Heal and Harm spell damage


Rules Discussion


If I read it correctly when using Harm (or Heal vs Undead). No matter which version you use (1,2, or 3 action), you only do 1d8 damage per spell level slot. The 2 action version specifically says (Harm says same for healing undead):

"If you’re healing a living creature, increase the Hit Points restored by 8."

Nothing about extra positive or negative, just flat out extra healing...

The same thing can be said about the 3 action version. It only does the base 1d8 per spell level slot (Healing or Damage)...

Is this correct?


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That's correct. Heal and harm do not deal massive additional damage when using the 2 action version offensively.


It does get a +8 when heightened -- a 3d level Heal will cure for/fry undead for 3d8 + 24 when done with the two-actions.


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Qaianna wrote:
It does get a +8 when heightened -- a 3d level Heal will cure for/fry undead for 3d8 + 24 when done with the two-actions.

Nope.

It gets +1d8 bonus to healing or damage
AND a +8 bonus on healing for the 2-action version
But that doesn't include the damage on the 2-action version.

It's a poor spell for damaging single enemies, though with Cast Down it can be pretty effective.


Realising that harm as a 2 action spell is a a sub-par damage option, but as a single action it's quite decent, single action harms and channel smite giving a second way of delivering them against targets with a high fort save are part of what makes warpriests better than what people think.


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Sure, although all Clerics can take Channel Smite as it's not Doctrine specific, Warpriest not really get any weapon proficiency advantage in longer term (and they bizarrely have lower DC on weapon critSpec effects, due to it using spell DC). 1-action normal casting also doesn't favor Warpriest (Spell DC).

Also, I actuallly think Channel Smite is using damage of 2-action version of Heal/Harm, since the ability uses 2 actions and nothing else suggests scope of Heal/Harm.


One advantage is that it does not have the attack trait, so no MAP... But it does appear to be a subpar damage spell compared to most equal level spell slots when heightened, other then a few niche instances vs weakness creatures with resistance to most elements. But it also has more versatility I guess with the 1, 2, 3 action option.


Quandary wrote:

Sure, although all Clerics can take Channel Smite as it's not Doctrine specific, Warpriest not really get any weapon proficiency advantage in longer term (and they bizarrely have lower DC on weapon critSpec effects, due to it using spell DC). 1-action normal casting also doesn't favor Warpriest (Spell DC).

Also, I actuallly think Channel Smite is using damage of 2-action version of Heal/Harm, since the ability uses 2 actions and nothing else suggests scope of Heal/Harm.

There isn't a difference in the damage between a 1-2 action heal/harm as the static +8/spell level is explicitly only added when it's used to restore hitpoints.

I also think you are looking at the weapon proficiency/spell dc at the highest levels and not factoring in when their progression occurs. With warpriests their proficiency with their gods favoured weapon only falls behind for two levels in the 1-13 band compared to all non-fighter martial classes.

In the levels 7-11 when their spell DC's are delayed their to-hit when using 'channel smite' is the equal of any Ranger, Champion or monk.

Sure you lag behind in Spell DC's from 15th level on, but in over a decade I've only seen 3 campaigns reach that point. Seeing as levels 1-10 see the vast bulk of play warpriests absolutely shine in that band.

(This reminds me of Ranger discussion where most builds revolve around 'impossible flurry' which is a 16th level feat and not all that useable till levels 19-20.)


Thanks for pointing out the "if you're healing" clause I overlooked, that takes care of issue.

I'm well aware of when their progression occurs, that's why I don't frame it as an issue at low levels, but only "in the long term" as I said.

Lagging in Spell DCs is part of overt tradeoff, but applying same tradeoff to weapon CritSpec effect is bizarre because it is contrary to the overt tradeoff as weapons are something Warpriests are meant to excel at. Warpriests do get CritSpec earlier, and Warpriest Spell proficiency actually increases to equal Cloistered (Expert) at the level latter gains CritSpec (11th), so Cloistered only has better CritSpec DC from 15th level and onward... but you just have to ask WHY should Cloistered EVER be better at using weapons in any way? I also wonder why Warpriest doesn't have option to use STR/DEX as Save DC stat for CritSpec.

I feel Warpriest (or Cloistered for that matter) are likely to have more detailed Errata in 2nd printing, that may address things like this.


I think that using your spell casting DC on Crit specializations that require a save isn't the biggest issue, as only a select few weapon groups have saves as part of their crit riders. (Irori is literally the only God, whose sacred weapon features a save on a crit specialisation effect, and seeing as irori is one of the worst options for warpriest I can't see it being that big of an issue)


One final question:
Using then AOE (3 action) version, it states in under targets: "willing living creature", I assume that would not heal the enemy NPC's then since they would not be willing (unless they had some way to know the spell using a reaction ability to discern it) and vice versa for the PC's when an enemy casts it... That is correct? or does the weird caveat for the 3 action override "You disperse positive energy in a 30-foot emanation. This targets all living and undead creatures in the area."


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Kainite101 wrote:

One final question:

Using then AOE (3 action) version, it states in under targets: "willing living creature", I assume that would not heal the enemy NPC's then since they would not be willing (unless they had some way to know the spell using a reaction ability to discern it) and vice versa for the PC's when an enemy casts it... That is correct? or does the weird caveat for the 3 action override "You disperse positive energy in a 30-foot emanation. This targets all living and undead creatures in the area."

They don't have to be willing. The 3 action version explicitly defines its targets. Also, if it didn't heal enemies they wouldn't have bothered with the Selective Channel feat.


Captain Morgan wrote:
The 3 action version explicitly defines its targets.

Yeah, but the text of the spell itself also says that willing living targets are healed.

If I cast a 3-action heal and there's an Orc Warrior who can't identify my spell in its radius, does it intuitively know that it should willingly accept the spell and get healed too?


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Squiggit wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
The 3 action version explicitly defines its targets.

Yeah, but the text of the spell itself also says that willing living targets are healed.

If I cast a 3-action heal and there's an Orc Warrior who can't identify my spell in its radius, does it intuitively know that it should willingly accept the spell and get healed too?

No choice involved, the orc gets healed. The three-action version specifically alters the original target text from '1 willing creature or 1 undead' to 'all living and undead creatures in the burst.'. The orc gets healed whether or not they want to be.


Kainite101 wrote:
One advantage is that it does not have the attack trait, so no MAP... But it does appear to be a subpar damage spell compared to most equal level spell slots when heightened, other then a few niche instances vs weakness creatures with resistance to most elements. But it also has more versatility I guess with the 1, 2, 3 action option.

Subpar damage spell Oo

It's the most powerful single target damaging spell!!!
1d8 (1d10 with Harming Hands) + 1 (with Dangerous Sorcery) + 1 (with Undead Bloodline) x spell level x actions negative damage (nearly no resistance in the game) and half damage on a successfull save. 20 points of damage per spell level with save for half. It's a pure boss killer, you 2-round everything.


SuperBidi wrote:
Kainite101 wrote:
One advantage is that it does not have the attack trait, so no MAP... But it does appear to be a subpar damage spell compared to most equal level spell slots when heightened, other then a few niche instances vs weakness creatures with resistance to most elements. But it also has more versatility I guess with the 1, 2, 3 action option.

Subpar damage spell Oo

It's the most powerful single target damaging spell!!!
1d8 (1d10 with Harming Hands) + 1 (with Dangerous Sorcery) + 1 (with Undead Bloodline) x spell level x actions negative damage (nearly no resistance in the game) and half damage on a successfull save. 20 points of damage per spell level with save for half. It's a pure boss killer, you 2-round everything.

Your getting it wrong harm or heal vs undead for three actions with both of the named feats does 1d10+1 damage per spell levels to all enemies in 30ft.

So scaling to 10d10+10 at max level which with the selective upgrade isn't bad.


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siegfriedliner wrote:

Your getting it wrong harm or heal vs undead for three actions with both of the named feats does 1d10+1 damage per spell levels to all enemies in 30ft.

So scaling to 10d10+10 at max level which with the selective upgrade isn't bad.

Of course I'm not getting it wrong.

3 1-action Harm at max level = 28d10 + 28 = 183 average damage (basic save).
Same level Disintegrate = 20d10 + 10 damage = 120 damage (attack roll + basic save).
It outdamages Disintegrate by far, especially when you consider the fact there's just a basic save and no attack roll.
It's the most powerful single target damaging spell.
Ok, it's extremely costly and it asks for a specific situation, but it puts anything into orbit.


Harm can't do 28 dice of damage. Max it does is 10 dice.


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thenobledrake wrote:
Harm can't do 28 dice of damage. Max it does is 10 dice.

He means casting it three times each using an action and a 9th level spell slot yes I agree that ludicrously resource intensive.


siegfriedliner wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:
Harm can't do 28 dice of damage. Max it does is 10 dice.
He means casting it three times each using an action and a 9th level spell slot yes I agree that ludicrously resource intensive.

Actually, not that much. Considering that you do more than twice the damage of a Disintegrate for 3 times the resource cost, it's not much expensive.

Anyway, it's an emergency move, but a very potent one. Evil Clerics and Divine Sorcerers are not to be triffle with. Especially if you have low Fortitude save.


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The damage should be modified by the basic fortitude save (2x, 1x, 1/2x, 0x), otherwise what is it there for (other than clerics later enhancement to turn undead?)

"If the target is undead, you deal that amount of positive damage to it, and it gets a basic Fortitude save"


So, big mystery on the "Why aren't more spells like Heal/Harm (1-3 actions)?" front...?
All it needs now, is multi Save and Vulnerability targetting...


Quandary wrote:

So, big mystery on the "Why aren't more spells like Heal/Harm (1-3 actions)?" front...?

All it needs now, is multi Save and Vulnerability targetting...

Because its 3 9th level spell slots that's all of them in one round. For damage that will still only do 1/3 of a solo bosses hps.

Silver Crusade

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1) There’s more to it than damage.

2) What spells solo bosses?


siegfriedliner wrote:
Quandary wrote:

So, big mystery on the "Why aren't more spells like Heal/Harm (1-3 actions)?" front...?

All it needs now, is multi Save and Vulnerability targetting...
Because its 3 9th level spell slots that's all of them in one round. For damage that will still only do 1/3 of a solo bosses hps.

Being able, alone and in one round, to deal 1/3rd of a boss HP is very powerful. And a Cleric can have up to 9 level 9th spells (with Harming/Versatile Font), so it's not even "that" expensive to me.


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Spending the majority of a daily allotment of something on a single enemy, or even a single encounter, is the very definition of "expensive" in context.


thenobledrake wrote:
Spending the majority of a daily allotment of something on a single enemy, or even a single encounter, is the very definition of "expensive" in context.

No, because you deal twice more damage than equivalent level spells.

If you cast 3 level 5 Harms, you deal the same amount of damage than a True Striked level 10 Disintegrate. Clearly, you use less resources by using Harm than equivalent spells (I consider 3 level 5 spells to be a lower cost than a level 10 and a level 1 spells).
It may not be the best spell to cast with your highest spell slots, but it's nearly the only damage spell that stays competitive when cast on your middle spell slots.

The only drawback of Harm is its range. But if something gets next to you, 3 1-action Harms is the proper answer.


thenobledrake wrote:
Spending the majority of a daily allotment of something on a single enemy, or even a single encounter, is the very definition of "expensive" in context.

Eh, if you're hitting this panic button you probably know you're fighting the final boss of the day, or need whatever you're fighting down now.

I dunno about spamming harm after harm being a typical tactic, but it's one I would keep in the back of my head for certain situations.

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