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The spell Simulacrum reads as follows:

It obeys your spoken commands, moving and acting in accordance with your wishes and acting on your turn in combat. ...The simulacrum lacks the ability to learn or become more powerful, so it never increases its level or other abilities, nor can it regain expended spell slots.

After reading some other answers regarding Sorcery Points, Wild Magic Surges, and Genie Warlock simulacrums, I am now just a little confused. Sorcery Points and hit points are, by simple logic, intrinsic resources that are recovered by the natural and supernatural forces operating in a PC. Bardic Inspiration, according to my understanding, is closer to a phenomena as a result of magical music. Does anyone have a different answer for this?

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It's the same as for other limited resources

It does not really make a difference what feature that provides a limited resource we are talking about:

As explained in this answer on sorcery points, as written simulacrum only states that you cannot regain spell slots. That and that the way to regain hit points is the expensive alchemical procedure are the limitations provided on what you can regain. Everything else is regained normally.

The rules as intended have been stated in a tweet by Jeremy Crawford:

A simulacrum is meant to lose efficacy over time, essentially running out of juice, until only at-will abilities remain.

The errata for this that he suggested in that same tweet have however not been carried out to date. It's up to your DM to decide if he wants to follow this guidance, or allow you to use the spell as written.

In my humble opinion (my Wizard has simulacrum) the spell is insanely powerful, essentially doubling all your spell slots and giving you three more attunement slots and doubling all your actions, so it is better in this case to follow intended use and let all other abilities that are not at will get used up.


P.S. The limitations state that the simulacrum

never increases its level or other abilities

Could that "never increases (...) other abilities" means it cannot regain any used features even rules-as-written? You could argue that once it has used up any limited-use feature, regaining it would make it more powerful again, and increase an ability.

If that was meant, why then call out that the simulacrum cannot regain spell slots? That would already be covered. One therefore has to read this limitation in context: it is mentioned together with not being able to increase in level. I think this expresses that the simulacrum cannot acquire entirely new spells or skills, or increase its proficiency bonus or ability scores or other level-dependent class features. So, unfortunately it seems a bit of a stretch to take this as a rule for blocking replenishing of any ability. (And at least it cannot have been seen like that by the designer either, or he would not have suggested the spell needs errata to actually say that).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What does “it cannot increase its…other abilities” mean? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2023 at 20:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkovwasonStrike I think that would be an interesting separate question, which to my surprise does not seem to exist yet. At the risk of getting dragged into a comment discussion on something as complicated (which is probably not the best place) I think if this would cover replenishable abilities, why then call out spell slots, so it must refer to things like gaining XP, ASIs, to hit, PB, skill boni and the like. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2023 at 20:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m asking you here because I think it’s part of answering this and the linked question. No one seems to have paid that part of the description any mind, but I think it ought be the answer to these questions. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2023 at 20:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do you justify "the only way to regain hit points is the expensive alchemical procedure" (emphasis mine). I agree it seems obvious that was the intent, but struggle to support the "only" to my more raw inclined players. The simulacrum is explicitly a creature by the spell text, so why wouldn't cure wounds work? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ty Hayes
    Aug 18, 2023 at 1:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TyHayes That question has been discussed ad nauseam on this site, so instead of me trying to explain this here in the comments, take a look at those Q&As. You can challenge that but wether it is airtight or not is not the point of this question/answer. I’ll add the link to it too for those interested. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2023 at 4:14
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How we homeruled this

In one of our campaigns, I played a wizard who used simulacrum, using it from 13th level, through 20th. My wizard pretty much always had a simulacrum.

Simulacrum is a challenging spell, just look at how many posts there are about it here. Many questions relate to renewable resources.

We made a series of houserules. One of them was a general rule that covers all renewable resources, another, possibly also related to your issue, covered rests.

** To your question about treating Bardic Inspiration as different, because the source of renewal was different, we did not. We treated all of a sim's renewable resources as usable until depleted, then nevermore.

Our rules

Two of our rules:

  • A simulacrum loses efficacy over time, until only at-will abilities remain. For any renewable resource, the simulacrum can use it until it is gone, but not renew it.
  • A simulacrum can take a short rest, but gains no benefit. It can take a long rest, but gains no benefit. If it foregoes rest, it suffers as its original would suffer.

Our intent was to fulfill the intent of Jeremy Crawford's tweet, as discussed in Nobody's answer:

A simulacrum is meant to lose efficacy over time, essentially running out of juice, until only at-will abilities remain.

We came to this conclusion after much discussion, in order to balance the interests at the gaming table. The DM wanted to not break the game, and not bog down the game in tedious discussion. The other players did not want to bog down combat by essentially giving me a second PC, and really did not want to waste session time talking about it. As the wizard I wanted power, raw power to explore high-level magic.

The DM and I came up with this (and other rules), over time, outside of session. We presented them to the other players, outside of session, in chat; and I think some of them may have even read some of the posts.

We occasionally discussed making simulacrum of other characters. I was always up for it, and having these house rules gave us as players some useful guidelines. Furthermore, my wizard, in-character, knew as a result of research that this is how simulacrum works. This was very useful, as it allowed us to discuss it without bogging down gameplay. We never did make sims of other party members, because we always judged the in-game cost (primarily in time; we never seemed to want to do it when there was plenty of time) to be tactically not worth it, so we never had more sims than the single sim of my wizard. Pity.

Applying our rules to bardic inspiration

This is how our rule would be applied to bardic inspiration:

  • The sim of a bard will have the bardic inspiration of the original and can use it, but can never renew it.

Note that by this rule, many bardic features would to usable by the sim of a bard ad infinitim; as an example, the bard sim could use Song of Rest, but renewable resources, regardless of the source of renewal, would not be renewable, and could be used but once, then nevermore.

Having the houserule forestalled a lot of discussion. To your point about bardic inspiration being different than other renewable resources, we exactly wanted to avoid picking apart every different thing, sacrificing gameplay for it. In the end, it worked the way it did because that's what we houseruled. It was also very satisfactory to us that in-game the wizard knew how it worked (as sure as we the characters knew anything) by having become knowledgeable about it in game.

Conclusion

Simulacrum is a deeply intriguing spell, but it leaves a lot unspecified. The RAW can be poked at, but our experience was that no amount of RAW examination made the spell playable, but that our houserules did. Any DM might reasonably rule differently from what I provided here, but this is what worked for us.

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