Harnessing the raw power of the earth, these spells sculpt stone and soil, transforming the battlefield into a playground of seismic upheaval and impenetrable fortresses. In this article, we delve into the deep realm of the earth and stone, exploring the 10 best earth spells in D&D.
10. Mold Earth
Mold Earth is a cantrip that serves as the simple earth-bending spell of D&D. Using this cantrip, you can manipulate a small amount of earth in a few different ways. Mold Earth is not intended for combat but rather to assist you on your adventures. The first use of the cantrip is to move dirt or stone slowly from one point to another near you.
Moving stone like this does not have enough force to cause damage. Additionally, you can alter the terrain under a point, turning it into difficult terrain for 1 hour. Used under the right situations, this can provide some minor help in combat by slowing opponents down. The last use of the cantrip is to create images and shapes on the stone or dirt, and you can even change its color.
The cantrip may initially feel underwhelming, but considering that dirt and stone can be found almost everywhere in a game and Mold Earth can be used endlessly as it is a cantrip, it gives this simple earth-bending spell a lot of use over time.
Earthbind is a 2nd-level earth spell used as the answer to annoying flying enemies. Once used, the spell creates yellow earthen strips that reach into the air onto the target, grabbing it and pulling it down.
The spell has no size restrictions, meaning you can pull anything flying down to the earth, from stirges to dragons and skyships. As a campaign goes on, more and more flying enemies show up, most notably dragons.
Fighting a creature that you cannot reach is basically impossible, so having this spell in hand can be the difference between a roasted barbarian or a looted hoard.
8. Earth Tremor
A 1st-level spell with the potential to knock upwards of 16 enemies down at once, Earth Tremor causes a tremor under an area. Any creature in the area must make a saving throw or take some damage and be knocked prone. The spell’s main intention is to give the party a quick advantage by stopping the movement of their surrounding enemies or getting a better position against them.
The earth spell can be cast using higher-level spell slots to deal more damage. Since the main use of the spell is not to damage enemies but to hinder them, it’s almost always preferred to be cast as a 1st-level spell. The spell can find use against all enemies that are not in the air and at all levels, and it is also accessible from the start of the game for most classes.
7. Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp
This 2nd-level spell perfectly exemplifies how mighty the earth can be. Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp uses the soil or stone of an area to create a hand the size of an average person. The hand can then grab any creatures around it, restraining them and, with subsequent turns, crushing them.
Even if the creature escapes the earthen grasp, the hand can simply target a new creature. The hand remains until it is dispelled and cannot be destroyed otherwise (aside from dispel magic and similar spells). This spell offers two benefits to a party: it can be used to restrain a creature and slowly deal damage to it.
When fighting multiple enemies, the hand can be used to target the strongest enemy, taking it out of combat for a few turns while also slowly weakening it until the other, weaker enemies can be dealt with. The spell cannot be cast with higher-level spell slots, meaning at later levels, its damage falls off, but its restraining ability remains useful at any level.
6. Erupting Earth
Many players know the feeling of fighting large groups of enemies and getting excited to use a spell meant for multiple targets, but then realizing that some enemies remain unharmed.
The 3rd-level spell Erupting Earth can target a 20-foot cube, making the earth erupt beneath that area. Creatures inside the cube are guaranteed to take damage. After the eruption, the area where the spell was cast becomes difficult terrain, slowing the remaining creatures inside and turning them into easier targets for the rest of the party.
The spell’s main use is to damage and slow multiple creatures, creating an advantageous situation for the players rather than leaving room for escape. However, in desperate situations, it can be used for that too.
Not all groups have a 7-foot-tall barbarian to absorb all the damage of combat and halve it just because of rage; even rage runs out eventually. The 4th-level spell Stoneskin can make any creature resistant to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage—the primary types of damage that barbarian’s rage mitigates.
The spell does not require concentration either, allowing it to be set up before combat or at the start of it and then forgotten about while the frontline warrior of the group tanks damage as if they were a raging barbarian. There are very few situations where the spell cannot be used, such as fighting a group of mages casting spells from afar.
However, considering the number of situations the spell can be used in, it should explain how useful it is and why every party that can should have it.
4. Wall of Stone
One of the elemental wall spells, Wall of Stone can be used to summon a wall of stone. The wall consists of ten 10-foot-by-10-foot panels that can be arranged in any way but must remain in a continuous pattern. The wall itself does not offer any unique defenses like the other walls, and it does not damage creatures that are on it while it is summoned.
However, the wall does block the passage of creatures and projectiles and has a number of hit points per panel. In the hands of an uncreative mage, the spell would be cast simply to block off enemies and protect oneself. But in the hands of an experienced mage, the spell can be used to cut enemies off from each other while leaving room for warriors to fight the singled out enemies.
The wall becomes permanent after 10 minutes, meaning it can be used to create bridges across canyons or even prepare battlefields, creating advantages for the party. Deciding when to cast the spell and how to arrange its panels is key to using this 5th-level spell to its fullest extent.
3. Move Earth
When thinking about earth magic and spells, terraforming the land is one of the first things that comes to mind. The 6th-level spell Move Earth can be used to manipulate large areas of dirt, sand, or clay. The spell lasts for 2 hours, during which you can slowly move around, raise, or lower the targeted area of earth. It is a simple spell, but one that can demonstrate the true power of a mage.
In most adventures, this spell does not find much use as it provides no benefit in combat and takes a long duration to use. However, much like Wall of Stone, it can be used to prepare the terrain for combat, creating high ground for allied warriors or confusing and hindering terrain for opponents.
2. Investiture of Stone
Investiture of Stone is an earth spell that all earthen mages should have. Casting the spell covers the caster with stone, making them one with the ground they walk upon. While the spell is active, the caster has resistance to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, which is the full effect of Stoneskin. The caster can also walk through stone without being hindered.
While active, the spell can be used to create small earthquakes centered on the caster that knocks creatures prone. Much like the other investiture spells, Investiture of Stone offers a great array of perks to the caster, only being held back by the caster’s ability to utilize them and the fact that it cannot be cast on anyone except the caster, unlike Stoneskin.
Earthquake is the highest-level and most destructive spell on this list, even though it deals no direct damage to creatures. This 8th-level spell creates an earthquake for one minute in a massive area with a 100-foot radius. The earthquake disrupts the concentration of casters and can create permanent fissures at random locations in the area.
Structures within the zone take damage every turn or may eventually collapse, endangering any creatures inside. The fissures formed from the earthquake can make structures collapse immediately and can be up to 100 feet deep, effectively killing any creature that falls inside unless it can fly. This spell has massive potential for destruction and chaos.
Earthquake can level whole towns and large parts of cities, killing any creatures inside. It can be used to weaken armies marching into war or deter spellcasters. Overall, it is an all-around horrifying spell that leaves permanent scars on the earth.