The healer feat in 5th edition is one of those I expected to be underwhelming, however when I did a deeper dive into how effective and versatile this feat could be I was actually very pleasantly surprised. Healer takes a bit of equipment that is sort of “Meh” during campaign play and allows the player to make that exceptionally powerful – especially in certain situations.
The healer feat is a versatile feat allowing players of any class to effectively take up the role of healer in 5E campaigns without the need for magic or the medicine check skill. This is a powerful skill that can become even stronger with 2 or more members of the party each taking it.
Is healer the right type of feat for you and your party’s playing style or is it one that you’re better off skipping for the time being?
We have the answers with this deep dive into the 5E healer feat.
Breaking Down the Healer Feat
The healer feat is interesting. It’s very easy to underestimate because it doesn’t look overly special on paper, but when you dig into the actual numbers this turns out to be a surprisingly powerful and versatile feat that can be a huge benefit for many parties.
Directly from the Player’s Handbook:
You are an able physician, allowing you to mend would quickly and get your allies back in the fight. You gain the following benefits:
- When you use a healer’s kit to stabilize a dying creature, that creature also regains 1 hit point.
- As an action, you can spend one use of a healer’s kit to tend to a creature and restore 1d6 + 4 hit points to it, plus additional hit points equal to the creature’s maximum number of Hit Dice. The creature can’t regain hit points from this feat again until it finishes a short or long rest.
Player’s Handbook, p.167
The healer feat is certainly written well in 5E when it comes to flavor text, but how does it hold up when looking at the actual mechanics? Surprisingly well, actually.
Benefit #1: When you use a healer’s kit to stabilize a dying creature they gain 1 hit point in addition to stabilizing.
This gives a little bit extra to the healing kit, and for a player who has healing potions or spells they can cast, this at least puts them back in the action, especially if their turn comes before another enemy attack.
However, beyond that it is pretty weak tea.
In the situations where it really matters, you’re glad to have it. Most of the time it just won’t matter that much. The exception is if you have a DM who adds exhaustion for multiple “knock outs” as a homebrew rule, which isn’t super common but it’s not so uncommon as to be rare, either.
Important Note: Many DMs homebrew that a healing kit gives 1 HP. If you’re playing with a group that uses that rule, then this is no longer a benefit unless the DM agrees to homebrew this to a higher number or a dice roll.
Benefit #2: Use a healing kit as an action to restore 1d6 + 4 HP + hit points equal to your level (since that’s how many hit dice a player has).
This can actually be pretty nifty at low levels in a campaign as this will make a healing kit far more consistent and better at hit point recovery than the low level healing potions that can be found pre-level 10. It even scales as you are likely to be using these on teammates which means as they get to higher levels then the healing kit heals more hit points.
This scaling shouldn’t be underestimated. That means a level 20 character would get 20 + 4 + 1d6 hit points. That’s a minimum of 25 HP healed, with up to 30 healed. That’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s really good.
This feat can only be used on a healed creature once per long rest, but the player with the healer feat can do this to multiple creatures as long as he/she has enough healing kits to cover all their actions.
Is this worth a full action?
Maybe, maybe not. But that is a valid criticism of this skill. Popping a level 10 barbarian up to 20 hit points before the cleric gets to heal later in the round could be worth it, and for parties who don’t have a traditional healer, having a mobile monk rush around throwing out heals while using bonus actions to do “monk b.s.” is actually a very versatile way of doing things and opens up the options.
Do note that this means the healing kits can be used when a player isn’t unconscious which does make that equipment much more versatile.
Healer Kits Vs Healing Potions
A core part of understanding how strong the healer feat is for 5E players is comparing the healer kit to the four types of potions that can be found throughout the game. In fact, that real in-game comparison is CRUCIAL to understanding the healer feat.
Fortunately, we have some charts, graphs, and other resources to compare healer kits (used by a player who took the healer feat) compared to all the healing potions in the game.
Healing Potions 5E
|Potion||Dice||Min Healing||Avg Healing||Max Healing|
|Healing||2d4 + 2||4 points min||7 points avg||10 point max (1 in16 chance)|
|Greater Healing||4d4 + 2||8 points min||14 points avg||20 point max (1 in 256 chance)|
|Superior Healing||8d4 + 2||16 points min||28 points avg||40 point max (1 in 65,536 chance)|
|Supreme Healing||10d4 + 2||30 points min||45 points avg||60 point max (Never gonna’ happen)|
Keep in mind superior healing potions don’t pop up until usually level 10 or after and will cost thousands of gold. I’ve been in multiple campaigns where only 1-2 supreme healing potions pop up in the entire game.
And they’re always a reward because who has 50,000 gold plus to spend in a 5E D&D campaign?
So how does this compare to a healer kit in the hands of a PC with the healer feat? This will depend on level since the healing is 1d6 + 4 + Player Level (same number as max number of healing dice), so here’s a sampling across many common levels.
|Level of Healed||Min Healing||Avg Healing||Max Healing|
|1||6 points min||8.5 points avg||11 points max|
|3||8 points min||10.5 points avg||13 points max|
|5||10 points min||12.5 points avg||15 points max|
|7||12 points min||14.5 points avg||17 points max|
|10||15 points min||17.5 points avg||20 points max|
|12||17 points min||19.5 points avg||22 points max|
|15||20 points min||22.5 points avg||25 points max|
|20||25 points min||27.5 points avg||30 points max|
So a couple things jump out immediately: which is that the potion of healing is junk, and the potion of greater healing is surpassed by level 5 or 6, at which point the healer kit already has a higher floor.
And that’s BEFORE considering that:
- Healer kits have 10 charges
- Healer kits only cost 20 gold pieces while the weakest (read most useless) potion of healing costs 50 gold pieces
- There’s virtually no chance of getting max healing from a potion
If you take what a healer kit in feat-inspired hands can do times 10 uses, there’s no question it can offer the most healing per gold piece by not even close and more total healing over its life.
FURTHER CONSIDER: Healer Kits only cost 5 gp and have 10 uses. When you have the Healer feat – that’s a TON of use. If you have three or four healer kits, that’s 40 uses supplemented from the feat for 20 gp. The cost of a potion of healing is 50 gp, greater healing 250 gp on average, and the others in the thousands or tends of thousands of gold pieces if you use the book guidance for determining price.
When you look at everything as a package this feat suddenly looks very appealing, especially if your party is short a life cleric.
5E Classes That Should Take the Healer Feat
Anyone playing the role of a healer in a party should at least consider it. However, one of the interesting things about healer is that since it is equipment based, this could be an exceptional feat for a traditionally non-healer class, giving them additional utility in a group that finds itself short on casters and clerics.
Imagine a rogue or monk who can move around the battlefield, pop some healing into an injured or downed player, and then get right back into the scuffle. That is REALLY potentially powerful especially when combined with a spell-casting healer in the party or having multiple players in the party who have this ability.
If you want to run a 4 or 5 person party where everyone refuses to be a healer, this feat is a near necessity. The more who take this feat, the better off the party is likely to be.
More than almost any other feat this list could change with the “classes that should consider the healing feat” based on party and campaign setup. Obviously if the cleric or paladin are taking on healing duties they should consider it, however it’s worth noting that another way to use the healer feat in 5E is to have these classes ignore it while supporting backline classes take the feat to spread out the healing ability.
5th Ed Classes that should always consider taking the Healer Feat:
5E Classes That Should Consider Taking the Healer Feat
The versatility of this feat, as well as its usefulness, makes it one that doesn’t necessarily attach to classes. The backline classes that are close enough to reach the frontline can be great healers. The mobile monk skirting around in every direction. Add this to the bard who only needs one stat and controls the battle with concentration spells while healing injured team mates.
In other words, there are a lot of options for players and adventuring parties to put together one or multiple characters with the healer feat which takes the nearly useless healer kit (except for extremely situational moments that generally take place in early levels).
This means that if you’re not raging, melee fighting, or tanking 100% of the time then chances are there’s a build where the healer feat will work really well. The top “blaster casters” will also often find themselves busy, but I’ve had campaigns where the sorcerer wouldn’t have minded the ability to add some healing to the mid-ranks so there are builds even there that could work.
Generally most classes will fall into this “maybe” category which reflects on the excellent and unusual flexibility that this feat offers players in their builds.
5th Ed Classes that should consider taking the Healer Feat:
5E Classes That Should NEVER Take the Healer Feat
There are a few classes that should always be engaged in a certain action. You expect fighters and barbarians to be fighting and tanking from the front line. Sorcerers and wizards are expected to be casting spells whether utility to buff the party or blasting the biggest threats on the other side.
While there are certainly moments where you could still see these classes using an action to heal, it’s definitely less common and based either on use in campaign or design for what the classes need to do, the classes of barbarian, fighter, sorcerer, and wizard just aren’t really built for using healer as much as the others.
5th Ed classes that should never take the Healer Feat:
Final Feat Grade for 5E Healer
5E Healer Feat Grade: A-
Is the Healer Feat Worth It in 5th Edition?
The grade surprises me but this is a mover. It’s an extremely powerful feat for healing, incredibly versatile, and far superior to the use of healing potions throughout the majority of most 5E campaigns. This also gives non-healing and non-magic classes a legitimate avenue for being able to heal themselves or others at low and mid levels, and while the healing might be slightly less effective compared to damage received at higher levels…that’s true of all but the highest level healing spells.
The amount of hit points given with a heal to high level characters shouldn’t be overlooked, either. At high levels this is the equivalent of a superior healing potion and a single healer kit gives 10 uses. This also allows monks, rogues, bards, and other classes that usually don’t have a lot of healing
The versatility of the healer feat in 5E is off the charts. The utility is undeniable, and it stacks. More healing happens at higher levels and when more than one PC has the healer feat in the party it becomes even more powerful because of how many characters can now assist in healing or supplement magical healing that is good but not enough.
This really is just an outstanding, versatile, and underrated feat.
Healer Feat FAQ
Is the healer feat any good in 5E?
The healer feat is a versatile and underrated feat that can be incredibly useful not only to a wide variety of PC builds but also to the entire party because of the increase ability to heal even from characters that generally couldn’t. This is a very good overall feat.
Can you heal with a healers kit?
The only way to heal with a healers kit is by also having the healer feat. In this case the healer’s kit is actually better than potions of healing at low levels. Otherwise the healers kit is to stabilize an unconscious player without a medicine check.
How many uses does a healers kit have in 5E?
A healers kit has 10 uses per kit in 5th edition D&D.
Do you need a healers kit to stabilize?
A player does not need a healers kit to stabilize an unconscious PC, however they must pass a medicine check. The healer’s kit bypasses the need to make that medicine check, you simply succeed at stabilizing them.
Do you need to be proficient to use a healers kit?
No, there is no proficiency requirement to use a healers kit in 5E D&D.
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.