5E In-Combat Healing: How and Why? - Page 4
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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrogReaver View Post
    Why aren't my proposed healing tactics not a way to get a guaranteed return?
    They are not a guaranteed return because you can't be certain they will in fact make the difference between "teammate on the ground" and "teammate up and fighting" for at least 1 round. That is the virtue of the "whack-a-mole" strategy: If there are no enemies between you and your teammate in the initiative order, you know with 100% certainty that your healing spell will purchase at least 1 round of actions for your teammate. And if there are enemies between you, you know that, and you don't cast the spell in the first place.

    However, an investment does not need guaranteed returns to be a good investment. It just requires a risk premium: The greater the uncertainty of the payoff, the bigger that payoff must be to justify the risk. Mass cure wounds cast by a Life cleric is a great example: If you do it when the entire party has taken some heavy hits, you have a good chance of purchasing 2-3 rounds' worth of actions (one for each teammate who is saved from eating dirt for a round). Or suppose the party tank has a stratospheric AC, such that they rarely get hit. In that case, a big healing spell could purchase 2-3 rounds for that one character. The results are not as certain as whack-a-mole, but the potential upside is much greater.

    And if the DM is playing monsters "viciously," so that they go hard after downed PCs, the potential upside is an entire adventuring day's worth of actions (or however long it would take a slain PC to be resurrected or replaced). However, this is a case where you are spending an action this combat to buy actions in future combats, so you would only do it if you were fairly confident of winning the current fight - if you're on the ropes and facing TPK, then future combats are irrelevant, the focus must be on surviving this one.

    I more or less agree with you: In-combat healing can be a useful tactic. It's just a matter of figuring out how to get the best value from it and knowing what spell to use when. That depends on your party composition, the adventure, and the DM.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
    Nothing is certain. Everything is just a probability.
    Healing is pretty certain. I mean there's some dice variability but it always works etc.

    I concede that there are some difficult fights where in-combat healing can be the difference between success and failure.
    It's not just "hard" fights though. Any given fight the PC's can get unlucky and the enemies lucky. Having in combat healing makes long enough lucky/unlucky streaks to down/kill PC's be much more rare.

    For any given fight, there's a certain percent chance that you'll succeed without in-combat healing, and a greater percent chance that you'll succeed with in-combat healing.
    Yes. But I'm also talking about saving your higher level spells for healing. So for example at level 5 that means you'll tend to not cast spirit guardians. Or at least cast it less often.

    What I'm not convinced of, is that the increased chance of success that you gain from in-combat healing is sufficient to make up for the increased risk of running out of resources over the course of a day.
    That's fair. It is not something easily proven one way or the other.

    Aggressive healing will increase your chance of making it through the first five fights of the day, but when you start to hit your limit, that earlier aggressive healing might mean that you can't win the sixth fight.
    I'm not advocating for aggressive healing. I'm literally advocating that you reserve 2-4 of your higher level spell slots for healing in combat. Of course as the day progresses feel free to reserve less and less etc.

    I'm also not convinced that the approach of wait till allies can be killed the next round then heal them with a big heal approach actually uses any more spell resources than any other cleric. They just tend to use their resources for more damaging or more control type spells.

    There are a lot of variables involved, but my intuition is that you're still better off by conserving resources, even if that increases your chance of failing in any single encounter.
    My intuition is that players have a great deal of latitude when it comes to deciding to rest. If they have to few resources they rest. If not they continue on.

    I'm also not convinced that the party in general gets anywhere near expending all their resources in any adventuring day. That is, at the end of most adventuring days:

    1. Most of the party is near full hp.
    2. At least half the party still have a moderate amount of their daily class based resources. (rage, spell slots etc)
    3. Most party members still have a few of their resources remaining

    I think the major danger of using abilities to aggressively is finding fights extremely easy, not losing a lot of hp due to aggressively using your abilities and then overestimating your capabilities without full resources because of the ease of those fights where you very aggressively used abilities. Interestingly enough, if the party is being aggressive with their resources then my proposed cleric strategy would actually make the cleric more conservative with his. Them burning their resources faster causes fewer opportunities to employ my proposed healing tactics (at least till their resources start to dry up).
    Last edited by FrogReaver; Thursday, 20th June, 2019 at 03:39 AM.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrogReaver View Post
    (Keep in mind this about a large 1 action in combat heal vs trying to cast low level healing spells every round (I agree those aren't worthwhile)
    I've found that at higher levels, even an 70 hp Heal isn't all that.

    Yes, my players have used it for good effect in combat - they cast it on the party Barbarian, which effectively doubles the healing (because a raging barbarian takes half damage).

    But this also points to how in-combat healing has been nerfed in 5E.

    In 3.0 Heal healed ALL damage. In 3.5 Heal healed 150 damage.

    In 5E Heal heals 70 damage.

    (Not coincidentally my players only found 5E Heal worthwhile when they could effectively cast it as an 140 hp Heal...)

    A good first remedy if one likes in-combat healing, where one party member focuses on keeping her allies alive (and buffed, and not debuffed) would be to double the effects of any healing spell.

    In order to not simply prolong combat (by allowing a party to punch above their weight-class now that their hit points will last much longer), I would advise reducing the hit points of heroes. Not only does this keep the heroes grounded (to their level), meaning combats aren't prolonged, this also encourages them to bring an active healer on their adventures.

    I wouldn't go so far as to halve hit points. Maybe have everybody lose a step on their hit dice, except fighters and barbarians (d4 Wizards and d8 Rangers)

    I would not reduce the out-of-combat healing capabilities of heroes offered by the game, by the way. Doing so would only force the healer to keep his healing in reserve for that purpose, and in this thread we want him to spend it during combat.
    Last edited by CapnZapp; Thursday, 20th June, 2019 at 05:41 AM.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrogReaver View Post
    I proposed a particular tactic to in-combat healing. Why is it that you think that tactic won't provide the results I'm claiming it will?
    I have definitely not challenged you on your strategies or refuted them.

    Please read what I wrote, instead of focusing on what I don't write.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    Same benefit as re-rolling initiative, with less complication.
    Isn't rerolling initiative the less complicated option?

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Isn't rerolling initiative the less complicated option?
    It means a lot of rerolls and shifting all of the players and monsters, either on cards or in your head. Way more complicated every round as opposed to just "hey your down, remember you lose your next turn no matter what".

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
    And if the DM is playing monsters "viciously," so that they go hard after downed PCs,
    Unfortunately I believe 5E forces me the DM to act that way.

    Yes, I think it is "vicious" and I don't like it.

    But it's the only way to not make whack-a-mole a winning tactic because of the huge savings in damage/hit points it entails.

    Of course, a better solution would be for the game to NOT force the DM to be "vicious".

    I don't *want* my monsters to go after fallen heroes! I think it only breeds resentment, and fouls the mood across the table.

    So I introduced a rule where you count hp down to -10 (instead of stopping at 0). This instantly removed the main attraction of whack-a-mole.

    Which in turn allows me to not have my monsters look very stupid for leaving fallen heroes be. Now they can focus on the ones still standing, which is how the game should have been from the start!

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalker0 View Post
    It means a lot of rerolls and shifting all of the players and monsters, either on cards or in your head. Way more complicated every round as opposed to just "hey your down, remember you lose your next turn no matter what".
    Ah.

    I thought you were talking about rerolling initiative just for the downed character, as opposed to slapping all those penalties onto him or her...

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    I have definitely not challenged you on your strategies or refuted them.

    Please read what I wrote, instead of focusing on what I don't write.
    In the future please engage in the actual thread topic. Thanks.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    As in other whack-a-mole threads.
    Whoa.... This thread isn't about whack-a-mole. It's about evaluating whether there's currently a better healing tactic in the game than what the currently accepted best tactic is.

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