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5E Is the Healer Feat Broken?

Asisreo

Demon's Advocate
Two separate sources using the same exact language, with a class ability about that very language, which changes the action to a bonus action. What is the in-game justification for it working with one but not the other? What is even your argument that this makes sense, if it's not "I don't like this combination"? Because if it's just that let's talk about the costs and benefits of taking a feat and taking this subclass to get this kind of result rather than this silly debate about how two identical sentences should be treated differently for apparently...reasons?
The language inside doesn't matter. We're comparing the actions. One is using the Healer's kit as-is. The other is in a feature and that feature does not explicitly say you're using the "Use an Item" action, therefore you're not.

Healing someone and stabilizing them are different tasks, even with mundane equipment. It's impressive someone can bring someone back from unconscious to conscious within 6 seconds, let alone being able to do it before or after firing a bow in that same 6 second round. But that's like quickly administering a bandage or something.

On the other hand, I view healing them a significant amount akin to a quick surgery. You're pulling out complex equipment that requires full attention to apply, rather than just alcohol and bandages or a medicinal herb.

I don't think it would break anything for it to be ruled that they can do it but I don't want people getting up-in-arms about a DM interpreting it this way, because this seems to be how it was meant to be.
 

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The language inside doesn't matter. We're comparing the actions. One is using the Healer's kit as-is. The other is in a feature and that feature does not explicitly say you're using the "Use an Item" action, therefore you're not.

Healing someone and stabilizing them are different tasks, even with mundane equipment. It's impressive someone can bring someone back from unconscious to conscious within 6 seconds, let alone being able to do it before or after firing a bow in that same 6 second round. But that's like quickly administering a bandage or something.

On the other hand, I view healing them a significant amount akin to a quick surgery. You're pulling out complex equipment that requires full attention to apply, rather than just alcohol and bandages or a medicinal herb.

I don't think it would break anything for it to be ruled that they can do it but I don't want people getting up-in-arms about a DM interpreting it this way, because this seems to be how it was meant to be.
Fast hands is ridiculous in that respect though.

You can pick a 20 tumbler lock in a bonus action. Sure, you see people pop open simple locks in that amount of time, but the Thief is doing that to locks that would take an average person full minutes to attempt.

And a quick surgery is nowwhere near what the healer feat looks like to me. To me it is wrapping a poultice soaked bandage around a wounds, I mean, even at the most extreme end, this takes six seconds if it is an action. .

And I'm sorry, but saying that the Feat doesn't say you are taking the Use Item action is bogus. Nothing in the entire game states you are using the Use Item action. Throwing caltrops and ball bearings don't say you are using an item, drinking antitoxin doesn't say you are using an item, using a tinder box doesn't say you are using an item.

However, all of those have action uses, all of those are items, and hence, they are Use Item actions. Yes, magic items are different. I find that a bit dumb in a lot of respects, but that was the design teams choice. And the Healer kit doesn't give you an new action to use, it gives you a new way to use the item. And the biggest evidence for that is also the simplest. You can't use the Healer feat without the Healer's Kit. If they were separate like you seem to think, you could use the action without the Kit, but you cannot because the feat allows that character to modify the abilities of the Healer's Kit when they are using it. So you are still, using an item.
 

Crawford ruled a thief can do it as a bonus action years ago.
Yeah, I don’t follow people on Twitter, so the ruling would not have percolated into my information sphere. 😀

I’m persuaded. Frankly it is a cool concept.

Are you planning on having a Role Playing hook with it? Like the feat, represents training in the hidden, healing lore of the Monks of farefenugen?
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
So - I have real play experience on this: a Near 2 year campaign, level 2 to level 8, 1 session per 2 weeks, 3 hours, Yoon-Suin setting with 5e.

One player agreed to play cleric, but insisted that she would not be the only party healer. So one guy took a paladin (and played him like a healing gish) and the other a warlock (human) with the healer feat (the only feat I allowed in the game until level 8). The fourth player was initially a Barbarian but at level 4 dropped out and we gained a open hand monk (so some self-healing powers).

I had some "one encounter" days but during the "real" adventuring days encounters were about 3-5 a day, one or 2 short rests a day. The Paladin was a bit OP but increasing the pace took him down a notch.

I reduced natural healing: Sleeping restored Hit Dice as normal, but not the hitpoint themselves (you want to heal you have to spent hit dice).

The party had TONS of healing. It almost never was an issue - I mean they got hurt and had to heal a lot, but they were able to do it.

The warlock's healing feat was never "enough", but it was always the #1 go-to solution. For lightly injured PCs it was amply sufficient. However, medium or heavily injured PCs needed to spend hitdice or use magic. But by being almost constantly available, it really contributed a lot.

Despite the paladin's player changing to a fae warlock/battlemaster and gaining a 5th character with no healing watsoever, the party was still able to manage under pressure. The cleric had to cast a little bit more healing magic but still had a lot of non-healing magic to offer and use as needed.

So yes, the healing feat is very good, but it does cost a feat, and the warlock's stats were a bit subpar because of that, and it's never "enough" at mid-high levels.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
I've found that groups cannot get through full XP adventuring days without potions or the Healer feat. I've seen groups with Healer and Inspiring Leader and they can power through 3 deadly or 6-8 medium encounters. Low level groups without healer struggle.

The feat is more powerful than comparable feats. I compare it to Spellcasting Initiate (Cure Wounds).

Because of that, in my growing list of house rules, I largely bake Healer into the Medicine skill. If I reintroduce the feat, I'll balance it to be on par with other HP boosting feats.

I feel like a spell once per short rest is a benchmark for a feat, so Healer needs to be scaled back since it works on the whole party.
 

I've found that groups cannot get through full XP adventuring days without potions or the Healer feat. I've seen groups with Healer and Inspiring Leader and they can power through 3 deadly or 6-8 medium encounters. Low level groups without healer struggle.

The feat is more powerful than comparable feats. I compare it to Spellcasting Initiate (Cure Wounds).

Because of that, in my growing list of house rules, I largely bake Healer into the Medicine skill. If I reintroduce the feat, I'll balance it to be on par with other HP boosting feats.

I feel like a spell once per short rest is a benchmark for a feat, so Healer needs to be scaled back since it works on the whole party.
That seems like a wholly unfair comparison. I mean, the 1/day spell from Magic Initiate isn't even where the power of the feat is at, it is in the 2 cantrips, and the only cantrip that does healing is Spare the Dying which stabilizes, and that is what the base healing kit does without the feat.

Honestly, I can't think of a single feat that would be equivalent (in a measurable way like hp or damage) to 1st level spell per short rest. I mean, Take Cure wounds that is 1d8 with a +2 mod. That is about 6 hp of healing per short rest. Heavy Armor Master saves you 3 hp per hit. Which means that if the person who has it gets hit 3 times between short rests (2 fights between rest, 3 rounds per fight, 3 enemies meaning that we are talking about getting hit 3 times out of 18, which means that the enemy misses them 84% of the time) then the feat is overperforming according to your metric. And Heavy Armor Master is not considered a top tier feat
 

the Jester

Legend
I've run tons of 5e, and have seen probably 3 or so pcs with the Healer feat (although not a rogue with Fast Hands- I didn't even realize that Fast Hands would work with Healer until now). So far, my experience- running from 1st up to around 16th level- is that Healer is always good, but never too good.

Again, though, the Fast Hands rogue is the optimal build for it, and I haven't seen it, so I can't judge that one.

Anyway, if I were to rate the top feats in my game, I think I'd end up with a very different list than other people do, because Keen Mind would absolutely be on the list, along with Sharpshooter, GWM, Sentinel... and Healer. But that's fine. I don't think any of those are overpowered, though I know others have real issues with Sharpshooter and GWM.

@Mistwell, I'd recommend taking it, personally- among other things, it sounds like it really fits your character's "Robin Hood" style.

EDIT: Aargh, old habits, mention tags, sorry Russ.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Yeah, I don’t follow people on Twitter, so the ruling would not have percolated into my information sphere. 😀

I’m persuaded. Frankly it is a cool concept.

Are you planning on having a Role Playing hook with it? Like the feat, represents training in the hidden, healing lore of the Monks of farefenugen?
More like, "Poor and downtrodden, as a protector of the other destitute children in Waterdeep he learned to steal food and clothing, and how to heal the mistreated beggers and abused and abandoned children of the city. When you're fleeing for your life from the city guard or an evil foster "parent", you want Henry Swiftfoot by your side to patch you up right quick so you can high tail it to the rooftops as he creates a distraction below."
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
That seems like a wholly unfair comparison. I mean, the 1/day spell from Magic Initiate isn't even where the power of the feat is at, it is in the 2 cantrips, and the only cantrip that does healing is Spare the Dying which stabilizes, and that is what the base healing kit does without the feat.

Honestly, I can't think of a single feat that would be equivalent (in a measurable way like hp or damage) to 1st level spell per short rest. I mean, Take Cure wounds that is 1d8 with a +2 mod. That is about 6 hp of healing per short rest. Heavy Armor Master saves you 3 hp per hit. Which means that if the person who has it gets hit 3 times between short rests (2 fights between rest, 3 rounds per fight, 3 enemies meaning that we are talking about getting hit 3 times out of 18, which means that the enemy misses them 84% of the time) then the feat is overperforming according to your metric. And Heavy Armor Master is not considered a top tier feat
And you can use it once on every party member, so it's a bit like 3-5 spells per short rest...
 

And you can use it once on every party member, so it's a bit like 3-5 spells per short rest...
Yes, that is how Healer works, and I think that is why @Xeviat was calling it overpowered, because in their rankings, they believe a feat should only be as powerful as a single 1st level spell per short rest.

That is why most of my post was showing that that baseline is far too low for how feats are meant to operate. Personally, I think Healer is right about where you want it, it does it's job and is good enough you don't hate still having it by levels 12 and up.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Yes, that is how Healer works, and I think that is why @Xeviat was calling it overpowered, because in their rankings, they believe a feat should only be as powerful as a single 1st level spell per short rest.

That is why most of my post was showing that that baseline is far too low for how feats are meant to operate. Personally, I think Healer is right about where you want it, it does it's job and is good enough you don't hate still having it by levels 12 and up.
I didn't say 1st level spell necessarily.

Just compare the amount of party wide healing Healer grants to, say, the survivability that Toughness grants.

Both Healer and Inspiring Leader are way more potent than Toughness. Even just using Healer on yourself, you get more oomph than +2 Con. If feats are balanced against ability scores, and +2 Con is universally good for everyone, then Healer is overpowered.
 

Ashrym

Hero
I find the healer feat is bonkers good at low levels. What the healer feat lacks is high punch big numbers at high levels from spells like heal, and the once per target per short rest is a bit restrictive, but it's a ton of extra healing regardless.

The 1st level vhuman with the healer feat in a party of 4 heals an average of 102 hp given 2 short rests. It's an average of 8.5 for each of the 4 characters 3 times. The hit dice for the classic fighter, cleric, rogue, and wizard has 15 hp of magical healing if the cleric uses both 1st level slots on cure wounds. The typical hit dice healing would be about 28 hp because there's only 1 hit die each at that level for 43 hp healing. The healer feat is the difference of 43 hp of healing versus 145 hp of healing. The kit is well worth the cost for a few kits for every party member to carry one. The onus moves to the DM to limit supply.

Using the same party at 2nd level and the healer feat increases to 114 hp. Another spell slot IF uses for healing moves up to 27.5 hp. Hit dice healing doubles up to 56 hp for 83.5 hp of average healing without the feat versus 197.5 hp healing with the feat. The healer feat still more than double healing at 2nd level.

Looking at 3rd level and the healer feat increases to 126 hp. The cleric can cast prayer of healing up to 2 times and cure wounds up to 4 times at this point and between the two spells is looking at 130 hp of healing. That's the benefit of of an efficient healing spell. It's not likely a cleric will use every spell for the most efficient healing, of course, and this is for argument's sake for the moment. It takes every spell the cleric has at 3rd level to even begin to compete with the healer feat. The feat is literally like adding the healing of a 3rd level cleric to the party. Hit dice healing also increases to 84 hp. The difference with feat vs without the feat becomes 340 hp of healing vs 214 hp of healing and still a huge jump.

At 4th level the number of hit dice exceeds the number of times the healer feat is used based on the 2 rest assumption. The healer feat is 138 hp, hit dice healing is 112 hp, and the cleric may bring in up to 194 hp using every spell on healing with the assumption of a WIS increase.

If a person looks at the healer feat at 4th level it looks really really good. It's massively better than any other healing available at those early levels. Each short rest worth of healing only looking at the healer feat is 11.5 hp per person per use while prayer of healing is 13 (or 12 if a feat is taken) hp per person but takes spell slots instead of cheap components. Based on those assumptions given the healer feat at 4th level still exceeds hit dice healing and a cleric needs to go out of his or her way to compete. In a campaign where more short rests become available or more individuals might be healed (like a wilderness or city based adventure) the amount of healing can increase drastically.

Hit dice healing in the above party doesn't match the healer feat until 6th level, and it takes 7th level to really start to pull ahead. The cleric using multiple party wide or higher slotted healing spells per short rest has an advantage at similar levels and the heal spell for a fast bigger number. By 12th level spells can outshine the healer feat. The feat is doing 19.5 average hit points of healing for 234 hp and hit dice have pulled well ahead for 336 hp of healing. By that point hitting a PC once each per short rest for ~20 each is still very good but not so over powered barring extra short rests or more potential targets.

Even up to 20th level the healer feat is worth 27.5 hp of healing per target with a short rest recharge. Song of rest is 6.5 hp per target. In the party of 4 PC's that adds up to 330 hp of healing. A paladin's lay on hands is 100 hp of healing. Mass cure wounds in a 5th level slot is 18.5 hp of healing for 74 hp of healing in that example. Prayer of healing in a 5th level slot is 27.5 hp per target but it takes 10 minutes instead of 4 actions.

The healer feat outshines class abilities and is easily comparable to healing spells. Change that to a party of 6 that takes 3 short rests and the feat heals 660 hp at 20th level for 2.4 healing kits worth of charges. At 27.5 hp per .5 gp cost when all it takes is each person to carry their own kit the feat is solid at any level. It's even hard to lose hp healing to over-heal based on static increases with only a d6 die

Since you won't be using Healer every round, grab some vials of acid or alchemist's fire (or even oil, if you're strapped for cash) to use with Fast Hands when you happen to have a spare bonus action.
Or caltrops or ball bearing or etc; or pick some pockets with sleight of hand. Fast hands is good because fast hands is good, but it competes with other cunning actions. The healer feat isn't good because of fast hands. It's good because it significantly more healing than spell slots and hit dice combined in the first couple levels of the game, and a lot of healing regardless after that.

I ❤ fast hands. ;-)
 

I didn't say 1st level spell necessarily.

Just compare the amount of party wide healing Healer grants to, say, the survivability that Toughness grants.

Both Healer and Inspiring Leader are way more potent than Toughness. Even just using Healer on yourself, you get more oomph than +2 Con. If feats are balanced against ability scores, and +2 Con is universally good for everyone, then Healer is overpowered.
Again, so is Heavy Armor Mastery.

+2 Con is +4 hp if you get it at 4th level, in addition to the +1 to saves, maxing out at +20 hp. Heavy Armor Master is 3 hp every time you are attacked, which is 6 hp after two attacks, and beats 21 hp by the seventh attack you take.

Yes, they should be balanced in theory, but it is fairly easy to beat those bars.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Well my level 6 Ranger Hunter uses SS, with 16 DEX a +1 bow and hunter he has got +9 to hit.

Still when no advantage or bless is going on I hesitate, and rightfully so, to use SS when the Mobs AC is 15+
And our DM does not communicate the mobs AC until we can guess it ourselves quite accurately.

Another reason for that, is that my ranger uses hunters mark and colossus slayer, so that adds +2d6 +1d8 for his two attacks if he hits with both (let us assume the mob is fresh). So if I miss with the first attack, I cannot apply colossus slayer even if the second one hits, because colossus requires the mob to be injured.
We are off topic but,

Rangers aren't particularly good at taking advantage of the -5/+10. It takes a bit more than the archery style to really make the -5/+10 feats shine. You need another fairly strong buff to accuracy. Also if you have alot of damage buffs then it becomes less effective. Rangers typically have no other accuracy buffs and alot of ways of buffing their attack damage. That actually makes them very poor candidates for the -5/+10 feats.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
There are a few circumstances that the Healer feat (especially as a bonus action) is really good.

1. Your DM runs very lengthy adventuring days without many options for resting
2. The DM likes to provide major setbacks/obstacles when you rest without completing a missions.

Outside of those 2 scenarios one main benefit Is that it allows your casters to save spell slots: Using a healer's kit to whack-a-mole heal someone back up saves resources your casters can turn toward offense. This becomes less important over time, as level 1 spell slots tend to become less effective as casters gain levels (a few notable exceptions exist though). Also, using it for out of combat healing in leiu of spellslots also alows casters to provide more offensive punch in encounters.

I think for the typical game the feat may not actually have that much impact on outcomes as the situations it will really help the most just don't come up that often. However, that can be said about most abilities. I think even at level 4+ the party will feel like the ability is very impactful even if it never actually saves their lives.

One thing I try to consider these days is: The party has X offensive capability, X healing capability, X Control Ability, etc. Typically, even a high focus on offensive optimization by a single character won't change the parties offensive capabilities that much. However, given that usually only 1-2 characters have any healing capability and even then it's fairly low - any buff to healing capability greatly increases the parties healing capabilities. Thus, I would lean toward enhancing the aspects of the party that you can relatively enhance the most as typically being more impactful.
 
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Ashrym

Hero
We are off topic but,

Rangers aren't particularly good at taking advantage of the -5/+10. It takes a bit more than the archery style to really make the -5/+10 feats shine. You need another fairly strong buff to accuracy. Also if you have alot of damage buffs then it becomes less effective. Rangers typically have no other accuracy buffs and alot of ways of buffing their attack damage. That actually makes them very poor candidates for the -5/+10 feats.
Ensnaring strike grants advantage on attacks because of the restrained condition and adds ongoing spell damage as well. It's hard to build for that DC any time soon and DEX for archery at the same time, it takes concentration, and usually another class is better suited to spells like that but it is an option for a niche build (or lucky ability score rolling).

A ranger looking to create his own accuracy bonus can look at that spell once he or she has a decent save DC. Usually it's just easier to let someone else in the party grant bonuses.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Ensnaring strike grants advantage on attacks because of the restrained condition and adds ongoing spell damage as well. It's hard to build for that DC any time soon and DEX for archery at the same time, it takes concentration, and usually another class is better suited to spells like that but it is an option for a niche build (or lucky ability score rolling).

A ranger looking to create his own accuracy bonus can look at that spell once he or she has a decent save DC. Usually it's just easier to let someone else in the party grant bonuses.
That spell has a lot of downsides. It's definitely not something I'd point to as drastically improving the ranger's output with the -5/+10 abilities.

Less effective against large creatures.
Must hit and enemy fail save before becoming active.
Competition with other spells like hunter's mark
Competition with bonus action attacks from weapon feats.

I'd love to see some numbers on it though. Maybe I'll run some in a bit.
 

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