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New DnD playtest doubles strength of healing spells

The latest Dungeons and Dragons playtest gives the game's healing spells a massive shot in the arm and doubles their effectiveness.

DnD playtest a cleric with a mace casting a spell beneath a full moon

The latest DnD playtest introduces a major buff to the game’s main healing spells. In the new playtest released by Wizards of the Coast on November 27, spells like Cure Wounds and Healing Word now heal significantly more points of damage. In most cases, it’s an increase of 100%.

That’s right, the most-used healing spells in this upcoming rules change to Dungeons and Dragons are now twice as effective. For instance, the DnD spell Healing Word originally healed players for 1d4 points of damage, but that’s now been doubled to 2d4. Likewise, Cure Wounds has gone from 1d8 to 2d8. The ‘mass’ versions of these spells which can heal your whole party have also been buffed.

The change is potentially good news for the Cleric 5e or Paladin 5e, since it makes playing a dedicated healer a much more realistic prospect. Previously, Cure Wounds would rarely be used in combat. Rather than taking a whole action and spell slot it usually worked out better to reduce the damage your party took by just whacking monsters and ending the fight earlier.

DnD playtest spell descriptions

As Healing Word only takes a bonus action, this spell was much more commonly deployed in the midst of battle. However, its healing has traditionally been too weak to be much help keeping your allies in the green. Instead, its main purpose tended to be reviving downed comrades, or giving someone barely hanging on another turn or two.

It’s worth noting that the doubling change applies to the scaling of these spells as well. Healing Word now does an extra 2d4 points of healing for every spell slot above level 1 that you’re using, while Cure Wounds does an extra 2d8 points per spell slot level. For the ‘mass’ versions of these spells, however, the scaling remains the same.

The document introducing these changes, the Players’ Handbook Playtest 8, contains new versions of the Barbarian 5e, Druid 5e and Monk 5e – the latter of which has been given a real boost. It has some other interesting changes for DnD 5e spells, including an amazingly strong version of this summoning spell. As far as we understand it, this will be the last Player’s Handbook playtest covering the DnD classes.