I’m Your Cleric, Not Your Bitch!

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on April 14, 2009

“I am a defender of the faith, a holy warrior and a vassal of my deity. I am not in the party simply to heal your wounds!”

An interesting debate occurred within our gaming group recently. One of our healers, in this case the Cleric, decided that he will not use his Healing Word or any other power that allows others to use healing surges unless a) they are bloodied and b) they have already used their second wind. He is so adamant about following this guideline that he would rather take no minor action instead of healing the other PCs.

As you can imagine this has made for some very heated discussions in and out of game. Luckily we also have a Warlord and a Paladin in the party so it’s not like we don’t have any other options. However, the player running the Warlord missed a few games recently and the Cleric’s refusal to heal has greatly impacted the direction of numerous battles.

Although it took me a little while to come around I must admit that I like this approach. After all, why should my ally needlessly waste his actions and resources to heal me if I can heal myself?

Healing potions are cheap, 50gp. Most characters have one (or should have one) by the time they reach 2nd level. It may only heal 10 hp, but it still allows for non-healers to use one more healing surge during combat. So if you know that the party has healing potions and can use them as a minor action then why not wait for them to do so?

Where this really gets interesting is when there are Dwarves in the party. Since a Dwarf can use his second wind as a minor action there’s no excuse for not using it before you beg the Cleric or Warlord for help.

More and more, I see players rolling up tanks and run headlong into melee combat to fight monsters. They rarely, if ever, give any thought to healing. What these players need to realize is that when they’re running low on hit points they need to move out of combat and heal. They shouldn’t feel that it is their duty and their right to be in the front line and not have to slow down for anything (like reaching 0 hp). For too long the heavy hitters have claimed that they are more valuable to the fight by dealing lots of damage every round then taking one round off to heal.

To these players I say, too bad! Just because I’m playing a class with healing powers doesn’t mean that I’m here to serve as your personal medic. I may be your Cleric, but I’m not your bitch! If you won’t change your tactics for one round to heal, then why should I?

The only PCs I can possibly see being exempt from the practice above are strikers. They deal so much damage so consistently that it is in the party’s best interest to keep the striker on offense. Strikers should use their standard action every single round to attack. The use of magical healing on a striker means the monsters drop faster and fewer healing surges are used by the whole party. That’s win-win.

Do you agree? Should players need to use their second wind before they’re eligible to receive magical healing? I think this is a great tactic and everyone should adopt it right away. Who’s with me?

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1 Lurkinggherkin April 14, 2009 at 6:57 am

Me, I’m all about the roleplay. Here’s my view: any discussion about use of divinely given powers that puts mere tactical expedience before the faith-based motivations of the cleric and their deity belongs in the world of MMO gaming, not in a tabletop RPG. Clerics will not want to waste their gods’ time and energy dishing out healing to those who still have healing of their own available.

The cleric should also insist that any person who requires healing be willing to say a prayer to their deity with them. Maybe some deities (referee’s discretion) will withhold healing from the faithless or from worshippers of other faiths.

2 Joshua April 14, 2009 at 7:14 am

Personally, I think it should be left up to roleplaying. If the cleric doesn’t want to heal people who he feels aren’t looking out for themselves sufficiently, or perhaps only those of his faith or who are willing to donate to the temple, there shouldn’t be any meta-game pressure on the player to shut up and fulfill his “party role.” On the other hand, the other characters should be free to try to persuade the cleric in character that he’s being foolish, or not upholding the tenets of his faith, or even to kick him from the party and try to find a more malleable cleric.

3 Mike E. April 14, 2009 at 7:57 am

I do agree with you.. I do feel that a healer is absolutely necessary for a party, but I also that players become too dependant on the cleric. I still play 3.5 and like that good/neutral clerics can choose to drop any prepared spell for a healing spell. That was something in 2e that used to drive me crazy.. Almost all your spells per day were taken up by healing spells.

As I said, I play 3.5, but I did adopt the 2nd wind as a way for healering classes to be able to do more than just that… The cleric in my group was also smart and took Brew Potion… And he has actually several times.. when asked for a heal says, “do you have a potion? Well then use it.. My spells are too valuable right now to heal you…” lol

4 justaguy April 14, 2009 at 8:09 am

My general reaction is…. no, I’m not. I mean, I see your point. I do. And I hate to ever tell someone how to play their character, so I’m torn. However, refusing to take a minor action so that someone else needs to use their standard (for non-dwarves) seems a bit off to me.
Now, waiting till someone is bloodied, sure that’s fine. I mean, non-metagame wise it’s not supposed to be that obvious how bad off you are until you hit bloodied… but once you hit that, it should be moderately obvious to people that you are closer to death than not, and if part of what you do is dispense the healing goodness you should probably be thinking about trying to do that. They aren’t just out there getting glory for themselves… in theory they are your friends (or at least your useful companions) who are out there taking a beating so you don’t have to.
Now, that doesn’t mean I can’t see situations where withholding healing makes sense.. . but honestly, out of game wise, I’d be annoyed at the player in this situation. To the point where I’d be tempted to not use my powers to their benefit. No getting in the way of mobs going after them. No attempts to mark stuff going after them. No attempts to use my powers to move stuff away from them. *shrug*

5 TheLemming April 14, 2009 at 8:38 am

While you’re referring to a typical 4e game, I would expand it to another dimension. It shouldn’t be just the character’s choice but moreover a roleplaying tool, why should a divine entity give freely powers to heal without proper conduct by those healed? I think a cleric’s first and foremost role should hardly ever be the healer. When it comes to healing necessary, he might be a good point to address, but more importantly he is the resource of his good (or faith) to spread this particular belief in a region. Therefore I would use the idea of “cleric not bitch” more to motivate the players to take care for a proper role as cleric in the game.

6 Josh April 14, 2009 at 8:52 am

Personally, as a DM, if the character has been played in such a way that this type of thing fits his personality, I’d encourage the other players to work around it and learn to play with the expectation that they won’t see any healing unless they’re really in need.

As a player, on the other hand, this really doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Potions cost money, regardless of how affordable they might be. You get encounter powers back for free when the fight is over. To me, its a math/economics thing. Why pay for something when you can use what you know you’ll get for free?

7 Risan April 14, 2009 at 9:40 am

I would be against this as well. A minor action to heal for more than just a healing surge is great, why waste a healing surge with a potion to get less hp back. In my games there are several encounters before an extended rest so getting the most hp for a healing surge is needed. I am all for waiting for them to be bloodied, or at least close to it so no healing is wasted by going over the character’s max hp. A cleric at low levels can restore around or over half a character’s hp if they roll well and have a high wisdom.

8 Shent April 14, 2009 at 10:54 am

I can see the players point, but helping out on a minor action from time to time can help with table moral; while still sticking to his guns the majority of the time. I think people bog down on only what their character is doing or capable of doing and what action to do next without consideration to the others, sometime that makes the game fun and sometimes not. This is where a DM nudge can help like “Bill this is just one of those times, maybe heal Steve, just this once.”

The game is fluid, but the PCs do have roles. As a player who likes fighters, I enjoy playing to the very limit of near death only to be surprised by a boost in health from the healer in the group to drive the final blow home. I also don’t mind being the healer that helps someone else in their moment of need and on most occasions the whole parties. Your cleric’s rules are cool in my book, as long as it does not kill player moral at the table. If he is there when the players really, really need it the most, then I say don’t be the bitch.

9 Anarkeith April 14, 2009 at 11:25 am

Roleplay it out. A group needs to establish SOPs, and healing should be part of that. Keep in mind the cleric is still offering to heal, just on his/her own schedule. A player should feel free to use their character’s abilities as they see fit, and the group should respect that.

10 Ameron April 14, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Let me begin by thanking everyone for taking the time to post a comment. I see posts from a lot of first timers, so welcome to Dungeon’s Master.

I like the idea of requiring a PC who receives healing to offer a pray in exchange. It makes excellent sense from a role-playing point of view. I’ll mention this to our Cleric.

What if we run in to this same problem with a Bard or Warlord? The concept of trading faith for healing is kind of moot then. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

This is exactly what’s happening in and out of game. The PCs are trying to rely on reason to sway the Cleric into healing them “It’s in the best interests of the party, including you.” and that kind of thing. It’s certainly made the PCs question their own faith.

@Mike E.
There is no doubt that some of the guys in my group are WAY too dependent on the healing powers of others. It’s not a new phenomena, and it’s not even limited to just these characters, but it’s finally starting to bite them since this player started running his Cleric this way. He shares your thoughts that in some cases magic is just too valuable to waste.

It’s not just the minor action that he holds back. There was an encounter where he refused to use his attack power “Strengthen the Faithful” because it had a healing component. We needed him to deal out some damage and this power does 2[W]+Str. But because it has a secondary healing ability he REFUSED to use it because the adjacent allies were not bloodied. This specific incident resulted in a lot of out of game yelling (and inspired me to write this post).

The reason this has only just become problematic is because it’s a role-playing quark that this player decided to introduce. His character is Warforged and he thinks very pragmatically. It totally suits his character and it is the way he’s been playing him since 1st level. I don’t fault the role-playing at all. If anything I compliment this guy for making his character more interesting. It’s certainly opened the eyes of the other PCs when it comes to faith in D&D.

The DM has been very supportive of the Cleric’s decision t play his character this way. The players have had the math/economics discussion with him, but they’re kind of hypocritical since the party has something like 20 healing potions that they NEVER want to use. Until such time as they run out of money or potions I don’t see the Cleric bending at all. But it’s a solid argument otherwise.

Getting more out of healing surges is one of the main reasons this Cleric refuses to use his healing magic until you’re bloodied. He doesn’t want the extra healing to be wasted. On more than one occasion we’ve been able to complete more encounters because people didn’t run out of surges precisely because the Cleric waited to use his magic until the PC was bloodied.

Morale has definitely been hurt by this role-playing quark. We’re just starting to get over it, but it took many weeks to do so. Recently the Cleric has “seen the light” and offers some magical healing in those emergencies. The trick is convincing him that this is one of those emergency situations that was unpredictable. In most cases it’s not and everyone at the table knows it.

We’ve had to adjust our SOP as soon as we realized that the Cleric had these restrictions or beliefs about when he would and would not heal. Believe it or not for the first few levels we didn’t even realize he was (or wasn’t) doing it. It was about 5th level when we had enough hit points not to go from max to bloodied in one round that we saw what was going on. The group is finally starting to accept that this PC is going to continue playing a certain way and they have to learn to deal with it.

Great feedback everyone. I though this topic would generate some discussion, but you guys have really brought up a lot of interesting points and suggestions. Keep them coming.

11 nemomeme April 18, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Really nice blog! Just found it.

Some points I didn’t see made:

1) It takes a minor action take out a potion and a minor action to use it (unless the character took Quickdraw). So if they don’t need to Move, that’s not so bad. Otherwise they’re giving up their Standard action to drink.

2) The Second Wind action should be used tactically by tanking-type PCs EVERY encounter not only for the hp regained, but more importantly for the +2 to all defenses. Yes, even if they’re not dwarves. You charge into the middle of a bunch of guys, mark who you can, make rude comments about their mothers, etc. The following round, now that you’ve got their attention and have lost at least a fourth of your hp, you SHOULD Second Wind for the Defense benefit. This is basic. If you’re one of those impatient types who can’t stand to not be doing something impressive and time-consuming every single round, then use your dang Action Point the same round. Early in the combat is a good time for that anyway. Otherwise you probably shouldn’t be a Defender. This is BASIC. If you’re a Defender you should relish the chance to improve your NADs in the 2nd or 3rd round before you get hit with some debilitating Stun, Daze, Immobilize, etc. condition.

3) A healer’s second Healing/Inspiring/Majestic Word should generally be saved and used in emergency situations to get a PC who is down up and out of deathsave-making mode. If a PC is down, the guys with the Heal skills won’t necessarily be able to get to them (and that won’t get them out of unconsciousness anyway), but the Words work at range. This mode has the additional benefit of effectively healing MORE than if the PC is up and only bloodied. e.g Gimli is at 10 hp, and has been yelling for the cleric to heal him. Fortunately Gimli has a smart cleric in his party and has not given into Gimli’s demands. Gimli is critical’d by an troll for 24 damage and is now at -14. NOW the cleric heals him. Gimli goes to 0 hp and THEN gets his healing surge value (+ Xd6 + WIS mod). The Cleric just effectively shaved 14 damage off the troll’s hit.

I agree with those who bring the healing potions cost into consideration. 50 gp is a lot in the lower-heroic tier.

I agree that keeping the Stikers going is important, but if they’re not working with the rest of the team and have gotten themselves in a position where they’re surrounded by 3 foes they SHOULD use their Second Wind to try to prevent getting hit as much. Otherwise the party is going to have to quit early because the melee Striker is always out of surges before the rest of the party.

12 Ameron April 18, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Welcome to Dungeon’s Master. We’re glad you like what you’ve read so far.

1) You’re right. In most circumstances when the Cleric refuses to use his magic and the PC needs to drink a potion they don’t want to move. This allows them to draw a potion, drink it and attack in the same round.

2) I think most of the PCs at my table forget about the +2 to their defenses when they use their second wind and don’t think to use this advantage to its maximum benefit. Using second wind as soon as you’re down 1/4 hp and have a target marked is an excellent strategy.

3) I like this suggested tactic for when to use magical healing. The only down side is that a) the PC in your example has to use his move action to stand up, and b) if he’s a defender and he had marked his opponent the mark disappeared when he fell unconscious. Just my 2 cents.

13 nemomeme April 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Hey there Ameron,

re 3: I concede it is something to consider. The more important thing in saving that 2nd Word is in making sure you can get someone going again at range rather than just letting them be beat down to negative bloodied by the battleraging orc or what have you. In play I’ve found the disappearing mark is not much of an issue; at that point you don’t really want the Defender defending anymore. Let some of the rest of the party take some damage.

Any combat that ends without everyone in the party having taken a shot is sub-par tactically. Spread the wound wealth for healing surge equilibrium! A super high AC archer Ranger who is always behind friendly lines and never getting hit is not contributing to the group as much as he should!

14 Ameron April 20, 2009 at 7:43 am

If your Ranger has a super high AC, then I would argue that he’s spending too much gold on his defenses, gold that could be put to better use on offense. But how a character decides to spend his share of the loot is up to him. I agree that your party’s tactics should result in damage being spread around the group and not just focused on one poor guy (usually the defender).

15 Sanael May 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Hey…I realize this is an older post, but it’s one very close to something in the game I’m running right now. It’s a 3.5e game, so I can’t really comment on the mechanical ramifications, but RP-wise, your cleric’s decision is very interesting.

I have a cleric in the party who is constantly getting badgered for healing. Mostly, it’s from one particular party member, a fighter, but it happens from other people (including a Paladin, of all things) from time to time, too. Usually, the request (and sometimes, demand) for healing comes from the other side of the battlefield and often from the middle of melee; it’s frequently after only one or two hits. Friend Cleric has to leave his own melee, traipse across the field, enter another melee, then cast a spell (possibly in melee). Destroys whatever strategic rhythm the cleric is in, and gives enemies lots of AtksOpp against the cleric.

Obviously, this cannot stand, and the cleric has started denying healing unless there is a clear and present need; this is something of a “Pelor helps those who help themselves” kind of attitude. On the whole, the group has accepted this roleplaying/character quirk, although it has made for some narrow scrapes for certain characters. As the DM, I appreciate the added drama, and I also think it’s allowed the cleric to shine the way clerics should–which is not as a heal-bot.

16 Ameron May 7, 2009 at 9:24 am

I played a Cleric in 3.5e from level 1-27 so believe me; I know exactly where your Cleric is coming from. Every round I had to decide which action would better contribute to the overall battle: dealing damage myself or heal the Barbarian. I hated that my actions were essentially decided based on the other PCs stupidity or bad luck. I pretty much did what your Cleric did and used role-playing to help make my choice not to heal every round an easier one. Thanks for your comment.

17 MiloKainen May 11, 2009 at 12:44 pm

I absolutely agree with this! It’s almost disrespectful to DnD as a game to trivialize what is supposed to be a divine and holy class. Clerics are there to work as a vessel for their deity, not in our best interest (unless his deity commands it to be so). I think you were almost being too easy on them. Tell them to spend an entire adventure without a single healing spell from you and see how well they fair. Tell your party that if you feel as though your character is being taken for granted (in or out of char, your choice) then you reserve the right to stop healing at a moments notice. See how they like that and watch your cleric become a much more respected char.

18 Ameron May 11, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Welcome to Dungeon’s Master. After reading your post, I think you’d get along just fine with my Cleric. Withholding healing services for an entire adventure seems a bit harsh, but I think it will result in the desired effect.

Religion is often down-played in D&D. The only time it ever seems to come up is when an “evil cult” threatens the local village. We forget that the good PCs most likely spread the word of their deity wherever the party goes. And if the PCs in the party don’t share that faith then they shouldn’t expect to share in the benefits that a deity provides to his faithful (like magical healing).

19 MiloKainen May 12, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Thanks for the welcome! I can imagine that we WOULD get along very well. I had a druid spec’ed for combat, but all my party ever wanted were healing spells. So I prepared them, day after day, encounter after encounter, and then I was verbally criticized for my use of them.

I decided that the only way to truly teach them a lesson was to embrace my druid’s truest “nature”. I prepared one cure minor wounds and didn’t inform my party until we were in battle and someone needed it. Suddenly the battle got a bit more serious and my combat spells were recognized for their merit. We now have a cleric in party and frequently make stops to restock on healing potions and I am are groups heavy hitter whenever I feel my character is needed (to maintain the balance, of course). XD

20 Ameron May 13, 2009 at 8:20 am

Sounds like your plan had the exact effect you were going for. Good one. I’ll have to keep that in mind the next time I’m the healer and I find myself in a similar situation.

21 Hart Thorn May 19, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Well, one thing I would point out to your Cleric (if he’s being especially stingy or otherwise unreasonable) is that the other guys don’t have to do their jobs either. The Fighter can decide not to mark, the Rogue could remain in stealth the whole fight (and pilfering extra loot while doing so), the Ranger could refuse to fight the random beasts, and so on. While I do agree with most of the Clerics plight, some parts are a little extreme. And, also, the guy did choose to play a character in the Leader role… Since you say there is also a Warlord, why doesn’t he respec the Cleric so he doesn’t have secondary healing effects if that would prevent him from using an otherwise useful ability.

22 MiloKainen May 20, 2009 at 11:53 am

@Hart Thorn
Pardon me if I’m jumping the gun, as Ameron hasn’t yet responded to this, but I do have a question? When the mark lives on, or the Rogue gets caught, or the Ranger misses a couple of beasties does he get the same ridicule that so many healers get? I personally don’t believe so. I think the major point that Ameron was trying to make here is that, while all classes get their fair share of criticism, the healer seems to take the largest and worst. Obviously this can’t be true in all cases, but as a DM I have seen it happen so many times.

23 Ameron May 20, 2009 at 2:02 pm

@Hart Thorn
You bring an interesting argument to the table. A Fighter refusing to mark an opponent out of spite would certainly make combat more interesting. But I suppose the Cleric could argue that he’s not refusing to do the job associated with his class/role, rather he’s asking that the PCs learn to be more self-sufficient before expecting him to come to their aid. As for the Warlord, he was acting as the primary healer for the first few levels of the campaign. It wasn’t until the player was unable to make game night a few weeks in a row that we realized the Cleric felt so strongly about using his healing.

Thanks for jumping in. I agree that this is indeed one of the points that I was trying to make in this article. I think this issue really hits home with many of the reads which is why this is our most popular article to date.

24 Jim Darkmagic June 8, 2009 at 3:02 pm

I’ve got to say, I agree with Hart Thorn. With D&D 4E, the rules lean much more towards the party working as a team. The guy’s playing a leader; it’s his job to dish out healing surges when the players need them. If he’s having problems with the other players not respecting him, maybe it’s him who’s underestimating just how useful his class role is in the party. It’s because of him that the others can keep swinging when, if he wasn’t there, they’d need to take a turn or an action out to heal. And maybe him refusing to heal will make him see (and the rest of the party see) just how useful healers are!

However, the other side to the coin is that although being a leader is useful, it’s not necessary. D&D 4E has made it so that leaders make the whole healing thing go a lot smoother, and mean that the party doesn’t need to spend so much money on restorative items… but they aren’t NECESSARY at all. So, because the liberal but timely use of Healing Word is pretty much THE thing that makes the cleric what he is, if the player has an issue with that class feature and what it means at the table he might want to consider switching to a different role. (Perhaps still in support such as a controller or defender, just without the emphasis on being a healing machine)

Also, it sounds like his actions are just sapping the fun from the game. He’s using the mechanics to manipulate players into playing the game HIS way, rather than playing WITH them. As a DM, I’d be really worried about this and encourage him to either switch roles or play nice.

My two cents. I hope I wasn’t too harsh!

(Oh, and as an aside, it’s the wizards and other artillery classes that get most criticism in our group. We’ve found that they can’t hit their enemies worth a damn because they don’t get the bonus from weapon proficiency, and this isn’t reflected in monster defences. Healing Word, on the other hand, hits every time!)

25 Ameron June 9, 2009 at 11:51 pm

@Jim Darkmagic
Welcome to Dungeon’s Master. The PC running the Cleric in my party may indeed think his role (and by extension his importance) to the party is greater than it really is. However, with the way our group plays it will be a long time before any of the other guys realize that having a Cleric (or any other leader role) is not as critical in 4e D&D as it was in previous editions.

I wouldn’t say that the Cleric is ruining the fun; I’d say it’s created some great role-playing opportunities. But if a PC gets killed because this Cleric won’t heal I think the players at the table may oust this particular Cleric from the party and encourage the player to choose a non-healing class as his replacement character.

26 mike June 11, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I have to agree, i think its a solid idea and makes sense. Our party’s warlord does all the healing, the cleric has a high damage output, but only heals when they actually need it. But i do find players aren’t taking second wind.
[rq=3230,0,blog][/rq]Why Min/Maxing actually works

27 Mcreatha June 18, 2009 at 10:05 pm

I do not agree with all of the statements in this. Why play a healer when you don’t really want to heal? He could have played something else… though I do see if it’s the same few people charging into battle EVERY time you might get annoyed by their actions. I just feel there is NO point in playing a healing character if you don’t want to help others out.

28 Ameron June 22, 2009 at 1:22 pm

The guy playing the Cleric didn’t do so to be a “healer” in the traditional sense. Especially since the party originally had a Warlord to pick up the slack in the healing department. He’s chosen to create an interesting role-playing quark (if you can call it that) whereby he will only use his divine powers to heal you if you are incapable of healing yourself. It’s certainly not the traditional outlook for a Cleric, but it is creating a lot of interesting role-playing and some lively discussion about the leader role. Thanks for your comment.

29 HartThorn June 22, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Yeah, even though I earlier might have sounded a little harsh on the cleric, all I was trying to say was that no player (leader or otherwise) should let an RP quirk endanger the survival of the party (unless your ‘quirk’ is that your an evil bastard…). If he’s still pitching in when things get rough, then unless the other people want to play a cleric, they don’t get to make those calls. I still would recomend that he re-train powers with secondary healing if he’s going to restrict there usage even if they have better damage output. Other than that, rock on my Krom worshipping friend!

30 JEB February 2, 2010 at 6:22 am

I don’t think witholding healing is a good thing for the group dynamic.
I agree with the fact that he should not dish out healing when the characters isn’t too badly damaged, nor should the players expect that the cleric(or any other Leader class heals (or should I say heels?) on command.

But in my experience the healing that the cleric brings to the table is so much more effective(especially ay higher levels and with the feats to back it up) that to waste a precious surge when the cleric still has Healing word available is downright criminal.

That is, however, not to say that the cleric shall waste his powers on any minor wounds…merely that the healing surge value of Second Wind is under par when it’s compared to Healing Word. OK, I agree with nemomeme’s posting that it also gives you a +2 bonus to defense and shouldn’t be underestimated for that reason alone …(especially for the defenders and their Mark ability!)!!

Still, an example is in order:
The group i DM has reached Paragon level now … it consists of a Paladin, a Rogue, A Fighter, an Avenger and a Cleric (i.e. 2 defenders, 2 strikers and 1 leader). Of these, the Rogue is the character most often in trouble … the reason being that he only have 6 surges daily(no CON bonus). In addition he has an armor that may be charged by using healing surges.(Bloodcut Armor)
This means that he usually uses 2 sometimes 3 surges each encounter … basically 2 encounters and he has maybe 1 or 2 surges left …

hmmm use a second wind and regain 20 something HP(they are lvl 13) and waste a standard action better used for attacking or ask the cleric to give you 20+3d6+5 hp …??

When this is probably your last, or last but one surge for the day (and I often withhold the chance to take a daily rest) I think that the cleric should be doing the poor rogue a favor …

Does this make sense?

I do favour Roleplaying over rollplaying … but somewhere a line has to be drawn …

31 Ameron February 5, 2010 at 10:38 am

This has been one of our most debated articles. Ultimately it’s up to the player running the Cleric, the DM and the rest of the players to come to some kind of understanding. If this decisions creates friction at the game table then it may be time to reconsider the character quark. But, in the case with my group, pleaser refused to expend their own resources to heal and acted recklessly because they knew the Cleric was there to heal them. By playing the Cleric with this quark, the other players began to realize that being more defensive (when possible) and getting other items that can heal made them better character. It also made them realize the value of the Cleric.

32 maverick0023 February 22, 2011 at 3:41 am

i disagree because sw only allows a base surge spent while modified heals allow extra “free” healing and many a game that I run the players needs those extra free hit points to help their surge economy since we dont reset every night with extended rest but instead every 2 or 3 milestones.

33 Seth May 10, 2011 at 10:46 am

Theoretically I think it’s great that someone has decided to be so bold with playing their character, especially if they can present a valid story reason for it: say, that the character saw friends and family die during a brutal war as a child, and won’t waste any divine healing in memory of those who could have used just one prayer.

However, a lot of the justification I could afford a player of a Leader character for these policies depends on the build of the character itself. With the popularity of the Lazylord builds, and the general sub-optimization of Leader attacks when examined in a vacuum, I think many members of the role can’t operate without their allies. Sure, they provide the heals to keep the party running, but if the party stops assisting them they’ll fold like an origami swan and rack up few to no bodies for their efforts.

That’s certainly not true of every Leader, or even every cleric; but my interpretation of how justified the player in this anecdote would be largely depends on the question of how much the build could contribute to an actual combat.

34 Brian May 12, 2011 at 10:05 am

I think the semi-withholding cleric is awesome. What I don’t get is why no one has mentioned what the other PCs can do to get in on better access to healing.

Maybe joining the cleric in his daily prayers will make the cleric feel the PC is entitled to their deity’s boon more than just to save him from the brink. Maybe making an arrangement where the PC(s) make a small donation to the cleric’s church for each healing spell used (or just used outside of the cleric’s SOP) will soften the cleric’s stance. After all, each of those heals will advance the deity’s worldly resources. Not to mention the church would likely reward the party as a whole for their contributions, whether it be providing more info than normal, or places to stay while in town, or more access to helpful rituals. Friends in high places are a good thing… As long as the cleric isn’t pocketing the donations (cleric’s responsibility), and the party eventually comes to see that those donations aren’t just a money sink (DM’s responsibility), then hopefully players could come to embrace it.

It’s all for the players to figure out between themselves, but I love that it adds an extra dynamic to the group.

I don’t have that issue myself. I’m playing a Tiefling Warlock. He stands really far away, and gains temp HP like a vampire. Many fights go by where he never takes a point of actual HP damage. His aloof personality wouldn’t have him needing to kowtow to a cleric, but a serious butt kicking could change his mind…

Our party is a Swordmage, a warlock (me), an invoker, and a warlord/cleric (she wanted to play a warlord, but the invoker convinced/pressured her to multi- with cleric). The healing is not great, but the Swordmage knows what he’s doing, as do I, and the invoker helps with buffs (even though he’s a dwarven drunkard who ruins every attempt at subtlety outside of combat).

Love the debate! This is awesome.

35 Philo Pharynx June 29, 2011 at 5:28 pm

One issue I would definitely play up in this party is thanking the cleric’s deity for their blessings. With my characters I often think about how they think in relation to religion, especially for non-divine characters.

Jeb – You need an artificer! The ability to heal people and recharge from those with the most healing surges is awesome. Not to mention getting two or three free surges added to the party economy.

36 LanzerSA August 22, 2011 at 9:12 pm

We are starting an epic quest, and my DM said we can be any race. So you can imagen the different monsters been used. I’m always the cleric or paladin in the group, and am happy with the position. I went looking around and settles on Angel Solar Cleric, lvl 20. It uses 4 different prestige classes. I can heal around 700hp x2 creatures in one go from a safe distance of 30ft. The best of all, I can use reserection spell at will. I love been a cleric, and so do my party when we come up against monsters that do 2000 dmg in one shot.

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