Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Our group operates under the assumption that every ability that deals negative energy damage Heals undead creatures, which makes a lot of sense considering how many places contain an entry like:

Since undead are powered by negative energy, this spell cures them of a like amount of damage, rather than harming them.

Is the opposite of this also true? Are living creatures affected by Positive Energy Healed instead of Harmed?

share|improve this question
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Spells Only Do What They Say They Do
While "[i]n general, positive energy heals the living and hurts undead creatures" (PH 311), some rare positive energy effects that inflict damage don't also heal the living. For example, the 6th-level Clr spell bolt of glory [evoc] (SpC 35-5) launches a "white bolt of hissing positive energy" that can only inflict damage.

It's best to adjudicate whether a positive energy spell that inflicts damage also heals damage based on the spell's description rather than making that in general a constant.

share|improve this answer

To a certain extend, yes.

Positive energy heals living creatures and damages undead. However, too much of a good thing is bad, even in DnD situations.

This power is dangerous to mortal forms, which are not made to handle it. Despite the beneficial effects of the plane, it is one of the most hostile of the Inner Planes. An unprotected character on this plane swells with power as positive energy is force-fed into her. Then, her mortal frame unable to contain that power, she immolates as if she were a small planet caught at the edge of a supernova.

Positive energy plane

share|improve this answer
+1, the Positive Energy Plane was exactly what came to mind when I read the question. – asteri Feb 21 '14 at 8:53
-1, The question is if positive energy heals players even when it doesn't say it does. The positive energy plane says that it does. To answer this question with "yes", you would want an example that heals without explicitly saying so, or a rule that says all positive energy effects always act as healing. Something like the RSoP's Positive Energy Burst would be the counterexample, as it's pure positive energy that does not heal living targets, but does directly damage undead. – Tridus Feb 21 '14 at 10:56
The spell 'antifield' which swaps things around specifically states that it changes positive into negative energy and the other way around, and that this results in negative energy healing living creatures and hurting undead and vice versa. So any positive spell that doesn't heal a living creature is the exception to the rule. – Theik Feb 21 '14 at 11:18
@Theik Then how much does the positive energy burst heal? Or Bolt of Glory? It's not explained anywhere. Why do spells like heal mention both functions explicitly if they're just assumed? I've never heard of Antifield and can't find its text, but what you describe just flips effects that are already there. It doesn't add an effect if the spell doesn't say that it does it in the first place. – Tridus Feb 21 '14 at 12:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.