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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    So I thought it would be useful for us to create a list of the most useful and powerful spells in 5E based on actual real life gameplay.

    For the purposes of this list, please assume that you are a reasonable player who is not trying to get one over on anyone, and you are in a game with a reasonable DM that is attempting to faithfully implement the rules as intended, but without imposing their view of game balance.

    For example, a strict reading of the Find Steed spell arguably allows you to twin spells, because it states that "While mounted on your steed, you can make any spell that you cast that targets only you also target your steed." And some spells have a Range of "Self (60-foot cone)" or some similar area of effect. But few people honestly believe that this is the intent of a 2nd level spell. So it's useful because fighting from the back of a mount is useful, but its not something is uber powerful in all circumstances.

    On the flip side, the 3rd level Animate Dead gives you a skeleton or zombie for 24 hours that you can mentally command as a bonus action, and you can create and control a very large number of undead this way. Although its not something most players would plausibly use in most civilized areas, in most other circumstances having one or dozens of minions under your control is extremely useful and powerful. And there's really not much room for a DM to misread or interpret it some other way unless they purposefully choose to nerf the player using it.


    If you're looking for a good index of spells (without spell descriptions or recommendations) there's an excellent thread on it here. Fellow Playgrounder JackRos also put together a solid Excel spreadsheet of spells here. You can also find additional non-core spells online in the free, legal, and WotC officially published Elemental Evil Player's Companion - and spells from that supplement are noted as such in the list below.


    Direct Damage: Note that at first glance, most direct damage spells don't appear to be particularly effective or worth expending a spell slot on compared to other spells. The trick is to find direct damage spells with a useful secondary effects, and/or that deal area of effect damage, so that you can damage multiple enemies at once. Since the default for 5E is the "theater of the mind" without tabletop miniatures or a map, the effectiveness of direct damage spells is therefore often highly dependent on your DM, and how many enemies he thinks are standing within the area of effect of your spells. It's also worth mentioning that many direct damage spells are very effective when you first get access to them, but do not scale well. So I generally suggest keeping one direct damage Cantrip and one or two direct damage area of effect and/or damage+status effect spells from one of your higher level spell slots on your list at all times.

    Bones of the Earth (Druid 6): Creates pillars beneath 6 spaces (or more if cast out of higher level). Can deal damage to creatures in those spaces, can Restrain them if the pillar slams them into a ceiling, and permanently leaves the pillars in the spaces that you targets. The pillars can be destroyed with damage if targeted, but leave behind difficult terrain. This spell is a great combination of area of effect damage, status effect, and battlefield control. Elemental Evil Player's Companion pg 15.

    Chill Touch (Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard Cantrip): Minor damage, but also prevents the target from regaining any hit points until your next turn. If you know that a boss enemy is on the ropes and you don't want them to heal up, or you're fighting a troll or similar creature, this is the spell to use.

    Eldritch Blast (Warlock Cantrip): If you take 2 levels of Warlock and invest in the Agonizing Blast (adds Cha bonus to damage) and Repelling Blast (+10 ft auto-push) Invocations, this becomes one of the better at-will damage options in the game, and it scales well.

    Guiding Bolt (Cleric 1): Solid damage at low levels, and the next attack made against the target has Advantage. Great if you have a Rogue in the party, though it doesn't scale well.

    Spiritual Weapon (Cleric 2): This spell is arguably the reason why Clerics do not get or need the Extra Attack class feature. Spiritual Weapon is only a Bonus Action to cast and continue each turn, gives you one additional attack every round, uses your spellcasting Ability Score for attack and damage, for 1 minute (without needing Concentration). So if you're using a Heavy weapon to attack with your action and your Spiritual Weapon to attack with your Bonus Action, your damage output is (2d6 + Str) + (1d8 + Int/Wis/Cha), which at low levels is +5 to +10 points of average damage higher then the damage you'd get from Two Weapon Fighting or just making one attack with a Heavy Weapon. For long combats it pairs very well with the Spirit Guardians (Cleric 3) spell, which provides additional damage and battlefield control each round (though it requires an Action + Concentration). However, Spiritual Weapon isn't useful if you want immediate burst damage, and it doesn't scale particularly well.

    Vicious Mockery: (Bard Cantrip): A nifty at-will debuff that's very useful against non-caster "boss" enemies they you're unlikely to kill in one round. Vicious Mockery deals minimal Psychic damage, but only has a Verbal component to cast, and it can impose Disadvantage on the target's next attack roll if its made before the end of its next turn.


    No Saving Throw
    Counterspell (Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard, Trickery Cleric 3): As a Reaction, automatically counters a spell cast within 60 feet of the same spell slot or lower, and allows an Ability Check for higher level spells. Magic is the most powerful thing in 5E D&D, so this is probably one of the most important spells you can take. And be prepared to have the DM use it against you as well.

    Sleep (Bard, Sorcerer 1): Put one or more enemies to sleep for 1 minute (no Concentration needed). The number of enemies put to sleep is based on their hit points, and the number is higher then the damage dealt by most other spells, and scales well. An excellent spell to use against mooks, or in the second or third round of combat after you've reduced the enemies hit points.


    Save or Lose/Suck: Note that some of the most potent monsters have Legendary abilities that allow them to automatically pass one or more Saving Throws. And monster ability scores can be higher then player ability scores, and thus their Saving Throw modifiers will often be higher then your Save DC. So Save or Lose spells are not always the auto-win button they were in previous editions. They're generally best used against mid-range enemies that lack Legendary abilities but wouldn't be killed with a single direct damage spell.
    Banishment (Cleric, Paladin, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard 4): Charisma Save, one (or more, if cast out of higher level slot) creature is removed to a harmless demiplane for up to 1 minute (with Concentration), and Extraplanar creatures can be permanently removed. Removing the toughest enemy from combat using this spell, kill all of his friends, then stand in a circle with Readied Actions to kill the enemy when he returns.

    Charm Person (Arcane Trickster, Bard, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard, Trickery Cleric 1): Wisdom Save or one humanoid (or more, if cast out of a higher level slot) is Charmed for 1 hour. They know they're Charmed after the duration ends, so this spell is most useful in combat, or if you need to temporarily bypass someone you don't care about hating you.

    Contagion (Cleric, Druid 5): Constitution Save, or target takes a massive debuff from a list of diseases for at least 3 rounds.


    Buffs
    Absorb Elements (Druid, Ranger, Wizard 1): Resistance to any one energy type until the start of your next turn as a Reaction, and you deal a little extra damage on your next melee attack. This is an excellent defensive spell for mid-high level spellcasters to keep on their list, especially if you lack Proficiency in Dexterity Saving Throws, since a failed Save against an energy spell/effect can easily kill you. Elemental Evil Player's Companion pg 15.

    Animal Shapes (Druid 8): Grant a limited version of Wildshape to all willing creatures within a short distance for up to 24 hours (with Concentration). Useful for all the same reasons Wildshape is useful (more hit points, better movement, new abilities, stealth, etc), especially when used on a large number of Animated Dead or helpful town guardsman.

    Armor of Agathys (Warlock 1): Adds temporary hit points for 1 hour (without the need for Concentration) AND a creature that hits you with a melee attack while you have the hit points takes the same amount of Cold damage. And keep in mind that the Warlock can restore his (very limited number) of spells with a Short Rest, and always casts Pact Magic spells out of the highest level slot he is capable of (up to 5th level). So this is one of the Warlock's best spells for his first 10 or so levels.

    Bless (Cleric, Paladin 1): Three (or more, with a high spell slot) allies can add a small bonus to all attack rolls and saving throws for up to 1 minute (with Concentration). Although this doesn't sound like much, it is, because such bonuses are extremely rare in 5E.

    Enhance Ability (Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer 2): Grants Advantage on all rolls to one Ability Score for one creature (or more with if cast out of a higher level slot), for up to one hour (with Concentration). Initiative is a Dexterity check, as is Stealth, and its the most common Saving Throw.

    Freedom of Movement (Bard, Cleric, Druid, Ranger 4): Makes the target effectively immune to anything impairs or reduces movement. This includes difficult terrain, underwater movement, Grappled, Paralyzed, and Restrained, for 1 hour (no Concentration required).

    Guidance (Cleric, Druid Cantrip): Adds a minor bonus to the next ability check roll taken within the next minute (with Concentration) of a touched creature. Nifty because its a Cantrip, and thus at-will, and thus adds a floating bonus to pretty much any check outside of combat, or your Initiative roll if you have the time to cast it before combat.

    Haste (Sorcerer, Wizard, Oath of Vengeance Paladin 3): Target's speed is doubled, it gains a +2 bonus to AC, it has advantage on Dexterity saving throws, and it gains an additional action on each of its turns (that can only be used to make 1 weapon attack, Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object). Probably one of the best buffs in the game.

    Investiture of Stone (Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard 6): You gain Resistance to non-magical blug/pierce/slash damage, you can use your Action to knock enemies prone in a small area of effect, and you can move through difficult terrain and solid earth or stone like air (though you can't end your movement there), for a duration of 10 minutes (with Concentration). Resistance to most non-magical/energy damage for a long duration is great for fights against mook armies. But more importantly, when in a dungeon or other area with a lot of corridors, this spell lets you move through a wall, take an Action, then move back through a wall to avoid all/most counter attacks. Elemental Evil Player's Companion pg 15.


    Utility
    Alter Self (Sorcerer, Wizard 2): The ability to change appearance is hugely useful for spying and infiltration. Most DMs I know love it when players try creative roleplaying solutions, rather then "I walk up to the 5 orc guards and try to kill them." The aquatic adaptation and natural weapons are also useful in certain niche situations.

    Arcane Eye (Wizard 4): Puts the scry into "scry and die." This spell creates an invisible eye that you can use for surveillance for up to 1 hour (with Concentration). Note that if you use this spell on a regular basis, your DM will probably add more traps that can't be seen to any location you use it on. But knowing what enemies lay ahead is hugely useful.

    Minor Illusion (Arcane Trickster, Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard, Cantrip): Create a minor visual or auditory illusion effect within 30 feet. Noteworthy because the spell does not have a Verbal component, and thus you can use it to distract or trick enemies while remaining hidden.

    Pass Without Trace (Druid 2, Ranger 2, Way of the Shadow Monk lvl 3, Trickery Domain Cleric level 3): Huge bonus to Stealth to you and all allies within 30 ft, and you can't be tracked, for up to 1 hour (with Concentration).


    Minions:
    Animate Dead (Cleric, Wizard, Oathbreaker Paladin 3): As noted above, Animate Dead is an easy way to get lots of minions to fulfill lots of different roles, even if you just have a couple to act as meat shields. The only down side comes from roleplaying implications, ie, you probably can't walk into a civilized area with an army of undead soldiers. And some old school players with a Good alignment may not approve of using undead.

    Animate Objects (Bard, Sorcerer, Wizard 5): Although not as potent as other summons, this spell has the virtue of creating 10+ creatures under your control in a single Action for up to 1 minute (with Concentration), that you can command as a Bonus Action. It's a great way to "flood the zone" against an enemy mook rush, or surround a boss enemy so that it can't move.

    Conjure Animals/Celestial/Elemental/Fey/Woodland Beings (Varies): All of these spells summons one or more creatures, which you command verbally with no Action required, for up to 1 hour (with Concentration). In general, use of these spells is probably one of the best mid-high level strategies for a full caster, though the Concentration requirement means that you need to do your best to hang back from the front lines of combat.

    Find Familiar (Wizard 1, Pact of Chain Warlock lvl 3): Permanently summons a little Celestial, Fey or Fiend animal minion. Familiars are weak and very fragile. But familiars act on its own turn, most familiars make excellent scouts, like all minions they can use the Help Action to grant you Advantage, and they can deliver touch spells you cast. That last part is particularly important for Pact of Chain Warlocks, which can get an Invisible familiar, allowing your familiar to deliver your touch spell with Advantage.

    Find Steed (Paladin 2): Permanently summons a loyal warhorse or similar creature, with a template and intelligence, and a (highly debated) share spells ability. You can only have one at a time. Mounted Combat is extremely potent in this edition, so this spell is extremely useful at low-mid levels. At higher levels, you'll probably want an ally to Animate or Conjure or create a Simulacrum of something instead.

    Simulacrum (Wizard 7): Creates a duplicate of one beast or humanoid, with all of its statistics and abilities, that obeys your commands, permanently until destroyed. Takes a long time to cast, you're limited to one at a time, it has a gp cost, it has 1/2 hit points and can't gain levels or regain expended spell slots. But still, its probably the most powerful minion you can get.


    General
    Rituals: Rituals can be cast for free without using a spell slot if you take 10 minutes to cast them, and you basically get access to all the Rituals from your class, though it must be prepared or in your spellbook. So I'm not going to add them to this list unless they're worth using a spell slot to cast them, since even modestly useful Rituals can be used at-will outside of combat for no cost. But here is an excellent guide to Rituals that's worth a read. Most notably, the Ritual Caster Feat gives you access to all Rituals for one class.

    Wish (Sorcerer, Wizard 9): Can duplicate any 8th level or lower spell, as an Action, without needing costly components. For example, you can create an instant Simulacrum, doubling all of your spell slots and action economy, every day. Can also do a bunch of other open ended reality altering stuff, although doing so comes with a lot of negative strings attached and might prevent you from ever casting Wish again.

    Magic Initiate Feat gives you access to two at-will cantrips and one 1st level spell that you can cast once per day. This is a useful way for any character to pick up spells like Mage Armor, Find Familiar, Minor Illusion, or Guidance.

    War Caster Feat gives you Advantage on Constitution Saving Throws to maintain Concentration when you take damage. You can perform somatic components of spells when you have weapons or a shield in both hands. And when a hostile creature's movement provokes an Opportunity Attack from you, you can use your Reaction to cast a spell at that creature instead of an Opportunity Attack. The spell must have a casting time of an Action and must only target that creature. This feat is basically required for any spellcaster that frequently uses Concentration. There's also a built in combo that comes with it - cast Command or some similar enchantment to force an enemy to use their movement to move away from you, then you get to cast another cantrip or spell against them as a Reaction in place of an Opportunity Attack.

    Bard can cherry pick a small number of spells off of any spell list (with Lore Bards getting more such spells), which is one of the things that makes the Bard so versatile and powerful.


    If you have any additional spells you'd like to add to the list, please provide a description as to why you think they're useful, class(es) that have access to them, the spell level. Note that Bards can access spells from any list using their class abilities, but I won't bother listing them in every spell description unless its on the Bard spell list by default.

    Thanks.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    It may not apply for the list if the spell has to be incredible at every level, but I'm finding that Guiding Bolt is fantastic. It's Cleric only, and it really shines when used in a party with a Rogue. The damage is excellent for first level, and advantage on the next strike against the enemy either ensures another Guiding Bolt finds its mark, or allows sneak attack to go off without a hitch.
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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Bard, Sorcerer, Wizard
    Sleep - No save, target(s) is/are basically out of the combat. The lack of coup de grace makes sleeping not as severe as older editions but it is a reliable way to split your enemies or just avoid an encounter at low levels. In concert with a rogue (sneak attack multiplied on crit) makes this an effective 1-2 punch as well.

    Druid, Ranger, Shadow Monk
    Pass without Trace - +10 to stealth checks for the whole party for an hour

    Wizard
    Simulacrum - Only works on humanoids and beasts now but it is no longer half strength, just half hp. Prime target would probably be a moon druid or just use it as a creature to put polymorph on. Even if the wizard just has it as a copy of himself he can select magic jar as one of his spells prepared and the simulacrum's lifespan will increase drastically.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Simulacrum and Wish for obvious reasons that have been discussed at length elsewhere, particularly Simulacrum's ability to chain Wish and itself for effectively infinite wealth/Simulacrums.

    Any of the Conjure spells that allow you to spam the combat with mooks (an infamous example would be Conjure Woodland Beings and 8+ Pixies) and basically break 5e's action economy.

    Sleep; basically a win button spell at early levels.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    I should note that Find Steed shouldn't allow you to get multiple destructive waves or stuff life that. While those spells have a range of self, they do not target only the caster, they clearly target an area which may contain many creatures.

    As for good spells, I think most people know Contagion is good. If you can succeed the attack it put a very very powerful debuff that will last at least three turns. Not an auto win, but amazing value non the less.

    Also I think most people know Eldritch Blast is amazing, but it's especially good for rogues and well worth magic initiate as with a single action if gives you multiple chances to get your sneak attack damage, and it hits harder than any weapon a rogue is likely to use. it can't be used for sneak attack, but with the right invocation still it a great spell.
    Last edited by TheOOB; 2014-09-14 at 08:14 PM.
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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    I'd recommend:

    Divine Favor (Paladin 1): Bonus action self-buff to provide an extra 1d4 damage on all weapon attacks for the 1 minute duration. Requires concentration, but with a low spell level and action cost it's reasonable to risk in melee. As weapon damage in 5e scales primarily with number of attacks, the damage adds up quickly and remains useful. It also benefits from being doubled on a critical hit and from rerolls from Great Weapon Fighting.

    Enhance Ability (Bard 2, Cleric 2, Druid 2, Sorcerer 2): Useful almost exclusively for the Cat's Grace application to give one (or more, with a higher-level slot) creature advantage on an initiative roll. Can be cast up to an hour before combat and dropped to make way for another concentration spell once combat begins.

    Freedom of Movement (Bard 4, Cleric 4, Druid 4, Ranger 4): Hour-long buff that does not require concentration. Makes the target effectively immune to anything impairing movement, grapples, restraints, and the conditions paralyzedand restrained.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    Also I think most people know Eldritch Blast is amazing, but it's especially good for rogues and well worth magic initiate as with a single action if gives you multiple chances to get your sneak attack damage, and it hits harder than any weapon a rogue is likely to use.
    Remember that sneak attack doesn't work with spells

    I'll toss Guidance on the list. Free boost to pretty much any of the party's skills outside combat comes in very handy.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    For example, a strict reading of the Find Steed spell arguably allows you to twin spells, because it states that "While mounted on your steed, you can make any spell that you cast that targets only you also target your steed." And some spells have a Range of "Self (60-foot cone)" or some similar area of effect. But few people honestly believe that this is the intent of a 2nd level spell. So it's useful because fighting from the back of a mount is useful, but its not something is uber powerful in all circumstances.
    Its not simply unintended its just wrong. Range and Target are discrete parts of spell casting in the rules and the Range section makes clear that Range: Self has two facets, one for spells that target you and one for spells that create cone/lines/etc only originate from you as a separate clause thus are not targeting you at all.

    Since Find Steed specifies targets not range the only way you can cast a cone is if you "target only yourself" with Cone of Cold... and if your horse wasn't taking damage well it could too. Though that's fairly dubious too since Area of Effect is a third discrete portion of the rules.

    And insisting on Range would cost you say Fly and Haste or any other single target ability of Touch and greater. The only 'exploit' remaining is the Magic Jar thing which I have not yet found the grounds to shoot down... beyond the general anytime you move beyond a spell description so badly you're can't really expect the DM to go "yeah sure" that rules everything.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorrin View Post
    Remember that sneak attack doesn't work with spells
    Can't believe I missed that. Thanks for correcting me. I'm not sure if they're really worried about rogues being overpowered in this edition or what.
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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Simulacrum and Wish for obvious reasons that have been discussed at length elsewhere, particularly Simulacrum's ability to chain Wish and itself for effectively infinite wealth/Simulacrums.
    Quote Originally Posted by Person Man
    So I thought it would be useful for us to create a list of the most useful and powerful spells in 5E based on actual real life gameplay.

    For the purposes of this list, please assume that you are a reasonable player who is not trying to get one over on anyone, and you are in a game with a reasonable DM that is attempting to faithfully implement the rules as intended, but without imposing their view of game balance.
    10char....

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Using Simulacrum to double your action economy is presumably using the rules as intended.

    Wish used as an insanely flexible spell is likewise.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorrin View Post
    Remember that sneak attack doesn't work with spells
    Really disappointing that Arcane Trickster doesn't change that fact...

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Soras Teva Gee View Post
    Its not simply unintended its just wrong. Range and Target are discrete parts of spell casting in the rules and the Range section makes clear that Range: Self has two facets, one for spells that target you and one for spells that create cone/lines/etc only originate from you as a separate clause thus are not targeting you at all.

    Since Find Steed specifies targets not range the only way you can cast a cone is if you "target only yourself" with Cone of Cold... and if your horse wasn't taking damage well it could too. Though that's fairly dubious too since Area of Effect is a third discrete portion of the rules.

    And insisting on Range would cost you say Fly and Haste or any other single target ability of Touch and greater. The only 'exploit' remaining is the Magic Jar thing which I have not yet found the grounds to shoot down... beyond the general anytime you move beyond a spell description so badly you're can't really expect the DM to go "yeah sure" that rules everything.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    I should note that Find Steed shouldn't allow you to get multiple destructive waves or stuff life that. While those spells have a range of self, they do not target only the caster, they clearly target an area which may contain many creatures.
    It shouldn't work, but technically the cone/line thing does.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Eslin View Post
    It shouldn't work, but technically the cone/line thing does.

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    Nice Picture

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Prestidigitation, and all its holy mimics, is still ever as useful.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Eslin View Post
    It shouldn't work, but technically the cone/line thing does.

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    No, technically it does not work.
    You are focusing on the wrong part of that text.
    You are reading it as:
    A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin for an area of effect (described below).

    When you should be reading it as:
    A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin for an area of effect (described below).

    Also note the following:
    Targeting Yourself
    If a spell targets a creature of your choice, you can choose yourself, unless the creature must be hostile or specifically a creature other than you. If you are in the area of effect of a spell you cast, you can target yourself.

    Areas of Effect
    Spells such as burning hands and cone of cold cover an area, allowing them to affect multiple creatures at once.
    A spellís description specifies its area of effect,which typic ally has one of five different shapes: cone, cube, cylinder, line, or sphere. Every area of effect has a point of origin, a location from which the spellís energy erupts. The rules for each shape specify how you position its point of origin. Typically, a point of origin is a point in space, but some spells have an area whose origin is a creature or an object.
    A spellís effect expands in straight lines from the point of origin. If no unblocked straight line extends from the point of origin to a ocation within the area of effect, that location isnít included in the spellís area. To block one of these imaginary lines, an obstruction must provide total cover, as explained in chapter 9.


    You are the point of origin. You are not the target. The area of effect is the target, and as your pic clearly shows, the cone's origin is not inside of its area of effect.
    "If you are in the area of effect of a spell you cast, you can target yourself"
    So you cannot target yourself with a cone of cold because you are not in the area of effect.... unless you also want to take all 8d8 cold damage, in which case feel free to target yourself. And then when you do target yourself, trhat 8d8 damage becomes 16d8 damage, for everyone in the area of effect, including you and your mount.

    You are targeting the area, and the effect is originating from you.
    So it is not Target: Self by any explanation you can give, unless you're trying to commit suicide.

    From another thread:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    Just thought I'd pop in here to clarify.

    Some people seem to think that Cone of Cold is a target:self spell.
    It is not, it is a range:self spell.
    It targets an area of effect.

    This is the confusing line:
    A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin for an area of effect (described below).
    Point of origin
    area of effect
    Some people read this to mean that the point of origin is the target, and as you are the point of origin, that makes you the target.
    But they should be reading it with the emphasis on the area of effect.

    Not this: point of origin for an area of effect
    But rather, this: point of origin for an area of effect

    There's an important line on page 204 which reads: A coneís point of origin is not included in the coneís area of effect, unless you decide otherwise.
    If you combine that line with the earlier line which they misread (A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin for an area of effect (described below).) they take that to mean that they are the point of origin, and also the target, and also outside the area of effect.

    But they always miss the all important line, also on page 204, which reads: If you are in the area of effect of a spell you cast, you can target yourself.

    As it was clearly stated under the description of a cone AoE, you are not in the AoE unless you choose to be.
    This means that you cannot target yourself unless you want to put yourself in the AoE.

    So you cannot use Cone of Cold as a target:self spell unless you want to take 8d8 cold damge.
    You cannot use Cone of Cold with Find Steed unless you want you and your steed to both take 16d8 cold damage.

    CoC is not a target:self spell.
    The spell originates from you, but you are targeting an area of effect.
    If you want to use Find Steed cheese to have your mount cast the spell a second time, then you have to put yourself in the AoE which means your mount is surely going to die, and you probably are as well.
    Last edited by Shadow; 2014-09-15 at 03:22 AM.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    No, technically it does not work.
    You are focusing on the wrong part of that text.
    You are reading it as:
    A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin for an area of effect (described below).

    When you should be reading it as:
    A spell's description tells you whether the spell targets creatures, objects, or a point of origin for an area of effect (described below).

    You are the point of origin. You are not the target. The area of effect is the target, and as your pic clearly shows, the cone's origin is not inside of its area of effect.
    You are targeting the area, and the effect is originating from you.
    So it is not Target: Self by any explanation you can give.
    Although as the PoO you are exempted from the effects, and Find Steed is probably intended to exempt Horsey McCarryalot from the spell also, even if he's nicked by the area of effect.
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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Occasional Sage View Post
    Although as the PoO you are exempted from the effects, and Find Steed is probably intended to exempt Horsey McCarryalot from the spell also, even if he's nicked by the area of effect.
    I edited in the part that matters. It just took me a minute longer to find and reformat it than I expected.
    Last edited by Shadow; 2014-09-15 at 01:51 AM.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    The case for Charm Person:

    1) Reasonably optimized NPCs have been "the most dangerous game" in previous editions, (though that may no longer hold true, will have to see the full MM to make a good judgment), making the humanoid restriction not so burdensome.

    2) Premium Social value combined with reasonable Combat value

    3) Advantage on saves in combat largely accounted for by being a 1st level save-or-suck that can be expanded to multiple targets. Especially deadly with Heightened Spell.

    The case for Counterspell:

    1) Excellent Action Economy

    2) Excellent Utility in combat against NPCs, since casting is common

    3) Good Utility in combat against monsters, since monsters frequently cast spells now too. Some creatures like the Androsphinx have full Spellcasting and others like Pixies cast specific spells; Counterspell can assert its powerful action economy advantage against either.

    More things about Banishment:

    1) The scalability can be key, especially since you can cast it in something like 2/3 of an enemy group and bank that either one or two fails the save, setting up a divide-and-conquer either way.

    2) It can function as a fairly cheap, fast escape button from Planar Adventures when cast on yourself and/or allies.
    Last edited by DeAnno; 2014-09-15 at 06:20 AM.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Right, I'll add my two favourites to the pile.

    Animate Dead:

    Incredibly useful when you have an open space and preparation time. That's not going to be the case a lot of the time, but when it is (and you have a source of humanoid corpses handy) it allows you to eliminate pretty much any creature in the space of a round.

    Contagion:


    Anything vulnerable to disease (which unlike 3.5 is most things we've seen so far) will be absolutely destroyed by this spell. If it hits they will spend anywhere between 3 rounds and the next week permastunned, and the 3 round thing is only if they pass 3 saves in a row on disadvantage. Beyond that it is a great way to boost other spells - if you want your steed to magic jar the BBEG, casting contagion on him will give him a penalty to charisma saves. Repeat for wisdom if you want to dominate, etc etc.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    I wish to nominate the Chill Touch cantrip for Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards. Does D8 damage (usual scaling up to 4D8), and prevents the target from regaining HP until your next turn. And that's how it's phrased: cannot regain HP. So healing, regeneration, vampiric effects, druid recovering HP when they wild shape - none of them work. It's up for debate whether this means the half-orc and / or barbarian's "If you are reduced to 0, you are instead reduced to 1" trick is canceled.

    The ability to do modest damage and also shut down HP recovery is a nice package for a cantrip.
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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    I wish to nominate the Chill Touch cantrip for Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards. Does D8 damage (usual scaling up to 4D8), and prevents the target from regaining HP until your next turn. And that's how it's phrased: cannot regain HP. So healing, regeneration, vampiric effects, druid recovering HP when they wild shape - none of them work. It's up for debate whether this means the half-orc and / or barbarian's "If you are reduced to 0, you are instead reduced to 1" trick is canceled.

    The ability to do modest damage and also shut down HP recovery is a nice package for a cantrip.
    Works with everything on that list except wild shape - wild shape sets your hp to that of the animal you're turning into. You're not regaining hp, you're quite literally gaining it.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    I wish to nominate the Chill Touch cantrip for Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards. Does D8 damage (usual . It's up for debate whether this means the half-orc and / or barbarian's "If you are reduced to 0, you are instead reduced to 1" trick is canceled.

    .

    It isn't recovering hp it is reducing damage taking.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberThread View Post
    It isn't recovering hp it is reducing damage taking.
    I'm AFB but I remember the wording as being something along the lines of "if you would be reduced to zero you are reduced to one instead" which agrees with you, but thought I'd throw it out there.
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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Eslin View Post
    Works with everything on that list except wild shape - wild shape sets your hp to that of the animal you're turning into. You're not regaining hp, you're quite literally gaining it.
    There's a feature (AFB) that allows a druid to recover some HP when returning to normal.

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberThread View Post
    It isn't recovering hp it is reducing damage taking.
    I'm AFB but I remember the wording as being something along the lines of "if you would be reduced to zero you are reduced to one instead" which agrees with you, but thought I'd throw it out there.
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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by DeAnno View Post
    The case for Charm Person:

    1) Reasonably optimized NPCs have been "the most dangerous game" in previous editions, (though that may no longer hold true, will have to see the full MM to make a good judgment), making the humanoid restriction not so burdensome.

    2) Premium Social value combined with reasonable Combat value

    3) Advantage on saves in combat largely accounted for by being a 1st level save-or-suck that can be expanded to multiple targets. Especially deadly with Heightened Spell.
    My previous post seems to have vanished, so I'll try again:

    It seems like Charm Person is only of "Premium Social" value if after an hour you're long gone and never intend to return (or don't fear the target's vengeance, in which case why was the spell necessary in the first place?).

    As for combat value, it's not clear to me that "a friendly acquaintance" would stand by while you massacred his allies.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    The Charmed definition makes it clear that the Charmed person flat out can't attack you, though I suppose a DM could rule he can attack your allies.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Rope Use is sometimes the only way to get a short rest in a dungeon or fortress infiltration situation. Usefulness scales with number of BM fighters, warlocks, and monks.

    Scorching Ray and either Elemental Affinity or Empowered Evocation is killer.

    Sorcerers can Twin Spell Chromatic Orb at low levels. It is a better use of 1st lvl spell slots and points that casting Scorching ray until Elemental Affinity licks in at 6th level.

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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by DeAnno View Post
    The Charmed definition makes it clear that the Charmed person flat out can't attack you, though I suppose a DM could rule he can attack your allies.
    That's not even a DM ruling, the charmed condition offers no effects in regards to your allies, other than the fact that you'd have advantage a social interaction check to convince them not to attack your allies. The charmed condition doesn't even mean the target likes you, just that they can't attack you and your social interactions are stronger vs them.

    However, the Charm Person spell might offer some protection to your allies. It makes to target regard you as a "friendly acquittance", which may make them see your friends as friends of friends, so they would be less likely to attack them unless given a reason to.
    Last edited by TheOOB; 2014-09-16 at 03:22 AM.
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    Default Re: List of Useful and Powerful Spells

    Added suggested spells, plus a link to an extensive index of spells.

    Thanks for the help. I'll be adding more updates as people make more suggestions and/or as I find more useful spells.

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