You Can Be An Amazing Friend With Healing Word


We explore the best parts of the spell healing word, when you should use it, and how it works with the fundamental math of D&D 5e here.

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Healing word is hands down, the best healing spell in Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Even though it doesn’t heal very many hit points, you don’t need to bring your ally up to full health in under six seconds. The smart thing during battle is to keep allies from falling unconscious or bring them back as soon as possible before they fail enough death saving throws to stay dead.

What Is Healing Word

The text from the Basic Rules states that: A creature of your choice that you can see within range regains hit points equal to 1d4 + your spellcasting ability modifier. This spell has no effect on undead or constructs. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the healing increases by 1d4 for each slot level above 1st.

The spell has a range of 60 feet, meaning that you can practically be on the other side of the battlefield and still bring someone back. It doesn’t require any somatic or material components, so your character can cast it even if their hands are full or they’ve been tied up. All you need to do is be able to speak and see your target.

Who Gets Healing Word

Healing word is available on the bard, cleric, and druid spell lists. It is automatically prepared for Alchemist artificers. Certain subclasses, like the Divine Soul sorcerer, have access to the cleric spell list so they can also take healing word. Anyone can access it if they take the feat Magic Initiate in Bard, Cleric, or Druid.

What Are The Uses

Healing word is a pretty simple spell with one use: keeping your allies alive. Whether that means giving someone a quick boost in the heat of combat or bringing someone back from unconsciousness, this spell does one thing, but it does it well. The main benefits of healing word, as opposed to other healing spells available, are its level and how long it takes to cast.

Spell Level

Since it’s a 1st level spell, you usually don’t have to worry about spending one of your higher-level spells to cast it. In fact, although the spell does scale fine, and you could upcast it, there’s often no point in upcasting it. The fundamental math of D&D actually doesn’t encourage healing during combat.

The simple reason? Once you pass 3rd or 4th level, there’s no point. Characters will take far more points of damage each round than you can reasonably expect to heal. This is especially true since your foes will spend (probably) every round inflicting damage, and even clerics shouldn’t be expected to spend every single round using their leveled spell to heal. Even if they wanted to, you can only heal one person at a time, and many attacks have multiple targets. Healing is often a losing battle.

Therefore, the best time to use any kind of healing spell is when someone has fallen to 0 hit points and lost consciousness.

Time To Cast

All other healing spells in D&D 5e require an action to cast. Even pre-casting goodberry and distributing your berries to other players before battle requires some time. During the fight, your DM may rule that it takes an action for someone to eat the goodberry. Plus, if they’re unconscious and making death saving throws, they can’t exactly eat a berry.

Healing word, on the other hand, only takes your bonus action to cast. That means you can cast it and still spend your action making a weapon attack or casting a cantrip. You can’t cast a leveled spell as both a bonus action and an action, but most people have attack cantrips.

In Summary

Healing word is an excellent spell to have, regardless of your party’s level. Unlike other spells, you don’t need to worry about upcasting to stay relevant because you’ll only be using healing word to stop your friends from dying. Plus, you still have your action free to do something awesome like bashing in your opponent’s head and ending the fight for good!

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