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Healing Magic Is the Hardest

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"They say healing's the hardest form of magic... but if my power's so damn great... then I should at least be able to manage this, right?"
Tessa Quinn/Alchemical Aether, Sleepless Domain

In speculative settings, magic usage ranges from Utility Magic to world-breaking rituals but very often it will fail at fixing grievous bodily harm or resuscitating a recently deceased person. If healing magic is possible, it will require a disproportionate amount of power to pull off, compared to anything else on the same scale—up to a Divine Intervention. That "natural" Healing Factor is looking better by the second.

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This can be justified by Life being a different kind of energy, accessible only by gods, but a simpler justification lies in the complexity of all living things. Even simply closing a wound is more complicated than just stitching the flesh together, and dealing with organ damage or disease is even worse. In any setting which applies this justification, expect anything as complex as turning someone into a frog to be right out.

Out-of-universe, this is done to make the characters avoid injuries as hard as they would in Real Life. When you can easily recover from grievous bodily harm or be brought back to life altogether, things get a lot less dramatic and the threats, less credible. An alternative approach to increase the risks is to introduce dangers that are either exempt from magical healing or worse than death.

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Compare All Deaths Final. Compare and contrast Magic Is Rare, Health Is Cheap. See also Rule of Drama.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga  

  • In Sally the Witch, Sally's trials involving healing are always pretty complicated since, despite being a highly skilled Cute Witch, her healing capacity is next to none and healing magic in itself is extremely hard to perform since it involves either the use of the four basic Elemental Powers or filling a quest with a time limit. In the original series, she goes to Find the Cure! when one of Yoshiko's brothers almost has a leg ripped off him by a Threatening Shark; in the 1989 one, she must learn a very complicated spell with the aforementioned Elemental Powers to heal the injured leg of Erika, a Broken Bird ballerina who got into an accident and wants to dance for her father.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Antonio Trussardi's Stand, Pearl Jam, is capable of healing anything (unlike Josuke's Crazy Diamond, which heals physical injuries by 'resetting' the body back to its base state) by making healing food. Problem is, it comes with a mountain of conditions. First, basic rules of cooking still apply, and if Antonio screws up the dish, it won't work. Second, each curing dish is specific to one malady and one only, so he needs to know what he's curing. Third, the difficulty of preparing the dish is directly proportional to how bad the problem is. He can fix minor problems easily, but stuff like curing cancer will require a lot of time and rare (sometimes even illegal) ingredients. It also looks absolutely disgusting in action.
  • In the Lyrical Nanoha series, magic can fix cuts, bruises, and even sprained ankles — but get yourself wounded for real and it's weeks to months in the hospital.
  • In Naruto they can do a lot of different jutsu's including making 10,000 copies of themselves, summoning giant animals and make themselves nigh immortal, but Lady Tsunade struggles healing Lee's bones when he gets savagely beaten by Gaara. Lady Tsunade is the best healer in this series, though to be fair she was very out of practice after years of not healing people for her Dark and Troubled Past, and Lee's injuries were bad enough that everyone else had given up on healing him.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, healing is a sign that an alchemist is skilled.
    • In the first anime, this is limited to Dr. Marcoh because he has a Philosopher's Stone.
    • In the second anime, there are more characters able to heal, but it's still not something that many are capable of.
    • In the manga, it has more to do with Amestrian Alchemy having been developed to be highly military and industry oriented. It's made clear that healers are more common in Xing. Which isn't to say that healers aren't skilled, just not necessarily moreso than someone who can create a giant fireball.
  • In Bleach, characters with healing powers are exceedingly rare.
    • Neliel has healing saliva/vomit, which only slightly accelerates natural healing—her drooling on Ichigo is played for laughs, but the ability itself is treated as valuable.
    • Orihime has the power to "reject" wounds and injuries on other people (I.E. they never happened), but she can only do it slowly. This power is so sought after that Big Bad Aizen kidnapped her for it. (Sort of.) Even that isn't so much "healing" as applying Ret-Gone to the injury or death.
    • Many Lieutenants can cast healing and attack Kido with near equal proficiency, it's just that few bother to learn it, because Squad 4 (the healing squad) is the Zoidberg of the Court Guard Squads.
  • In Claymore, the eponymous warriors possess an impressive Healing Factor but only two characters (Cynthia and Yuma) can actually accelerate others' regeneration. The fact that there seems to have been no healing techniques used by the many previous generations of Claymores suggests that they were the only ones who actually found a way to use yoki for it. Healing normal humans is right out. Moreover, only "defense-type" Claymores can regenerate from particularly grievous injuries (like having an arm cut off); "offense-type" Claymores must resort to either Pulling Themselves Together or Appendage Assimilation.
  • In Scrapped Princess, Raquel Casull can blow up buildings just by looking at them funny but all her magic cannot prevent Pacifica from bleeding out after being stabbed in the back. It takes a personal intervention by Lord Mauser to fix that wound.
  • In Ojamajo Doremi using magic to heal is a forbidden technique because it comes at cost of magic user's own health. This comes in play when Hazuki attempts to heal a bunny that is about to die to spare the bunny's very traumatized caretaker, Nanako, from feeling guilty due to her Dark and Troubled Past; she does so despite knowing the risks and despite Aiko and Doremi's pleas, and gets a severe cold... but only because the Queen of the Magical Land intervened. She still can't remove all of the "bad karma", so Hazuki doesn't die but gets the cold and is Brought Down to Normal for several days as punishment for being reckless.
  • While there are still ways of treating injuries with magic in Fairy Tail (for instance, one of Ichiya's perfumes acts as a painkiller and can cure some poison), actual healing magic is considered a lost art. The only one shown to be capable of healing magic is Wendy, and hers has its use limited by being Cast From Hit Points.
  • In the Light Novel (adapted into a manga) In Another World, I'm Called: the Black Healer, the main character's initial attempts to avoid standing out when she is dragged into a fantasy world and granted magical abilities immediately fails when she mentions off-hand that she can use healing magic, thinking that healing magic is something standard like it is in the videogames she enjoys. Healing magic is apparently extremely difficult and is a fusion of multiple types of magic in that world.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Recovery Girl can heal severe injuries in seconds, but her power can only accelerate someone's normal recovery speed. This can cause severe strain on the injured person, so overuse is not necessarily a good idea. Additionally, it means she can only heal injuries that the body could recover from naturally given time, so very severe injuries can be untreatable. And given that she works at one of the most prestigious academies for superheroes in the world, it can be assumed that she is considered really good at healing despite these flaws.
    • Healing Quirks are demonstrated to be extremely rare. Recovery Girl is the only one shown with the ability to heal others, and even Healing Factor Quirks were practically unheard of. However, shortly before the start of the series, All For One managed to get a hold of a hyper-regeneration Quirk, which his scientist was able to replicate and give to most of their Nomus. The scientist specifically says that if they had discovered such a Quirk years earlier, he would have recovered from his fight with All Might easily. Unfortunately for them, All For One healed imperfectly without it, meaning that now he can't be restored to what he was before his injuries.
  • In One Piece:
    • For all the amazing things Devil Fruits can do, the only healing ability shown in the first half of the Grand Line was Emporio Ivankov's hormone injects to forcibly accelerate healing, which will still take hours, shorten your lifespan, and require you to actively resist agonizing pain to survive. Ivankov even defies his reputation as a miracle maker, simply viewing it as enabling people with the will to survive to save themselves.
    • Then we have the introduction of the Chiyu Chiyu no Mi or the Heal-Heal Fruit. Eaten by the Gnome Princess Mansherry, she can heal any living thing that is wounded or injured. The healing powers manifest in the form of tears from the user's body. As soon as they touch a living thing, it is restored to perfect health and can even recover people suffering from a massive shock. She can also heal constructs, but it would cost some of the lifespan. It's not known if they can heal diseases though. She can even make dandelion-like bits that allow her to spread her healing and she can actually have others donate their 'life energy' to heal others.
    • Trafalgar Law has the powers of the Op-Op Fruit, which allows him to telekinetically "operate" on anything within a certain distance from himself. He will occasionally use it to heal when needed, such as removing toxic lead from his body that would eventually kill him, but the powers work by swapping the locations of things or fragments of things. That means he needs to know exactly what to remove or replace in the subject's body to properly heal them, and that in turn means he needs to be a medical expert to make full use of the Devil Fruit powers.
  • In Accel World, healing abilities are very rare among Burst Linkers, and there are only three individuals with that ability. The first is Lime Bell, also known as Chiyuri Kurashima. The second is an unknown individual who apparently quit Brain Burst as a result of being sought so much. The third is White Cosmos, the apparent Big Bad of the series.
  • Though characters with supernatural powers are everywhere in Hunter × Hunter, medicine appears to be roughly at the same level as it is in the real world, and these characters are shown getting mundane medical treatment, suggesting healing powers are rare or hard to access. One subplot of a major arc involves obtaining "Angel's Breath," a spell that can heal all injuries and illnesses on the target, which can only be found in Greed Island, a virtual reality world (actually a remote island that players are transported to) and can only be taken outside by winning the game, which no one had been able to do at that point. Relatedly, there are people out there known as "exorcists," who specialize in removing curses, who are highly sought out and paid handsomely as there are less than 10 of them in the whole world.

    Comic Books  

  • Played With in Lanfeust de Troy. Of the main cast, the only one with a non-obvious limitation is the healing power. The other two main cast powers are heating metal and changing water temperature. The healing power can nearly instantaneously heal any non-fatal wound the caster can see, but only at night. The casting itself isn't easier or harder then any other power but for an unexplained reason it only works at night and is the only power with that limitation.
  • The "Siege of the Crystal Empire" arc of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic imply that a talent in healing magic in the setting is very rare, as Radiant Hope is signaled-out to become a princess when she gets her cutie mark in healing (though granted, she is very good at healing, having been able to resurrect King Sombra from nothing but his horn, though some of that might be due to him not being a normal pony).
  • While it is undeniably true that the Silver Surfer won the Superpower Lottery hands down, healing others' injuries has always been difficult for him. He does it by transferring his Life Energy to them, leaving him correspondingly weakened until he has a chance to recuperate. Even healing minor injuries is harder for him than one might expect, and bringing somebody back from the brink of death leaves him completely exhausted.

    Fan Works  
  • In Slayers Trilogy, while Lina Inverse retains her bordering-on-casual ability to throw highly destructive attack magic around, her attempts at casting healing spells in Reflect are written in extreme detail and make a point of the amount of effort needed.
  • Discussed and played straight in Child of the Storm, where Harry notes that not only is healing magic a difficult and complex branch of magic, it scales depending on the complexity of the condition. For example, setting a broken nose is much easier than curing a disease.
  • Recovery Girl in Level Up (MHA) is impossible to replace due to the rarity of Quirks that can heal injuries. When Izuku shows up with the ability to produce healing food, she exclaims she can retire.
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    Film  
  • In the Star Wars movie canon, the Force can supposedly be used to heal, but the ability to do so is extremely specialized and only three onscreen characters (The Child in The Mandalorian, and Kylo Ren and Rey in The Rise of Skywalker, and even then Kylo dies by healing Rey after an intense battle) have ever demonstrates the power. Darth Plagueis allegedly developed this kind of ability, but even his apprentice Palpatine did not know how it worked. Which kind of sucked for Anakin since he turned to the Dark Side specifically because Palpatine promised to teach him how to do it.

    Literature  

  • The Hurog duology does have healing magic, but it is very hard to do - a powerful mage is shown to be exhausted to the point of needing a nap after healing injuries on only one hand. And it is stated that the survival of said body part is uncertain even after the healing. The person has lots of other injuries, which are treated with more mundane methods. Healing magic in the 'verse esentially consists of "Psychic Surgery", the wizard Oreg had to magically remove the necrotized tissue.
  • The Dragonlance books, based on the early Dungeons & Dragons games, has healing magic reserved to clerics. In the first book of the series, the appearance of clerics with healing powers is a sign that the gods have returned.
  • Magical healing in The Witcher series is extremely difficult even for powerful mages, to the point where trying to treat a critical injury pretty much guarantees the healer dying from overexertion. In the non-canon Revised Ending, Yennefer (who previously brought down fortresses without breaking a sweat) passes out after healing a shallow wound on Ciri's face.
  • In the Arcia Chronicles, Gerika is powerful enough to shake mountains like maracas but gives up on fixing Alexander's hunchback without even trying, saying that only Erasti may be capable of it.
  • Deryni Healing is a rare talent, so rare even before the Ban on Magic that Deryni found to be Healers were actively discouraged from taking vows of celibacy. By the 1120s, only four people in the whole nation of Gwynedd are known to be able to do this, and three of them are blood relatives.
  • In The Dresden Files healing magic seems to be nonexistent, at least for humans (Listens-To-Winds does have some capability in this matter, but he's a Senior Council Member, a trained doctor, and regularly goes back to medical school to keep himself sharp). Magic can be used to stanch a wound or keep someone alert, but not in any more direct fashion. Very powerful beings like the Faerie Queens can do more, including fixing a broken spine and bringing Harry back from the brink of death, with the help of a powerful Genius Loci. According to the RPG, Summer Magic can be used to heal people (at least, better than most people) as the magic grants some kind of instinctive knowledge of physiology via Intellectus. Miss Gard's Runic Magic and certain forms of Necromancy can also stave off death - which is not the same thing has healing them, necessarilynote . Kumori using necromancy to save a man's life is described as her preventing him from dying of his wounds before mundane doctors could patch him up. A Justified Trope in that the reason healing is so hard is that the body is really complicated and if you try to fix someone without knowing exactly what you are doing, you'll probably kill him or at least make him even worse.
  • In Jim Butcher's other notable series, Codex Alera, healing is the purview of watercrafters. In theory, anyone with any watercrafting ability can heal wounds, but for the most part, skilled watercrafters are true healers, and the less skilled are at best medics or nurses performing triage. The healing process is also described in detail, with watercrafters specifically speeding and directing healing, rather than magically sealing wounds. The process also extremely draining for both crafter and patient, with both generally collapsing after long-term procedures, and the patient being ravenous on waking due to the extreme energy expenditure of rapid healing.
  • In the Iron Druid Chronicles, druid magic is very powerful but it cannot do direct healing on others. Using druid magic to directly harm another living being will kill the caster on the spot and any healing process can harm the patient even if only temporarily. Druids can use healing magic on themselves but to heal other people they need to use indirect means like potions.
  • In The Inheritance Cycle, magic can heal, but it takes a lot of energy - unless it's life-threatening, it's better to just let it heal on its own. Healing anything more complicated than a surface wound also requires memorizing long and complex incantations in the Ancient Language, which means that many would-be healers are limited to cuts and bruises anyway.
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • Healing mages are basically the world's version of doctors which means they go to medical school and learn about how the body works and how magic can be used to fix problems.
    • When Nolien is tending to someone's battle wounds in A Mage's Power, he has a ditty that goes along the lines of "stop the bleeding, check infection, reconnect the nerves and veins..."
    • As a necro priest, Brother Neuro is capable of healing by directing kon from one area to where it is needed. In this way he can mend serious injuries but he's just accelerating the natural healing process and doesn't truly know what he's doing. That's why he demures Tiza's praise and insists that Nolien is a superior healer.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Largely averted since broken bones can be healed with a wave of a wand and injuries that would be serious in the real world are treated rather cavalierly (Harry fracturing his skull is at one point Played for Laughs and fixed fairly easily). Exceptions are some types of serious magical harm. A dead person is also beyond the reach of any healing magic, as no spell can resurrect the dead. While Healing is a challenging career, it's challenging in the same sense that medical school is challenging in the regular world.
    • Played straight, in the sense that Harry never learns any healing spell or potion at Hogwarts. The only healing spell he ever learns is by copying it after Tonks casts it (which is an aversion again).
    • Also played straight in the seventh book, as Hermione -despite being quite adept at most types of magic- utterly refuses to try any healing spells herself and advises Harry and Ron to do the same, as none of them are trained healers and botching an attempt to heal an injury can make things even worse (as seen by Lockhart's attempt at healing Harry's broken arm in the second book resulting in him losing all the bones in his arm). Instead they rely on a limited supply of healing potions and herbs Hermione put together before they set off.
    • Wizard Healers have mundane diseases and injuries licked, but wizards are vulnerable to magical diseases like dragonpox, and injuries inflicted by curses, like George's lost ear, can be unhealable.
    • Played straight with wands, which are quasi-sentient and to some degree, treated as living things in their own right. Wands that sustain damage are generally seen as unsafe to use, as magic cast with them is unpredictable and can backfire on the user. While repair can be attempted, it is generally considered to be very difficult and more trouble than it's worth, as the wand could easily become damaged again in the same place. If a wand is broken in half, it is beyond any form of magical repair. The only exception to this is the Elder Wand, considered to be the most powerful wand in existence, and the only known object that is capable of repairing broken wands.
  • In the Smoke series, wizards can use magic to heal. But in doing so you have to endure all the pain you would normally experience over the time it would take for your injuries to heal naturally - all at once! Needless to say, it is not something one would want to go through unless really necessary.
  • In the Nightrunner series this is very much the case. Even the Drysians, priests who are known for their healing powers, cannot always cure certain illnesses or negate the affects of poison. The fact that healing magic is so difficult is what drives the villainous side of the plot in a couple of the books, as an evil alchemist undertakes an elaborate effort to produce a superior source of magical healing.
  • In Ra, magic is a field of physics and anything that needs doing must be described completely. Human bodies are VERY complex, and the magic it takes to fix them unimaginably more so.
  • In The Powder Mage Trilogy, it's noted that healing is an extremely difficult branch of magic. Only Privileged (the most powerful and versatile of the setting's three main types of magic-user) have healing magic, and even most of them aren't very good at it.
  • In Rivers of London magic can do a lot to the human body, Your Head Asplode, blending people and cats, keeping a severed head alive for decades, but sadly for Lesley it cannot heal injuries. A human body is just too complex to put back together again.
  • In the Sword of Truth series, healing is common, but a wizard healing an injury does so at least in part by taking on the pain and/or disease of whatever he's healing. So when Zedd regrows Adie's severed foot, he experiences the pain of her lopping it off in the first place. So while a Wizard can heal most things that aren't fatal, they usually need a substantial break between patients to recover their strength. The few times we've seen Wizards acting as mass healers, they work themselves to exhaustion—and even that is still one patient at a time. By contrast, a Wizard can throw Wizard's Fire around over and over for hours before they start to get tired.
  • In Star Cursed, healing magic requries knowledge of anatomy and can be very taxing for beginners. The protagonist gets a headache when she heals deep wounds.
  • The Stormlight Archive: To a point. On the one hand, anyone holding Stormlight gains a powerful passive Healing Factor. On the other hand, only Surgebinders can hold Stormlight. They can also use this power to produce a number of effects like gravity control or illusions. However, of the ten orders of Knights, only two (the Edgedancers and the Truthwatchers) have access to Regrowth, which lets them heal others. And even then, it's an advanced technique; the basic version of the ability just lets them grow plants.
  • Healing magic in Tough Magic is described as being particularly difficult.
  • In Worm, justified by the fact that nearly all superpowers are intended to be used offensively, for spoiler reasons. The few parahumans with healing superpowers have it either as a side effect of their main power, or are being really creative with their seemingly non-healing power. For example, Panacea's power is biokinesis and can be used to do stuff like creating plagues and mutated monsters, but Panacea is holding herself back, and minor character Othala is a power-granter with 'super regeneration' as one of the powers she can give out.
  • In The Wheel of Time, healing is the rarest talent among Aes Sedai, and requires more training than other disciplines to do safely. It's also hard on the recipient, since it essentially takes the body's current resources and fast-forwards the natural healing process — their patients tend to wake up extremely hungry. There is a way to heal without draining the patient's resources, but it's even more complicated and one of many uses of the Power that were lost long ago. And the Elemental Powers used are so different from normal healing that the only character who can do it is assumed to be doing it wrong by all the other Aes Sedai.
  • Shades of Magic: People in the setting are quite lucky if they have a gift for more than one form of elemental magic. Healing and growth magic, however, requires command of all five elements in a delicate synthesis, so healers are widely believed to be chosen by Magic itself for the priesthood.
  • This trope is usually played straight in the Expanded Universe, where there are many examples of reliable Force healing, but it's often presented as being more difficult than most areas of Force manipulation. In Clone Wars Gambit, it's noted that Obi-Wan has some skill in this area, but it's difficult and draining, especially since the healer has to experience at least some of the pain of the injured. It's very possible for incautious healers to overexert themselves and burn themselves out.
    • One novel included Darth Vader himself attempting to heal his injuries using the Dark Side of the Force, and making at least some progress. But he ultimately failed, as the Dark Side is powered by hatred and anger, and he was unable to sustain those emotions through the healing.
  • Children of the Lamp plays this straight, as Nimrod explains after a certain character had a concussion that to wish a brain injury fixed, the djinn would have to know exactly how the brain was damaged and how to visualize it better.
  • Justified in The Black Magician Trilogy and its sequel Traitor Spy Trilogy: Healing magic is Psychic Surgery, and thus no more exerting than any other form of magic, and no more difficult to cast aside from requiring skin-to-skin contact - but the sheer knowledge of anatomy and medicine required to effectively treat someone makes it the hardest discipline to study. This leads to ugly consequences factoring in the always-present risk of Power Incontinence: magicians who are rendered unconscious and Heal themselves automatically in their sleep may wake up with the affected tissues and organs fused together all wrong.

    Live Action TV  

  • Merlin (2008) seems to be this way. Merlin has a lot harder time when it comes to healing Arthur the couple of times he does it than he does doing other spells.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, supposedly they couldn't use magic to fix Joyce because "The Mystical and the Medical do not mix". Given what Willow would later do, this seemed like a cheap cop-out. It's apparently easier to turn someone into a rat than it is to heal. On the other hand, Joyce's condition following the removal of her tumor was undetectable until it was too late. Also, Osiris mentions that it is impossible to revive humans who have died by either natural means or at the hands of another human in the season six finale, following Tara's death at Warren's hand.

    Tabletop Games  

  • In Dungeons & Dragons, healing spells have traditionally been the prerogative of the clerics, who not so much cast magic as channel the godly powers of the their patron deities.
    • Only in the 3rd and 3.5 editions did Arcane healing spells (i.e. ones that don't require godlike powers) begin to proliferate. Oddly enough, Bards (and anyone with shenanigans to take spells from the bard list) are fully able to heal through arcane spells. The other group who can pull that off are dragons, but they are dragons.
    • Forgotten Realms in AD&D era already had The Simbul's Synostodweomer converting arcane spells into healing magic. Of course, it's high-level, and the developing wizard already was able to do it at will, though with some risk, as a daughter of the goddess of magic.
    • In the original Iron Kingdoms RPG, despite being based on D&D 3.5, healing magic was rare and difficult even for clerics. Raising the dead was almost non-existent. In the new version, healing magic is still rare.
  • Played with in Spheres of Power; you can give temporary hit points for free, but actual healing is more expensive.
  • In Ars Magica, you can heal someone easily, but the injury would come back a relatively short while after, and just as bad. Permanent healing required expenditure of vis, i.e. a scarce magical resource. This is also true of any other magic that creates something permanently. The reason for this is debated in-universe; some think it's because only God has the power to create something from nothing, while others think it's because "not-existing" is part of the item's essential nature, which magic is unable to change.
  • One observation in the 4th edition Hero System supplement Mystic Masters is that comicbook wizards in the mold of Dr. Strange for all their flashy powers generally don't do much magical healing, and that conversely what magical healers exist often aren't all that powerful when it comes to doing anything else — as though "active" combat magic and the "passive" art of healing were to some extent mutually exclusive. Consequently the book recommends keeping healing magic relatively scarce (especially among player characters) to help the game feel more like the comics.
  • Unknown Armies. Two Adept schools (Nacro-Alchemy and Eperidermomancy) have decent potential for healing, and neither of them are easy to work with. There is an Avatar of The Healer, and a complicated, long ritual to make a magic item that speeds up natural healing and protects against ailments. That's about it. Resurrections? Fuck you.
  • In Ironclaw an apprentice white mage can't do much more than mundane first aid, and the stronger healing spells can only be cast once per day. Other varieties of mage capable of healing don't gain access to healing magic until at least journeyman, if not master levels.
  • Urban Jungle: Occult Horror psychic surgery using Vitalism is more difficult than using mundane medicine for the same results, but at least it's mostly instantaneous.

    Video Games  

  • Healing magic is available to mages of the Creation school, which is said to be the hardest of the four to master, in Dragon Age, but it cannot hold a candle to the Spirit Healers' abilities, which draw upon the energies of powerful benevolent spirits, which puts them at an even greater risk of Demonic Possession than a normal mage. Furthermore, the basic heal spell has been outright removed from Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Spirit Healer no longer counts among the available mage specializations. A different specialization gets a full party heal, but it still counts as this because it is a Focus Spell instead of a standard ability.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, the Restoration School, due to its (mostly) non-combat nature, is the slowest magic school to increase in level. (Especially in Oblivion, where it increased at half the speed of the next slowest school, Destruction, and one tenth the rate of the fastest, Conjuration.) In-universe, this has lead many of its practitioners to bemoan the lack of students and perceived respect they get. Somewhat ironically, despite their deep mistrust of magic, Nords greatly value this school. One can only wonder why?
    • The series includes countless types of magical spells, ranging from mundane Utility Magic, to the Restoration spells mentioned above, to fully blown Reality Warping for certain special characters. One thing it doesn't have? True resurrection. Sure, you can use Necromancy to bring a body back to (un)life, but to reunite body and soul in a healthy way has yet to be performed in the series or mentioned in the backstory.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, people that can use the Seventh Fonon, which allows for healing, are noted to be extremely rare. When someone who isn't born with the ability tries to use it, at best nothing happens. At worst, those healed by those without natural ability go insane.
  • Most "healing" spells in Pillars of Eternity actually only restore Endurance—a limited pool of hit points that regenerates quickly on its own out of combat and knocks you out if it runs out. Health points, on the other hand, are lost at a much slower rate but cannot be restored by magical means at all: Resting Recovery and some out-of-combat special abilities are the only way to get them back.
  • In Mordheim: City of the Damned, only the Witch Hunters and Sisters of Sigmar have healing spells. The Sisters of Sigmar have a somewhat weak healing spell that affects an area, while the Witch Hunters's spell affects only one person but recovers a lot of health. Both these spells take the maximum amount of time and money to learn. Other than those two, healing becomes limited to finding healing draughts (they recover small to medium amounts of health depending on the quality) or buying DLC characters, Poison Wind Globadier and Doomweaver and learning their respective skills Infused Globe and Idol of Blood (the first can cause side-effects, while the second requires units to attack an enemy before they recover health).
  • Of all the spells Link can get in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the healing spell Mipha's Grace takes the longest time to recharge, 20 minutes.

    Webcomics  

  • In Homestuck, healing is generally limited to certain class(es) that may or may not be part of a (game) session, and may also be limited by one's Aspect (probably best described as abstract concepts such as nothingness and the soul in the form of elemental affinities). However, all players with the Life aspect have the ability to revive the dead, regardless of class. Jane Crocker and Feferi both demonstrate this. The catch is, this seems to be limited to once per person. This hasn't come into play as of this writing, (mainly because Death Is Cheap in Homestuck and there are a variety of ways for the dead to come back), but it's bound to figure into the plot at some point, as everyone is running out of extra lives.
  • Psychic healing is possible in Zap!, but it takes a very strong telekinetic who has studied anatomy extensively and had a lot of practice.
  • Played horrifically straight in Sleepless Domain. Tessa is the most powerful member of Team Alchemical, and she completely burns out her magic trying to heal the one surviving member of her team from near-death. She flat-out says that healing is the most advanced form of magic while she's doing it.
    • Rue has a more "typical" healing ability that takes the form of a green Healing Potion. When she uses it to treat some minor burns and scrapes, it seems to use up almost all of her magic supply for the night, as it only takes a few more attacks for her to go over her limit and pass out.
  • In Castoff there's no healing magic at all, despite Vector's expectations. The best you can get is a wound-cleaning spell.
  • Aurora: According to both of Word of God and All There in the Manual; Life Magic is much more dangerous/difficult to use than any of the other types of magic. Probably doesn't help that there's a plague of the raw stuff randomly cropping up...


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