D&D 5E Challenging High-Level 5e Characters

Oofta

Legend
Yes but it is enough to survive that 80hp damage hit over and over round after round as long as you keep casting it.

Being able to see is a concern as is things that are not damage and it does not counter those.
Which is why I almost never have just 1 BBEG, especially not one that doesn't have ways of attacking multiple PCs either with an AOE or other effect. Once PCs are knocked to nearly zero, the "minor" players are suddenly a real threat. Besides, if I really want to be mean it's easy enough to double tap and kill off a PC.
 

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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
That's not a bad idea. I'm not sure it's enough though. The issue as I see it is that you can do it as a bonus action, and you can do it at range. The spell is tailor-made to be used for the cleric yoyo maneuver. If someone has, say, a +2 Con mod, would yoyo-ing them back no more than twice a day be a real limit? I'm not at all certain it would be. I would still be more inclined to nerf the spell in a way that reduces its ability to render any "drop to zero" attack meaningless, or ban it outright.
Well, the reason I ask is because that's precisely what healing word used to be--when it was a power in 4e, rather than a spell in 5e. In translating it, the designers failed to account for what it was designed to do, and most importantly, failed to account for its essential limiting factors, which made it fitting and mechanically sound (since we must circumlocute around the "b" word.)

If the party gets into something actually like the expected number of encounters per day, say a minimum of five, then a given character only being "save-able" this way twice a day makes it quite a bit more risky--eat up your two(/whatever) uses in just the first couple of combats, and now you have to go the whole rest of the day without. I should think that would be precisely the desired result; it's not that we don't want to make healing word outright worthless (or...well...I should hope folks wouldn't), but rather that we want to make it appropriately costly or risky.

(Technically, it also had the extra limit that it couldn't be used more than two times in a single battle, or three at level 16+, but I figured the healing surge limit was rather more important than the per-encounter limit.)
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
To be clear I said "If someone who is not downed has healing word one PC getting downed doesn't really even reduce the parties overall effectiveness."

I get that nuance was easy to miss and arguably off topic to the post I replied to..

Having 2 down will reduce effectiveness, because it is going to take the healers action but not by a large amount if you have a healer cleric because that is all it is - one action. Aid usually brings back up to 3 characters on a single 2nd level casting and it upcasts well. Aura of Life will bring back every single downed PC over and over again at the start of their turn (i.e. no lost actions) as long as they are within 30 feet and the Cleric maintains concentration.

Using your chart:
Monster downs 2 PCS
Aura of Life - 3 APM (not counting Cleric since he used his action on the casting)
Monster downs 2 PCs
2 brought back from AOL - 4APM
Monster downs 2 PCs
2 brought back from AOL - 4APM

AOL lasts 100 rounds if they don't break concentration. Add sanctuary to all this in round 2+ as a bonus action after the Cleric makes an attack or cantrip.

As long as the party has healing this is going to go on and on and on. If they target and down the Cleric and other party members have healing they bring him up and he brings up the other downed guy and we keep going.

If the monster downs all the healers, then yes the fight is lost.

If you are fighting with multiple enemies who make melee attacks, the best course of action is usually to attack a downed PCs instead of downing another PC. A melee hit from 5 feet away on a downed PC is automatically a critical and causes 2 failed death saves, so 2 hits on a downed PC kills her outright. If you have multiple enemies or multiple attacks, this is usually the most effective strategy to counter yo-yo healing.
My recommendation for challenging a party that employs such tactics is to use AoE damage. Fireball, damaging auras, sweeping attacks, etc. If an enemy can drop 3 characters with one attack/action (or even no action in the case of auras) that's a really strong move, even if the healer can get them back up next round. Unless you are using side initiative, odds are that one or more of those characters will lose their turn (because they act after they were dropped but before the healer acts).
 

ECMO3

Hero
My recommendation for challenging a party that employs such tactics is to use AoE damage. Fireball, damaging auras, sweeping attacks, etc. If an enemy can drop 3 characters with one attack/action (or even no action in the case of auras) that's a really strong move, even if the healer can get them back up next round. Unless you are using side initiative, odds are that one or more of those characters will lose their turn (because they act after they were dropped but before the healer acts).

Yeah but the BBEG takes damage every turn, while the party effectively takes none. Even if the initiative is completely in his favor and the downed guys don't have reactions to use, he still loses.

For example BBEG drops 2 characters on his turn. They both roll death saves, then one PC brings them both back but after their turn, other PC that wasn't downed attacks BBEG. BBEG has now taken one attack and he is back where he was before he even took his action last turn - all the PCs are in the fight. He can keep dropping 2 PCs every single turn and as long as the party keeps bringing them back every single turn he makes no progress at all, while being whittled away by the lone guy he did not/does not drop. And this is a worse case scenario for the party where the healer is last in initiative. Move the healer up and the downed guys get actions too.

Even if BBEG downs the healer, it is still a lost cause as long as someone else in the party has healing of some kind. Other guy heals the healer, then the healer who is no longer down uses healing word on the last downed guy and gets an offensive action of his own. It is still one offensive action for the party and all 4 party members still in the fight in this best case initiative for the BBEG.

Putting multiple baddies into this or going with multi-attack or legendary attacks instead of AOEs changes this dynamic, but the goal changes too and instead of downing two, you down one and try to kill that one single party member using multiattack, other baddies or legendary attacks.
 

Distracted DM

Distracted DM
Supporter
I might experiment with Healing Word as a touch spell. At least the cleric has to put themselves in danger.

Of course, what to do with Mass Healing Word 😅 Reduce its range to all creatures with 15ft of the caster?
 

ECMO3

Hero
I might experiment with Healing Word as a touch spell. At least the cleric has to put themselves in danger.

Of course, what to do with Mass Healing Word 😅 Reduce its range to all creatures with 15ft of the caster?

Making it a touch spell makes it MUCH more difficult to use. It isn't just being in danger, often you won't be able to get into position to touch.

If you made healing word a touch spell all my Clerics would either do a 1-level Wizard dip or they would get Magic Initiate to get a familiar.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Making it a touch spell makes it MUCH more difficult to use. It isn't just being in danger, often you won't be able to get into position to touch.

If you made healing word a touch spell all my Clerics would either do a 1-level Wizard dip or they would get Magic Initiate to get a familiar.
"MUCH more" is an overstatement without going back to 3.5 style tactical grid movement & AoOs Delivering a touch spell was risky back then because moving more than 5 feet could provoke an AoO & being that close meant you were probably close enough to be a viable target. At best a bonus action touch spell is very very slightly more difficult with how 5e currently handles the tactical grid elements.
 
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Distracted DM

Distracted DM
Supporter
Making it a touch spell makes it MUCH more difficult to use. It isn't just being in danger, often you won't be able to get into position to touch.

If you made healing word a touch spell all my Clerics would either do a 1-level Wizard dip or they would get Magic Initiate to get a familiar.
More difficult to use sounds about right- that's the idea!
Familiars can certainly deliver touch spells, but I can't say many of my players have used their familiars in combat because they get poofed quickly.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Making it a touch spell makes it MUCH more difficult to use. It isn't just being in danger, often you won't be able to get into position to touch.

If you made healing word a touch spell all my Clerics would either do a 1-level Wizard dip or they would get Magic Initiate to get a familiar.
Honestly I'd rather just not have Healing Word. It serves no purpose I want in the game.
 

If you have your canonical four player party and your monster is dropping two of them every turn then they're not going to get very far. And dropping three is TPK territory. Now, if you had a six or eight player party then that's another matter.
Yeah, obviously depends on the size of the party. But my belief is that a solo monster should have the ABILITY to drop multiple characters per turn. By 13th level, most RAW monsters can't drop a single character in a turn. The numbers just aren't there. So you need to dial them up. Even then, Tier 3 and Tier 4 characters are hard to bring down.
 

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