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D&D 5E Cure Wounds needs help or Healing Word needs a nerf...

I also play that hit point go to -10 and, like Hellditch, intelligent enemies murder unconscious PCs if they keep getting up so healing word is less useful to restore consciousness.
I’m starting a new campaign soon and I will be playing with this houserule. As a bonus, it also increases the use of Spare the Dying.

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Fiendish Attorney
They do eventually come up, but that's not really the point. The issue he was pointing out is that, though they come up, it's not really interesting or meaningfully balance-improving to follow the RAW obsessively here. Generally speaking, it's unlikely to be a problem to allow someone to use a Bonus Action spell as an Action. Your examples show that. It's certainly not damaging to the game, nor unbalanced, to allow a Bard to use HW as an Action, and and also Inspiration as a Bonus Action. If you block that, what's the change? The Bard uses HW still, but as a Bonus Action, and makes an attack or casts a different spell as their action, and uses Inspiration next time. Did that improve your game? Did that improve the experience of everyone at the table? I very much doubt it did either.
It's a bit about balance, I do think the game is tightly balanced and I deeply respect the designers for how it's designed. But this particular case is about consistency.

I do houserule things but I establish them in session 0. Anything else is RAW. I don't allow BA being used as an action because the players already know what RAW is. They're fine with the death and they would've preferred dying than knowing their character was alive because the DM bent the rules. It's kinda like fudging dice, which I also don't do. So maybe the verisimilitude of the game wasn't broken, but the internal mechanism's consistency would be. The players would then have to double-check what rules I'm allowing RAW and which I'm going by the book and it can mess with their strategies. I'll also have to be impartial to this ruling, it's unfair if the Druid got to use 2 BA's but the sorcerer or cleric couldn't.

I do love corner cases, it's because while any specific instance of corner case doesn't come up often, corner cases themselves will probably show up every session. The players should intimately know their features and be able to adjust on the fly. If players aren't careful with these corner cases, a medium encounter could TPK the whole party.


You might be technically correct (depending on how one interprets the "action" in "bonus action"), but this seems like a strange rules artifact, and I've yet to encounter a DM who doesn't let people use bonus actions as their regular action.

Well, I guess I have now, but you take my point.
My table also doesn't allow swapping actions with bonus actions, so you can add three more DMs to that tally. As we see it, allowing swapping enables potential combos that weren't intended when the rules were written.

As for CW vs HW, I usually take HW as my first healing spell, and add CW to my prepared list around 3rd level. Using a 2nd level or higher slot on HW is nearly a complete waste, but it's not bad for CW. There have been plenty of times when I was able to keep an ally in the fight for just long enough to make a difference using CW. HW is of course useful if they go down. Since I often have a spiritual weapon up, it's either HW + Cantrip or CW + SW.
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I rarely see people spend two precious spell slots on both. Those who can learn Healing Word...and understand the difference...usually do, and those who cannot take Cure Wounds.
Agreed. Which is why when I said If you put a 1st level cap on Healing Word, people who do have access to both, especially healers, they might well choose both for completely different reasons...
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You can't exchange Bonus Actions and Actions. If something costs a Bonus Action, you must use your one Bonus Action and you can't use a Bonus Action effect as an action.

Uh, so basically, no he couldn't.
Ah, I must be conflating 3E's "Free Action" and 5E's "Bonus Action". Just read up on the definition of Bonus action in the PHB and it looks like you're technically correct.

It's okay for some spells to be generally better than others. Bards, Clerics, and Druids get the option of taking Healing Word. Paladins, Rangers, and Artificers can only get Cure Wounds (give or take a subclass). The full-caster healers often don't bother with Cure Wounds because they've got something better. If you're a dedicated healer you might consider taking both (at least if you're a Cleric or Druid, who can just change their mind the next day).

I'm not sure if people are bothered because they think every spell needs to be balanced against every other spell or because they just want something called Cure Wounds to be cast a lot by Clerics because of tradition. It still gets plenty of use if there is a Ranger or an Artificer in the party.


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Agreed. Which is why when I said If you put a 1st level cap on Healing Word, people who do have access to both, especially healers, they might well choose both for completely different reasons...

Ah, gotcha.


One week when I was running Adventurers League the party that week thought that they had no healing; until I realized that the newly level 2 Ranger ha not picked her known spells. I suggested that she pick 'Cure Wounds' as one of them. She did, and it saved the party.

The other 200+ weeks someone had 'Healing Word'....


My 2 house rules that increase the value of cure wounds are:
1. a character doesn’t stop taking damage at 0hp but can go to -10 which makes the amount of healing you give an unconscious character very important if they have gone to say -7; &
2. if cure wounds is upcast at 3rd level or higher it gains a range of 30’ and the spellcasting stat bonus is doubled (ie an 18 wisdom cleric heals 3d8+8).

this makes healing word much less used after about 7th level.


IMHO, best way is to simply merge this two spells into one spell with various levels of healing.

Bonus Action and range: 1d4 per spell level + mod
Bonus Action and touch: 1d6 per spell level + mod
Action and range: 1d6 per spell level + mod
Action and touch: 1d8 per spell level + mod
1 min casting and touch: 8 per spell level + mod


Healing word is a better spell and more useful in combat but cure wounds will cure more damage throughout the day. Also healing word is only available to clerics, bards and druids, while cure wounds is available to a bunch of classes.

Given the option I would generally get healing word and not cure wounds.

IME experience the cleric in 5E is not necessarily the walking hospital he was in earlier editions. Healing is so widely available through over the counter potions and hit dice and fully recovering on a long rest that I generally don't look at clerics as primarily being healers like they were in past editions. Depending on the way you build them they can be tanks, offensive casters, utility guys or of course healers if that is what you want but they are a pretty diverse class.


Healing Surges
Most magical healing cannot create life force from nothing. When an effect magically heals a creature, they must spend a HD to fuel the healing. They heal the amount of the magical healing, plus the roll of the HD.

The exception to this rule consist of rings of regeneration, the regeneration spell, the heal spell, and the mass heal spell. Some similar effects may also provide life energy. It does include potions of healing.

If you are magically healed while at or below 0 HP and have no HD to expend, you are stabilized but not healed.

Cure Wounds
If the creature healed expends a HD larger than a d8, replace all d8s use by Cure Wounds with that HD.

So if you cast Cure Wounds on a barbarian at 3rd level who expends a d12 HD, the Barbarian is healed 4d12+your casting stat modifier instead of 3d8+1d12+your casting stat modifier.

At the end of a short rest you can attempt to recover HD. Roll your expended HD; any HD that rolls an even value 4 or greater is recovered. You can only do this once per day.


Together, these make Cure Wounds a more efficient way to turn HD into healing than Healing Word.

The recovery rule is intended to make up somewhat for the increased HD consumption of magical healing. In a game using gritty rests, keep it at once per day (ie, every short rest) to simulate natural healing that doesn't take a full week of break.

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