Fifth edition seems to have removed any means of healing undead.

The positive/negative energy duality of 3rd edition seems to be gone. Negative energy spells now do necrotic damage; some undead are resistant or immune to necrotic damage, but it isn't listed as healing them. Classic negative energy spells like inflict wounds and harm don't list undead healing as a possible effect.

For zombies and skeletons it might not matter, but liches and vampires would never risk their necks if they didn't have some way to recover hit points. What is it?


Spells such as Regenerate and Heroes' Feast (and probably others that I've missed, too) can heal undead, however I don't think that that's the real answer here.

The first answer is that undead can rest, just like anyone else. Crawford tweeted on this: https://www.sageadvice.eu/2014/09/19/undead-short-rest/ It doesn't mention long rests, but I think it's safe to assume that if they can take short rests, they can take long rests, too. So they have the same option for restoring health as any other non-spellcasting character or creature.

The second answer is that most powerful, sentient undead have a backup plan in case of death. It's often the reason they became an undead in the first place. Vampires, mummy lords, and liches of all kinds all return to life if they are reduced to 0 hit points unless adventurers manage to prevent them.

Many powerful dead have ways of healing themselves on top of this, usually at the expense of others. Vampires and demiliches suck the life out of their victims, and vampires continually regenerate on top of everything else.

So while spells that can heal the undead are indeed in short supply, the simple answer is that most undead don't really need them. Also consider that even if Cure Wounds and other spells like it could heal undead, those are spells that most undead wouldn't have access to anyway.


The same way as anyone else.

Magical healing might not work, but nothing in the Resting section (PHB 186) says that it doesn't work for undead creatures, and the Undead Nature trait only says that you don't require sleep, not that you can't sleep, so there is no reason that a Lich or Vampire couldn't restore their health with a bit of beauty sleep.

There are also other ways to regain hitpoints more quickly if you have the need. Neither Potions of Healing nor the Healer feat say anything about not working for undead (or constructs for that matter) so they work just fine.

There are even quite a few spells that lack the "not for undead" clause: Aid, Aura of Vitality, Goodberry, Heroes' Feast, Regenerate, Vampiric Touch, and Wish.


In addition to the other answers, Xanathar's Guide To Everything provides a spell called Negative Energy Flood that can provide temporary hitpoints specifically to undead, unlike "negative energy" spells from previous versions, which apparently healed undead.

XGtE, p. 163:

You send ribbons of negative energy at one creature you can see within range. Unless the target is undead, [...]
If you target an undead with this spell, the target doesn’t make a saving throw. Instead, roll 5d12. The target gains half the total as temporary hit points.

Another way to actually heal your undead instead of providing temporary hit points is the spell Life Transference, also XGtE, p. ?.

You sacrifice some of your health to mend another creature’s injuries. You take 4d8 necrotic damage, and one creature of your choice that you can see within range regains a number of hit points equal to twice the necrotic damage you take.

As mentioned by Miniman, Regenerate can also heal undead, since it has no restriction such as this spell has no effect on undead or constructs, like most other healing spells.


Feats such as the healer feat allow a character to use healers kits to do significant amounts of healing regardless of creature type


The Healer feat

Unlike many sources of magical healing, the Healer feat (phb, p. 167) only refers to a creature, without specifying that it cannot be undead or a construct. Using it, or having somebody use it on you, would let you mend your broken bones to the tune of 1d6 + 4 + level hit points, each short rest.


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