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Spare the Dying 5e D&D Guide

Spare the Dying 5e D&D Guide

Spare the Dying is a healing Cantrip belonging to the Artificer and Cleric spell lists.

An ally who fights valiantly in combat may be targeted due to their strength. Those who envy them will want them dead, no matter the cost.

Spare the Dying will aid in keeping an injured ally stabilized. Having their light beside you one more time in the darkness to come.

The Player’s Handbook says:

Spare the Dying 5e

Necromancy Cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: Touch

Components: V, S

Duration: Instantaneous

You can touch a living creature that has 0 hit points. The creature becomes stable. This spell doesn’t affect undead or constructs.

Which Classes Can Pick Spare the Dying?

Traditional classes able to use Spare the Dying are the Artificer and Cleric.

The Artificer and Cleric can unlock and use this spell at level one.

No subclasses unlock Spare the Dying for free.

Is Spare the Dying Good in 5e?

Spare the Dying is an exceptional spell, especially for a Cantrip.

Keeping an ally alive is extremely important, as having them die can change the whole outcome of your campaign.

Note: It can also start a side quest where the remaining players must bring back the dead player.

Advantages – Spare the Dying

No Concentration

Spare the Dying isn’t a Concentration spell. When casting the spell, its effects are instantaneous and require no extra concentration to stabilize it.

This is an excellent benefit, as enemies cannot easily cancel the spell, and you can cast Concentration spells.

No Material Component

Not having a Material component makes it much easier for players to cast this spell.

Materials are expensive, rare, and difficult to find in the wilderness. Having to always head back to a town as soon as you require materials isn’t ideal. Luckily with Spare the Dying, that isn’t necessary.

Low Level

Spare the Dying is a Cantrip or level 0 spell. Players will instantly unlock this spell at level 1 and only have to choose if they want to make it a part of their spells.

If they choose to use it, they won’t have to worry about using a spell slot or preparing the spell before casting it.

Disadvantages – Spare the Dying

Close Range

A touch spell requires a player to be close enough to their target to touch them for it to work.

This can be relatively dangerous in combat as you’ll be entering close-quarters combat as a spellcaster.

Therefore, try to secure the area or pull the target away before casting Spare the Dying on them.

Note: Since its effect is instantaneous, you can take a chance and use the spell in dire situations.

Uses an Action

Spare the Dying doesn’t use time to be cast; using one action instead. Even though an action is worth much more than a player dying, it can also put your life at risk. Losing one person is still better than losing two.

Not being able to use other spells because your action has been used for that turn could enable enemies to attack you without consequences.

All you can do is try and run away or hope your party saves you.

Class Availability

Unfortunately, this spell is only freely available to the Artificer and Cleric. All other classes have to unlock this spell using their feats.

Note: It doesn’t matter how good the spell is. If players can’t easily unlock it, nobody will be able to see just how good the spell is.

Spells Similar To Spare the Dying

Similar spells to Spare the Dying are Revivify, Life Transference, Lesser Restoration, Healing Spirit, and Regenerate.

Note: An interesting addition would be Life Transference, which works in a very peculiar way.

When or How Should I Use Spare the Dying?

After Combat

Spare the Dying isn’t a spell players should immediately use while still in combat.

Remember, players close to death will have Death saves, which can keep them alive for a couple of turns if they don’t critically fail them.

While in this situation, you should be thinking of getting them out of their predicament, not casting Spare the Dying on them.

Focusing on the remaining enemies or pulling the player aside so they can’t die would be the smartest move.

After the battle, you’ll then be able to stabilize them, making sure they’ll live.

Dire Situations

Sometimes there are situations in D&D that nobody could have predicted.

‘Someone in your party falls into a trap while in goblin territory.’

‘While in a dungeon, your presence could have awoken a dragon that will hunt your party.’

‘The enemies could have high-level spellcasters able to wound allies easily.’

What Should You Do?

In most cases, injuries in these scenarios aren’t avoidable, even if they were to roll successful saves. That means you’ll have to think quickly, even if it might be dangerous.

Using Spare the Dying to stabilize the affected party member.

Then trying to run as fast as possible without also being injured should be enough to either hide from the enemies or escape their grasp.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Spare the Dying Stop Death Saves?

Spare the Dying will set a character’s number of failed and succeeded death saves to zero.

It even works on a Barbarian that is Raging Beyond Death.

Does Spare the Dying Restore HP?

Spare the Dying isn’t rolled to restore HP (and it can’t).

It stabilizes a target, bringing its HP to zero (if taken below zero) and resetting the death saves.

What Happens After Spare the Dying?

After Spare the Dying is cast on a target, nothing special will happen. The only thing that’ll change is that if the target wasn’t stabilized before, it would be now.

Final Thoughts

D&D isn’t a game that holds the hands of its players. Making rash decisions or acting without a plan is bound to hurt someone or cause a casualty.

Luckily, having Spare the Dying makes things a little more forgiving. Now, even if a player critically fails their Death save, this spell can quickly stabilize them.

Just make sure not to overdo it; the DM might get annoyed!

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