Archives of Nethys

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Cleric Class Details | Domains | Variant Channeling | Archetypes

Variant Channeling

Description Source: Ultimate Magic
An iconic ability of clerics is their power to channel positive or negative energy, whether for healing, for damage, or to turn or command the undead. However, given the great variety of deities and their divine portfolios, it naturally follows that some deities would endow their mortal servants with the power to channel energies in other ways that more closely mirror their particular focus. The following categories are examples of alternative channeling abilities based on the nature of a deity's power; for example, a fire deity's negative energy channeling may deal fire damage as part of or instead of the damage from channeling.

When you create a cleric character, decide whether she uses the standard form of channel energy or a variant presented here based on one aspect of her deity's portfolio. Once this choice is made, it cannot be altered. Variant channeling has the same area of effect, save DCs, uses per day, and other rules relating to channeling energy. Feats and abilities that modify or present alternative uses for channeled energy (such as Command Undead and Turn Undead) work normally with these variant channeling abilities.

A variant channeling either modifies positive channeled energy when used to heal or modifies negative energy when used to harm. When using positive energy to heal, affected creatures gain only half the normal amount of healing but also receive a specific beneficial effect. When channeling negative energy to harm, affected creatures take only half the normal damage but take an additional penalty or harmful effect; a successful saving throw negates the additional penalty or effect but does not reduce the damage any further. Creatures that would normally ignore the effect of a particular channel (such as undead with respect to a positive energy channel used to heal) ignore the variant effect of that channel.

Some variant channeling abilities are enhanced when used on particular creature types. Such channeling increases the normal healing or damage from channeled energy by 50% for that creature type, rather than the default half healing or damage for the alternative channeling. For example, a 7th-level cleric normally heals 4d6 points of damage with channeled positive energy; with the Nature alternative channeling, that cleric instead heals only half that amount (2d6) when channeling, but heals animals and fey an additional +50% over the unhalved value (4d6 + 50%).

Unless otherwise stated, bonuses granted by a variant channeling are sacred bonuses if you channel positive energy or profane bonuses if you channel negative energy. If an alternative channeled energy provides a “channel bonus” on rolls or statistics, the bonus is +1, increasing to +2 at cleric level 5 and for every 5 cleric levels thereafter (to a maximum of +5). Likewise, a “channel penalty” is initially –1, increasing to –2 at cleric level 5 and every 5 cleric levels thereafter (to a maximum of –5).

A character who has the channel energy ability from a class other than cleric may use these variant channeling rules if the class's abilities are tied to serving a deity. For example, paladins can select alternative channeling abilities if they serve a deity, as can oracles with the Life mystery (as they serve many deities), but necromancer wizards cannot.

The following is a list of example portfolios and the variant channeling abilities available to each.

Air/Sky/Wind (Ultimate Magic pg. 28 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on Acrobatics and Fly checks, saving throws against wind effects, and effects with the air descriptor until the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures are buffeted with wind until the end of your next turn; this wind gives them a channel penalty on ranged attacks, and their movement is halved if they move toward you.
Ale/Wine (Ultimate Magic pg. 28 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures ignore the nauseated and sickened conditions, as well as ability damage and drain from poison, until the end of your next turn. This does not bring back to life creatures killed by Constitution damage. Harm: Creatures are nauseated for 1 round.
Art/Music (Ultimate Magic pg. 28 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on Perform checks and on saving throws against illusions, sonic effects, and language-dependent effects for 1 minute. Harm: Creatures take a channel penalty on saving throws against illusions, sonic effects, and language-dependent effects for 1 minute.
Battle/Wrath (Ultimate Magic pg. 28 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on weapon damage and critical hit confirmation rolls until the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures take a channel penalty on weapon damage and critical hit confirmation rolls until the end of your next turn.
Beauty/Love/Lust (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on saving throws against charm effects and abilities based on fascination or physical attractiveness (such as a nymph's blinding beauty and stunning glance abilities) for 1 minute. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on saving throws against charm effects and effects that fascinate for 1 minute.
Bravery/Valor (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures affected by fear may attempt another saving throw and receive a channel bonus on the roll. A creature unaffected by fear gains a channel bonus to its Armor Class until the end of your next turn and on its attack roll if it makes a charge attack before your next turn. Harm: This works like a standard channel (not halved).
Cities (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on attack rolls when flanking and to Armor Class when flanked until the end of your next turn. Harm: All creatures' squares and threatened areas are treated as difficult terrain until the start of your next turn (these areas move with the creatures rather than being fixed in place at the time of the channeling). Until the end of your next turn, creatures gain a channel penalty on Acrobatics checks and overrun attempts to move through these squares.
Contracts/Oaths (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on saves against compulsion effects until the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on saving throws against compulsions until the end of your next turn.
Darkness (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain low-light vision until the end of your next turn. At cleric level 5, they gain darkvision 30 feet as well, increasing this range by 30 feet for every 5 cleric levels thereafter. Harm: The illumination level in the area drops by 1 step, as darkness, for 1 minute. At cleric level 10, the light level drops by 2 steps. At cleric level 15, it drops by 3 steps, and areas of dim light or darkness become supernaturally dark (even creatures with darkvision cannot see within it).
Death (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on stabilization checks when dying and on saves against death effects for 1 minute. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on stabilization checks when dying for 1 minute, and subtract the channel penalty from all healing magic, fast healing, and regeneration.
Destruction (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on attack and damage rolls against objects, CMB for sunder attempts, and Strength checks to break objects until the end of your next turn. Harm: Unattended objects take full channel damage (not half).
Disease (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures heal a number of points of ability damage to one ability score (your choice) equal to your channel bonus. Harm: Creatures are sickened until the end of your next turn, plus a number of rounds equal to your channel penalty. At cleric level 10, you may select one creature as the target of a contagion in addition to the effects of the channeled energy. At cleric level 20, all creatures in the area are subject to contagion in addition to the effects of the channeled energy.
Dreams (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures affected by sleep effects may attempt another saving throw and apply the channel bonus on the roll. Willingly sleeping creatures gain a channel bonus on saving throws and Perception checks for up to 8 hours (this bonus ends if the creature awakens). Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on Perception checks and saving throws against exhaustion, fatigue, and sleep effects for 1 minute.
Earth (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a DR 1/adamantine until the end of your next turn. This DR improves by 1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. This does not allow recipients to overcome DR/adamantine with their own attacks. Harm: All squares in the area are treated as difficult terrain for 1 minute.
Envy (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on disarm and steal combat maneuvers, Bluff checks, and Sleight of Hand checks for 1 minute. Harm: Creatures must attempt a steal combat maneuver on their next turn against an adjacent enemy. This is a compulsion effect.
Farming (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures ignore fatigue (but not exhaustion) for 1 minute. The healing effect is enhanced for plant creatures. Harm: The damage effect is enhanced for plant creatures. Creatures are fatigued, as if experiencing starvation.
Fate (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on one d20 roll made during their next readied action as long as it is taken before the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on ability checks and skill checks for 1 minute.
Fire (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: The healing effect is enhanced for creatures with the fire subtype. Harm: The damage effect is enhanced for creatures with the cold subtype. Affected creatures who fail their saves catch on fire.
Forge (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures in metal armor gain a channel bonus to Armor Class until the end of your next turn. Alternatively, you may repair damage to metal objects and metal constructs as if they were creatures, and this healing is enhanced. Harm: The damage effect is enhanced against metal constructs and unattended metal objects.
Freedom (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on Escape Artist checks, CMB checks to escape a grapple, and saving throws against becoming entangled, paralyzed, or slowed. Harm: Creatures are slowed (as slow) until the end of your next turn.
Hunting (Ultimate Magic pg. 29 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on Survival checks and ranged attack rolls until the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures gain a –5 penalty on Stealth checks for 1 minute and temporarily lose effects or special abilities that reduce or negate tracks for that duration.
Justice/Law (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: Lawful creatures gain a channel bonus on Perception and Sense Motive checks, attack rolls, and saving throws until the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures are affected by zone of truth until the end of your next turn.
Knowledge (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on Knowledge and Perception checks until the end of your next turn. Harm: Sentient creatures (Intelligence 3+) who fail their saves take 1d2 points of Intelligence damage. A successful save negates this Intelligence damage.
Luck (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus or a luck bonus (creature's choice) on one roll (attack roll, CMB check, saving throw, or skill check) made before the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures take a channel penalty on all d20 rolls until the end of your next turn.
Madness (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on saving throws against confusion, insanity, rage, and similar effects. Harm: Creatures are confused until the end of your next turn.
Magic (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on caster level checks and concentration checks until the end of your next turn. Harm: All creatures must make concentration checks (DC = channel energy DC plus spell level) to use spells or spell-like abilities until the end of your next turn.
Monsters (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: The healing effect is enhanced for aberrations, dragons, magical beasts, and monstrous humanoids. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty to attack and damage rolls against summoned and called creatures.
Murder (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures that critically hit before the end of your next turn add a bleed effect equal to your channel bonus. Harm: Creatures gain a bleed effect equal to your channel penalty.
Nature (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: The healing effect is enhanced for animals and fey. Creatures gain a channel bonus on Handle Animal and wild empathy checks for 1 minute. Harm: The harmful effect is enhanced for animals and fey.
Nightmares (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on charm and compulsion saves for 1 minute. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on concentration checks and saves against fear and phantasms.
Ocean/Sea/Water (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on Climb and Swim checks and Constitution checks to hold their breath; this bonus lasts for 1 minute. Creatures ignore fatigue from thirst and pressure damage from deep water for 1 minute. Harm: The harming effect is enhanced for creatures with the aquatic or water subtypes.
Pain (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on pain effect saves for 1 minute. Harm: Creatures are sickened until the end of your next turn, plus a number of rounds equal to your channel penalty. At cleric level 10, you may select one creature to be nauseated in addition to the effects of the channeled energy.
Poison (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on poison saves for 1 minute. Harm: Creatures take 1 point of Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution damage (your choice) as a poison effect.
Protection (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus to Armor Class until the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty to Armor Class until the end of your next turn.
Revenge/Vengeance (Ultimate Magic pg. 30 (Amazon)): Heal: This works like a standard channel (not halved). Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on attack rolls until the end of your next turn.
Rulership (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on Diplomacy checks and to the DC of their language-dependent and charm effects until the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures are dazed for 1 round.
Secrets (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on Sense Motive checks and caster level checks and to save DCs of their divination spells until the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on saving throws against divinations for 1 minute. Creatures using Sense Motive against affected creatures for the next minute gain a channel bonus on Sense Motive checks.
Self-Perfection (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures may ignore one temporary condition of their choice until the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on attempts to dispel, remove, or make additional saving throws against all ongoing conditions for 1 minute (this does not apply to any initial saving throw allowed against such an effect but does apply to effects that begin during this duration).
Slavery/Tyranny (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures ignore fatigue and exhaustion for 1 minute. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on saves against compulsions, pain, and stun for 1 minute.
Strategy (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: Until your next turn, creatures using aid another add your channel bonus to the aided creature's roll in addition to the normal aid another bonus. Harm: Creatures may not take attacks of opportunity until the end of your next turn.
Strength (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on all Strength-based attacks, combat maneuver checks that rely on Strength, Strength-based skills, and Strength checks until the end of your next turn. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on all Strength-based rolls and to Strength-based game statistics (such as CMD) until the end of your next turn.
Sun (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: The illumination level in the area increases by one step, and creatures gain a channel bonus on saves against blindness and light-based effects. Harm: Creatures are dazzled for 1 minute; creatures with light blindness or light sensitivity are blinded instead of dazzled.
Trickery (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on Bluff, Disguise, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth checks for 1 minute. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on Perception and Sense Motive checks for 1 minute.
Undeath (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: This works like a standard channel (not halved). Harm: The healing effect is enhanced for undead creatures and those with negative energy affinity.
Weapons (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on attack rolls until the end of your next turn when wielding your deity's favored weapon. Harm: Creatures gain a channel penalty on attack and damage rolls until the end of your next turn when wielding manufactured weapons.
Weather (Ultimate Magic pg. 31 (Amazon)): Heal: Creatures gain a channel bonus on saving throws against electricity, sonic, and wind effects. Harm: Each time you channel energy, you may change half the channeled energy damage to electricity or sonic damage.