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Context

The party in my game consists of two ‘ranged damage dealers’ and two ‘tanky damage dealers’ (resp. revised ranger and warlock + paladin and fighter), but it doesn’t have a healer. I don’t want the paladin and ranger to feel ‘forced’ to pick healing spells, especially since that’s not the type of character they want to play. The party is currently level 6, and until now they weren’t on the brink of dying too often.. ;) However, as enemies are getting smarter the damage dealers in the back will get focused on more frequently, as being the biggest threat. And I notice I’m holding back as DM quite a lot in this regard. I’m also looking for ways that players can recover from big sudden AOE explosions, during battle, which occurs more often from this tier of play.

Examples

On YouTube I see some DMs let a party pick a support NPC to tag along. This can offer interesting options for plot development, but this also feels a bit too ‘heal-botty’. So this isn’t a solution that is satisfying because it takes away quite some of the strategic decision making at the table. And we all prefer challenging encounters.

In their loot I’m including more potions than I would have otherwise, as well as Spell Scrolls with healing spells. The reason why the potions are not completely satisfactory to me as a DM, is that:

  1. I have the hunch that the party suffers from a dependency on Healing Potions in how this effects their 'action economy', and
  2. I'm curious to alternatives for more versatility in combat.

What do the books offer for how player characters can regain Hit Points during battle, without using class features or spells?

Do the books offer other options, without relying on dedicated support characters? I do realise that support goes beyond healing, but options for healing is the focus of this question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You mention you are already giving them more healing potions than usual. Can you elaborate on why/how is that not enough, or why that solution is not satisfying you atm? \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint May 19 '18 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint Good point, will add that in later. It had to do with action economy, but I realize now that I could rule that using a potion takes a bonus action too. \$\endgroup\$ – Vadruk May 19 '18 at 22:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint I added in the requested clarification \$\endgroup\$ – Vadruk May 21 '18 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm failing to see why you need to compensate for the PCs' lack of "strategic decision making" in their party's utility. It seems like you're trying to pull in two opposite directions at the same time. \$\endgroup\$ – EROgames May 22 '18 at 23:30
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I found an optional rule in the DMG (p. 266-267), called Healing Surges:

This optional rule allows characters to heal up in the thick of combat and works well for parties that feature few or no characters with healing magic, or for campaigns in which magical healing is rare.

As an action, a character can use a healing surge and spend up to half his or her Hit Dice. For each Hit Die spent in this way, the player rolls the die and adds the character's Constitution modifier. The character regains hit points equal to the total. The player can decide to spend an additional Hit Die after each roll.

A character who uses a healing surge can't do so again until he or she finishes a short or long rest.

Under this optional rule, a character regains all spent Hit Dice at the end of a long rest. With a short rest, a character regains Hit Dice equal to his or her level divided by four (minimum of one die).

For a more superheroic feel, you can let a character use a healing surge as a bonus action, rather than as an action.

An additional suggestion: Ask the players to think of how their character uses the healing surge, how it looks/sounds so that 'the sudden burst of regained vitality' also makes sense from a narrative perspective.


Related: Can level 1 characters use Healing Surges since they only have 1 Hit Die?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I am trying to see how the Healer Feat doesn't fit in, or do you deem that to be a "between battle" feat? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 19 '18 at 17:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I think it doesn't fit because that's a player's option. He wants to compensate that as a DM. Giving free healer feat to someone could do it, but that would be awkward and certainly not an official (optional/variant) ruling \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint May 19 '18 at 17:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not in the least RAW but give everyone the healer feat (celestial mission reward for saving a "something"). \$\endgroup\$ – Duncan May 20 '18 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you @Duncan. However I think, with some explanation, your suggestion should be another separate answer. Even when it's not by RAW, it certainly seems like an interesting option to consider. \$\endgroup\$ – Vadruk May 21 '18 at 14:44

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