Cure Wounds 5E — DnD spell explained 2023

Learn the art of healing with our guide to the Cure Wounds 5E spell in DnD. Mend injuries and restore vitality to your allies.

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What is Cure Wounds 5E?

Cure Wounds 5E (PHB, p. 230) is a 1st level evocation spell, which is available natively to a long list of spellcasters, including Bards, Clerics, and Rangers. It requires vocal and somatic components and takes an action to cast. When you cast the spell you touch a creature and restore a number of hit points to them equal to 1d8 + spellcasting modifier. However, this spell can’t restore hit points to undead or constructs, such as an Animate Dead skeleton or a Battle Smith’s Steel Defender.

If you cast this spell with a 2nd level or higher spell slot, the amount of HP restored increases by 1d8 for every level above 1st. For example, a 5th level casting of Cure Wounds would deal 5d8 + spellcasting modifier.

Is Cure Wounds 5E a good spell?

Cure Wounds is good at what it’s intended to do, which is be a 1st level healing spell, but isn’t the best healing option available as levels increase, which is often where people may have mismatched expectations. For the first four levels of your character, a base-level casting of this spell will heal a sizeable chunk of your total hit point pool, provided that you haven’t neglected your casting modifier. Upcasting can be worth it if you’re in need of hit points, however, as you’re just gaining an additional d8 per spell level it can be very swingy and unreliable how much bang you get for your higher level buck. Cure Wounds is best used as an emergency pick up spell or a patch up between encounters once you get beyond 5th level, unless the character you’re healing has a way of increasing the value of the hit points you give them. For example, a Barbarian’s Rage can potentially double the value and a Fighter can add onto it with Second Wind.

If you improve on Cure Wounds, then it can remain relevant for longer, and thankfully there are many ways to do so. The easiest way to do this is to play a Life Cleric, which will give a bonus to the HP given based on the level of the spell slot you use and eventually you’ll be able to take the maximum value of the dice instead of rolling and heal yourself at the same time! Alchemist Artificers will be able to add their Int modifier to the total and Wildfire Druids will be able to add an additional d8 as long as their wildfire spirit is currently summoned. If you want to enhance it in other ways, then a Sorcerer with this spell can use Metamagic options such as Twinned Spell to heal two creatures at once, Distant Spell to heal at range, or Quickened Spell to cast it as a bonus action to still cast a cantrip or take another action. These are just some examples and by no means a comprehensive list of how to improve this iconic healing spell, so explore and experiment!

How can you get Cure Wounds 5E?

If your party is desperately in need of some healing, then fear not! Here is a list of how you can grab this spell:

  • Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, and Ranger All of these classes, and there is a lot of them, get this spell on their spell list.
  • Life Domain (Cleric Subclass) – These Clerics always have spell prepared as a Domain spell.
  • Divine Soul (Sorcerer Subclass) – This Sorcerer can choose spells from the Cleric spell list and can potentially get it as an additional spell from their Divine Magic feature if their power source’s affinity is Good. 
  • Celestial (Warlock Subclass) – These Warlocks can choose Cure Wounds as a spell known thanks to their Expanded Spell List feature.
  • Circle of Wildfire (Druid Subclass) – Similar to the Cleric above, these Druids always have this spell prepared from their Circle Spells feature.
  • Mark of Healing (Halfling Variant) – From the world of Eberron, this race will give you a free casting of Cure Wounds using your Wisdom modifier once per long rest.
  • Artificer Initiate (Feat) – You can choose this as the 1st level spell, along with an Artificer cantrip and proficiency in a set of artisan’s tools. Getting the spell this way allows you to cast it once per long rest for free, but also with your own spell slots if you have any.
  • Divinely Favored (Feat) – Choosing the Good alignment will let you grab Cure Wounds from the Cleric spell list and give you the Augury spell.
  • Gift of the Metallic Dragon (Feat) – In addition to getting a free casting of Cure Wounds and the ability to cast it with spell slots, this feat will also give you the great Protective Wings feature.
  • Magic Initiate (Feat) – By choosing any of the full casters that get access to Cure Wounds you can get the spell and two cantrips, however, you can only cast it once per long rest unless you have at least one level in the class chosen.
  • Strixhaven Initiate (Feat) – All college options in this feat will give you the opportunity to grab Cure Wounds, with two cantrips from a limited list to go along with your once per long rest casting.

How to roleplay the Cure Wounds 5E spell

Need some help roleplaying the Cure Wounds spell? Here are some examples to help you out:

  • As you close your eyes and begin to chant, a warm, glowing energy flows through your body and into your hands. You reach out and gently touch your wounded companion, and the energy surges into them, closing their wounds and easing their pain.
  • You hold your holy symbol high and pray to your deity for aid. A bright light emanates from the symbol, and you channel that light into your ally, healing their injuries and restoring their vitality.
  • With a whispered incantation, you summon the power of nature to mend your friend’s wounds. You place your hands on their body and focus on the flow of energy within them, coaxing it to knit together their injuries and restore their health.

Hopefully, this article was informative and saved the life of a downed party member, or at least healed that nasty paper cut. if you’re interested in this spell for your next Artificer build, then check out our Artificer 5E guide, or If you’re interested in researching other spells then check out our 5E spells section, Good luck out there adventurers, until next time, oh no the Wizard’s down again, medic!

Expert Editor-in-Chief