Cleric Channel Energy - Healing


Rules Questions

Sovereign Court

OK, so the text reads:

Quote:

Channeling energy causes a burst that affects all

creatures of one type (either undead or living) in a 30-foot
radius centered on the cleric.

So, if a cleric uses this in combat, both friend and foe within 30' of the cleric get healed (as long as the foe is living, of course), yes?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
zylphryx wrote:

OK, so the text reads:

Quote:

Channeling energy causes a burst that affects all

creatures of one type (either undead or living) in a 30-foot
radius centered on the cleric.
So, if a cleric uses this in combat, both friend and foe within 30' of the cleric get healed (as long as the foe is living, of course), yes?

Yes.


Yes.

You can take the Selective Channeling feat if you wish to only heal your allies.

Sovereign Court

Jabor wrote:

Yes.

You can take the Selective Channeling feat if you wish to only heal your allies.

Oh, I can see some interesting things happening quite soon. Fortunately for the party, the cleric has waited until after combat to use this ability so far.


Jabor wrote:

Yes.

You can take the Selective Channeling feat if you wish to only heal your allies.

That feat has an interesting prerequisite that not all clerics qualify for. Especially dwarven clerics, like mine...

So, not quite everyone can take that feat...


I assume that you're talking about the Cha 13 requirement. Since the feat only allows you to exclude (charisma modifier) creatures, this only really effects clerics with a charisma of 12. With less than twelve, the feat has no effect so there's no point in taking it.

I suppose it might also affect a character with a charisma between 8 and 11 who frequently casts Eagle's Splendor on herself. If that's something you are planning on doing frequently enough to want a feat that is only useful when you've cast the spell, as a GM, I'd consider allowing you to take it with the caveat that you can't use it when you don't qualify for it.


udalrich wrote:
I suppose it might also affect a character with a charisma between 8 and 11 who frequently casts Eagle's Splendor on herself.

I don't know that I'd take the feat doing this, but Eagle's Splendor is *far* better than cure moderate wounds for healing purposes.

Edit: I should clarify that I mean a single Eagle's Splendor, to get two additional channel energies once you've run out. Your "number used" for the day would not reset after the spell faded, so you won't get two more again casting it again.

This is based on a Sage Advice column from some time back, referencing Turns per day.

Sovereign Court

I believe the healing use of Channel Positive Energy was meant for between combat uses, and the Selective Channeling feat was meant to be used by clerics wanting to use positive energy channeling to heal in combat. After all, the number of uses per day is 3+chr mod, so it's much more useful in combat for high-chr clerics with this feat. Not every cleric will find this feat useful, but not every cleric is identical either.


Actually any good/neutral cleric not having 13 cha and not taking selective channeling is shooting himself and his party in the foot.
Using this ability to heal allies during combat turns challenging combat into a easy encounter and TPKs into challenging encounters.


-Archangel- wrote:

Actually any good/neutral cleric not having 13 cha and not taking selective channeling is shooting himself and his party in the foot.

Using this ability to heal allies during combat turns challenging combat into a easy encounter and TPKs into challenging encounters.

No, it doesn't. It doesn't heal enough for that. Even at low levels. Let's say you're level 3: ogres are CR3, in other words a relatively easy encounter, which hit for a maximum of 25 and an average of 16 damage per swing (non-crit). Your fighter will only be able to take 2 average-damage hits at most. Your channel positive energy will heal a maximum of 12 and an average of 7 damage. That's less than half the damage any ONE ogre can deal, let alone if two ogres attack the same party member.

It only gets worse from there, too. Full attacks, especially from creatures not using manufactured weapons, dramatically increase the potential damage output, while your healing output increases by a measly 3.5 average every 2 levels.


That is against a small number of high-power foes (where the damage is inherently concentrated on one or two party members). If only one person is damaged, then of course it's a better idea to use the actual healing spells.

On the other hand, against a large number of weaker foes, or against foes with area attacks where damage is spread out over the party, channeling is much more effective at healing than comparable Cure X Wounds spells.


Jabor wrote:
That is against a small number of high-power foes (where the damage is inherently concentrated on one or two party members). If only one person is damaged, then of course it's a better idea to use the actual healing spells.

Small numbers of high-powered foes is the norm when you're talking about challenging encounters and TPKs, as Archangel was and I was responding to. Large numbers of weak foes are usually referred to as easy encounters.

Jabor wrote:
On the other hand, against a large number of weaker foes, or against foes with area attacks where damage is spread out over the party, channeling is much more effective at healing than comparable Cure X Wounds spells.

I said nothing about cure X wounds. I said mass cure X wounds. If you do the math, Channel Positive Energy is nearly identical to an equivalent-level mass cure.

How often have you ever said to yourself "Damn, I really wish I had a mass cure light wounds now!"? I can't recall ever thinking that, not in a combat situation. At level 9, when you first get access to mass cure light wounds, Channel Positive Energy averages to 17.5 healing, while MCLW averages to 13.5. At level 11, it's 21 vs MCMW's 20. At level 13, it's 24.5 vs MCSW's 26.5. At level 15, 28 vs MCCW's 33. At 17, 31.5 vs 35. At 19, 34 vs 37.


Zurai wrote:
-Archangel- wrote:

Actually any good/neutral cleric not having 13 cha and not taking selective channeling is shooting himself and his party in the foot.

Using this ability to heal allies during combat turns challenging combat into a easy encounter and TPKs into challenging encounters.

No, it doesn't. It doesn't heal enough for that. Even at low levels. Let's say you're level 3: ogres are CR3, in other words a relatively easy encounter, which hit for a maximum of 25 and an average of 16 damage per swing (non-crit). Your fighter will only be able to take 2 average-damage hits at most. Your channel positive energy will heal a maximum of 12 and an average of 7 damage. That's less than half the damage any ONE ogre can deal, let alone if two ogres attack the same party member.

It only gets worse from there, too. Full attacks, especially from creatures not using manufactured weapons, dramatically increase the potential damage output, while your healing output increases by a measly 3.5 average every 2 levels.

The strength of channeling in combat only comes from attacks which spread damage to more then one party members. A group of goblins has your party surrounded at level 3, or at high levels an enemy caster with a fireball, or a dragon breath. Stuff like that. Using channel energy to heal a single target is not efficent. But there are times it's the best you can do.

In that fight with the ogre, if the cleric is stuck in a melee situation where he can't cast safely and at low level defensive casting is too bloody dangerous let me ask this would you rather he channel energy which is a sure fire heal or would you rather he risk a 40% or more spell failure chance to get on average a 12 point cure mod spell off? Statistically in that situation they would heal for the same amount, only one would always heal and one would heal more some of the time and not heal at all other times.

Channel energy is massively powerful, there are many times it will be your best and even only good options. It also is great for an after fight heal up, it's power being so grand it is often hard to justify using channel for anything except healing.


Well, when the wizard is just about dead, the fighter is pretty hurt, and a bugbear is wailing on the ranger.

In other words, once the frontline is broken and a TPK is likely if anyone gets incapped.

Or if a fireball goes off and everyone needs a small dose of healing in case someone gets a lucky crit on them later.

A Mass Cure Light is pretty useful if you can do it (3 + CHA mod) times per day without spending any slots on it.


Thurgon wrote:
In that fight with the ogre, if the cleric is stuck in a melee situation where he can't cast safely and at low level defensive casting is too bloody dangerous let me ask this would you rather he channel energy which is a sure fire heal or would you rather he risk a 40% or more spell failure chance to get on average a 12 point cure mod spell off? Statistically in that situation they would heal for the same amount, only one would always heal and one would heal more some of the time and not heal at all other times.

How is one ogre keeping a cleric stuck in a melee situation where he can't cast, especially when we've already established that said ogre is already beating on the fighter? Don't forget that the cleric can cast his cure moderate, hold the charge, then move up adjacent to the fighter to deliver the touch. He doesn't have to cast within range of the ogre.

Also, 12 (avg of 2d8+3) is almost twice 7 (avg of 2d6).


Jabor wrote:
Well, when the wizard is just about dead, the fighter is pretty hurt, and a bugbear is wailing on the ranger.

In that case, 1.75 health-per-cleric-level isn't going to do jack squat. That's what CPE gives you.

Jabor wrote:
In other words, once the frontline is broken and a TPK is likely if anyone gets incapped.

There's no such thing as a front line in D&D unless you're playing in corridors.

Jabor wrote:
Or if a fireball goes off and everyone needs a small dose of healing in case someone gets a lucky crit on them later.

Up to level 10, fireball deals twice the damage that CPE heals, on average.

Jabor wrote:
A Mass Cure Light is pretty useful if you can do it (3 + CHA mod) times per day without spending any slots on it.

Handy, yes. Handy as a standard action when your fighter is taking half his hit points in damage every round? Not really. Remember, we're talking about Channel Positive Energy turning, and I quote, "challenging encounters [Ed: EL = +1~+4] into easy encounters and TPKs [Ed: EL = +5 and up] into challenging ones". Consistently. Such that "any cleric with 13 Cha who doesn't take Selective Channeling is shooting himself and his party in the foot".

CPE is not an efficient combat healing ability in the vast majority of challenging combat encounters.


Zurai wrote:
Thurgon wrote:
In that fight with the ogre, if the cleric is stuck in a melee situation where he can't cast safely and at low level defensive casting is too bloody dangerous let me ask this would you rather he channel energy which is a sure fire heal or would you rather he risk a 40% or more spell failure chance to get on average a 12 point cure mod spell off? Statistically in that situation they would heal for the same amount, only one would always heal and one would heal more some of the time and not heal at all other times.

How is one ogre keeping a cleric stuck in a melee situation where he can't cast, especially when we've already established that said ogre is already beating on the fighter? Don't forget that the cleric can cast his cure moderate, hold the charge, then move up adjacent to the fighter to deliver the touch. He doesn't have to cast within range of the ogre.

Also, 12 (avg of 2d8+3) is almost twice 7 (avg of 2d6).

Could be in a tight space, or in a trap the ogre laid out that got them all bunched up in a web/pit. Whatever the reason the point is there is no fear of loosing the cast which exists for casting in melee. Let's also be honest that ogre isn't likely to live past the second round with the party doing their average damage to him, and for that channel energy is enough healing to keep said fighter alive. And single ogre vs level 3 party isn't usually without unusal circumstances a dire fight to the finish.


Zurai wrote:


CPE is not an efficient combat healing ability in the vast majority of challenging combat encounters.

CPE does not provoke attack of opportunity.

And this, considering the new cast defensively rules, is a huge huge advantage.

Plus, CPE is just a free cure spell bonus. For a 14 charisma cleric, it's 5 bonus mass cure spells. Of course it's not a no-brainer, but it's IMHO a very powerfull add to the cleric.


Thurgon wrote:
Could be in a tight space, or in a trap the ogre laid out that got them all bunched up in a web/pit.

Sure. In contrived circumstances, CPE can be better than casting a cure spell.

In normal situations, it isn't.


glenstryder wrote:

Plus, CPE is just a free cure spell bonus. For a 14 charisma cleric, it's 5 bonus mass cure spells. Of course it's not a no-brainer, but it's IMHO a very powerfull add to the cleric.

Never said it wasn't. I just said it wasn't very powerful in combat.


Zurai wrote:


Up to level 10, fireball deals twice the damage that CPE heals, on average.

Couple things.

There is no better option easily available to the cleric to heal the whole party up after eating a fireball.

It does heal up fully any party member who made their reflex save.

So while it might not fully heal the whole party after a fire ball at level 10, it's certainly the best option for the cleric following one. Note that damage spell almost always have higher potienal damage out put the equilivalent level damage spells, because damage can be avoided/mitigated.


Zurai wrote:
Thurgon wrote:
Could be in a tight space, or in a trap the ogre laid out that got them all bunched up in a web/pit.

Sure. In contrived circumstances, CPE can be better than casting a cure spell.

In normal situations, it isn't.

When would a single ogre be anything but a simple encounter for a level 3 party? That's the point, even when the ecounter should be more difficult, channel energy makes it simple.


Thurgon wrote:
When would a single ogre be anything but a simple encounter for a level 3 party? That's the point, even when the ecounter should be more difficult, channel energy makes it simple.

Actually, ogres are generally considered to be under-CR'd. An ogre can easily fell any non-full-BAB level 3 character in a single swing, and their AC and HP are significant enough to last multiple rounds in combat against a level 3 party.


Zurai wrote:
Thurgon wrote:
When would a single ogre be anything but a simple encounter for a level 3 party? That's the point, even when the ecounter should be more difficult, channel energy makes it simple.
Actually, ogres are generally considered to be under-CR'd. An ogre can easily fell any non-full-BAB level 3 character in a single swing, and their AC and HP are significant enough to last multiple rounds in combat against a level 3 party.

Really on those who have a 10 con or lower need worry about being one shot, well or the wizard/sorc who decides to hug an ogre.


Its also a ranged heal...which, IMO, is pretty significant, moreso at lower levels, admittedly. Maybe its not as significant in that one fight against a big baddie, but thats where (if your focus is healing) your ability to spontaneously cast cure comes into play (obviously). Where it is very helpful is when you have either a bunch of little monster, pricking away at everyone's health each round, or you're going against someone with a area of effect damage ability (evil clerics as villians make me cry in Pathfinder Society), in these cases CPE is invaluable.


Your comparison of CPE with fireball and ogres is flawed. Both fireball and melee attacks regularly fail in standard situations while CPE only fails in special circumstances (cleric is stunned, paralyzed or unconscious). Ogre will hit one round and miss the next. Cleric will succeed both rounds.

Fireball will do full damage or half damage. It might not go through SR. Resistances will lower its damage, Evasion or Improved evasion will ignore it. So will immunities. Casting on the Defensive might make the caster fail so can Readied actions.
None of this applies to CPE. None. Not even readied actions.

Even casting mass cure light wounds can be stopped by multitude of actions (AoO, readied action, grapple and so on). None of this affects CPE.


And it still only heals 1.75 hp per cleric level.


Zurai wrote:
And it still only heals 1.75 hp per cleric level.

Still better then the equal level Mass cure wounds. And can be used from lvl 1.

There is no comparison. In my mind this ability is not balanced with other stuff in the game. It cannot be used during combat because it radically changes encounters.

Also it has a much bigger maximum output then Mass Cure Wound spells, which for lucky players (and those are around more then we want them :D) with lucky rolls means even more for the encounter.


-Archangel- wrote:
Zurai wrote:
And it still only heals 1.75 hp per cleric level.
Still better then the equal level Mass cure wounds.

Incorrect for mass serious and mass critical, as well as for mass moderate at level 12. Note also that the mass cure spells have a better range (25 + 1/2 level, vs 30) and will never, ever heal anyone you don't want them to. For example, invisible critters.

-Archangel- wrote:
Also it has a much bigger maximum output then Mass Cure Wound spells.

And a much smaller minimum output. MUCH smaller.


Majuba wrote:

Edit: I should clarify that I mean a single Eagle's Splendor, to get two additional channel energies once you've run out. Your "number used" for the day would not reset after the spell faded, so you won't get two more again casting it again.

This is based on a Sage Advice column from some time back, referencing Turns per day.

That's odd. . . so you're suggesting (or rather, the "sage" is suggesting) that while spellcasters don't gain additional spell slots when casting a stat booster, they do get additional channeled energy per day?

Quote:
Bards, paladins, and sorcerers (and other spellcasters who rely on Charisma) affected by this spell do not gain any additional bonus spells for the increased Charisma, but the save DCs for spells they cast while under this spell's effect do increase.

Hmmmmm. . . kind of a stretch. So, using this same ruling, wizards/sorcerers get more uses of their 3 + Cha/Int modifier abilities, paladins get more lay on hands usage, clerics get to use more of their 3 + Wisdom domain abilities (assuming we're talking about owl's wisdom) just by casting the corresponding spell?

I'd disallow that, and there's nothing in the actual rules to support that interpretation.


meabolex wrote:
there's nothing in the actual rules to support that interpretation.

Yes, there is. "You get a number of uses per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier".

I'm a cleric with a +4 wisdom modifier. I have 7 uses/day of my level 1 domain powers. I cast owl's wisdom on myself. I now have a +6 wisdom modifier and thus 9 uses/day of my level 1 domain powers. I use two of them. I have 7/9 uses of my powers. [i]Owl's wisdom[i] expires. I now have 7/7 uses.

EDIT: This follows from the ruling of increases to Constitution increasing both your current and your maximum hit points.

Note that if you use any uses of your relevant powers before casting the relevant buff, the buff has a proportionately reduced effect.

EDIT: This also follows from the Con-HP ruling.


Zurai wrote:
meabolex wrote:
there's nothing in the actual rules to support that interpretation.

Yes, there is. "You get a number of uses per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier".

I'm a cleric with a +4 wisdom modifier. I have 7 uses/day of my level 1 domain powers. I cast owl's wisdom on myself. I now have a +6 wisdom modifier and thus 9 uses/day of my level 1 domain powers. I use two of them. I have 7/9 uses of my powers. [i]Owl's wisdom[i] expires. I now have 7/7 uses.

EDIT: This follows from the ruling of increases to Constitution increasing both your current and your maximum hit points.

Note that if you use any uses of your relevant powers before casting the relevant buff, the buff has a proportionately reduced effect.

EDIT: This also follows from the Con-HP ruling.

You get 3 + Wisdom modifier uses *per day*. At the start of the day, you regain the uses of the ability. The number of "uses per day" you gain is based on your wisdom modifier after you rest. You don't gain additional uses of an ability at various times -- you only gain them when you'd normally regain your uses per day.

This doesn't follow from the increases to Constitution because Constitution increases to hp aren't determined by a "per day* usage. The rules state:

PRD wrote:
If a character's Constitution score changes enough to alter his or her Constitution modifier, the character's hit points also increase or decrease accordingly.


After reading the 3.5 FAQ, their ruling seems to support the "sage" ruling. However, with the changes to PF, I'd seriously recommend not following their advice. Since only 2 mechanics are affected in 3.5 (turn undead and lay on hands), this didn't really matter much. Lay on hands was relatively weak and turn undead was relatively obscure discounting divine feats. It would be interesting to see what the developers say about this, because it significantly increases the effectiveness of stat booster spells for many classes. . . well, at least until players can obtain equivalent stat boosting items.


The Ability Score Bonuses section of Appendix 1 (or the Glossary in the PRD) spells out exactly what is affected by Temporary ability score bonuses (any bonus that lasts less than one day). For Wisdom, all you gain are a bonus to skill checks, spell save DCs and Will saving throws.


ZappoHisbane wrote:
The Ability Score Bonuses section of Appendix 1 (or the Glossary in the PRD) spells out exactly what is affected by Temporary ability score bonuses (any bonus that lasts less than one day). For Wisdom, all you gain are a bonus to skill checks, spell save DCs and Will saving throws.

Good catch, thanks (:

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