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PF Options for party with no cleric

d12

Villager
My group has an NPC cleric but they want to ditch him because he hogs a turn. I am sympathetic to this. What are their options for getting by with no cleric? There's plenty of undead in the campaign. There are also two rogues in the party. Don't assume we've thought of any solution. I have already introduced a modified healing surge rule but I want to hear from the hivemind on any other rule changes, magic items, skills, feats, etc... that might work here. Thanks in advance.
 
Why is the cleric NPC hogging a turn? If they're a henchman, quite frankly they should just sit back and "waste" a turn unless someone needs to be healed. There's no need for a henchman to steal any part of the limelight.

Most healing is probably done with a Wand of Cure Light Wounds, but you still want a cleric for emergency healing. (A charge of CLW in combat isn't worth the turn spent on it.)
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Is there anyone in the party beside the NPCleric with the ability to Turn Undead? If so, importing the 3.5Ed feat Sacred Healing from CompDiv* might help. That feat allows the PC to burn a TU attempt to heal everyone- yes, everyone- in a 60' radius by giving them the equivalent of Fast Healing for a few rounds. It doesn't sound like much, but in a party of 6, that's like casting 6 CLWs in a round...that also stops bleeding/wounding injuries.

In the last 3.5Ed game i played, I kept a 10+ level party going with that feat- the PC that had it was powerful enough that each time he did it, it healed 15HP. Burn 3 TUs, and that's 45HP of healing for everyone in the radius. That's 270HP of healing in a party of 6. And when the party found and freed a bunch of slaves, that let them walk out on their own 2 feet.

Can't use it in combat, though...but you can use it before & after.










* there is another feat by the identical name; WotC claims it was a mistake, not a revision of the original feat.
 

BlackSeed_Vash

Explorer
If you ignore 3.x classes converted into Pathfinder and only look at core and APG; you have 7 classes that can cast healing spells (Bard, Cleric, Druid, Inquisitor, Paladin, Oracle & Witch), 5 classes can use Use Magic Device to cast such spells from wands and scrolls (Rogue, Sorcerer, Alchemist, Magus & Summoner). That just leaves 7 who have to rely upon potions, magic items and other for healing.

My group regularly plays without a dedicated healer and our DM loves undead. We have all learned how to play carefully and equip ourselves with wands/scrolls/potions to compensate for this. Generally those of us who can cast cure spells will take 1 or 2 for emergencies/after combat, but that's it.

Since your the DM I would suggest taking the NPC out just before a fight (kidnapping, death, etc) and let them combat whatever you fancy that's a little less than their usual CR. See how they deal without their heals. From there you can dial the CR up or down to create the type of gameplay that you both can enjoy. One way to help alleviate the stress of no true healer is to provide potions and wands in place of part of the loot. You can either fudge the loot to add a 2-3 charge cure light wand or straight up convert gold into potion of "x".
Last but not least, talk to your players. Discuss your concerns about their mortality rate should they lose the NPC. After that, if you find yourself with a TPK on your hands, just remember it was their choice (and possibly some very bad/good rolls) that lead up to said event.
Best of Luck

Edit: Healing Belt (MIC 110) for 750gp. 3 charges(c) per day; 1c = 2d8, 2c = 3d8, 3c =4d8 | channel positive energy to heal/dmg touched target.
 
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Crothian

Villager
It really depends on what the other PCs are. I've ran three campaigns with no clerics but had Paladin, Druid, or Inquisitor. The easiest thing to do is plenty of healing magic. The group might also need to change tactics and use the rogue to sneak around to do battle on the group's terms and take less damage.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
My group has an NPC cleric but they want to ditch him because he hogs a turn. I am sympathetic to this. What are their options for getting by with no cleric? There's plenty of undead in the campaign. There are also two rogues in the party. Don't assume we've thought of any solution. I have already introduced a modified healing surge rule but I want to hear from the hivemind on any other rule changes, magic items, skills, feats, etc... that might work here. Thanks in advance.
An NPC ally shouldn't take any more time in the fight than another enemy. Are your PCs actually complaining about splitting XP with that NPC? ;)

Heroes who don't have magical healing to back them up should either expect to lose more fights, or fight easier fights. Remember that an easier day of fighting can mean fighting either weaker or fewer enemies.

If you've already suggested healing potions, healing surges, and wands of CLW, you have two options left:

1 - Healing environments, like a pool of rejuvenation or edible dryad moss.
2 - Faeries with CLW as a supernatural power. If you catch one, they offer a CLW in exchange for release.
 

Kinak

Villager
Very similar to healing surges, the reserve pool from Iron Heroes works pretty well (basically you have a second pool of HP that you can pull from between combats to heal yourself).

Storywise, I've had friendly casters provide the party with goodberries or potions. That wasn't really to balance not having a cleric, it was more to remind them the town loved them.

There's also the old "you're healed to full after a rest" which... some people really, really hate, but is in effect what having a cleric in the party does.

You could give people divine favor. Think a free action single-use heal or removing a status effect, activated by a prayer. You get them by keeping the gods happy and you don't need to drag along a cleric. Heck, you could even give them to the group, with anyone able to trigger them on any target.

I actually kind of like the divine favor one but, at the end of the day, I'd suggest you just set them loose and see what they do. You may need to adjust challenges up or down, but you'll never know what your players are capable of unless you jump in.

So, my honest suggestion would be to say "you don't want healing, okay," off the NPC cleric, and jump in. It can actually work pretty well, just creates a different sort of campaign.

Cheers!
Kinak
 

brvheart

Villager
Lol, I have one party that might have to go without one soon. The player that is playing the cleric is totally incapable of playing a caster class. It is not that he is new, he just doesn't want to or won't spent the time needed to learn it. After playing the class for almost 8 months on Saturday I finally told him that's it, no more caster classes for you. He is trying to play a paladin in another game that I am actually a player in and managed to get himself needing a quest for atonement for making a deal with the temple of Vecna of all places. We warned him! Well, the party has a bard and an inquisitor so they at least have some healing.
 

MichaelSomething

Adventurer
You can play without a Cleric. Being 3.5, you can optimize your way out of any problem.

As a DM, you can simply alter the campaign to not require a cleric. Less battles per day, cheaper healing potions, etc.
 

Starfox

Villager
Lol, I have one party that might have to go without one soon. The player that is playing the cleric is totally incapable of playing a caster class. It is not that he is new, he just doesn't want to or won't spent the time needed to learn it.
Try to let him play an oracle? Lots fewer spells to learn that way. You could even offer him a "short list" of spells as he levels up, so he doesn't have to read so many spells.
 

pming

Explorer
Hiya.

My Curmudgeon-Grognarditis must be flaring up again...but...I honestly don't really understand the problem. I'm seeing "No cleric. Two rogues. Lots of undead being encountered". Ooooo-kaaay.... I'm still not understanding. To me, this is the same as someone saying "No rogue. Two clerics. Lots of locked doors and chests being found".

Are you saying you want to keep playing the exact same way and don't want any of the drawbacks for not having a cleric in the group? (that's the closest I could come up with). If so, my suggestion is...to alter your tactics and style of play. If you don't have someone to turn undead...try and avoid undead (or accept that it will always be dangerous). If you don't have someone to cure disease, neutralize poison, heal you up, etc...then try to avoid getting into situations that would give you those.

I'm honestly not trying to sound "flippant", but, really, if you didn't have any warrior types you'd try and avoid more fights, correct? Without having a cleric, it's the same thing...but different liability. Learn to work around it as a party. Develop and nurture friendships with NPC clerics, paladins, or other patrons that can help you if you end up in certain situations.

Anyway, how I see it, is that the players feel entitled to "not dying because of no healing/curing/turning", and that just because they have means to actually *do* those things, it shouldn't count against them...the GM should just "make it all better". I definitely don't cotton to this idea. In my campaigns, the world rolls on more or less independant of what the PC's do the vast majority of the time. If the PC's start to actually -DO- something big (re: found a new kingdom, destroy an evil goddess, bring down the Tyrant-Emporer-Dragon of the Empire of Deathbloodkill, etc.), then the world reacts appropriately. Just exploring ruins and killing a lich that hasn't been bothering anyone for the last 164 years...not so much reaction.

^_^
 

Herobizkit

Adventurer
I'd just like to chime in my vote for either:

a) get the players to make a character that can heal (via class or UMD); or
b) have the players live on the edge and take their licks.

Now, on the DM side:
Unless you're only using low-level undead (skeletons and zombies), you're potentially setting players up to fail by inflicting statuses to which they have no remedy. Multi-turn paralysis, temporary strength drain, and debilitating curses are just some of the ways you can semi- to permanently cripple characters who choose to face off unprepared against undead.

Regarding your NPC cleric, the easiest solution is to have said NPC set up a church/temple/shrine to his patron deity and start acting like an NPC cleric. Offer some blessings and (perhaps) light cures free of charge, but start getting characters to pay for the higher-level stuff. You could even RP it as "you kicked me out of the PC 'club', I don't have to like you guys any more".

If players protest, well... you can either choose to keep throwing them to the undead and hope they still want to play, or vary your encounters by throwing in the occasional undead (or undeads?) to increase tension.
 

Starfox

Villager
If you want an "absentee healer" along the lines herobizkit suggest, my vote is for an alchemist npc. An alchemist can make infusions usable by anyone (a discovery) and produce almost unlimited pseudo-potions.
 
I don't know what rules you are using, but one thing to keep in mind is that the main advantage to the DM of a party with strong healing magic is you can increase the tempo of play because one combat doesn't leave 1 or more party members too wounded to risk further adventures. Without healing magic, you can adventure just fine, it just means that encounters must generally either be less dangerous or spread further out in space and time.

You can generally replace a cleric completely with any two other classes that also have access to healing magic - Paladins, Druids, Shamans, etc. There are a ton of these in 3.X - more than the system needs really. I personally like the Green Ronin Shaman and the Green Ronin Holy Warrior classes better than Druids/Paladins respectively in terms of game balance, though - as with everything - I've modified them to suit my taste and YMMV depending on the power level assumed by your campaign. Mine tends to be on the low side, and balances things accordingly.

At sufficiently high level, a Wizard/Sorcerer can do healing by being creative in what they summon.

Stock 3.X is also pretty darn broken in that it allows Wands of Cure Light Wounds, easily usable by any divine caster with Cure Light Wounds on its spell list (practically all of them) or by any class with sufficient UMT. A few wands more than adequately replace almost all of your between encounter healing needs... arguably too well. I don't allow divine wands in my game simply because wands of 'Cure' spells are simply too cost efficient - they do just about everything a Ring of Regeneration does (and extremely powerful item) for a fraction of the cost, however most groups seem happy with them. There are probably even more broken items in 3.5, but I tended to ignore 3.5 for the most part.

And that might be a good time to mention that it's quite easy in Stock 3.X to create characters that are so powerful they don't need healers, because they pretty much can't be hurt or are so rarely hurt that natural healing does the job. So, simply ramping up your optimization may render the problem pointless, though really, breaking your game in order to get rid of an NPC is probably a bad trade.

If you want a low magic game but still want access to healing, you might consider altering the Heal skill to allow actual healing. One of the things Heal does in my game is 'First Aid', which lets you spend 10 minutes binding up wounds, doing a bit of stitching, applying salves, etc. and heals 1d4-1 hit points. The only restriction is a person can't receive First Aid unless he has been injured since the last time he received First Aid, and First Aid cannot heal more damage than a person has received since the last time he received First Aid. There are also Feats like 'Master Physician' and 'Combat Medic' that improve on First Aid in minor ways (as well as other improvements to the Heal Skill). If your interested in a game with few or no spell-casters, this would be the way to go.
 

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