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The new book Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants has an attunement item called the Ring of Amity, which has an interesting property:

When you first attune to this ring, you can touch one willing creature and form a magical bond between the two of you. While this bond lasts, whenever you are subjected to a spell or magical effect that restores hit points, the bonded creature also receives the benefits of the spell or effect.

Via an infusion, an Artificer can make a Homunculus Servant, which says in its infusion info:

The homunculus regains 2d6 hit points if the mending spell is cast on it.

Further, there is no specific rule against the Homunculus Servant attuning to items, so it should be able to use this item, then touch said Artificer to form the magical bond.

Since the benefit of using Mending in this case is restoring hit points, would an Artificer with the Mending cantrip and a Homunculus Servant attuned to the Ring of Amity be able to heal themselves essentially for free, just by casting Mending on the Servant?

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The result is the same as casting Mending on the artificer directly (i.e. no effect)

Let's take a look at the ring's effect (with added annotations to clarify the creatures involved):

While this bond lasts, whenever you [the homunculus] are subjected to a spell or magical effect that restores hit points, the bonded creature [the artificer] also receives the benefits of the spell or effect.

So, the artificer's homunculus servant attunes this ring, designating the artificer as the bond recipient. Then the artificer casts Mending on the homunculus. This spell restores hit points to the homunculus, which means that the ring's effect is triggered, and the artificer also receives the benefits of the Mending spell. However, the effect of Mending on the artificer is... nothing, since in general Mending has no effect on creatures. So this does not give you a way to indirectly heal yourself with a cantrip by casting it on your homunculus servant.

(Unless the artificer also happens to be a construct with a similar ability to their homunculus servant, which AFAIK is not possible with officially published materials.)

To put this another way: given the above setup, the Ring of Amity allows a 2nd creature to receive the effect of the Mending spell, but it doesn't mean that the effect will be the same for this second creature. Rather, the spell still affects each target in the way it normally would. For the homunculus, the spell restores hit points; for the artificer, the spell has no effect. If the bonded creature was another artificer's homunculus servant, then both homunculi would indeed receive the healing from a single casting of Mending.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's maybe a better way to express what I was trying to say, that mending is not healing, the homunculus is. +1 \$\endgroup\$ Aug 19, 2023 at 6:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ The question remains if the healing effect that the homunculus creates is a magical effect. If so, due to the bond, it would heal the caster, wether it was caused by the spell or not. I find that question very hard to resolve conclusively. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 19, 2023 at 7:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or to put it another way: the Ring of Amity allows a spell or magical effect to affect an additional target, but it doesn't mean it has to affect this target in the same way as the first one. The effect interacts with the additional target in the same way it normally would. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 19, 2023 at 14:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Journer It doesn't matter what the benefit is for the original target, because the ring does not guarantee that the bonded creature receives the same benefit as the original target. It only causes the bonded creature to receive the benefit of the same spell or effect. The same spell or effect can have different results on different targets. The artificer does not get healed, because Mending does have a healing effect on them. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 19, 2023 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Senmurv Yes, that's essentially what I'm saying. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 20, 2023 at 12:37
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No, but up to the DM

If you cast mending on the homunculus servant, it is not the spell that restores hit points, it is the servant's feature that restores hit points.

The mending spell is not restoring hit points

For example, if you have immunity to damage, and a spell deals that type of damage to you, it is not the spell reducing the damage, and the spell is not changed in if it deals damage or not; it is your feature, the immunity, negating the damage. It is the same here, it is not the spell healing you, it is the feature. The text of the spell and its effect remains entirely unchanged, and contains nothing about healing hit points.

The effect that heals hit points is not magical

What remains is to determine if homunculus servant's property that causes the hit point gain is magical. If so, even though the spell does not cause it, a magical effect causes it, and you would benefit. The Sage Advice Compendium provides a checklist for this:

  • Is it a magic item? The effect is not a magic item, it is a property of a construct, that maybe also is a magic item. Infused objects are magic items. The servant itself however is a creature (it has s stat block), and the creatures that are transformed magic items are not considered magical (although you maybe could challenge that, as again there is no explicit rule saying they are not).
  • Is it a spell? Or does it let you create the effects of a spell that’s mentioned in its description? No. The spell mentioned is mending but the servant does not create mending's effects. And as discussed above, it is not the mending spell creating a healing effect on the bonded creature.
  • Is it a spell attack? No
  • Is it fueled by the use of spell slots? No
  • Does its description say it’s magical? No, the healing is not described as magical.

Based on this test, the effect would not be magical.

Why up to the DM?

5e is to a large extent a game of rulings over formal rules. I think the answer is that there is no explicit rule for that says a magic item cannot be a creature, or the effect of a magic item is magical. When you have to deduce what the rules might be by inferences of other, only distantly related game features, and when even consulting the SAC does not provide clarity although it explicitly treats the subject, it should be the DM's call.

It's obvious that the game is not designed to have unlimited free healing, especially not at low to mid levels. There are no healing cantrips on purpose, and the DMG advises the DM (p. 283):

A cantrip shouldn't offer healing.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, very nice. Ring of amity works on "magical effects" too, but it looks like the mending heal isn't magical.... I'm guessing you could say the entire infusion description is magical, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phoenices
    Aug 18, 2023 at 6:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Phoenices The real question is: what happens if you have two of these rings, and their wearers bond with each other, and then one of them is healed by a spell or effect? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2023 at 6:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ It’s the servant’s feature that allows mending to restore hit points, isn’t it? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2023 at 7:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Journer Ah, even more complications :). Thank you! I think that makes it much less likely to work as the magic item bullet is really the only one that provides a link to the effect being magical. In any case, thanks for a great collaborative effort here! \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2023 at 19:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Journer Unless mending is restoring the constructs hit points by just putting parts back together. That would be using magic to create an entirely mundane effect. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 19, 2023 at 11:51
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After thinking about this for a while, I think the RAW answer is yes.

The effect of Mending itself is obviously magical (being a spell that simply repairs without a check), and when used on the Homunculus Servant that effect restores hit points, even though Mending itself does not normally produce such an effect.

If the healing were the result of something like the use of a tool, or the expenditure of hit dice, then that would be non-magical.

So, this is a case of a magical effect restoring hit points, as per the explicit text of the Ring of Amity.

However:

Even though it seems like this healing exploit can occur according to RAW, I would avoid allowing it during low levels at least, due to the imbalance it can produce, even though each instance of healing would take 1 minute (due to Mending's casting time). At high levels, I would advise either still disallowing it, or possibly apply temporary hit points instead.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Mending has a 1 minute casting time \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2023 at 14:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NobodytheHobgoblin Thank you for correcting me on that. I will make the edit. Still doesn't change my overall opinion on its use. \$\endgroup\$
    – Journer
    Aug 18, 2023 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, np, just wanted to let you know. It also should not change the conclusion. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2023 at 15:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ After I had some time now, I took a deeper look at this and think it could work. The rules are ambiguous as far as I can tell, with it being more likely that RAW it would. I'd however not recommend allowing it, as does the DMG. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 18, 2023 at 17:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NobodytheHobgoblin My thoughts exactly. It seems to work RAW, but it goes against the spirit of RAI. \$\endgroup\$
    – Journer
    Aug 18, 2023 at 18:11
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No, since mending does not restore hit points

The items effect occurs on a spell that restores hit points. Nothing in the description of Mending mentions restoring hit points. The Homonculus Servant has an ability that makes it restore hit points if the Mending spell is cast on it, but that doesn't change the spell itself.

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