Treat Wounds, Negative Healing, and Stitch Flesh


Rules Discussion

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It doesn't have the immunities either, but those are the only actual change from the monster statblocks.

Negative Healing in no way shape or form changes anything from the Undead trait itself.

I do think the designer had no idea about the implications of adding the trait, but it's there and untouched since nothing says anything in it changed.


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I came across another rules contradiction. The Undead Trait states that Undead "don't benefit from healing effects."

Yet Spirit Link, which has the Healing Trait, states...

CRB, p. 371 wrote:
Since this effect doesn't involve positive or negative energy, spirit link works even if you or the target is undead.

So here we have a Healing effect that explicitly can benefit an undead target because it doesn't have the Positive or Negative traits.

----

Also Soothing Spring, which has both the Healing and Positive Traits, includes this line...

Secrets of Magic, p. 129 wrote:
Any creature that spends the full hour soaking in the hot spring or basking in the mud from the bottom of the pit regains 10d8 Hit Points and feels refreshed, losing the fatigued condition.

Undead are certainly part of the class of "creatures." Would this specific rule would override any restrictions on undead benefitting from Healing and Positive effects?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Feels like at some point Paizo forgot that they made undead immune to the Healing trait.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Insofar as I'm concerned, they aren't. Any reference saying otherwise is a mistake in my games until the developers say otherwise.

If undead were meant to be blanket immune to healing, negative energy couldn't heal them either.


Ravingdork wrote:
If undead were meant to be blanket immune to healing, negative energy couldn't heal them either.

That isn't true though: they are immune to Healing* and NOT healing. For instance, Harm can heal an undead because it isn't Healing* them. Targeting an undead with Harm doesn't add the Healing* trait anymore than a Heal targeting an undead hurts them even though it's a Healing* spell.

Harm [Necromancy, Negative] vs Heal [Healing, Necromancy, Positive]

Undead Trait: "Undead creatures are damaged by positive energy, are healed by negative energy, and don't benefit from Healing* effects."

* [note the capital H in healing vs the lower case h]


The Harm Spell and the Heal Spell both have specific rules in them for undead and living. They are self contained and don't really have any bearing on other cases. Because specific which they are, overrides any general rules.


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Squiggit wrote:
Feels like at some point Paizo forgot that they made undead immune to the Healing trait.

Yes and they also forgot about the Negative Healing rule, which applies to all the player Undead options and to all the Undead monsters I've checked.


Gortle wrote:

The Harm Spell and the Heal Spell both have specific rules in them for undead and living. They are self contained and don't really have any bearing on other cases. Because specific which they are, overrides any general rules.

Harm specifically gives an example of undead healing that refutes undead having a blanket immunity to healing, just Healing: the capital letter is important. And to be clear, ALL spells that heal undead are required to specifically note it. Negative Healing: "You don't take negative damage and are healed by negative effects that heal undead." So it's not a blanket 'negative energy/damage heals undead'. Actually, there are only 3 or 4 spells that heal undead as most Negative spells target living creature and/or only do damage [not heal].


But that is the problem with the Undead Trait. Thats the thing which people have been applying to give blanket bans.

Its the Undead Trait which contrasts with the Negative Healing that the problem. The gap between them and the inability of the writers to be consistent.


graystone wrote:

...

Undead Trait: "Undead creatures are damaged by positive energy, are healed by negative energy, and don't benefit from Healing* effects."

* [note the capital H in healing vs the lower case h]

I just checked both Archives of Nethys and my CRB pdf, and the 'H' is not capitalized in either.

Liberty's Edge

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Gisher wrote:

I came across another rules contradiction. The Undead Trait states that Undead "don't benefit from healing effects."

Yet Spirit Link, which has the Healing Trait, states...

CRB, p. 371 wrote:
Since this effect doesn't involve positive or negative energy, spirit link works even if you or the target is undead.

So here we have a Healing effect that explicitly can benefit an undead target because it doesn't have the Positive or Negative traits.

----

Also Soothing Spring, which has both the Healing and Positive Traits, includes this line...

Secrets of Magic, p. 129 wrote:
Any creature that spends the full hour soaking in the hot spring or basking in the mud from the bottom of the pit regains 10d8 Hit Points and feels refreshed, losing the fatigued condition.
Undead are certainly part of the class of "creatures." Would this specific rule would override any restrictions on undead benefitting from Healing and Positive effects?

Isn't specific trumps general one of the core design principles of PF2 ?


The Raven Black wrote:
Gisher wrote:

I came across another rules contradiction. The Undead Trait states that Undead "don't benefit from healing effects."

Yet Spirit Link, which has the Healing Trait, states...

CRB, p. 371 wrote:
Since this effect doesn't involve positive or negative energy, spirit link works even if you or the target is undead.

So here we have a Healing effect that explicitly can benefit an undead target because it doesn't have the Positive or Negative traits.

----

Also Soothing Spring, which has both the Healing and Positive Traits, includes this line...

Secrets of Magic, p. 129 wrote:
Any creature that spends the full hour soaking in the hot spring or basking in the mud from the bottom of the pit regains 10d8 Hit Points and feels refreshed, losing the fatigued condition.
Undead are certainly part of the class of "creatures." Would this specific rule would override any restrictions on undead benefitting from Healing and Positive effects?
Isn't specific trumps general one of the core design principles of PF2 ?

Yep/

Spirit Link clearly overrides all general rules with respect to undead, Soothing Spring does not.

Soothing Spring is disallowed from healing undead by the Negative Healing rules as Soothing Spring has the Positive Trait.

Soothing Spring is disallowed from healing undead by the Undead Trait rules as Soothing Spring has the Healing Trait. However Soothing Spring also has the Positive Trait means that the Undead would take damage from this effect.


The Raven Black wrote:
Gisher wrote:

I came across another rules contradiction. The Undead Trait states that Undead "don't benefit from healing effects."

Yet Spirit Link, which has the Healing Trait, states...

CRB, p. 371 wrote:
Since this effect doesn't involve positive or negative energy, spirit link works even if you or the target is undead.

So here we have a Healing effect that explicitly can benefit an undead target because it doesn't have the Positive or Negative traits.

----

Also Soothing Spring, which has both the Healing and Positive Traits, includes this line...

Secrets of Magic, p. 129 wrote:
Any creature that spends the full hour soaking in the hot spring or basking in the mud from the bottom of the pit regains 10d8 Hit Points and feels refreshed, losing the fatigued condition.
Undead are certainly part of the class of "creatures." Would this specific rule would override any restrictions on undead benefitting from Healing and Positive effects?
Isn't specific trumps general one of the core design principles of PF2 ?

Yes. But...

1.) Spirit Link doesn't state that it is making a specific exception to the rules. Instead it states a general principle (not having the Positive or Negative traits) to justify why it works.

2.) For Soothing Spring, I'm not clear which is the more specific rule. Generally if a positive, healing spell said it acted on a creature I would take that as a general statement, and in the case of an undead creature I would consider the undead trait to be a more specific rule that prevents it from working. In this case I'm not clear whether [a]ny creature should be read as just an alternative way of saying a creature or if it is meant to be a specific override of any contradictory creature traits.

Liberty's Edge

At worse, we can create a version of Soothing Spring that works on undead. Blood-filled bath seems iconic enough for this ;-)


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Since we are getting pretty far into the details on this topic, I thought it might be helpful to have a quick reference for the exact wording of the main elements we are relying on. I've included both the Bestiary and Book of the Dead versions of Negative Healing.
.

healing (trait)

A healing effect restores a creature's body, typically by restoring Hit Points, but sometimes by removing diseases or other debilitating effects.

.

negative (trait)

Effects with this trait heal undead creatures with negative energy, deal negative damage to living creatures, or manipulate negative energy.

.

positive (trait)

Effects with this trait heal living creatures with positive energy, deal positive energy damage to undead, or manipulate positive energy.


.

undead (trait)

Once living, these creatures were infused after death with negative energy and soul-corrupting evil magic. When reduced to 0 Hit Points, an undead creature is destroyed. Undead creatures are damaged by positive energy, are healed by negative energy, and don't benefit from healing effects.

.

Negative Healing

A creature with negative healing draws health from negative energy rather than positive energy. It is damaged by positive damage and is not healed by positive healing effects. It does not take negative damage, and it is healed by negative effects that heal undead.

.

Negative Healing:

You are damaged by positive damage and aren’t healed by positive healing effects. You don’t take negative damage and are healed by negative effects that heal undead.

.

Healing Undead

Because of negative healing many typical means of healing don’t work on undead. The heal spell can’t heal undead, but harm and soothe can. Healing potions and elixirs of life are no use, but an oil of unlife can heal undead. In addition, a character can take the Stitch Flesh skill feat to heal undead with Treat Wounds.

.

Negative Survival:

Unlike normal undead, you aren’t destroyed when reduced to 0 Hit Points. Instead, powerful negative energy attempts to keep you from being destroyed even in dire straits. You are knocked out and begin dying when reduced to 0 Hit Points (Core Rulebook 459). Because you’re undead, many methods of bringing someone back from dying, such as stabilize, don’t benefit you. When you would die, you’re destroyed rather than dead, just like other undead.


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Gisher wrote:
graystone wrote:

...

Undead Trait: "Undead creatures are damaged by positive energy, are healed by negative energy, and don't benefit from Healing* effects."

* [note the capital H in healing vs the lower case h]

I just checked both Archives of Nethys and my CRB pdf, and the 'H' is not capitalized in either.

Archives of Nethys healing is a hyper-link to the trait Healing so I'm taking that to mean they are synonymous: if they aren't it shouldn't be hyperlinked.

Gortle wrote:

But that is the problem with the Undead Trait. Thats the thing which people have been applying to give blanket bans.

Its the Undead Trait which contrasts with the Negative Healing that the problem. The gap between them and the inability of the writers to be consistent.

I'm asserting that the healing in the Undead trait is Healing* [capital H] which makes a difference.

Liberty's Edge

It is still the biggest culprit. Soothe has the Healing trait after all.


The Raven Black wrote:
It is still the biggest culprit. Soothe has the Healing trait after all.

Oh, I'm not say there aren't issues: clearly someone at Paizo missed something about how things work. I'm just saying that it being the trait instead of common language prevents undead from not being able to regaining hp at all.


Gisher wrote:

Yes. But...

1.) Spirit Link doesn't state that it is making a specific exception to the rules. Instead it states a general principle (not having the Positive or Negative traits) to justify why it works.

It still counts as specific.

But yes it also counts as another clear case where the writers have made an explicit stuff up.

Also underlines that the Negative Healing rules (not the Undead Trait) are what we should be using and the writers certainly think should be the general case.


This discussion got going again in another thread.
Because a 3rd party mentioned healing themselves with negative damage.

CK objected that didn't work

I counter objected that there was a rule that led you down that path.
The discussions repeated itself for a while. Which quite frankly was frustrating as many of the same people where involved.

The problem is we look to specific rules for details, but the rules in the undead trait and mentioned again under Dhampir, give you the room to have negative damage heal undead. However we don't do that because the Negative Healing ability restates this ability in more detail so that is the rule that we actually use. (Which BTW was always my position in case you are unclear on that). My point being that a potential contradition exists. So we are going to get groups who do it differently. It is loose writing for the detail to not be in the Undead Trait or referenced from there.


On the plus side, it was brought up that there is some detail under Dhampir and Undead Eidolons, being the two living creatures who are Undead, about treating them as Undead. Its not precise though as its in the descriptive sections. So it doesn't close off too many technicalities but does clarify intent.

However in most cases including the most common cases of Heal and Harm specifically call out what happens to living and undead creaures, so we don't actually have to refer back to these general rules much.

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