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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    theMycon's Avatar

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    Default [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Hey,

    So I joined a game this week as a pickup character. I took the missing player's level 2 Str based Cleric, dragonborn. Fun as heck to play, and he had just barely enough healing to get us all through the first encounter alive- everyone bloodied, I'm out of healing except my at-will "recovery strike". We were all down to 1 or 2 surges left, this was apparently the third combat o the in-game day.

    I'd like to make my own character, a Bard, because I love them. However, considering a cleric's healing was barely enough to keep us alive through the first encounter (2 strikers, a controller*, a sorc "half and half" strike-control, and me), I'm afraid the Bard simply won't be enough. I think the highest AC of the group was a 17.

    Can a Bard (lvl 2) possibly be enough healing for a group of such flash-bang like tactics? If so, how?

    Thank you all in advance!
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    I noticed that you don't have a defender. Not having one increases the amount of damage that the party takes, which in turn increases the amount of healing needed to go on. Bards can handle the healing requirements, though having someone else play a defender will help keep healing requirements down.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    The lack of defender is certainly less than optimal. If you want to be a bard, I recommend a cunning bard so you can pull your allies out of the fire, although without a defender to keep the denial going, it may be a bit touch and go at time.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    I agree with Joseph Silver. The defender really helps lessen the over all damage done to a party. In standard build parties the bard is more than adequate to heal, and the bonus is he is more than just a healbot in that instance. I would say give it a shot, and work with the partyís coordination so that they learn to manage the damage they take. Focus fire, positioning, and self healing can all help mitigate the issue. What we donít know is the encounter level your DM is throwing at you. If all three encounters are N+2 then yeah you should be in trouble. Unfortunately what your party might need is a healbot and those arenít the most fun characters to play.

    Chris

    edit: and what Kylarra said!
    Last edited by Spooner6; 2010-05-06 at 11:00 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5

    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    I disagree, the way OP describes his party, being a Valor Bard would help his party substantially more than a Cunning Bard.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Bards can be effective as the sole Leader, just not quite as good at healing as a Cleric. But that's not the Bard's fault, as nobody heals like the Cleric.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Homeslice View Post
    I disagree, the way OP describes his party, being a Valor Bard would help his party substantially more than a Cunning Bard.
    Well it would depend on what his two strikers are I suppose. Valor is nice, but much more situational. The biggest bonus is warsong strike, which is, admittedly, a good reason to be one if healing is an issue.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Out of the box, a bard is not much of a healer. I've seen a couple bards now assume they'll heal because they're the leader. It doesn't work. I *think* they can be built for it, but I don't know the class well enough to be sure.

    Oddly enough a paladin can be a decent healer. Wisdom controls how many lay on hands they can do per day. They've got a few decent temp HP powers too. I suggest this because it would also fill the defender role that your group is lacking.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Artanis's Avatar

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    I agree with Kylarra that it depends on what those two strikers are.


    Regardless of that though, one thing that comes to mind is that the Bard is a secondary controller. It may be possible to play that up enough to reduce a bit of the need for healing. After all, an enemy who's blind, crippled, and tied down isn't going to be doing as much damage as one that's running free.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Yeah I think a Bard's okay but honestly, if you're ready to switch to make the group more effective, talk one of your strikers into switching to a Tempest Fighter, Ardent Paladin, or a different high damage Defender, since they obviously like to deal damage.

    From what I can see of your party make up you really need one.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    The bard does have limits as a healer as the amount of healing a Bard can do is not determined by any ability scord. Majestic Word can be used twice per encounter and that is it until level 16. You will also need maxed-out Charisma for it to be more effective, but that's usually a given anyway if you're a Bard.
    With Song of Rest, Bards are very effective with out of combat healing too as it stacks with itself.
    Valourous Bard will give you Virtue of Valour, but make sure your Con is good.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    I personaly agree with a previous statement and reccomend you play a Paladin. Heavy armor, big sword, and better healing. Just make yourself a little less STR and more Con/Cha and you can make a great defender/healer.

    Or, you could, you know, just tweak the other dude's Str Cleric, if you had so much fun playing as it

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Katana_Geldar's Avatar

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Healing palys need good Wisdom too.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Bards can totally heal, you just have to build for healing. In our party, our bard is the main healer and he does just fine. That said, it's a real big party (6-8 PCs) and he has help (A Bravura Warlord), but he does the lion's share of the healing.

    Things he's done:

    1. Multiclassing as Cleric or Warlord also wouldn't hurt to give you an extra 1/day heal. Heck, you're a bard, so do both if you have the feats and skill prereqs.

    2. At any given level, take the healing or damage negation power available to you, if any. Party favorites are the "Hit Point Pinata" (Stirring Shout) and the "Deluxe Hit Point Pinata" (Saga of Vengeance) Daily powers. These are especially good if you have multi attackers in the party.

    3. Being a half-elf can get you an encounter heal at-will from another class. At Paragon, you can make it at-will with Versatile Master. With Combat Virtuoso, it will function off of Charisma. Plus, Half-elves get Charisma and Constitution, both solid Bard stats.

    4. In short, if it gives a bonus or an option for healing, take it. Everywhere else, take whichever power work off of your chosen build. Our Bard goes Cunning, and a few of us are taking Agile Opportunist for some free melee basics when we're missed or healed. Other options would be just as good, I'm sure.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Excession's Avatar

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Multiclass Ardent is easier for most Bards if you want the extra once-per-day heal, because the pre-req Cha. The heal starts at surge value + 1d6, so it's not underpowered or anything. Ardent also has some useful Dilettante options.

    Also you can use multiclass Ardent to pick up training in Endurance, then choose the skill power "Inspiring Fortitude" as your level 2 utility. Once per day when you use your second wind, all allies in close burst 5 gain 10 + your Con mod temp hit points. For some characters, that's going to be near half their health pool at level 2.

    I threw together this build, and I don't think it's much worse than a battle cleric. It might even be better, especially if you're playing with the updated Healer's Lore.

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    Erik, level 2
    Half-Elf, Bard
    Build: Valorous Bard
    Bardic Virtue: Virtue of Valor

    FINAL ABILITY SCORES
    Str 11, Con 18, Dex 10, Int 13, Wis 8, Cha 18.

    STARTING ABILITY SCORES
    Str 11, Con 16, Dex 10, Int 13, Wis 8, Cha 16.


    AC: 18 Fort: 15 Reflex: 14 Will: 16
    HP: 35 Surges: 11 Surge Value: 8

    TRAINED SKILLS
    Arcana +7, Religion +7, Streetwise +10, Bluff +10, Diplomacy +12, Endurance +9

    UNTRAINED SKILLS
    Acrobatics +1, Dungeoneering +1, Heal +1, History +3, Insight +3, Intimidate +6, Nature +1, Perception +1, Stealth +1, Thievery +1, Athletics +1

    FEATS
    Bard: Ritual Caster
    Level 1: Improved Majestic Word
    Level 2: Fervent Talent

    POWERS
    Bard at-will 1: Staggering Note
    Bard at-will 1: War Song Strike
    Dilettante: Focusing Strike
    Bard encounter 1: Shout of Triumph
    Bard daily 1: Verse of Triumph
    Bard utility 2: Inspiring Fortitude

    ITEMS
    Ritual Book, Chainmail, Adventurer's Kit, Longsword, Light Shield, Wand Implement, Lute
    RITUALS
    Glib Limerick, Traveler's Chant

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    My party did amazingly well thanks to the surprising healing abilities of our Bard and Paladin. The Cleric did okay, but she'd often forego healing in order to focus more on combat. The Bard would dole out Temp HP like it was candy, and coupled with his actual Healing powers and backpack full of potions, the man was a monster healbot. The Paladin gave out Temp HP like crazy, too, but it was usually focused on himself. Between the two of them, the party managed to make it from level 1 to 4 without ever losing a character. Heck, only one guy ever got dropped to 0 HP, and it was only for one round!

    Then the party split, right before the climactic BBEG battle. The story demanded it, of course, since the Paladin had a rival to fight, but the rest of the team thought they could handle themselves. And they should have been able to...

    The Bard was the first to die.

    He exhausted all his healing abilities, spent all his Surges, and missed his last attack to recorver Temp HP. And the Cleric forgot she still had a Healing Word use left...


    The moral of this story is: Bards and Paladins actually make amazing healers. Just make sure someone is there to heal you when you run out of Healy Dealies...
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Except doesn;t the healing word requires the target tos pend a surge, the bard would have dropped even if the cleric remembered. Pally's lay on hands would have worked.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Titan in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Hm. Actually, I think the Bard had Surges left, but no way to use them. Or something. I dunno, it was weeks ago...


    Either way, he was a good healer. The life of the party, so to speak.

    Which is why I made the Daemon try to eat him.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Quote Originally Posted by cupkeyk View Post
    Except doesn;t the healing word requires the target tos pend a surge, the bard would have dropped even if the cleric remembered. Pally's lay on hands would have worked.
    This is true for every "healing word" esque power spends a healing surge EXCEPT the artificer's. If you have a party low on surges, look towards Eberron sir.

    Alternatively, if you play the Cunning Bard, MULTICLASS ARTIFICER. They have one of the best Healing feats, second in my opinion only to Pacifist Healer. It's called Potent Restorables, and get this, it scales, bro. It scales!

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lycan 01 View Post
    Hm. Actually, I think the Bard had Surges left, but no way to use them. Or something. I dunno, it was weeks ago...


    Either way, he was a good healer. The life of the party, so to speak.

    Which is why I made the Daemon try to eat him.
    Perfectly common actually: you have used up both majestic words and your second wind.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    Quote Originally Posted by DragonBaneDM View Post
    This is true for every "healing word" esque power spends a healing surge EXCEPT the artificer's. If you have a party low on surges, look towards Eberron sir.
    The Artificer healing ability does require someone to spend a healing surge, just not when the power is activated. The infusions need to be recharged during short rests, but since anyone can lend their healing surge to do it it lets the artificer spread things around so that Squishy McGee doesn't wind up out of healing surges while the more hardy PCs still have a good amount left.

    Alternatively, if you play the Cunning Bard, MULTICLASS ARTIFICER. They have one of the best Healing feats, second in my opinion only to Pacifist Healer. It's called Potent Restorables, and get this, it scales, bro. It scales!
    Alas, Potent Restorables only applies to Artificer healing powers. Unless you're full Artificer it isn't really worth taking.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    You can't quite see that your group ended a session low on hp/surges and conclude you need "more healing."

    Perhaps the fact that you ended up low on hp and surges was that you didn't have enough striking power to kill enemies before they can inflict a lot of damage.

    Perhaps it's because you didn't have a fat defender negating most of the damage dealt by his high defenses and powerful surges.

    Perhaps it's because your controller wasn't doing effective things to negate the enemy's ability to fight.

    Perhaps your group had bad luck.

    Perhaps your DM was throwing more powerful enemies at the party because the party is actually much powerful than the standard.

    What I'm saying is, there are a lot of factors that could make a group end a session low on hp. Don't look at the situation and think you need more healing, try to ask yourself what the group might be doing wrong to make them - very simply put - "less effective."

    To start, I'll echo the rest of the people in this thread and point out that your group has 2.5 strikers and 1.5 controllers (strictly, 3 striker and 1 controller) without you. In this case, and I profess not to be an expert in 4e, so take this with a grain of salt, Valorous Bard could be very effective, since you could usually count on your strikers to hit and gain hp from warsong strike. As well, the temp HP your allies gain from your abilities is set by your constitution, not their (I assume weak) hp total.
    It always amazes me how often people on forums would rather accuse you of misreading their posts with malice than re-explain their ideas with clarity.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    I played a prescient archer bard to great effect as a healer. Trick is to make sure you focus on damage negation and prevention in addition to actual healing. Preventing is the net same as healing.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: [4e] Can a bard be effective as The Party Healer?

    I second (or maybe the third, fourth) the idea that what your party needs is not another leader but your first defender. A defenderless party will see more people dropping since the leaders will be tanking and those strikers will be drawing aggro. A sticky defender bottlenecks damage to ensure survivability for everyone.
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