So after being programmed through years' of D&D play, we are trying Starfinder. I guess we just assumed that undead creatures are harmed by heal spells and effects but we can't find RAW saying so.

Do heal spells harm undead in Starfinder and if so, where do the rules state that?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've been playing since release, and I'd never noticed this, lol. Nice question. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


No. In Starfinder, healing spells heal the undead in the same way as they heal regular living creatures.

Starfinder is based on Pathfinder. So let's first check the original Pathfinder rules first to see where it describes the way healing magic affects the undead.

One section which says that undead get hurt by healing magic is found in the Undead Trait which reads:

Undead creatures are damaged by positive energy, are healed by negative energy, and don't benefit from healing effects.

This rule is also found in the descriptions of the spells "Heal" and "Harm" which respectively read:

If the target is undead, you deal that amount of positive damage to it


If the target is a willing undead creature, you restore that amount of Hit Points.

Now let's check the closest equivalents to these articles in Starfinder and see what we find there regarding healing the undead.

Starfinder does not have an "undead trait". It only has a creature type graft named Undead, which references two traits "undead immunities" and "unliving".

"Undead immunities" contains nothing about healing. "Unliving" however says:

magic effects can heal undead.

The Starfinder equivalent to the "Heal" spell is the "Mystic Cure", which does mention undeads:

In addition to healing such a creature, the spell returns the target to life, and the target takes a temporary negative level for 24 hours. This spell can’t resuscitate creatures slain by death effects, creatures turned into undead, or creatures whose bodies were destroyed, significantly mutilated, disintegrated, and so on.

The word "rescuscitate" in this context apparently means that it can not "cure undeadness" by turning an undead back into its living form. But it does not say anywhere that undead creatures can't recover HP from mystic cure.

So not only are healing spells in Starfinder no longer harmful to undead. Undeads benefit from healing just like any other creature. And this appears to be an intentional rule change from Pathfinder. Otherwise they would not have had a reason to write that down explicitly in the description of the "Unliving" trait.

Why exactly they made that rule change is speculation. But I would assume it's because in DnD/Pathfinder, healing magic is thematically "holy" while necromancy is thematically "unholy". The way healing magic affects undead in DnD/Pathfinder represents this theme. But this whole divine morality theme does not really fit into the scifi scenario of Starfinder. So it was dropped, and with it the mechanics which represent it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you very much, well articulated; and I agree with the reasoning behind your speculation. One would think that with this significant of a change, the RAW would make it a bit more clear (I know, not really a "change" per se, as Starfinder stands alone...); thanks Paiso, LOL. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 20:49
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that you're referencing Pathfinder 2E rules here, and Starfinder was released well before 2E. You may want to reference similar rules in Pathfinder 1E if you want to make the argument of historical contrast. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cellion
    Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 21:03
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, while I don't disagree with the main thrust of your argument, Mystic Cure cannot heal undead creatures as it's target restriction is "one living creature". \$\endgroup\$
    – Cellion
    Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 21:05

You must log in to answer this question.

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