A creature you touch regains a number of hit points equal to 1d8 + 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 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S
School: 1st-level evocation
Who can cast Cure Wounds? Bards, Clerics, Druids, Paladins, Rangers, and Artificers have Cure Wounds on their class spell lists. Life Domain Clerics, Divine Soul (Good) Sorcerers, and Circle of Wildfire Druids get it for free and always have it prepared. Celestial Warlocks also have Cure Wounds on their expanded class spell list.
Player’s Handbook, pg. 230
Cure Wounds 5e
Cure Wounds is the classic healing spell that every fantasy universe has in one form or another. In DnD 5e, Cure Wounds behaves exactly as you’d expect, but it’s available to a whole lot more classes than you might guess at first.
This article will cover how DnD’s Cure Wounds works, when it’s worth using, and why it’s ultimately not a good spell.
What Does Cure Wounds Do in 5e?
Cure Wounds is a straightforward, 1st-level healing spell. It heals 1d8 (4.5 average) + spellcasting modifier hit points to a creature you touch, which gives it the highest heal potential of any 1st-level spell.
What Are the Rules for Cure Wounds in 5e?
The rules for Cure Wounds in DnD 5e are as follows:
You can heal yourself with Cure Wounds. Some players are unsure if touch spells can be used on the caster — they can, so long as you can touch yourself (PHB 202).
For example, if you’re restrained to a wall with manacles, you would not be able to heal yourself with Cure Wounds.
Cure Wounds does not repair dismemberment. If you lose a limb on one of your adventures, Cure Wounds will not fix it. You’ll need the Regenerate spell for that.
Cure Wounds does not damage undead. While Cure Wounds does not work on undead (or constructs), that doesn’t mean it hurts them.
However, if you want to modify the spell to be some sort of Zombie stitch-up torture trick, talk to your DM about your options. That’s how it worked in some earlier editions of DnD, after all.
You only add your spellcasting modifier once. If you upcast Cure Wounds, you can roll multiple d8. However, you cannot add your spellcasting modifier to each roll; you only add it once, after adding up each d8 roll.
How Do I Use Cure Wounds in 5e?
Cure Wounds is a straightforward healing spell, but there are some ways to optimize your use of it:
Downtime moneymaker. The game’s rules clearly state that casting spells like Cure Wounds and Identify are commonly offered as spellcasting services (PHB 159).
The immediate implication is that players have the option to pay for necessary spells that their party composition lacks.
But this also opens up opportunities to sell your wound-curing services while you’re just chilling in town. The Player’s Handbook indicates that spells like this typically cost between 10 and 50 gp — not too shabby for a downtime activity!
Bringing someone back from the brink. If a party member is unconscious and making death saving throws, a healing spell can end all that anxiety real quick.
Cure Wounds is one of the least effective for this purpose, because of its limited range, but it still works in a pinch.
Stopping bloodstains. Being tracked on account of bloodstains your group’s Rogue is leaving behind? Stich those cuts right up with Cure Wounds! The DM can’t stop you — the curing wounds part is kind of in the name. 🙂
Don’t use it as an in-combat heal. The big reason Cure Wounds is considered a poor spell in DnD 5e is that in-combat healing is rarely optimal. Say you heal your buddy for 8 hit points with Cure Wounds in combat. That’s your entire turn, and now the enemy goes. It deals 8 damage to your ally — doh! It’s almost always better to kill that enemy (or at least damage them) and speed up the process of reducing incoming damage, rather than try to heal the damage that’s already landed.
Who Can I Target With Cure Wounds 5e?
You can target anyone you can touch with Cure Wounds, including yourself. While you can target undead or constructs with Cure Wounds, it won’t have any effect.
Is Cure Wounds 5e a Good Spell?
No, Cure Wounds is not a good spell. At early levels, it may seem attractive to be able to heal 50-100% of a player’s health pool with a single spell cast. The problem is that the foes you’re meeting during these levels also do that much damage in a typical round.
Cure Wounds is also heavily limited by its touch range and poor action economy (compared to Healing Word, discussed below).
On the pure numbers side, Cure Wounds is fairly powerful. 1d8 has an average result of 4.5, and a typical 1st-level spellcaster has a spellcasting modifier of +3. That leaves us with an average heal of 7.5, going up by 4.5 for each spell slot level above the first.
Cure Wounds 5e Compared to Healing Word
If you’re a Bard, Cleric, or Druid, you’ll have the choice between Cure Wounds and Healing Word — Healing Word is the better option. It has a 60-foot range, allowing you more freedom of movement in combat.
Plus, it only costs a bonus action, freeing you up to attack, cast a cantrip, or use another action.
Less importantly, Healing Word only has a verbal component, so you can use it even if your hands are bound.
The only downside to Healing Word is that it heals slightly less health. Healing Word heals for 1d4 + spellcasting modifier (average of 5.5 at 1st level). That’s only 2 less than Cure Wounds.
Healing Word scales worse than Cure Wounds when upcasting, but that actually doesn’t matter. The main function of low-level healing spells in the late game is saving an unconscious ally from making death saves.
Raw numbers don’t matter much for that purpose — even 1 hit point is enough to get a player back on their feet.
Cure Wounds 5e DM Tips
The only tip a DM might need for Cure Wounds relates to players who want to buy or sell it as a spellcasting service.
If your players want to sell Cure Wounds as a spellcasting service, consider how much locals would pay. Perhaps the rich quarter of a small town would have sufficient funds and find healing spells sufficiently rare enough to pay 50 gold for it.
But country folk without much liquid wealth might instead offer up some food or a family trinket in return for the service.
If your players want to buy Cure Wounds…tell them there are better ways to restore hit points while in town (resting).
Simple Cure Wounds 5e Spell Text
Cure Wounds: (1st-level, touch, V/S) Target gains 1d8 + spellcasting modifier hit points. No effect on undead or constructs. | +1d8 for each level above first.
DnD 5e Cure Wounds FAQ
Cure wounds DnD 5e questions and answers:
Is there any reason to take cure wounds? Yes, there are reasons to take cure wounds; namely, if you’re playing a character that doesn’t have access to healing word, the superior 1st-level healing spell (paladins and rangers). However, rangers have limited spells known, and cure wounds is not worth picking up for them unless the party won’t have access to healing otherwise.
The only other reason to take cure wounds is if you’re a paladin, a prepared spellcaster who can take it only when they think it will be valuable, and drop it whenever they want. Even still, cure wounds is rarely the optimal action to take in combat, and so it becomes an out-of-combat heal for situations where your party cannot take a short rest for some reason. Even then, a paladin can always use lay on hands in these situations.
Does cure wounds have an effect against undead? No, cure wounds does not have any effect against undead in DnD 5e. This is in contrast to 3e and other earlier editions, where cure wounds did damage to undead creatures, rather than healing them.
Does cure wounds have a visual aura? It is up to you and your DM whether cure wounds has a visual aura; the spell description itself does not indicate that it creates any visual effect, as flavor text or otherwise. However, the spell does have require a somatic component, so there is an obvious visual cue when you cast it (‘a forceful gesticulation or an intricate set of gestures’ – PHB 203).
Does cure wounds cure bleed effects? Whether or not cure wounds cures bleed effects is up to your DM. There is no ‘bleeding’ condition in DnD 5e, so any description of bleeding is purely in service of narratively describing why a character is losing hit points. However, most DMs will grant that a non-serious wound is ‘cured’ by cure wounds for a satisfying roleplaying experience, especially if you expend a 1st-level spell slot to heal up an injured NPC.
How Other Evocation Spells Work in DnD 5e
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DnD 5e Light
DnD 5e Lightning Lure
DnD 5e Sacred Flame
DnD 5e Shocking Grasp
DnD 5e Thunderclap
DnD 5e Word Of Radiance
DnD 5e Burning Hands
DnD 5e Chromatic Orb
DnD 5e Cure Wounds
DnD 5e Faerie Fire
DnD 5e Guiding Bolt
DnD 5e Healing Word
DnD 5e Hellish Rebuke
DnD 5e Magic Missile
DnD 5e Searing Smite
DnD 5e Thunderous Smite
DnD 5e Thunderwave
DnD 5e Witch Bolt
DnD 5e Darkness
DnD 5e Scorching Ray
DnD 5e Shatter
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DnD 5e Aura Of Vitality
DnD 5e Daylight
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