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In D+D 5e, the Bard's "Song of Rest" benefit triggers "if you or any friendly creatures who can hear your performance regain hit points at the end of the the short rest." Does this apply just when spending hit dice to regain hit points, or does it apply to any other way that a player might regain hit points at the end of a short rest (e.g. by casting a spell, using a Second Wind, eating a Goodberry, etc.)

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The description of "Short Rest", on page 186 of the PH, contains the following precise verbage:

A character can spend one or more Hit Dice at the end of a short rest, up to ...

Because of the identical phrasing, the rules as they are written allow for a bard's Song of Rest ability to trigger only for some other gain of HP with the same phrasing. If a fighter is all out of Hit Dice to roll, but somehow still has their second wind, a potion of healing, or an ally with a cure wounds spell, they wouldn't gain the bonus HP from the bard's song.

There may be spells or magical items with the same phrasing as the bard's ability and the standard short-rest HP gain, but none of the ones I checked in the PH would qualify. (Except for maybe an oddly worded wish.)

It would not be game-breaking to allow this as a house rule, though. (Nor would it surprise me to find it changed via errata.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Song of Rest specifically benefits the use of Hit Dice, whereas cleric domain of light specifically benefits cleric heal spells. Making Song of Rest apply to any healing buffs it to the point of weakening other classes. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Sep 15 '14 at 12:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ It was indeed changed in errata to only apply if Hit Dice were used, so the answer should be updated accordingly: media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/downloads/PH-Errata.pdf \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 21 '18 at 19:05
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The PHB Errata notes a change in the description of the Song of Rest feature:

Song of Rest (p. 54). A creature regains the extra hit points only if it spends one or more Hit Dice at the end of the short rest.

So yes, it now only applies if the creature spends hit dice to heal during the short rest.

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