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Several creatures have the healing touch action, which gives some amount of dice plus a bonus of HP. Some examples below:

What is the bonus based on? It is not the proficiency or INT or anything like that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason that you are trying to figure this out such as designing a NPC and trying to figure out CR value for having this ability? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    May 3, 2021 at 14:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, I am voting to close this. The question is asking for the process in which WoTC determined this mechanic, and that's a bit of a designer intent question. But even if it wasn't, the answers coming in are unsupported guesses on that process. Even if the guesses 'work', it's still a guess. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    May 3, 2021 at 14:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’m voting to close this question because it is either designer intent, and asking for an explanation of how WotC designed their monster, or, it is primarily opinion based, and asking for people to find a pattern from a collection of data. \$\endgroup\$ May 3, 2021 at 14:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 there are plenty of Q&As that infer patterns without access to dev intent. This isn't unreasonable. "How do I balance this feature as close to officially as possible, without direct access to their method?" \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason_c_o
    May 3, 2021 at 16:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jason_c_o That isn't what is being asked, though. They aren't asking for help in balancing a feature, that's what we're guessing they are asking underneath their question. Their question explicitly is asking what the bonus is based on and we either can prove that through the rules, or the answer is we don't know. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    May 3, 2021 at 17:01

3 Answers 3

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It Appears to be half proficiency bonus, rounding fractions up

There is no guidance on Healing Touch as a standard monster ability. All we can do is try to reverse-engineer the ability from the stat blocks that use it. Of the monsters you mention, the one formula I can find is half-proficiency bonus, rounding fractions up.

  • Planetar, Prof bonus +5, Healing touch 6d8 + 3
  • Unicorn, Prof bonus +3, Healing touch 2d8 + 2
  • Deva, Prof bonus +4, Healing touch 4d8 + 2
  • Solar, Prof bonus +7, Healing touch 8d8 + 4
  • The Abbot, Prof bonus +4, Healing Touch 4d8 + 2

I also notice that all the creatures other than the Unicorn have a bonus equal to half the dice used.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While this is interesting, you probably should support that this isn't just a correlation but an actual system used by WoTC. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    May 3, 2021 at 14:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I cannot find any official reference to Healing Touch as a standard monster ability. Lacking that, all we can go on is trying to reverse engineer it from where it appears in stat blocks. \$\endgroup\$
    – shhalahr
    May 3, 2021 at 14:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can't in good faith upvote this. It's a good guess, but it's an unsupported correlation right now. And with another answer showing the formula isn't consistent, then it's unlikely to be correct. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    May 3, 2021 at 14:14
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Only five out of six monsters with Healing Touch follow a pattern, so we cannot say for sure.

There is a pattern established with the 5 creatures you link of half proficiency rounded up, but this pattern is broken by a creature from Eberron, the Undying Counselor, having a proficiency bonus of +4 and a Healing Touch of 3d8 + 5 (the Undying Counselor has a wisdom modifier of +5).

To be clear, this isn't explained anywhere, and the existence of a divergent data point makes it less clear. We cannot say "this is how it is supposed to be, and the example from Eberron is incorrect". We can only state factual observations about the existing data, as I have. Use this information however you like.

Notably, there is no guidance in the Dungeon Master's Guide for incorporating healing abilities into custom monster stat blocks.

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There is no known process

Unfortunately, Wizards of the Coast have not graced us with an explanation on how they calculate that modifier value.

Without a statement from them on that, or in using an ability like that for CR generation, we simply can not determine what it is.

Humans are very good at finding patterns, but finding a pattern doesn't mean the pattern is there. Until WoTC provides an explanation, there is none.

If you were hoping for guidance in NPC development, unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any. As other answers, and you yourself, have noted, you can see how they've treated this ability at different CR levels to figure out how to create something with this. It's homebrew development, so don't be afraid to make changes after you've played it if it doesn't feel right.

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