Let’s take a look in our Player Handbook and stop at the page that describes what Arcane Gate in 5e D&D is and what to use it for. There is a reason why you don’t see this conjuration in a ton of campaigns. The spell just isn’t that strong for using a level 6 slot.
Just like with many actions you can take in DnD, the power of some spells is directly linked to how creative you can use them. There are quite some niche uses where you can use Arcane gate to its full potential. I am going to be discussing these in my guide here.
Despite being a level 6 conjuration, I have opted to make this guide accessible for beginners too. So some parts are going to seem pretty obvious for veteran DMs and Players. However, information like that can serve as a reminder, or if you are like me, you can use it for your mindless reading about DnD in general.
You start moving your hands in a magical way and say the magical words while using your mind to focus and concentrate to make sure the spell reaches its full power. You point at the two points on the ground where you want to have the Arcane Gate conjured. One of these points needs to be within 10 feet of you and another point needs to be within 500 feet of you.
When you have done this, a circular portal – or an arcane gate – appears. This portal is 10 feet and there are two of them, one at each point you have picked in your range. The arcane gate will not work if the space is occupied. So if there is an object or a creature like a giant poisonous snake at the spot where you wanted the portals to appear, it isn’t going to appear.
These portals you have just conjured are two-dimensional, and they glow. They are filled with a mysterious mist and are hovering just a few inches above the ground. These rings are only, only visual from one side, so either the one max 10 feet away or max 500 away. The ring that is visible, going to be the portal.
This is what happens when you enter an Arcane Gate
So what can you do with those two portals. Any Player, NPC, creature, or object that enters the portal will come out at the other. Just like two sides of the same door. However, you need to remember that there is only one portal that brings you to the other portal, the visible one. Trying to pass through the non-portal has no effect.
You can not use the portal to look at the other side 500 feet away from it. The mist will block your vision completely. The rings however can be rotated. You can use your bonus action, when it is your turn, to rotate the arcane gates and have the side that is active face the opposite direction.
In-depth beginner explanation of Arcane gate 5e
In this part, I am going to explain all there is to know about the technical aspects of the spell. This is a chapter meant for beginners and people who haven’t played Dungeons and Dragons for quite a while.
There is a very brief info block at the end of this chapter that will give you all the information you need to know at a glance. You can find this spell in the official players’ handbook on the pages 214 to 215.
Level: This is a level 6 conjuration spell. That means you need at least a level 6 spell slot open to be able to use this spell. As an adventurer, you will be quite strong at this point in the game. I think the conjuration would have been more fitting as a level 4 spell, but that is just my opinion.
Casting time: To cast the spell, you will need to use your action. That means you won’t be able to cast another spell during this turn, like Incite Greed. There is also a bonus action you can do when you have already cast this spell, and it is your turn.
This bonus action is rotating the rings, so the active side is in a different direction. For example, instead of your players coming out of the faraway portal facing North, they will come out facing south.
Range: There are two ranges you need to take into account for this spell. The first range is within 10 feet of the caster. This is the arcane gate you, an object, a creature, or NPC will enter. This is the visible gate. The second range is the 500 feet around you. This is where you or whatever enters the visible gate will come out.
The place where you want the portals to appear needs to be clear of any obstacles and monsters!
Components: There are two components you need for to cast this 6th level conjuration magic. You will need a verbal component and a Somatic component. Verbal means you need to be able to make an audible noise.
So your player character can not be gagged or whisper. The somatic component is being able to move your arms and point out the target for your spell. You can not use spells with a somatic component if you are bound.
This is one of the spells that does not require you to have a material component.
Duration: This conjuration lasts up to 10 minutes. It is a conjuration spell. So if your character breaks concentration by getting hit or casting another spell, the spell will automatically end.
Classes: There are a couple of classes that are able to use this level 6 spell. These are the sorcerer, the Warlock and of course the Wizard. There are a ton of Homebrew classes that can use it too, but I am only going to discuss those you find in a vanilla 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons game.
Potential and 4 best uses of arcane gate in 5e DnD
1. Extend the range of your projectiles
What goes in must come out. If you shoot an arrow or throw a rock (with a terbuchet) through the portal, it is going to come out at the other end. That means you can increase the range you have with 500 feet. There are two issue with using the gate like this.
The first one is, you will need another NPC or player to help you out with this strategy. The second problem is that the mist obscures your view, so you can not see what exactly you are going to shoot at. This can be somewhat solved if you have a scout that you are telepathically connected with.
2. Have an impregnable shield
Turn the entrance of the arcane gate away from you facing the enemy. Everything your enemy will shoot at you, magic missiles, arrows, etc, is going to come out at the other end of the portal. This is pretty useful to stop a couple of attacks.
It is possible to have the second portal – which is invisible! – to appear behind the caster or another mob of enemies. That way the projectiles and magical attacks aren’t going into the void, but at a target that you want to hit!
You do need to keep in mind that you have to concentrate to use the spell, and you can not change the location of the portal. The only thing you can do is change the direction of the portal, not the locations. If you want to change the location you will need to recast the spell.
3. Run away faster
Something that I just do not understand about Dungeons and Dragons, is the fact that no one ever runs away from a challenge. It just does not make any sense if you are role playing. Newsflash: Your character probably isn’t part of a death cult, so dying is not something you want to do. If enemies are too strong, just run away.
That is what this portal can do for you! By using the arcane gate you can get away 500 feet right away. That gives you – most of the time – a big enough gap to get away from almost every enemy. The fact that you need a level 6 concentration spell does make this a little harder to pull off, but it is most certainly possible.
4. Make them drop
The most obvious and probably most fun way to use Arcane Gate in 5e is to make Creatures and NPC’s drop from a height. Remember, the portal works just like a door, and you can place it anywhere a few inches off the ground. So you can not place it all the way in the air and just make people dropdown.
You will need to put the portal at the end of a cliff or somewhere up the stairs. Of course, you need to trick creatures to actually go through the portal. A good way is by using it yourself when you are pursued by a mob of enemies, and use your bonus action to turn the direction of the portal to make if face a cliff.
Here are my favorite uses on how to use this spell and make the most out of the spell. If you have another creative way or a cool anecdote on how to use Arcane gate in 5e DnD (or in Pathfinder) as a player, let me know by leaving a comment.
Final thoughts about this arcane conjuration spell
Arcane Gate 5e has the potential to be a great spell if you use it at just the right moment. Sadly enough, in a DnD campaign, you might be able to use it to its full potential 2 or 3 times. It is a great spell to flee from combat. However, in my experience, players don’t really ever flee from a fight, no matter the odds of being defeated and having to start over again.
I would not recommend you to pick arcane gate if you want to build a wizard or warlock that is optimized for combat. If you aren’t interested in optimal character builds, Arcane Gate has a lot of funny uses that can help you out to enjoy your play through a lot more from a geeky wizard perspective.
In summary, this is an okay conjuration spell, but it would have been if you only needed a level 4 spell slot and not a level 6.
Is arcane gate good in 5e?
It is an okay spell that only gets wonderful and useful if you are in the right niche situation and if you are a creative person that knows how to use spells in an unconventional way. I do think it is a great spell to have in your asset for some fun uses like using it to make your ranged attacks go further.
The best way to utilize the arcane gate spell in DnD is by using it as a shield to tank some extremely strong ranged attacks. Both for Players and Dungeons Masters, Arcane Gate is at most a supplementary spell and in no way the best magic you can put in your level 6 slot.
How can I abuse this spell?
There are quite a few people who ‘abuse’ arcane gate by not reading the rules very well. It is a concentration spell, so you can not cast your portals and start attacking. There isn’t a real way to abuse the spell in a way that does not break the rules. If you want to know more about how to use conjuration magic to its full potential, just scroll up to the chapter that goes in-depth about the uses.
Can an arcane gate face up or down?
Yes, but there won’t be a lot of space if it faces down and gravity is going to stop you from going through the portal if you can’t fly if it is facing up. The rules of arcane gate 5e DnD explicitly say that it is hovering a couple of inches from the ground.
So unless there is a hole that is not as large portal, you will only have a few inches of space to come out. If it is facing up, remember that the gate works like a regular door. So it isn’t going to push you out of the portal. You will need to be able to fly away from the portal in order to actually go through it.
Did you enjoy this in-depth guide about an underused conjuration spell? I have a lot more Dungeons and Dragons guides on my blog! If you like to read more about spells with fun uses, I strongly recommend you to check out my guide on animate dead. Here you will learn how to use the magic to its full potential, and my experiences as a Dungeon Master using and fighting this spell.
Feel free to leave a message if you have any questions or remarks about this article 🙂