D&D 5E breaking the healing rules with goodberries


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You know, you can get up to 1368 HP worth of Mephits out of a single cast of Conjure Minor Elementals VIII, and you can also get 576 HP worth of wolves out of Conjure Animals V + Speak With Animals (ritual) + Inspiring Leader.

And you can stack the Healer feat on top of that, as Mistwell says.

5E tries to be a game that's about attrition, but it's easy for PCs to turn that into a game where the things that are ablating are easily restored. Ranged PCs can turn distance into effective HP and restore that distance either in combat with things like Cunning Action or out of combat by just walking. Healer PCs can turn gold into HP. Inspired Leaders turn time into HP. Fighters also turn time into HP (Second Wind). Conjurors turn animals into HP. Necromancers turn corpses and weapons into HP. Paladins turn AC into more effective HP. Shadow Monks turn ki into surprise (Pass Without Trace almost guarantees surprise to a small party) which is effectively HP (enemy misses one full round of attacks).

That's why I say that attrition doesn't really work in 5E. Maybe they wanted it to work with their "6-8 encounters per day" guidelines, but in practice the only encounters which actually threaten the party are bursty[1]. I'm okay with that BTW, not complaining--it's just a thing to be aware of.

[1] Obviously you could throw a whole bunch of proactively bursty encounters at the party in one day, like having a clan of demons pursue them and every hour a few more demons find them, and that would make them harder than just a single bursty encounter. But my point is that you can't just follow the DMG guidelines and give them 8 Medium/Hard encounters that stay within the XP daily budget and expect to challenge them. So it's not that attrition doesn't work, it's just that the slope of the attrition curve is way milder than 5E designers apparently expected, so parties don't ablate significantly over the course of a standard "adventuring day" worth of encounters.
 
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Pickles III

First Post
So are you throwing more than 6-9 encounters at them between long rests, or less?

How often do you allow short rests?

Really in the edition of DMs empowerment I have to use 6/9 encounter per day or the game breaks?
That's an awful lot outside of a huge dungeon. (Ido not like huge dungeons they do not feature in the sortof stories i like to read watch or play in. )

Almost all the 5e I have played has been adventurers league and those adventures never have as many as 6 encounters, mostly its 3-4 and you often get a rest.

Mind you I don't allow short rests, I let the PCs decide if resting is needed expedient and safe.

We have always used the rolling goodberry trick since 3e. Usually the druid and DM agree a reasonable baseline casting eg at l3 I use 3 level one slots and keep a one and two twos back for nighttime emergencies.

I do think the ruling is dumb but not game breaking and it follows the RAW. If Crawford started changing this and essentially issuing errata then there would be just as much moaning. And I can ignore the rules as I like. Except of course since I,? play AL I can't doh!
 

Pickles III

First Post
You know, you can get up to 1368 HP worth of Mephits out of a single cast of Conjure Minor Elementals VIII, and you can also get 576 HP worth of wolves out of Conjure Animals V + Speak With Animals (ritual) + Inspiring Leader.

And you can stack the Healer feat on top of that, as Mistwell says.

Conjuring swarms of low level things is pretty much broken, at least broken enough for me to stop DMing.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
To my understanding, Sage Advice is no more "official" than Unearthed Arcana. Is that right? Am I missing something?

Why/how does this become a long thread issue because someone said something they'd do in their game...that obviously breaks the game.

If you don't want the game broken and/or suspect/know you have players that will willfully seek to "break" the game...then don't use this ruling/material....same as any other material...printed or spoken anywhere about the game.

When did playing D&D mean the LOSS of individual creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making skills?

Individual Creativity: I don't like this ruling. I can come up with something "better" [i.e. more appropriate for the kind of game I want to run/play]. I'm using something else.

Critical Thinking: This ruling is easily abused by players so inclined. It creates mathematical unfairness and "breaks" the game. I don't want that happening in my game. I'm not using this rule interpretation.

Problem Solving: I have players who like to abuse the rules. I don't want to kick them out or give up my game. But I don't want this ruling in/breaking my game. I'm not using this rule interpretation.

Decision Making: This looks broken to me. I'm not using it.

Don't use what was said in Sage Advice. End of thread. Moving on. Next [ACTUAL] problem, please.
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I don't really think this is that much of a problem. I mean, do people know players who are jumping on this life cleric/druid bandwagon or are they continuing to level their druid or their cleric? I know that if I had a cleric or druid I would in all likelihood keep leveling them up in the same class, I wouldn't level dip just for this. I'm not saying that everyone wouldn't, I'm sure there are some people who jump at the chance to boost certain aspects of a character, I just don't think that every player playing a healer is going to.

I'm late to this, but thank God someone else noticed this. You know the biggest problem I have with the Naysayers and Handwringers who always get worked up over things like this? They never think of actual play in actual gaming groups.

Will this Sage Advice (which is optional by the way) suddenly make every gaming group have at least one player who chooses to pay a life cleric/druid just to get the added goodberry benefit? I highly doubt it. Therefore, it's a perceived "game breaking" rule that will probably never even come up. And even if there is a life cleric out there, this hardly breaks the game.

So my advice is to don't get worked up over things that probably won't ever affect your game. Especially an optional rule. All it does is give me the impression that you're the type of person who has to find a reason to complain about everything.
 
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I do think the ruling is dumb but not game breaking and it follows the RAW.

My problem with the Goodberry ruling is that it doesn't follow the RAW.

Disciple of Life said:
Also starting at first level, your healing spells are more effective. Whenever you use a spell of first level or higher to restore hit points to a creature, the creature regains regains additional hit points equal to 2 + the spell's level.

Goodberry said:
(Duration: Instantaneous) Up to ten berries appear in your hand and are infused with magic for the duration. A creature can use its action to eat one berry. Eating a berry restores 1 hit point, and the berry provides enough nourishment to sustain a creature for one day. The berries lose their potency if they have not been consumed within 24 hours of the casting of this spell.

Disciple of Life adds extra HP when you heal someone with a spell. Goodberry does not heal anyone. It creates berries. (Permanent berries BTW. They're still there after 24 hours, they're just not super-nourishing any more.) The berries are such that creatures than thereafter heal themselves by eating a berry, but you're not healing anyone by casting the spell.

Ridiculous consequence #1: If you interpret "creating a magical object which can do X" as triggering abilities which say that "Y happens when X", then yes, Goodberry becomes strong--but the far bigger problem is that Animate Dead also creates things, and the Grim Harvest ability would then restore 9 HP (or more) to the necromancer who created a skeleton every time the skeleton kills something. It's not even temp HP, it is actual HP restoration. That is brokenly good, and that's the precedent Crawford's ruling is setting. (Similar issues could arise with True Polymorph, Conjure Animals, etc.)

Ridiculous consequence #2: Disciple of Life uses the same language as Blessed Healer (also a Life Cleric feature), which restores HP when you cast a spell that restores HP to a creature other than yourself. If Goodberry can trigger Disciple of Life, it can trigger Blessed Healer, which either means that you get the HP when you cast Goodberry (even if you eat all the berries yourself? but that breaks RAW) or every time someone eats a berry, you yourself regain 4 HP (which is just goofy).

Crawford's reading of Disciple of Life is insupportable. Goodberry is not a healing spell and does not trigger Disciple of Life.
 

And all it does at the end of the day is save money on healing potions, money no one uses since you can't buy magic items.

But you can buy spell components for Greater Restoration and Planar Binding, and you can buy service via Planar Ally. And you can buy poisons, and hire hobgoblin mercenaries.

Or even just regular human mercenaries--and then you can use gold to pay for their funerals and death benefits! :) (The nice thing about animated skeletons is they leave behind no widows.)

I've found gold to be incredibly useful in 5E, due in large part to bounded accuracy.
 

So life Cleric with 16 Wis is 2d8+3+4 (16 * 6 = 96, or 102 with 18 wis). Cast as a 3rd level spell, it's 3d8+3+5 (21.5 x 6 = 129). And no multiclassing involved. And it's fine in combat or out. And doesn't take concentration, which means the same cleric can cast it along with Beacon of Hope to get 138 or 192 hp from it. And I am unaware of any games breaking from it.

1.) You wouldn't want to combine with Beacon of Hope, because it's more effective to just cast Prayer of Healing twice.

2.) The durations are incompatible anyway. Beacon of Hope lasts one minute, but it takes ten minutes to cast Prayer of Healing.

3.) Any spell with a casting time longer than 1 action requires your concentration throughout the entire casting time. Prayer of Healing does require your concentration for that reason. See PHB 202, Longer Casting Time.
 
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Yes I have found my own group (a mix of powergamers and experienced players) have 2 types of encounters.... the cake walk and the grind. I would say 1/3 of my encounters end after 2 rounds with 1 or two PCs having taken little damage, and no real resourse usage (spell casters still have slots, fighter still has action surge ect.). the other 2/3 are what I call grind ones. No one was really in danger in that one fight, but resources (spells and features) got used and atleast 1pc is at half hp or lower and they all have some hp damage... put enough to gather and have a big encounter at the end and that last encounter is actually hard...

Interesting. Using your terminology, I probably have something like 1/3 to 1/2 "cake walks" (e.g. lone roper in a cave, mostly an "exploration" scenario with combat only as flavor), a few "grinds" and maybe 1/6 to 1/3 tough fights (quadruple Deadly or higher) which may or may not be grinds by your terminology.

The other 1/3 is is what I guess I could call "splats". The party as a whole isn't necessarily in danger of TPK, but individual characters could definitely die if they do the wrong thing. (Especially because my group loves to split the party.) A recent example: players #1 and #2 had started exploring this big pyramid dungeon in space last session. Player #3 missed that session, so the session started out with him exiting the ship/entering the pyramid to catch up with the other guys who are a few hundred feet up ahead. Right where the corridor bends, he sees a pit (I describe an otyugh sewage pit) and instead of opting to carefully step around it like everyone else had (success on a DC 3 Dex check required) he decides he'd rather make the DC 5 Athletics check to jump over it. I shrug ("your funeral") and adjudicate it, and he totally biffs it and falls... into the otyugh's pool. Long story short, the otyugh drowned him to death by repeated slams, but another PC heard the splashing in time to kill the otyugh, grab the half-eaten corpse, and just barely Revivify him before the time ran out. There were a number of potential outcomes:

1.) PCs hop the pit and never even know the otyugh is there.
2.) PCs discover the otyugh and kill it to death with ease from range (cake-walk).
3.) They try to kill it but Otyugh escapes underwater into the sewage mains.
4a.) Otyugh kills a PC but not permanently. PC is fine.
4b.) Otyugh kills a PC but not permanently. PC is permanently maimed by missing body parts. (I had the player roll a d20 and any result divisible by 5 would mean a lost limb.)
5.) Otyugh kills a PC and eats it all. No more PC.

That's not a cake walk, nor a grind, so I guess it's a "splat." I like splats and try to use them a lot. Gargoyles pushing you off a cliff is also a splat.
 
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scottcoz

First Post
I was a bit surprised by that ruling, as well.

In a home campaign, I would just rule that the extra healing applies to the total of the spell... so, a first-level Goodberry cast by a life cleric/druid would yield 13 goodberries, not +3hp PER berry (cuz, duh, that results in +30hp for the spell, and does not seem to follow the wording of the Disciple of Life feature).

But, whatever, in Adventurers League, that's what we're stuck with. As many others have pointed out, I don't think it's such a big deal - they're still limited by 1 action to eat a berry, so mainly provide another option for non-combat healing. Non-combat healing is already pretty trivialized in 5e, especially if there's a life cleric in the party.
 

But, whatever, in Adventurers League, that's what we're stuck with. As many others have pointed out, I don't think it's such a big deal - they're still limited by 1 action to eat a berry, so mainly provide another option for non-combat healing. Non-combat healing is already pretty trivialized in 5e, especially if there's a life cleric in the party.

Are Adventurer's League DMs not allowed to rule differently than Crawford/Sage Advice? I thought they had more autonomy.

The Sage Advice compendium itself states:

Dealing with those situations is where Sage Advicecomes in. This column doesn’t replace a DM’s adjudication.Just as the rules do, the column is meant to give DMs, aswell as players, tools for tuning the game according to theirtastes.
 

Pickles III

First Post
Ridiculous consequence #1: If you interpret "creating a magical object which can do X" as triggering abilities which say that "Y happens when X", then yes, Goodberry becomes strong--but the far bigger problem is that Animate Dead also creates things, and the Grim Harvest ability would then restore 9 HP (or more) to the necromancer who created a skeleton every time the skeleton kills something. It's not even temp HP, it is actual HP restoration. That is brokenly good, and that's the precedent Crawford's ruling is setting. (Similar issues could arise with True Polymorph, Conjure Animals, etc.)

I am not sure it is so powerful. It seems it is only a big deal if you are fighting a lot of lesser enemies, take a bunch of damage up front then manage to kill them over several rounds yourself/with your summons. It's only once per turn & that class feature it terrible if it does not work like this. Still arguably a bit weird but magic.

Ridiculous consequence #2: Disciple of Life uses the same language as Blessed Healer (also a Life Cleric feature), which restores HP when you cast a spell that restores HP to a creature other than yourself. If Goodberry can trigger Disciple of Life, it can trigger Blessed Healer, which either means that you get the HP when you cast Goodberry (even if you eat all the berries yourself? but that breaks RAW) or every time someone eats a berry, you yourself regain 4 HP (which is just goofy).

Crawford's reading of Disciple of Life is insupportable. Goodberry is not a healing spell and does not trigger Disciple of Life.

Blessed healer uses different wording proccing on casting the spell not restoring the HP. I am not exactly sure how it's supposed to work in this case but the obvious reading - you heal yourself when you cast Goodberry seems reasonable.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
OK, so sage advice now lets a life cleric add there bonus (2+spell level) to good berry.

here is my fear.

I don't necessarily share your fear, but there is a fix I really like: goodberry is a full day's food, so a given character can only benefit from 1 goodberry per day (they just can't eat any more).

I like this because it encourages distributing the berries and helps a druid fill their role as a master of exploration (10 people, no food requirements, VERY effective, even if you chuck some horses in there). The hp top-up becomes a way to revive a KO'd ally, but the primary use of the spell is in supplying food for the party, not healing HP.

I don't know that it's necessarily a problem to not have that cap - as [MENTION=43019]keterys[/MENTION] points out, the main strength is in out-of-combat healing, which is pretty cheap, anyway. But if you're looking to control it, that's the control I'd go to.
 

I am not sure it is so powerful. It seems it is only a big deal if you are fighting a lot of lesser enemies, take a bunch of damage up front then manage to kill them over several rounds yourself/with your summons. It's only once per turn & that class feature it terrible if it does not work like this. Still arguably a bit weird but magic.

Controversy noted. You might be right, but consider the following:

1.) Skeletons are already really good at killing things, and they scale up. It's not exactly improbable than any given killing blow might be struck by a skeleton or a conjured elemental. You could wind up with a necromancer who's regaining 15 HP a round (if he refreshes his skeletons using Animate Dead V) during any large-scale combat, with no concentration cost. That's enough to make necro-tanking attractive.

2.) Grim Harvest works whenever you kill a non-undead/construct creature. It doesn't have to be a creature which is capable of challenging you. You could have your skeletons kill 8 wolves (from Conjure Animals) to regain 120 HP. Or just kill 8 chickens, costing a grand total of 8 cp and zero spell points. It's even thematic for necromancy to ritually sacrifice things in order to suck out their life.

3.) Grim Harvest is already non-worthless due to point #2. You can use it to heal via Vampiric Touch, either in combat (5d6/2 per hit plus 15 HP per kill) or out of combat, for 90 to 150 HP for 5-7 SP.

4.) If you spend a spell slot to create a wight with Create Undead IX, and order it to hang back with a cageful of chickens and sacrifice a chicken whenever you're injured, you'd regain 27 HP per round. And you could arguably keep this up indefinitely with no spell slot cost by just dominating the wight with Command Undead instead of re-casting Create Undead every day.

5.) Even if you didn't have chickens, #4 would let you self-heal 216 HP for 6 SP (36 HP per SP, 50% better than Greatberry) by conjuring mephits with Conjure Minor Elemental. And if you don't need all 216 HP at once, you can use them as scouts in the meantime.

6.) Imagine the multi-classing combos. Grim Harvest wouldn't just work for pure necromancers--it would also be awesome for tank-optimized characters like barbarian/necromancers and fighter/necromancers. Even oathbreaker paladin/necromancers, as if those guys aren't scary enough already.

7.) Since Grim Harvest functions once per turn, and skeletons take their own turns, the "once per turn" limitation effectively goes away. You could potentially regain 27 HP on eight of the twenty turns in a round, for 208 HP/round regeneration. It doesn't even require you to be conscious, so your skeletal minions can bring you back from death's door!

I found Crawford's take on Goodberry surprising but I'd be even more surprised if he thought Grim Harvest were supposed to work this way with Animate Dead/Conjure Elemental. It would instantly go from mostly-flavorful-sometimes-useful ability to brokenly-good must-have-for-all-supervillains. And I'm only 50% joking about the latter. :)
 
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keterys

First Post
I don't necessarily share your fear, but there is a fix I really like: goodberry is a full day's food, so a given character can only benefit from 1 goodberry per day (they just can't eat any more).
1 Goodberry per rest (short or long) would probably be pretty reasonable. Getting 10 berries in a 4-6 person party would feel a bit of a taunt otherwise :)
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
1 Goodberry per rest (short or long) would probably be pretty reasonable. Getting 10 berries in a 4-6 person party would feel a bit of a taunt otherwise :)

I like the idea that these are meant for horses or animal companions or whatever, but as a DM, I could probably be talked into 1 goodberry per rest without too much cajoling. ;)
 

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