Usually I find the rules for DnD 4th edition to be fairly unambiguous, but now I've encountered quite a conundrum. Clerics have a class feature, Healer's Lore that grants some extra healing whenever they use a power that "lets a creature spend a healing surge to regain hitpoints". The feature used to grant the extra healing regardless of whether any surges were spent, but was later changed to limit its use on surgeless healing such as the At-will power Astral Seal.
However, Cleric class also some powers/feats that grant healing to an ally "as if it had spent a healing surge", for example Cure Light Wounds.
Specific trumps general, but in this case, I don't know which one is the specific one and which is the general case! I see two equally sensible interpretations here:
- "As if" is exactly that, and there's no difference between that and actually spending a surge to heal apart from the consumption of the surge. Even though no surge is lost, the power's description commands healing as if one was used, allowing the Healer's lore bonus for powers such as Cure Light Wounds.
- Spending a healing surge is strictly needed to gain the bonus, and surgeless sources of healing are invalid regardless of what the power's text says.
I personally lean slightly towards the first interpretation, because the stated purpose of the change was to limit the potency of unlimited surgeless healing, but the powers that grant healing "as if it had spent a healing surge" are all daily powers that are very limited already. However, I'm very uncertain about whether this interpretation is correct. Could you advice me on which rule trumps which?