Greater Restoration 5e Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Danger is pretty prevalent in the world of Faerun. There are pests like goblins and kobolds that mess with lone adventurers, massive monsters such as mind flayers and dragons, and other issues such as curses, diseases, and spells. Put together, all of these can easily decimate a party of adventurers and end a campaign before it even begins!

So that’s why it’s always important to have someone in your party who can heal. Whether it’s a paladin or cleric with their spells or an alchemist who knows how to make potions on the fly, health is a big proponent of 5e D&D and any other tabletop game. Restoration and healing spells have tiers, and while some directly restore hitpoints, others will remove status effects and other maladies.

The one restoration spell that everyone wants to have is greater restoration, which almost acts like a get-out-of-jail-free card for your adventuring party. But how do you get it? What situations are dire enough to use it in? All of these questions and more will be answered with this guide.

What Is Greater Restoration?

Here is the excerpt for Greater Restoration from the player’s handbook:

  • Greater Restoration
  • 5th-level abjuration
  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: Touch
  • Components: V, S, M (diamond dust worth at least 100 gp, which the spell consumes)
  • Duration: Instantaneous

You imbue a creature you touch with positive energy to undo a debilitating effect. You can reduce the target’s exhaustion level by one, or end one of the following effects on the target:

  • One effect that charmed or petrified the target
  • One curse, including the target’s attunement to a cursed magic item
  • Any reduction to one of the target’s ability scores
  • One effect reducing the target’s hit point maximum

Let’s break this powerful spell down. It takes an action and you need to be able to touch your target for it to work. You also need a Verbal, Somatic, and Material component. In this case that is diamond dust, and the ability to move your hands and speak the words of the spell.

Now, you can either reduce the exhaustion level of the target by one or undo one of the following effects. You can remove charm, petrification, and curse effects which can be very helpful. Especially if your party has been unknowingly exposed and has attuned too a cursed magical item. This will happen more than you think in some D&D games, especially games with darker themes such as CoS.

Additionally, certain effects can reduce a character’s ability scores or the maximum number of hit points they can use, so greater restoration can heal that right away too. Now do keep in mind it does not restore health or hit points and also can’t resurrect the dead, but it does allow you to remove these debilitating statuses if you are stuck deep in a dungeon with no end in sight.

Who Can Use Greater Restoration?

Greater Restoration

Sadly, this isn’t a spell everyone and their familiar can have as a part of their toolkit. It is restricted to bards, druids, and clerics only in the base game, but artificers and celestials can receive it too all at the 5th level. Granted it is a 5th level spell that you get a slot for at 9th level, so it’s more of a mid-game level spell. Still, it’s a spell that at least one party member should have in their arsenal.

At the 9th level, the enemies will be getting more and more dangerous, so having a restoration spell that can overcome most of the negative status effects that will happen during encounters can be very beneficial! Especially whenever things like petrification are involved, because those can become massive problems for a party very quickly if they don’t have a way to deal with turning to stone.

When Should You Use Greater Restoration?

There are certain enemies who can use a lot of the effects that greater restoration can fend off. For example, the attacks of an Intellect Devourer can drain intelligence from you and permanently lower your score, a medusa could paralyze your party with her gaze, and some undead has the ability to lower your hit points by draining life. Additionally, if your party finds themselves, victims of a cursed item or weapon, then greater restoration can easily remove those curses and prevent them from sticking to your party.

Of course, the need for greater restoration will depend on what you are fighting. If you are fighting goblins and other common enemies, then they might not be inflecting too many negative status effects. However, if you are fighting your way through an Illithid ship, an undead Lich’s keep, or a medusa’s lair, it is a very handy spell to have.

Do I Need To Know What’s Going On?

Greater Restoration 1

In some cases, there might be something that is wrong with a character that your characters will not know about, but your players will know. Now when that happens, your cleric can still cast the spell even if the character doesn’t know what’s happening or looks healthy. For example, if your barbarian got a new sword and is starting to act strangely, you can cast greater restoration and it will automatically dispel a curse or remove a charming effect.

It will rely on your DM to describe what changes the spell has caused to the barbarian, and a wise D&D player might be able to guess what the change is or was, but for a short answer… you do not need to know that a character is cursed or affiliated to cast the spell.

Is The Spell Worth Getting?

Of course, as a cleric, bard, artificer, or druid, your first 5th LVL spell at LVL 9 is going to be a pretty powerful one. It is also going to be a tough choice as well because there are several good options out there. Still, a good strategy for a party is to have at least one person have the spell in their arsenal.

If you are fighting several different enemies that are constantly draining the party through negative status effects, then this spell is going to help level the playing field. However, if you aren’t fighting those types of creatures, then you might not be using the spell as often and can put off its selection until later.

What Doesn’t Greater Restoration Cure?

Greater Restoration Cure

The Greater Restoration spell can overcome petrification, attunement to cursed items, damage to hit point maximums and ability scores, and charm effects. It seems like a catch-all cure-all, but it doesn’t work that way. There are a few effects that even the powers of greater restoration cannot cure.

One of them is the disease of lycanthropy, especially if the affected in question has been born with the disease. If they were cursed to receive it in their adult life, then it could be cured with greater restoration. However, that is often to the DM’s discretion.

Greater Restoration also isn’t something that can actively heal or bring people back from the dead, only higher-level resurrection spells and other healing spells can do that. Additionally, another thing that it can’t cure is phobias. They can remove the phobia itself, but they aren’t going to remove the fear.

For example, if your character is deathly afraid of the beholders, and greater restoration was cast to remove the phobia, your character could encounter a beholder again and not be petrified with fear. They’d still be a bit uneasy around it, but otherwise would be able to function normally.

If you are confused about what greater restoration can and can’t cure, then think about the implications of the word ‘restoration.’ To restore something means to bring it back to an original state. If your character was exposed to a cursed item, then use of the greater restoration spell can restore them to a point from before they got the cursed item. However, if the character was given a curse before they were born, then there’s no previous point where they didn’t have the curse to restore them too.

What Is The Difference Between Lesser and Greater Restoration?

Greater restoration isn’t the only spell that can be classified as a restoration spell, as there is a restoration spell for lesser restoration too. Here are the stats according to the player’s handbook:

  • Lesser Restoration
  • 2nd Level abjuration
  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: Touch
  • Components: V S
  • Duration: Instantaneous
  • Classes: Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Ranger

You touch a creature and can end either one disease or one condition afflicting it. The condition can be blinded, deafened, paralyzed, or poisoned.

Lesser restoration has a few advantages and disadvantages over the greater restoration variant. For example, it is easier to use as a 2nd level spell which most characters get pretty early. Additionally, it can be used by Paladins and Rangers who are locked out of using greater restoration.

It has a reduction in exactly what it can cure and what you can do, where you can either cure one disease or one of the listed conditions. Paralyzation and having a character be poisoned are pretty common at lower levels while being blinded and deafened is a little more circumstantial. However, it’s a very useful spell if you find yourself needing to fix one of these conditions, so if the situation calls for it you can make some good usage out of this spell.

It doesn’t cure as many effects as greater restoration, but if your party wants the Paladin or the Ranger to have a few beneficial spell options until LVL 9 is reached, then it can be a good option.

Greater Restoration 5e FAQs:

Question: What Spells Can You Pair With Greater Restoration?

Answer: Support spells often work the best whenever they can work together, and if your cleric, druid, or bard can spare multiple spell slots they can make some pretty good combos with greater restoration. For example, if your main damage dealer was paralyzed by a Medusa’s glare, he likely took some damage as well, either from that attack or the nonparalyzing attacks. So they might be able to throw on a healing word as well to restore their hit points along with their mobility.

Mass Heal and Mass cure wounds can also help stave off death for a party. If the druid can’t get close enough to touch the afflicted party member, then a massive burst of healing magic can easily bolster the HP pools of everyone until the battle concludes and the other spell can be cast.

Question: Where Do I Get Diamond Dust?

Answer: Diamond dust is a material component for the greater restoration spell, and you need about 100 gp worth for one casting. This certainly can put a financial strain on the spellcasters of the party, but before we worry about the cost we need to look at how to find them. You can find diamonds in most jewelers’ shops and possibly even in alchemical stores or magical shops. They are rare and expensive items though, so keep that in mind.

You can also take diamonds and start shattering them with hammers and other tools. Diamonds might be the hardest metal in the world, but they sure aren’t indestructible. Diamonds are expensive but might be very easy to find in a mining town if you are looking for uncut gems. Places of magic probably have diamonds and diamond dust available due to their need to be used in spells.

Question: Does Greater Restoration Give Knowledge?

Answer: One of the things that greater restoration doesn’t do is give knowledge about what it is curing. If you are casting greater restoration on someone, you don’t need to know what is being cured. Instead, you just pick an effect and cure it. For example, if someone is charmed and you know about it, you can choose to use greater restoration to remove the effect, but you would not know how the charming spell came about or why it was cast.

Question: Using Greater Restoration Against Vampires

Answer: If you are clashing with vampires, then you might consider using greater restoration to cure vampirism. However, unlike in other media, vampirism is not a curse but instead something that happens after death. You die and are reborn as a vampire, and that is that. Greater Restoration would not work to cure vampirism.

You can slay them and then use a resurrection spell as it stops curses that are affecting the creature in death, but that’s also easier said than done.

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