My friends and I have just started playing 5e (we were playing 3.5). We have 5 players (including myself) and we have no healer whatsoever. I've done a bit of reading and most people say you can play without a healer, the DM just needs to adjust the game. He has made it clear he will not change anything based on the classes we've selected.

We ran into a situation today (our 3rd day in 5e) where we almost all died. 3 players were downed and 1 up. No one on the team can get people up so we all had to roll save ourselves. We managed to but all agreed we need a healer. Everyone is basically saying it should be me but I have 0 interest in playing a healer whatsoever. I currently play Wood Elf ranger with a 100% focus on longbow. I've never even considered using my secondary.

The question: is there a class setup where You can be a good damage player and still a good healer? I've looked at Paladin a bit but from what I can tell you can't be really good at damage with decent AC and still good at healing. Is there a class that can? Note I absolutely do not want to use spells for combat, melee weapons or far range.


closed as unclear what you're asking by SirTechSpec, Miniman, Thomas Jacobs, Oblivious Sage, Erik Jun 10 '17 at 14:22

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jun 10 '17 at 18:25

“Healing” is needed; “a healer” is not

Some characters in D&D 5 are squarely “healers” (e.g., Life domain clerics) while others are characters who can heal. After you progress a little in your game, your ranger could be one of the second type.

The situation you describe where the party is nearly wiped out on one of their first outings is not so unusual for low-level D&D 5e. A few lucky/unlucky rolls can swing things in favor of the enemy, and your party might not have many resources to recover from the bad luck.

But you don’t have to rely on lucky death saves, even without a healer.

Be an archer…who can heal

Since you wish to focus on longbow instead of using spells in combat, that frees up your character to use the spells for healing. This can be a good combination — since you are not charging into melee, your ranger should have more opportunity to move around the battlefield and heal allies as needed.

Cure Wounds and Goodberry

At second level, your ranger will have access to 2 good healing spells, Cure Wounds and Goodberry. Cure Wounds is definitely the spell for keeping someone in a fight a little longer, but don’t overlook Goodberry — it gives you the ability to revive dying characters (ones with zero HP) ten times. Plus, if the healer spell caster gets downed after casting the spell, someone else can administer a remaining Goodberry to them.

Buy Healer's Kits

It’s easily overlooked how useful Healer's Kits are — they let you automatically succeed at stabilizing a creature, even if you don’t have the Medicine skill, and they cost only 5 GP — that’s 5 SP per use. (See PH p. 151)

The Medicine Skill

It would be handy if someone in your party, ideally someone with a good Wisdom score, had the Medicine skill (even though Healer’s kits are a good substitute, when they are available). You might be off the hook for this one, as it’s not a Ranger class skill.

Since you are just starting out with D&D 5e, the players might ask the DM if they can switch out an existing skill to be proficient with Medicine.

Healing options as you progress

Once you progress a couple levels, the 50 GP price tag on healing potions will be less of an impediment for emergency healing.

The Healer feat is also a great option for a character of any class.

If nobody has the Medicine skill, the Skilled feat can make that available during level progression. Nature and/or Survival might also be useful for this if your DM is on board (see Ranger Powers below).

Ranger powers

You might talk to your DM about leveraging your Survival and/or Nature skills, and maybe your favored terrain, to find herbs and natural materials to craft Healer’s kits, potions of healing, or even custom healing items.

The rules for downtime activities (in the DMG) are open-ended, so be ready to persuade a reluctant DM. You can mention that rangers in LOTR knew about the healing powers of herbs and plants. Don’t be adversarial, you are trying to find a way to have a workable party while everyone can still play a character they enjoy.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It might also be worth pointing out that Rangers have immediate access to Cure Wounds and Goodberry, both good sources of healing, as well as Lesser Restoration and Protection from Poison not too much later. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Jun 10 '17 at 16:26

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