How much do churches charge to heal?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I would guess good-aligned churches would do it for free, but I know at least some neutral gods (such as Abadar) do charge, so how much is reasonable?


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The CRB answers that question: 10 X spell level X caster level gp.


Some healing for the less fortunate, or offering services for free during time of disasters would be generally accepted. But there are are plenty of reasons for them to still charge otherwise.

Spell slots are also a limited resource per day, and each temple would only have so many qualified casters. So they would likely want to normally keep the healing in reserve in case of a major emergency (Such as a large carriage accident, or a bandit raid)- and the cleric would want fair compensation for using up those reserves.

Also, even good aligned churches also need 'donations' to run. And the Church of Abadar would send strongly worded letters if their "competitors" were "undercutting prices".


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The rates are very reasonable, just your soul.


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Most normal people get by on the heal skill. Pathfinder injuries are not realistic. If you think about it, nobody needs a cure light wounds. If they lived long enough for you to get to them, there is nothing that CLW's does that will save them from dying...or recovering naturally. CLW only helps you if your likely to be injured again.

The spells that actually matter are Curse Disease (the big one), Neutralize Poison, and Remove Curse. Well, Cure Blindness/Deafness too. These are long term conditions where you could live long enough to reach a healer and you take a high risk from relying on natural recovery.

Regeneration is a plot device. You can be crushed almost to death by boulders, almost killed by a fall, blown up by a fireball, or bathed in acid and it doesn't matter. As long as you have 1 hp left, you can move as well as you can at full health. The only time you take limb damage is when something says you do and those sorts of things are rare.

When you are talking about the difference between heal skill (2 silver per day treatment) vs a 3rd level spell (minimum of 150gp), common people have to depend on skills, or charity from organizations they have supported. And the other unfortunate thing is that there aren't a lot of 5th+ level casters around. Small villages probably have none. Towns generally have 1 or 2 but there is a good chance it isn't a priest. Though any size city should have a mid level cleric or three split among the different religious organizations there.

As far as good vs evil, most clerics would want to use their powers rather than 'horde' them. Their motives would align with their faith. Priest of Desna would be more focused on aiding travelers and believers. Priests of Gorum would want to return warriors to battle. Priests of Abadar would offer their services in return for signing a contract. There may be no money changing hands here but nothing involving Abadar is free. The only waste would be going to bed with a cure disease still memorized. But spells that cure hp? Unless you are in a war, nobody needs them.


Well, I would imagine there are circumstances where people got into accidents or animal attacks, and then got stabilized from negative HP. They would then be brought to the local priest because the spell slot seems safer for bringing a person back to the positives than a (potentially untrained) skill check.

Of course, most good and neutral clerics would just leave that to spontaneous casting. Only clerics to asmodeus and the like have to worry about planning out how to ration for events like that.

Still, you are right- the local cleric is more likely going to see stomach aches and snake bites than sword wounds in most places.


lemeres wrote:

Some healing for the less fortunate, or offering services for free during time of disasters would be generally accepted. But there are are plenty of reasons for them to still charge otherwise.

Spell slots are also a limited resource per day, and each temple would only have so many qualified casters. So they would likely want to normally keep the healing in reserve in case of a major emergency (Such as a large carriage accident, or a bandit raid)- and the cleric would want fair compensation for using up those reserves.

Also, even good aligned churches also need 'donations' to run. And the Church of Abadar would send strongly worded letters if their "competitors" were "undercutting prices".

Well I do think even good churches would charge for things that require a component (such as restoration and the resurrection type spells), as the component has to be paid for somehow. It would probably be non-profit though.


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An important distinction for me is how things work for PCs vs how they are for most of the world. In most games the PCs are not "needy," so would not receive charity from temples. Those with means, like wealthy adventurers, are asked to shoulder the financial burden so that the good work the church does for the poor can continue.


yep. churches might spare a healing for the very unfortunate, but for the most part, charge because its what funds the rest of their work. thats why the costs in the crb are as they are


I've always figured that the really big wealthy churches (that are good aligned anyway) should have a permanent symbol of healing stuffed away in a backroom that they could use to heal those that can't afford the normal prices. I mean its a one time cost for the church, but after that it would let them heal people on a daily basis without "dipping into the reserves" of healing that might be needed for an emergency. I mean, heck even during an emergency the symbol would be useful unless the injured already benefited from the circle that day for some reason.


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Yqatuba wrote:
Well I do think even good churches would charge for things that require a component (such as restoration and the resurrection type spells), as the component has to be paid for somehow. It would probably be non-profit though.

However, churches are organizations that can train spell casters- a relatively rare type of human resource that requires very particular training and mental abilities. Raising and teaching enough acolytes to find potential clerics (people with 12+ wis) means that they need money.

While they would do plenty of charity work, I can't help but think that they would still charge those that are able to pay.


thorin001 wrote:

The CRB answers that question: 10 X spell level X caster level gp.

That is true for a cure spell or the like. But what about an ability like channel energy? Does that follow the same formula?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For ease of use, I would treat a channel as equivalent to a spell, a level equal to 1/3 the d6 it would heal, because a 9d6 channel is not the equivalent of a 9th level spell.


There is the default for class granted SLAs that do not copy spells, half the class level granting it. So channel would be 10 x cl x 1/2cl in gp.


Java Man wrote:
There is the default for class granted SLAs that do not copy spells, half the class level granting it. So channel would be 10 x cl x 1/2cl in gp.

So a 5th level Cleric's Channel Energy would be 10 x 5 x 2.5 = 125 gp?

LordKailas wrote:
I've always figured that the really big wealthy churches (that are good aligned anyway) should have a permanent symbol of healing stuffed away in a backroom that they could use to heal those that can't afford the normal prices. I mean its a one time cost for the church, but after that it would let them heal people on a daily basis without "dipping into the reserves" of healing that might be needed for an emergency. I mean, heck even during an emergency the symbol would be useful unless the injured already benefited from the circle that day for some reason.

It'd only take 70 uses at the minimum rate for a 3rd level spell cast at CL 5 in order to break even on Symbol of Healing + the cost of permanency. 74 times (and it makes a profit on the last use) if they also have to pay the 500 gp to the Wizard that casts Permanency but they provide all of the material components and shoulder the other costs themselves directly.

After the cost is paid, or even while adventurers and such are paying the full price, they could still charge a pittance, like a few copper, and still that would add up.

Abadaran temples would probably work out some kind of contract where the service is available to the city watch and others in the employ of the city in exchange for being paid a monthly or yearly retainer or subscription fee. Since they are more than capable of playing the long game when it comes to investments, they could even take years before the city payments broke even on their investment. Plus they'd still have it available to them to charge people on an individual basis to use it.

I could also see some temples where the symbol was put in place as part of an antechamber between the temple and some kind of room where ordinary people get a lesson on the faith and why that religion and deity is the way to go. Sort of like how there's that one holiday Abadar has where they offer one free beer and then tokens that can be redeemed for a second one the next day if they come in for a sermon.


Yqatuba wrote:
Well I do think even good churches would charge for things that require a component (such as restoration and the resurrection type spells), as the component has to be paid for somehow. It would probably be non-profit though.

Do good-aligned doctors in our world work for free? Generally speaking, no. They'd starve to death.

If there's free healthcare, someone is paying for it.

While this might happen in an RPG, you shouldn't assume it as the default, even when good people are involved. Maybe the local church accepts donations from worshippers, and gives these worshippers free healing in exchange. Maybe the good-aligned cleric will heal the adventurers for free because she knows they're doing important work to protect the town. Or maybe not.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
Well I do think even good churches would charge for things that require a component (such as restoration and the resurrection type spells), as the component has to be paid for somehow. It would probably be non-profit though.
Do good-aligned doctors in our world work for free? Generally speaking, no. They'd starve to death.

I would argue that most doctors (like most people) are neutral and not actually good.

Good doctors would be the ones who join programs like Doctors without Borders. Which, while they are paid the amount is pretty small and mostly just to enable them to continue living without starving to death.

Being good aligned means you do good things, and charity is one of the most common ways of committing good acts. A doctor who is not otherwise engaged in doing good activities is probably neutral and not good.


Claxon wrote:
I would argue that most doctors (like most people) are neutral and not actually good.

I would argue that an average doctor has different characteristics than an average person, much like how the average adventurer is different from an average peasant.

Despite disagreeing with what you wrote, I agree with what (I think) you mean: I think people play paladins and clerics too 1-dimensionally. I think it's fine for healing to have a negotiable price. Clerics may charge less to heal people who share their faith, alignment, or goals. They may refuse to heal people who actively work against them, or only do it for a high price. I would support bringing a character's CHA modifier into play for non-trivial negotiations.

Ultimately, though, unless it advances the story, I think healing is just an automatic transaction, like buying a longsword from a blacksmith.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
Well I do think even good churches would charge for things that require a component (such as restoration and the resurrection type spells), as the component has to be paid for somehow. It would probably be non-profit though.

Do good-aligned doctors in our world work for free? Generally speaking, no. They'd starve to death.

Yes, but real life doctors can't just use magic to summon food for themselves


Given that good churches would probably use the money to do good things, it's perfectly reasonable for them to demand money from those who can pay - that way, the church has more resources to do good.

They'd probably also offer charity for those who need it, but adventurers generally don't fall in that category, unless they're just starting out. In which case they might end up getting recruited to help someone else in lieu of payment.


Churches also get donations and tithes from the those of the faith. And some of those followers are well to do (adventures, craftsmen, nobles, etc.) Those funds support the churches various projects including feeding and caring for the less fortunate among them, particularly the 'good' faiths. Charging the wealthier among them for casting is also a way to increase those funds and redistribute the wealth among the churches followers. How much they charge will depend a great deal on the doctrine of the church (and how strictly the individual clergy and lay folk follow them).


Watery Soup wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I would argue that most doctors (like most people) are neutral and not actually good.

I would argue that an average doctor has different characteristics than an average person, much like how the average adventurer is different from an average peasant.

Despite disagreeing with what you wrote, I agree with what (I think) you mean: I think people play paladins and clerics too 1-dimensionally. I think it's fine for healing to have a negotiable price. Clerics may charge less to heal people who share their faith, alignment, or goals. They may refuse to heal people who actively work against them, or only do it for a high price. I would support bringing a character's CHA modifier into play for non-trivial negotiations.

Ultimately, though, unless it advances the story, I think healing is just an automatic transaction, like buying a longsword from a blacksmith.

I agree that there are important differences between doctors and average people, like going to school for 10 years and becoming masters at understanding the human body. Also potentially crippling debt, and probably some neurosis from the psychological stress.

But as far as their alignment is concerned? I doubt it. While people might talk about "helping others" very few doctors are doing so for free. Because they're not "good" as Pathfinder/D&D defines good. Not doing evil things doesn't make you good. You have to actively improve the world.

That said, being good doesn't mean a cleric or paladin will do things for free. They have demands on their time and abilities, and there is potential that helping you might mean they can't help someone else. I would think more often in the case of adventurers, clerics and paladins of good aligned churches would ask for actions from the party and not simple gold.The church of Abadar can provide you with healing for a fee and no other strings attached. Sarenrae wants you to further her goals.


Yqatuba wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Do good-aligned doctors in our world work for free? Generally speaking, no. They'd starve to death.
Yes, but real life doctors can't just use magic to summon food for themselves

While high level magic users can eventually take care of food, water, shelter, clothing, and various tools of daily life... very few people get to that level. For everyone else, they accept cash for their services.

And even the high level ones usually look for some kind of compensation, such as increased influence of their order, political power, etc. Even if you are dealing with a purely good an altruistic cleric, they might view these resources as assets they can invest into raising more clerics, which would allow them to have more healers in every village, thereby raising the quality of life for more people.

On another note- the people getting healed might not be charged, but this could be due to an agreement with the local lords where the tithe is meant to fund all basic services (essentially, the lord is paying for the healing because it means the citizens can work more efficiently).


Speaking of channel, it has a 30 foot radius. You can fit a lot of people in a 30 foot radius. I assume the more generous temples with a channeler would just have a daily channel, for those in deep need.


Melkiador wrote:
Speaking of channel, it has a 30 foot radius. You can fit a lot of people in a 30 foot radius. I assume the more generous temples with a channeler would just have a daily channel, for those in deep need.

About 130 or so, I guess? Just a rough estimate when you include 1/2 of the caster's square in the radius(they are in the middle) and then subtract the caster's square from the circle.


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"Healing is free. Donations are mandatory."


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lemeres wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
Speaking of channel, it has a 30 foot radius. You can fit a lot of people in a 30 foot radius. I assume the more generous temples with a channeler would just have a daily channel, for those in deep need.
About 130 or so, I guess? Just a rough estimate when you include 1/2 of the caster's square in the radius(they are in the middle) and then subtract the caster's square from the circle.

So, 5 p.m. is "Dogpile the High Priest O'Clock"? 30-foot radius includes up, of course.

...I'm starting to see why there's a long line of folks with cut fingers heading into the Temple of Calistria every evening around the same time....


Good churches do not do this for free, generally speaking (meaning where adventurers and PCs are concerned). Most likely (and there are far too many types of churches and religions and even philosophies amongst different cities of the same church and faith to cover every possible instance), you can probably expect a cure light wounds on an unconscious person for most 'good' churches, enough to get them mobile. Assuming we're talking about adventurers and not average-Joe-lives-in-town-and-goes-to-church, the costs for anything else is as thorin001 said, a donation in the amount similar to what the effect can do.

PCs get way more money than the average or even above average person. The prices are set to reflect this for game balance purposes. Anything else can be RP; free or discount healing for faithful or those who've donated generously or just having the priest be really nice. If there is some other ability being used, like channel, the cost should come out roughly equivalent to the effect (for instance, if it's basically the same as a mass cure light wounds, that's what it should cost (and again, you can adjust it to fit the situation, so it could be just the cost a cure light wounds for each recipient if that would be more generous). If the adventurers can't afford it, they can accept a task or geas (if not well-known or a high chance of flaking) to do some work for the church.

It's also possible that a channel is used during services or at the end as a 'blessing' type of incentive for those who attend such services and participate (obviously not making someone seriously injured or bleeding all over wait).


Yqatuba wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
Well I do think even good churches would charge for things that require a component (such as restoration and the resurrection type spells), as the component has to be paid for somehow. It would probably be non-profit though.

Do good-aligned doctors in our world work for free? Generally speaking, no. They'd starve to death.

Yes, but real life doctors can't just use magic to summon food for themselves

On the whole it'd be cheaper and better to buy food and stimulate the economy and support the livelihoods of others and instead use that 3rd level spell slot to cure a nobleman's embarrassing case of syphilis than to use that spell slot to feed the clergy and maybe a small number of other people who are destitute. I think most faiths, even outside the ranks of the faithful of Abadar, could see that to some extent.

.

Tangent on the subject of what a 3rd level spell slot could buy:
150 gp of spellcasting will buy an awful lot of farmers' wheat, beans, potatoes, cheese, chickens, and goats. Indeed, divided 6 ways to 25 gp to each of them, that amounts to 2500 pounds of Wheat, 1250 pounds of Beans, another 1250 lb of Potatoes (or Turnips), 1250 pounds of Cheese, 1250 live chickens, and 25 live goats. A fraction of that could go to actually sustaining a decent-sized temple staff for a good long length of time, while the rest could feed far more people in terms of charity, for longer, than the 15 people that could be fed for 1 day by a CL 5 Create Food and Water.

More abstractly, a day's worth of Poor Meals costs 1 sp at market value and a day's worth of Common Meals costs 3 sp at market rate. Buying those directly, that's 1500 days worth of feeding people Poor Meals and 500 days of feeding people Common Meals. Arranging for them to be crafted, for Poor Meals that's either 4500 or 6000 depending upon using standard or alternate crafting. For Common Meals, that's either 1500 or 2000 meals depending upon which crafting system you'd use. Admittedly, the crafting costs aren't taking into account paying for the labor of meal preparation, etc.

150 gp could also buy 15,000 portions of Wandermeal at market value. Alternatively, it could finance the creation of 45,000 portions of it using standard crafting rules or 60,000 portions of it using alternate crafting rules; that is, depending upon whether you need 1/3 or 1/4 of the final value in raw material. People can live on it indefinitely, though they get the sickened condition if they fail a Fortitude Save after living on it and nothing else for more than a week. Still, 7 days of Wandermeal and then an 8th day of better quality food will keep people alive and functional even if they're destitute.

.

Tangent on the subject of Cayden Cailean's clergy and the Create Water orison creating simple ale and wine:
Now, Clerics of Cayden Cailean can have all the Liquid Bread that they want, and it would probably be in keeping with things, but they're also supposed to want to be able to brew beer, sponsor the brewing of beer, run taverns, etc., and they'd really need to consume something else to supplement their diet in order to ward off scurvy and other nutritional deficiencies.

Admittedly, I'm not the most versed in the nutritional value of simple ales and wines.

I'm also not sure where Cayden Cailean would stand on the subject of things like small beer, where the alcohol content is super low or even negligible without having to drink so much so quickly that you'd probably make yourself sick.

I'd be inclined towards ruling that small beer and barely alcoholic wine would be OK to create with the cantrip, but while that would certainly help matters, it wouldn't be enough on its own.

Actually, has anyone asked the relevant people about Cayden Cailean's stance on small beer and gotten a concrete answer?

.

blahpers wrote:
lemeres wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
Speaking of channel, it has a 30 foot radius. You can fit a lot of people in a 30 foot radius. I assume the more generous temples with a channeler would just have a daily channel, for those in deep need.
About 130 or so, I guess? Just a rough estimate when you include 1/2 of the caster's square in the radius(they are in the middle) and then subtract the caster's square from the circle.

So, 5 p.m. is "Dogpile the High Priest O'Clock"? 30-foot radius includes up, of course.

...I'm starting to see why there's a long line of folks with cut fingers heading into the Temple of Calistria every evening around the same time....

I imagine you could set up some kind of special apparatus like those (geodesic? geometric?) domes they have on playgrounds that kids climb on made explicitly for the purpose of fitting more people in place.

Or, for Calistrians, harnesses, lots and lots of harnesses.


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3 dimensional?

Do we have a god of jungle gyms? That seems like a fantastic addition to any vanara setting.


I like the channel idea. On this one mmo I play there is a similar thing sometimes where someone will cast a bunch of buff spells (which affect everyone in a certain radius) and use the chat to announce when and where.


To those of you saying the high price is only for PCs because they are wealthier, you are forgetting one important detail. A Monk with a Vow of Poverty must still pay the full price as well, despite being more poor than even a level 1 Commoner child.

So sorry, but even NPCs have to pay that high price. That’s just the price for spells. No if and or buts about it.


LordKailas wrote:

I've always figured that the really big wealthy churches (that are good aligned anyway) should have a permanent symbol of healing stuffed away in a backroom that they could use to heal those that can't afford the normal prices. I mean its a one time cost for the church, but after that it would let them heal people on a daily basis without "dipping into the reserves" of healing that might be needed for an emergency. I mean, heck even during an emergency the symbol would be useful unless the injured already benefited from the circle that day for some reason.

I'd never noticed that you could make a permanent Symbol of Healing, but just think - positioned strategically on a wall or column, all of the parishioners never need to worry much, and undead avoid the temple like never before!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes, but it requires small city size to semi-reliably achieve, caster level 10 and all.


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Reksew_Trebla wrote:

To those of you saying the high price is only for PCs because they are wealthier, you are forgetting one important detail. A Monk with a Vow of Poverty must still pay the full price as well, despite being more poor than even a level 1 Commoner child.

So sorry, but even NPCs have to pay that high price. That’s just the price for spells. No if and or buts about it.

Vow of Poverty is generally a bad example for most purposes just because it's so borked.

You're usually better off forgetting about it.

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