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The 5e D&D Basic Rules v0.1 description of casting times says that spells with a casting time of "bonus action" require a bonus action to cast (p. 79, emphasis mine):

Most spells require a single action to cast, but some spells require a bonus action, a reaction, or much more time to cast.

Bonus Action

A spell cast with a bonus action is especially swift. You must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell, provided that you haven't already taken a bonus action this turn. You can't cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

It's pretty clear that bonus actions aren't automatic (p. 69):

You can take a bonus action only when a special ability, spell, or other feature of the game states that you can do something as a bonus action. You otherwise don't have a bonus action to take.

So to cast a spell like Healing Word (p. 93), do I

  • need to be granted a bonus action that I can use, or do I
  • have a bonus action I can use?

I guess I'm unclear on whether knowing the spell grants me the bonus action I need to use it.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

The way bonus actions work is:

  1. You can't take more than one bonus action per turn
  2. If using an ability is a bonus action, you can do it (bearing in mind #1)

So bonus actions aren't something you have or are granted — they are something you do up to a limit of one. Casting the spell is itself doing or taking the bonus action. Abilities that are bonus actions are saying "you can do this on your turn, as a bonus."

D&D Basic Rules v0.1, page 69 (emphasis mine):

Various class features, spells, and other abilities let you take an additional action on your turn called a bonus action.

So smoke em' if you've got em'!

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Yes!

Basically, if you have Healing Word memorized, and have a spell slot open, you can cast it.

Bonus actions can only be taken if you have something that allows them (class feature, spell etc). In this case, you have a spell that can be cast as a bonus action, so you can take your bonus action to cast the spell.

In other words, nothing has to allow you to receive a bonus action. You have to have something that can use one to be able to use it.

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