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Building Blocks 38: Skills 4

Skills 4:

Heal

Ability Modifier: wisdom

Active/Passive: heal has both active and passive uses. Healing someone is active but the benefits from resting are passive.

Class skill for: cleric, Druid, favored soul, paladin, ranger

Untrained use? Yes

Armor check penalty? No

Feat modifiers: self sufficient and mark of healing +2

What it represents: your skill as a (natural, non-magical) healer.  This ranges from basic first aid (low skill) to a brain surgeon (hopefully high skill).

How it affects gameplay: as an active skill heal can be used to stabilize another character if they are incapacitated and, if successful, will boost them up to 1 hit point rendering them conscious.  The DC for this action is 20.

As a passive skill heal will give you extra hit points after shrining, provided you aren’t warforged (they get the same benefit from the repair skill).  When you shrine you benefit from the heal skill of character with the highest skill in the vicinity.

Heal is very rarely used as an optional “dialog” option.

Also, new with update ?, the heal skill adds to your positive and negative spell power at a rate of 1 to 1.

Special considerations: reviving an incapacitated character requires a heal kit.  If the heal kit has a +# bonus then that is applied to the skill roll.

Who likes it: while every adventurer likes to be healthy, this is a world of magic and natural healing has no place here.  Only those with magical healing find this skill useful.

How much should you have? Unless you have healing or negative energy spells, none. Not a single skill point.

Using the heal skill to revive an incap character during combat is rarely feasible and even when it is it only puts them at 1 hps.  Ay experienced adventurer will tell you that standing up from incap is an invitation to get hit some more, and when you only have 1 hps that usually ends in death since most attacks do more than 10 damage.  Even if you need to use this method, you can retry as many times as you please provided you do not run out of heal kits and your patient does not die.  Mercifully there is no critical fail on heal checks (though if you are a role player, make sure to play the pain involved with having an untrained medic poking you in your battle wounds and shoving your innards back in).

Additionally, it is much easier and faster to use some sort of healing on incap characters.  This would include scrolls, wands, spells and clickies. I actually always carry some sort of healing if my character is capable of this.  For UMD toons that’s a wand or a scroll.  For my paladin and ranger that means having a random cure spell prepared (I can almost always find a spell level where this is feasible) but if I can’t manage that they can use wands too (which I also have in case they have no spell points left).  If these aren’t options the are 2 items that always drop as end reward lists from the Korthos Island explorer area quests: the curative cloak (cure light wounds clicky) and the bracers of aid (aid clicky).  You can even use spells that increase constitution (rage) or grant temporary hit points (aid and greater heroism) to give a character enough hit points to stand up.  None of these options require a timing bar which the heal skill does.

At shrines the healing derived from the heal skill pales in comparison of using potions or extra healer spell points and character abilities like lay on hands (that they would lose anyway when they shrine).  This benefit of the heal skill is at most the difference between 1-2 cure serious potions which are not terribly expensive (and every character should be carrying if they don’t have the reliable ability to cast heal spells – ie healing classes).

It is worth noting that you can use temporary boosts to skills to increase your heal skill before you shrine.  These temporary effects wear off after you regain hit points from shrining.  So feel free to use a skill boost or that extra heroism clicky you were saving.

Now if you are someone who can cast healing or negative spells you might consider this skill.  Clerics, Druids, and favored souls don’t exactly have a lot of useful skills that they are looking to invest in other than concentration and you can spend up to 23 skill points which grants 23 spell power.  Considering that these classes are likely to have many other sources of spell power, the heal skill will represent less overall impact on their healing ability but they are also more likely to go all out on the heals so an extra 23 spell power isn’t likely to go to waste and that’s hard to counter argue. 

Rangers and paladins will find they get more of an impact from the heal skill since they aren’t as likely to have as many other sources of positive spell power.  At the same time they aren’t as likely to rely very heavily on their healing spells except when soloing. The thing to remember here is if your cure spell only grants a base of 40 hit points you will only get around 10 extra hit points from the heal skill which isn’t a lot.  Your skill point probably have better uses.

Bards and pale masters can benefit from the heal skill and both tend to have a lot of skill points to spend.  However neither has the heal skill as a class skill and thus can only get 11 spell power from 23 ranks in the skill – not a fantastic deal.  Still, if you have a load of skill points this isn’t a bad place to spend them. 

The idea here is that the higher amount of “damage” your positive and negative spells do (ie the heal spell or mass cures) the greater benefit you will get from this skill.  Single target cure spells other than heal just don’t get as much bang for the buck (you get more from a heal scroll base amount) so if that’s your only positive spells I wouldn’t worry about the heal skill.  Remember, heal is the biggest positive spell and it only does 100 points of “damage.”

 

Hide

Ability Modifier: dexterity

Active/Passive: passive – activated by using the “sneak” feat

Class skill for: bard, monk, ranger, and rogue

Untrained use? Yes

Armor check penalty? Yes

Feat modifiers: stealthy and mark of shadow +2

What it represents: your ability to move unseen by others.

How it affects gameplay: when being sneaky this skill represents how difficult it is for monsters to see you and is compared to the monsters’ spot skill.  Your effectiveness at hiding is indicated by the number of “eyes” that appear next to your character. Fewer eyes means you are more hidden while more eyes means your efforts are in vain.

Special considerations: positioning and environment do matter while trying to hide.  A monster’s line of sight or visual arc makes you more likely to be spotted as does moving in areas that are well lit.  Distance also plays a factor.  If you want to be more sneaky, stick to the shadows and walls.

The ranger class feat “hide in plain sight” makes you better at hiding even in daylight treating you as 2 “eyes” better.

Being invisible gives you a +20 to your hide skill while moving.

This skill is typically used in conjunction with the skill “move silently.”  If a monster has already noticed you sneaking will have no effect.

Size matters, for each size lower than medium you are you get +4 (halflings are small, which is 1 size less than medium, and thus get +4). For each size larger than medium you are you get -4 to hide.  Halflings are the only current player race that is not medium.

Who likes it: rogues in general and stealth builds in particular.  Also, people who leave their phones on in a theatre/church/etc.

How much should you have? Assassin rogues will need at least some hide so that they can effectively perform assassinations.  Rogues typically have plenty of skill points to accommodate this.

Some players enjoy using stealth tactics and there are several quests where stealth is encouraged and extra Optionals exist.  Such builds will of course take as much stealth as they can get.

Most gameplay moves to quickly for a large amount of stealth though and most players simply use invisibility in place of it for similar results.  There are some tactics that utilize sneaking to pull monsters without pulling other trash, however in most of these cases even a character without hide or move silently can achieve the desired results.

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