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The lesser restoration spell description states:

You touch a creature and can end either one disease or one condition afflicting it. The condition can be blinded, deafened, paralyzed, or poisoned.

The greater restoration spell, on the other hand, says:

You imbue a creature you touch with positive energy to undo a debilitating effect. You can reduce the target's exhaustion level by one, or end one of the following effects on the target:

  • One effect that charmed or petrified the target
  • One curse, including the target's attunement to a cursed magic item
  • Any reduction to one of the target's ability scores
  • One effect reducing the target's hit point maximum

The lesser restoration spell ends paralysis, but this is not listed in the effects that greater restoration can cure.

It makes sense to me that a Greater version of a spell does everything the Lesser version does (and more!), but what is RAW in this case?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This also implies Greater Restoration doesn't cure diseases either; it could end specific effects of the disease, but only Lesser Restoration claims to end a disease at all. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowRanger Jul 25 '18 at 17:10
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Spells only do what they say.

Greater Restoration does not alleviate the conditions ended by Lesser Restoration, because it does not say that it alleviates the conditions ended by Lesser Restoration.

Sidenote. As GR uses a 5th level slot and only ends one effect, it wouldn't make much sense for a character to use it ahead of LR, which uses a 2nd level slot and ends one condition, to end paralysis, barring situations of one being prepared ahead of the other.

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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Actually it might make sense to use GR if it were allowed, as a cleric has a limited number of spells that they can prepare. Using GR when LR would do could be wasteful if the character had lower-level slots available. But preparing both GR and LR could be wasteful if a situation requiring LR did not occur. \$\endgroup\$ – Neil Slater Jul 25 '18 at 10:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Greater Restoration also has a material component consumed by casting with a gp value. I don't think 100gp is prohibitively expensive, but it's likely that a cleric wouldn't be carrying an infinite amount of diamond dust with them so GR will often have a limited number of uses on a larger scale as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Kamil Drakari Jul 25 '18 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Considering that diamonds are essentially a form of currency that players might very well carry around at level 9, the real question is "what is a portable method of crushing diamonds to dust?" \$\endgroup\$ – user24827 Jul 25 '18 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rogem Whack 'em with a hammer? Diamonds are hard, sure, but they're also brittle. Your hammer will lose that perfect mirror polish that it probably doesn't have, but a chunk of iron or steel will fare much better in an impact than a chunk of diamond. \$\endgroup\$ – 8bittree Jul 25 '18 at 18:14
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My impression of 5e is that most spells are made not to overlap so much (exceptions exist). In previous editions, “greater” did have a tendency to mean “in addition to”, but this time around I think the idea is to separate them so you don’t burn a higher level spell when a lower would suffice. It means the lesser spell does not become obsolete once greater is available.

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