“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?