When a character, either PC or NPC, is badly injured (in a manner that would leave clear indications of the injury once healed naturally) and is magically healed, would that magical healing prevent or remove scars?

What about existing scars in the same location, such as those that sword fighters might commonly get on their forearms.

Whilst there are no particular rules for permanent scars in Pathfinder, outside of the Scars and Wounds optional rule, it is a common trope of the setting to have battle-scarred individuals or to have a particularly impressive scar from a memorable battle.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 12:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question isn't asking for opinions or asking a question that is inherently opinion-based, so the question itself isn't primarily opinion-based. Answers might say that the answer is up to opinion (and that's OK)—or they might say otherwise. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 14:49

2 Answers 2



There are actually optional rules for receiving scars under the Scars and Wounds optional rule which is used in conjunction with the Massive Damage optional rule.

Whenever a character takes damage equivalent to massive damage, he must make a successful DC 15 Fortitude save or be reduced to –1 hit points and gain a permanent debilitating scar or handicap. ... The regenerate spell heals scars and restores lost limbs, removing both positive and negative effects.

The scar/wound is randomly determined and can be quite severe. There are results for minor (cosmetic), moderate and major scars which might have associated social check modifiers as well as rules for losing entire limbs.

Even if you are not using this optional rule, which you may well not be as it only kicks in if a character receives 50+ damage in one go, the idea that scars do accrue over time and can be healed by magic is supported by the History of Scars achievement.

Your scars bear witness to countless battles.

Prerequisites: Take a cumulative total of 1,000 points of damage. Magical healing offsets this running total; for every 5 points of magical healing you receive, reduce your cumulative damage total by 1.

From this it is clear that characters can accrue cosmetic scars (even if the mechanics are not defined) and that magical healing does undo them to some extent. In fact, excess magical healing can seem to undo them completely.

Otherwise, this seems to be something largely for the players and their GM to agree on.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I seem to have been down-voted but with no comment as to why? Was there something wrong with this answer? \$\endgroup\$
    – Phlyk
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 13:43

No, it's not defined by the rules.

Aside from a few exceptions here and there, there is no definition on how a character obtain (cosmetic) scars from combat, or if magical healing does anything to them.

The Skulls&Shackles adventure path introduces an optional table for scars and wounds caused by badly wounded characters, with a 25% possibility of cosmetic scars and 75% possibility of scars with penalties, which are very light to be honest (lose an arm and take -1 str and cannot use two-handed weapons). The rules for those can be found on the sidebar of the Combat Page on SRD.

If not using that optional rule, nor Regenerate nor Cure Wounds spells seems to mention anything about scars.

Other than that, what happens is left open for each particular GM to rule however they want, on the paizo's forums, people have created their own sets of house rules to treat scars and removing them:

The general consensus on those topics is that natural healing leaves scars, and magical healing doesn't. Personally, on my tables you get a scar everytime you get critically hit, and no matter how it was healed, it will leave a (cosmetic) scar.

But if i were to adopt the house rule from the community, i would also change that if you recieve Long-Term Care you wouldnt get scars, as you are recieving proper treatment to your wounds. But if you got Badly Wounded and Treated, it would leave scars.

By the definition of scars on wikipedia, it seems related mostly to natural healing. With an exception for creatures with regeneration.

Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process. With the exception of very minor lesions, every wound (e.g., after accident, disease, or surgery) results in some degree of scarring. An exception to this are animals with complete regeneration, which regrow tissue without scar formation.

So, healing obtained from Fast Healing should leave scars, as "fast healing is just like natural healing". While those healed by Regeneration shouldnt, even though it states that works like fast healing with additional exceptions.

Cure Wounds spells channel positive energy to heal wounds, which unlike Celestial and Infernal Healing, does not affect the creature's natural healing at a quickened rate due to the fast healing effect granted by those spells.

For the sake of this answer, i will a small list of spells, effects, feats and abilities (from paizo) that say how a character can obtain scars by the rules:

Also, the rules for Called Shots will cause temporary and permanent wounds on a character, which could or not leave scars (again, at GM Discretion).


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