Discussion:
The limitations of healing magic.
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tetsubo57
2017-10-21 20:17:21 UTC
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Can powerful healing spells such as Heal (3.5/PF) cure genetic disorders or mental illness? Or is this beyond the scope of the spell itself?
Spalls Hurgenson
2017-10-22 13:34:14 UTC
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On Sat, 21 Oct 2017 13:17:21 -0700 (PDT), tetsubo57
Post by tetsubo57
Can powerful healing spells such as Heal (3.5/PF) cure genetic disorders
or mental illness? Or is this beyond the scope of the spell itself?
This is the sort of question that comes up a lot, and the answer is
usually a lot of "it depends" and "DM's perogative".

Myself, I would argue it does not have the ability to get rid of
genetic disorders. Heal (and the Cure Wounds spells) merely restore
the body to its "normal" state (as determined by its genes). It can no
more cure, a character's hump or an arhythmic heart than it can change
his eye-color. It would probably take a mix of Restore & Cure Disease,
or maybe Polymorph & Permanence to fix the problem.

Whether Heal can fix a mental disorders is less certain. It can cure
certain effects such as Feeblemind or confused, and the 3.5E rules do
mention "insanity", but other editions specify it only cures these
effects "as caused by spells or injury to the brain". So if a sword
thrust results in brain injury causing extreme paranoia and psychosis,
then Heal would repair the damaged brain tissue and the mental
disorder would subside. But if the character is psychopathic (probably
genetic) or depressed, Heal would have no effect.

But your milage may vary; ask your DM if the Heal spell is right for
you. Side effects may include dice-rolling, thumbing through
rule-books, arguing, whining, bribing the DM with pizza and/or
creating a new character.
Anonymous Jack
2017-10-23 18:05:21 UTC
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Post by Spalls Hurgenson
Post by tetsubo57
Can powerful healing spells such as Heal (3.5/PF) cure genetic disorders
or mental illness? Or is this beyond the scope of the spell itself?
IMO, it's beyond the scope of a fantasy-game to classify ailments as genetic disorders or use other science-based knowledge. Next, you'll end up discussing why the falling-damage rules aren't accurate according to physics, or why Hit Points don't work.
Post by Spalls Hurgenson
This is the sort of question that comes up a lot, and the answer is
usually a lot of "it depends" and "DM's perogative".
And this is the right answer :)
Post by Spalls Hurgenson
It would probably take a mix of Restore & Cure Disease,
or maybe Polymorph & Permanence to fix the problem.
Haven't read them in a long time, but there were rules about new spells that combined the effects of other spells.

And since it's a fantasy game, we can add a sprinkle of, "It's the gods' will that your line be cursed this way - you would defy the gods?"
Post by Spalls Hurgenson
Whether Heal can fix a mental disorders is less certain. It can cure
certain effects such as Feeblemind or confused, and the 3.5E rules do
mention "insanity", but other editions specify it only cures these
effects "as caused by spells or injury to the brain". So if a sword
thrust results in brain injury causing extreme paranoia and psychosis,
then Heal would repair the damaged brain tissue and the mental
disorder would subside. But if the character is psychopathic (probably
genetic) or depressed, Heal would have no effect.
There's also mental disorders from chemical/hormonal imbalances, and PTSD from traumatic events. I'm not a fan of mixing the real world things we know, and the things that belong in a fantasy game.
Post by Spalls Hurgenson
But your milage may vary; ask your DM if the Heal spell is right for
you. Side effects may include dice-rolling, thumbing through
rule-books, arguing, whining, bribing the DM with pizza and/or
creating a new character.
lol, if the condition persists for more than four hours . . .
Loren Pechtel
2017-11-27 03:16:32 UTC
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On Mon, 23 Oct 2017 11:05:21 -0700 (PDT), Anonymous Jack
Post by Anonymous Jack
Post by tetsubo57
Can powerful healing spells such as Heal (3.5/PF) cure genetic disorders
or mental illness? Or is this beyond the scope of the spell itself?
IMO, it's beyond the scope of a fantasy-game to classify ailments as genetic disorders or use other science-based knowledge. Next, you'll end up discussing why the falling-damage rules aren't accurate according to physics, or why Hit Points don't work.
While the idea of a genetic disorder is beyond the scope of the game
you don't need to look at it that way.

Healing magic restores you to your original state--what you were made
with. (I won't say born becuase it can fix a prenatal injury.)
Gordon Burditt
2017-11-28 04:21:43 UTC
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Post by Loren Pechtel
While the idea of a genetic disorder is beyond the scope of the game
you don't need to look at it that way.
Healing magic restores you to your original state--what you were made
with. (I won't say born becuase it can fix a prenatal injury.)
I hate that wording. It suggests that I can get rid of combatents
in a fight, or take over kingdoms, by giving opponents an overdose
of healing, and returning them to their original state. Depending
on how far you overdo this, and assuming human or human-like
opponents, that means a child, a baby, a fetus, or a sperm and an
egg.

Overheal a dragon and you get ... breakfast!

I'm sure that wasn't what was meant. I probably wouldn't have
thought about this if I hadn't just read a story unrelated to D&D
about a "Fountain of Youth" machine in a beauty salon which works
a little bit too well.
Loren Pechtel
2017-12-02 22:36:20 UTC
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Post by Gordon Burditt
Post by Loren Pechtel
While the idea of a genetic disorder is beyond the scope of the game
you don't need to look at it that way.
Healing magic restores you to your original state--what you were made
with. (I won't say born becuase it can fix a prenatal injury.)
I hate that wording. It suggests that I can get rid of combatents
in a fight, or take over kingdoms, by giving opponents an overdose
of healing, and returning them to their original state. Depending
on how far you overdo this, and assuming human or human-like
opponents, that means a child, a baby, a fetus, or a sperm and an
egg.
Overheal a dragon and you get ... breakfast!
I'm sure that wasn't what was meant. I probably wouldn't have
thought about this if I hadn't just read a story unrelated to D&D
about a "Fountain of Youth" machine in a beauty salon which works
a little bit too well.
I meant it returned your body to how it functioned originally, not
that it made you young.

Rick Pikul/Chakat Firepaw
2017-10-27 04:00:28 UTC
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Post by tetsubo57
Can powerful healing spells such as Heal (3.5/PF) cure genetic disorders
or mental illness? Or is this beyond the scope of the spell itself?
While the question of genetic disorders is left open, PF does cover the
use of healing magic on mental illness:

The lighter rules from the GameMastery Guide, (insanity DCs are in the
14-20 range but can be boosted):

Lesser Restoration: No effect.
Restoration: Reduce insanity DC of one madness by caster level, cured if
the DC reaches 0
Greater Restoration, Heal, Psychic Surgery, (Limited) Wish/Miracle: Cure
all.

Plus you get a 1/week Will Save against the DC to reduce the DC by your
Charisma bonus, (min 1).

Horror Adventures makes things generally worse, splitting insanities into
lesser, (base DCs of 14-18), and greater, (base DCs of 20-24):

Lesser Restoration: Reduce the DC of one lesser madness by 2.*
Restoration, Heal: Reduce the DC of one lesser madness by 5 or one
greater by 2.*
Greater Restoration, Limited Wish, Psychic Surgery: Cure all lesser
madnesses or reduce the DC of one greater madness by caster level.
Wish/Miracle: Cure all madnesses.

* Each spell can only be used once per day on a given character to cure
madness.
--
Chakat Firepaw - Inventor and Scientist (mad)
Justisaur
2017-10-27 18:18:04 UTC
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Post by tetsubo57
Can powerful healing spells such as Heal (3.5/PF) cure genetic disorders or mental illness? Or is this beyond the scope of the spell itself?
Genetic disorders no. Insanity, yes... as long as it's acquired and not
because of a genetic disorder.

- Justisaur
tetsubo57
2017-10-27 20:11:53 UTC
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Post by Justisaur
Post by tetsubo57
Can powerful healing spells such as Heal (3.5/PF) cure genetic disorders or mental illness? Or is this beyond the scope of the spell itself?
Genetic disorders no. Insanity, yes... as long as it's acquired and not
because of a genetic disorder.
- Justisaur
I think that begs the question, what qualifies as 'insanity'? I suffer from anxiety, depression and PTSD. Would Heal 'fix' me?
Justisaur
2017-10-30 16:48:04 UTC
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Post by tetsubo57
Post by Justisaur
Post by tetsubo57
Can powerful healing spells such as Heal (3.5/PF) cure genetic disorders or mental illness? Or is this beyond the scope of the spell itself?
Genetic disorders no. Insanity, yes... as long as it's acquired and not
because of a genetic disorder.
- Justisaur
I think that begs the question, what qualifies as 'insanity'? I suffer from anxiety, depression and PTSD. Would Heal 'fix' me?
Probably the PTSD though susceptibility to it seems to be more genetic,
depression and anxiety are probably more hereditary too, though I've
only touched the surface of researching those, so I could be wrong, I am
not a psychologist or geneticist.

Why? Are you planning to go into D&D land and bring a couple million
dollars worth of gold coins to donate to the nearest temple, hopefully
before you're eaten by a troll? ;)

- Justisaur
tetsubo57
2017-10-31 00:10:32 UTC
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Post by Justisaur
Post by tetsubo57
Post by Justisaur
Post by tetsubo57
Can powerful healing spells such as Heal (3.5/PF) cure genetic disorders or mental illness? Or is this beyond the scope of the spell itself?
Genetic disorders no. Insanity, yes... as long as it's acquired and not
because of a genetic disorder.
- Justisaur
I think that begs the question, what qualifies as 'insanity'? I suffer from anxiety, depression and PTSD. Would Heal 'fix' me?
Probably the PTSD though susceptibility to it seems to be more genetic,
depression and anxiety are probably more hereditary too, though I've
only touched the surface of researching those, so I could be wrong, I am
not a psychologist or geneticist.
Why? Are you planning to go into D&D land and bring a couple million
dollars worth of gold coins to donate to the nearest temple, hopefully
before you're eaten by a troll? ;)
- Justisaur
The topic of D&D magic in the real world is a perennial favorite. But there isn't any reason that anxiety, depression and PTSD doesn't exist in D&D or Pathfinder. Soldiers suffer less PTSD than do survivors of domestic abuse. Who suffer less PTSD than do children that survive childhood abuse, These are not things exclusive to the 'real' world.
Michael Cole
2017-11-28 03:51:58 UTC
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Post by tetsubo57
Can powerful healing spells such as Heal (3.5/PF) cure genetic disorders or
mental illness? Or is this beyond the scope of the spell itself?
There is no such thing as genetic disorders, nor genetics.

People can be touched by the fairies, which can include issues ranging
from autism to strokes, for which the cure can range from leaving an
offering for the fairies, to binding the victim in iron bands, to being
touched by a rightful King, or by the seventh son of a seventh son, or
even as mundane and playing pipes and drums loudly near the victim for
hours on end.

They can also be cursed by a demon or a witch - palsy, mental
disorders, skin disorders or other "ugly" infestations. Exorcism is
then needed.

Then of course there are the evil spirits, born apon the winds, such as
cholera, dipteria, tetanus and the bubonic plague. In which case,
fires, smoke and a shaman who can enter the spirit world and bargain
with these evil spirits is required.

What is this "heal" that you speak of? New fangled magic - work of the
devil if you ask me. No, stick to the tried and true methods, at least
we know that they work.
--
Michael Cole
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