I want to play a rogue but I'm afraid our party won't have any healers. There would only be 3–5 of us and though I know someone who might play a healer, I don't know if they'll actually join the group.

Is it possible to get an NPC healer in a party, and if so how does that work?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello bob, Welcome to RPG.StackExchange! Looks like you're pretty new, so why don't you take the tour to learn what we are all about here. You'll even get a free badge at the end! \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Dec 7, 2016 at 23:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JesseM that sounds like a neat idea, you could elaborate more if you put it in an answer instead of these temporary comments \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Dec 9, 2016 at 3:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Happy to elaborate on the story and NPC @daze413 , but an "answer" needs to address the original question. My gaming stories don't constitute an "answer." So I figured a comment made the most sense here. \$\endgroup\$
    – JesseM
    Dec 9, 2016 at 4:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JesseM that sounds like a little story i read as a kid about a magical gumtree that could transfer your injury to anyone who heard you playing a tune with a leaf from the tree \$\endgroup\$
    – RozzA
    Dec 9, 2016 at 4:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JesseM Gaming stories make up a big part of this site's questions as well as answers (Can't back this up, but I have read quite a few). I'm sure if you put in how the particular NPC did that, and how it worked for your particular group, it would be a good subjective answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Dec 9, 2016 at 5:15

3 Answers 3


First, I'm going to challenge a presumption you've made. You don't need a healer in D&D 5th edition. It's very nice to have one, but every character can spend hit dice to recover hit points. There is probably a question and answer on this site on the subject.

Next, I'm afraid the only answer to your question is "ask your DM." The only mechanism defined is that skilled hirelings cost 2 gold pieces per day. What skilled hirelings are available and how they're hired is up to your DM.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "There is probably a question and answer on this site on the subject.". Do you mean this? \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Dec 8, 2016 at 0:54

Some important notes about 5e.

  • A party can survive without a healer. Hit Dice recovery and basic healing potions can bring a party from one member to full at the end of a fight.
  • There are lots of classes capable of healing: Bard, Cleric and Druid are all equally good at healing. Life Cleric is even better at healing, but even a Paladin or Ranger can provide sufficient utility. So of the 12 classes in the game, 5 of them are capable of serving a healing role, with 3 of them being equally good at it.

If you have a 5-person party and nobody has taken any of those classes, it would be rare. It would also mean that you have a party filled with damage dealing classes. With none of those support classes, your fights are likely to be quick and bloody. Again, bring healing potions.

Is it possible to get an NPC healer in a party, and if so how does that work?

If this still becomes necessary, this is totally up to DM fiat. However, if your DM would like some guidance, I recommend looking at the Adventurer's League DM's Guide. That's some official Wizards guidance on paying for various healing and restoration services in 5E.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the spellcasting services table! Now I know how much to charge the party each time my Cleric casts Cure Wounds. hah! +1 \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Dec 8, 2016 at 2:36

Although 5ed has less concrete need for a healer, they're still nice to have. Your party is 3-5, hopefully not including the DM, so at the low end, you'll probably need some help.

This is a pretty common problem to have in D&D, across all the editions. The common solution in my experience is to include an NPC party-member who just doesn't show much initiative and generally just does what's asked. The alternate (and official) solution is a faceless hireling.

If you use the hireling: they're paid a wage and you tell them what to do, generally a player is responsible for their actions.

If you use an NPC party member: they'd usually get an almost equal share of the party treasure but because they have no player they're almost entirely passive, they only act when asked to do so, largely because portraying them is too much trouble for the DM who is already busy portraying the rest of the world. If the party is in particularly dire straits, then the NPC might lend a hand with some defensive spells but usually, it requires a player to request of the GM that the healer do something or other. This frees the DM to focus on their job and lets any players who are otherwise idle (incapacitated/dead/held) have something to do that contributes to the action.

When the action gets around to the healer each round, the party will generally know what they want done and ask for it to happen ("Can the healer help my fighter please"). The DM nods and somebody, probably a player, rolls dice for their healing and crosses off the spell or whatever.

The character sheets for both kinds of healers are generally public knowledge and held by the players though if a DM is feeling tricky then they might maintain a secret one that includes the levels of assassin and the ring of undetectable alignment .

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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, hirelings don't get treasure. That's what you pay them for. If they wanted treasure, they don't get wage. Can't have both. \$\endgroup\$
    – Weckar E.
    Dec 8, 2016 at 6:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WeckarE. Actually, that depends entirely upon the terms of the contract with said hireling. In mine, under article 3 section 22, it reads "[the hireling] receives a portion of all treasure found equal to 5% of the total sum." Of course, this is just the minimum set by the King's Order 459: "Standard Hireling Labor Code", an adventuring party may increase it if they want. \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Dec 8, 2016 at 22:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WeckarE: I was attempting to distinguish between a hireling and an NPC party member. I guess they're both NPCs but the hireling doesn't need much personality or, as we agree, a share of the treasure. I've seen the 5% idea before, maybe in a DMG somewhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – bp.
    Dec 9, 2016 at 7:29

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