Healing Personified (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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Introduction

A cleric using only core material can make a passable healer sufficient for most adventuring parties. However, with carefully selected feats and a couple of prestige classes, your healing spells can far surpass the normal limits.

References

Heroes of Battle (combat medic)
Complete Divine (augment healing, sacred boost, sacred healing)
Races of the Wild (magic of the land)
Dragon Magic (initiate of tamara)
Player's Handbook II (sacred healing)
Complete Champion (touch of healing)

Game Rule Components

Race and Templates

Any with the dragonblood subtype

Classes

Cleric, Hierophant, Combat Medic

Feats

Augment healing, sacred boost, magic of the land, initiate of tamara, sacred healing (Player's Handbook II), sacred healing (Complete Divine), touch of healing

Spells, Powers, Items

All spells of the healing subschool, particularly cure spells

Progression

Starting scores using the elite array: str 8, dex 13, con 14, int 10, wis 15, cha 12

ECL Class/HD/LA Feats Special
1st cleric 1 augment healing
2nd cleric 2
3rd cleric 3 heighten spell
4th cleric 4
5th cleric 5
6th cleric 5 / combat medic 1 magic of the land healing kicker (sanctuary)
7th cleric 5 / combat medic 2 defensive casting, field healer
8th cleric 5 / combat medic 3 healing kicker (reflex saves)
9th cleric 5 / combat medic 4 initiate of tamara evasion
10th cleric 5 / combat medic 5 healing kicker (aid), spontaneous heal
11th cleric 6 / combat medic 5
12th cleric 7 / combat medic 5 sacred healing (player's handbook 2)
13th cleric 8 / combat medic 5
14th cleric 8 / combat medic 5 / hierophant 1 faith healing
15th cleric 8 / combat medic 5 / hierophant 2 sacred healing (complete divine) divine reach
16th cleric 8 / combat medic 5 / hierophant 3 divine reach
17th cleric 9 / combat medic 5 / hierophant 3
18th cleric 10 / combat medic 5 / hierophant 3 touch of healing
19th cleric 11 / combat medic 5 / hierophant 3
20th cleric 12 / combat medic 5 / hierophant 3

Highlights

There are many feats that boost your healing spells based on their spell level. With this build, you combine that with the heighten spell feat to optimize the hit points healed. Magic of the land requires a successful knowledge (nature) check, so I'd recommend investing skill points in that beyond what's required for prerequisites. To help with the divine feats, you might want to be the silverbrow human race from dragon magic and invest your racial bonus feat into extra turning.

Munchkin-Size Me

Side Notes

The hierophant levels are optional and can easily be replaced by three more cleric levels. I included them because I felt like this build needed a way to keep out of melee combat, and the faith healing is helpful in any case (though severely limited due to the alignment restriction).

(Note by Heathsama): The Combat Medic isn't bad, but if you are really looking for a true Healing Personified, replace Combat Medic with Radiant Servant of Pelor. This does require you to be NG, but by level 15 all of your healing spells are empowered and maximized, and you don't even need to waste the feats (or spell slots) on getting those. And as an added bonus, you are also the complete bane of undead, being able to do greater turning several times a day and completely destroying undead. I would suggest this any day over a Combat Medic.

(Note on Radiant Servant), The Empower, Maximize, and Supreme Healing class features apply only to the spell occupying the domain spell slot. There was a long debate over this in the Wizards Gleemax forums, which was ended when Wizards Customer service was contacted, and subsequently verified that these features apply only to one spell of each spell level which were prepared at the beginning of the day, assuming Healing spells were prepared. Thus a Radiant Servant of Pelor only gets one cure light, one cure moderate, one cure serious, and one heal spell under this effect.
Way back in 3.0 i personally contacted the same CS rep(Trevor) 3 times on one subject(monk two-weapon fighting and flurry, and the sentence "a monk does not have an off-hand") and got 3 different answers, so this may or may not solve the problem. If it has errata, that will though --Ganre 04:53, 27 March 2009 (MDT)

Limitations

(Note by Edwin): One often-overlooked drawback of Faith Healing (this goes for Radiant Servant of Pelor as well) is that it also inherits the drawbacks of the metamagic ability: It turns spontaneously casted cure spells into full-round actions, so they will only benefit the target next round (clarification from custserv). To make the most of the class you need to prepare a bunch of cure spells. That way you avoid taking full-round actions, but you also severly cripple the versatility of the class. Nevertheless if you want to be the ultimate healer, it is a fair sacrifice.

At level 14, where this build gets faith healing, the importance of cure spells is waning, and Heal is starting to take over for combat healing. Faith Healing has no effect on Heal (since it lacks a variable effect).

By level 20, you are down 3 9th-level spells, 2 8th-level spells, a 7th-level spell and a 5th-level spell, compared to a straight Cleric. And while your caster level is still 20, that is still a heavy price to pay.

It may make the spell a full-round action, but that is different from having a 1-round casting time. A full-round action spell takes effect immediately. You are thinking of a 1-round casting time, which does take effect with the caster's next turn. Also, I haven't touched this build in a long time, so when I do get around to it my optimization abilities will be much better than when I first made it. --Daniel Draco 20:27, 10 November 2008 (MST)
You're right, missed that paragraph. --Edwin 21:20, 10 November 2008 (MST)

DM Counters

(Note by Edwin): Make sure the player doesn't cheat with spontaneously casted cure spells. Metamagic abilities (like the Hierophant's Faith Healing or the Radiant Servant of Pelor's Supreme Healing) turn spontaneously casted spells into full-round actions. Use this to keep the player off balance: Swich between encounters that require a wide range of divine utility spells, and encounters where heavy healing is needed. When it is hard to determine how many cure spells are required for the day, the effect of Faith Healing and Supreme Healing are minimised.

If the healer prefers to stay back from the action and cast healing spells at range, use spells that block his line of effect, such as Wall of Force, or traps that for instance closes a door in his face. After a few encounters, the healer should have learnt to keep up.

Actually, none of the healing-focused prestige classes are truly all that powerful, so don't be too hard on the player.

Miscellaneous

(Note by Gniess): Great idea. Unfortunately, you forgot to consider that the Combat Medic Prestige Class requires prerequisite Dodge and Combat Casting Feats which means you'll need to start getting healing feats at level 6 instead of level 1 (unless you're taking Human as your race or you're using some variants in your campaign)

 


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