• Justin Handlin

Top 5 Best Healing Subclasses in Dungeons & Dragons

Updated: Mar 24

Elf  healer cleric holding a healing symbol
Art: Compliments of Wizards of the Coast

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Adventuring in Dungeons & Dragons is a life of treacherous mountain passes, deadly beasts, and other dangers that can leave an adventurer near death. This fact makes any and all who can bend magic to seal wounds, cure diseases and remove dark curses a valuable asset. But, which subclass is the best? Cleric of life domain? Divine soul sorcerer? Celestial warlock? Well, in this episode, we've ranked our Top 5 picks and will share our findings and thoughts on the pros and cons of each of our choices.

What are your Top 5 picks? Join us live and share with us your top picks and why.

Unearthed Tips and Tricks!

Character Concept: AK - 911, Warforged

Description: The AK-911 is a tall barrel-chested ironwood creation coated with shiny bronze plates. Attached to each arm are integrated hand-crossbows. Perfect for turning his foes into peppered steak. Their hollow eye socks glow with a sinister red light that can send chills down even an orc chief’s spine.

Personality: Like many mercenaries for hire, they kill to serve. Not being one to be loyal to anyone but good coin. AK is a person of few words. They let one-liner insults do the talking, after their crossbows. “You’re already dead! Just lie down!” Though, AK does tend to enjoy hot mud baths when not bathing in the blood of his enemies.

History: The AK-911 is a warforged construct created during the lost era of a military authoritarian kingdom. AK-911 was part of a commissioned set of warforged to be delivered to a private buyer. Unfortunately, the ship that carried him and his kin was destroyed by a powerful storm. Losing these deadly construct assassins into the world without anyone to control them.

Motivation: AK is a simple construct. Being created for war, that is really all he knows. Thus they push through to complete his purpose. AK isn’t without realizing the cost of battle and the value of a good dead target. Coin is all it takes to earn AK’s loyalty. So long as they get coins for their mud baths. They will do as instructed. But be wary, as soon as a better offer comes along, even if you’re an ally. AK will put an arrow in your back.

Monster Variant: Animess

Origin: Invisible Stalker

Lost Features: invisibility, faultless tracker, slam

New Features:

Damage Resistances acid, fire, lightning, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

Damage Immunities cold, necrotic, poison

Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, grappled, paraliyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained

Damage Vulnerabilities radiant

Incorporeal Movement. The animess can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. It takes 5 (1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside an object.

Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, the animess has disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception checks that rely on sight.

*Note: Creature can make two attacks as part of its multi attack. One with its soul slayer and one with its hands of the wicked.*

Soul Slayer. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 7 (1d8 +3) slashing damage and 13 (3d8) necrotic damage. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or its hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.

Hands of the Wicked. The Animess releases a burst of magical energy from its wicked hands in a 15-foot cone.

  1. Confusion Burst. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw, or it can’t take reactions until the end of its next turn. On its turn, the target can’t move, and it uses its action to make a melee or ranged attack against a randomly determined creature within range. If the target can’t attack, it does nothing on its turn.

  2. Paralyzing Burst. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be paralyzed for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

  3. Fear Burst. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be frightened for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, with disadvantage if the animess is visible to the target, ending the effect on itself on a success.

  4. Scorching Burst. The target must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 16 (3d10) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

  5. Frost Burst. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save the target takes 9 (2d8) cold damage, and has disadvantage on the next weapon attack roll it makes before the end of its next turn. On a successful save the target takes half as much damage and doesn’t have disadvantage on their next attack.

  6. Sleep Burst. The target must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or fall asleep and remain unconscious for 1 minute. The target awakens if it takes damage or another creature takes an action to wake it. This burst has no effect on constructs and undead.

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Encounter: Spare a coin?

While traveling, the characters encounter a lowly beggar. Dirty, scruffy and smells of a latrine. Norman Fortworth approaches any and all adventurers pleading for aid. He admits that he has a gambling problem and has gotten himself into debt with some unsavory thieves guild known as the Slick Picks. They have threatened not his life, but that of his family. He seeks aid from adventurers; he only needs a bit more gold (the exact amount is up to the GM) and he can pay them off. Once he does that, he can happily return home. A character who succeeds on a DC 21 Wisdom (Insight) check notices a slight, near unnoticeable slight tremble in his voice. A common nervous indicator of discomfort, usually associated with dishonesty.

The truth is, Norman is an assassin for hire. He accepted a large job to kidnap a powerful noble mage. He accepted the job without making sure he had the resources to pull off the job. He is now collecting the last bit of coin he needs for oil of taggit, a potent poison that will knock out a person for an entire day while he makes the transaction. If a character who succeeds on a DC 22 Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check can pilfer a small rolled document. A character who can read Thieves' Cant can read the information contained. Inside it is private information on Norman, including his real name, Randall Rondin. A character who succeeds a DC 15 Intelligence (History) check recalls spotting a wanted poster offering a hefty reward if he can be turned into the magistrate alive. No reward if dead.

Magic Item: Frost Lotus

The frost lotus is an icy white and blue six petal flower that grows in frozen tundras. On rare occasions, they can be found at the top of a frozen mountain peak.”

Wondrous, uncommon

When you cast a spell of 1st-level or higher that deals cold damage, you can add the frost lotus to the material components of the spell. If you do, a target that takes cold damage from the spell must succeed a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or have its movement speed reduced by half. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns. Ending the effect on a success. The frost lotus is consumed by the spell.

Dungeon Master Tip: DungeonMorph Cards from Inkwell Ideas

Have you ever had the need to build a dungeon on the fly? Unexpected choices and actions of the characters can often leave us unprepared. In passing, you drop a small tidbit of lore about complex caverns said to be hidden deep under the Swamp of Sorrows. To your surprise, the characters latch on to that. Now they want to seek it out and delve into its deep caverns. What do you do? You haven’t prepared for that? You don’t have a dungeon mapped out. Maybe you just struggle to create fun and complex dungeons Well, Dungeonmorph cards solve these and more issues. These small 2.5” x 2.5” cards have a collection of dungeon rooms and corridors in them. As the characters delve into the dungeon, you can progressively build the dungeon as the characters delve deeper. The mixing and matching design is a quick and easy way to never be unprepared for a dungeon delve again.

Player Tip: Chain Heal

There are clearly many different approaches to take when healing. But, one unique combination really hits home. Let’s talk about the Chain Heal combo.

The Circle of the Stars druid gets access to Starry Form at 2nd level. This allows the user to use their wild shape to take on a luminous and glimmering form. Upon choosing you can pick up a specific constellation form. One of those is called the Chalice. This allows the druid to healing themselves or another ally within 30 feet whenever they cast a spell using a spell slot that restores hit points. Now, choosing a spell such as Healing Word, that heals a target as a bonus action, now heals two targets. We can further take it up a notch by picking up the metamagic Twinned Spell. You can get this either by multiclassing, or by taking the Metamagic Adept feat. Either way, now as a single bonus action, you can heal up to three different targets. Now, go forth and heal!

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