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Let's assume a good cleric tries to heal a hurt Dhampir, not knowing they are a Dhampir or not knowing about their "Negative Energy Affinity". So they Channel positive energy or use e.g. Cure Light Wounds. What happens:

  • Dhampir is healed
  • Nothing
  • Dhampir takes damage (but gets a saving throw)

Also, if the Dhampir is not healed, would the cleric notice that it didn't work as expected?

The reason I'm asking is that according to the Channel Energy description a cleric has to choose whether to heal or damage undead, they can't do both:

A good cleric (or one who worships a good deity) channels positive energy and can choose to deal damage to undead creatures or to heal living creatures.

But cure light wounds says it heals living creatures and damages undead. But I remember reading another description of cure light wounds that said you can choose whether to heal or harm (like you do with Channel Energy). Maybe that was from a or DnD edition?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I got curious and the closest I can find to "choosing to cure or inflict" is AD&D 1st edition. Halfway through it starts talking about it's reverse Cause Light Wounds (which is a spell I can't find), so I'm not sure having never played AD&D if those are technically 1 spell in which you can choose to heal or harm or 2 spells. \$\endgroup\$ – user36958 Jul 4 '17 at 21:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimpleLime (An AD&D cleric could opt to memorize cure light wounds et al. or its reverse—indicated by the term reversible somewhere in the spell's description. Ask a question, and folks can tell you more!) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 4 '17 at 23:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan didn't really have a question for myself, question was updated after we answered with "But I remember reading another description of cure light wounds that said you can choose whether to heal or harm" so was curious and was trying to see where that came from, could've added this to my answer (or started another) but since I've never looked into AD&D felt like a friendly comment for them was better...that was just the only "Cure Wounds" spell I could find that even had a hint of being a choice of heal or harm. Still might be another game they were thinking about though. \$\endgroup\$ – user36958 Jul 5 '17 at 0:03
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The dhampir racial trait negative energy affinity says that "a dhampir reacts to positive and negative energy as if it were undead—positive energy harms it, while negative energy heals it." The spell cure light wounds uses positive energy to heal, so the dhampir would be harmed by the spell.

However, a cleric that employs the supernatural ability channel energy to heal living creatures leaves the dhampir unharmed by the ability. When used to heal living creatures, that positive energy has no effect on undead creatures including ersatz ones like the dhampir. Were the cleric to use instead the ability channel energy to harm undead creatures, the dhampir would be harmed as would any undead creature, again, including ersatz ones like itself.

Whether a cleric realizes the dhampir is harmed or unaffected by either effect will depend on how such effects function in the campaign and, probably, the severity and obviousness of the dhampir's wounds. That's something that should be discussed with the GM or realized over the course of a campaign.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Cure and Inflict spells are single-target spells that allow a save - therefore, the caster would be aware if the target failed a save, which should only happen for a hostile spell. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Jul 6 '17 at 1:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @YogoZuno Assuming, of course, the dhampir made a save: "The cleric says, 'I'm going to heal you,' and touches you," says the GM. "It's a harmless spell, but you failed your Spellcraft check, Dewey Dhampir. Did you want make a saving throw against it anyway?" If Dewey opts not to make the save, he's hurt by the cure yet the cleric knows nothing; if he opts to make it and fails, Dewey's made; and if he opts to make it and succeeds, the cleric knows nothing. To me, that overcomplicates the answer, but I can include that sitch if you think it would improve the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 6 '17 at 1:27
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For context, Negative Energy Affinity states

Though a living creature, a dhampir reacts to positive and negative energy as if it were undead—positive energy harms it, while negative energy heals it

So when casting cure light wounds would indeed damage the Dhampir, though they would get the saving throw as normal.

When you Channel Energy when it hits the Dhampir (whether choosing to heal or harm) you would look to the effect of 'what happens to an undead' based on the wording of the Negative Energy Affinity. Thus, Channel Positive Energy you could damage them by choosing to harm, but not heal them and with Channel Negative Energy, you could heal them choosing to heal but not harm them.

The Dhampir would also react as though they took damage (since he would) and if the caster is paying attention would likely see them flinch back in pain (or some other natural reaction to taking pain), though this is more into "how the players role play it", if the Dhampir is overly stoic or the damage isn't very much, maybe they just shrug it off without so much as an audible gasp, leaving no sign they just took damage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer! I clarified my question a bit to point out that I'm asking about both Channel Energy and cure light wounds, which seem to have different rules, which is where my confusion comes from. Also while I follow your argument from the cited description of cure wounds, I distinctly remember reading a cure wounds description that behaved like Channel Energy as the cleric having to choose whether to heal living or harm undead. But maybe that came from DnD, not Pathfinder and I got the editions mixed up. \$\endgroup\$ – Joachim Kurz Jul 4 '17 at 20:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looking close at Channel Energy, I can see where the wording gets confusing, however, I would say when you Channel Energy when it hits the Dhampir (whether choosing to heal or harm) you would look to the effect of 'what happens to an undead' based on the wording of the Negative Energy Affinity. Thus, Channel Positive Energy you could damage them by choosing to harm, but not heal them and with Channel Negative Energy, you could heal them choosing to heal. As for the Cure Wounds spells, I've never seen anything saying it's a choice, it's "when you cast this you heal living AND harm undead" \$\endgroup\$ – user36958 Jul 4 '17 at 21:21

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