# How can my party be effective without a dedicated healer?

Here is my current group makeup:

 Cleric  - Pacifist Healer
Warlord - Focuses on movement and tactical positioning
Wizard  - Mostly area damage and locking groups down
Warlock - single target striker
Paladin - High defenses, focuses on marking and debuffing
Ranger  - Two weapon fighter
Fighter - Two handed battlerager


(Yes I know we have a big group. Don't worry, our DM scales up the encounters accordingly)

We've leveled with this party from 1-12. I play the cleric. I built him as a dedicated pacifist healer with a concentration on buffing, debuffing, and obviously healing. I now realize that the pacifist healer is not the best idea, and my round-to-round actions are pretty rote. Rarely do I do anything fun or interesting. I've also coddled my party to the point where we haven't used a second wind in months. Our paladin is a pretty good tank, but the fighter has chosen feats and powers leaning toward a striker because he could take all the damage he wanted and count on me to heal him back up.

Rather than retrain and go through the long process of converting this character into a non-pacifist, I've elected to bring in a new character. I want to try something new, so it will be a Psion temporarily (RP reasons) then I am bringing in a Rogue permanently.

My question is threefold:

1. Will our party have enough healing (paladin and warlord) to get by?
2. What strategies (tactical or otherwise) are there to reduce the amount of healing needed?
3. How do I teach my party members to not be so reckless and dependent on healing?
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can you add a little bit more info about how the party members are built? A paladin built for damage is different than one built for healing, for example. Doesn't have to be elaborate, but just a little more specific so we can give more specific advice. – Quinn Murphy Mar 9 '11 at 18:18
@dpatch I think it can be done, but it will mean a play style change for everyone. – C. Ross Mar 9 '11 at 18:21
@Quinn Murphy edited the OP to include that information. – dpatchery Mar 9 '11 at 18:22
Not directly related to the question, but another option is to keep the Pacifist, but change how you play it. I have one of those clerics, and I find you can manipulate the battle simply by being assertive. Your healing is burst 5, so everyone had best keep within five squares, for instance. It puts you in a bit more of a C&C role, which may be up your alley. (Sadly, you still won't be the boomstick.) – Allen Gould Mar 10 '11 at 21:42

Will our party have enough healing (paladin and warlord) to get by?

Since the warlord is a primary leader who can heal right from the start and the paladin could add some reasonable healing by himself, I'd say your party is ready to go. If you realize that healing is running thin in combat, perhaps your party should consider some of the leader multi-class feats for additional minor-action healing surges or magic items that add to healing surge value or allow [additional] healing by themselves.

Some suggestions for magic items:

• [09] Amulet of False Life[DDI] (daily item power, minor action, gain temp hitpoints equal to healing surge value when bloodied)
• [09] Amulet of Vigor[DDI] (daily item power, free action, if you spend a healing surge regain additional hit points equal to healing surge value)
• [10] Amulet of Life[DDI] (encounter item power, free action, when spending a healing surge spend additional healing surge)
• [10] Diamond Cincture[DDI] (at-will item power, minor action, use diamond and spend healing surge, all diamonds recharges after extended rest)

If this doesn't help much, perhaps a little retraining on the warlord's and paladin's part could help (foregoing powers with more damage in favor of powers that allow extra healing).

What strategies (tactical or otherwise) are there to reduce the amount of healing needed?

Damage mitigation and enemy lock-down are king in a group with stretched or limited healing. Anything that allows you to prevent the enemy from retaliating at all or greatly reduces his effectiveness is wonderful, especially certain combos of status effects - e.g. "prone + dazed" or "slowed + blinded" since both eat up an enemy's actions and reduce his ability to hurt the party.

Powers that provide resistances or regeneration are a great help, too, since they reduce the necessity of actual healing. Temporary hitpoints are equally handy. For example, a single lowly Protective Roots[DDI] can prevent several hundred points of damage on the whole party in a single combat.

Combat tactics in such a situation often include lots of damaging/controlling zones and forced movement, (ab)using the ability to damage/control enemies multiple times with a single effect.

How do I teach my party members to not be so reckless and dependent on healing?

If the players won't listen to your out-game words they hopefully have learned when rolling up new characters. I'm dead serious about this. If a player doesn't change his tactics and soaks up all the group's healing abilities by trying to please his ego he should learn the hard way that the party's (cleric | warlord | bard | leader-of-choice) is not his personal nurse.

It's all about fair play. Nobody wants to play the darn heal-bot for the guy doing all the fun stuff in battle, so it should be a matter of politeness for all players to act accordingly so that all players can do interesting things in combat and not just waste actions/magic items/powers known to keep the self-centric melee-guy alive.

A fighter or barbarian or ranger ignoring the party's healing limits is being egoistic in multiple ways: not only does he soak up all of the party's healing resources and thus prevents other players from doing cool things, but he also increases the risk of a TPK by orders of magnitude.

If the characters don't listen then there's a simple way of teaching them: letting them hit negative hitpoints a few times (of course without actually dying) may get the point across that there isn't much healing around currently. Especially if the character has never before really been injured (or there was always a healer around to patch him up right after) it may be a shock to discover that there was now some actual risk of death.

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I wasn't referring to the player attitude so much as the character attitudes. My party likes our PC's to have a personality, and our fighter has a very reckless one. I really don't think that is going to be a big issue, I just threw the question our there. And it's funny you mention that, my cleric actually WAS our fighter's personal healer! (our backgrounds intersect and we worshiped the same deity) – dpatchery Mar 9 '11 at 20:59
@dpatch: Sorry if I sounded a little harsh there, no hard feelings intended. :) I was just speaking generally that it's a bad idea to focus all healing (voluntarily or involuntarily) on one character since then there's nothing left for others in an emergency. Also, I think that hitting negative hitpoints (but not dying) once or twice should give the fighter enough of a hint to be more careful since his "personal nurse" ( :P ) is no longer around. Especially since that has never happened before. – user660 Mar 9 '11 at 21:06

The party I GM for (5 characters) started with one Defender (Battlerager Fighter), two Strikers (Vestige Pact Warlock and Two Weapon Ranger) and two Leaders (Bard and Battle Priest Cleric), and then replaced the Bard with a 3rd Striker (a Sorcerer) without being significantly hurt on the healing front.

What I noticed was that it became possible to do enough damage to hurt the party, and combats became significantly swifter, as player HP dropped faster (less healing) and monster HP dropped faster (more striking)

I would expect that since you have a larger party, the healing resources of the Warlord will be stretched a little bit, but the Paladin will help there and so you should be fine.

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My current group is composed of a Warlord, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Mage and Hybrid Assassin/Avenger. We deal a ton of damage. We also take a good bit of damage, although dealing so much damage makes most of our encounters quite short. However, your group has another tank/leader in the paladin, you should be fine as far as healing goes.

Your warlord has a healing power similar to the cleric's and should have a daily or two that can heal. Your paladin should also be able to shoulder at least some of the healing load. You should be just fine. Plus adding another striker (particularly a rogue, sneak attack is sweet if you are good about gaining CA) will make combats shorter as you will up your damage output so the party will take less damage overall.

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you could always suggest the wizard specialises if he can, there are some interesting healing spells if you take a prestige class from the DD3.5 books.

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This is a 4e game, so I'm guessing the 3.5 books won't work. – Jeff Mar 10 '11 at 22:50
the books are guides, i am sure that there are people who have taken the prestige classes and converted to 4e (I personally dislike how its more like a skirmish game now rather than a RPG) – Theresa Forster Mar 14 '11 at 17:26