Tuesday, November 18, 2014

5th Edition: I am the goddamn healer...

So, in this 5th edition D&D game I showed up to a couple months ago, I was told that the party could use a healer. Being a good team player, I whipped up a cleric. But the type of cleric I might be more into: gnome trickster domain cleric. I had just read War for the Oaks and felt like I might have a good handle on playing a trickster cleric. Though we didn't discuss everything and a few players picked pre-gens when they showed up, so we weren't building a cohesive party. Otherwise I should have gone with a Knowledge Cleric or Sage Bard because we could have used the encyclop√¶dia role (no actual wizard in the party originally). I'll judge these people as Pathfinder players and they mostly want to do cool things and deal tons of damage.

But last week, it happened: I was going to cast Pass Without Trace for the party so everyone would be able to sneak and we'd do well at it with little risk.

"How many heals with that cost us?"

Eff you.

Because we have a warlock and no one else is really benefiting from short rests except via hit dice, the DM has been kinda stingy at letting us take short rests and the party hasn't thought they're as valuable perhaps. And why should they: the gnome (Candide Voltaire, yep, reusing that name) can heal them.

I'm a little sad at this because in 4e the healer was doing other things while healing, and the encounter-based healing meant that the healer also didn't really have to use as many daily resources. Now, I could exchange Cure Wounds for Healing Word and still be making some attacks, I suppose. And I think I just might start doing that now. Though I was also tempted to multiclass wizard soon to grab some illusions or rogue to solidify some sneaky skills with sneak attack. I could have picked a life cleric and maximized my healing potential, or a bard or druid or something else. But if we've returned to "Don't waste your spells if it isn't healing me..."


I was just a little taken back by the comment. Next time I'm just going to cast the damn spell anyway. A good few good sneaks and surprise rounds is totally worth one second level slot for a heal-up. And I just might consider a dipping into Wizard or Rogue to grab some other sneaky trickster powers besides my cleric spells.


  1. Ugh. And to think we were once like this, insisting that a certain player play an Elven cleric and becoming annoyed when he took non-optimal choices like Bolas and didn't want to heal us. Though, since then I think we've been much better about recognizing that forcing someone to play the healer when they don't want to or forcing the cleric to be the equivalent of a walking water cooler of potions of healing isn't all that great for anyone's enjoyment.

    My players often think I don't think clerics/healing spells are necessary because they assume I'm a villainous GM who delights in TPKs but it's more that I see that forcing someone to give up a lot of options to be the group's first aid kit when they don't want to doesn't do anyone any good.

    1. I felt bad about that at the time, but didn't stop the bullying from happening. I thought combining healing with the detect alignment or read thoughts stuff was particularly brilliant on my part during that one Battlestar-inspired competitive D&D game, so I've wondered how to fit some of that sort of stuff into a game more, where healing is kinda like running away or some other campaign loss. Or using alternatives to the spells=healing schtick, like the 5e bard giving bonuses to spending healing surges out of combat. Quite doable, but the roles/classes of the party and the math of the game seem to alter how much one needs in-combat healing. We'll see how that turns out with 13th Age.