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

ECMO3

Hero
"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.

It is much more difficult. For one thing you have to have enough movement and a path to the person you are trying to heal and at least half the time you don't have that.

Remember moving through friendly creatures space is difficult terrain as is .... well difficult terrain .... and you can't move through enemies at all unless they are two sizes different (and again it is difficult terrain). IME about half the time you will not be able to get in touch range at all on your turn in the middle of combat and when you can it will often be extremely dangerous and tactically unsound.

This is before you consider a number of conditions, most notably frightened and grappled, that will prevent you from doing it.

IF you are relying on touch spells in combat you really need a flying familiar to deliver it effectively and reliably.

With healing word you bypass all of this.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

DrJawaPhD

Adventurer
I prevent Healing Word Yo-Yo'ing, just letting HP go negative. So a Healing Word bonus action might work if you were barely downed, but if someone is negative 20+ HP then it will take some dedicated healing to bring them back up. I find this tweak works well, it prevents annoying/stupid gameplay and in many cases is actually a buff to the PCs since they don't take failed death saves if they get hit at 0 HP (but do die if their negative HP reaches max HP).
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
It is much more difficult. For one thing you have to have enough movement and a path to the person you are trying to heal and at least half the time you don't have that.

Remember moving through friendly creatures space is difficult terrain as is .... well difficult terrain .... and you can't move through enemies at all unless they are two sizes different (and again it is difficult terrain). IME about half the time you will not be able to get in touch range at all on your turn in the middle of combat and when you can it will often be extremely dangerous and tactically unsound.

This is before you consider a number of conditions, most notably frightened and grappled, that will prevent you from doing it.

IF you are relying on touch spells in combat you really need a flying familiar to deliver it effectively and reliably.

With healing word you bypass all of this.
I agree with all of that, and am ok with it.
 

Distracted DM

Distracted DM
Supporter
I agree with all of that, and am ok with it.
Yeah I think it's just a difference of opinion on gameplay. Obviously they think it's good as-is because circumstances could prevent the healing... Which is kind of the idea. Making things more difficult.

In fact you and I don't see completely eye to eye on it, because I do see the appeal of HW in that it allows healing without full commitment of your turn to it ... I'd be happy if it were never a thing but I'm ok with it if there are certain stop gaps to prevent complete yoyoing like i experienced in a all of my first few years of running 5e.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
It is much more difficult. For one thing you have to have enough movement and a path to the person you are trying to heal and at least half the time you don't have that.

Remember moving through friendly creatures space is difficult terrain as is .... well difficult terrain .... and you can't move through enemies at all unless they are two sizes different (and again it is difficult terrain). IME about half the time you will not be able to get in touch range at all on your turn in the middle of combat and when you can it will often be extremely dangerous and tactically unsound.

This is before you consider a number of conditions, most notably frightened and grappled, that will prevent you from doing it.

IF you are relying on touch spells in combat you really need a flying familiar to deliver it effectively and reliably.

With healing word you bypass all of this.
You only need to consider PC and monster arrangements on the grid during combat for a couple minutes to realize that the bolded scenario will pretty much never happen with any regularity during any but the most contrived layout. Healing word is available to any caster with a single level in druid cleric bard or divine soul sorcerer plus some alchemists and a renamed no slot needed version for celestial warlocks. That makes it super common to see multiple PCs with it.

.I was going to throw together some grid mockups showing how unlikely it is that "enough movement" is going to be a non issue during actual combat conditions but I think I'd rather set the bar higher and instead ask you to show three combos conditions where enough movement is a plausible limiting factor without resorting to a narrow hallway type scenario. I say three because it seems reasonable to expect if this is going to be an at all common thing rather than an extreme edge case given how static and unmoving 5e combat tends to be when PCs are past the close to target initial phase and plausibly involved enough to have low hit points where a hypothetical touch healing word might be needed.
 


Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
We should take the healing word arguments to another thread. The goal is this one was mainly to challenge high level PCs in the framework of the current rules, not to alter the system to make it work better.
I'm sorry. I didn't see anything that stated WotC 5e is the only relevant game to this thread. I'm afraid putting it in the D&D 5e forum isn't enough for me to make that assumption.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I'm sorry. I didn't see anything that stated WotC 5e is the only relevant game to this thread. I'm afraid putting it in the D&D 5e forum isn't enough for me to make that assumption.
I mean its in the 5e forum, noted 5e in the title, and the OP is running a 5e campaign. I'm not sure how much more 5e you can get.

But that said, my point was in reference to a slide off-topic. A core 5e game has healing word, it exists. And the thread has been more about how to challenge high level players with given tactics rather than rules changes to the game.

Now people have posted the occasional house rule in this thread is fine, but I felt that healing word was starting to dominate the conversation, hence my comment.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I mean its in the 5e forum, noted 5e in the title, and the OP is running a 5e campaign. I'm not sure how much more 5e you can get.

But that said, my point was in reference to a slide off-topic. A core 5e game has healing word, it exists. And the thread has been more about how to challenge high level players with given tactics rather than rules changes to the game.

Now people have posted the occasional house rule in this thread is fine, but I felt that healing word was starting to dominate the conversation, hence my comment.
Wanting to move the HW discussion I understand. I just don't accept your stated reasoning. Until a new "5e but not just WotC" forum is developed, D&D 5e means all 5e to me, 3pp and homebrew included.
 

ECMO3

Hero
it prevents annoying/stupid gameplay

I think you mean annoying smart gameplay. RAW there is nothing stupid about yo-yoing party members. As a matter of fact it is usually smart to wait until they are down to heal them. Keeping your allies at 4 or 5 hps means the enemy can only do 4 or 5 damage and from a resource management perspective it is far better to cast healing word 3 times in a row instead of 1 heal that will last 3 rounds.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top