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In D&D 5e, the benefit of the Bard's "Song of Rest" feature triggers "if you or any friendly creatures who can hear your performance regain hit points at the end of the the short rest."

Does Song of Rest's benefit 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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    \$\begingroup\$ I notice you never accepted an answer for this question... \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 1, 2020 at 3:41

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The description of the bard's Song of Rest feature was changed in the very first PHB errata in 2015:

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.

(More recent errata PDFs quote the exact wording of changes, rather than attempting to paraphrase them - the latter has sometimes led to confusion or misinterpretation.)

The Song of Rest feature description now reads (emphasis mine):

Beginning at 2nd level, you can use soothing music or oration to help revitalize your wounded allies during a short rest. If you or any friendly creatures who can hear your performance regain hit points at the end of the short rest by spending one or more Hit Dice, each of those creatures regains an extra 1d6 hit points.

The extra hit points increase when you reach certain levels in this class: to 1d8 at 9th level, to 1d10 at 13th level, and to 1d12 at 17th level.

Thus, as of this errata, it now only applies if the creature spends Hit Dice to heal during the short rest. Other forms of regaining hit points do not trigger the benefit of Song of Rest.

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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\$ Sep 15, 2014 at 12:28
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    \$\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, 2018 at 19:05

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