Now I'm fairly sure that you can't heal constructs (along with pretty much every other player and DM), but when I went looking for the actual rules I couldn't find them. Nor could I find anything classifying constructs as objects. So this isn't about RAI, this question is about RAW.

Positive and Negative Energy

Positive and Negative Energy: Negative energy attacks a creatures life force and is typically dealt by undead or necromantic effects. Positive energy instills a surge of life energy which typically heals living creatures but damages undead creatures. While it is referred to as "energy" energy resistance typically isn't effective against either of these types of energy.

This is an editors note and therefore non binding.

Construct Traits doesn't say explicit that they are objects, as there is a secondary definition that says they are creatures. Nor does the bit about healing say that healing spells do not work (and healing spells do not say that they speed up the targets own healing). On a second check, I'm only just convinced that an animated object is not a creature.

  • A construct is an animated object or artificially created creature.
  • Cannot heal damage on its own, but often can be repaired via exposure to a certain kind of effect (see the creature's description for details) or through the use of the Craft Construct feat. Constructs can also be healed through spells such as make whole. A construct with the fast healing special quality still benefits from that quality.

The best that we get from here is a vague implication that they have to be healed by special spells, but its not implicit, which is what I'm looking for.

Heal Spell

Heal enables you to channel positive energy into a creature to wipe away injury and afflictions.

Heal lacks the "living creature" exclusion that Cure Light Wounds has:

When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy that cures

I know that various positive energy effects state "living creature", but I can't actually find the explicit rule the positive energy does not heal constructs (nor can I find the description of positive energy (damage or otherwise)). Does such a rule exist?

Note: The intent is not to lawyer this into a game. I really am trying to find the actual rule because the lack of explicit rule bugs me.

Edit: I will accept 3.5 answers if you cannot find pathfinder ones, though preference will be given to PF answers. Please indicate clearly if your answer is 3.5

  • \$\begingroup\$ D&D 3.5 had rules for this sort of thing in the Eberron Campaign Setting, but I'm not sure if Pathfinder did it any differently. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cobalt
    Nov 25, 2014 at 18:16
  • 2
  • \$\begingroup\$ The lack of the word "living" isn't needed in the Heal spell, since the behavior is determined by the type of energy (positive energy.) You can discharge a touch spell into anything...the target is what matters when determining effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – Robert P
    Nov 29, 2014 at 20:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ I asked you for a source on your own answer. RAW question require backing up with the rules. If some spells use it and some spells does, it doesn't make the spells that do a primary source for information. Nowhere have you found something that says "This is how positive energy works", you just assumed one spell covered all interactions with positive energy. It has the RAW tag because I don't want the assumptions, I want what the rules actually say. It turns out they don't say anything about Positive energy ONLY working on living/undead. Specific spells say that about themselves. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Nov 29, 2014 at 23:56

4 Answers 4


Funnily enough, works by RAW.

There is no prohibition of magical healing in construct traits, though some constructs are explicitly immune to magic except select few effects.

There is also no prohibition in the heal spell.

Technically, you can do it, but expect a heavy book thrown by your DM. He will also probably houserule it away, at least I personally would.


Can't remember anything on that in 3.5 either, though the description of Warforged contrasts the possibility of both special and positive-energy healing (emphasis mine):

As living constructs, warforged can be affected by spells that target living creatures as well as by those that target constructs. Damage dealt to a warforged can be healed by a cure light wounds spell or a repair light damage spell, for example, and a warforged is vulnerable to disable construct and harm. However, spells from the healing subschool and supernatural abilities that cure hit point damage or ability damage provide only half their normal effect to a warforged.

That leads one to the implication of impossibility of positive-energy based healing for a regular construct, even if it is not stated anywhere.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I knew about the warforged reference, but avoided it as I was trying to use the d20pfsrd. It's strange the the rule doesn't exist (in 3.5 or pf) except as the occasional vague reference, yet almost everyone knows you shouldn't be able to do it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Nov 25, 2014 at 13:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer ignores the "repair" section on crafting constructs, which spells out the ways constructs can be fixed. Positive energy sources, like Heal, are not included. \$\endgroup\$
    – Robert P
    Nov 29, 2014 at 20:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RobertP these are the sections of specific constructs, not construct creature type description, and not every construct has one. For example, animated object doesn't. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 29, 2014 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Heal works by RAW. Most other spells (all Cure spells) indicate 'living creature' including Pathfinder's Channel Energy and Construct traits indicate that 'its body is a mass of unliving matter'. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Oct 28, 2016 at 17:35

In older editions of D&D it was simple: These effects was necromantic, like:

Cure Serious Wounds (Necromantic) Reversible

And constructs always possessed traits making them immune to necromancy. And then someone thought about making healing something other. In Pathfinder, it's conjuration. And "fun" starts.

From "Repair Construct" rules

The most consistent part about it is Repairing Constructs section. It lists ways to repair constructs, and at the end says:

Additionally, some constructs have special means of repair, usually involving spells related to the golem’s nature (such as the use of acid damage to heal a clay golem.)

The list does not include healing spells in any way, so it seems they was meant to be excluded.

What is life?

Pathfinder does not include a definition of living creatures. Funny enough, if you read official list of creature types, you will find this:


  • Animal
  • Outsider

Not living:

  • Undead


  • All the rest, including constructs and humanoids.

So if you want to use this part as RAW to decide if you can use Cure Light Wounds, allowing it's use on fellow human is a houserule.

Assuming that human is alive is just as much outside RAW as assuming construct is not.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Your own questions seems to indicate that you are wrong about humans being alive. rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/51349/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Nov 25, 2014 at 18:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Molot Actually, you are incorrect...there IS a definition of living creatures in the core rulebook. I've now added this as an answer to your question about humans. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Mar 9, 2018 at 2:55

Constructs are typically not subject to magical healing.

If you look under the building and modifying constructs page, there is a section about modifying constructs with Bioconstruct Modifications. One of these is a heart. Under its description it states -

"This upgrade permits a golem to receive half the benefits of magical healing and..." "Negative energy spells cast upon the golem can affect the heart, causing it to cease functioning for the duration of the effect (or 1 round for instantaneous effects). If the spell has a save, the heart uses the golem’s saving throws."

That and the snippit under construct description (Emphasis Mine)

Cannot heal damage on its own, but often can be repaired via exposure to a certain kind of effect (see the creature’s description for details) or through the use of the Craft Construct feat. Constructs can also be healed through spells such as make whole.

Make whole specifically states, it heals construct creatures. Furthermore, constructs are not living creatures. They have no constitution. Even with the heart, they still have no constitution are are not considered alive, and are immune to necromancy effect - which covers most sources of negative energy damage, while many of the cure spells state the creature must be living.

Heal is an outlier as it states none of the previous, and is conjuration magic. RAW... may work... RAI, Probably not. (golems are in general immune to magic, and this spell would definitely fail on them.)


Constructs are not Alive, and so can not be healed with Heal.

Note: my sources are pathfinder specific.

Heal says:

Heal enables you to channel positive energy into a creature to wipe away injury and afflictions.

Positive energy affects living creatures to heal them. So it comes down to if constructs are alive.

A RAW definition of Living Types

One source of living creatures is in the spell anti-life shell:

You bring into being a mobile, hemispherical energy field that prevents the entrance of most types of living creatures.

The effect hedges out animals, aberrations, dragons, fey, giants, humanoids, magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, oozes, plants, and vermin, but not constructs, elementals, outsiders, or undead.

This spell may be used only defensively, not aggressively. Forcing an abjuration barrier against creatures that the spell keeps at bay collapses the barrier.

That means at the very least all types except constructs, elementals, outsiders, and undead can be healed with positive energy.

The outsider type includes:

Unlike most living creatures,

So outsiders are in, which includes elementals.

Constructs: creations

Constructs, on the other hand, are constructed. Craft Construct They aren't healed, they are repaired. The ways to repair constructs in the Craft Construct section.

Repairing Constructs

Even with the best of care, most constructs will eventually become damaged. Unless a construct suffers some sort of structural damage that radically alters its physical form, the construct continues to function at its full efficiency, and only falls apart once reduced to 0 hit points. Ideally, however, a construct should see some repair before it reaches that point. The make whole or rapid repair spells provide the easiest way to keep a construct in good condition. Both spells repair damaged constructs, even magic-immune ones like golems.

Failing that, a crafter can repair a construct with the Craft Construct feat. When repairing a construct, its master spends 100 gp per Hit Die of the construct, and then makes a skill check as if he were crafting the construct with a DC of 5 less than the DC for crafting that construct. With a success, the construct regains 1d6 hit points per Hit Die of the construct. Completing a repair takes 1 day per 1,000 gp spent on the repair (minimum of 1 day). Repair in this way can only be performed while the construct is inanimate or nonfunctioning. At any time, a construct's creator can deactivate a construct under his control with a touch and a standard action.

A construct that has been completely destroyed cannot be repaired, though at the GM's option some of the materials may be usable in the construction of a new construct.

Additionally, some constructs have special means of repair, usually involving spells related to the golem's nature (such as the use of acid damage to heal a clay golem.)

RAW these are the only ways to fix constructs.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "Positive energy affects living creatures and undead creatures. So it comes down to if constructs are alive." Can you site a source for this? The only reference I can find is an editors note, and states "typically heals living creatures" \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Nov 28, 2014 at 9:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's in the spell description for cure and inflict spells. "When laying your hand upon a living creature, you channel positive energy that cures 1d8 points of damage ..." and "When laying your hand upon a creature, you channel negative energy ... Since undead are powered by negative energy, this spell cures such a creature..." \$\endgroup\$
    – Robert P
    Nov 29, 2014 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Heal enables you to channel positive energy into a creature to wipe away injury and afflictions." The Heal spell does not mention living. Nor does it mention undead. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Nov 29, 2014 at 23:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ As written, it (heal) works on constructs and undead (and heals them). I'm downvoting because your extrapolating from the wording of one spell to say that "this must be how positive energy works", when there are clearly cases that don't say the same thing that are an equally legitimate source. Why does CLW's text trump heal's? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Nov 29, 2014 at 23:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ "It doesn't need to spell out explicitly living or undead because the energy type delivered already places that limitation on the spell." - Except that in no place is Positive Energy or Negative energy defined. A spell description would need to say "because positive energy does not heal the unliving" for it to be talking about the limitation of the energy type used, rather than the limitations of the spell itself. As it stands, it describes a limitation of the spell itself. As previous requested, if you have another source that defined how positive energy (and not a spell) works, please quote \$\endgroup\$
    – Mourdos
    Dec 1, 2014 at 16:00

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