There are a lot of roles out there that are very fun to play. Most of us prefer to play the action oriented damage dealing sorts. I was not surprised when we put together our first 4th edition party everyone (and I do mean everyone) chose a strike role for their first character. I was also likewise not surprised when they all decided this was a bad idea and started mixing it up a bit.
One of the main problems was nobody wanted to be the healer. Being the healer isn’t always very glamorous. You don’t generally get to dish out tons of damage. You aren’t always in the thick of things. In short it isn’t a role that appeals to everyone.
Playing a fun healer means having fun with your role. The role of a healer has more to do with the other players than any other role. By definition you must interact with the other players. This means that from the start you should be planning those interactions more than the ones with the NPC’s. If your focus is on destroying the enemy you will always come in second to a well honed striker of some other class.
As far as builds go you have a couple of choices, but two main ones. Are you going to be good at healing or are you going to be awesome at healing. Either way doesn’t much matter because like I said before it has more to do with how you plan to interact with the other players to determine the amount of fun you have. I would recommend being as good at healing as you possibly can because it will make your in-game actions more significant most often.
Now, when you perform an action, most of the time it will be performed on another player. Not always, of course, but certainly more often than not. So the question of “fun” becomes one of how, why, and when you perform those actions. In general it is “fun” to save someone from the brink of death. It is also fun to boost your friend just enough so that he can deal the final blow and save the party. So play to maximize your chances of doing these fun things.
I also find it fun to talk and interact with the other players. Role playing makes this fun. Pretending to be a devote priestess might mean making it clear that you will not heal those who perform evil acts without penance. So that rogue who kept a bit more than his share might need to show some sorrow (and give the money back) before you waste your goddess’ precious power on him. This could be as simple as choosing to heal a different ally each round before finally consenting to save his life or it could be much more blatant and extreme. Or maybe your character really is neutral and dispenses healing equally to enemies who surrender without questioning their motives.
The PHB does not allow for rules regarding much more mercenary healers who use their powers only for wages. It is assumed that a healer will perform these actions as a natural course of adventure in return for her share of the loot, but it is not impossible to imagine a situation where a healer holds a party for ransom at a particularly dangerous stage, refusing to use a powerful spell until an additional share of the treasure is agreed upon.
Whatever you decide to do, mold your healer to the characters around you and you won’t be disappointed. Just being the guy who hangs in the back and says you regain X HP once in a while probably won’t be as much fun. Being the character in the party that everyone wants to please because his powers are unique and useful tends to be more fun.
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