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A healer's kit has 10 uses, weighs 3 lb. and costs 5 gp; therefore, each use weighs 0.3 lb. and costs 5 sp. Normally, it allows a player to do the following:

As an action, you can expend one use of the kit to stabilize a creature that has 0 hit points, without needing to make a Wisdom (Medicine) check.

The Healer feat grants the following benefits (PHB, p. 167):

  • When you use a healer’s kit to stabilize a dying creature, that creature also regains 1 hit point.
  • As an action, you can spend one use of a healer’s kit to tend to a creature and restore 1d6 + 4 hit points to it, plus additional hit points equal to the creature’s maximum number of Hit Dice. The creature can’t regain hit points from this feat again until it finishes a short or long rest.

As such, this gives the party what is essentially a potion of healing that costs 100 times less than the normal potion of healing. Even with the fact that it can only be used once per rest, this seems rather overpowered.

Is the Healer feat overpowered? Or have I misunderstood the feat?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 24 at 20:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ You have not factored the opportunity cost of using up a feat for this into your calculation of potion vs healing with a kit as a Healer. \$\endgroup\$ – TylerH Apr 26 at 14:26
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No, it's not overpowered

Healing in the game isn't expensive. In fact, most of the time, it's entirely free - a long rest will completely restore all your lost hit points, a short rest will usually restore quite a few, and any cleric or druid can cast several healing spells a day for no gold pieces whatsoever. You've got the cost analysis backwards - it's not that healer's kits are incredibly cheap, it's that potions of healing are incredibly expensive!

Healing potions provide a reliable means of healing some hit points without requiring any investment of character resources besides money. Anyone can use a healing potion - or feed a healing potion to someone else - without needing to spend a feat to be able to do it, or be a spellcaster that can cast and has prepared the appropriate spells, or have taken the class levels to get some other class feature that provides healing, or have attuned to a magical item that grants them the ability to do it. The tradeoff is that they are relatively expensive, so they're usually a backup option for when other, more renewable sources of healing aren't available or can't get there in time.

A character with the Healer feat has invested a significant resource - you don't get very many ASIs to spend - to be able to provide a quite limited amount of daily healing to their party. It's fine that it doesn't cost very much to take advantage of that ability, given that most character options that allow plentiful healing don't cost anything at all.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I always thought that, for high-level PCs, healing potions are incredibly cheap. By default, there's nothing else useful to buy with a dragon's hoard. Buy a hundred, just in case you need them! But from this perspective, the money saved by using healer kits instead is trivial... \$\endgroup\$ – user56480 Apr 25 at 6:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user56480 at higher levels you may need to enlist an army or build a keep. Or pay lower level adventurers to go on a quest that's now way below your pay grade. Gold continues to be useful, in a different ways. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Apr 25 at 9:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot That sounds like more of an earlier-editions thing. \$\endgroup\$ – Egor Hans Apr 26 at 13:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EgorHamans 5e was advertised as "back to the roots", so that's about right. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Apr 26 at 13:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EgorHans it was definitely emphasised more in earlier editions, but building a stronghold is one of the standard downtime activities available in the DMG, with prices ranging from 5,000 to 500,000gp depending on how ambitious the characters are. It certainly isn't unusual for any given group of players to ignore that kind of thing entirely and treat their stupendous wealth as a buffer just for buying magical items or spell components, but it's not as if the game doesn't allow for them spending the money on anything else. This is a bit chatty, anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Apr 26 at 14:00
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It depends on the party's level.

When the party is at low levels, this is a huge amount of healing that rivals a Life Cleric's Cure spells. By 5th level, the amount of healing is still good, but much less impactful, and by 10th level, a 15 to 20 HP heal is pretty much removing one normal hit from an on-level enemy.

Is it overpowered? It may be, in that it could easily overshadow a character who has chosen healing as their specific role in the party, at first. But on the other hand, a devoted cleric is going to rapidly outpace the amount of healing the Healer feat can produce.

I suspect the Healer feat was added as a way to let a party get along without a cleric/druid/bard in the healer role†, especially in the early levels where characters are much more fragile and have few resources. Later on, it's more likely something you'd use in an emergency if a character drops, and otherwise just use it right before a short rest to help save the party a few hit dice.

That said, it's worth noting that to have the feat at 1st level where it's most valuable, you have to be playing a variant human, and grabbing it at 4th level means you're already moving into the realm where it's becoming less relevant.

Healer is definitely better than potions, but potions are kind of the worst way to get healing in the entire game, so I wouldn't use them as a basis of comparison. At any given level, potions that restore a meaningful amount of HP are enormously expensive, and weaker ones that you've out-leveled aren't worth the action cost of drinking them. (As my friend once put it, "I can spend an entire action to get back half as many HP as one hit from the bad guys? I'd rather just attack and try to end the fight faster.") In my games, potions of healing are quickly relegated to the aforementioned emergency situations or used in bulk outside of combat, as in "The fight's over but I have 2 HP left, I'm just going to chug like four potions of healing now."

† In 4th Edition's MMORPG-inspired design, it was functionally a requirement to have a dedicated healer in the party. The classes were built so that healers could generally do "healing and..." every round, but part of 5e's push back towards the 3rd and 2nd Edition feel was to make party composition much less of a barrier to entry -- you shouldn't have to have a specific healer class around in order to have a usable party.

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Yes, it's a powerful feat... but is it overpowered?

I don't know, to be honest. But let's compare it to other feats.

For example, the description of the Chef feat states (TCoE, p. 79):

  • As part of a short rest, you can cook special food, provided you have ingredients and cook's utensils on hand. You can prepare enough of this food for a number of creatures equal to 4 + your proficiency bonus. At the end of the short rest, any creature who eats the food and spends one or more Hit Dice to regain hit points regains an extra 1d8 hit points.
  • With one hour of work or when you finish a long rest, you can cook a number of treats equal to your proficiency bonus. These special treats last 8 hours after being made. A creature can use a bonus action to eat one of those treats to gain temporary hit points equal to your proficiency bonus.

That's basically a small potion of healing, and you can use it once per short rest... and once per day, you can give temporary HP... and that's all for free.

Or the description of the Magic Initiate feat (PHB, p. 168):

Choose a class: bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard. You learn two cantrips of your choice from that class's spell list.

In addition, choose one 1st-level spell from that same list. You learn that spell and can cast it at its lowest level. Once you cast it, you must finish a long rest before you can cast it again using this feat.

Your spellcasting ability for these spells depends on the class you chose: Charisma for bard, sorcerer, or warlock; Wisdom for cleric or druid; or Intelligence for wizard.

Choose the cleric list for the feat; spare the dying and cure wounds and do basically the same without a healer's kit.

In General

There are good feats, there are not-so-good feats, and there are feats that are so situational that you don't ever use them.

So, is Healer OP? I'd tend to say no - but it is one of the better feats.

A thing from the comments

Darth Pseudonym commented:

I'm not sure one cure wounds per day comes anywhere close to basically giving everyone a free hit die of healing per short rest.

Well, yes, an additional HitDie for everyone pretty much sounds like a Mass Cure Wounds, but it isn't the same. Take the following situation as an example:

You go into combat full life with 50HP. You get knocked down to 2HP and have to fall back. Now only a Cure Wounds, False Life or a spell with similar effects can save your day, because any additional hit can push you into dying state. Additional HitDice during short rest doesn't do anything for you in that situation, because there are only 50HP + potential temporary HP available for you. Every in-combat healing you receive pushes that number up... but additional HitDice during short rest don't. Hence in-combat healing is much more valuable than off-combat healing. Use it wisely and accordingly to the particular situation you're in. Is it a question of life and death and you don't have time for off-combat healing? Use a spell. You have the time for a quick in-between-combat-chowder? Eat the chowder. ;)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure one cure wounds per day comes anywhere close to basically giving everyone a free hit die of healing per short rest. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Apr 24 at 20:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll second Darth Pseudonym's comment. But I had never looked at those two feats that way. This is acctually very interesting. And makes me think that the Spellcasting feature is actually the overpowered thing in the game. Enjoy my +1 for the refreshing take. \$\endgroup\$ – 3C273 Apr 25 at 2:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ For making an extra character capable of in-combat popping someone back up from unconscious (other than by pouring a healing down their throat), great point that Magic Initiate is comparable with Healer, with different tradeoffs. Healing Word is a better choice for that, since it's only a bonus action and works at range. So Magic Initiate (Healing Word) is much better for in-combat healing, while Healer does some of that and some of what Chef (or Bard Song of Rest) does (extra short-rest healing, where potions are too expensive). @DarthPseudonym. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Apr 25 at 5:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Depending on the DM's style and party composition (how many encounters per day / how stretched you are for short-rest healing beyond hit dice), it seems to me the key feature of Healer is the in-combat revival. Temp HP from Chef is super nice, but helps in a different way and can't stack with stuff like Inspiring Leader. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Apr 25 at 5:13

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