5E Cleric-dependant parties

Savage Wombat

Adventurer
I'm looking for opinions from actual play here -

How well does it look like a party can do without a cleric in 5th ed?

Is the druid/bard/paladin an adequate substitute?

Can you get by with no healing except hit dice and healing potions?
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
I'm looking for opinions from actual play here -

How well does it look like a party can do without a cleric in 5th ed?

Is the druid/bard/paladin an adequate substitute?

Can you get by with no healing except hit dice and healing potions?
Druid is certainly an adequate substitute; I've not played with just a paladin or a bard, but I expect it would be fine.

Without any healing classes would require a group to be cautious, but I think it's doable, especially if someone can brew healing potions with an herbalism kit.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Bard is a full caster and gets the key curing spells. Should be fine if the Bard is willing to play that role.
 

Crothian

Visitor
Also, the party has to realize if healing is a little less that they need to play a bit smarter. Character can attack at range and stay out of harms way or sneak around to get surprise so they don't get injured as easily.
 

drjones

Visitor
Dunno if this qualifies but my players just remade their characters and are going cleric-less with a Bard and Ranger who is kinda specced as a medic.

Will it work? Not sure yet. They have two fighters as well so they should be moderately tough and have some 'free' healing.
 
A paladin by itself won't be enough for most adventures. You'd most likely need to tweek them to lessen the need for healing or add other ways for the party to heal themselves. A bard or druid should be able to fill that role if they're willing to step out of their usual role. Add a paladin to a bard or druid will make it a lot easier on them also.
 

keterys

Visitor
At low level, the cleric is kinda awful at healing anyways, so you can do perfectly fine with something else. In one group I DMed with a wizard with the Healer feat, and two clerics, the wizard did the most healing by far.

Higher levels has always been a big question: once you start messing around with spells like Restoration and Heal, not having them available can get painful.
 

Lalato

Explorer
We played without a healer. It works, but it's much more difficult. Players didn't quite grasp that they couldn't just brazenly walk into a lair and just kick butt. TPK was only avoided with lucky death saves.

One player is multi-classing to Cleric. Should make things a little less deadly, but we'll see how it goes.
 

Mandragola

Visitor
So far I've only DM'ed the first two chapters of the starter set but there's a standard "healbot" cleric with life domain in that, which is probably as good a healer as you can be at the start.

With a 1st level party you'll probably find that only a small proportion of the total healing comes from the cleric (or whoever) casting cure light wounds. They can only do it twice a day. Things like a fighter's second wind, potions and healing during a short rest will do more across the group than that.

On the other hand the cleric (or whoever) will do other stuff a lot more. Our cleric bashed stuff with her warhammer quite a lot and let off cantrips. A druid would throw fire at stuff, bash stuff with a shillythingy or turn into a bear and chew on things. A bard can fight, shoot and even be the party scout (in which case he should be discouraged from singing or playing a trumpet).

So you're not just expected to take a 5-foot step and cast a curing spell each round, or channel. You get to be way more active - maybe even using proper spell slots for stuff other than healing the party!
 

GX.Sigma

Visitor
It feels like the game was designed with the assumption that no one is playing a healer. Healing potions are dirt cheap, and the entire "dying" system (including death saves, the medicine skill, healer's kits, etc.) only makes sense in a party without a healer.
 
It feels like the game was designed with the assumption that no one is playing a healer. Healing potions are dirt cheap, and the entire "dying" system (including death saves, the medicine skill, healer's kits, etc.) only makes sense in a party without a healer.
While the massive damage rules are a joke, I've had characters die due to failed death saves even with a cleric in the group. It's actually not that hard to die that way if you're players aren't smart enough to immediately rush to them and get them up. Especially if you have more than 1 character go down in the same round.
 

Lalato

Explorer
While the massive damage rules are a joke, I've had characters die due to failed death saves even with a cleric in the group. It's actually not that hard to die that way if you're players aren't smart enough to immediately rush to them and get them up. Especially if you have more than 1 character go down in the same round.
I agree. It's not really that difficult to die from failed death saves. This is especially true when multiple people go down at the same time. When your allies are faced with the choice of stabilize or fight... fight is usually the best option. So, you might go several rounds before someone attempts to stabilize you... and a bad run will mean you're dead. Oh... and don't forget that taking damage means you fail death saves automatically.
 

drjones

Visitor
It feels like the game was designed with the assumption that no one is playing a healer. Healing potions are dirt cheap, and the entire "dying" system (including death saves, the medicine skill, healer's kits, etc.) only makes sense in a party without a healer.
Maybe, but it's not like 4th where I regularly knocked players down every round to have them pop back up, only a small portion of their healing surges used. If you are at 1 HP you are one crit away from dead in many cases. Bleeding out is a little safer because of the positive save track and the variety of ways to stabilize with a low DC but only mean DMs with cruel/intelligent adversaries are going to finish off wounded PCs mid fight, a PC with 1 HP who is attacking on the other hand gets the full claw-claw-bite.
 

GameDoc

Visitor
Related to the general topic, does it seem odd to anyone else that Druids are the only class that can be proficient with herbalism kits and therefore the only ones that can craft healing potions?

Any other class has to take the Hermit background, take the Skilled feat, or take the better part of a year off from adventuring to gain that proficiency. Seems like the cleric, as the archtypical healer, ought to have easier access to it, especially if your playing basic rules only (no Druids, no hermits, no feats).
 
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Stormonu

Hero
Also, the party has to realize if healing is a little less that they need to play a bit smarter. Character can attack at range and stay out of harms way or sneak around to get surprise so they don't get injured as easily.
Or avoid extraneous enemy combat encounters altogether. That includes talking your way out of having to fight or looking for ways around enemies. Though my group is playing with a cleric, I could see if they were being more cautious, they wouldn't require a healer-type in the group.

The way 5E is structured, it is very, very difficult not to take a hit of some sort in combat. Even with a cleric, it's a bad idea to go guns blazing into every encounter. Some are simply best avoided, mitigated or circumvented or you WILL be worn down. From what I've seen of Lost Mine of Phandelver, the designers are rewarding "smart" play (secret paths to avoid one/several encounters, options other than fighting to the death, etc.) , not just tactical play. I hope they keep doing that.
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
Related to the general topic, does it seem odd to anyone else that Druids are the only class that can be proficient with herbalism kits and therefore the only ones that can craft healing potions?

Any other class has to take the Hermit background, take the Skilled feat, or take the better part of a year off from adventuring to gain that proficiency. Seems like the cleric, as the archtypical healer, ought to have easier access to it, especially if your playing basic rules only (no Druids, no hermits, no feats).
I actually like it -- brewing healing potions shouldn't be trivial, and the limited availability is a plus. Yes, druids should know herbs, and hermits fine. Clerics? Honestly, they're the last people who would learn healing potions since for them healing magic comes so naturally.

There is an option you don't list, though, and that's a customized background. p. 125 PHB, it's not even called out as a "with DM's permission"; any background can be tweaked to include an herbalism kit. But it's a specialization that I think should be rare.
 

GameDoc

Visitor
I actually like it -- brewing healing potions shouldn't be trivial, and the limited availability is a plus. Yes, druids should know herbs, and hermits fine. Clerics? Honestly, they're the last people who would learn healing potions since for them healing magic comes so naturally.

There is an option you don't list, though, and that's a customized background. p. 125 PHB, it's not even called out as a "with DM's permission"; any background can be tweaked to include an herbalism kit. But it's a specialization that I think should be rare.
D'oh! Forgot about passage on page 125. My brain is still having to get used to the era of DM empowerment and a system that does break when you tinker.
 

Andor

Visitor
The bard is just as good healer as the cleric, except for the healing spec cleric. Druid is too.
The Paladin does not have the ability to heal as much as a Cleric, but he does have the ability to dole it out in penny packets. This is good because one point of healing is the difference between making death saves and swinging an axe.

The healer feat is amazing.

There is no need for a cleric in 5e. You need a healer, but that role can be filled by Bards, Druids, and Paladins as full healers. The healer feat is all you need to be a competent secondary healer.

And the Guild Artisan background also covers the Herbalism kit proficiency without needing to change anything. However as noted backgrounds are very flexible, and can be customized and refluffed at will.
 

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