Self (30 ft)
Paladin, Cleric (Twilight Domain), Artificer (Battle Smith)
1 minute ©
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.
Materials Required: None
Number of Targets: No specified number of targets, although the maximum number of different creatures you can affect with this spell is 10 (one per round for one minute).
Die Type: d6
Number of Dice: 2
Damage Type: None
Statuses Inflicted: None
Status Duration: None
Affected By Cover: No
What Is Aura of Vitality?
Aura of Vitality is a 3rd-level spell belonging to the school of evocation. Casting this spell takes an action and requires concentration to maintain, which the caster can do for up to a minute.
While the Aura of Vitality is active, the caster can use a bonus action (including on the turn they cast the spell) to restore 2d6 hit points to a creature within the spell’s 30ft radius, including themselves.
This means that, assuming your concentration isn’t broken or you end the spell, you can restore 2d6 hit points per round for one minute. A round of combat in D&D 5e lasts for an average of six seconds, meaning that over the course of a minute (or ten rounds) you can heal yourself or your allies for up to 20d6 hit points. That’s an average output of 69 (nice) hit points. With a third-level spell.
For context, that’s the same amount of hit points restored as the Heal spell, a 6th level evocation. All this begs the question…
Is Aura of Vitality Overpowered?
Short answer: no.
Longer answer: still no, because paladins are bad at being wizards, but let’s see what we can do.
Let’s take a look at some of the natural limitations of Aura of Vitality, which serve to ensure this very powerful spell isn’t 5e’s best kept secret.
Aura of Vitality is a 3rd-level paladin spell. Paladins aren’t full casters, meaning they unlock higher-level spell slots at a much slower rate than a full caster like a wizard. In fact, while a wizard, cleric, or sorcerer is going to get access to 3rd-level spells when they hit level 5, a paladin has to wait until they’re 9th level before they can start throwing out this aura.
A 9th-level party is going to have an average of 75-150 hit points each, which makes 20d6 start to look a little measly by comparison.
Still, you say, that’s a pretty big heal.
Ehhh, I say, because it comes at the cost of one of the paladin’s 3rd-level spell slots, which could probably be put to better use casting Revivify or just doing what paladins do best and smiting the nearest monster into the negative plane.
Spell slots aside, Aura of Vitality has a remarkably high cost. The spell requires an action to cast and a bonus action every round you want to use it. Also, it relies on concentration, which is easily broken in the heat of battle, so there’s a pretty good chance you won’t be able to get the full benefits of this spell out there.
So, there you have it. Aura of Vitality is a very, very good spell that paladins don’t get access to until it’s become just an okay spell. If only someone else could get their grubby little paws on it…
Who Can Cast Aura of Vitality (Apart From Paladins)?
As we’ve established, paladins don’t make great candidates for this spell. Their spell slots are too precious, too few, and arrive too late in the game. However, big boys in shiny platemail aren’t the only adventurers that can cast this spell.
Artificer (Battle Smith)
This subclass of artificer is, unfortunately, also a bad candidate for this spell. Artificers are also half-casters like paladins and therefore only get access to this spell at 9th level.
Besides, artificers have a bunch of other plates to keep spinning, from piles of magic items and other lower-level spells to their arcane infusions. Aura of Vitality is a nice thing to have, but it’s nothing to write home to the rest of the gnomes about.
Bard (College of Lore)
All bards gain access to Magical Secrets, which let them cherry pick the very best spells from any other class’ spell list they like. For most bards, this doesn’t kick in until 10th level (too late for Aura of Vitality to be mega-effective) but bards from the College of Lore get access to their Magical Secrets early.
A lore bard can cast three 3rd-level spells per day by the time they pick up Aura of Vitality at 6th level. That’s a tier of play when a 69 (nice) hit point heal could bring the party’s tank back from the brink of death and all the way to max HP.
However, there’s another way to get this spell even sooner.
Cleric (Twilight Domain and Optional Rules)
On Reddit, whenever someone asks where Aura of Vitality is broken, the collective response is always “chill, man. It’s for paladins and their magic sucks. It’s not like it’s a cleric spell or something.”
Au contraire, reddit nerds. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything has brought Aura of Vitality into the cleric wheelhouse in two ways, and both of them mean that clerics can start casting this spell twice a day at 5th level, which puts it right back in the running for “totally broken.”
First, the Twilight Domain cleric gets Aura of Vitality as part of their subclass’ expanded spell list (which is fantastic in general). This is balanced out by some mechanically lacklustre subclass features that revolve around darkvision and initiative, but it’s still pretty good.
And second, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (in its infinite, mischievous wisdom) also includes an optional rule for additional spells that all clerics get access to. Aura of Vitality is among them.
That means that, if your DM allows it (maybe you bought them Tasha’s for their birthday and you’ve been playing the long con, you clever sausage), any cleric domain can cast Aura of Vitality twice a day at 5th level. Reddit’s worst fears confirmed.
But is that really such a big deal? It’s still a concentration spell that requires an action and up to ten bonus actions over the course of a minute (far longer than any combat encounter that isn’t a world-ending boss fight has any right to be), so is it even really that useful? 2d6 hit points per turn doesn’t feel that impactful.
When Should I Cast Aura of Vitality?
In short, don’t cast this spell in combat. Well, I suppose you could if your party keeps being dropped unconscious every turn, but the fact that you can only hit one creature at a time with this spell means it’s not the “group revive” that Mass Healing Word (also a 3rd-level evocation spell) is.
No, Aura of Vitality is an out-of-combat spell. Being able to sit down and concentrate for one minute and then distribute 20d6 worth of healing among yourself and your allies for a 3rd-level spell slot is huge.
That’s about it, folks. Aura of Vitality is a middling quality healing spell for paladins, but by using the optional cleric spells from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything or the bard’s Magical Secrets, you can easily leverage this 3rd-level spell into a super-powerful out-of-combat healing ability.
Until next time, happy adventuring.
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I played my first tabletop RPG (Pathfinder 1e, specifically) in college. I rocked up late to the first session with an unread rulebook and a human bard called Nick Jugger. It was a rocky start but I had a blast and now, the better part of a decade later, I play, write, and write about tabletop RPGs (mostly 5e, but also PBtA, Forged in the Dark and OSR) games for a living, which is wild.