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5E Is the Healer Feat Broken?

Zardnaar

Legend
There have been a few threads about encounter guidelines not working and as a DM I have been wanting to play a featless game of 5E. I always get out voted by my players though and if I try and force the issue I might not have any players full stop.

Anyway the feats Great Weapon Master and Sharpshooter often get used as examples of broken feats in 5E but one feat strikes me as perhaps a little bit to good. That feat is the healer feat. Early on in 5E when I DMed the PCs did not use it. I was the 1st player to pick it as a light cleric as I liked at it and realized.

1d6+4+level is a better healing rate than a cure wounds spell. Better yet it is per person per short rest. In a 5 man party with the assumed 2 short rests it is an extra 15 cure spells. By level 10 it is not as good but it is still 1d6+14 points of healing per person per short rest. In effect it is almost a mass cure spell as a short rest instead of long rest ability.

It got even better with the thief subclass of the rogue with the quick hands ability. Due to the fact you use a healing kit you can now use it as a bonus action. This rapidly turned into an unlimited healing word effect as restoring 1 hp was functionally as good as 1d4+wisdom modifier. Odds are you would still be going down in one hit so no you have unlimited short range healing words + a very silly amount of short rest healing.

Suffice to say since then we have never left home without it. I get to play on occasion and sure enough one of my PCs is a Diviner and he has the healer feat. Rather than sit back and snipe with firebolt at low levels (1-4) and generally be useless I am often up on the front lines using the aid another action (granting advantage>firebolt when GWM Barbarian is in the mix) and using the healer feat as a medic. Even if you get hit you just heal yourself. In a different group where the DM gave everyone an extra feat no one took it or even a cleric leaving a Paladin as the sole source of healing. We do not always have a GWM or sharpshooter PC in the party, we always pick the healer feat it seems.

The thought has occurred to me that this feat might be contributing towards wrecking the game. We do not do anything particularly clever just out attrition the enemy by casting spells like bless (conserving spell slots) and healing up afterwards with the feat and occasionally prayer of healing or some other source of healing.
 

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Horwath

Adventurer
Healing in combat is underpowered(even for a life cleric). It's better to boost attack/protection or disable enemies.

This gives a "healer" feel to character without spending precious daily resources of your spells or layonhands.

In combat it's not "mass heal" because to heal 5 people you need 5 rounds. In most battles, that is entire battle.

IMO inspiring leader is a better feat as it is proactive and can actually prevent TPKs if you blunder into some kind of "surprise nova" from mooks.


P.S. delete the duplicate thread
 

Horwath

Adventurer
Disclaimer: I'm sorry, didn't meant to press "laugh at this post".
The topic is valid.

BTW, can you undo the "laugh at this post" thing?
 

It got even better with the thief subclass of the rogue with the quick hands ability. Due to the fact you use a healing kit you can now use it as a bonus action. This rapidly turned into an unlimited healing word effect as restoring 1 hp was functionally as good as 1d4+wisdom modifier. Odds are you would still be going down in one hit so no you have unlimited short range healing words + a very silly amount of short rest healing.
Assuming your thief is running around with a healing kit in hand.

Surely it takes two free hands to bind wounds, even if he can do it as a bonus action?
 


Kreinas

First Post
Regaining 1 HP when stabilizing a dying comrade one failed death save from dying is great. Not only do you save their life, but they can rejoin the battle immediately on their next turn. For non-healing classes or frontliners, it can be of great value.

1d6+4 HP is good. It's as good as a low level spell, and is available to non-magical classes. Adding HD to the value is the same as saying "scales with character's level", which is ALSO good. The scaling is enough to keep the ability relevant at later stages of the game. However, it takes an entire action. To call it overpowered would be akin to claiming Potions of Healing are overpowered.


Additionally, I would disagree with your usage of fast hands to make the heal. Assuming your character dropped weapons as a free action, then used interaction to pull out the healer's kit. As a bonus action you could USE the kit and stabilize someone to 1 HP. Fine. As an action you can then restore 1d4+4+HD to the creature. Great! However, the Healer feat specifically says "As an action, you can spend one use of a Healer's Kit..." To me, this is not compatible with the Bonus Action from fast hands. You are not USING the healer's kit as an object, but tending to it. The action of tending to the creature requires the components of the healing kit, which is why the use is spent, but the action of specifically tending to a creature is what restores the HP. You're taking your action to place a poultice, and bandage it over.

Of course, as with most things it all comes down to DM interpretation. My interpretation is that the Healer feat gives you an Action to use, not a buff to your object.
 
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Quartz

Adventurer
It's a feat. It needs to be powerful. Remember that the PC is giving up +2 to a stat. Plus it's like Heavy Armour Mastery - very good at low levels but progressively less good as you rise. 1d4 + 4 + 20 isn't much at 20th level when that barbarian could have over 300 HP. (Max without magic is 20 * (12 (HD) + 7 (Con) + 2 (Toughness)) = 380 HP).

And you can't heal yourself if you're at 0 HP. Or restrained. Etc.
 

Krachek

Adventurer
We can applause immersive character playing when a player take healer feat for its rogue.
and we give give a mention the the player of the proud wizard who spend its time helping the gwm barbarian, it make great role play talk after the fight.
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Keeping in mind I still haven't started playing 5e yet, but from my point of view, I find the notion of someone bandaging people up after a fight a lot less eery than people healing up naturally at a freakishly fast rate after a short rest...
 

Kreinas

First Post
Keeping in mind I still haven't started playing 5e yet, but from my point of view, I find the notion of someone bandaging people up after a fight a lot less eery than people healing up naturally at a freakishly fast rate after a short rest...
The concept of Health can also be seen as a sort of battle endurance. When your health drops low in a fight, you are physically exhausted from the amount of punishment you have taken. If you feel like the wounds you have suffered should not be healed over in a short rest, this is an issue you should discuss with your DM.

For example, in a current session on Roll20, I play a fighter. The fighter has a high constitution; He can take a beating, and therefore has higher health points. This fighter uses a Shield +1 as well as chainmail for a combined AC of 19. When attacks miss my fighter, they are either dodged completely (a low attack roll) or are eaten by the armor/shield. When an attack connects, it is described as "You block the attack with your shield, but the strength of your opponent overwhelms you. You take X damage" or "The impact finds purchase in the joint of your armor, leaving a gash/cut in your arm. You take X damage". These are examples of wounds that will close over a short period of time (you have to remember you aren't just Joe from the merchant stall. You're an adventurer with abnormal strength/wisdom/Con/dex/etc).

Then come the crits. Last session, while fighting a bugbear wielding a morningstar, a crit was landed. The DM rolled a d100 to see where the attack lands, and it happened to be my Knee. Despite wearing Chainmail and having a significant amount of HP, the blow crushed my kneecap. As a result, my movement speed was quartered, and an athletics check was required on each turn to see if I could even hold myself up. When combat ended, and a short rest was taken, my HP was regained but the knee remained shattered.

Your DM can then allow you to take out-of-combat actions to try to remedy the situation. Using nearby scraps of wood and rope, our wizard (who was far more intelligent than my character!) crafted a splint for my leg. Movement penalty reduced to half speed. Our party then crafted a makeshift gurney out of a table in the keep's dining hall, and our barbarian made an athletics check to see how well he could pull it. With his strength and proficiency, and a roll resulting in 22, he was able to pull me back to town at full speed (where it would have been half speed if I had walked) and saved us a day of travel. Returning to the town, my character visited a healer who applied advanced poultices and casting, and was informed that the knee would be suitable for walking after a day of rest. We ended our session here, and the next time we play a day will have passed (when time sensitive quests are ongoing, this can be a huge detriment).


TL;DR

Damage isn't black and white, and it is the responsibility of the DM to describe damage in a manner that matches expectations. If your party/DM don't care about the realism, by all means remove a leg every time your character takes 6 damage, then sleep it off while you regrow another.
 

Noctem

Explorer
The main focus of playing 5e should be to buff defenses, saving throws, give temporary HP, etc.. instead of giving healing in general. Being Proactive vs Reactive respectively.
 

Giant2005

First Post
I'm not really seeing the greatness.
Sure it provides slightly more mitigation than Inspiring Leader, but Inspiring Leader has the benefit of being used proactively rather than reactively and that benefit can be the difference between surviving a hard encounter and not surviving a hard encounter. Also you don't need to bother with buying and lugging around dozens of healer's kits.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
I find "whack-a-mole" distorts the framework of the game so I use Lingering Injuries/Wounds at 0 hp.
And I track negative hp down to -10 hp. :)

The healer feat is nice, but the problem isn't that this particular feat is too good, but that the game is too generous with what's happening at 0 hp.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
IMO Healer is the strongest feat in the game. Inspiring leader is #2 (Though it's important to have moderate charisma for it).
 

It's broken when you compare it to spells. But spells are a pretty weak source of healing until you get to heal. It's not really worth the spell slot, especially at mid-levels.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I'm not really seeing the greatness.
Sure it provides slightly more mitigation than Inspiring Leader, but Inspiring Leader has the benefit of being used proactively rather than reactively and that benefit can be the difference between surviving a hard encounter and not surviving a hard encounter. Also you don't need to bother with buying and lugging around dozens of healer's kits.
You and many others have stated that sentiment and it's one I held a while back on the WOTC forums. I would disagree now unless the party has some very good between combat healing sources. Looking at the first combat of the day it is definetely true that inspiring leader is better for that combat. But there's going to be about 5 more encounters over the day. The ability that can cause more net hp gain is going to be much better in the later encounters unless there is enough healing in your party such that it's not very difficult to get back to full hp without the healer feat.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
"Broken"? No. If it's only taken by a small subset of players in a small subset of builds but it proves to be very useful to them based upon how they play... then that's the mark of a good ability.

It's the abilities that every player that can take it does, and is so useful that it makes the other members of the party obsolete that you might assign the descriptor "broken".

"Broken" is the most incorrectly used word in D&D discussion threads I have found. Followed by "straw man" a close second.
 

ninjayeti

Explorer
I agree it is a "must have" feat although I would not go so far as to say it is broken. Our group tends to use it more for between fight healing, which dramatically increases the number of encounters our parties can handle and insures that our clerics/druids/bards rarely burn spell slots for heals. At mid and high levels it feels it is usually better to go on the offense during combat than heal.

I would agree with the other posters who point out that the bigger issue is how trivial it is to bounce back from 0 HP. Our group now tracks negative HP and it has reduced the whack-a-mole factor.
 

Keeping in mind I still haven't started playing 5e yet, but from my point of view, I find the notion of someone bandaging people up after a fight a lot less eery than people healing up naturally at a freakishly fast rate after a short rest...
They do have an hour to bandage themselves, if that helps you visualize it.
 

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