Saturday, April 13, 2013

Healing in a Party Without Clerics

A frequently heard refrain is that an adventuring party lacking clerics and druids or any healing classes for that matter, is doomed to failure or will need to rest far too frequently. In some respects this may be true, however it is not always the case, and sometimes it leads to some very interesting play.

Jumping once again into the wayback machine, we set it for 1998, destination, my old 2nd edition homebrewed campaign in the region around the city of Skaflin.

The 6 member party consisted originally of two fighters, a fighter/wizard built similar to a Paladin (served a god of magic and the sun), a fighter/thief, and two wizards. Eventually some changes in players and thus characters happened, leading first to a third wizard joining, a fighter leaving the party, and then a druid joined and later after converting to 3rd edition, for a brief couple of adventures a cleric, followed by a thief and a ranger. At peak size for one adventure they numbered 8, though the typical party size was 7.

What the group lacked in healing, they made up for in meat shields and magical capability. The players running the wizards always came up with ingenious uses for spells and the melee specialists took care of the rest.

While they did their share of bleeding, the party managed to keep on the move, never having to rest for too long. I was not overly generous with healing scrolls, potions, or wands, so I attribute the success of the party to player decision making and occasional bouts of good luck.

At the time I had no house rule for healing kits or shattering shields absorbing damage like I currently prefer to use in play. I really enjoyed that period of play, watching as my players intelligently approached difficulties creatively. It gives me pause for thought when preparing for an eventual new campaign . . . what rules should be included.

Anyone care to share what experiences they've had in healer less or limited healing parties?

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