Healing spells and abilities can be tough to balance properly, and at first glance Aura of Vitality seems to be a prime example of this. However, when you take a closer look it starts to make much more sense.
Like the other Aura of… spells, it is unique to Paladins and can aid allies within 30 ft. The unique selling point of the ability is that it doesn’t simply grant passive buffs, but rather heals one creature for 2d6 hit points.
It lasts a full minute, so in total Aura of Vitality can grant up to 20d6 worth of healing – an average of 70 hit points – while only requiring a third-level spell slot.
Compared to most other spells out there, this is absolutely crazy.
A Cleric casting Cure Wounds at this level would be lucky to heal up 20 hit points, and even the sixth-level Heal only just manages to match its average roll. There are a few spells that can almost compete in terms of raw numbers, but they all focus on targeting large amounts of people at once.
So why isn’t this the only thing Paladins ever use?
Well, for a start it takes a full minute to get the most from it, while the majority of combat encounters will be done in 30 seconds or so. If an ally is in trouble it can often be better to dump a middling amount of healing into them right now, rather than just let it trickle up over a longer timescale.
Not only does it take time for the spell to reach its full potential, it also requires you to maintain concentration throughout. This is something much easier for a backline Cleric than a Paladin that is likely to be in the thick of it right up at the front.
The fact that it’s being cast by a Paladin also brings a few issues of its own. As half-casters they don’t get access to third-level spells until much later than specialised casters such as Clerics or Druids, by which time it’s somewhat less impressive.
Finally, the action economy of D&D 5E is extremely constrained, and Aura of Vitality requires you to give up bonus actions for virtually the entire battle. Depending on builds and playstyles this can be less of an issue, but it’s still a downside.
Still, these niggles don’t diminish the fact that it’s an extremely powerful spell, and one of the very best out there when it comes to keeping a party topped up throughout a desperate struggle.
Aura of Vitality
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (30-foot radius)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
Healing energy radiates from you in an aura with a 30-foot radius. Until the spell ends, the aura moves with you, centered on you. You can use a bonus action to cause one creature in the aura (including you) to regain 2d6 hit points.