Exploring D&D Party Roles with the Healer

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Our Running D&D Games without Filling Party Roles series continues. This time we look at the healer. When I think healer in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons I think cleric, druid, and maybe bard. Then there’s what I consider the secondary healers of D&D – bard, paladin, and ranger. Notice bard is included in both. Bard is a super versatile character class in D&D and has the ability fill several party roles.

running D&D games cleric party roles
In this illustration the cleric is wielding an iconic weapon for her class, the mace, ready to smash evil or heal her companions. [Art by Mario Pons]

There are many ways of running D&D games

Party roles may be something that never come up in your games. Fifth edition D&D has blurred the lines between the roles more than any other edition. With four other character classes being to heal, other than the cleric, there is a lot of it to go around. That is just in the fifth edition Player’s Handbook.

There are also character classes with self-healing abilities like the fighter’s Second Wind or the monk’s Wholeness of Body. Then there is the ability every character has with their Hit Dice. During a short rest anyone can expend these from a pool to get their hit die plus Constition modifier.

During a long rest everyone gets all their hit points back. All these factors add up to make the healer role the least necessary of the party roles in 5E D&D. In our video we give solutions and alternatives that a traditional healer like a bard, druid, and/or cleric would offer.

What about you? Is a Life Domain cleric the superstar healer in your party or is the team strategy to simply dish out the hurt so quickly that monsters don’t even get a chance to deal too much damage in return? There’s as many approaches to D&D as there are people out there playing and we always enjoy hearing what others have to say. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Is there a Healer in the House – Running D&D Games without Filling Party Roles

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Follow Dave Friant:
My name is Dave Friant I've been gaming off and on for over 27 years. But here is the thing it's always been a part of my life I've kept secret and hidden away. I've always been ashamed of the stigma that gaming and my other nerdy and geeky pursuits summon forth. Recently I decided screw it! This is who I am the world be damned. From now on I'm gonna be a geek, nerd, or however folks want to judge me and just enjoy life. Currently one of my greatest joys is introducing my 13 yr old son to table top RPG's.

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