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The simulacrum spell description states the following:

If the simulacrum is damaged, you can repair it in an alchemical laboratory, using rare herbs and minerals worth 100 gp per hit point it regains.

Up until the 2018 errata, many DMs deemed simulacra to be humanoids, and many agreed that healing methods (such as the cure wounds spell) did not work on them, because allowing them to work would render the alchemical process above pointless.

But now that simulacra are considered constructs, most healing methods do not work on them by default, since many of them have the following clause:

This spell has no effect on undead or constructs.

Now that easily available healing methods (that have the no-construct clause) no longer invalidate the alchemical process above, should the few healing methods that lack that clause - and are therefore construct-friendly (such as the regenerate spell) - be able to affect simulacra? In other words, is that agreement still necessary?

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Strict RAW: you can heal a simulacrum, but it goes against intent and common sense

There is no explicit statement in the spell description specifically forbidding healing the simulacrum via other means. Thus, by strict RAW it is not forbidden to do so. Just be aware that constructs are restricted from being affected by many of the healing spells.

However, allowing this goes against the intent of the simulacrum spell as well as making the spell more powerful than it already is by providing lots more avenues for healing.

Rules as Intended and Common Sense: No, the alchemical process is the only way it can regain hit points

Rules as Intended

Jeremy Crawford makes the intent of the spell clear in a Tweet made before the 2018 errata:

To restore hit points to a simulacrum, you must use the costly alchemical procedure mentioned in the spell.

(emphasis mine)

Rules as Common Sense:

If the simulacrum is damaged, you can repair it in an alchemical laboratory, using rare herbs and minerals worth 100 gp per hit point it regains.

Repair not heal

First note that this does not say heal, it says repair. Though treated as a normal construct, it is still a special being made of ice and snow, unlike typical constructs which are made of rather more durable materials. This is likely the reason that it has a special way to repair it.

Allowing other forms of healing means that the alchemical process would be pointless

This statement must preclude other forms of regaining hit points, otherwise it is meaningless. Even though it does not say so explicitly, the above alchemical method is clearly meant to be the only way to regain hit points for a simulacrum.

It does not say that potions or healing magic or rest don't work for example, but if they were possible then the expensive complicated process for healing would be meaningless and there would be no point to including it. Rest especially makes this meaningless because it is free and available to every creature/class and allows for healing completely. Why would anybody ever pay 100gp per hit point if they could rest or use any of the myriad other methods available for regaining hit points? This logic also applies to traits or features or magic that let you heal.

The simulacrum being a construct doesn't change anything about the general case: they cannot be healed

The 2018 PHB errata has specified that the simulacrum is now considered to be a construct. As such, many healing spells will not even work on it explicitly. However, this does not change any of the logic above saying that simulacrum cannot be healed by means other than the one offered in the spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it's worth noting that even in his tweet, JC avoids using the word "heal", instead saying "restore hit points", which further reinforces your point that the simulacrum cannot be healed by any means, only repaired. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 19, 2018 at 19:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2018 at 16:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson Almost none of the commonly colloquialised "healing" spells say heal either, for example, Cure Wounds says "a creature you touch regains a number of hit points", not heals. So, the "repair not heal" line I hear touted about all the time practically never applies. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5, 2019 at 12:58
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RAW, yes, and arguably now, RAI, as well

The answer provided by Rubiksmoose has been further removed from perceptions of RAW and RAI recently, since Jeremy Crawford's tweets have been declared as no longer official rulings or expressions of intent in any way, only the Sage Advice Compendium found here: https://media.wizards.com/2019/dnd/downloads/SA-Compendium.pdf

You may note that his views on the Simulacrum spell are nowhere to be found in this official Compendium. This means said statement is no longer a valid part of any official content. Even disregarding this, Crawford had actually contradicted his statement at least once himself already.

However, the Wizards of the Coast have made Errata to the Simulacrum spell that does account for the issues presented by commonly available healing: the simulacrum is now considered a construct. This invalidates most forms of healing from applying to the simulacrum, while also incidentally making it immune to certain effects. No Simulacrum of a Simulacrum, since the spell only applies to humanoids or beasts, and it's immune to spells like Hold Person as well.

The removal of Crawford's opinion as RAW or RAI, as well as the correction of the spells original text, with no Errata replacing the word can in "If the simulacrum is damaged, you can repair it in an alchemical laboratory" with must, a simple 1 word change that would solve this issue, the spell should allow healing that works on other constructs. This is definitely RAW, and the recent developments with Crawford's rulings in my opinion give a large point toward arguments of RAI.

Spells which cause a creature to regain hit points but do not specify that they have no effect on undead or constructs, as of the time of this answer's composition are: Aid, Aura of Life(can't affect a Simulacrum since it dies at 0 hit points), Aura of Vitality, Enervation, Goodberry, Heroes' Feast, Life Transference, Regenerate, Soul Cage, Vampiric touch, and Wish.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ To close the loop, it may be helpful to reference which healing spells would work. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 5, 2019 at 13:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I will do so. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5, 2019 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you also saying that the line "If the simulacrum is damaged, you can repair it in an alchemical laboratory, using rare herbs and minerals worth 100 gp per hit point it regains." is another option beyond simply using a healing spell option and not a restriction because of the use of "CAN" rather than "Can only/must". \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 5, 2019 at 15:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Exactly. They changed the wording of the spell to make the creature a construct, which directly affects this issue and severely limits the available healing, and yet in the original spell and at the time of errata, they left the word "can" when it would've been exceedingly simple to change it to "must" or "can only", as you say. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 6, 2019 at 4:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Relevant meta: Please avoid using the RAI acronym, or use it carefully & be clear in context. You should edit your answer to write out the acronym or reword it to something clearer. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 6, 2019 at 9:04

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