Brave Warrior, Heal Thyself

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on November 24, 2009

What do you do if you need healing and none is readily available? You’re in the thick of battle and you realize your hit points are getting dangerously low. You call out to the healer for help, but he’s got nothing to offer. He’s already expended this encounter’s allotment. Or worse yet, maybe your party doesn’t have a leader? No problem, you use your second wind. But what if you’ve already done that too. Now you’re in a situation with no healer and no way to easily expend a healing surge. What now?

As PCs get more powerful and the monsters get more and more hit points the above scenario is likely to happen with increasing frequency. There you are barely above 0 hit points and the monster isn’t even bloodied. Unless you can figure out a way to expend another healing surge your outcome looks pretty grim. Get ready to start making death saves.

Many classes have powers that allow you or an ally to spend a healing surge, but most are dependent upon a successful attack roll. So although these powers help, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be available when you need them the most. That’s when it’s best to rely on magic items.

There are a handful of magic items that allow you to spend healing surges and regain hit points. I’m not talking about temporary hit points, I’m talking about actually healing real hit points. If you’re lucky enough to find one of these items in a random treasure hoard, cherish it. Having the ability to expend a healing surge during battle, aside from the usual second wind, means that you can stay in the thick of things longer and can take a few more beats than the usual PC of your class and level.

Below is a list of items that allow PCs to expend a healing surge and regain hit points. This list only covers items in the heroic tier. In some cases these items exist at various power levels. I’ve only listed the weakest version (i.e., the +1 version). This list does not include items that grant temporary hit points. That particular list will be provided in a future post.

I’ve provided the relevant details and a brief description of each item’s power. The name of each item is linked to its description in the D&D Compendium. Unfortunately you need an active DDI subscription to read this content.

Magic Item Level Item
Action Power
Dwarven Armor 2 Armor Free (Daily) Regain hit points as if you had spent a healing surge.
Life Vine Armor 3 Armor Immediate
(Daily) When you’re hit with a crit you can spend a healing surge. You also regain bonus hit points equal to the armor’s enhancement bonus.
Stanching Armor 3 Armor Minor (Daily) You can spend a healing surge. You also regain bonus hit points equal to the armor’s enhancement bonus.
Cloak of the
Walking Wounded
4 Neck N/A If you’re bloodied and use your second wind you can spend two healing surges instead of one.
Robe of Contingency 4 Armor Immediate
(Daily) If you’re bloodied and take damage, teleport 6 squares and spend a healing surge.
Symbol of the
Holy Nimbus
4 Impliment
(Holy Symbol)
N/A On a crit, you or an ally can spend a healing surge.
Armor of Sacrifice 5 Armor Minor (Daily) Spend a healing surge plus an ally regains hit points as if they too spent a healing surge.
Enduring Beast Armor 5 Armor Minor (Daily) Spend a healing surge.
Marauder’s Armor 7 Armor Free (Daily) When you charge and hit, make a saving throw or spend a healing surge. You also regain bonus hit points equal to the armor’s enhancement bonus.
Ravenclaw Warblade 8 Weapon N/A When you kill a non-minion you can spend a healing surge or make a saving throw.
Shield of Defiance 8 Arms Immediate
(Daily) When you’re hit with a crit you can spend a healing surge.
Staff of the
Faithful Arcanist
8 Impliment
Minor (Daily) Use the Cleric’s healing word power. You must have the Initiate of the Faith feat.
Solar Armor 9 Body Immediate
(At-Will) If you take radiant damage you can spend a healing surge. You also regain bonus hit points equal to the armor’s enhancement bonus.
Diamond Cincture 10 Waist Minor (At-Will) Regain hit points as if you had spent a healing surge. The belt’s item bonus is reduced by one. This power recharges after an extended rest.

If you can think of any additional items that allow you to expend a healing surge, please add it in the comments below.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anarkeith November 24, 2009 at 10:58 am

You could also retreat out of melée range and use a missile weapon. I wish D&D parties would consider the orderly retreat or disengage more often. It’s not as heroic as dying, but it is cheaper than a raise dead spell.

In the 4e game in which I’m a player, I’m the cleric. I’ve pretty much maxed out on healing options for my level, and I go through my whole arsenal pretty much every combat. Your list will be quite helpful to my party! Thanks!

2 Alric November 24, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Although it isn’t a permanently-charged item, there is also the lowly Potion of Healing – while it costs a surge and only provides 10 hp (which is often less than a defender’s surge value), it still accounts for something in a pinch, and only requires a minor action to use.
.-= Alric´s last blog ..Let Slip the Dogs of War, Part III =-.

3 Ameron November 24, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Retreat is always an option. Unfortunately few adventurers seem to ever take this option. Unless the opportunity attack that you provoke from fleeing is guaranteed to kill you, don’t be afraid to take a hit if it means surviving the fight.

The healing potion is a readily available, fairly cheap, healing resource. The problem, as you point out, is that only heals 10 hp which seems underpowered as PCs get tougher. But if it’s that or nothing I’ll take the healing potion.

4 Swordgleam November 24, 2009 at 10:55 pm

I’ve noticed people tend to forget that taking a Second Wind is even an option.

5 Ameron December 1, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Amen to that. You should check out the article “I’m Your Cleric, Not Your Bitch” in which we share our Cleric’s reluctance to heal PCs who haven’t used their second wind.

6 Leurnid Hand September 4, 2010 at 11:56 pm

These scenarios are the exact reason I resent 4e with such vigor. Their adoption of standards from MMO’s (they don’t deserve to be called MMORPG’s) have reduced D&D from an RPG back to fantasy combat simulation.

The emphasis of combat roles over critical thinking and team build over teamwork (a subtle difference for some to discern) has caused a total neglect of character development and role-playing. The introduction of various skill and challenge-roll systems in RPGs, D&D in particular, turned it from a flexible and dynamic system into a static system of rolling skill checks, which curiously, was why the old ‘Role Master’ (aka Roll-Master) RPG seemed to fail, even though they had an exclusive gaming licensing on Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

Since 4e has been introduced, I have seen a consistent dumbing down of internet content for D&D, focusing more and more on team build and combat tactics, and less and less on actual role-playing hooks and story archs.

Gygax weeps.

7 Alton September 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

@ Leurnid Hand

I don’t know why some people resent 4th Edition so much. It is a great gaming system, and like every other edition of D&D, has its shortcomings. I have learned over the years, that fun in D&D is not about the system, but the player him/herself. I am currently playing 3 sessions per week. Two sessions are with 4th and one with 3.5.

I personally find that 3.5 is bogged down with the variety it offers. There is a skill check for everything, a feat to counter everything and unbeatable character classes.(Monks and Psions). I enjoy playing the system, allows you to customize your character to what a player wants exactly. But every round seems to be a rule clarification. You almost have to be a librarian to be able to sift all the information in 3.5. Maybe if the system had been supported like 4th, compendium etc… it could have worked. 4th is simple and I find forces a person to do more roleplaying to make their character different. There may not be as much variety(yet), in character creation, but the most memorable characters have been the ones who have been roleplayed and not rollplayed. The DM plays a big factor in D&D enjoyment.

Long and short, D&D is what we(the players) make of the system, and the characters we create come to life on how we play them and not by the system we play.

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