RPG Blog

D&D5e Basics #5 How Do Spells Work?

This video is D&D Basics #5 and it is about how spells work. In the previous video I spoke a little bit about Spell Slots and who has Spell Casting Abilities.

Unlike other games and editions of D&D spells are very versatile in 5e. It isn’t as simple as knowing damage, and range. Some spells are more than that. It is important to know various things about your spells so you can get the most out of your abilities as a spell caster.

SPELL LEVEL - First you need to know what spell level the spell is and how it scales in different spell slots. Some spells may not scale in an advantageous way. For example Bless gives up to 3 characters the effects at first level and it gives you additional characters it can effect in higher slots. Well if you are a 3 person party why would you ever choose to put it in a higher spell slot?

RITUAL SPELLS - Then it is also useful to know if a spell is a ritual spell or not. With the option of a ritual spell you can spend 10 minutes doing a ritual in order to not spend a spell slot. This is a really great way to use some spells as to not burn up all of your spell slots.

CASTING TIME - Casting Time is important because you need to know if it will require your action, bonus, reaction, or a whole turn to cast a spell.

BONUS ACTION - If it is a bonus action that means it is a really quick swift spell that you can cast as well as still doing your regular action.  You only get one bonus action per turn though.

REACTION ACTION - If a spell can be cast as a reaction it has to be in response to something else like a character leaves your reach provoking an attack of opportunity. Maybe a character attacks you and you can cast shield as a Reaction. Again you only have one reaction per turn.

LONG CASTING TIMES - If your spell takes a long time to cast you must maintain concentration the whole time. Maintaining concentration will force you to make saving throws, and you can’t cast other concentration spells while doing this.

RANGE/AREA EFFECT - The range and area of effect of the spell is very important. Your spells can vary from a touch spell to over 100ft. There are also feats that double your distance.

COMPONENTS - Verbal, Somatic, Material components all play a part in your spell casting. If it has a verbal component and you are not able to speak then you can’t cast the spell. If it requires somatic components then you need at least a free hand unless you have a feat allowing you to cast through your weapons/items. Material components require you to have specific things unless you have an arcane focus.

DURATION - The duration of a spell effects a lot of things. These will be either instant or concentration related. If they are concentration oriented then you can’t cast any other concentration spells while doing this spell.

Here are some of my favorite spells that aren’t regular actions. Healing Word (bonus), Shield (reaction), Shield of Faith (Bonus), Shillelagh (bonus), Searing Smite (bonus), and Swift Quiver (bonus).

That is how spells work. If you have any questions leave a comment below. Also maybe you have some spells you prefer to use. Leave your stories below and remember to comment, subscribe, and share.

by Juce