Sunday, September 15, 2019

3 Bloodlines For Healing With Sorcerers (in Pathfinder)

One of the most common complaints I've heard from players who favor arcane magic is that they dislike that arcane magic can't heal. While there are entire screeds that have been written on the subject of game balance, and keeping certain powers exclusive to certain classes, archetypes, or builds, that frustration still lingers. After all, it's magic... why is there something it can't do?

Well, for those who like to twist and mold things into new and unexpected forms, I figured I'd present the results I've had on this topic. Some of them may be familiar to you, and others strange, but this is what I've come across so far. Hopefully it helps ease some of these frustrations.

Also, if you enjoy this week's advice, you might also get a kick out of 5 Tips For Playing Better Sorcerers!

#1: The Celestial Bloodline

Can you stand before my fire?
This is both the most familiar method of getting healing from a sorcerer, and honestly the least impressive. The Celestial bloodline, which debuted in the original Core Rulebook, grants you Heavenly Fire as your first-level sorcerer bloodline power. It's a ranged touch attack that deal 1d4+1 per 2 sorcerer levels of damage to evil targets, and it heals that much damage for good targets.

At low levels, that can be a seriously potent ability. It's life-saving, in a lot of cases, and it allows your sorcerer to stay out of harm's way as long as they have good-aligned allies on the field. As a spell-like ability, it also triggers feats like Fast Healer, which can give it a little extra oomph, but overall it's pretty weak on its own. There are ways to boost it, such as the monster feats that empower spell-like abilities, but for a lot of players the reward simply isn't worth the investment it takes to jack it up to meaningful potential.

#2: The Unicorn Bloodline

Because a healing arcane caster really is a unicorn.
This bloodline, which dropped in Heroes of Golarion not all that long ago, this is the easiest way to play a healing sorcerer. Unicorn sorcerers get cure spells as part of their bloodline, and as a bonus they can randomly restore bonus hit points to allies they can see whenever they cast a spell. If no one is willing to step up and play a divine caster, then a unicorn-blooded sorcerer is a great, out-of-the-gate replacement as long as someone is comfortable being a healer and party buff for everyone else.

And, of course, adding in metamagic rods and a couple of feats to really juice your healing (Healer's Touch out of the Legacy of Fire Player's Guide comes to mind) can turn you into an absolute support monster.

#3: The Phoenix Bloodline

Hold still... this might sting a bit.
If you've been listening to the gossip round the Internet, you've likely heard of the trick to turn this damage-dealing bloodline into a party heal. But in case you didn't, I'll lay out just what makes the Phoenix bloodline from Heroes of Golarion so much fun.

Your bloodline arcana states that whenever you cast a spell that deals fire damage, you can instead choose to heal targets for half damage. So you could, in theory, drop a fireball on the party and mass heal them. Which, if you maximize and empower it, is going to stack some pretty impressive numbers in a big hurry. Especially if you have the ability to exclude certain squares from your area of effect spells.

What can really unlock your potential, though, is taking a Cross-Blooded sorcerer. Found in Ultimate Magic, a Cross-Blooded sorcerer lets you mesh together two bloodlines, gaining both arcana. By combining the Phoenix bloodline with the Elemental (Fire) bloodline, now you suddenly have access to a wide variety of spells that could all be turned into fire spells... including cantrips! So if Ray of Frost Fire is a great way to avoid spamming wands of Cure Light Wounds to heal up after a tough fight, then this might be just what you've been looking for at your table.

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  1. I always felt it was a lazy excuse, Bards get arcane healing spells, and Sorcerers with a mentor can learn any spell from any class. That being said if ether of those classes took craft scrolls and a Wizard, Arcanists, or Magus got their hands on one they could make a spellcraft check to add it to their spell books.

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