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Relevant rules for simulacrum:

The duplicate is a creature, partially real and formed from ice or snow, and it can take actions and otherwise be affected as a normal creature.

And:

If the simulacrum is damaged, you can repair it in an alchemical laboratory, using rare herbs and minerals worth 100 gp per hit point it regains. The simulacrum lasts until it drops to 0 hit points, at which point it reverts to snow and melts instantly.

This seems pretty cut and dry. The spell produces a "real" creature that can otherwise "be affected as a normal creature."

Still, the rules about repairing it have me second guessing whether it can be affected by healing magic. Is there any reason to believe that it cannot be healed by healing magic?* Is it safe to assume that the ability to repair the simulacrum exists parallel to healing magic, allowing characters without healing magic to repair a simulacrum?

*Perhaps a monster entry, DMG information, or developer word-of-god.

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    \$\begingroup\$ My original reading of the spell took it to mean a simple, exact duplicate of Bob the level 10 Fighter, but with half the hit points and possibly some doubt about how he heals. But now I'm reading it as creating a creature only, a Human that happens to look like Bob, but is otherwise not a fighter at all. Would it be appropriate to broad the scope of this question? I want to know: Does the Simulacrum have class or racial features? What are the implications of the line regarding spell slots? \$\endgroup\$ – Justin T Apr 20 '15 at 0:51
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Reading the description in context gives:

You shape an illusory duplicate of one beast or humanoid that is within range for the entire casting time of the spell. The duplicate is a creature, partially real and formed from ice or snow, and it can take actions and otherwise be affected as a normal creature. It appears to be the same as the original, but it has half the creature’s hit point maximum and is formed without any equipment. Otherwise, the illusion uses all the statistics of the creature it duplicates.

What the simulacrum is is an illusory beast or humanoid that is partially real - illusions don't heal naturally or magically.

Reading the monster manual everything is a creature - constructs, undead, beasts, huminoids etc. Being a creature does not mean it can heal naturally or magically - some creatures can and some can't.

The simulacrum has the statistics of the creature and half its hit points - it does not have any of the racial or class features except for spell slots that cannot be regained so healing surges and short rests don't come into it.

If the simulacrum is damaged, you can repair it ...

You can repair it - you can't heal it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hm, I hadn't noticed that the description doesn't actually refer to the original creature's class at all. I may have to create a second question or broaden the scope of this one. The text re: "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" would seem to imply the creature would have levels and class features like wizard spell slots, but maybe not? \$\endgroup\$ – Justin T Apr 20 '15 at 0:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @daleM considering there are no rules for illusions in general, is there any indication that you can't heal an illusion? (other than that it's an illusion?). Also worth mentioning that illusory is not defined in the MM (at least that I can find). \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Apr 20 '15 at 0:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wax eagle even if the rules definitively stated that illusions can't receive magical healing, there would still seem to be some doubt given the line about the simulacrum being "partially real" \$\endgroup\$ – Justin T Apr 20 '15 at 0:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point that everything is either a creature or object - being a creature doesn't necessarily imply it can heal. \$\endgroup\$ – Bartimaeus Oct 29 '17 at 15:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ The newly released errata now clarifies that the simulacrum is a construct and thus cannot be affected by most if not all healing magic. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Nov 16 '18 at 19:49
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I found a relevant tweet from Jeremy Crawford:

Q: Can the creature created by Simulacrum be healed by spells?
A: To restore hit points to a simulacrum, you must use the costly alchemical procedure mentioned in the spell.

Using must implies that repairing isn't merely an addition to standard healing, it completely substitutes any other means to heal simulacrum.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The 2018 PHB errata also specifies that the simulacrum is a construct, which also means most healing spells won't work on it. You may want to update your answer to acknowledge this. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 27 at 10:52
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No, the alchemical process is the only way it can regain hit points

If the simulacrum is damaged, you can repair it in an alchemical laboratory, using rare herbs and minerals worth 100 gp per hit point it regains.

Repair not heal

First note that this does not say heal it says repair. Though treated as a normal creature it is still a being made of ice and snow. It is that reason that it likely has a special way to repair it.

Allowing other forms of healing means that the alchemical process would be useless

This statement must preclude other forms of regaining hit points otherwise it is meaningless. Even though it does not say so explicitly, the above method is clearly meant to be the only way for a simulacrum to regain hit points.

It does not say that potions or healing magic or rest doesn't work for example, but if they were possible then the expensive complicated process for healing would be meaningless and there would be no point in including it. Sleep especially makes this meaningless because it is free and available to every creature/class and allows for healing completely. Why would anybody ever pay 100gp per hit point if they could sleep or use any of the myriad of other methods for regaining hit points available? This logic also applies to traits or features that let you heal.

RAI agrees

Jeremy Crawford supports this logic as well:

To restore hit points to a simulacrum, you must use the costly alchemical procedure mentioned in the spell.

The Simulacrum is excluded from most healing magic already

The 2018 PHB errata has specified that the simulacrum is now considered to be a construct. As such, many healing spells will not even work on it.

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For all intents and purposes, it is a creature.

This means that any magic or other effects that affect creatures can affect it. Thus healing magic that can work on creatures will work on it.

The rules for repairing it are in addition to this and serve to provide a method for restoring HP that does not require magic. It's also worth mentioning that the creature might also have hit dice (though that is unclear). The spell description seems to indicate that natural healing is impossible so hit dice should be out, but other bits of the spell description suggest this is incorrect.

I had a thought that the creature might be considered a construct, but that is clearly not the case (as such it's not subject to construct limitations on spells).

However, due to the lack of sufficient rules to fully govern all situations, this particular spell will require some discussion and cooperation with your DM in order for all situations (such as healing, hit dice and other things) to be fully clarified.


This answer, which for when it was published was consistent with what was available in the published material, has been eclipsed by the 2018 PHB errata where (at long last) the creature type (construct) is specified. {KorvinStarmast}

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, I hadn't even considered Hit Dice or short/long rests. It does seem almost certain that natural healing should be impossible, otherwise repair rules would be wholly out of place. \$\endgroup\$ – Justin T Apr 19 '15 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JustinT yeah, that's how I would rule as well, natural healing/HD are out. The caveat there that I put in my answer is that they aren't specifically excluded. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Apr 19 '15 at 18:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ "The rules for repairing it are in addition to this and serve to provide a method for restoring HP that does not require magic." - have you any explanation why those rules are then so heavily skewed against the non-magical healing? If magical healing is allowed, then the repair rule seems way off in terms of balance, to the point of being useless. \$\endgroup\$ – Neil Slater Apr 20 '15 at 6:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ The 2018 PHB errata specifies that the simulacrum is a construct, which also means most healing spells won't work on it. You may want to update your answer to acknowledge this. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 27 at 10:53

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