The healer is a staple of the standard dungeoneering party. Traditionally, they need to be able to keep the party alive while the tank absorbs damage and the rest of the group picks off enemies. With the stamina system in starfinder, the role of a dedicated healer is no longer a requirement. Players can take care of approximately 50% of their healing by just taking a 10 minute rest and spending a Resolve Point. Party healers no longer need to be laser focused on healing, but instead can dip into supplemental assistance like buffs/debuffs, battlefield control, or even damage. Nevertheless, healers are still a welcome addition to the party.
With that in mind, let’s look at the abilities and gear that we can use to make the most effective healer.
Please Note that these will not be complete character builds. I have only focused on abilities that will improve healing capabilities. In most situations, maximizing for healing still leaves lots of room for you to add your own twist to the character.
Don’t discount the medicine skill! It can be a great help to supplement your healing (especially for the Biohacker). By the time you get advanced medkits, your medicine skill will likely be high enough that you will almost always restore at least 1HP/level with Treat Deadly Wounds (DC 20 with an adv medkit, DC 25 with regular). That’s 20% of a technomancer’s total HP, or 14% of a soldier’s!
Advanced Medkits can also be turned into a single-person medical lab with 10 minutes of work. The rules are fuzzy on whether this is a single-person at a time (in which case we could do this on everyone in the party given enough time), or a single person per day, or something else entirely. But for purposes of our calculations we’re going to say that this can only be done once per day. This effectively allows us to treat deadly wounds 1 additional time per day.
On top of treating deadly wounds 1-2 times per day, you also have access to long term care. This can turn the 1hp/level from a standard nights rest into 2HP/level (DC 30) or 3HP/level (DC 40). If instead the player takes 24 hours of bedrest to heal 2HP/level, you can double that to 4HP/level (DC 30) or 6HP/level (DC 40). Combine that with Treat Deadly Wounds, and you’ve just fully healed that player with nothing but time and a couple skill rolls.
Don’t discount 10-minute rests either! Being able to recover all lost stamina for 1 Resolve Point is incredibly good.
Realistically these builds can be done with any race. Try to avoid races with a negative in INT since that will impact your medicine skill. However there is one race I am aware of that specifically offers healing of allies, so I will call it out here.
Entu Colony. With Tactical Symbiosis, once per day you can heal an ally by twice your character level. An extra 2HP per level of healing isn’t game-changing, but it’s a helpful little boost.
When making a healer, there are 3 main options: Biohacker, Envoy, or Mystic. That’s not to say these are the only classes you can make as a healer. All classes can potentially put skill ranks into medicine, but these three have additional abilities to really take it to the next level. And all 3 have different methods of keeping the party alive. Mystic focuses on powerful HP healing, and does so with dumptruck-loads of healing capable to a single target. Biohacker keeps the party topped off during rest periods, and Envoy tries to keep the party from ever reaching HP in the first place, instead mostly healing stamina.
I couldn’t write a guide to healers without mentioning the Medic Archetype. This archetype is great because it can allow you to minimize waste when topping off a character’s HP. However you will be making some sacrifices in order to do it.
If you’re a Biohacker, you’ll lose a couple theorems, and a use of spark of ingenuity. The spark of ingenuity is probably the most detrimental, but in terms of maximizing healing potential, the only downside to taking Medic is this will push back your acquisition of Field Dressing from level 2 to level 4, limiting your healing potential until that point.
If you’re an Envoy, you lose 2 improvisations and a skill expertise. Since you get an improvisation at level 1, you won’t suffer in the early levels as much as the biohacker from taking this archetype.
If you’re a mystic, you lose one spell per day of your highest level, you lose a feat (or healing touch, but don’t do that!), and you will never gain your 18th level connection power. For a mystic, you can take it or leave it. Losing a use of mystic cure per day will reduce your total healing potential, but healing touch is going to be your main source of healing anyway. On the other hand, by 9th level you can make up for it with the improvement Medic grants to Treat Deadly Wounds. Speaking of treating deadly wounds…
Max possible HP per player at level 5 is 35 HP
This is important to consider because if we can achieve 7HP/level of healing, we can fully heal any character (not including health from race which becomes increasingly irrelevant as you level). Healing a party of 4 soldiers would be 140 HP (but considering the typical party dynamic, you’re looking at something closer to 120 HP)
- Party of 4
- 21 INT (or 21 in key ability score, and 16 in INT)
- Theme grants +1 to medicine
- The party had some tough combats, everyone took 2 rests (also showed calculations for 5 rests, but that is probably not common)
- If a class fuels their healing with Resolve Points, you spend half (rounded up) on heals
Studious Biohacker is the superior healer when attempting to restore HP, especially if you take the Medic Archetype. Since your primary form of healing is the Field Dressing theorem, you’ll need to take studious or you’re relegated to only healing stamina. But don’t sleep on Instinctive Biohacker either. This build can be done with instinctive biohackers, but you’ll need to be more proactive about keeping your allies from falling into their HP. They are also able to remove various conditions, which is a great thing for a healer to have in their toolkit.
Take the Cybermedicine Field of Study (Tech Revolution p.20). This booster grants your allies an extra 50% healing when they heal HP from any source, up to your key ability modifier (+6 for this build). This works great with fast healing 2+ or any other small heal over time. It even works with healing serums!
You’ll want to take Field Dressing as your first theorem (lv 2, or lv 4 if you went with Medic Archetype). This is your strongest heal. It is effectively a free healing serum, usable once per player per 10 minute rest to regain stamina points. This is perfect, because you know they are only taking 10-minute rests if they are actually hurt. With Field Dressing, if they got knocked a little into their HP in that last fight, you can top them off. When you hit level 14, make sure you take Greater Field Dressing to keep your heals from falling behind the curve.
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that I missed a critical stipulation on Field Dressing. It can only be used a number of times per day equal to your key ability modifier. I must say I’m very disappointed that this is the case, it quite clearly makes biohacker the worst healer of the builds I have here. I have updated the calculations.
21 INT (or 21 WIS/16 INT for instinctive)
Field Dressing theorem
Cybermedicine field of study.
Tailored Serums feat
Treat Deadly Wounds: +17 Medicine = 25% success (7HP), 65% great success (15HP) = 11.5/person = 46 HP /day
Advanced Medkit = 11.5 HP /day
Field Dressing = 12.75 HP/person/rest = 38.25/person (51 per rest) = 76.5 HP per day
Single Target potential: 61.25
Full party potential: 99.5
Mystic (Healer) 5
The traditional healer build for Starfinder. The advantage is the ability to place the heals exactly where they are needed, none of their primary heals hold the “per person” limitation, making it great for situations where one player will be tanking literally all the damage.
Technically you could drop Lifelink in favor of Empowered Healing Touch. Which one you use depends on whether you need single-target healing or group healing.
The best heal Mystic has is Healing Channel. Not only does an AOE heal mean massive amounts of healing, it also means great action economy! A benefit which is shared with Inspiring Oration (Envoy level 6)
21 WIS, 16 INT
Empowered Healing Touch (optional)
Tailored Serums feat
Treat Deadly Wounds: +14 medicine = 35% fail, 25% chance success, 40% chance great success = 5.25/person = 21 HP
Advanced Medkit = 5.25 HP
Healing Touch = 5 HP * level5 = 25 HP
One of the following:
Healing Channel = 18 HP/person * 4RP = 72 HP/person = 288 HP
Empowered Healing Touch = 5HP * level5 * 4RP = 100 HP
2nd lv mystic cure = 17.5 x3 = 52.5 HP (siphoning your own HP is a net zero exchange). Subtract 17.5 HP if you took medic archetype
Single Target Potential: 188 (The limit is how many resolve points you have)
Full party Potential: 391.75 (The limit is how many resolve points you have) (534 if you don’t save some RP for stabilizing)
There are multiple builds for Envoy that can heal. I would consider this build to be the more traditional setup. Scroll down further to see a build that uses the new “Signature Tool” alternate class feature.
Envoy gets a big boost to healing at level 6: Inspiring Oration (and the ability to spend RP on Inspiring boost). Unfortunately it didn’t meet the cutoff for this comparison at level 5. I intend to look at how these builds scale into higher levels in a future article.
Are you your own ally? Quite simply: yes. You can heal yourself with Inspiring Boost. See CRB p.242 for the official definition of an ally: “You count as your own ally unless an ability says otherwise.” Inspiring boost does not say otherwise, ergo you can inspire yourself.
Remember that, as some of these heals are for Stamina (SP), you’ll need to be more proactive with your heals. Focus on keeping allies topped off on stamina, rather than reactive, restoring HP when they run out of SP. When they run down to HP, consider shifting them to a less frontlne role (if possible). They can spend an RP to regain their stamina at that point, and receive mundane healing for their HP after the fight. Personally, I think this is a better way to play in general. It feels more action-packed.
21 CHA, 16 INT
Skill Expertise: Medicine
Inspiring Boost Improvisation
Surgeon Expertise Talent
Tailored Serum feat
Treat Deadly Wounds:+~16 Medicine = 25% chance success (5HP), 55% chance great success (8HP) = 6.05/person = 24.2 HP
Advanced Medkit: 6.05 HP
Surgeon: Another round of Treat Deadly Wounds = 24.2 HP
Inspiring Boost: 5*2 + 5 = 15 SP * 3 times = 45 SP/person = 180 SP (more healing with more rests)
Single Target Potential: 18.15HP + 45SP = 63.15 (127 with 5 rests instead of 2)
Full Party Potential: 54.45HP + 135SP = 234.45 (414 with 5 rests instead of 2)
As you can see, the single-target healing on Mystic is MASSIVE compared to the other builds. This is why most consider Mystic to be the only real option for primary healer. I respectfully disagree. In a perfect world where all the damage goes to your tank, it’s true that the mystic excels. However, in my experience this hardly ever happens. NPCs are going to use AOE attacks, they’re going to target your squishy characters, etc. Granted, most enemies will still target your tank, but your tank also has the largest stamina pool and presumably some form of DR and a high EAC/KAC. The more stamina they have, the more self-sustaining they can be about healing (remember that 1RP for a full stamina heal is the best heal in the game).
Secondly, look at how much healing we’re talking about here. Even the envoy, who struggles the most with full party healing (prior to level 6), still puts out quite a bit (enough to offset a full HP heal for each player.
A little from Column A, a little from Column B…
We’ve covered the single-class builds. What about multiclassing? Typically, if you’re looking to maximize your heals, you won’t want to multiclass because many of the heals scale with your class level. Dividing your class levels between two classes might give you more healing options, but they would individually be weaker. However, there’s a new alternate class feature in Tech Revolution that gives us a great opportunity:
Introducing the Bio-Envoy
The “Signature Tool” Envoy feature lets you take the theorems from Biohacker, and slap them onto the Envoy framework. All without losing precious class levels. What’s more, you can dip one or two levels in biohacker to enhance this further, by taking the Cybermedicine field of study. Almost none of the biohacker abilities are based on character level. Most of them just rely on a high key ability modifier. So all we need to do is maintain a high INT, which is easy to do since Envoy isn’t heavily reliant on having high CHA to be successful. There seems to be a lot of synergy here, so let’s dive in:
The first two levels will be in Biohacker, to swiftly get to the Field Dressing Theorem (UPDATE: Given the limited uses per day, the benefit is marginal.) Archetypes are tied to the class levels, so if you’re going to take Medic, do it on the Envoy. But if you have HP and SP heals, it might not be necessary.
Where do you go from here? Up the Envoy tree. Your biohacker and envoy levels are combined for qualifying for theorems as long as you buy them in place of expertise talents
Biohacker 2 / Envoy 3
21 INT / 16 CHA
Field Dressing Theorem
Signature Tool: Microlab (Medicine expertise)
Inspiring Boost Improvisation (or Medic Archetype)
Surgeon Expertise Talent
Treat Deadly Wounds: +~17 Medicine: 25% success (7HP), 60% great success (15HP) = 11.63HP/person = 46.52HP
Advanced Medkit = 11.63HP
Surgeon: extra Treat Deadly Wounds/person = 11.63HP/person = 46.52HP
Field Dressing = 12.75 HP/person/rest = 51/rest (38.25/person) = 76.5 HP per day
Inspiring Boost = 3*2 + 3 = 9 SP/person * 3 times = 27 SP/person = 108 SP (more healing with more rests)
Single Target Potential: 73.14HP + 18SP = 91.14 (118 with 5 rests instead of 2)
Full Party Potential: 181.17HP + 108SP = 289 (370 with 5 rests instead of 2)
|Single Target||Full Party|
Is Mystic Still King?
In terms of total health healed, Mystic with Healer Connection is still the top dog in terms of potential healing. I’m a little dissapointed in the Biohacker’s performance. I would have expected them to perform a little better since they’re basically A DOCTOR. The lower number range I believe to be more accurate to a real-world expectation. Two rests per day is pretty common in my experience, and the Mystic would be wise to save some of their RP for stabilizing themselves. Tech Revolution introduced some great new options for Envoy which I will have to explore further.
Another consideration: How well will these scale at higher levels? We’ll discuss that in a future article.