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The Circle of the Shepherd druid's Unicorn Spirit Totem (XGtE, p. 24) says:

The unicorn spirit lends its protection to those nearby. You and your allies gain advantage on all ability checks made to detect creatures in the spirit’s aura. In addition, if you cast a spell using a spell slot that restores hit points to any creature inside or outside the aura, each creature of your choice in the aura also regains hit points equal to your druid level.

Does casting Goodberry count as a spell that "restores hit points", since the characters then have to do an additional action to actually restore the hit points?

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Probably not, but there's enough gray area to allow it.

There are two requirements for the Unicorn Spirit's benefit to trigger:

  • The druid must cast a non-cantrip spell
  • That spell must restore HP to a creature

Goodberry is a level one spell, which satisfies the first condition but it does not restore HP to any creature. It creates berries.

HP are not restored by the spell's casting. That requires another creature to use their action and consume the berries. Another way of looking at it: if the druid casts Goodberry and no one consumes a berry, then condition number 2 above is not met.


That said, the the wording of the Unicorn Spirit reads "if" not "when." This nuance creates a gray area that could allow a DM could to rule that the combination works but the Unicorn Spirit's affect does not trigger unless/until a berry (probably just the first) is consumed.

After all, letting the first berry trigger the Spirit's affect would still be balanced compared to casting a different level one (or higher) healing spell. To allow it to trigger off every berry's consumption would definitely not be.

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I think that the way you read the description for Unicorn Spirit can change your interpretation. Personally, when I read this I read the part saying "if you cast a spell using a spell slot that restores hit points to any creature inside or outside the aura, each creature of your choice in the aura also regains hit points equal to your druid level" as "if a spell you have casted using a spell slot restores hit points to a creature, each creature of your choice in the aura also regains hit points equal to your druid level."

But I think other people read it as "If you cast a spell that restores hit points using a spell slot, each creature of your choice in the aura also regains hit points equal to your druid level." There is no way to know which interpretation is the better one, as both are equally possible.

One interpretation looks at the line "that restores hit points" as limiting the effect to only occurring when a spell is casted that restores hit points, while the other sees it as saying that if you restore hit points through the use of a spell then the ability activates.

I am personally of the opinion that the better ruling is the interpretation I initially had, as there is a 2nd level spell called Healing Spirit that creates an intangible spirit that lets you heal creatures that enter the spirits space.

This means that even if a creature enters the spirits space, it does not automatically get healed, meaning that the spell can possibly never heal, just like goodberry, while other instantaneous spells automatically heal.

The condition for the ability to activate should be the healing, not the act of casting a spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi DoingTheJukes and welcome to the RPGSE! \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Jan 14 at 1:20

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