After posting the question about Harm to heal the summoned undead, I started digging around for spells that could do the same (area negative damage) with fewer actions.

I found none explicitly healing undead, at least Grim Tendrils, Sudden Blight and Enervation all talk only about "living creatures".
Based on the wording of Harm explicitly healing undead, I guess in absence of explicit healing these spells do nothing to undead.

So, does every spell dealing negative damage will just heal undead, or does the spell have to explicitly state this?


1 Answer 1


Not automatically, no.

The Negative trait indicates that "Effects with this trait heal undead creatures with negative energy, deal negative damage to living creatures, or manipulate negative energy." The Undead monster trait states "Undead creatures are damaged by positive energy, are healed by negative energy, and don’t benefit from healing effects." The Negative Healing feature indicates that the creature "does not take negative damage, and it is healed by negative effects that heal undead."

So it seems fairly clear that there are forms of negative damage that do not heal undead. Rather, undead are immune to all forms of negative damage, and that there exist negative effects (like Harm) that heal them. There is no particular indication in the rules that negative damage should heal undead by default, and I would assume that it does not. Rather, the best available interpretation would suggest that negative effects only heal undead when explicitly stated to do so.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This is also supported by the instances of positive damage that do not heal (non-undead) such as Disrupt Undead and Sunburst. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 1, 2021 at 14:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .