Who's Playing the Healer? -- Is a dedicated band-aid required or viable in 2e?


Advice


It's been forever since I played a dedicated healer, and I'm trying to get a sense for the possibilities. Is it possible or advisable to be a "dedicated band-aid" in 2e? Is there some kind of oradin type build that can effectively lay down the heals while also proactively participating in combat?

My group just jumped on the bandwagon with the 2e Humble Bundle, so I'm trying to wrap my head around the system.

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


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Party dependent.

I've GMed two parties through Age of Ashes, and both included a champion - their damage mitigation and secondary healing roles proved to be plenty for those parties, mostly because of their mitigatiom through shields and reactions.

I'm playing in Extinction Curse as a healing Cleric for a party that includes no damage mitigation at all, and my healing has been absolutely essential and kept me well on my toes and having fun as a healer.

I think you need to address incoming damage SOME way in your party makeup, but a dedicated healer is just one option you have. If your healer is alongside a shield champion, for instance, id have a plan for things to do besides healing.


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you need healing.

now if this will be split amongst the party by each of them having some form of in-combat healing like battle medicine, focus powers, elixirs, etc or if this will be a cleric spamming heals, is party dependent.

the good thing is that pf2 gives access to basically everyone to try to be a bit self sufficient, so it breaks the mold of every party needing a dedicated healer.


Like the others have said, healing is useful so a party should definitely get it from somewhere, but it's available in enough different forms and to any class of character that there's no need for a dedicated healer.

You can have a dedicated healer (still, in a variety of options unlike some other games) and that works just fine too - and cleric is especially good at doing that because you can build a higher charisma and get a big pool of "extra" healing without giving up the ability to prep other kinds of spells.


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DRD1812 wrote:

It's been forever since I played a dedicated healer, and I'm trying to get a sense for the possibilities. Is it possible or advisable to be a "dedicated band-aid" in 2e? Is there some kind of oradin type build that can effectively lay down the heals while also proactively participating in combat?

My group just jumped on the bandwagon with the 2e Humble Bundle, so I'm trying to wrap my head around the system.

If you're coming from 5th edition, PF2 is a "blast from the past" - it is definitely a game where in-combat healing is much welcomed, if not outright necessary.

So yes. It's possible AND advisable to have a combat medic.

If noone in the play group wants to be the dedicated healer, plan on having two secondary healers. If you want to "proactively participate in combat" this is likely the best option.

No matter how you supply the in-combat healing, you benefit a lot from having at least one party member focusing on the Medicine skill (taking the skill increases AND the feats) for your out-of-combat healing needs.


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Zapp wrote:
DRD1812 wrote:

It's been forever since I played a dedicated healer, and I'm trying to get a sense for the possibilities. Is it possible or advisable to be a "dedicated band-aid" in 2e? Is there some kind of oradin type build that can effectively lay down the heals while also proactively participating in combat?

My group just jumped on the bandwagon with the 2e Humble Bundle, so I'm trying to wrap my head around the system.

If you're coming from 5th edition, PF2 is a "blast from the past" - it is definitely a game where in-combat healing is much welcomed, if not outright necessary.

So yes. It's possible AND advisable to have a combat medic.

If noone in the play group wants to be the dedicated healer, plan on having two secondary healers. If you want to "proactively participate in combat" this is likely the best option.

No matter how you supply the in-combat healing, you benefit a lot from having at least one party member focusing on the Medicine skill (taking the skill increases AND the feats) for your out-of-combat healing needs.

I think you can get by without a medicine user of you have two people with healing focus spells. Most notable lay on hands, goodberry, and life boost.


shroudb wrote:
the good thing is that pf2 gives access to basically everyone to try to be a bit self sufficient, so it breaks the mold of every party needing a dedicated healer.

Well, sure, but gotta say, that comment reads as if made in a world where 5th edition doesn't exist. If there was a game that broke the mold, it's that one.

Compared to 5e, PF2 is something of a throw-back to 3e and PF1 in that in-combat heals are powerful and very helpful, even if PF2 doesn't actually require a dedicated combat healer the way those older editions do.

The difference can be stated very simply. In PF2, there is a special +8 bonus per level to two-action heals, while in 5E you only heal when absolutely necessary, since the game deliberately makes almost any other action the more effective one.

(I'm not disagreeing, just wanting to put the credit where it is due.)


Salamileg wrote:
I think you can get by without a medicine user of you have two people with healing focus spells. Most notable lay on hands, goodberry, and life boost.

Possibly.

One out of four characters focusing on one (1) skill isn't exactly a heavy investment though, so I'd phrase it like this: make sure you or your buddy picks up Medicine unless you're sure you're not going to need it :)


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Zapp wrote:


Compared to 5e, PF2 is something of a throw-back to 3e and PF1 in that in-combat heals are powerful and very helpful, even if PF2 doesn't actually require a dedicated combat healer the way those older editions do.

I completely disagree with the sentiment of this sentence. In combat healing is widely regarded as pretty much terrible in 3.5 and PF1.

Generally speaking, the best healing solutions in those games are to kill enemies quickly and then use out of combat healing solutions like wands of CLW. On optimization centric forums, actually casting healing spells in combat (outside a few specific exceptional scenarios) is basically considered a cardinal sin.

If anything, its greater emphasis on having actual healers in the party is one of starkest changes from the previous editions and one of the biggest sources of culture shock I've seen among players coming over to PF2 from the previous game (for better or for worse).


Squiggit wrote:
Zapp wrote:


Compared to 5e, PF2 is something of a throw-back to 3e and PF1 in that in-combat heals are powerful and very helpful, even if PF2 doesn't actually require a dedicated combat healer the way those older editions do.

I completely disagree with the sentiment of this sentence. In combat healing is widely regarded as pretty much terrible in 3.5 and PF1.

Generally speaking, the best healing solutions in those games are to kill enemies quickly and then use out of combat healing solutions like wands of CLW. On optimization centric forums, actually casting healing spells in combat (outside a few specific exceptional scenarios) is basically considered a cardinal sin.

If anything, its greater emphasis on having actual healers in the party is one of starkest changes from the previous editions and one of the biggest sources of culture shock I've seen among players coming over to PF2 from the previous game (for better or for worse).

For all the complaints about Magic and casters getting nerfed, the degree to which healing as a casting tactic was buffed is fairly crazy. It went from a losing strategy to, "If I spend two actions to undue all the damage the boss did on his turn, how is that not equivalent to Stunned 3 with no save?" Good.


KrispyXIV wrote:


I think you need to address incoming damage SOME way in your party makeup, but a dedicated healer is just one option you have. If your healer is alongside a shield champion, for instance, id have a plan for things to do besides healing.

I guess I'm trying to figure out what "healer builds" are the most fun. Is there an option that combines healing efficiently with non-healing roles (damage, support, etc.)? Teh 1e oradin is my point of reference here.


DRD1812 wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:


I think you need to address incoming damage SOME way in your party makeup, but a dedicated healer is just one option you have. If your healer is alongside a shield champion, for instance, id have a plan for things to do besides healing.
I guess I'm trying to figure out what "healer builds" are the most fun. Is there an option that combines healing efficiently with non-healing roles (damage, support, etc.)? Teh 1e oradin is my point of reference here.

I may or may not have influenced one of my players for an upcoming Edgewatch campaign towards a Forensic Medicine Investigator with Medic. Their sheer renewable healing output with Battle Medicine is pretty impressive, plus they have the Martial proficiency progression and a really interesting combat dynamic.

...that said, my previously mentioned healer Cleric is also fairly dynamic, and hardly feels restricted to JUST healing. The healing aspect of things came free with the Cleric chassis, and I doubled down by adding Medicine. That leaves me with literally all the other class features and play decisions to support non-healing things. And while healing is helpful and feels fairly needed, thats a big difference from "healing is needed every single turn". I have plenty of chances to do other things, like drop debuffs or buffs, etc.

With the release of the APG, I determined that I was going to respec the majority of my class feats and go full blow Beastmaster. So now, I have the option of going all in on healing in any given turn, casting a spell and managing my companion on most turns, or figuring out any other combination of things on a regular basis.

Playing a Healer should be combined with other roles, in almost all cases.

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In an upcoming campaign (a friend has been converting Red Hand of Doom to Pathfinder 2e), I'm going to be playing a level 6 aasimar conjurer wizard, and since he's doing the free archetype variant, I'm planning to take Blessed One (for Lay on Hands), I'll start with 3 focus points (sure, I can only recover 1, but good clutch healing), and I'm seriously debating between investing in Wisdom and Medicine to get more healing abilities (and take Medic), or going ritualist. If I do the former, I'm pretty sure it'll make me a solid healer for the group, but I'm waiting to find out whether or not the other PC is planning to play an oracle.

This is also being set up so I can gracefully convert the character to a Summoner once the playtest is out if I like the look of it, but like the last time I played RHoD, I'm being sort of forced into multiple roles. At least PF2 is more forgiving of having to cover arcane, rogue, and face roles.

...Heck, now I half want to play an eldritch trickster rogue, since that's what I took through it last time around, basicly. >_<


Clerics provide a very good source of in combat healing - having one in the party really changes things IMHO. Not only can you heal, and act (attack, demoralize, athletics maneuver), your in combat heals are very strong. They really shine in “boss” type encounters where your heal can basically work to overcome damage dealt in the average round, or in encounters versus a lot of undead where your AoE burst harms all undead and heals all allies. And you get 1+Cha mod free highest level spell slots a day dedicated to heal (if positive). Maybe just my experience, but Clerics play very strong.

Out of combat, there are tons of healing options for really all classes - someone should do it. Most common means is keeping proficiency on Medicine and taking the Continual Recovery and Ward Medic feats. No slot spells, focus spells, or class feature usage required. Medicine is just a good skill on anybody.


DRD1812 wrote:
I guess I'm trying to figure out what "healer builds" are the most fun. Is there an option that combines healing efficiently with non-healing roles (damage, support, etc.)? Teh 1e oradin is my point of reference here.

The thing about dedicated healers is not only the balance of healing and non-healing efficiency but action economy, especially for clerics, who get their healing font on top of their daily allotment of spells.

For example, it does not matter how many Fireballs my Warpriest of Sarenrae has memorized if my team is getting soundly turned into minced meat and I need to spend round after round spamming Heal.

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I personally play a "nothing but healing" healer in PFS2. It is a cleric of Pharasma (don't choose a neutral diety like I did if you want access to most offensive divine spells). I have also dipped into champion dedication for lay on hands. Between battle medicine, lay on hands, spirit link, and the variety of actions of heal, my healer is a HP healing powerhouse.

I have played similar healers in 3.5 and PF1 and head great success there as well. While the optimizers break out in cold sweats at such character concepts, they are very effective. The DPS focus is very effective until you come across the enemy that can take the hits or has a high enough AC that the combat won't be a sprint.


DRD1812 wrote:
I guess I'm trying to figure out what "healer builds" are the most fun. Is there an option that combines healing efficiently with non-healing roles (damage, support, etc.)? Teh 1e oradin is my point of reference here.

It really depends on what's "fun" for you.

Cloistered cleric and divine sorcerer are going to put out the most HP, but they end up being somewhat one-trick ponies and I'm assuming that's not "fun." It's definitely not fun when the party is doing well and doesn't need healing.

The champion's reaction isn't healing, per se, but damage reduction is as good as healing and it's very fun (IMO). Lay on Hands is okay but very limited use, and if you can pick up Battle Medicine (another limited use, 1 action HP restorer), the total damage mitigated probably adds up to something impressive.

Bards can be fun. They do a lot of support anyway, and while Soothe isn't as good as Heal, it's fine to have a party with no Heal and only Soothe. The strategy does limit offensive spell uses, but when I play with my kids they prefer I play my bard and just Inspire Courage and Soothe and DAD STOP RAPPING I MEAN IT.

Chirugeon alchemists can also be built to be elixir of life vending machines, while saving their own actions for shenanigans (probably via a spellcaster dedication). I don't think it's particularly fun, but it does allow more versatility in allowing party members to heal themselves. I built Popeye (with a can of spinach for a bestial mutagen and a longspear) but after the novelty wore off, the bard was unanimously voted back.


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DRD1812 wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:


I think you need to address incoming damage SOME way in your party makeup, but a dedicated healer is just one option you have. If your healer is alongside a shield champion, for instance, id have a plan for things to do besides healing.
I guess I'm trying to figure out what "healer builds" are the most fun. Is there an option that combines healing efficiently with non-healing roles (damage, support, etc.)? Teh 1e oradin is my point of reference here.

Basically anyone can pick up healing and still be effective in their other rolls.

A monk with Blessed One works well for instance. They can Flurry of blows, quickly run to an ally, and get them back on their feet in the same turn. And if the party is all squisy, you can just add more heals.

Personally, I find it best if at least 2 party members can heal, just in case one goes down.


DRD1812 wrote:
(Comic for illustrative purposes.)

PF 2e needs a lot less specialization in general. Overall, the system is mostly action gated. And feats give you more flexibility with those actions. It is pretty rare for anything to give you a straight +1.

You could be a fighter with a glaive who never took a fighter feat, and still be a great damage dealer.


The difference between 5E and PF2 is you don't have pop up healing. There is a real cost to getting dropped a lot and you will die if you get dropped too much. You don't want to stay at low hit points a lot in PF2 whereas in 5E you could endlessly drop healing word and be good.

But PF2 healing is a lot easier than PF1 because it is a combination of skill and combat healing magic. The Medicine Skill and associated feats are more of a must than a cleric. Each group should have at least one dedicated Medic for getting a party to full hit points in a reasonable time frame. This usually requires keeping Medicine skilled up with each skill up and picking up Continual Recovery and Ward Medic with skill feats. Battle Medicine is also nice to have, but not necessary.

Once you have the medicine skill, you don't need a super dedicated healer.

Cleric is the healing king. If you like playing a cleric, you have so many extra heals you can focus your other spell slots on other spells easier than other classes.

Personally, I prefer a druid healer. I have more to do in those rounds I don't need to heal. I add more damage to the group, which kills things faster leading to less healing necessary. That is how it feels at least.

You don't need combat healing every round. But you do need it sometimes, especially in hard fights. Fortunately heal spells of the highest level can take you from dead to good very quick with a 2 action heal. The 2 action heal is the bread and butter of PF2. Anyone can use the 2 action heal.

Two other interesting healer options are the Angel Blood Sorcerer and the Life Oracle. Life Oracle I'm not sure about as the curse seems too punishing to me, but the Angel Sorcerer looks very viable as a healer.

In PF2, Combat healing is one of those things that when you need it, you need it. When you don't, you don't. You want to be able to do other useful things when not combat healing that add some amount of damage or utility to the group like flanking with a animal companion or spell.

If you build a healer, don't build them with just healing in mind. Build them with healing and an idea of some other combat activity he can add some damage to the group when not healing.


Now that I said the above, I'll list my favorite healing character so far:

Storm Druid with Order Explorer (Animal Companion)

I usually slot a bunch of heals in my slots and keep my medicine skill maxed out with Continuous Recovery and Ward Medic skill feats for out of combat healing.

I keep a Faerie Fire and a Haste here for three. I have the electric arc and frost ray cantrips.

I used an ancestry feat to get bow weapons. Most ancestries allow you to get a weapon of some kind.

You can also use a shield as a druid to boost your AC up if you want to focus more on personal defense with a hand-held weapon or use a cantrip.

This build provides you plenty of options when healing and not healing.

1. You can use 1 action to send in your animal companion.

2. 1 action to fire a bow or raise a shield.

3. Access to very good focus spells with a good rider where you can use one action to send in pet to set up flank and then hit the enemy with Tempest Surge for a damage and a Clumsy 2 on a failed saving throw basically providing a 4 AC shift with your 3 action round to help your party.

Druid is a very well rounded class that adds a lot to a group.

Another idea I have seen experimented with was the cleric champion archetype. Cleric sets up behind the main melee martial using a Divine Lance while raising a shield wearing heavy armor in position to use Champion's Reaction to defend the martial while also healing him. This seems like a pretty effective combination and reasonably fun as it provides you with a Reaction based action every round to maximize what you can do in a round.

Suffice to say PF2 is a very interesting system for building a healer. You no longer have to be a focused healer in PF2. You can take key feats, keep your medicine skill up, have heal spells in your spell list, and then build for other activities in a way that suits you.

With multiclassing it opens up more ways to build a healer with interesting abilities.

I have found that building a healer in a PF2 group is way more fun than it was in PF1. I would spend some time experimenting with builds.


DRD1812,
I can suggest a Cleric (Warpriest) who prioritizes ST, CON, and CHA over everything else.

This limits your spell selection somewhat, but gives you extra Healing spells, and let's you take advantage of Shield Block as well as Medium Armor to stand up front. There will be turns you get to move, attack, and raise a shield; there will be turns you can only raise a shield and cast a healing spell. Either way, you will have to adapt to what your allies and enemies are doing.

Might also be worth looking into the Marshal Dedication, which can happen as soon as 4th level. Or generally, exploring the Combat Style, Mystical, and/or Professional archetypes for what kinds of secondary / tertiary roles you'd like to fulfill.

Plus, with a large selection of deities, the specific backstory, personality, ethos, as well as mechanics of your character can vary wildly. If you want a starting point, start looking at Deities and get thinking what kind of favored weapons, focus spells, and granted spells - as well as Edicts and Anathema - you might be interested in building around.

Cheers.


Builds aside, since everyone here has addressed it, one of the major factors to how much of healing you need in a party comes down to how well your team plays together and whether you're tactical in your actions. I've seen a lot of people just charge in on the first round of combat to get as many attacks off on opponents as possible often overextending themselves from the rest of the party and setting themselves up for at least 2 attacks by opponents. Your party champion can't use their reaction if they're more than 15 feet away and those opponents now don't need to take actions to catch you. I've also seen parties that don't work together to debuff hard to hit opponents which means that they end up taking hits for a lot longer than necessary to bring them down. Those parties need more dedicated healing to catch up after.

You know your group better than anyone here, so only you can know whether you can expect a lot of combat coordination out of your team or not.


best option is one caster with healing spells (but healing doesnt have to be its focus)

and one other character with battle medicine and medicine skill feats.

a monk can be surprisingly good as an offhealer due to not wearing armor, being extremely fast, and always having open hands depending on how you rule the battle medicine and treat wounds.

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DRD1812 wrote:

It's been forever since I played a dedicated healer, and I'm trying to get a sense for the possibilities. Is it possible or advisable to be a "dedicated band-aid" in 2e? Is there some kind of oradin type build that can effectively lay down the heals while also proactively participating in combat?

My group just jumped on the bandwagon with the 2e Humble Bundle, so I'm trying to wrap my head around the system.

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)

In regards to a "Dedicated" healer, I don't just think in terms of hit points. I have three areas I consider, and hit points are not the primary concern:

1. In combat healing
2. Out of combat healing
3. Removing Conditions and Afflictions and such

#1 is not a huge concern as it is easily provided by any spontaneous caster with Heal or Soothe, by a cleric with healing font and by Champions with lay on hands, a character with the Blessed One archetype, Alchemist healing bombs, etc., etc. Characters can also handle in combat healing with the Medicine skill and the Battle Medicine feat, so magic/alchemy isn't the sole option.

#2 is again not a huge concern as it is easily provided. Medicine skill with Continual Recovery, Ward Medic and other feats. Any character with a focus healing spell - Champions/Blessed Ones with lay on hands, Bard with Hymn of Healing, Plant Druid with Goodberry, Witch with Life Boost, just to name the obvious.

#1 and #2 are easily spread among different PCs. In summary, hit points are not really an issue if the party is well-designed.

In fact, in regards to #1 and #2, you probably want to spread the load somewhat - if you concentrate all the healing in one character, if that character goes down or is unavailable, you're in trouble, and with multiple sources of hit point healing, you can heal the entire group faster as you may not have unlimited time between combats.

#3 IS THE REAL ISSUE when talking about a "Dedicated" Healer.

Spontaneous Casters do not handle #3 at all well. First, since these are "Counteract" type spells, you really need these at your highest spell levels if you want a decent chance of "fixing" a condition or affliction from a boss or high level opponent/hazard. Given a spontaneous caster's limited repertoire, unless they want to fill all their signature spells with condition/affliction removal spells that they might potentially need, they just won't be able to have all the potentially needed spells available.

Prepared Casters do #3 best - if someone is blinded, etc., they can take the appropriate spell the next time they prepare.

A "multi-class" prepared spellcaster also does not do #3 well as they are behind the curve on the level of their spell slots and usually don't have a maxed out spellcasting stat. Multi-class spontaneous casters are even worse off with their tiny repertoires.

#3 is best handled by a CLOISTERED CLERIC. The divine tradition (I believe) provides all of the spells needed to remove conditions/afflictions, and they are prepared casters and can select whatever is needed from their spell list. Also, with the Channeled Succor feat, Clerics can handle many common conditions/afflictions on-the-fly using their healing font.

WARPRIEST Clerics fall short on #3 as they often do not max out Wisdom and are behind the curve on spellcasting proficiency - they just won't be able to hit the Counteract numbers.

A divine witch should work for #3, except that they will need to invest in finding and learning all of the relevant spells (something the cleric doesn't have to worry about as the cleric has access to the entire Divine spell list). Also, they don't have a healing font and the Channeled Succor feat, so are not as good as a cleric in removing conditions/afflictions on-the-fly.

Druids and Witches with the Primal tradition are good secondary candidates for #3. The main issue is that they don't get the remove curse spell on their list (I think they get all the other needed spells, but haven't checked in depth), but if someone with Occultist spells can cover Remove Curse, you're good to go.

To recap - don't just focus on "hit points". A Dedicated Healer has to be able to handle condition/affliction removal.


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Watery Soup wrote:
Cloistered cleric and divine sorcerer are going to put out the most HP, but they end up being somewhat one-trick ponies and I'm assuming that's not "fun." It's definitely not fun when the party is doing well and doesn't need healing.

Cloistered Clerics are more limited than Divine Sorcerers.

I play an Angelic Sorcerer of Sarenrae as my main PFS character and he's far from a one trick poney (unless you consider that his one trick is to burn enemies to death as Fireball/Searing Light take most of my highest level spell slots).

Deriven Firelion wrote:
Two other interesting healer options are the Angel Blood Sorcerer and the Life Oracle. Life Oracle I'm not sure about as the curse seems too punishing to me, but the Angel Sorcerer looks very viable as a healer.

One very interesting feature of the Angelic Sorcerer is his one-action heals. With Angelic Aura on, they heal 1d8 + level hit points for one action and one first level spell slot. It's competitive compared to Battle Medicine and Lay on Hands. So, if you don't want to spend your turns casting Heal, you can still provide meaningful healing as long as your buddies are intelligent enough to stay close to you. I must admit I've also used it a lot to heal myself, as my Sorcerer has a very small hit point pool and any scratch puts it in the "down in one spell/critical" zone.


I also agree, it's just as viable - and in some ways preferable - to have two "backup healers" than to have one "dedicated healer."

But really, either is fine, and it depends on the tactics and composition of the party what will really shine.

Here's my caution though: If by "dedicated healer" you mean "I've optimized healing and it's all I do, but MAN do I do it well," you are consigning your character to sitting out the start of every fight. You need an ally to take a solid hit before you can do anything. That is a very reactive playstyle.

There is a lot of talk about how in PF1 healing in combat was inefficient and a waste in most cases. I say, having one player sit on their thumbs for a round or two in PF2 is equally wasteful. So.. build a healer, by all means. Only build a healer that has something else they can do. A few options are presented in this thread already, so I won't list more out, but be mindful of how your character can contribute if nobody is hurt. Maybe that's dealing damage, maybe it's providing a buff or debuff. Could be by tripping or disarming or some skill-based method of messing with the enemy. Could be demoralizing. The options are out there. Build for them, or else you're dead weight unless somebody's hurt, and they will get hurt rapidly if 1 out of 4 characters is an observer.

And a final note, I think 2 characters with at least a 14 Wisdom and Training in Medicine (to be raised to Expert as able, and taking at least some of the healing-focused skill feats) is a real, real good idea. Consider that if 3 party members are hurt after a fight (a very real possibility) and only one party member can Treat Wounds, you're down and recovering for a minimum of 30 minutes. However if 2 characters can treat wounds and one has Ward Medic, that's only 10 minutes down. Personally as a GM I feel that in most cases it's reasonable to let party recover for 10 minutes, but by the time you're pushing 30 minutes... I'm gonna mess with you, because the world around you isn't static while you play with bandaids.


SuperBidi wrote:
I play an Angelic Sorcerer of Sarenrae as my main PFS character and he's far from a one trick poney (unless you consider that his one trick is to burn enemies to death as Fireball/Searing Light take most of my highest level spell slots).

What did you do before you were level 5? Searing Light is a 3rd level spell, and Fireball is arcane/primal so you'd have to be level 8 and use two feats to get it.

I have a PFS (level 4) angelic sorcerer. Of all the spells she's cast, 80%+ of them have been (2-action) Heal. She picked up a druid dedication for Electric Arc, but even then, she only uses it when nobody gets seriously hurt in a round. Otherwise, it's Stride-Heal or Shield-Heal. She used Spiritual Weapon once, and that was mostly for the novelty (she didn't have the spare action to sustain it).

I like the class and have a lot of fun, so "one trick pony" isn't perjorative. But, I think it's accurate.


Watery Soup wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
I play an Angelic Sorcerer of Sarenrae as my main PFS character and he's far from a one trick poney (unless you consider that his one trick is to burn enemies to death as Fireball/Searing Light take most of my highest level spell slots).

What did you do before you were level 5? Searing Light is a 3rd level spell, and Fireball is arcane/primal so you'd have to be level 8 and use two feats to get it.

I have a PFS (level 4) angelic sorcerer. Of all the spells she's cast, 80%+ of them have been (2-action) Heal. She picked up a druid dedication for Electric Arc, but even then, she only uses it when nobody gets seriously hurt in a round. Otherwise, it's Stride-Heal or Shield-Heal. She used Spiritual once, and that was mostly for the novelty (she didn't have the spare action to sustain it).

I like the class and have a lot of fun, so "one trick pony" isn't perjorative. But, I think it's accurate.

If I recall correctly from SuperBidi talking about his sorcerer before, he picked Fireball up via Blessed Blood and Sarenrae, which would have given him burning hands at lower levels.


DRD1812 wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:


I think you need to address incoming damage SOME way in your party makeup, but a dedicated healer is just one option you have. If your healer is alongside a shield champion, for instance, id have a plan for things to do besides healing.
I guess I'm trying to figure out what "healer builds" are the most fun. Is there an option that combines healing efficiently with non-healing roles (damage, support, etc.)? Teh 1e oradin is my point of reference here.

The most direct and tl;dr answer to this is a Cleric with Healing Font and Healing Domain or Angelic/Undead Sorc with the highest Staff of Healing you can use. This will give you an insane amount of Healing with as little investment as possible; which makes them great foundations for a large variety of builds. The APG also added a good amount of options that has our group healer(Champion Redeemer) drooling over.

I’m not aware of any guides for Healers as of right now, but feel that the demand for one is only going to grow with time.


Watery Soup wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
I play an Angelic Sorcerer of Sarenrae as my main PFS character and he's far from a one trick poney (unless you consider that his one trick is to burn enemies to death as Fireball/Searing Light take most of my highest level spell slots).

What did you do before you were level 5? Searing Light is a 3rd level spell, and Fireball is arcane/primal so you'd have to be level 8 and use two feats to get it.

I have a PFS (level 4) angelic sorcerer. Of all the spells she's cast, 80%+ of them have been (2-action) Heal. She picked up a druid dedication for Electric Arc, but even then, she only uses it when nobody gets seriously hurt in a round. Otherwise, it's Stride-Heal or Shield-Heal. She used Spiritual once, and that was mostly for the novelty (she didn't have the spare action to sustain it).

I like the class and have a lot of fun, so "one trick pony" isn't perjorative. But, I think it's accurate.

I took Electric Arc at level 1 from Adapted Cantrip. At level 1-2, I completely agree with you, I was mostly healing anyway.

Starting from level 3, you have nice damaging abilities. Sound Burst is actually quite good. Ok, it's not the craziest AoE spell you can imagine, but with Widen Spell and Dangerous Sorcery, I got nice results out of it. Spiritual Weapons is nice at level 3 then bad after that when martials get their second dice. And Calm Emotions is a staple.
At level 5 I got all the good stuff.

At level 1-2, healing was a big part of my impact on combats. Starting at level 3 it started to be secondary to damage. At level 5 it gets even less used. If I hadn't taken Divine Evolution, I would have never cast a Heal III right now (I'm one adventure from level 7).

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

To any folks out there that wish to play a dedicated healer that is the super healer and that is all they do, go for it!

You may see some folks on here that refer to it as "dead weight". When the party is at full HP, you are doing your job. Did you have to do anything? No? Yup, you are still doing your job. Do you spend several rounds not really doing anything? Well, clearly you are not needed as they are obviously doing fine as they are still at full HP.

They do their thing. You do yours. And remember, all that damage they are dealing when they have taken more damage than they have HP, that is all thanks to you. In a manner of speaking, it is essentially you doing that damage. But, you allowing them to not have to sit on their thumbs while the combat continues. You are generous. They will probably thank you later.

Admittedly, this does deviate from the OPs original purpose. But the title doesn't really explain its purpose. There is a decent chance some people will click on this who what to be a dedicated healer, so I wanted to shout out to them.


Based on the current game that I've been playing, someone who is dedicated at healing is practically necessary. Like holy hell, even with attempts to mitigate and reduce the damage taken, our party is constantly going down. And only our Super dedicated healing cleric really keeps us up.

Course it would help if we'd stop rolling 1s and the dm constantly rolling 20s.


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@Saashaa - sure IF the party is at full HP, or even “not dying,” that logic works.

Here is a counter point from my experience.

The cleric is built to maximize Divine Font. They have CHA 18 so they have 5 spells in their font. To accomplish this, all their other stats are garbage. Their turn consists of waiting around for somebody to get hurt because they can’t hit with spells on account of super low wisdom, and they can’t hit with weapons on account of poor physical stats.

So, somebody gets hit and they can be the hero and heal them. 5 times. And then they are the definition of dead weight. They can’t even Treat Wounds very well.

It was a painful experience for the player. It was frustrating to the party having to stop early for the day so the cleric could prepare new spells, because yeah, the party takes a beating if one player isn’t carrying their weight.

As levels have been gained the character has gotten its feet under it. Sorcerer dedication has given some offensive options and the turns are no longer “ nobody is hurt, I pass...”. Having more buffing options due to higher level has helped.

But man... it was a super rough start, all because they wanted 18 cha for max divine font. Compared to 18 wis 16 cha and you have a fully capable divine caster who can cast anything on their list with a reasonable chance of success, and only a single divine font less than the “dedicated” healer.

See the difference? I just want people to consider how they build their bandaids, because you can do it and have an excellent character, and you can do it and struggle. Struggle may not be fun..


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jdripley wrote:
...

If played correctly AND the party is set up correctly there should not be any dead weight when you play a dedicated healer. The reason being that a reasonably well played support character should allow others to overperform, especially melee martials. Effectively you trade in your set of actions to allow others to use their set of actions to maximum effect.

And even if you do not have access to decisive offensive magic for the initial round or two powerful buff spells do exist and a Bless, Protection, Heroism, Circle of Protection, Air Walk or Freedom of Movement will usually go a long way.


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jdripley wrote:

@Saashaa - sure IF the party is at full HP, or even “not dying,” that logic works.

Here is a counter point from my experience.

The cleric is built to maximize Divine Font. They have CHA 18 so they have 5 spells in their font. To accomplish this, all their other stats are garbage. Their turn consists of waiting around for somebody to get hurt because they can’t hit with spells on account of super low wisdom, and they can’t hit with weapons on account of poor physical stats.

So, somebody gets hit and they can be the hero and heal them. 5 times. And then they are the definition of dead weight. They can’t even Treat Wounds very well.

It was a painful experience for the player. It was frustrating to the party having to stop early for the day so the cleric could prepare new spells, because yeah, the party takes a beating if one player isn’t carrying their weight.

As levels have been gained the character has gotten its feet under it. Sorcerer dedication has given some offensive options and the turns are no longer “ nobody is hurt, I pass...”. Having more buffing options due to higher level has helped.

But man... it was a super rough start, all because they wanted 18 cha for max divine font. Compared to 18 wis 16 cha and you have a fully capable divine caster who can cast anything on their list with a reasonable chance of success, and only a single divine font less than the “dedicated” healer.

See the difference? I just want people to consider how they build their bandaids, because you can do it and have an excellent character, and you can do it and struggle. Struggle may not be fun..

It's literally not even possible to build that character though. They made a mistake in character creation.

Sovereign Court

I think the distinction between "dedicated" and "full spectrum" healers is crucial.

Dedicated to healing and nothing else, is rather suboptimal. Because if you're not contributing anything until someone else is hurt, for the start of every fight, your party is playing with one man down (you). If it's something you really like, fine, do whatever you want. But if you're asking "is it viable", "is it required" or "is it good" - it's viable, it's not required, and it's actually playing at a higher difficulty than when you trade that last 10% of healing power for 50% of other things.

Full Spectrum healing on the other hand means being able to heal a lot fast using Heal, Soothe or fully tricked out Battle Medicine; being able to heal the party cheaply and fully outside of combat; and being able to handle problematic conditions like blindness or curses. That doesn't say anything about what else you might be doing in combat. You can be a dedicated full spectrum healing. You can be a parttime full spectrum healer.

I'm playing a cloistered cleric in Age of Ashes who worships Cernunnos, so he gains True Strike, Lightning Bolt and longbow proficiency. I took a rogue dedication for light armor proficiency, skills and surprise assault, and now I have Dread Striker and I'm working my way up the Intimidate skill tree. I got plenty of tricks to pull apart from healing, but I'd say I'm only 80% away from the maximum amount of healing a dedicated healer could put out. Outside combat I can handle healing just fine, and spells help be wrangle conditions.


Captain Zoom wrote:
DRD1812 wrote:

It's been forever since I played a dedicated healer, and I'm trying to get a sense for the possibilities. Is it possible or advisable to be a "dedicated band-aid" in 2e? Is there some kind of oradin type build that can effectively lay down the heals while also proactively participating in combat?

My group just jumped on the bandwagon with the 2e Humble Bundle, so I'm trying to wrap my head around the system.

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)

In regards to a "Dedicated" healer, I don't just think in terms of hit points. I have three areas I consider, and hit points are not the primary concern:

1. In combat healing
2. Out of combat healing
3. Removing Conditions and Afflictions and such

#1 is not a huge concern as it is easily provided by any spontaneous caster with Heal or Soothe, by a cleric with healing font and by Champions with lay on hands, a character with the Blessed One archetype, Alchemist healing bombs, etc., etc. Characters can also handle in combat healing with the Medicine skill and the Battle Medicine feat, so magic/alchemy isn't the sole option.

#2 is again not a huge concern as it is easily provided. Medicine skill with Continual Recovery, Ward Medic and other feats. Any character with a focus healing spell - Champions/Blessed Ones with lay on hands, Bard with Hymn of Healing, Plant Druid with Goodberry, Witch with Life Boost, just to name the obvious.

#1 and #2 are easily spread among different PCs. In summary, hit points are not really an issue if the party is well-designed.

In fact, in regards to #1 and #2, you probably want to spread the load somewhat - if you concentrate all the healing in one character, if that character goes down or is unavailable, you're in trouble, and with multiple sources of hit point healing, you can heal the entire group faster as you may not have unlimited time between combats.

#3 IS THE REAL ISSUE when talking about a...

An excellent run down on the problem.

Most afflications are not permanent so you can OFTEN get away without being able to fix everything in party.

You also don't HAVE TO HAVE a dedicated specialist healer in combat, or even anyone who can cast a big heal. Though it is nice in long combat or if you get fireballed.

You can mostly GET AWAY WITH a couple of players having Continual Recovery or a healing focus spell on a 10 minute refocus cycle. This will completely heal lost hit points between the majority of encounters.

You can get almost all healing from non clerical sources with the medicine skill if you dive into all the feats and some of the archetypes.


So as others have said, in combat healing is definitely nice to have in 2e, especially in the early levels where a character can drop quick. As an example, just had an encounter in Extinction Curse where both the barbarian and the alchemist went from full to dying before any of the PCs could act. That said, in combat healing can take many forms and does not need to come from a "dedicated healer". The alchemist can make elixirs on the fly for instance while also still doing other stuff. A character can take battle medicine for in combat healing (somewhat limited) and even healing potions are relatively cheap (though the economy in general is smaller than in PF1). There's also things like lay on hands, etc. Lots of options that don't require you to "just heal".

The APG now has the Medic Archetype too which you can take at 2nd level which gives some nice healing options but also boosts the amount of healing battle medicine does. You can snag nice bonuses even with just the dedication feat, meaning that even a martial character can take it and not really give up a whole lot. My barbarian in the above game is considering taking it just because he's currently the only character with Battle Medicine and the alchemist is the closest thing to a healer we have. Probably would be frowned upon on an Optimization board, but even without being the best choice naturally for Medicine, the Barb can get pretty decent at it pretty easily.

So really in terms of trying to figure out "what's fun" it just comes down to your personal play style, what you enjoy doing, etc. Also, to the extent your GM allows it, look at what the rest of the party is doing too. You probably don't want three players thinking "Hey, I really need to invest in a fair amount of in combat healing to make sure we have it covered." as you'll likely then find that as a party, while you don't go down easily, you are also lacking in other areas.


DRD1812 wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:


I think you need to address incoming damage SOME way in your party makeup, but a dedicated healer is just one option you have. If your healer is alongside a shield champion, for instance, id have a plan for things to do besides healing.
I guess I'm trying to figure out what "healer builds" are the most fun. Is there an option that combines healing efficiently with non-healing roles (damage, support, etc.)? Teh 1e oradin is my point of reference here.

Oradin specifically was mostly a hack of action economy, if I'm recalling correctly. (Using Oracle powers to transfer damage to yourself, then healing with LoH to keep your standard action open for attacking/casting.)

I don't think there's a bypass like that in the 2e right now, but on the other hand, the 3-action economy means that anyone can cast Heal and do something else in the same turn.

Having 1 or 2 party members with the ability to heal HP damage and remedy conditions is very important. But this can be done in many different ways (Medicine skill investment, archetypes, spells), as others have pointed out. It's possible to build a pure healbot character (easiest to fall into with Cloistered Cleric or Angelic Sorcerer), but isn't strictly necessary.


APG introduced Spirit Link which is similar in function to Life Link, though I think it's much worse (limited duration, eats a spell slot to apply, can only apply on one ally) and probably isn't something you can build around.


Arachnofiend wrote:
APG introduced Spirit Link which is similar in function to Life Link, though I think it's much worse (limited duration, eats a spell slot to apply, can only apply on one ally) and probably isn't something you can build around.

I looked into Life Oracle, too, just to see if it had the same power. It does have a focus spell that lets you transfer damage to yourself, but the Life Oracle curse keeps you from healing yourself as efficiently. You could probably replicate the build with 1-action Heals instead of LoH to conserve Focus points, but I'm not sure how worth it that would be. Seems like a lot of resources to expend to save 1 action.


Arachnofiend wrote:
APG introduced Spirit Link which is similar in function to Life Link, though I think it's much worse (limited duration, eats a spell slot to apply, can only apply on one ally) and probably isn't something you can build around.

I think you have that backwards. APG came out with Life Link. Spirit Link is in CRB. Spirit Link is pretty decent as a Psudo-Fast Healing. Life Link looks to be interesting. Mediocre heal; gains additional targets every 3 spell levels; damage mitigation on the first hit.

Seems like it’s trying to be similar to the Shield Other spell more than it is Spirit Link though.

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