The answer has the implication many incorporeal undeads could heal themselves without limit, as some have attacks that cause negative energy, like: the banshee or the wraith.

A PC could easily abuse this to have a limitless source of healing for a horde of undead.

To a lesser extend, a barbarian with the spirit totem could use the same implication to use the spirits slam attacks to heal a dhampir ally for example.

I do not remember creatures with attacks that deal positive energy damage but they might exist, so the case with positive energy damage might be there too.

Maybe there is a difference between "negative energy" and "negative energy damage" as the undead traits say negative energy can heal, but it relies on the specific effect wording for such an effect.


1 Answer 1



Most spells and effects that deal with positive or negative energy will state their effect on living and undead creatures. Chill Touch for example will not heal undead despite saying it deals negative energy damage. Instead, it will cause fear in the undead.

It is a case by case basis and does not have a very consistent behavior. Negative Channeled Energy to deal damage, for example, will also not affect undead. Conversely even positive energy works like this. Channeling positive energy to heal the living, will not affect undead. However when channeled to harm undead, it does not affect living.

This all seems to imply that positive and negative energy's effects, are strongly tied to intent. Spells have a specific intent, and channeling has a specific intent. However this is just my conjecture and not strictly stated anywhere in the rules.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You can also include how a clerics channel positive energy can heal normal PC's, or harm undead, but not both \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    May 5, 2021 at 17:52

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