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Inspired by another discussion of Simulacra - can a simulacrum actually heal via any method other than the 'complex process' outlined in the spell? Or is that process simply another option? What if the copied creature type has Fast Healing, or Regeneration? Do Cure Wounds spells function on the simulacra? Is the simulacrum actually even a creature?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought I have seen this before, but I can only find D&D 5e version of the question now. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Feb 25, 2021 at 0:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yup, I went looking, and nothing but 5e. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Feb 25, 2021 at 1:26

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It's ambiguous.

Rules-As-Written, the spell creates a 'duplicate creature' and doesn't mention changing the creature's type or any other limitation to the typical targeting of whatever type of creature that creature is. It mentions that the simulacrum can be healed by a complex laboratory process but the wording of that almost goes out of its way to avoid saying it can 'only' be healed by that method or anything similar.

So RAW it heals normally, as far as I can tell. Naturally, by spell, fast healing, whatever the base creature can benefit from.

Rules-As-Intended i'd normally assume that the creators intended the simulacrum to be unable to repair damage except via this expensive laboratory process, otherwise why include it and specify that the simulacrum is destroyed at 0 hp? But this spell is only available to arcane casters without healing spells, therefore that line may have been included to imply that the simulacrum (like the android replicant concept it is based on) doesn't heal naturally, but then offering a way for a wizard class (laboratory) character to heal it anyway at some sort of cost.

A wizard? Unable to cast healing spells? Yeah. This spell is word-for-word the same as the 3.5 version, and back in the early days of 3.5e, there was a lot less expectation of an integrated magically-active world setting and wizards were often encountered in hidden labs in mountains on their own with golems or the like serving them. The traditional location for a wizard character was with magical servants in a tower. So the assumption of healing magic was a bit less widespread.

However the main thing to note about this specific interaction of the Simulacrum spell is that it is something people argue about. Online, there is no clear consensus. Therefore it is a prime suspect to be simply ruled on by the GM for that specific game one way or the other and then case closed everyone moves on with having fun.

I would personally rule that they don't heal naturally or via any method other than laboratory time (although i'd make the lab time cheaper or free). Despite this being weird (why can they be targeted by Enlarge Person if they can't be healed? wtf) I like the idea of a thematic 'tell' for any doppleganger style replacement of people characters. And that if they get damaged they can't be healed (and if seriously damaged, the illusion breaks revealing the weird magical ice cogwheels or w/e inside) is a pretty good tell as far as storytelling devices go.

There isn't really a 'wrong' answer here unless you have a player playing a simulacrum, at which point you should generally err on the side of 'not making their life hell'.

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