Reading Pathfider's heal skill it states you can use it with a healer's kit to restore hitpoints ("Treat Deadly Wounds") as follows (Pathfinder SRD):

You must expend two uses from a healer's kit to perform this task. You take a –2 penalty on your check for each use from a healer's kit that you lack.

When treating deadly wounds, you can restore hit points to a damaged creature. Treating deadly wounds restores 1 hit point per level of the creature. If you exceed the DC by 5 or more, add your Wisdom modifier (if positive) to this amount. A creature can only benefit from its deadly wounds being treated within 24 hours of being injured and never more than once per day.

The healer's kit itself gives +2 to the heal skill. Now - presume a character has a healer's kit but doesn't want to use any of it's uses up. Does he get a -4 penalty to the roll (as if he didn't have a kit at all) or -2 (from failing to use two uses of the kit but +2 because he has one)?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Wow, that's some weird wording. Using a healer's kit that you do not have gives you a penalty. (Of course it would, quit breaking the universe) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 0:21

4 Answers 4


Healer's Kit:

This collection of bandages and herbs provides a +2 circumstance bonus on Heal checks.

Heal skill:

Treat Deadly Wounds: (...) You must expend two uses from a healer's kit to perform this task. You take a –2 penalty on your Heal skill check for each use from the healer's kit that you lack.

Let's try to tackle all the cases to make this as clear as possible.

  • You have no Healer's Kit and thus can't expend any use: -2 (missing use) -2 (missing use) = -4
  • You have a Healer's Kit
    • and at least two uses left: +2 (healer's kit) = +2
    • but only one use left: +2 (healer's kit) -2 (missing use) = +0
    • but no uses left: -2 -2 (missing uses) = -2

By RAW, the only things mentioned in a Healer's Kit are bandages and herbs which would logically be consumed by use. Thus, having no uses left is akin to an empty box and that couldn't provide a bonus.

That said, a possible houserule is that part of the healer's kit are non-consumables that will never get "used up" (needles, if anything), thus having the kit is enough to get the +2 bonus, uses left or not. Check with your GM to see which version he prefers to go with.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't get the bonus for having the kit, you get the bonus for using the kit. If you didn't consume a use, you didn't use a kit, so no bonus, and if you don't have any uses left, you can't consume one, so you didn't use the kit, so no bonus. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 7:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ A GM ruling that "no uses left means a useless kit" is not a house-rule, its rules-as-written. When you use up your kit, its gone; You can't have a kit with 0 uses, it would be like having a cake with no slices. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 8:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ You both make good points so I've edited the answer to focus on RAW. I'm leaving the other version as a house-rule suggestion. \$\endgroup\$
    – leokhorn
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 8:41

If you're not consuming uses, you're not using the kit, whether you have one on you or not. Any use you don't consume is one you "lack". Whether you would have to go shopping to address that lack, or would only have to dig through your pack is irrelevant. If you don't use the kit, where the kit you didn't use is or who owns it is irrelevant, and if you do use it in any way significant enough to show up in your bonuses, then you're consuming uses of the kit.


In order to make a successful Heal check for treating deadly wounds, it is recommended to carry a Healer's Kit. If you do not have one available the roll takes a -4 penalty. If you do have a kit, but it only has one use remaining, then you take a -2.

Think of it like this: You can't properly staunch a bleeding artery without the proper equipment, let's say proper bandages, medicine, etc. The rules let you try albeit with a -4 penalty, and this would be like wrapping it in pieces you've ripped off of your cloak. If you have some of the supplies but not all that you need (only 1 use remaining in the kit, mechanically speaking), then you only take a -2 on the roll.

The -4, of course, translates into a -2 after the bonus from the kit is applied, and the -2 becomes +0 (a neutral roll).

The caveat here is the "must" in

You must expend two uses from a healer's kit to perform this task.

Really, a healing kit is not required to make a Heal check, but it is definitely recommended.

Also, for reference:

  • no kit : 2x -2 (for not using 2 uses of kit) = -4
  • 1 use of kit: -2 (for not using one kit) + 2 for using a kit = 0
  • 2 uses of kit: 0 (for using 2 uses) + 4 for using 2 uses = +4
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Johnnyr, weclome to the site. Check out our tour for how we work here. Could you add some citation and explanation to back up how you arrive at these numbers? They're not necessarily wrong, but users need to be able to understand and independently verify your answer as correct, and we don't expect random visitors from the internet to simply take a person at their word. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 16:55

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