Cure spells and evil clerics - I'm sure this has been asked before, but....


Rules Questions


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....I'm relatively new to the game and my group has a question: cure spells specifically (description of cure light wounds in the Core Rule Book) state that they involve the use of positive energy. Evil clerics seem barred from the use of positive energy (is this correct? - certainly is for channeling powers), so does that mean that an evil cleric cannot cast cure light wounds, for example?


Evil clerics can use positive energy. That just can't use positive energy in their Channel Energy ability, nor can they spontaneously cast healing spells. Evil clerics have to memorize healing spells, but can still cast them.

The only cleric spells that an Evil cleric can not cast are those spells with the [Good] descriptor. Healing spells don't have an alignment descriptor, so are available to all clerics.


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Timothy Ferdinand wrote:
cure spells specifically (description of cure light wounds in the Core Rule Book) state that they involve the use of positive energy. Evil clerics seem barred from the use of positive energy (is this correct? - certainly is for channeling powers), so does that mean that an evil cleric cannot cast cure light wounds, for example?

Nothing prevents them from casting those spells.

Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells: "A cleric can't cast spells of an alignment opposed to her own or her deity's (if she has one). Spells associated with particular alignments are indicated by the chaotic, evil, good, and lawful descriptors in their spell descriptions."

Inflict Light Wounds: "School necromancy;"

Cure Light Wounds: "School conjuration (healing);"

A cleric who channels negative energy cannot use Spontaneous Casting to cast a Cure spell, and a cleric who channels positive energy cannot convert prepared spells to Inflict. They can still be prepared like normal.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Thanks for the quick replies - whilst I'm delighted from a game mechanics point of view that evil clerics seem (based on your views) to be able to cast heal spells, I remain confused by the logic - in the Cleric section of the core rule book it clearly states (under the explanation of "channel energy") that: "a good cleric (or one who worships a good deity) channels positive energy". The cure light wounds spell states "you channel positive energy that cures...." there seems a logical flaw if a cleric's spells and powers are derived from his/her deity and a good deity gives the ability to channel only positive energy, an evil deity giving the power to channel only negative energy - how can an evil deity suddenly give an evil cleric the positive energy channeling needed to cast cure light wounds. As I said, if the consensus is that this is possible, I think that is helpful from a game mechanics perspective as otherwise evil parties have a VERY severe disadvantage, but logically it doesn't seem to stack up - perhaps I'm being too pedantic :o)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Interestingly enough, a description of how the Channel Energy class feature works applies only to the Channel Energy class feature and not to everything about the very core of what the cleric can do.


Timothy Ferdinand wrote:
there seems a logical flaw if a cleric's spells and powers are derived from his/her deity and a good deity gives the ability to channel only positive energy,

That "only" is where you go wrong.

The good cleric gains an ability to channel positive energy in a burst of fluffy light goodness.

This does not preclude them from using a spell that channels negative energy into their enemies to harm them.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

like I said, its good for the game that evil clerics can heal, but it is NOT logical that a good cleric can't (and he can't - that much is clear) channel negative energy to inflict wounds on his enemies using the channel energy ability, but he can channel negative energy through a spell to inflict wounds on his enemies. I don't see how anyone can argue that is a logical position. I suspect the problem is that in designing the cure spells, the game designers should have avoided the concept that they involved channeling positive energy and instead focused on them being some form of "transmutation" of the flesh or "conjuration" of new repaired flesh. Anyway, the important thing is that whatever the logic, evil clerics can cure - so thanks for the feedback.

Dark Archive

Channeling and Cure/Inflict spells are two separate beasts.

A Cleric can only use a single type of Channel * Energy because that's the only ability they are granted by their deity/divine source of power. This is unlike normal spells, which are learned through holy texts, religious training and other such things.


Okay. Spellcasting is not channeling. Clerics are only limited in the divine spells they can prepare by the following: (a) the spell must be on the cleric spell list, (b) she can't cast spells of an alignment opposed to her own or her deity's (if she has one), spells associated with particular alignments are indicated by the chaotic, evil, good, and lawful descriptors in their spell descriptions, (c) only domain spells can be prepared in domain slots, and (d) she must be high enough level (and have a high enough Wisdom score) to cast the spell in question.

That is it.

Neither the cure or inflict spells (or harm or heal for that matter) have an alignment descriptor.

Now, depending on whether the cleric is good (or neutral and selects postive channeling) she can spontaneously convert any prepared, non-domain spell, into a cure spell. Conversely, if the cleric is evil (or neutral and selects negative channeling) she can spontaneously convert any prepared spell into an inflict spell.

Many clerics use this ability to prepare a cure spell (evil and negative channelling neutral clerics) or an inflict spell (good and postive channelling neutral clerics) while still retaining the ability to spontaneously convert those spells to either cures or inflicts.

None of this, has any effect on channelling energy. So, yes. Your good clerics can prepare a harm spell, just like your evil clerics can prepare a heal spell.

Master Arminas


Timothy Ferdinand wrote:
I don't see how anyone can argue that is a logical position.

Torag: Hey Bob, you've been a pretty good priest lately, you know? Have some powers and stuff. Here's a big burst of holy energy to heal your friends or burn undead. Awesome.

Bob: Hey Torag, there's probably going to be some bad guys attacking the caravan today. How about letting me hurt them with a touch?

Torag: Sure thing buddy, here you go. BTW, you can swap that out to heal someone if you need to.

Bob: You know, a big burst of hurting might be cool, too...

Torag: Nah, you'll do alright with what I gave you. Forge on, brother.


Grick wrote:
Timothy Ferdinand wrote:
I don't see how anyone can argue that is a logical position.

Torag: Hey Bob, you've been a pretty good priest lately, you know? Have some powers and stuff. Here's a big burst of holy energy to heal your friends or burn undead. Awesome.

Bob: Hey Torag, there's probably going to be some bad guys attacking the caravan today. How about letting me hurt them with a touch?

Torag: Sure thing buddy, here you go. BTW, you can swap that out to heal someone if you need to.

Bob: You know, a big burst of hurting might be cool, too...

Torag: Well, Bob, you are in luck today. Here you go, have a mass inflict moderate wounds on me.

:)

Master Arminas


master arminas wrote:

Torag: Well, Bob, you are in luck today. Here you go, have a mass inflict moderate wounds on me.

:)

Master Arminas

you beat me to it.....but you make my point on logic very well - the truth is that the confusion lies in the idea (inadvertently encouraged by the limits on the channel energy ability) that positive energy is good and negative energy is bad. This is of course not the case, rather it is the use you put positive or negative energy to, which is good or evil. A good cleric could cast mass inflict wounds to heal damage to an army of undead - in most cases that would be unlikely to be an act of "good" and presumably a GM would deal with such an act accordingly. So the reality is that good and evil clerics can use spells which channel positive and negative energy (provided the use them for the right purpose - or the GM will impose consequences) - its a pity (from a logic point of view) that the game designers didn't take the same approach with the channel energy ability and allow good and evil clerics access to both positive and negative energy - leaving the GM to adjudge whether they were using it in a manner fitting their alignment and imposing consequences if they misused it.

Dark Archive

Positive and Negative energies are not inherently good or evil.

It's merely that whatever source of power your Cleric gets his abilities from gives him one and not the other.

That's it. It's not that he COULDN'T use the other, he just hasn't been taught/imbued with the knowledge/ability to do so.


Seranov wrote:

Positive and Negative energies are not inherently good or evil.

It's merely that whatever source of power your Cleric gets his abilities from gives him one and not the other.

That's it. It's not that he COULDN'T use the other, he just hasn't been taught/imbued with the knowledge/ability to do so.

But, they kinda do have some degree of inherent goodness and evilness. Good aligned clerics CAN'T channel negative energy, EVER, unless they stop being good. It doesn't matter which deity they worship, or how they train. Similarly, a good aligned deity, can't grant the ability to channel negative energy to their clerics.

There's just something about channeling negative energy, that doesn't jive with goodness.

Dark Archive

You're looking at it the wrong way.

It's not that Channeling Negative Energy is a bad thing, because it's not. Negative energy is just the opposite of positive energy, and both could be considered completely neutral because they're just energy.

A good deity chooses to give their champions the ability to channel positive energy.
An evil deity chooses to give their champions the ability to channel negative energy.
But here's where I get my logic from: A neutral deity lets their champions pick one or the other. This means that the clerics could learn EITHER, but are simply only taught/imbued with one and not the other.


Exactly. Channeling positive energy is about healing the living and harming undead. Channeling negative energy is about harming the living and healing undead. Good aligned deities prefer that their clerics do the former, while evil deities grant the latter. Neutral deities don't really care, and it would make sense that they could grant their clerics with the ability to do both--but the game designers said that would be overpowered. So their clerics have to choose one or the other.

Now, if you are playing in certain campaign worlds, you don't get a choice for certain Gods and Goddess as a neutral cleric. St. Cuthbert's clerics ALWAYS channel positive and Wee Jas's clerics ALWAYS channel negative, although both deities are Lawful Neutral. Why? Because that is what those Gods/Goddesses have decided.

Master Arminas


One thing that could help this bit of confusion (as well as other bits of confusion in a wide variety of areas) is if people would stop using the word "logical" as if means "true" or "factual". That aside, there is nothing illogical in saying that an evil cleric can channel negative energy and cast spells that use positive energy.


Seranov wrote:

You're looking at it the wrong way.

It's not that Channeling Negative Energy is a bad thing, because it's not. Negative energy is just the opposite of positive energy, and both could be considered completely neutral because they're just energy.

A good deity chooses to give their champions the ability to channel positive energy.
An evil deity chooses to give their champions the ability to channel negative energy.

So a good deity could give their clerics if they wanted to? Why aren't there rules for that.

Quote:
But here's where I get my logic from: A neutral deity lets their champions pick one or the other. This means that the clerics could learn EITHER, but are simply only taught/imbued with one and not the other.

Good clerics can't pick negative energy. They can't be taught or imbued. They can only, EVER, choose to channel positive energy. So, what stops a good cleric from channeling negative?


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As a personal opinion, I have always thought that the whole ''evil cleric = negative energy and good cleric = positive energy'' thing was one of the worst design concept ever made in D&D. Evil races should have access to good healers too, otherwise they would have lost their battle against the force of good a long time ago.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

When a cleric use Channel Energy he generate a burst of positive or negative energy. Unless and until he take specific feats he is incapable to select his targets, so it is only appropriate that good deities restrict the cleric ability to do non aimed harm in his proximity, while it is reasonable that evil deities are more willing to give him the ability to do havoc to friend and foes alike (the rules are generic, there are a few specific evil goods that would frown on that).

Cure and Cause spells are targeted, so, while the gods show a preference allowing the spontaneous casting of the appropriate set of spells, they don't prohibit the use of the other kind to their clerics.

Dark Archive

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Positive energy is not good. Negative energy is not evil. Both planes, and the energies derived from them, are every bit as mindless and neutral and a moral non-event as elemental fire or an astral pool.

Good clerics can cast inflict wounds all day long. Evil clerics can cast cure wounds all day long.

Only evil gods allow their clerics to channel negative energy, for reasons of backwards compatibility that has nothing to do with the setting, where negative energy remains as neutral as it ever was.

Only good gods allow their clerics to channel positive energy, for the exact same reason, as even demons and devils and daemons are powered by neutral positive energy, not neutral negative energy, meaning that Asmodeus and Lamashtu are gimping their own clerics, probably because they are evil and think it's hilarious to bone their worshippers.

Negative energy is also harder to use, since you can function without Selective Channeling as a positive energy user, and your healing takes full effect, while negative energy is almost impossible to use without hurting your allies (or, if you have Selective Channeling, and a generous point-buy, and gimped your Wisdom, *some* of your allies), and everybody gets a saving throw to halve it's effectiveness anyway.

Good stuff is flat out better than evil stuff, because it's no fun if team good can't steamroller team evil.

It's particularly amusing when evil gods of fertility and fecundity and life, like Lamashtu or Cyth-V'sug, forbid their clergy from channeling the energies of shuddersome life, and stick them with negative energy, in utter contempt of their own portfolios.

Ditto those good aligned war-gods who have nothing to do with healing, mercy or redemption, like Iomedae, all about smiting the unrighteous and cleansing the world of wickedness with warm pleasant healing radiance...

Eh. Go figure.

Dark Archive

Quantum Steve wrote:
Seranov wrote:

You're looking at it the wrong way.

It's not that Channeling Negative Energy is a bad thing, because it's not. Negative energy is just the opposite of positive energy, and both could be considered completely neutral because they're just energy.

A good deity chooses to give their champions the ability to channel positive energy.
An evil deity chooses to give their champions the ability to channel negative energy.

So a good deity could give their clerics if they wanted to? Why aren't there rules for that.

Quote:
But here's where I get my logic from: A neutral deity lets their champions pick one or the other. This means that the clerics could learn EITHER, but are simply only taught/imbued with one and not the other.
Good clerics can't pick negative energy. They can't be taught or imbued. They can only, EVER, choose to channel positive energy. So, what stops a good cleric from channeling negative?

Their deity does. That's the whole point. The deity lets them use one kind of channeling and one kind only. If neutral deities give their Clerics a choice, then it's obvious that any deity COULD, merely that good and evil deities don't.


Seranov wrote:
Their deity does. That's the whole point. The deity lets them use one kind of channeling and one kind only.

That assumes that deities have free access to positive/negative energy, which does not have to be the case. They might be limited in their direct access (as opposed to indirect access through the spells).

Quote:
If neutral deities give their Clerics a choice, then it's obvious that any deity COULD, merely that good and evil deities don't.

Is it? Is it obvious that all deities have the same abilities and powers?


Seranov wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:
Seranov wrote:

You're looking at it the wrong way.

It's not that Channeling Negative Energy is a bad thing, because it's not. Negative energy is just the opposite of positive energy, and both could be considered completely neutral because they're just energy.

A good deity chooses to give their champions the ability to channel positive energy.
An evil deity chooses to give their champions the ability to channel negative energy.

So a good deity could give their clerics if they wanted to? Why aren't there rules for that.

Quote:
But here's where I get my logic from: A neutral deity lets their champions pick one or the other. This means that the clerics could learn EITHER, but are simply only taught/imbued with one and not the other.
Good clerics can't pick negative energy. They can't be taught or imbued. They can only, EVER, choose to channel positive energy. So, what stops a good cleric from channeling negative?
Their deity does. That's the whole point. The deity lets them use one kind of channeling and one kind only. If neutral deities give their Clerics a choice, then it's obvious that any deity COULD, merely that good and evil deities don't.

So, why would a neutral deity refuse to let her good aligned clerics channel negative energy? Why would she care the methods some of her clerics use when her other clerics employ those same methods?


Diego Rossi wrote:

When a cleric use Channel Energy he generate a burst of positive or negative energy. Unless and until he take specific feats he is incapable to select his targets, so it is only appropriate that good deities restrict the cleric ability to do non aimed harm in his proximity, while it is reasonable that evil deities are more willing to give him the ability to do havoc to friend and foes alike (the rules are generic, there are a few specific evil goods that would frown on that).

Cure and Cause spells are targeted, so, while the gods show a preference allowing the spontaneous casting of the appropriate set of spells, they don't prohibit the use of the other kind to their clerics.

This doesn't explain why neutral deities restrict their aligned clerics.

Set wrote:


Good clerics can cast inflict wounds all day long. Evil clerics can cast cure wounds all day long.

Good clerics cannot channel negative. Evil clerics cannot channel positive.

Quote:
Only evil gods allow their clerics to channel negative energy, for reasons of backwards compatibility that has nothing to do with the setting, where negative energy remains as neutral as it ever was.

Neutral deities also allow their clerics to channel negative energy, and have ever done thusly.

If negative energy is neutral, why can't good clerics channel it?

Ditto for positive energy.

Dark Archive

Drejk wrote:
Seranov wrote:
Their deity does. That's the whole point. The deity lets them use one kind of channeling and one kind only.
That assumes that deities have free access to positive/negative energy, which does not have to be the case. They might be limited in their direct access (as opposed to indirect access through the spells).

That's possible.

In 3.X cosmology, the positive energy plane was 'closer' to the upper planes, IIRC, while the negative energy plane was 'closer' to the lower planes.

It's possible that the evil gods simply are stuck in the lower planes, near the hungry negative energy sinkhole, and are unable to tap into the fount of life-energies that the good gods get to bask in.

It would explain why the upper planes seem to be vibrant teeming paradises, while the lower planes are always squabbling over resources, as they are so far away from the source of all light, life and creative energy.

Scarab Sages

Had a GM tell me that as a neg-channeling cleric, I had to use a Lv2 slot to prepare & cast a cure-light (Lv1 spell). Is this true?

Thanks in advance.

Grand Lodge

ssaberr wrote:
Had a GM tell me that as a neg-channeling cleric, I had to use a Lv2 slot to prepare & cast a cure-light (Lv1 spell). Is this true?

Cure light wounds is a 1st level spell for all clerics. Having to prepare the spell is the only restriction.


I've always interpreted that distinction in clerics as a show of their innerselves. Those able to channel positive energy are generally good, while those who channel negative energies are generally evil.
Even neutral characters tend to lean towards one or the other scale. Or if lying in the smack middle of it, they choose their channel ability based on other characteristics.

This is of course a very basic explanation of it, but the idea is the energy clerics channel is a very "real" manifistation of who they are.

Spells on the other hand are basically tools they need granted by their deities. Therefore a good aligned cleric can cast spells with negative energy since it does not conflict with her beliefs. If their deity thinks its inappropriate to grant such spells and pays enough attention to the cleric, the GM can deny the cleric her chosen spells.


Maerimydra wrote:
As a personal opinion, I have always thought that the whole ''evil cleric = negative energy and good cleric = positive energy'' thing was one of the worst design concept ever made in D&D. Evil races should have access to good healers too, otherwise they would have lost their battle against the force of good a long time ago.

Have you seen those goblins? They breed like rabbits.

I mean, we kill 100 of them, and while they kill only 10 of us, two years later the goblins are at full strength again, while our "reinforcements" have just learned to walk...
And that's assuming we're not elves, because then we'd be totally boned.

Dark Archive

Maerimydra wrote:
As a personal opinion, I have always thought that the whole ''evil cleric = negative energy and good cleric = positive energy'' thing was one of the worst design concept ever made in D&D. Evil races should have access to good healers too, otherwise they would have lost their battle against the force of good a long time ago.

Worshipers of evil deities do have access to good healers. In fact, they tend to be just as good as the healers of good aligned deities.

Granted, the good aligned deities tend to have healers who can heal several people in an instant an extremely limited amount which is almost always restricted to emergencies in combat, but most often put to uses other than healing.


Hey guys -- I know I am trolling low to get this but I decided to do some research since I am prepping a "Way of the Wicked" game and the guys and I were having a tough discussion about this. Hopefully this helps.

It says that a cleric cannot cast a spell directly opposed to his alignment so a GOOD cleric cannot cast an EVIL spell and visa versa. Everyone is getting hung up on the CHANNEL ***** ENERGY parts of the spell texts and not looking at the SCHOOL section of a spell.

Examples:

Exhibit 1. Animate Dead -- School necromancy [evil]; Level cleric 3, sorcerer/wizard 4

There for a GOOD cleric cannot cast animate dead because the descriptor is [evil]

Exhibit 2. Holy Smite -- School evocation [good]; Level cleric 4

Just like previous the descriptor is [good] so an EVIL cleric cannot prepare this spell

Exhibit 3. Cure Light Wounds -- School conjuration (healing); Level bard 1, cleric 1, druid 1, paladin 1, ranger 2

--AND--

Exhibit 3-A. Inflict Light Wounds -- School necromancy; Level cleric 1

The Cure/Inflict spells do not carry the EVIL or GOOD descriptor in the school field so I am ruling that an EVIL cleric can prepare Cure's in Way of the Wicked.

I hope this helped!!!


Not to be pedantic or anything apple but I know someone is going to find this thread in 3 years and misunderstand what you just said.

That shouldn't have been a ruling that is the basic rule of the game. To say anything opposite than that is a ruling, but agreeing with it is just going by the rules.


ssaberr wrote:

Had a GM tell me that as a neg-channeling cleric, I had to use a Lv2 slot to prepare & cast a cure-light (Lv1 spell). Is this true?

Thanks in advance.

\

Short answer: No

Long Answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


fearcypher wrote:

Not to be pedantic or anything apple but I know someone is going to find this thread in 3 years and misunderstand what you just said.

That shouldn't have been a ruling that is the basic rule of the game. To say anything opposite than that is a ruling, but agreeing with it is just going by the rules.

Understandable. That's the way I took it and reading through the previous replies I thought my explanation and pointing out the School descriptor would have been helpful. Sounds like it was not -- my apologies to the people that will read this in the next 3 years and be confused.

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