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Context:

I am working on a dedicated healer / combat medic character concept for a future campaign a friend of mine is running. I'm going to the be the only "Min/Maxer" at the table and the DM an I decided that it might be good for me to run backline healing, buff support, and out of combat utility concept to allow the other players shine and enjoy the game.

So yes, "Maximizing" healing is sub-optimal, but that is the point of this inquiry (and a few more that I may ask). I am trying to better understand these mechanics and interactions to plan my character.


Tools and info Dump

Radiant Servant of Pelor

Empower Healing (Ex): When a radiant servant of Pelor of at least 2nd level casts a domain spell from the Healing domain, that spell is affected as though by the Empower Spell feat. This spell does not use up a higher-level slot.

Maximize Healing (Ex): When a radiant servant of Pelor who is at least 6th level casts a domain spell from the Healing domain that spell is affected as though by the Maximize Spell feat. The spell does not use up a higher-level slot. This power supersedes the empower healing ability until the character reaches 10th level.

Supreme Healing (Ex): When a radiant servant of Pelor who is at least 10th level casts a domain spell from the Healing domain, that spell is affected as though by both the Empower Spell and the Maximize Spell feats. The spell does not use up a higher-level slot.

Healing Domain

  • Cure Light Wounds: Cures 1d8 damage +1/level (max +5).
  • Cure Moderate Wounds: Cures 2d8 damage +1/level (max +10).
  • Cure Serious Wounds: Cures 3d8 damage +1/level (max +15).
  • Cure Critical Wounds: Cures 4d8 damage +1/level (max +20).
  • Mass Cure Light Wounds: Cures 1d8 damage +1/level (max +25) for many creatures.
  • Heal: Cures 10 points/level of damage, all diseases and mental conditions.
  • Regenerate: Subject’s severed limbs grow back, cures 4d8 damage +1/level (max +35).
  • Mass Cure Critical Wounds: Cures 4d8 damage +1/level (max +40) for many creatures.
  • Mass Heal: As heal, but with several subjects.

In all of these spells is a caster level dependent variable, +1/level (max X) or 10 points / level


The questions:

  • Does the Empower feat interact with the caster level variable of the spell?
  • Does the Maximize feat interact with the caster level variable of the spell?
  • Can Empower allow the bonus healing granted by the caster level to exceed the "Max" limitation specified in the spell?

Bonus Question

  • Are there any ways to drastically inflate a characters caster level for these spells to help reach level cap without resorting to maximize?

Related: At what point is Empower Spell better than Maximize Spell? - Though it's pathfinder and not 3.5, but should be relevant (Link added after initial posting).

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    \$\begingroup\$ With regard to your build, you may want to consider the War Weaver (Heroes of Battle) class. Its Eldritch Tapestry feature allows delivering heals/buffs to allies even when they are not within touch range, and allows delivering multiple spells at once, saving up actions. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 22, 2021 at 12:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/179793/… I saw this on the exchange a few days ago when I started taking notes. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 22, 2021 at 12:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the pointer, I had missed it. As usual KRyan delivers a really neat build. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 22, 2021 at 13:29

1 Answer 1

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TL;DR: Substitute the Caster Level in +1 / level and 10 points / level first, then apply Empower/Maximize as appropriate.


PHB, p. 93:

Empower Spell

All variable, numeric effects of an empowered spell are increased by one-half. An empowered spell deals half again as much damage as normal, cures half again as many hit points, affects half again as many targets, and so forth, as appropriate.

There is no restriction for only dice numeric effects, and in fact the example given:

For example, an empowered magic missile deals 1-1/2 times its normal damage (roll 1d4+1 and multiply the result by 1-1/2 for each missile).

Features a "+ 1" in the result to be multiplied by 1-1/2.

As such, an Empowered Cure Light Wound cast with a Caster Level 3 would lead to the following sequence:

  • Baseline: 1d8 + 3 => roll of 5 leads to 8.
  • Empowered: 8 × 1.5 = 12.
  • Up to 12 HPs are healed.

PHB, p. 97:

Maximize Spell

All variable, numeric effects of a spell modified by this feat are maximized. A maximized spell deals maximum damage, cures the maximum number of hit points, affects the maximum number of targets, etc., as appropriate.

This is essentially the same text as Empower, excepts the effects are maximized. The example is slightly different, and quite interesting:

For example, a maximized fireball deals 6 points of damage per caster level (up to a maximum of 60 points of damage at 10th caster level).

A fireball deals d6/CL points of damage, and we can see here it becomes 6/CL.


As such, I would interpret the rules as:

  1. Caster Level is considered to be a constant at the moment the spell is cast, and therefore is not "variable".
  2. An effect is "variable, numeric" if its total is "variable, numeric", so that for an effect such as Magic Missile 1d4+1, the total "1d4+1" is "variable, numeric", not just the "1d4" part.

And therefore, in your case:

Spell Formula CL Normal Empowered Maximized Empowered +
Maximized
Cure Light Wounds 1d8+1/lvl (max +5) 3 1d8+3 (1d8+3) × 1½ 8+3 (8+3) + (1d8+3) × ½
Cure Moderate Wounds 2d8+1/lvl (max +10) 8 2d8+8 (2d8+8) × 1½ 16+8 (16+8) + (2d8+8) × ½
Cure Serious Wounds 3d8+1/lvl (max +15) 13 3d8+13 (3d8+13) × 1½ 24+13 (24+13) + (3d8+13) × ½
Cure Critical Wounds 4d8+1/lvl (max +20) 18 4d8+18 (4d8+18) × 1½ 32+18 (32+18) + (4d8+18) × ½
Mass Cure Light Wounds 1d8+1/lvl (max +25) 23 1d8+23 (1d8+23) × 1½ 8+23 (8+23) + (1d8+23) × ½
Heal 10/lvl 28 280 280 280 280
Regenerate 4d8+1/lvl (max +35) 33 4d8+33 (4d8+33) × 1½ 32+33 (32+33) + (4d8+33) × ½
Mass Cure Critical Wounds 4d8+1/lvl (max +40) 38 4d8+38 (4d8+38) × 1½ 32+38 (32+38) + (4d8+38) × ½
Mass Heal 10/lvl 43 430 430 430 430

Precision on the Empowered + Maximized combination (from @HeyICanChan) in PHB, p 98:

[a]n Empowered, Maximized spell gains the separate benefits of each feat: the maximum result plus one-half the normally rolled result. An Empowered, Maximized Fireball cast by a 15th-level wizard deals points of damage equal to 60 plus one half of 10d6.

So, for example, let's say that you cast Cure Serious Wounds at CL 13, Empowered and Maximized:

  • Cure Serious Wounds: 3d8+13.
  • Maximized: 37 (= 24 + 13).
  • Empowered: average 50 (= 37 + 13 = 37 + (3d8+13) × 0.5, rounded down).

You would heal an average of 50 HPs.

Note that Heal and Mass Heal have no variable effects, and therefore Empower and Maximize do nothing on them.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer might need some adjustment due to the fact that "[a]n empowered, maximized spell gains the separate benefits of each feat: the maximum result plus one-half the normally rolled result. An empowered, maximized fireball cast by a 15th-level wizard deals points of damage equal to 60 plus one half of 10d6" (PH 98). Or is that addressed, and I just can't read the table? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 22, 2021 at 12:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan: May need adjustment indeed. I am having trouble fitting stuff in the last column of the table... For now I've added the note below the table. I've been considered "fixing" the CL for each spell to simplify the table... \$\endgroup\$ Aug 22, 2021 at 12:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. Hey, your TLDR only seems to address your stance on Empower, if I'm reading this correctly, you are stating Maximize doesn't affect the +1/level. Empower never checks the (X Max) part and is calculated after. Is that accurate for what your saying? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 22, 2021 at 13:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PlayPatrice: My reading of the rules is that in 1d8+1/lvl (max+5), the +1/lvl part is computed independently of Empower and Maximize. That is, first you substitute the Caster Level in the formula, getting 1d8+5 if you are CL 7, and then you apply Empower and Maximize. This leads to Empower multiplying the +5 by 1½ because Empower works on the total, and Maximize ignoring it completely as it maximizes the dice, not the fixed bonuses. Maybe I should reword the TL;DR to be clearer. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 22, 2021 at 13:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's an answer below which seems to point out some minor errors in this answer (I don't speak 3.5 well enough to really tell, so I'm just bringing it up). If that's the case, it'd be lovely to get that straightened out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    yesterday

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