healer role, these items will be benefitting the entire party, and will mostly get used on those 3 frontline types. To this end, the entire party should be donating GP to the purchase of these items. This arrangement might make it more palatable to have a player choose the Use Magic Device route if they know they aren't solely burdened with the cost of the devices the party will require.


Or, a Warpriest? Although, honestly, I was drooling over Lord Kailas' post! Would love to play Pathfinder with someone like that. Anyways, best of luck to you! Let us know how it turns out. :)

Grand Lodge

A party can't reasonably expect to rely only on consumables, characters will be outpaced on damage by the opponents. A dedicated healer isn't mandatory, but at least two characters should be able to share the burden, cf two 3/4 spellcasters or one 3/4 and one self-healing frontliner. Having a single of those is very dangerous for two reasons :

- Trying to avoid damage only works until some point. Some enemies will be able to detect invisibility, stealth attempts or any other evasion.

- There's the need to delay death or unconsciousness just enough to win against them -> so contrary to those going against combat healing, I would say it's need not only outside, but also during that is required, especially during dungeons allowing very little pause.

Not the first time I'm voicing that : players might not want to play support, but the party will need it anyway.


Having a healer is nice, but you can just as easily buy a wand of CLW and Lesser Restoration and be done. Make sure you have scrolls/wands for condition removal too, like remove disease/curse, neutralize poison, break enchantment, etc.

Grand Lodge

Ryze Kuja wrote:
Having a healer is nice, but you can just as easily buy a wand of CLW and Lesser Restoration and be done. Make sure you have scrolls/wands for condition removal too, like remove disease/curse, neutralize poison, break enchantment, etc.

I would replace the L by a M or even a S, Cure Light Wounds will be grossly outpaced at some point. It's doable for outdoor adventuring, but dungeon crawling ? I wouldn't bet on it.

Silver Crusade

I have played in a couple of Paizo APs where you can't buy anything until you reach 4th lvl.


It's doable, a little tricky but doable. The biggest concern as others have said is condition removal. Disease, poison, ability damage; they all are brutal if you don't have a way to remove them.


Philippe Lam wrote:
I would replace the L by a M or even a S, Cure Light Wounds will be grossly outpaced at some point. It's doable for outdoor adventuring, but dungeon crawling ? I wouldn't bet on it.

I'm not sure I follow. A wand of cure light wounds is more cost-effective than any of the others. And how does dungeon crawling different from "outdoor adventuring"?

Most tactical/simulatory table top rpg's are about resources.
Hit points are a resource. X/Y abilities are a resource. As are spells, money, and more.

Hit points are the largest pool of resources, but also the most important. Having some sort of way to replenish your most important resource with less important ones is not only a solid logical argument, but one that the designers expect you to follow through on.
I don't think you need to be super dedicated to it, but if you don't do it, you're playing a different game than the designers had in mind. Not a bad thing, but problematic without the right considerations by players and GM's alike.


Quixote wrote:
Philippe Lam wrote:
I would replace the L by a M or even a S, Cure Light Wounds will be grossly outpaced at some point. It's doable for outdoor adventuring, but dungeon crawling ? I wouldn't bet on it.

I'm not sure I follow. A wand of cure light wounds is more cost-effective than any of the others. And how does dungeon crawling different from "outdoor adventuring"?

Most tactical/simulatory table top rpg's are about resources.
Hit points are a resource. X/Y abilities are a resource. As are spells, money, and more.

Hit points are the largest pool of resources, but also the most important. Having some sort of way to replenish your most important resource with less important ones is not only a solid logical argument, but one that the designers expect you to follow through on.
I don't think you need to be super dedicated to it, but if you don't do it, you're playing a different game than the designers had in mind. Not a bad thing, but problematic without the right considerations by players and GM's alike.

In a typical outdoor situation, you might have two or three encounters in a day, while dungeon crawling is one right after another. What's more, any party over 5th or 6th level should be prepared - I've seen a wand of CLW burn through over 30 charges...after one encounter. Before 10th level.


Kimera757 wrote:
you will need to get some reliable Wands of Cure Light Wounds. (This essentially requires you to craft those wands, and it's hard to do that if you don't have Cure Light Wounds as a spell.)
LordKailas wrote:
In theory you can rely on wands of curing and use magic device but IMO that is an unnecessarily expensive approach.
Philippe Lam wrote:
I would replace the L by a M or even a S, Cure Light Wounds will be grossly outpaced at some point.
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Wands of cure light wounds are probably the single most efficient form of restoring HP and are cheap and usually easily obtained.

Am I missing something here? Did they change the spell lists since last time I was looking? Infernal Healing is on both the Wizard and (since the Hell's Vengeance Player's Guide) Bloodrager spell list, and for wands easily outclasses CLW while healing almost as much as CMW (10 points vs. 12 on average). Don't forget that you can actually prepare it, which should help you through the first levels.

With the Healer's Hands feat, even the heal skill works nowadays. In my current campaign, a player wanted to do some healing, and uses the skill, which does most healing (no wands).

You do not need infight healing. It's not that there aren't situations where it would be nice, but you can totally live without it. I see people here talking about "Trying to avoid damage only works until some point.", but here's the thing: You don't need to stay at full HP. Only damage that puts you below 1 HP is relevant. The proactive method is not build around preventing all damage, because it doesn't need to. In any combat where no party member drops below 1 HP, infight healing is strictly useless. Indeed, spending recources on infight healing means fewer recources spend on other stuff, meaning the chance to actually need that infight healing increases. In most campaigns in which people frequently need infight healing, it's because the characters are build and the players act knowing they have that safety net - people play less risky without infight healing.

Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
If the players don't want to play a healer, then the DM has two choices: (1) allow one player to make a 2nd character to be a healbot, (2) attach a healbot to the party as a trustworthy NPC.

(3) Realize that this is Pathfinder and not AD&D, and use some of the other aviable options. Scrolls and UMD are a thing. Antitoxin is a thing. Hired spellcasting is a thing. Wizard gets teleport at 9th level, in most campaigns, that means at that point you can teleport to a city and get an NPC to remove nasty stuff.


Derklord wrote:
Am I missing something here? Did they change the spell lists since last time I was looking? Infernal Healing is on both the Wizard and (since the Hell's Vengeance Player's Guide) Bloodrager spell list, and for wands easily outclasses CLW while healing almost as much as CMW (10 points vs. 12 on average). Don't forget that you can actually prepare it, which should help you through the first levels.

If you have a DM that doesn't look at the spell very closely its easy to miss that it costs 25gp per casting. There are ways around the cost, (the feat false focus for example) but it isn't inconsequential.

Derklord wrote:
With the Healer's Hands feat, even the heal skill works nowadays.

Yep, very true, healing hands is called out in my previous post and can easily provide limited free healing.

Derklord wrote:
You do not need infight healing. It's not that there aren't situations where it would be nice, but you can totally live without it. I see people here talking about "Trying to avoid damage only works until some point.", but here's the thing: You don't need to stay at full HP. Only damage that puts you below 1 HP is relevant. The proactive method is not build around preventing all damage, because it doesn't need to. In any combat where no party member drops below 1 HP, infight healing is strictly useless. Indeed, spending recources on infight healing means fewer recources spend on other stuff, meaning the chance to actually need that infight healing increases.

When it comes to infight healing honestly I mostly see Channel Energy, Lay on Hands, Breath of Life and Heal get used. Now, would the party of acted differently if we didn't have a character with these options? possibly. I mean, you can fight with one hand tied behind your back and you'll use different tactics. But why handicap yourself if you don't have to?

Also, it really depends on what your players are used to. It may take a party wipe for some players to realize that they can't just do things the way they're used to since they don't have ready access to healing.


LordKailas wrote:
If you have a DM that doesn't look at the spell very closely its easy to miss that it costs 25gp per casting.

The "1 drop of devil blood" part does not have a listed price anywhere, and is thus included in a Spell Component Pouch.

Indeed, is there even an actual cost for unholy water given anywhere? CRB and UE only have holy water. Which is sold as a flask and not a dose, by the way, how do we know that's the same?

LordKailas wrote:
When it comes to infight healing honestly I mostly see Channel Energy, Lay on Hands, Breath of Life and Heal get used. Now, would the party of acted differently if we didn't have a character with these options? possibly. I mean, you can fight with one hand tied behind your back and you'll use different tactics. But why handicap yourself if you don't have to?

You got it backwards - using infight healing is to handicap yourself. You need to keep those spells prepared, or need to invest feats to make Channel Energy good. Keeping spell slots prepared but unused most of the time is not an efficient tactic.

And yes, when I talk about infight healing, I don't mean LoH, especially not used on the Paladin themself.


EldonGuyre wrote:
In a typical outdoor situation, you might have two or three encounters in a day, while dungeon crawling is one right after another.

That's entirely dependent on the GM, the game, and the environment. The Mines of Moria, for example, will probably involve significantly less encounters than the Fire Swamp.

EldonGuyre wrote:
What's more, any party over 5th or 6th level should be prepared - I've seen a wand of CLW burn through over 30 charges...after one encounter.

...sure. But that means you pack multiple wands. A Wand of Cure Light Wounds costs 750gp and cures 275hp on average. That's 2gp 7sp per hp.

Cure Moderate is 4,500gp, 600hp and 7gp 5sp. Serious is 11,250gp, 925gp, 12hp 1sp.
If you're concerned about healing more per turn then...don't use wands.

Grand Lodge

Try a druid... sounds like you enjoy support casters. Druids are incredibly versatile, have good healing, can be great tanks or damage dealers, etc. Plus you still get the power of a tier 1 full caster.


Derklord wrote:
LordKailas wrote:
If you have a DM that doesn't look at the spell very closely its easy to miss that it costs 25gp per casting.

The "1 drop of devil blood" part does not have a listed price anywhere, and is thus included in a Spell Component Pouch.

Indeed, is there even an actual cost for unholy water given anywhere? CRB and UE only have holy water. Which is sold as a flask and not a dose, by the way, how do we know that's the same?

Sigh.... this again.

The spells Bless Water and Curse Water both cost 25gp to cast and result in a single flask of either holy or unholy water.

The entry for holy water tells us that clerics sell it at cost hence the 25gp cost. If we assume that evil clerics follow the same pratice (because competition) then a similar flask of unholy water costs 25gp to purchase. If the evil clerics do not sell it at cost and we treat it as a magic item it's purchase price jumps to 50gp. If we treat it as an a non-magical item it's purchase price jumps to 75gp.

While it's true that its price is not explicitly given (even though the curse water spell states that it is) it's easy enough to determine that it's cost is anywhere from 25 to 75 gp per flask.

as for how many doses are in a flask. We are not told that it has more than 1 dose, so 1 flask must equal 1 dose. What does 1 dose of holy or unholy water even do?

What about "1 dose" of alchemist fire or "1 dose" of acid? and how many are contained in a single flask?

If your DM has determined that "1 dose" is not the same as "1 flask" and is therefore included in a component pouch then yes. As for the blood, it obviously costs the same as 1 dose of unholy water.

Derklord wrote:

You got it backwards - using infight healing is to handicap yourself. You need to keep those spells prepared, or need to invest feats to make Channel Energy good. Keeping spell slots prepared but unused most of the time is not an efficient tactic.

And yes, when I talk about infight healing, I don't mean LoH, especially not used on the Paladin themself.

I mean, if you have perfect knowledge of the encounters then this is true. However, generally this isn't the case, no matter what you memorize there are always spells that go un-used every day, especially if you can't convert them into healing spells between fights.

My opinion I know is colored because I hate using single use consumables. They always just look like money flying out the door to me. This is particularly painful when I find myself constantly saving to get my hands on the next magic item I want.


LordKailas wrote:

Sigh.... this again.

The spells Bless Water and Curse Water both cost 25gp to cast and result in a single flask of either holy or unholy water.

The entry for holy water tells us that clerics sell it at cost hence the 25gp cost. If we assume that evil clerics follow the same pratice (because competition) then a similar flask of unholy water costs 25gp to purchase. If the evil clerics do not sell it at cost and we treat it as a magic item it's purchase price jumps to 50gp. If we treat it as an a non-magical item it's purchase price jumps to 75gp.

While it's true that its price is not explicitly given (even though the curse water spell states that it is) it's easy enough to determine that it's cost is anywhere from 25 to 75 gp per flask.

as for how many doses are in a flask. We are not told that it has more than 1 dose, so 1 flask must equal 1 dose. What does 1 dose of holy or unholy water even do?

What about "1 dose" of alchemist fire or "1 dose" of acid? and how many are contained in a single flask?

If your DM has determined that "1 dose" is not the same as "1 flask" and is therefore included in a component pouch then yes. As for the blood, it obviously costs the same as 1 dose of unholy water.

As per the Core Rulebook, unless the material component has a cost next to it, the cost is negligible. All other material components have a cost listed, why would they suddenly not have one there and expect you to go fishing through other sources to find it?


Orodhen wrote:
As per the Core Rulebook, unless the material component has a cost next to it, the cost is negligible. All other material components have a cost listed, why would they suddenly not have one there and expect you to go fishing through other sources to find it?

so.... the spell transformation is free then?

I mean, there's no cost listed. Also, it would mean that all component pouches have an unlimited supply....

Grand Lodge

LordKailas wrote:
Orodhen wrote:
As per the Core Rulebook, unless the material component has a cost next to it, the cost is negligible. All other material components have a cost listed, why would they suddenly not have one there and expect you to go fishing through other sources to find it?

so.... the spell transformation is free then?

I mean, there's no cost listed. Also, it would mean that all component pouches have an unlimited supply....

That spell specifically says you need a Potion of Bull's Strength...which is a specific item, with a variable cost...

A drop of blood has no cost...just like a ball of bat guano and sulfur required for a fireball spell has no cost, and a spell component pouch is essentially considered unlimited, unless your GM just hates spell casters and wants to be mean about it.

Spell component pouches are meant to keep from having to track 8 million worthless pieces of junk in your inventory needed for spell casting, and so they don't have to write an entire book listing costs for every single material component of every single spell ever created.


LordKailas wrote:
If we assume
LordKailas wrote:
it's easy enough to determine

So you have nothing in the actual text and you're just making stuff up. Got it.

LordKailas wrote:
as for how many doses are in a flask. We are not told that it has more than 1 dose, so 1 flask must equal 1 dose.

This is not logic. A lack of information doesn't mean you can just construct the information. Example: I have no idea how much water can go into the glass on my desk. According to your argumentation, since I'm not told it holds less than a litre, it holds a litre. Oh look at that, pouring a full litre into it produced an overflow. Care to give me your address so I can send you the bill for my ruined computer? And since I'm not told that it cost less than 1 million, it's cost must equal 1 million, so that's what I'll bill you for.

LordKailas wrote:
As for the blood, it obviously costs the same as 1 dose of unholy water.

I think you should look up what the word "obvious" means. If anything, the drop of demon blood having no price is an indication that the "dose" of unholy water doesn't have a cost, either, and is thus not a full flask.

LordKailas wrote:
What does 1 dose of holy or unholy water even do?

Serve as a material component. A full flask of holy water is enough to "douse" (rather than, say, "drop on") an incorporeal creature. That a lot of stuff for a material component. Not unheared of, but certainly unusual enough to not be an automatic "yeah, those two different words mean the same".

Infernal Healing's component is provided by a Spell Component Pouch. There is absolutely nothing in the written rules that says otherwise. Accept it so we can move on with the thread.


Trying to restrict infernal healing with an extra price is iffy at best. At most you're making it less cost-effective than CLW (but more than CMW), at worst the party seeks out a devil and does some creepy stuff before they finish killing it. At neither extreme is it unworkable for a wizard to do some healing, anyway.

Also - one trait can make UMD a class skill based off Int.


If you want to try something a little unusual you could go Skald and then take lesser celestial path.

Then drop a path of glory spell and heal massive amounts each turn for a single spell and some rounds of song.

With spell kenning you can enjoy some versatility and obviously your frontline will enjoy the boost.


Slyme wrote:
Try a druid... sounds like you enjoy support casters. Druids are incredibly versatile, have good healing, can be great tanks or damage dealers, etc. Plus you still get the power of a tier 1 full caster.

So let me tell a story about a druid in an AP. Strange Aeons has a bit of a reputation for being difficult. It really deserves this reputation. The AP was written with a cleric in mind.

At 5th or 6th level you encounter a creature that does charisma Drain. A cleric can cast Restoration at 7th level. Even a cleric can't get rid of the party's Cha Drain until after that section of the AP is over.

Druids? Druids never get restoration. Druids have no way to heal Drains. They also can't remove blindness/deafness, curses or paralysis. Now druids do get Remove Disease and they also Neutralize Poison earlier than a cleric, but by far clerics are better at restoring a party back to full condition.

If your GM never causes blindness and swears never to use a creature that causes stat drains a druid will be fine.

My own suggestion for a one-man support caster is to be a Cleric that focuses on Wis and Cha so you have decent ability to Channel heals. Aim to become a Loremaster and dip 1 level into the PrC. Then start spending feats on Secret of Magical Discipline and you'll suddenly be able to cast any spell when you need it, once per feat spent on SoMD. That is more or less the ultimate utility caster.

Silver Crusade

Meirril wrote:

So let me tell a story about a druid in an AP. Strange Aeons has a bit of a reputation for being difficult. It really deserves this reputation. The AP was written with a cleric in mind.

At 5th or 6th level you encounter a creature that does charisma Drain. A cleric can cast Restoration at 7th level. Even a cleric can't get rid of the party's Cha Drain until after that section of the AP is over.

I think there's also the possibility of being blinded at 3rd lvl!

My character in Giantslayer spent the whole of 5th lvl suffering from a curse — a 50% chance of doing nothing each round. When we played Iron Gods, one character took something like 6 or 8 points of Con drain at 3rd lvl.


Quixote wrote:
EldonGuyre wrote:
In a typical outdoor situation, you might have two or three encounters in a day, while dungeon crawling is one right after another.

That's entirely dependent on the GM, the game, and the environment. The Mines of Moria, for example, will probably involve significantly less encounters than the Fire Swamp.

EldonGuyre wrote:
What's more, any party over 5th or 6th level should be prepared - I've seen a wand of CLW burn through over 30 charges...after one encounter.

...sure. But that means you pack multiple wands. A Wand of Cure Light Wounds costs 750gp and cures 275hp on average. That's 2gp 7sp per hp.

Cure Moderate is 4,500gp, 600hp and 7gp 5sp. Serious is 11,250gp, 925gp, 12hp 1sp.
If you're concerned about healing more per turn then...don't use wands.

Typical. I did use that word.

The wilderness is not typically a place where there are likely encounters every 50 feet. Dungeons are.

Again, my comment was a warning to be prepared- to recognize that a wand of cure light gets used up very fast in some circumstances - not that it isn't the cheapest you can buy, point for point. Yes, multiples is one solution, and possibly the best, with no actual healer - but how many will you carry at 10th? 12th? 15th? Most parties will get pretty sick of it, sooner or later. We sure did.


Here's my view on things. If you are playing a spontaneous caster with CLW on your spell list, then take it. That way you always have it for an emergency without having to rely on a wand. In-combat healing is only to be used when a character drops below 1 or is just about to. At the end of each day, if you have left over spell slots and people need healing, use the spell to get them back to full. (This of course is assuming you don't have a GM that likes attacking you in your sleep.)

Condition removal is a little harder, but can be handled with multiple classes with them on their spell lists or with UMD. Is making or buying wands and scrolls pricey? Can be. Can it save your character's life? Yes.

Play what class you want, but putting in a few resources to being able to heal shouldn't be too hard. And since sooner or later every character is going to need some form of healing, the cost of every scroll and wand for that purpose needs to be split equally between the party.

Silver Crusade

Heather 540 wrote:
Here's my view on things. If you are playing a spontaneous caster with CLW on your spell list, then take it. That way you always have it for an emergency without having to rely on a wand. In-combat healing is only to be used when a character drops below 1 or is just about to. At the end of each day, if you have left over spell slots and people need healing, use the spell to get them back to full. (This of course is assuming you don't have a GM that likes attacking you in your sleep.)

I always take CLW as a spell known when I have the opportunity. I also like Healing Hex for emergency healing.

Grand Lodge

Meirril wrote:
So let me tell a story about a druid in an AP...

Sure, you give up some stuff that a cleric gets...but the stuff you gain IMHO more than makes up for it. Wildshape, an animal companion (or domain if you prefer), immunity to poisons and aging, etc. There is a reason Druid is one of the Tier 1 classes on basically every "rank the classes" list.

You might not be able to restore every condition you could ever possibly encounter...but you gain so much more utility for every other encounter that it hardly matters. If he ends up playing a Wizard, he couldn't cast restoration as that class either...

If you want a dedicated healer, that can heal basically anything...of course go with a cleric...if you want something that is an all around amazing and versatile class, that can still do reasonable healing, and a hundred other things...Druid is a very solid option.


Slyme wrote:
That spell specifically says you need a Potion of Bull's Strength...which is a specific item, with a variable cost...

correct, meaning for this spell they

Orodhen wrote:
expect you to go fishing through other sources to find it?
Slyme wrote:
A drop of blood has no cost...

How do you know it has no cost? It is listed as an alternative material component and so the cost of the two must be the same.

Look at the spells holy/unholy ice weapon the flasks have no gp value listed but both have an alternative component worth 25gp. from context I can conclude (correctly) that a flask of holy water also has a value of 25gp.


Gee, of course devil's blood has no cost. I mean, don't devils give it away to adventuring parties that want it?

Of all things that might cost, this requires either bargaining with a devil, or slaying one. That's NOT like bat guano.


avr wrote:

Trying to restrict infernal healing with an extra price is iffy at best. At most you're making it less cost-effective than CLW (but more than CMW), at worst the party seeks out a devil and does some creepy stuff before they finish killing it. At neither extreme is it unworkable for a wizard to do some healing, anyway.

Also - one trait can make UMD a class skill based off Int.

the spell seems poorly editted as its mirror spell Celestial Healing only heals for the same amount at caster level 20. Whats more if it has no material cost then it makes it even more cost effective than CLW in wand form, since it doesn't scale with level.

a CLW wand will heal between 100 to 450 hp across 50 charges, averaging 275hp. A wand of infernal healing heals 500hp across 50 charges with no varation.

there's no reason to grab a wand of CLW over it if you're activing wands via UMD either way.


Well. It IS evil. Theres at least one reason.


Theres also the assumption you'll only use it once you're down 10 hp.

And the issue that cure light heals at least 2 hp right there and then and infernal healing heals 0 until the person's turn, which is obviously an issue too.


And of course lastly that it doesnt heal certain wounds.


EldonGuyre wrote:

Typical. I did use that word.

The wilderness is not typically a place where there are likely encounters every 50 feet. Dungeons are.

Fair point. I've just never fallen into that pattern myself; encounters happen where they happen. The whole "dungeon crawl" thing tends to feel rather video-gamey unless it's handled with a lot of subtlety and grace in my experience, and I usually strive for a story that feels plausible and unique. But sure, I can see how dungeons=X and...other stuff=Y. Especially in adventure paths or modules or whatever.

EldonGuyre wrote:
Again, my comment was a warning to be prepared- to recognize that a wand of cure light gets used up very fast in some circumstances - not that it isn't the cheapest you can buy, point for point. Yes, multiples is one solution, and possibly the best, with no actual healer - but how many will you carry at 10th? 12th? 15th? Most parties will get pretty sick of it, sooner or later. We sure did.

Once my player's character get into hp totals where they need to get a couple wands each every few days, I've always just let them get wands of CLW with 500 charges or whatever. Or a healing item that cures more per charge, can't be used in combat and costs the same per point. Anything to save the game from the hokey, mundane-feeling sort of magic that you end up with when you're carrying around a bundle of wands. I don't want to punish players for being less efficient, but...yeah, it gets old, otherwise. Same reason I just tell them that 1 charge heals 6hp, no roll needed. I'm not going to sit there while they try to help the barbarian go from 27 to 92hp, 1d8+1 at a time.

This is also part of the reason why I've put some Cure spells on arcane lists, or Lesser Restoration on the druid's. I want the players to play what they want, not fill the gaps to make the perfect party. Some things will be harder due to your choices, and some will be easier. But nothing should be impossible and insurmountable.


Quixote wrote:


This is also part of the reason why I've put some Cure spells on arcane lists, or Lesser Restoration on the druid's. I want the players to play what they want, not fill the gaps to make the perfect party. Some things will be harder due to your choices, and some will be easier. But nothing should be impossible and insurmountable.

Lesser Restoration is on the druid list. Lesser Restoration heals a d4 of stat damage. Lesser Restoration does nothing in the face of stat drains. You need a full Restoration of Greater Restoration for that and level drains. Also because of the switch in Restoration where you either need 100gp or 1000gp in material components it is really squiffy if you can find it in scroll or wand form.

And who wants to spend an extra 50k for a wand?


If your DM allows a cohort, then a cohort can very effectively be the main healer for a party. You could just take a cleric cohort, give it mystical healer at level 1 (If allowed) and you're pretty much good to go.

You have a character you can dedicate entirely to healing and buffing leaving you to stack int and go full-wizard to your heart's content.

That's assuming immediate access to a cohort though. Leadership can't be taken at level one.

Frequently my DM will allow someone who knows they will eventually take leadership to bring their cohort in from level 1 as a hireling.

You might also check out Mystic Theurge. You'd lose a bit of wizard casting but 3 levels wizard, 3 levels cleric, 10 levels mystic Theurge gives you both 13th level wizard and 13th level wizard casting at level 16.

PF Mystic theurge is definitely stronger than stock 3.5 theurge if you're familiar. The level 10 ability Spell Synthesis gives you the ability to cast an arcane AND divine spell as a standard action. So absolutely great action economy for a big moment in combat there.


A dedicated healer is certainly not a requirement... it can be beneficial, but whoever is playing said healer needs to have a backup plan for when healing is not needed...

Just going to pull from two active campaigns that I am in that lack a traditional dedicated healer...

In one we have a shaman and a bard who both can use healing spells but more often than not neither of them even touch their healing spells until combat is over... the bard is focused more on buffing allies and debuffing foes while the shaman is hurling damage spells at everything... and half the time we actually rely more on cure potions that I crafted during a downtime or that someone else bought in town...

In the other I play the closest thing we have to a healer... a Phoenix bloodline sorcerer... in the very first combat I actually played the roll of dedicated healer by casting touch of combustion on the people who kept getting mauled half to death... we probably would have had a TPK to a few rats at level 1 without the minuscule healing I could provide...

So... you don’t “need” a healer... but you might at least want one person who has healing capability... it doesn’t even have to be their main focus or even a focus at all, just the capacity to heal.

That said if you have enough fire power then you won’t need any healing... if things die quickly you can skirt by with just a few scratches that a potion will heal right up when you get back to town...


One way to say it would be yes, you need a dedicated healer; the PC should have an amazing Initiative bonus and deal massive DPR with little to no resources used :)

Silver Crusade

Here's my take on a "Healer". I'm fulfilling that role in my Strange Aeons party (currently 8th lvl).

I'm playing a Half-orc, Heavens Spirit, Speaker for the Past Shaman. I typically have Threefold Aspect running (duration 24 hours) and am in crone aspect for spell DCs. I like to pre-buff the frontline PCs with Barkskin and Heroism (both durations 1 hour 20 min).

In a tough fight I would often start out with a big Save or Suck spell like Fear or Slowing Mud (DC 21); the second round would be Haste (Speed or Slow Time revelation). Subsequent rounds might be Fortune Hex + Chant. I have Healing Hex for emergency healing, and the odd scroll like Remove Paralysis. If necessary, I can get someone out of a bad position with the Heavens Leap hex. I often have Calm Emotions memorized in case we run into Confusion (this is Strange Aeons after all). Other healing or condition removal would typically occur out of combat.


So, you think you party may need a Healer. You miss playing a Wizard. You can do both. Mystic Theurge might be the thing for you. Most people think that Mystic Theurges are underpowered, but you are worried about being overpowered anyway.

Grand Lodge

Scott Wilhelm wrote:
So, you think you party may need a Healer. You miss playing a Wizard. You can do both. Mystic Theurge might be the thing for you. Most people think that Mystic Theurges are underpowered, but you are worried about being overpowered anyway.

Mystic Theurge with multiple instances of Pretigious Spellcaster might do just fine. Lots of characters are dealing with delayed/lowered spellcasting that it wouldn't be a proble. And there's no worrying about throwing nasties since they will never deplete unless the player is careless and/or there's more than 5/6 fights that day


Philippe Lam wrote:
Mystic Theurge with multiple instances of Pretigious Spellcaster might do just fine.

That won’t do anything. Mystic Theurge is a full progression casting prC. Prestigious Spellcaster only applies when the prC grants a level that does not progress spellcasting. You can’t use it to double up on your casting, it is quite explicit in its wording.

Prestigious Spellcaster wrote:

The first time you gain a level in your favored prestige class and the spells per day class feature does not grant an increase in effective level for the purpose of casting spells, you gain new spells per day as if the prestige class did grant +1 level of spellcasting for that level. This effect is retroactive if you gain this feat at a level beyond the point where your favored prestige class would normally have not advanced your spellcasting.

The Prestigious Spellcaster feat does not have any effect if your favored prestige class does not have the spells per day class feature, or if it does have the spells per day class feature but already grants a level increase for every level of the prestige class (as do the arcane trickster and loremaster prestige classes).

Grand Lodge

Thought they skipped the first level. Had Holy Vindicator or Eldritch Knight in mind, fair game. That said, there's exploring options to try to get the prestige class earlier. Some races like aasimars do get some SLAs which might count as "able to cast 2nd level spells of either profane or divine", but this is at GM discretion, and I expect the majority of them saying SLAs don't count.

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