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I'm trying to evaluate the usefulness of certain spells and features' ability to stop a creature from regaining hit points.

Considering only officially published material, against what creature types, and in what settings/adventures, would the ability to prevent creature healing be most useful?

(This question is inspired by What are the most and least-resisted damage types?, which helps evaluate the value of damage types.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ What CR? What adventure? \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor May 7 '18 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a copy of the monster manual? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 7 '18 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor Good question but I don't want to bind this answer to my specific situation, nor would I really want to pick a cantrip that will only be useful in a certain CR range. \$\endgroup\$ – Yannick MG May 7 '18 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is too broad of a question. Even if we were to list out every monster with healing abilities it would still not answer the question of how common they are. How are we supposed to evaluate how common any given monster/skill set is if we don't know CR range, setting, or what the DM's preferences are? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 7 '18 at 19:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps a good rephrase of the question could be "Considering only officially published material, against what creature types, and in what settings/adventures, would the ability to prevent creature healing be most useful?" For instance, against trolls this would be golden, but outside of them, there aren't many common creature types that have regen. As mentioned, however, humanoid opponents will often have healers, and so this can be used tactically to prevent inconvenient heals as the party focus fires on a single baddie. Outside of those two scenarios? Highly niche. \$\endgroup\$ – cpcodes May 7 '18 at 21:12
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Creatures in the MM that have some ability to heal (skip to "Summary of Results" for breakdown:

Aboleth (situational, requires charmed target to heal 3d6, deals same amount to target, aberration CR 10)

Deva (3/day, heals 4d8+2, CR 10), Planetar (4/day, heals 6d8+3, CR 16) and Solar (4/day, heals 8d8+4, CR 21) all these celestials can only heal others.

Couatl (3/day, Cure Wounds, CR 4, Celestial)

Demilich (At will, heals 6d6-18d6 , CR 18, Undead) healing dependent on # of targets failing DC 19 CON save.

Drow Priestess (2 Cure Mass wounds, max 13 Cure Wounds, CR 8, humanoid)

Flameskull (regains all health 1 hour after death unless holy water, remove curse, or dispel magic is applied to remains, CR 4, Undead)

Clay Golem (regains health equal to acid damage delt to it, CR 9, Construct), Flesh Golem (ditto with lightning, CR 5, Construct), Iron Golem (ditto with fire, CR 16, Construct) only relevant if wrong damage type used.

Hydra (regains 10 HP per head regrown, CR 8, Monstrosity) heads only regrow after a head dies (25 damage in a single turn, no fire damage or heads don't regrow)

Kuo-Toa Archpriest (2 mass cure wounds, CR 6, Humanoid)

Oni (regains 10 per turn, CR 7, Giant)

Revenant (regains 10 per turn unless subjected to fire or radiant, CR 5, Undead)

Sahuagin Priestess (3 mass healing words, CR 2, Humanoid)

Shambling Mound (heals from lightning damage, CR 5, Plant)

Shield Guardian (regains 10 per turn, CR 7, Construct)

Slaad (all varieties regain 10 per turn, CR 5-10, aberration)

Troll (regains 10 unless subjected to fire or acid, CR 5, Giant)

Unicorn (3/day healing touch 2d8+2, Heal Self legendary action (costs 3 actions, 2d8+2), CR 5, Celestial) healing touch only works on others

Vampire (heals 20 unless in sunlight, running water, or subjected to holy water or radiant damage, can also bite [subject to restrictions] for 3d6 healing, CR 13, Undead)

Vampire Spawn (heals 10 under same conditions as vampire, bite can heal 2d6, CR 5, Undead)

Will-O-Wisp (heals 3d6 when killing target with Consume Life, CR 2, Undead)

In addition, Acolytes and Priests can cast Cure Wounds.

Summary of Results

All creatures except the Acolyte, Priest, Sahuagin Priestess, and Will-O-Wisp are at least CR 4, with the vast majority being CR 5 or above. The healing in question is also fairly minor about equal to 1 hit from a fighter at 5th level. The more devastating heals come from boss monsters like the demilich or only heal others like the angels.

In terms of creature type: Humanoids have the most variety due to spellcasting. Undead and Aberrations are the most common creature types, followed by Constructs and Celestials.

It is difficult to say what type of campaign will encounter these the most, although evil campaigns are likely to encounter celestials (which are almost if not all good aligned). There is sufficient variety that any campaign could conceivably fight these creatures, most of which will probably serve as a "boss" depending on the level of the campaign.

Note: I only have access to the monster manual, I do not know what can be found in the expansion guides.

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It honestly depends on the party's CR rating and all their levels and what table you roll on. But Chill Touch isn't just good for stopping monsters from regenerating hp.

  • For one, you could have a monster with that cantrip which could use it on someone in the party which would then not allow the cleric to heal them with their spells
  • or if the monsters have someone that can heal them and the wizard uses Chill Touch on the monster, then the other bad guy couldn't heal them with a spell.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Frankly, I'm not sure how the second part of your question (that is, everything starting at sentence #2) is relevant to your answer. Please edit your question to provide an actual answer to "How common are enemies who can regain hit points?", not "How strong is Chill Touch and what does it even do?" \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster May 7 '18 at 19:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe he is saying that enemies regenerating hit points is only one way they regain hit points. They might also have access to healing spells. \$\endgroup\$ – KingdomGnark May 7 '18 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Monsters with healing spells should ideally be factored into the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Yannick MG May 7 '18 at 19:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ This almost seems like a frame challenge where you are saying: "There is no way to answer this question because it depends on what CR you are looking at". If so, you may want to expand on that and make it clearer that is what you are saying. Right now this answer seems not to address the question at all. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 7 '18 at 19:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ To add to that: see this Q&A for how best to do this: How do we handle a desire to challenge the frame of a question? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose May 7 '18 at 20:32

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