Anyone run a non-cleric healer effectively without weakening encounters?


Advice


Anyone try running a non-cleric healer in a party without weakening the encounters to allow the party to survive? How is it going? What level are you at?

I'm wondering if the cleric has become overly necessary to survival for a party given how hard things hit.

What are some good non-cleric healer options? Angelic sorcerer? How is the druid as a main healer? Any info would be helpful.


It was in the playtest (which had less healing!), but the party I GMed went to the highest levels w/ a Druid, Paladin, Bard, & Necromancer (so they had plenty of healing and a wizard that often boosted his h.p.).

While a Cleric can certainly contribute more healing than any other PC, a party can spread the burden around instead. But there is such a burden because bosses often focus fire by nature. In some ways, I find spreading the healing burden better since then they can really pour out the healing in an emergency or have another primary task to do when nobody's hurt yet.


So far, even with clerics in most of the parties I've run for, the majority of healing that happens comes from the Treat Wounds action and lay on hands.

And most of the clerics I've seen played so far have had very little in the way of the bonus healing slots (some have had low Charisma, and some have chosen bonus harm spells instead) so a non-cleric healer could easily provide just as much healing as they are through magic.

Whether that's a druid or a sorcerer with access to the primal or divine spell list.

It seems like even just "someone in the party is good at Medicine, and we spend money to keep stocked up on healing potions" is going to be enough healing to get most parties through standard difficulty encounters and adventures.


My group has a druid and bard splitting healing duties. We are level 4. Punch fighter, one handed fighter, animal druid, and bard.


I managed to deal with some DR and healings with my paladin.

At the beginning of AoA I also was the one who healed during rests ( the druid too, but since the 1h cd I was way faster ).

During combats is imo the hard task, since if enemies decides to go all on one and then swap target, without a healer you will probably have hard time.

Also, when a crit happens there's nothing you can really do.

A healer will use a 2 action heal ( if available ) to bring a character back to the fight, while a non healer character will have to reach the downed player, draw a healing potion, and let the target drink it. Way more problematic in terms of position, attacks and essentially action economy.

You can't even properly manage to heal by taking a dedication, since by lvl 4 you will have just one lvl 1 heal, which does 1d8+8 on a single target or a 1d8 aoe, enemies included. And your party will have a health pool of 35-60 depends their class, more or less.

In EC one of the party members had to swap his character taking a druid in order to provide some combat healings. The difference was way too huge.


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thenobledrake wrote:
So far, even with clerics in most of the parties I've run for, the majority of healing that happens comes from the Treat Wounds action and lay on hands.

Yes, but that kind of misses the problem.

You are entirely right. You generally heal more damage out of combat than in it.

But what the Cleric brings of value, is in-combat healing. You can have endless out of combat healing (and in PF2 you often do), so the crucial question of this thread is:

Can you manage without combat healing?

As a starter I would have every player agree to take Medicine the skill and Battle Medicine the feat. Then most characters should probably increase their proficiency in Medicine, and take more Medicine feats.

While potions are too expensive to really work as in-combat healing, every character should commit to always keeping enough potions in an easily accessible location on their body (so that everybody can always retrieve one with a single action). Even a low-level potion can save your life, even if it can't give you enough hp to keep fighting.

Then you'd have to play cautiously. Since this would likely lead to longer drawn out fights, everybody need to be on board for this.

If you want to just charge in heroically, you should definitely have a combat healer capable character in your party when playing official PF2 adventures!


As a corollary to this:

If you wish to change PF2 to make in-combat healing less valuable; that is if you wish to take PF2 in the same direction of 5E D&D where a Cleric does not need to spend her rounds healing (and indeed no Cleric needs to be present at all), you would probably have to do two things:

* remove the +8 per spell level of the two-action Heal spell
* play adventures of your own devising, or at least play official adventures adjusted for a three-man party, and probably with the Weak template applied to all monsters too...


Deriven Firelion wrote:

Anyone try running a non-cleric healer in a party without weakening the encounters to allow the party to survive? How is it going? What level are you at?

I'm wondering if the cleric has become overly necessary to survival for a party given how hard things hit.

What are some good non-cleric healer options? Angelic sorcerer? How is the druid as a main healer? Any info would be helpful.

First, there are alternate healers. Divine and Primal Sorcerers are very close to Clerics in healing output.

Also, I don't think the best thing is to have one healer in a party. There are lots of classes with access to healing (Cleric, Sorcerer, Bard, Alchemist, Druid, Champion) + Battle Medicine that anyone can take. Having 2 healers (or more) is way better than only one. You have higher healing output in the situations you really need it, your healers can do something else than being healbots (which is quite a boring role) and if the enemies put one healer down, there's another one to raise him back in the fight.


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Zapp wrote:
Yes, but that kind of misses the problem.

You may find that the rest of "the problem" was actually addressed with the other parts of my post.

Specifically the part where non-clerics that have the heal spell can cover plenty - oh, and lay on hands is combat healing let's not forget, even has an AC buff if the champion isn't self-healing.

The game definitely does not require the extreme solutions or overly-cautious gameplay you describe in your post.

The benchmark for "enough healing to make it through" is simple just not that high.


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Zapp wrote:


* remove the +8 per spell level of the two-action Heal spell

If you remembered be the +8, you basically render the 2 actions useless (not worth the casting), and Soothe becomes the new big single heal for fights (at least the Clerics who got it from their deities won't be sad anymore :p)


Kendaan wrote:
Zapp wrote:


* remove the +8 per spell level of the two-action Heal spell
If you remembered be the +8, you basically render the 2 actions useless (not worth the casting), and Soothe becomes the new big single heal for fights (at least the Clerics who got it from their deities won't be sad anymore :p)

I am absolutely acknowledging that the balance of the Heal spell would change. (Indeed, that would be the whole point :)

I would even agree it would make the two-action Heal the Healing Word of PF2, a spell many a word have been spilled over at the 5E forums :)

You cannot effect any real change in the attrition model of PF2 unless you're prepared to resist your reflexive urge to just point out the negative consequences of change.

In short, no pain, no gain :)


thenobledrake wrote:

Specifically the part where non-clerics that have the heal spell can cover plenty - oh, and lay on hands is combat healing let's not forget, even has an AC buff if the champion isn't self-healing.

You would likely have to look at non-Clerics with the Heal spell too, yes.

The question is, AFAIK, "can you make it without a healer". This means in combat. Not just by a Cleric.

You would be unwise to play as normal without in-combat healing. At least if you run official APs as written.

Either that, or you're an expert player that has learnt to somehow deny monsters their ability to inflict significant damage. In which case, congrats, but I'm not entirely sure your experience is applicable on the general playing base.

Cheers


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The question was pretty clear "non-cleric healer", you can read it at the top of the page.


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Zapp wrote:


I am absolutely acknowledging that the balance of the Heal spell would change. (Indeed, that would be the whole point :)

I would even agree it would make the two-action Heal the Healing Word of PF2, a spell many a word have been spilled over at the 5E forums :)

You cannot effect any real change in the attrition model of PF2 unless you're prepared to resist your reflexive urge to just point out the negative consequences of change.

In short, no pain, no gain :)

That is not making other healer betters, just making Cleric with Healing Font worst, and seeing how much of the current Cleric chassis & feat revolve around it, that seem very harsh on them.


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My Extinction Curse group has been operating well without a cleric. We're level 3 at the moment, so still fairly low. We don't have a dedicated healer, but 3/4 characters can heal in some way so it works out. Our party is a fighter, liberator, leaf druid, and occult witch. Lay on Hands and Goodberry handle most of the out of combat healing, and the witch and druid usually prepare one or two soothes and heals each. I sometimes use LoH in combat if I'm next to the fighter and she needs it.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

My group has gotten more than halfway through book 2 of Age of Ashes without a cleric, or really any in combat healer.(They had a cleric in book 1, but not book 2.) The Ranger's Terrain Stalker has provided such huge advantages for prep and intelligence that they have steam rolled most of the encounters so far. They are:

Outwit Archer Ranger
Giant Barbarian
Greatsword fighter (recently changing to sword and board after finding a sweet shield)
Tiger Monk, no ki
Draconic Sorcerer.

Generally the Ranger has lured enemies into Snares and/or ambushes, enemies quickly fall to the concentrated melee damage, and the sorcerer has done some pretty horrifying damage with lightning bolts. Now, once they stop playing in the Rangers favored terrain, this might not hold true. One nice thing though is that with this much DPR one combatant can fall back if their health gets low and still have a solid frontline. In my experience, not having the cleric's healing means you have more of something else and it tends to even out.


Malk_Content wrote:
The question was pretty clear "non-cleric healer", you can read it at the top of the page.

The intent of the question is pretty clearly non-combat healers, since it is there you'll find an actual problem.

Just answering "play a divine sorcerer, business as usual" doesn't QUITE get to the bottom of the conundrum ;)


Kendaan wrote:
That is not making other healer betters, just making Cleric with Healing Font worst, and seeing how much of the current Cleric chassis & feat revolve around it, that seem very harsh on them.

Absolutely. You can't just nerf one class.

You need to identify all viable means of in-combat healing and OOC healing, respectively, and strike a balance.


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Zapp wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
The question was pretty clear "non-cleric healer", you can read it at the top of the page.

The intent of the question is pretty clearly non-combat healers, since it is there you'll find an actual problem.

Just answering "play a divine sorcerer, business as usual" doesn't QUITE get to the bottom of the conundrum ;)

That literally wasn't the question though. The question was "Can classes other than clerics heal during encounters".

Zapp wrote:
Kendaan wrote:
That is not making other healer betters, just making Cleric with Healing Font worst, and seeing how much of the current Cleric chassis & feat revolve around it, that seem very harsh on them.

Absolutely. You can't just nerf one class.

You need to identify all viable means of in-combat healing and OOC healing, respectively, and strike a balance.

This throws off the balance of other aspects of the game too, though. How valuable is AC with these changes, since the main point of AC is damage mitigation? If you frequently use the Weak template like you mentioned above, then DPR becomes king because you can kill enemies before they get to deal substantial damage (something that is possible in the system as written, but difficult). You can't just change healing and expect everything to work out fine.


Yep, I have a level 7 Sorcerer (Primal) that handles the healing at PFS tables when there's not another cleric. That situation has come up often enough. Honestly, it's fine. First level was a bit tough, as Divine Font is *so* many extra spells early on. Later, though, the extra +1/spell per level that sorcerers get tends to balance things out.

Regarding amount healed, I've never really had an issue. Non-clerics do a d8 rather than a d10. For your "normal" (2-action) heal, that's amounts to 12.5 vs 13.5 healing on average (both scale linearly). That doesn't tend to make a huge difference given the amount anyways. Granted, I probably rarely/never use the Sorcerer's heal as a 1 or 3 action...

I actually like the flexibility of Sorcerer a lot more. The fact is that clerics likely aren't taking heal in their actual slots (though they may), that means what while font gives them a bunch of extra spells, if you take heal with spontaneous heightening, then you'll commonly have access to more overall healing (if needed) than will a full cleric. Still, they'll have more (or at least equal) of the highest level.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:

Anyone try running a non-cleric healer in a party without weakening the encounters to allow the party to survive? How is it going? What level are you at?

I'm wondering if the cleric has become overly necessary to survival for a party given how hard things hit.

What are some good non-cleric healer options? Angelic sorcerer? How is the druid as a main healer? Any info would be helpful.

Well, the Champion in this thread seems to be doing a good job holding the party together:

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs431e7?The-Limited-Heal-Test

I think the level of coordination required to make that work in a multiple player party would be hard, but it clearly mechanically works. The double AOOs in that party also makes it much more stable. I think the thread is showing that ranged healing isn't the only way to keep a party stable.

Sorcerers with heal as a spontaneous spell are great healers, as already mentioned.

Druids have to dedicate themselves to healing as a prepared caster, but they can easily do so.

Bards with soothe as a spontaneous spell also fulfill the role just fine.

Alchemists have some delivery issues. We had to add a free house rules for the party I played in with a chirurgeon primary healer. Still, the class heals a lot of HP with the delivery problem worked out.

I think a certain number of defensive tools are needed to keep a party stable, but those come in method forms. Control spells from a wizard or AOOs contribute just as well or better than healing in a lot of situations.


Queaux wrote:
...I think a certain number of defensive tools are needed to keep a party stable, but those come in method forms. Control spells from a wizard or AOOs contribute just as well or better than healing in a lot of situations.

Note: This is true for any party, Cleric or not! I ran Fall of Plaguestone playing the only cleric (I had a 14 Charisma, many of us including myself had battle medicine). That should have been reasonable healing capacity, but we had 2 two-handed fighters, a two-handed barbarian, and a dual wielding rogue. I literally could not even come close to keeping up.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm currently running a fairly brutal dungeon crawl and the party doesn't have a cleric. There's also only one person trained in Medicine and he has no skill feats for it.

It's been rough, definitely, and the party druid has taken to preparing Heal in most of her slots, but they have been surviving surprisingly well. Better than I expected, certainly.


Salamileg wrote:
You can't just change healing and expect everything to work out fine.

As long as you don't use this to argue "change nothing", okay.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I would say that dedicated heal bot is typically not-necessary for your party, but it contributes well and makes fights "comfier" to borrow the term from the Monster Hunter community, and can help mitigate bad luck.

If you don't have one, you're looking for ways to pick up lots of little bits and pieces of spot healing-- any caster with access to the divine or primal spell list could easily be prepared to heal a little, or even pack a wand of heal ready to go without disrupting the rest of their resource allocation. Champions have their lay on hands, Alchemist Elixirs push the action cost onto the person who needs healing, but that can be a great option for someone's "third action" in combat to the point where they might be semi-dedicated healers, and lets the alchemist focus on other things during the actual fight. Battle Medicine is something multiple members of the party can pick up... the trick is that you need party buy in where everyone picks up a little something to help out.

If you're looking for other dedicated healing builds, in addition to Clerics, you have Angelic Sorcerer's whose focus point Angelic Halo ability amps healing in a really powerful way-- in my opinion they're the best users of the three action AOE edition of the Heal spell, make Heal a signature spell so you can scale it at will. A druid who packs healing spells is pretty good too, It actually might not be a bad way to run the spell slots of an animal companion druid.

Staffs of Healing are a Magic Item you can probably find or craft (depending on how magic items are handled in your game ofc) that can let anyone who can use it flex into a dedicated healer too, I've seen someone use it that way on a primal sorcerer who prefers to take attack spells.


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Zapp wrote:
Salamileg wrote:
You can't just change healing and expect everything to work out fine.
As long as you don't use this to argue "change nothing", okay.

I actually would argue that. Support and healing are some of my favorite roles, and I never felt I could be a proper healer when I played 5e because of how inefficient doing anything other than casting healing word when they're at 0. I love that I can cast a single spell to bring someone from 0 to a safe number of hit points. I also love that I don't have to be a cleric to do it (though I do love clerics). Hell, I love that I can even contribute to healing in combat as a non-spellcaster with things like Lay on Hands or Battle Medicine, even if those are more limited.

The changes to healing, both in an out of combat, are one of my favorite aspects of the system.


I talked with my other players. I have told them without a cleric with the divine font, best to spread the healing a bit. He is playing a witch with occult, so he will pick up medicine and primal. The druid will have heals and medicine. Hopefully that will be sufficient to sustain.

The druid is built to add damage while healing. She is well built for it being storm born and planning to have an animal companion with bow training as well as cantrips. Should have lots of damage sources and ways to use her single action to supplement damage while healing. If she helps bring down enemies faster, that is a good form of damage mitigation.

The barbarian ill eventually get Renewed Vigor. This ability seems very nice for keeping a barbarian going.


Salamileg wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Salamileg wrote:
You can't just change healing and expect everything to work out fine.
As long as you don't use this to argue "change nothing", okay.

I actually would argue that. Support and healing are some of my favorite roles, and I never felt I could be a proper healer when I played 5e because of how inefficient doing anything other than casting healing word when they're at 0. I love that I can cast a single spell to bring someone from 0 to a safe number of hit points. I also love that I don't have to be a cleric to do it (though I do love clerics). Hell, I love that I can even contribute to healing in combat as a non-spellcaster with things like Lay on Hands or Battle Medicine, even if those are more limited.

The changes to healing, both in an out of combat, are one of my favorite aspects of the system.

It might be news to you, but the problem posed in this thread is actually the opposite of what you want. :)

That is, Paizo has not made it easy to run PF2 without combat healing and/or with attrition (without nearly endless out of combat healing).


Zapp wrote:
Salamileg wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Salamileg wrote:
You can't just change healing and expect everything to work out fine.
As long as you don't use this to argue "change nothing", okay.

I actually would argue that. Support and healing are some of my favorite roles, and I never felt I could be a proper healer when I played 5e because of how inefficient doing anything other than casting healing word when they're at 0. I love that I can cast a single spell to bring someone from 0 to a safe number of hit points. I also love that I don't have to be a cleric to do it (though I do love clerics). Hell, I love that I can even contribute to healing in combat as a non-spellcaster with things like Lay on Hands or Battle Medicine, even if those are more limited.

The changes to healing, both in an out of combat, are one of my favorite aspects of the system.

It might be news to you, but the problem posed in this thread is actually the opposite of what you want. :)

That is, Paizo has not made it easy to run PF2 without combat healing and/or with attrition (without nearly endless out of combat healing).

That is a problem you brought into the thread. The problem posed was not about the necessity of in-combat healing, rather the necessity of the cleric. The OP has already responded expressing that his group does have in-combat healing now between the witch and the druid, so they should be fine.


There's a typo in the title, certainly the cause of Zapp's misunderstanding.

Dark Archive

The only healer in the Plaguestone game I ran was an Alchemist.

Once the party hit 3rd there was almost never an issue with healing at all. Between elixirs and battle medicine, in combat healing wasn’t too limited, and outside of combat they were also fine.

It felt pretty good and natural. Added a level of resource awareness to the party as well, definitely made them think more tactically.


SuperBidi wrote:
There's a typo in the title, certainly the cause of Zapp's misunderstanding.

There is a typo. Should have said "without" weakening encounters.

My question was intended to query about non-cleric healers as in no cleric in the party.


We played the end of Ruins of Azlant (levels 10-15ish) in PF2 with a bard with Soothe and Medicine as our only healing, and it worked fine.

I didn't have to pull any punches as GM.


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My party has been through the third beyond normal scrap already and we've came out on top (somehow) so far. The first time was against 4 encounters in a row (they engaged with roughly 1-2 rounds between each). Then right after we ended up fighting two tough encounters at the same time (two higher level enemies and several same-level foes at the same time, g~%*$%n barbarian Charau-ka, too much damage and criticals). Then the third time was against 11 enemies, 7 low-level enemies and 4 bruisers (Fighter accuracy, barbarian damage and even a monk's flurry of blows with a two-handed weapon). All of these were insanely tough, our GM didn't ´pull any punches (only if you count forgetting an enemy's actions one or two times in different fights) and he's been high rolling for a LONG time (we even joke around we play Pathfinder on hard-mode due to the amount of critical hits we receive per combat) with several 20's on third attacks.

Our party consists of a Wizard (sometimes uses battle medicine, but is not always available), Monk (I have healer's gloves, helpful to heal with a single action in combat, even if just once), Flurry Dual-Wielding Ranger and an Alchemist (that didn't make much difference in combat, the character was retired because of that). On the last battle, against the 11 enemies, we had a Champion (previously the Alchemist player) and it was really helpful with the Redeemer reaction and Lay on Hands (albeit once per battle).

So yeah, I think I can say that in my experience, in-combat healing is really helpful but it is not mandatory like before. Clerics and other healers still remain a great option in combat make no mistake, but they are just another playstyle rather than a requirement forced by the system.


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

My players are so freaked out by how hard combat has become, they actually organize to make sure the party has at least two primary healers. And we still lost a character in the last game!

Everyone's first skill feat is almost always Battle Medicine. Many also take Continual Healing.

Makes for some very uninteresting parties at the low-levels.


Ravingdork wrote:

My players are so freaked out by how hard combat has become, they actually organize to make sure the party has at least two primary healers. And we still lost a character in the last game!

Everyone's first skill feat is almost always Battle Medicine. Many also take Continual Healing.

Makes for some very uninteresting parties at the low-levels.

What are you throwing at them? Battle Medicine doesn't see too much use in my games. The one party I GM for that does have it actually prefers to use it out of combat for when they don't want to take 10-20 minutes to heal, and the party I play in doesn't have Battle Medicine.

Edit: Now that I think about it, the party I play in doesn't technically have a medicine user. The druid just has Natural Medicine.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Salamileg wrote:
What are you throwing at them?

Well, for our first game, I ran their 3rd-level characters through The Absalom Initiation. Then, my friend took up the role of GM and started running us through Age of Ashes from 1st-level. We're now 4th-level, have played about a half dozen games, and are nearly through the first adventure module.

We are planning on running Extinction Curse next, with me at the helm, from level 1, in the near future once we finish the first Age of Ashes module. We'll probably alternate from adventure modules from the two campaigns thereafter so that neither I nor the other GM suffer from GM burnout.

We haven't even done the really hard ones yet, like The Fall of Plaguestone, or made it to any of the incredibly difficult boss fights I've heard about in some places.


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Sounds like your party has gone so overboard looking for ways to heal they can't kill things properly anymore and are getting ripped apart for it.


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

The Absalom Initiation
Dwarf druid - heal spell
Goblin monk - medicine skill
Dwarf fighter - battle medicine, continual recovery
Gnome rogue - battle medicine
Goblin bard - heal spell, medicine skill

They had several encounters in which more than half the party dropped and were nearly TPK'd. Big part of that was learning the new system, but between seeing the clear value of battle medicine, and experiencing hard hitting foes like they've never known, instilled them with enough fear effect their builds.

Age of Ashes
Dwarf ranger - medicine skill
Elf monk (my character) - no healing, deceased
Gnome sorcerer - primal heal spell (monk replacement)
Half-elf cleric - battle medicine, continual recovery, healing hands
Lizardfolk fighter - battle medicine, continual recovery

Party tactics have improved, save for that one time where they opted to spend 20 minutes healing instead of rescuing the monk who was just knocked out and hauled off by the bad guys. No rolls, no hero points, GM just said "they fed you to their beasty while the party sat around wrapping bandages, you need to make a new character." Nevertheless, they have had several encounters in which more than half the party dropped and were nearly TPK'd (at one point only the ranger was left standing).

Extinction Curse
Dwarf barbarian - medicine skill
Gnome bard - medicine skill
Goblin rogue - no healing of any kind
Human abjurer - no healing of any kind

The party is terrified that they don't have enough healing and are certain they are all going to die. Should that happen, I guarantee you a healer will be brought in.


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Sure, you don't need a cleric to do your healing. Are clerics the best healers? You bet. But they are sub optimal at pretty much everything else. Can't swing a sword as well as a ranger or fighter, don't have the breadth of powerful spells that a wizard or druid has. That just means that they have a niche.

A Bard isn't as good of a healer, but every time their songs make an enemy miss, that's the same as a heal for however many HP that hit would have carved off the fighter.

A Druid isn't as good of a healer, but every time their blast spells soften an enemy so that the fighter can go in and kill it in one round, whatever damage it would have done in the 2nd round is just as good as healing.

Etc.

To me it's not so much about "do we have X class to heal" but rather it is a question of "ok, this happens to be our party makeup. What is our fighting style as a group?"

A group with a "dedicated cleric healer" and a "tank" will be able to stand toe to toe with fierce enemies and trade big hits. That is a tactic that Cleric makes viable. A party without a cleric is going to have to adapt their tactics to hit and run and damage mitigation - using cover, etc. Just like a party that's an archer, wizard, druid and sorcerer is going to excel when they use ranged tactics but will suffer when they allow enemies to get in their face.

It's all about knowing your party and using tactics that work for YOUR party.


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jdripley wrote:


It's all about knowing your party and using tactics that work for YOUR party.

I think this might be why play experiences seem so all over the place.

I also think this is what might be frustrating certain groups of players, because if you mismatch your expectations about what you're looking to be doing, the game is going to punish you in ways that other tabletops don't.

That's good, because it encourages more tactical play and teamwork and puts more of an emphasis on in-combat decisions rather than having games won by chargen. It means different groups of characters can approach similar encounters in sometimes significantly different ways, based on the tools available to them.

But it's also bad because it means you can easily put yourself in a trap if you go in expecting your character to play one way, only to find out too late that the makeup of your group doesn't enable that tactic. Suddenly a player can feel like their character is underperforming and like they either need to change what their goals are or try to get a teammate to change themselves instead.


I think the best compromise for a Healer cleric to be effective is a human with adapted cantrip for electric arc. This gives the cleric a decent offencive backup at full spell attack with no real drawback. Have the god worship a god that fits for an electrical attack and it's even better. Example a cloistered cleric of Gozreh master of storms.

Dark Archive

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jdripley wrote:

Sure, you don't need a cleric to do your healing. Are clerics the best healers? You bet. But they are sub optimal at pretty much everything else. Can't swing a sword as well as a ranger or fighter, don't have the breadth of powerful spells that a wizard or druid has. That just means that they have a niche.

A Bard isn't as good of a healer, but every time their songs make an enemy miss, that's the same as a heal for however many HP that hit would have carved off the fighter.

A Druid isn't as good of a healer, but every time their blast spells soften an enemy so that the fighter can go in and kill it in one round, whatever damage it would have done in the 2nd round is just as good as healing.

Etc.

To me it's not so much about "do we have X class to heal" but rather it is a question of "ok, this happens to be our party makeup. What is our fighting style as a group?"

A group with a "dedicated cleric healer" and a "tank" will be able to stand toe to toe with fierce enemies and trade big hits. That is a tactic that Cleric makes viable. A party without a cleric is going to have to adapt their tactics to hit and run and damage mitigation - using cover, etc. Just like a party that's an archer, wizard, druid and sorcerer is going to excel when they use ranged tactics but will suffer when they allow enemies to get in their face.

It's all about knowing your party and using tactics that work for YOUR party.

This reminds me of a truism from the WOW days

"Mitigation is always better than Restoration"

In that its almost always more efficient to mitigate the sources of damage instead of relying on healing what damage has been done.

As jdripley says, this mitigation comes in many forms and comes as a kind of "operational framework" for how you should look at the value of healing. A party coordinated around mitigation tactics with a single "off-healer" can be more effective than a party filled to the gills with clerics and druids.


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The druid is currently surprising me. They are the primary healer, but adding quite a bit of damage between healing. They have so many action options that their damage and action versatility is nearly the highest I've seen. I'm hoping their ability to add damage will end fights faster requiring less healing.

Druid is sort of badass in PF2.


Experience from two groups in Age of Ashes (one is level 13 and the other is level 18), and a game just starting in Extinction Curse (where I'm playing a Cleric) tells me that you need some method of dealing with incoming damage.

In my two Age of Ashes groups, that's a Champion dealing with incoming damage primarily through mitigation, which pretty consistently shifts the need to heal out of combat with a few exceptions covered by lay on hands.

The Extinction Curse group is of a completely different comp - being made up of a combination of players from the two campaigns I've run, people wanted to try different stuff - and is way squishier. Two monks, a free hand fighter, a wizard, and my Cleric. In this group, my Cleric has so far been pressured on keeping everyone conscious with Heal and Battle Medicine.

Both party comps (mitigation or healing) seem viable, but having one or the other to keep people up in combat seems pretty necessary.


Deriven Firelion wrote:

The druid is currently surprising me. They are the primary healer, but adding quite a bit of damage between healing. They have so many action options that their damage and action versatility is nearly the highest I've seen. I'm hoping their ability to add damage will end fights faster requiring less healing.

Druid is sort of badass in PF2.

I think so. The other all star of versatility is the rogue with a bard archetype. I think just that pair of characters would bring everything needed to run a 2 PC campaign without using any variant rules.

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