Channel Energy question


Rules Questions

Scarab Sages

A player of mine asked how the evil cleric was healing undead and dealing damage to things caught in his energy burst. He mentioned that the use of the word "or" in the channel energy rules dictated that the cleric could do one or the other but not both. That sounded wrong to me since the ability is a burst effect and anyone caught would be effected (healed if undead, harmed if living). After reading it a couple times I am not sure what to think though.

Heres the PRSRD rules text

A good cleric (or a neutral cleric who worships a good deity) channels positive energy and can choose to deal damage to undead creatures or to heal living creatures. An evil cleric (or a neutral cleric who worships an evil deity) channels negative energy and can choose to deal damage to living creatures or to heal undead creatures.

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Bampf wrote:

A player of mine asked how the evil cleric was healing undead and dealing damage to things caught in his energy burst. He mentioned that the use of the word "or" in the channel energy rules dictated that the cleric could do one or the other but not both. That sounded wrong to me since the ability is a burst effect and anyone caught would be effected (healed if undead, harmed if living). After reading it a couple times I am not sure what to think though.

Heres the PRSRD rules text

A good cleric (or a neutral cleric who worships a good deity) channels positive energy and can choose to deal damage to undead creatures or to heal living creatures. An evil cleric (or a neutral cleric who worships an evil deity) channels negative energy and can choose to deal damage to living creatures or to heal undead creatures.

Your player is correct. In the Beta it was 'and' and a lot of people complaiend it was overpowered, especially for the PCs. So it got changed to 'or'. You get one or the other at a time. not bnoth.


Full text from the SRD
"Channel Energy (Su)

Regardless of alignment, any cleric can release a wave of energy by channeling the power of her faith through her holy (or unholy) symbol (see Channel Energy). This energy can be used to cause or heal damage, depending on the type of energy channeled and the creatures targeted.

A good cleric (or a neutral cleric who worships a good deity) channels positive energy and can choose to deal damage to undead creatures or to heal living creatures. An evil cleric (or a neutral cleric who worships an evil deity) channels negative energy and can choose to deal damage to living creatures or to heal undead creatures. A neutral cleric of a neutral deity (or one who is not devoted to a particular deity) must choose whether she channels positive or negative energy. Once this choice is made, it cannot be reversed. This decision also determines whether the cleric can cast spontaneous cure or inflict spells (see spontaneous casting).

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. The amount of damage dealt or healed is equal to 1d6 points of damage plus 1d6 points of damage for every two cleric levels beyond 1st (2d6 at 3rd, 3d6 at 5th, and so on). Creatures that take damage from channeled energy receive a Will save to halve the damage. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the cleric's level + the cleric's Charisma modifier. Creatures healed by channel energy cannot exceed their maximum hit point total—all excess healing is lost. A cleric may channel energy a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Charisma modifier. This is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. A cleric can choose whether or not to include herself in this effect. A cleric must be able to present her holy symbol to use this ability."

You have to choose what type of creatures you are targeting when you channel. Living or undead. If you target undead, positive injures and negative heals them. if you target living it is the other way around. You cannot choose to target both.

Scarab Sages

I see the targeting a creature type in the next paragraph is what I was missing thanks!

Charender wrote:

Full text from the SRD

"Channel Energy (Su)

Regardless of alignment, any cleric can release a wave of energy by channeling the power of her faith through her holy (or unholy) symbol (see Channel Energy). This energy can be used to cause or heal damage, depending on the type of energy channeled and the creatures targeted.

A good cleric (or a neutral cleric who worships a good deity) channels positive energy and can choose to deal damage to undead creatures or to heal living creatures. An evil cleric (or a neutral cleric who worships an evil deity) channels negative energy and can choose to deal damage to living creatures or to heal undead creatures. A neutral cleric of a neutral deity (or one who is not devoted to a particular deity) must choose whether she channels positive or negative energy. Once this choice is made, it cannot be reversed. This decision also determines whether the cleric can cast spontaneous cure or inflict spells (see spontaneous casting).

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. The amount of damage dealt or healed is equal to 1d6 points of damage plus 1d6 points of damage for every two cleric levels beyond 1st (2d6 at 3rd, 3d6 at 5th, and so on). Creatures that take damage from channeled energy receive a Will save to halve the damage. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the cleric's level + the cleric's Charisma modifier. Creatures healed by channel energy cannot exceed their maximum hit point total—all excess healing is lost. A cleric may channel energy a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Charisma modifier. This is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. A cleric can choose whether or not to include herself in this effect. A cleric must be able to present her holy symbol to use this ability."

You have to choose what type of creatures you are targeting when you channel. Living or undead. If you target undead, positive injures and...


i like to add to this ?
we are just starting pathfinder been playing dnd for years now.
when i cleric uses the chan pos to heal his party would it heal the monsters as well.

Scarab Sages

If the monsters are living creatures then yes it would. Look at the feat Selective Channeling to get around that.

sixdsixdamage wrote:

i like to add to this ?

we are just starting pathfinder been playing dnd for years now.
when i cleric uses the chan pos to heal his party would it heal the monsters as well.


thanx that will help out a ton


Channel Energy as written in Beta WAS overpowered... they had to do something.

Personally, I would have preferred a smaller die (like a d4) or a slower progression (like 1d6 every three levels), but 'it can only affect one or the other' is what they went with.

Many have a problem with the 'either, or' decision. Why would a burst of positive energy only affect living creatures or undead creatures? Why not both? Positive energy is positive energy is positive energy. Mass cure light wounds affects both, doesn't it?

I know of groups that have house ruled that it still affects both at once (overpowered or not) and others that have created a feat that allows the cleric to affect both at once.


Chris Gunter wrote:


Many have a problem with the 'either, or' decision. Why would a burst of positive energy only affect living creatures or undead creatures? Why not both? Positive energy is positive energy is positive energy. Mass cure light wounds affects both, doesn't it?

I'm one of those. In my opinion, channel energy only affecting one or the other is one of the worst things that were done in PF. The rule makes negative sense. It makes esnes. They said the change was in part because it should work like other positive/negative energy, but then they messed things up with an arbitrary rule. I don't like rules that are there because they're rules and they're there.

That's why I changed channel energy back to being logical. So the clerics can heal and harm at the same time when they face undead? No big deal. Better than going 4e on the rules.

Shadow Lodge

KaeYoss wrote:

I'm one of those. In my opinion, channel energy only affecting one or the other is one of the worst things that were done in PF. The rule makes negative sense. It makes esnes. They said the change was in part because it should work like other positive/negative energy, but then they messed things up with an arbitrary rule. I don't like rules that are there because they're rules and they're there.

That's why I changed channel energy back to being logical. So the clerics can heal and harm at the same time when they face undead? No big deal. Better than going 4e on the rules.

Mr. KaeYoss and I tend to disagree on a lot of things, but this is not one. The fact that it is one orhe other is at best, illogical and in my opinion, in play, very annoying. I can see it being too powerful, but at the same time, I think it also ruins the fun by making it one or the other. I had suggested a long time ago, that the Cleric might focus on one more than the other as a sort of balance, so tht a Good Cleric Channels Energy that heals at full power (lets say 5th Level, so 3d6) but hurts undead a bit weaker (as 3 levels lower, so deals 1d6 to Undead). You could even go just straight half damage to one or the other, or half level. But the fact that one wave of Positive (or Negative) energy ignors both the rules for Positive (or Negtive) Energy and also ignors targets in range is just bad idea, in my opinion.


Was searching the boards for this info... I agree it makes no sense.


No it does not make sense, but most people prefer balance over making sense. I will also state that what is balanced for one group is not for another. I was not really a part of the beta testing so I don't know if it was broken or not.


Apologies for the thread necromancy -- although it is rather appropriate here -- but I have a follow up question, more of a clarification really.

PRD wrote:
A good cleric (or one who worships a good deity) channels positive energy and can choose to deal damage to undead creatures or to heal living creatures. An evil cleric (or one who worships an evil deity) channels negative energy and can choose to deal damage to living creatures or to heal undead creatures. A neutral cleric who worships a neutral deity (or one who is not devoted to a particular deity) must choose whether she channels positive or negative energy. Once this choice is made, it cannot be reversed. This decision also determines whether the cleric casts spontaneous cure or inflict spells (see spontaneous casting).

If I have a cleric who channels negative energy, he can still cast Cure Light Wounds as a spell choice -- or through a wand-- but not as a spontaneous spell, correct?


kelvingreen wrote:

Apologies for the thread necromancy -- although it is rather appropriate here -- but I have a follow up question, more of a clarification really.

PRD wrote:
A good cleric (or one who worships a good deity) channels positive energy and can choose to deal damage to undead creatures or to heal living creatures. An evil cleric (or one who worships an evil deity) channels negative energy and can choose to deal damage to living creatures or to heal undead creatures. A neutral cleric who worships a neutral deity (or one who is not devoted to a particular deity) must choose whether she channels positive or negative energy. Once this choice is made, it cannot be reversed. This decision also determines whether the cleric casts spontaneous cure or inflict spells (see spontaneous casting).

If I have a cleric who channels negative energy, he can still cast Cure Light Wounds as a spell choice -- or through a wand-- but not as a spontaneous spell, correct?

Correct. It makes the cleric have to pre-plan his heals (or buy lots of wands), unless he's undead.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
kelvingreen wrote:


If I have a cleric who channels negative energy, he can still cast Cure Light Wounds as a spell choice -- or through a wand-- but not as a spontaneous spell, correct?

Yep,

Just as a positive energy cleric can get inflict/harm spells.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I'm thinking I'm going to go with Wraithstrike on this one. From a balance perspective though, I think I'll reduce the die to 1d4. So, burst heal/damage for 1d4.

Could make damphir necromancers very nasty though. ;) Or Bone Oracle/Cleric combos.


So I agree the rules should of been left with beta, both will balance. The problem come with wording in later books like the dhampires negative energy ability and the greatly worded death embrace cleric domain ability. Especially since the release ofadditional rules in society.

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