Battle Standards During Combat

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Does anyone actually use any of the Battle Standards during combat in LFR? 

Everyone and their brother seems to have a Battle Standard of Healing that they only use during short rests.  I have never played with anyone who owned any other kind of Battle Standard (so I'm not all that familiar with them) and I have never seen one used during combat.  A standard action seems like too high of a cost for the minor benefits they provide.  







Lori Anderson

WotC Freelancer, LFR author

@LittleLorika

 

Dragon Magazine #412: Unearthed Arcana: Ships in Your Campaign

Calimshan Adventures (LFR): CALI3-3, CALI4-1, and QUES4-1

Epic Adventures (LFR): EPIC5-1 and EPIC5-3

Other LFR Adventures: NETH4-1, ADCP5-2, and MYTH6-3

 

 

 

 

My cleric actually planted a Battle Standard of Healing during a combat recently, but that was only because my options were extremely limited and I had nothing better to do.  It was near the end of the combat and we had 3 clerics in the party, so we really didn't need any more healing.  But planting the Battle Standard seemed like a mildly more fun thing to do than go total defense or provoke from everyone around me to do an at-will.

Of course the Battle Standard turned out to be completely unhelpful because the combat was soon over and no one had used it.  It did save me from having to spend a standard action during our short rest though!  Wink

That's the only time I've seen one used in combat.

Lori Anderson

WotC Freelancer, LFR author

@LittleLorika

 

Dragon Magazine #412: Unearthed Arcana: Ships in Your Campaign

Calimshan Adventures (LFR): CALI3-3, CALI4-1, and QUES4-1

Epic Adventures (LFR): EPIC5-1 and EPIC5-3

Other LFR Adventures: NETH4-1, ADCP5-2, and MYTH6-3

 

 

 

 

We have a Bard in our regular gaming group that uses that standard frequently. He usually will do that, then action point and drop some healing if I recall correctly.
Battle Standards of Healing are standard fare when you've got a healing cleric capable of making the party all spend a healing surge at once...

In my groups at home, items like this are sometimes used when the PC's have the ability to set up for a fight before comabt starts. There have been some scenes where the PC's spot the creatures, ask to maneuver around their flank and instead of the creatures being on the board and the PC's setting up in the PC's start here box, instead it is the creatures that start in the PC's start here box and the PC's take positions of the player's choices.

However, more often than not the battle standards end up being flare for RP purposes only.

I have used Battle Standard of Healing in battle, usually when my PC was blinded or weakened, or someone was dying and the 1 hit point would bring them back into the fight.  It works better if your PC has quickdraw or a free hand and a minor-action healing power - then you can pull out the Standard, plant it, and trigger the healing all in the same turn.

Well, the only Battle Standard I have seen used was one that was found during the course of an adventure, and the PCs planted it early in many of the later encounters.

Of course, the limited range didn't help them much i one encounter, the BBEG for that encounter moved into a different area of the map, while dragging off one of the PCs, so they had to chase it down. And, in another encounter, I was able to come up with a "good enough" reason for an insect to pull the standard out.

Overall, depending on party makeup, is which Battle Standards are useful, and who should plant them. That standard, which added a +1 power bonus to damage, IIRC, would be worth planting by one of the low-damage party members early, like the Pacifist Cleric very early in the encounter. YMMV.
I have occasionally seen players plant a battle standard during combat. It never worked out to be even close to worth the standard action. And half of the time, it was uprooted by a minion a round and a half later, guaranteeing that its use could not possible by anything other than a sucker's bet.
I have occasionally seen players plant a battle standard during combat. It never worked out to be even close to worth the standard action. And half of the time, it was uprooted by a minion a round and a half later, guaranteeing that its use could not possible by anything other than a sucker's bet.

Yeah, that's one of the reasons I'd never use a battle standard during combat.

The AV Battle Standards are pretty clear in their wording:
"Any character in or adjacent to a battle standard's square can remove it from the ground as a standard action."

Generally speaking, when the rules use "character" instead of "creature", they're doing that on purpose to indicate something intended for PCs.  Beyond that, battle standards don't make much sense as a magic item if creatures can simply pick them up and walk away with them.

But it's just not worth having the argument, particularly since the DM is likely to think they're being clever in deactivating the standard and is unlikely to appreciate being told it doesn't work that way, so I've pretty much decided they're not worth the bother.

But it's just not worth having the argument, particularly since the DM is likely to think they're being clever in deactivating the standard and is unlikely to appreciate being told it doesn't work that way, so I've pretty much decided they're not worth the bother.



DME. The battle standard of healing can easily turn a hard encounter into a cakewalk (I've seen it happen most times I play in a party with a cleric). Nobody enjoys a cakewalk, so if the DM has to use intelligent creatures to uproot the standard it makes it more fun for everyone. 

To answer the question, yes. I see battle standards used alot.
One-half of the tabletop gaming news podcast Going Last Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.
I'm surprised that no one here has mentioned the Battle Standard of the Hungering Blade.  I've hosed several combat encounters by using it.
I've seen the battle standard of the hungry blade turn monsters into punching bags. It's ugly.
One-half of the tabletop gaming news podcast Going Last Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.
I have occasionally seen players plant a battle standard during combat. It never worked out to be even close to worth the standard action. And half of the time, it was uprooted by a minion a round and a half later, guaranteeing that its use could not possible by anything other than a sucker's bet.

Yeah, that's one of the reasons I'd never use a battle standard during combat.

The AV Battle Standards are pretty clear in their wording:
"Any character in or adjacent to a battle standard's square can remove it from the ground as a standard action."

Generally speaking, when the rules use "character" instead of "creature", they're doing that on purpose to indicate something intended for PCs.  Beyond that, battle standards don't make much sense as a magic item if creatures can simply pick them up and walk away with them.

But it's just not worth having the argument, particularly since the DM is likely to think they're being clever in deactivating the standard and is unlikely to appreciate being told it doesn't work that way, so I've pretty much decided they're not worth the bother.




If you read the text for the Battle Standard of the Hungry Blade. Even though it uses the same "Any character in or adjacent to a battle standard's square can remove it from the ground as a standard action" text. It follows that up with "If an enemy attempts to remove the standard, it provokes opportunity attacks from you and your allies." This tells me that battle standards can be removed by NPCs.
-Sartredes
It follows that up with "If an enemy attempts to remove the standard, it provokes opportunity attacks from you and your allies." This tells me that battle standards can be removed by NPCs.

Dragon Magazine did give us a battle standard that doesn't follow the same rules as the other battle standards, that is true.

Considering the wide array of other magic items that are clearly badly edited or don't conform to standards for the item as seen in other books, it's tough to argue that this is establishing a rule for other battle standards.

This is, after all, the same source that gave us an 8th level +1 weapon, a 1st level item that gives you a +2 Perception bonus and rings whose daily powers aren't affected by milestones (and are below 14th level as well).  Staying consistent with magic items in published books clearly isn't a priority.

If you read the text for the Battle Standard of the Hungry Blade. Even though it uses the same "Any character in or adjacent to a battle standard's square can remove it from the ground as a standard action" text. It follows that up with "If an enemy attempts to remove the standard, it provokes opportunity attacks from you and your allies." This tells me that battle standards can be removed by NPCs.


The 4e paradigm of specific overrides general tells me that the rules for a particular battle standard  don't alter the rules for battle standards in general.

To the original question, I have used one in combat once (my inspiring warlord was immobilized during round one of combat before taking any actions.  No enemies were within reach, so rather than waste my time throwing a non-magical javelin I got out my standard and planted it.  The healing did come in handy, since the fight was a particularly drawn out one (one component was multiple insubstantial enemies that weakened).
One of the guys we regularly game with plays a female cleric of Sharess.  She (and her custom mini) are super hot, so I suggested a Battle Standard for her to use as a stripper pole.  It's been a fixture ever since.  It has been uprooted a few times, true enough, but it's saved a few lives as well.
I don't read that as saying only the Battle Standard of Hungry Blades can be removed by an enemy. I read that as a statement that there are consequences for an enemy doing so in the case of this particular Battle Standard.

As a DM I would totally allow an NPC to remove a battle standard unless it read something like this "Once planted, it can be removed from the ground as a standard action only by one of its owners or by a creature that has reduced one of its owners to 0 hit points or fewer." from the Standard of Eternal Battle (DMG2).
-Sartredes
I have occasionally seen players plant a battle standard during combat. It never worked out to be even close to worth the standard action. And half of the time, it was uprooted by a minion a round and a half later, guaranteeing that its use could not possible by anything other than a sucker's bet.

Yeah, that's one of the reasons I'd never use a battle standard during combat.

The AV Battle Standards are pretty clear in their wording:
"Any character in or adjacent to a battle standard's square can remove it from the ground as a standard action."

Generally speaking, when the rules use "character" instead of "creature", they're doing that on purpose to indicate something intended for PCs.  Beyond that, battle standards don't make much sense as a magic item if creatures can simply pick them up and walk away with them.

But it's just not worth having the argument, particularly since the DM is likely to think they're being clever in deactivating the standard and is unlikely to appreciate being told it doesn't work that way, so I've pretty much decided they're not worth the bother.



If the enemy is using a standard action to remove the battle standard, that's almost equivalent to stunning the enemy for a round. It's probably not able to attack, and you've traded a standard action required to plant the standard (and whatever benefit you've achieved before the uprooting) for the same from an enemy. Not good with minions around, but it's not bad once you've cleared out the chaff.

I've seen the battle standard of the hungry blade turn monsters into punching bags. It's ugly.



How do people typically use the Battle Standard of the Hungry Blade?  I've never seen that one in action.  Does a defender plant it and stand in the middle to help tie up enemies?  Plant it in the middle of a damaging zone/terrain and just try to throw monsters towards it?  Use it to help bunch monsters up for a controller?  The standard action cost still seems high to me, but maybe it'd be worth it if it was a long combat.


I have a 15th level dwarven Dreadnought Fighter.  She's built to move into position, drag enemies towards her, and just stand in one place for the entire combat and not let enemies leave.  (Dwarf, Come and Get It, Pinning Smash, Hunker Down, Staggering Challenge, and Ring of Personal Gravity.)  I wonder if the Hungry Blade Battle Standard would be a good buy for her.  Then I could draw enemies towards me and keep them there all battle long.  Hmmmm...  Might not be the best at P2 though - burst 3 seems smaller and smaller as you go up levels.  Wink  And I always feel silly buying items that are 5+ levels lower than I am...

Lori Anderson

WotC Freelancer, LFR author

@LittleLorika

 

Dragon Magazine #412: Unearthed Arcana: Ships in Your Campaign

Calimshan Adventures (LFR): CALI3-3, CALI4-1, and QUES4-1

Epic Adventures (LFR): EPIC5-1 and EPIC5-3

Other LFR Adventures: NETH4-1, ADCP5-2, and MYTH6-3

 

 

 

 

I've seen the battle standard of the hungry blade turn monsters into punching bags. It's ugly.



How do people typically use the Battle Standard of the Hungry Blade?  I've never seen that one in action.  Does a defender plant it and stand in the middle to help tie up enemies?  Plant it in the middle of a damaging zone/terrain and just try to throw monsters towards it?  Use it to help bunch monsters up for a controller?  The standard action cost still seems high to me, but maybe it'd be worth it if it was a long combat.



The best use I have seen was in an encounter in a great hall with pillars running down the sides, and the only apparent enemy was a BBEG at the far end, something like 80 feet away.  However, my avenger's passive perception was high enough (high DC because of module fluff) to notice two gelatinous cubes 25 feet into the room.  I used my share initiative power to get our defender (who has the hungry blade standard) to act first with me.  I took a path around the cubes to head towards the BBEG and our warden stepped forward 20 feet, planted the standard, and then used an action point to move back out of the room.  Between that standard, a bola tossing bard, and a visions of avarice, we totally controlled the cubes and had a much easier time with that combat.  The standard was the difference in being able to get past the cubes for most of the party and avoid being blocked in the hallway leading into the great hall.

Of course, that would have gone quite differently if the DM had just had a cube engulf/uproot the standard and move on. Even if the warden had stayed standing there to enforce the standard and get an opportunity attack, it still wouldn't have been all that much more effective than a come and get it from a fighter.

Of course, the two together are where it's really at
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
The AV Battle Standards are pretty clear in their wording:
"Any character in or adjacent to a battle standard's square can remove it from the ground as a standard action."

Generally speaking, when the rules use "character" instead of "creature", they're doing that on purpose to indicate something intended for PCs. 



RAW.  Character.   PC = Player Character.  NPC = Non Player Character.

They might allow the term "character" to stand in for "PCs" where you play, but in my neck of the woods, "character" means any character; PC or NPC.  A baby dingo, an angry mosquito, your character's mother in law - all non player characters that could remove the battle standard.

Of course, it's a little weird that a baby dingo and an angry mosquito could remove the standard, but that's the way it's worded, and that's the way it works.  (Again, in my neck of the woods.)  Maybe they just tap the magical "uproot" button on the thing.

I find there's a lotta variation between areas on how rules are interpreted.  For example - swordmages wielding fullblades using free actions to switch from holding it one handed (weapon useless but gaining +3 AC) to wielding it two handed (attacking with it and gaining +1 AC) - particularly assault swordmages.  Some say it's fine, some say it's literally against the rules.  Fun, eh?  I got a million of these.
Battle Standards are ok if they are a random item a PC picked up. They are just horrid if the PC at all planned around it. When I see a Battle Standard of Healing pop down on the mat I usually tell the players that they think the monsters are likely to remove it on the next available turn. I let them reconsider their action if they would like. I don't buy the "creature" argument, though I welcome a CS ruling otherwise.

I only feel this way because as a player I have been amazed by the way such an item toned down the threat (and enjoyment!) of otherwise challenging adventures. I don't care for them as player or DM. As a DM, the standards have never done anything... they were gone the round they were placed on the board.

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Of course, that would have gone quite differently if the DM had just had a cube engulf/uproot the standard and move on. Even if the warden had stayed standing there to enforce the standard and get an opportunity attack, it still wouldn't have been all that much more effective than a come and get it from a fighter.

Of course, the two together are where it's really at



Gelatinous cubes have an Int of 1 and operate off tremorsense.  I think the DM was reasonable in having the cubes attempt to move towards moving targets instead of an inert standard planted in the ground.  Besides, once planted firmly in the ground, what is to say that the cube passing over it would do anything other than pass right by.  The standard has resist 50 to all damage when in the ground, so the acid from the cube wouldn't eat through it.  I see no rules support for the cube uprooting the standard since the standard is not a creature.  Although if a DM ruled differently, I would accept his ruling at his table, even if I would do differently.
Of course, that would have gone quite differently if the DM had just had a cube engulf/uproot the standard and move on. Even if the warden had stayed standing there to enforce the standard and get an opportunity attack, it still wouldn't have been all that much more effective than a come and get it from a fighter.

Of course, the two together are where it's really at



Gelatinous cubes have an Int of 1 and operate off tremorsense.  I think the DM was reasonable in having the cubes attempt to move towards moving targets instead of an inert standard planted in the ground.  Besides, once planted firmly in the ground, what is to say that the cube passing over it would do anything other than pass right by.  The standard has resist 50 to all damage when in the ground, so the acid from the cube wouldn't eat through it.  I see no rules support for the cube uprooting the standard since the standard is not a creature.  Although if a DM ruled differently, I would accept his ruling at his table, even if I would do differently.



"When the Battle Standard activates, the mound of jelly suddenly stops. It leans away from the standard, as if sensing the healing energies coming from it. Then it pivots and races toward it, as if to make the energies stop. The cube slams into the standard, pulling it from the ground."

I would just use the same crazy logic that lets PCs drop an ooze prone.

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Gelatinous cubes have an Int of 1 and operate off tremorsense.  I think the DM was reasonable in having the cubes attempt to move towards moving targets instead of an inert standard planted in the ground.  Besides, once planted firmly in the ground, what is to say that the cube passing over it would do anything other than pass right by.  The standard has resist 50 to all damage when in the ground, so the acid from the cube wouldn't eat through it.  I see no rules support for the cube uprooting the standard since the standard is not a creature.  Although if a DM ruled differently, I would accept his ruling at his table, even if I would do differently.

The standard in question is actually pulling the cubes towards it, quite forcefully. They'd be well aware of it. Their job for centuries has been to clean the floors. Hey, look, some trash on the floor. Further, the oozes are commanded by an extremely intelligent creature. And there is no restriction on requiring hands or something similar to be able to remove the standard, just that it provokes opportunity attacks when it does so.

Now, a particularly evil DM might note that a battle standard only has resist 50 while deployed, so such a party might want to not simply entirely bypass the cubes and leave them to digest this bizarre wood and cloth creature that attacked them. I'm actually not evil, so I wouldn't bother to mention that, but still - the hungry blade standard was described as trashing the encounter and it sounds like all it would do is some forced movement and maybe the equivalent of a round of lost actions.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Given the obvious limitations of the standard in any encounter with creatures of even moderate intelligence and the ability to grasp something with hands or jaws, I don't see what the problem is with the magic item having a powerful effect on this one very particular arrangement of creatures.  Perhaps you and I just have a very different conception of what it means to be intelligence 1, commands from an outside source or not.  In any event, what language are these commands given in? and what gives the cubes the ability to understand and process these commands?

Also, the standard alone did not wreck the encounter.  It was certainly a boon.  The combination of the standard, the bard immobilizing the cubes with bolas (there's the real head scratcher if you ask me), and the visions of avarice (another head scratcher... why are cubes attracted to inorganic illusionary treasure piles).  All three of those effects combined to keep the cubes 80-90% out of the fight.  The standard alone would have just bought us a round to get through the door.  If I were a DM frustrated with the power or application of that standard and felt like DME'ing something a bit off the normal rules, I would have declared that the cubes could not be immobilized by bolas and that they were unaffected by visions of avarice since they are blind and uninterested in non-motile, inorganic material.

Also, Alpha, we're talking about the hungry blade standard, not the healing standard.  Also, the cubes only listed sense is tremorsense.  By my understanding of the rules, they have no capability to detect anything that is not moving. 
I'm still not seeing any reason it can't pick up that battle standard. It's a creature that does nothing else _but_ pick stuff up off the floor and carry it along. You can't argue it can't tell the standard is there, because the standard is the thing pulling it next to it and being a hard object up against the side of its quivering mass To go on even more exact, it isn't blind. It can actually see as well as use tremorsense. Further, tremorsense doesn't require moving objects or creatures. It works on any object or creature that is touching the ground. If it helps, you can assume that footfalls and such of everything else shake things enough for identification, or that the cube sends its own tremors into the ground.

But, yes, you can do some odd things like use a bola against a cube. I don't think using Hungry Blade against gelatinous cubes sounds excessively effective. Kinda cool and certainly effective in some situations, but not too bad.

The worst excess I've heard on battle standards of healing was a non-LFR group where apparently someone carries around 20 of them so he can stack their auras.  At least, I hope they were talking about a non-LFR group.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Yes, I remember reading some foolishness about a standard that was part of an item set that provides resistance to all damage equal to the number of items from the set that are carried... some talked about carrying 20+ of the standards.  That is the kind of crap that deserves to be squashed.
  However, my avenger's passive perception was high enough (high DC because of module fluff)...


The DCs in the mod are the DCs in the monster entries in their original sources. It's not "because of module fluff".
Whew!

I guess I'll have to file battle standards alongside That'll Do cards in the "Good stuff that nobody in my club ever uses" file.
The AV Battle Standards are pretty clear in their wording:
"Any character in or adjacent to a battle standard's square can remove it from the ground as a standard action."

Generally speaking, when the rules use "character" instead of "creature", they're doing that on purpose to indicate something intended for PCs

 This argument presents a vague wording and then describes the author's intent with using that wording. I don't think you can do that unless you're a Kalashtar.

How do people typically use the Battle Standard of the Hungry Blade?  I've never seen that one in action.  Does a defender plant it and stand in the middle to help tie up enemies?  Plant it in the middle of a damaging zone/terrain and just try to throw monsters towards it?  Use it to help bunch monsters up for a controller?  The standard action cost still seems high to me, but maybe it'd be worth it if it was a long combat.

BSotHB gives a player an encounter version of a level 1 daily power (c.f. Earthen Roots, druid 1 or Visions of Avarice, Wizard 1). There are a little bit of trade off (range 1, slow vs. immobilize, no sustain, auto-hit). But in general it is equivalent, if not superior to those two powers.

I wasn't aware of the battle standard, but now I'm pretty sure I'll pick one up—that's pretty powerful control.

A better question, IMHO, is this: do LFR rules describe what happens if a monster picks up a dropped item and runs away with it?
Refer to the Rust Monster thread.

Go read all the pages.
Refer to the Rust Monster thread.

Go read all the pages.

You're a cruel person!
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director

Generally speaking, when the rules use "character" instead of "creature", they're doing that on purpose to indicate something intended for PCs.


Nope.

As your post already refers to PCs, it should be clear that a "player character" is a specific kind of character. There's also "non-player characters", which by obvious point of grammar are also considered "characters".
  However, my avenger's passive perception was high enough (high DC because of module fluff)...


The DCs in the mod are the DCs in the monster entries in their original sources. It's not "because of module fluff".


You're right.  I misremembered.  I thought at the time the DC was rather high, and I remembered the DM mentioning how clean the surfaces of this dungeon were several times... so I put the cart before the horse and thought that the cubes were hard to see because there was so little dirt and particulates for them to pick up, which would make them harder to see (less stuff inside them to reveal their presence).... when of course, the dungeon was so clean because it was being swept up by the cubes.
I played a Paragon-tier adventure (11-14) recently where the party's warlord bragged about having a Battle Standard of Healing, and how he uses it as the first action of every combat.  He ended up only having time to plant it in combat once, and it gave most of the party a total of 3 or 4 points because that's the number of healing surges we used while in the zone.  It did help top people off when used between combats, but no one was low enough on healing surges that it would have made the difference on having healing surges left at the end of the adventure.

It's probably a bit too tough for the level you get the item at, but it's not going to unbalance anything in Paragon tier or higher.  If you're being challenged at that level, you're not going to have a standard action to spare on something that hands out 1 HP at a time.  In a good round with an active healer, you may get 2 or 3 HP on a single turn.
With a good combo of items, the Battle Standard of Healing can heal each ally much more than just 1 HP.  For example, my 13th level cleric's Battle Standard heals each ally 6 HP per surge spent (plus an extra 1d6 HP to one person).  That can make it pretty powerful.  The party striker with just a few surges can sometimes heal up to full after a combat just by standing around while everyone else spends surges.  I've even had my fighter with a bazillion surges spend a couple extra at the end of combats just to give everyone else some surgeless healing.

I've only seen Battle Standards of Healing used between combats though.  I hadn't thought of this before, but someone recently pointed out to me that if you use a Battle Standard between combats, you can only use it every other combat (unless you take multiple short rests).  You spend surges at the end of a short rest, so if you use the Battle Standard that means it doesn't recharge until you take another short rest.

Lori Anderson

WotC Freelancer, LFR author

@LittleLorika

 

Dragon Magazine #412: Unearthed Arcana: Ships in Your Campaign

Calimshan Adventures (LFR): CALI3-3, CALI4-1, and QUES4-1

Epic Adventures (LFR): EPIC5-1 and EPIC5-3

Other LFR Adventures: NETH4-1, ADCP5-2, and MYTH6-3

 

 

 

 

With a good combo of items, the Battle Standard of Healing can heal each ally much more than just 1 HP.  For example, my 13th level cleric's Battle Standard heals each ally 6 HP per surge spent (plus an extra 1d6 HP to one person).  That can make it pretty powerful.  The party striker with just a few surges can sometimes heal up to full after a combat just by standing around while everyone else spends surges.  I've even had my fighter with a bazillion surges spend a couple extra at the end of combats just to give everyone else some surgeless healing.

I've only seen Battle Standards of Healing used between combats though.  I hadn't thought of this before, but someone recently pointed out to me that if you use a Battle Standard between combats, you can only use it every other combat (unless you take multiple short rests).  You spend surges at the end of a short rest, so if you use the Battle Standard that means it doesn't recharge until you take another short rest.

More often than not people spend their after-combat surges with the assistance of healing words or could just use second wind. Even if you're using a bard's bonus and actually using the end of rest surge, as long as you plant the banner when everyone else starts their rest, it'll be up for that last round. It does, after all, last as long as a short rest. One easy option is to have someone plant it who is not spending surges, then you really don't have to worry about it.

But yeah, I've mostly seen them used outside of combat. One time we started off a combat with half the party bloodied, immobilized, and blind... and I cheerfully used the battle standard there with a Stand the Fallen to pop everyone back up to full.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
One time we started off a combat with half the party bloodied, immobilized, and blind... and I cheerfully used the battle standard there with a Stand the Fallen to pop everyone back up to full.


In my mind, that is what the item is all about. You give up your all important standard action because healing is critical, but in exchange you can do things like heal one person and bring a downed PC to consciousness.

Unfortunately, the standard can be cheesed a lot. I've seen it produce just ridiculous levels of surgeless healing - especially when two standards are dropped. It was vomit-level of over-effective and I wasn't even judging the table. I actually had my PC not count the second standard because it was so broken in this super-healer's hands. It wasn't a cool move and a hard decision; it was a broken combo that trivialized any hard encounter.

This is the nature of a lot of broken stuff. Used with gentle hands, these things are cool and a neat trick for difficult moments. Abused, they end up wrecking balance. The item then earns a reputation. As a player, if you are using it in a cheesy or strong way, be prepared for the monsters to yank them out immediately. If you aren't planning on being cheesy with it, let your DM know that. The monsters might just let it sit around. "Goreth, do you see that banner? Should we get it?" "No, Yagak, it not covered in cheese, let's see what happen."

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My Warlord used it during the BI when it was important to heal NPCs with very little surges. Since it was also a standard for the adventuring company it was a pretty iconic move too.