Making Tools Useful In 5e: Healer's Kit
Don’t say it… I already know what you are thinking and I know. Trust me. I know that the Healer’s Kit isn’t a tool, and it has no place in my Making Tools Useful In 5e articles… but I’m here to tell you… I agree wholeheartedly, the only problem is… my players don’t always agree with me… or even the rules on occasion.
For those that don’t care about the nitty-gritty:
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Now, the basis for the Healer’s Kit is that you can expend one of its ten uses to stabilize a dying creature. It’s a great tool for those fighters, barbarians, etc that don’t want to rely on their cleric to finally run up to the front lines and stop their buddies from dying with Spare the Dying… or, you know, using it on the cleric when they begin thinking they can take on that Kobold encampment with only themselves and their god of choice.
It’s a pretty simple tool, and if you want to spend one of your ASI/Feats on it, you can become a little bit better with it by not just stabilizing a dying creature, but by bringing them back up with 1 HP. Which is nice, but it takes your action… and it’s locked behind an ASI/Feat. It’s a pretty steep price to pay during combat, and when leveling up. Though, if you take the Healer feat you can also expend a use to heal a creature 1d6 + 4 + number of creature’s maximum hit dice. Which is useful, but there are better uses of an ASI/Feat unless you are going for flavor… or you are fighter running out of things to take.
Let’s go ahead and peek inside the stock kit before we go any further:
This kit is a leather pouch containing bandages, salves, and splints. The kit has ten uses. As an action, you can expend one use of the kit to stabilize a creature that has 0 hit points, without needing to make a Wisdom (Medicine) check.
I think the basis of the Kit is pretty good. I like that it has uses you can expend for certain things and the components inside of it are pretty good too. We are going to modify that slightly by adding in: antidotes, chemicals, and needles.
We are also going to add in a line about how the Healer’s Kit now counts as a tool you can become proficient in, and it will use your Medicine (Wisdom) skill. Furthermore, we will clarify if you aren’t proficient in the Medicine skill, it will allow you to add your Proficiency Bonus to any check made with your Healer’s Kit.
Procedures uses the knowledge of the would-be healer and allows them to expend uses of their Healer’s Kit to provide healing, buffing or other effects. This system is pretty simple, and relies on the would-be healers to carry healer kits on them to provide a buff… which introduces a low cost for semi-easy buffing and healing. I see most of these Procedures being done outside of combat, but if the party really needs it, you can easily do a few of these things to save someone who could be close to death.
While Procedures are the basic uses of the Healer’s Kit, there are also Advanced Procedures that require more skill and more uses of your kit. By taking a gamble and making it harder to accomplish the effect, you can create a longer lasting effect that will really showcase how awesome you are at this Healing thing… even better than that silly cleric who has to ask their god’s permission before they start passing out the hitpoints.
Now, I didn’t want to step on the toes of the Healer feat too much with the Healer’s Kit… but I also couldn’t help but think that that feat could be put to good use. Not only does it allow us to reward those that spend that ASI/Feat on it, it also allows us to do a bit more with the Healer’s Kit and still let those that take the feat get a lot of bang for their buck.
The Healer Feat will provide added bonuses to your buffs, or they’ll reduce how many uses you must expend, or lower the DC. Each Procedure can benefit from a well trained Healer, and the Advanced Procedures also benefit from them as well. Along with that, now your fellow teammates also benefit from it by being able to be treated twice with one of your Procedures between short or long rests.
The Procedures I have created for the Healer’s Kit mirrors a lot of the divine magic that Clerics and Druids get, and I think it’s appropriate for that. While I don’t imagine too many barbarians are going to pick up this tool, I can imagine fighters grabbing this tool. It allows them to roleplay out a battlefield medic, and it gives them a few more things that could boost themselves during those tough combats… and I always like my fighters to have a bit more to do than just… I hit it harder.
So that’s that. A quick and easy tool you can throw into your game to increase the heals, give a purpose for taking the Healer feat and put the Healer’s Kit in its rightful place… as one of the tools of DnD, cause if Pottery is a tool in DnD, healing someone is sure as hell a tool and a tool you should be proficient in!