Friday, November 1, 2013

Why Can't Wizards Heal?

Seriously. It makes no sense in the context of the game. Leave out for a minute the whole "Clerics need to be able to do something of use." to the group argument. Let's analyze healing first before I start mouthing off though. When I say healing, I refer strictly to spells like the cure spells. Straight restoration of hit points, not raising the dead or curing disease or poison or stuff like that.

What is a cure wounds spell? Simple. It is a channeling of positive energy to restore hit points. We know this, otherwise cure spells would have no effect on undead, which are animated by magic and negative energy. They would simply restore hit points if they were not specifically positive energy just like the positive energy burst Clerics can channel to restore hit points or harm undead. The Pathfinder spell description even states that you channel positive energy into your touch. Cool. We now know precisely what a cure spell is.

We also know that even in regular Pathfinder, arcane classes can heal, Witches and Alchemists and Bards specifically. We know that in 3.5 DnD Bards can heal, and they are an arcane class.

So, again, excluding the whole, "Clerics need to be able to do something that another class can't do better." justification, why can't Wizards at least use cure spells? It makes no sense whatsoever. On almost every level, they can do magical things better than every other arcane or divine class. Unless that class specializes in it. Clerics get flame strike? Say hello to meteor swarm. Bless? Say hello to true strike, or magic weapon and greater magic weapon. The unique awesome thing Clerics can do hands down better than Wizards is the various forms of healing and restoration. You could also make the argument that Clerics are better at buffing their allies, which is a good point. ::shrug:: Like I said, they need to be better at Wizards than something. Otherwise no one would play them.

Ok. So back to my main point. Why can't Wizards heal, at least on the hit point restoration level? It's stupid.

Back in the 3.5 days, there were the elemental planes of negative and positive energy. These are the places all that channeling of positive and negative energy comes from. Undead lifeforce (i.e. their Charisma score) comes from the plane of negative energy. When you cast a cure spell or channel positive energy in a burst, your god sticks his hands in the plane and scoops up a bit to lob your way.

So, these elemental planes both have elementals, like the other elemental planes. Wizards have the ability to cast the summon monster spells, which can summon elementals. So obviously the elemental planes of positive and negative energy can be reached by arcane spellcasting. These planes are not places the gods have erected metaphysical barbed wire around. Also, based on my knowledge of planar cosmology and Wizards being able to jaunt around beyond the prime material, Wizards can reach the elemental plane of positive energy.

So, Wizards can summon the creatures native to this plane, and they can physical go to this plane. Just like they can with the planes of fire and earth and so on. Wizards can also use conjuration spells to call up fire and such. So, I can't really see justification as to why Wizards can't conjure up positive energy. It doesn't make any sort of reasonable sense in the context of the game's background material. This isn't a perfect example, as a conjuration (fire) spell doesn't necessarily mean you are conjuring fire from the elemental plane of fire. 

Now, in Pathfinder, the positive and negative energy planes are referred to as energy planes, not elemental planes. The planes function they same as they did in 3.5 though, the positive energy plane is the source of all positive energy that infuses the cosmos and it is the place that Clerics get (through the scooping of their deity) the positive energy to needed to cure wounds and cause a burst of energy. Assuming they're good. Even though the positive energy plane doesn't appear to have an alignment designation attached to it like the various heavenly or hellish planes do. Whatever though. Unfortunately, the entry for the positive energy plane doesn't state that there are elemental creatures that live there that can be summoned. However, there are Pathfinder extraplanar creatures call the jyoti that live there (they're neutral, not good, so I still don't get why good Clerics get special requisition rights to the positive energy plane). The jyoti can of course be called upon by the gate spell, so Wizards can still get creatures from that plan, and travel there, but not actually use the energy. 

Looking at the information that way, and kind of admittedly blending 3.5 and Pathfinder planar cosmologies, I can't find any justification to keep positive energy fueled spells off of the Wizard's spell list. It doesn't make sense. You can conjure fire and earth and air and creatures of those elements, but positive energy and negative energy (unless you are creating undead or becoming an undead or using necromancy spells) are verboten? Nope, it's dumb.

So, my new ruling for Wizards is that cure spells, including their mass versions, are considered to be part of the Wizard spell list at the same level as the Cleric version. Rejoice, Eric. Feel free to rearrange your feats based on this information if you want. 

Alright, so Wizards can now straight up repair humanoid flesh with magic. What does this mean for Hekinoe? In Orcunraytrel, it doesn't mean much. However, in The Known World, there is an additional issue to consider before we all celebrate with celebratory positive energy touching to our naughty places. That consideration is this: the wild sorcery of The Known World has proven to be hostile to human flesh. Spellcasters of long years tend to be warped and twisted (even more so when I replace the warped flesh nonsense with the true rules, someday). This is something I haven't had to consider in the past, as the first Hekinoe campaign was already such a hodgepodge of rules and systems and character changes that I didn't have time to consider the ramifications of Alchemists, Bards, and Witches fixing flesh with energy that has a tendency to warp flesh. It's one thing to wrap mage armor around you, quite another to fill a hole in your body with magic to create new blood and skin and bone. 

So, with this in mind, there are two ways to cast cure spells. The first way is to restrain the fleshwarping energies to the best of the caster's abilities. What this does is increase the misfire chance by 1% per spell level and it causes the target to make a Fortitude save or gain the sickened condition for 1 round per caster level. The Fortitude save is made against the normal DC of a spell of the cure spell's level. So if you have an 18 in Intelligence and are casting cure light wounds, the DC is 15. If you also have spell focus (conjuration), the DC is 17. This sickened condition and save do not apply to Fallen, Rankethlek, or Soulless. 

The second way is to let the fleshwarping energies do their thing. This doesn't modify the misfire chance of the spell. However, it does inflict the recipient of the healing with the nauseated condition for 1d4 rounds and makes them roll 1d6 on a special table to determine how the energy affects their flesh. The table is as follows:

1) Boneless Limbs: -4 CMB/CMD on grapple checks and Strength checks.
2): Cloven Feet: Footwear gains the broken condition and you have a -4 to Acrobatics checks. 
3) Twisted Fingers: -4 CMD against grapple and disarm attempts.
4) Webbed Fingers: Maintaining your grip on handheld items requires a DC 12 Dexterity check every round.
5) Warped Eyes: -4 on Perception checks.
6) Warped Joints: Halve movement speed (round down).

This effect persists for one round per caster level. A successful Fortitude save avoids the effect and reduces the nauseated condition to 1 round. The nauseated condition and rolling on this table do not apply to Fallen, Rankethlek, or Soulless. 

So this has been a fun post. I've been able to justify hit point restoration of flesh by Wizards, and found a pleasant way to muck it up in Hekinoe. Huzzah!


  1. *in my best Tommy Chong impression*

    Wizards can't cast cure spells because... ummm... they've got bad vibes, man.

    Those bad vibes can't access all this positive energy man. They don't just go with the flow of the world, y'know. They force their desires on it, and that just fills them with these vibes that keep all that energy away. Know what I mean man?

  2. Awesome, the only thing I would need clarification on is where/ if I can still get Restoration/ Resurrect spells? Is that still a Feat?

    1. The feat that grants those spells still grants those spells.

  3. Or Wizards can't heal because you touch yourself inappropriately!!! Or is it that you touch yourself /very/ appropriately...

    1. Jason, those are great and true reasons why Wizards can't heal. Karl sings "When I Touch Myself" when masturbating and thinking about... oh, that's a SECRET.

  4. Wizards in 3.5/pathfinder are EXTREMELY OP. Other than being squishy at low levels, they can do everything every other class can because magic.

    1. Incorrect. They can't use Disable Device to disable magic traps like a Rogue can. Nor can they take weapon specialization feats or sing magic buffs/debuffs. There's no magic sneak attack either. High level Wizards are powerful, but not invulnerable. The fact that you guys have slain two liches and a high level, well prepared conjurer proves they're not OP.

    2. Actually, we didn't slay the conjurer, now did we? *coughNPCcough*

      While there aren't any signing buffs/debuffs. Mages do have a lot of self buff & NPC debuffs that are very similar.

      In terms of traps, the wizards can cast knock or open to set the trap off at a safe distance. Cast protection from elements, etc.
      Also by the logic used in your post, if I set a magic trap ... it takes a non magic user to diable it? How does that work? It's in the same vein as wizards not being able to heal.

  5. Hello sir,
    I am a long time reader, first time commentor. I feel like you are missing the fact that clerics (and other divine classes, e.g., paladin, druid, rangers and bards) are necessary for the game of Dragons and Dungeons so that the other characters have something to aspire to. The measly fighter could never approach the moral certitude of the paladin, the simple-minded wizard could never compete with the versatility of the cleric and the sorcerer couldn't hold a candle to the balance and role-playing opportunities presented by the ranger. Like Jesus, the cleric exists as something to aspire to, even though the other classes could never reach the same level.

    Clint R.