Healing energy radiates from you in an aura with a 30-foot radius. Until the spell ends, the aura moves with you, centered on you. You can use a bonus action to cause one creature in the aura (including you) to regain 2d6 hit points.
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (30-foot radius)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
School: 3rd-level evocation
Player’s Handbook, pg. 216
Aura of Vitality 5e
Ah, the Aura of Vitality — the spell that everyone thought would be overpowered on Clerics. The fear was ill-founded, as contemporary Dungeons and Dragons players rarely look at Aura of Vitality as too powerful for its resource cost.
Still, the option to spam heal in combat or distribute 70 average hit points to a party during a 1-minute gap in the action makes Aura of Vitality a very attractive spell indeed. Let’s go over just how it works and how to use it optimally.
Who Can Cast Aura of Vitality in 5e?
The following classes have Aura of Vitality on their spell list:
The following subclasses get Aura of Vitality for free:
What Does Aura of Vitality Do in 5e?
Aura of Vitality allows the caster to use a bonus action each turn to restore 2d6 (7 average) hit points to a creature within 30 feet. It lasts for up to 1 minute (concentration permitting), which translates into 10 rounds of combat.
Because of this, Aura of Vitality heals an average of 70 hit points over its full duration.
What Are the Rules for Aura of Vitality in 5e?
The rules for Aura of Vitality in DnD 5e are as follows:
The aura is not visible. Aura of Vitality does not radiate light; only healing energy. This means you can use it before turning invisible without giving away your location, and enemies won’t be able to see that it is a consistent effect on you (although they may piece it together).
This is in contrast to a spell like Holy Aura, which clearly states that it sheds dim light in a 5-foot radius.
Aura of Vitality is empowered by a Life Domain Cleric’s Disciple of Life feature. Disciple of Life provides additional hit points equal to 2 + the spell’s level each time a spell is used to restore hit points to a creature.
The game’s developers have confirmed that this bonus healing occurs each time a spell is used to restore hit points; not just when a healing spell is initially cast. This means that each bonus action used to restore hit points with Aura of Vitality heals an additional 5 hit points when used by a Life Domain Cleric.
Aura of Vitality is not empowered by a Life Domain Cleric’s Blessed Healer feature. Blessed Healer heals the Cleric for 2 + the spell’s level hit points whenever they cast a spell that restores hit points. The difference in wording — “use” vs. “cast” is important.
Blessed Healer does not heal the Life Domain Cleric 5 hit points each time they use Aura of Vitality to restore hit points to a creature because that action is not “casting a spell” — it’s using a spell that’s already been cast.
Aura of Vitality cannot be cast on your Find Steed mount. While the Find Steed spell does allow you to make a Self-targeted spell also affects your mount, it only works with spells that have “no area-of-effect parenthetical,” according to the game’s developers. Aura of Vitality does have an area-of-effect parenthetical, so it doesn’t function with this aspect of Find Steed.
How Do I Use Aura of Vitality in 5e?
Here are a few ways to use Aura of Vitality in DnD 5e:
Cast it out of combat. Distributing 70 hit points worth of healing amongst your party over a 1-minute rest is incredibly potent and well worth a 3rd-level spell slot if you and your allies are in bad shape and unable to take a short rest.
The concentration requirement, along with the bonus action requirement, makes Aura of Vitality less optimal in combat situations. You can never be sure if you’ll get the full utility out of the spell (concentration breaking) or if you’ll have to give up other opportunities to do so (bonus actions).
Use it to counter frequent death saves. There is one combat situation where Aura of Vitality makes a lot of sense — a scenario where one or more party members find themselves in an unavoidable situation where they’re going to get knocked out pretty much every round of combat.
The way healing and death stabilization work in DnD 5e, all you need to do is provide that fallen player with a dash of healing each round, and they’re basically just as effective as if they weren’t getting yo-yo’d in and out of consciousness by some monster.
Aura of Vitality is incredibly efficient for this purpose, as one casting can reverse death up to 10 times (although this is unlikely, and enemies might start to focus down the gal who keeps resurrecting the ever-dying tank).
Prepare it when you don’t have a better use for your concentration. If you’re in a situation where spells like Spirit Guardians and Bless won’t help you or will be redundant, Aura of Vitality can be the way to go. This usually means you’re in for a more defensive encounter where the goal is survival rather than quickly blasting down an enemy force.
Pair it with your Life Cleric. While Blessed Healer doesn’t work with Aura of Vitality, Disciple of Life does. That’s an extra 5 hit points healed each time you use Aura of Vitality — a total of 50 extra hit points over the spell’s full 1-minute duration.
That’s a 71% increase in hit points restored, up to a massive 120. That’s almost definitely enough to top up a 5th-level party after any encounter.
Who Can I Target With Aura of Vitality 5e?
Aura of Vitality is always “targeted” on Self, but the caster can target any creature in range with the bonus action to restore hit points to them. This needn’t be an ally, and Aura of Vitality can even target undead and constructs, unlike most healing spells.
Is Aura of Vitality 5e a Good Spell?
Aura of Vitality is an okay spell that mostly shines as a discount (and sometimes superior) short rest option. If your party just needs to get topped up before the next encounter and you aren’t able to take a short rest (or are out of hit die), then Aura of Vitality is almost always your best option for an out-of-combat heal.
And in the right circumstances, Aura of Vitality can also be the perfect option for combating wasted rounds of combat as your allies languish with death saving throws. But Aura of Vitality is not an overpowered healing spell — far from it.
The big thing that keeps Aura of Vitality from being a fan favorite in combat is opportunity cost — Clerics just have so many good concentration spells that they need to give up to use this.
Options like Bless, Spirit Guardians, and Hold Person are just too tempting to waste your time using cantrips while you slowly tick your allies back hit points equal to a smaller and smaller percentage of the enemy’s damage output.
Even Spiritual Weapon, while not requiring concentration, can’t be paired with Aura of Vitality, since both require your bonus action.
Aura of Vitality 5e Compared to Other Healing Spells
Aura of Vitality is often compared to other healing spells of similar strength, in terms of raw hit points restored.
As a 3rd-level spell, it matches the 6th-level Heal spell’s raw healing power, albeit over a minute and without the condition-ending benefits. But those benefits are no small thing — especially when they also allow for other, more powerful concentration spells to persist in combat and can reverse powerful conditions that weaken your ally’s combat capabilities.
On the other hand, the 2nd-level Prayer of Healing heals an average of 84 hit points, assuming a +5 spellcasting ability modifier. This also requires a 10-minute casting time, which a DM might feel inclined to interrupt, especially if an area is dangerous enough to prevent short rests.
The other issue with Prayer of Healing is that you can’t distribute the hit points however you like; each of the six affected creatures gets 2d8 + spellcasting modifier, even if one player doesn’t need healing and a different player needs more.
The flexibility and healing power of Aura of Vitality are what make it an attractive and unique option for DnD’s healing classes.