Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Homebrew Rules – Part 1: Arcane Healing

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Since I cannot sleep, I am going to commence my long-delayed series on Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (D&D Next). This blog series will be dedicated to addressing the shortfalls I perceive in the newest edition of Dungeons & Dragons, and how I resolve them for my campaigns. As with all homebrewed content, your mileage may vary based on your experiences and your DM style. I am merely sharing this with you should you seek similar measures to rectify issues within the vanilla D&D system. So save your objections!

Exhibit 1: Healing Magic

Something has always bothered me on a fundamental level regarding the distribution of healing spells in Dungeons & Dragons. Perhaps I am biased because my very first D&D character was a 3rd Edition elven wizard whom I imagined to be an archmage in the making; someone who could bend the power of the elements to his will, teleport himself vast distances instantaneously, and kill — as well as heal — in a moment. He was to be omnipotent as he became one with the fabric of magic itself, able to topple corrupt nations and remove petty kings who subjugated their people.

Of course, he wound up rolling a 9 for his Con score and having less than 30 hp at level 10. Suddenly, he needed the one thing that Wizards evidently couldn’t do: healing spells.

That’s right, this elven wizard who could render a strong tower to rubble with a few choice spells and summon mighty outsiders bound to his will somehow couldn’t figure out how to heal. What a joke! The Bard could do it, and his idea of a magical education was waking up in a ruined library with a wicked hangover and an exotic new venereal disease! While I eventually discovered that Wizards and Sorcerers could cheat and learn the spell from a scroll penned by a bard, it still did not remove the foul taste from my mouth.

As I began investigating why this was the case, I learned that it was a matter of legacy. So many of the characters in the Dungeons & Dragons mythos went back to 1st and 2nd Edition, and every time a new edition was released nobody wanted to deal with the sudden and inexplicable ability of established characters to do what they were previously prohibited from doing thanks to the quaint peculiarities of 80s fantasy. Only briefly was the tyranny of legacy overthrown, and that ended in the dismal failure of 4th Edition (or as I call it, “D&D: The Tabletop Video Game Discombobulation That Should Die In A Fire”). So, of course, when Wizards of the Coast redid 4th Edition as it should have been (an improvement of 3rd Edition), they made the unforgivable error of also discarding arcane healing.

This cannot stand. Arcane healing cannot be the only redeeming quality of the biggest calamity in the franchise’s history. It must be implemented in 5th Edition.

To wit, I present the following healing spells as additions to the standard Wizard & Sorcerer class spell lists:

Cure Wounds
1st-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: touch
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

A creature of your choice who you touch regains 1d8 hit points. This spell has no effect on undead or constructs.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd-level or higher, the healing increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.

Mass Cure Wounds
5th-level conjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 ft.
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

A wave of healing energy washes out from a point of your choice within range. Choose up to six creatures in a 30-foot-radius sphere centred on that point. Each target regains hit points equal to 3d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier. This spell has no effect on undead or constructs.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th-level or higher, the healing increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 5th.

Convalescence
1st-level evocation
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 60 ft.
Components: S
Duration: Instantaneous

A creature of your choice who you can see within range regains hit points equal to 1d4 + your spellcasting ability modifier. This spell has no effect on undead or constructs.
At Higher Levels. 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.

Mass Convalescence
3rd-level evocation
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 60 ft.
Components: S
Duration: Instantaneous

You suffuse the area with healing magic, and up to six creatures of your choice within range regain hit points equal to 1d4 + your spellcasting ability modifier. This spell has no effect on undead or constructs.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th-level or higher, the healing increases by 1d4 for each slot level above 3rd.

Lesser Restoration
2nd-level abjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: touch
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You touch a creature and can end either one disease or one condition afflicting it. The condition can be blinded, deafened, paralyzed, or poisoned.

Greater Restoration
5th-level abjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (diamond dust worth at least 100 gp, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Instantaneous

You imbue a creature you touch with positive energy to undo a debilitating effect. You can reduce the target’s exhaustion level by one, or end one of the following effects on the target:
• One effect that charmed or petrified the target
• One curse, including the target’s attunement to a cursed magic item
• Any reduction to one of the target’s ability scores
• One effect reducing the target’s hit point maximum

Regenerate
7th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (an ounce troll blood)
Duration: 1 hour

You touch a creature and stimulate its natural healing ability. The target regains 4d8 + 15 hit points. For the duration of the spell, the target regains 1 hit point at the start of each of its turns (10 hit points each minute).
The target’s severed body members (fingers, legs, tails, and so on), if any, are restored after 2 minutes. If you have the severed part and hold it to the stump, the spell instantaneously causes the limb to knit to the stump.

Resurrection
7th-level necromancy
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a diamond worth at least 1,000 gp, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Instantaneous

You touch a dead creature that has been dead for no more than a century, that didn’t die of old age, and that isn’t undead. If its soul is free and willing, the target returns to life with all its hit points.
This spell neutralizes any poisons and cures normal diseases afflicting the creature when it died. It doesn’t, however, remove magical diseases, curses, and the like; if such effects aren’t removed prior to casting the spell, they afflict the target on its return to life.
This spell closes all mortal wounds and restores any missing body parts.
Coming back from the dead is an ordeal. The target takes a -4 penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks. Every time the target finishes a long rest, the penalty is reduced by 1 until it disappears.
Casting this spell to restore life to a creature that has been dead for one year or longer taxes you greatly. Until you finish a long rest, you can’t cast spells again, and you have disadvantage on all attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws.

As you can probably tell, all I have done, very simply, is transposed or re-branded (as necessary) the healing spells which come automatically available to a bard. In my opinion, that was all that Wizards of the Coast had to do in this situation. Very simple solution.

This concludes part 1 of my homebrew rules.

Image credit: “Tiamat”, Wizards of the Coast (via http://oddsphere.pl/2014/09/24/dylematy-pana-sz/)

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