One-Shot adventures in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition are fundamentally different from main campaign adventures. Main campaigns are long format and allow for many rest breaks to take place during the adventure, refilling any spell slots and recovering missing health. On the other hand, one-shots are short-format where rest points are much less frequent and time to explore your character is limited.
As such, the way one builds their character can be less intensive in terms of personality, but their actual kit should be carefully crafted since the adventure will be short yet unknown to players. For those wanting to play a spellcaster, your spell choices will need to be chosen based on the limited knowledge of your party, your goals, and what the adventure might entail.
With this article, you will hopefully have an easier time choosing the right spells for any build while maintaining your effectiveness and power throughout the session.
1. Healing Word (1st Level, Evocation)
In one-shot adventures, time is of the essence, and every moment counts. Healing Word is a crucial spell for any party, allowing you to heal an ally as a bonus action. Its versatility and efficiency in combat can mean the difference between victory and defeat, ensuring that fallen comrades can quickly rejoin the fray.
Additionally, considering the lack of rest points and low amount of potions, if any, at hand, having healing spells can support your party even more than in main adventures.
2. Guiding Bolt (1st Level, Evocation)
Guiding Bolt is a powerful, 1st level, evocation, ranged spell that deals radiant damage and grants advantage to the next attack roll against the target. It can be a game-changer in intense battles, especially when used by a spellcaster with high attack bonuses.
Its damage output and the advantage it provides can significantly impact the tide of combat. Considering its low-level requirement, this spell acts as a consistent form of damage for any and all spellcasters.
3. Enhance Ability (1st Level, Evocation)
Enhance Ability offers a buffet of useful effects, allowing you to bolster a character’s capabilities for one hour. Whether you need to boost your party’s stealth, strength, or dexterity, this spell provides the flexibility to adapt to various challenges and scenarios.
One hour is quite long in D&D time, so Enhance Ability can act as a pseudo-substitute to simply playing a Bard or multiclassing with a Bard. Players that enjoy being supportive but want to try classes that tend to be offensive, such as the Sorcerer, should consider this spell.
4. Invisibility (2nd Level, Illusion)
In one-shot adventures, surprise and subtlety can be essential for success. Invisibility grants a creature the ability to move undetected, providing a tactical advantage for scouting, sneaking past enemies, or launching surprise attacks. It can also add intrigue and suspense to the story, keeping players on the edge of their seats.
5. Hypnotic Pattern (3rd Level, Illusion)
Hypnotic Pattern is a mesmerizing spell that can incapacitate multiple creatures within its area of effect. It’s perfect for one-shot adventures with large encounters, as it can neutralize dangerous foes without dealing lasting harm. This spell can also open the door to creative roleplaying opportunities, as characters find clever ways to take advantage of the mesmerized enemies.
6. Spirit Guardians (3rd Level, Conjuration)
When combat intensifies, Spirit Guardians can turn the tide in favor of the adventurers. The spell summons protective spirits that deal radiant damage to enemies in the area while providing resistance to your allies. Spirit Guardians shines in both offensive and defensive scenarios, making it a must-have for one-shot adventures with epic battles.
7. Leomund’s Tiny Hut (3rd Level, Evocation)
Remember how we mentioned the limited rest point in one-shot adventures? Leomund’s Tiny Hut can address this problem directly. One-shot adventures often involve time-sensitive missions, and Leomund’s Tiny Hut provides a safe haven for resting and recuperating.
It creates an impenetrable shelter that can protect the party from hostile forces, giving them a moment of respite to plan and strategize without interruption. Concentration is not required, so short rests are completely viable options while under Leomund’s Tiny Hut’s coverage.
8. Dimension Door (4th Level, Conjuration)
In the unpredictable world of one-shot adventures, mobility can be a game-changer. Dimension Door allows you to teleport yourself and a willing creature to a location within range, which can be a lifesaver when navigating treacherous terrain or escaping dire situations. It can also be used to traverse the battlefield during encounters, creating space between you and your opponents when the action becomes treacherous.
9. Wall of Force (5th Level, Evocation)
Wall of Force is the ultimate tool for creating barriers and controlling the battlefield. It can prevent enemies from advancing, protect the party from overwhelming odds, or even seal off a dangerous area. This spell can help turn an ordinary encounter into an epic and memorable showdown in one-shot adventures.
10. Chain Lightning (6th Level, Evocation)
Chain Lightning is a formidable spell that unleashes a bolt of lightning, targeting one creature and then branching out to others within a 30-foot radius. Each target struck takes substantial lightning damage, and the spell’s chaining effect allows it to affect multiple enemies in a single cast. This spell is perfect for decimating hordes of foes or dealing significant damage to a powerful boss and its minions.
11. Etherealness (7th Level, Transmutation)
Etherealness grants you and up to seven willing creatures the ability to enter the Ethereal Plane for the spell’s duration. This spell offers unparalleled mobility and versatility, allowing the party to move through solid objects and bypass obstacles that would otherwise be insurmountable. Etherealness can also be used for reconnaissance or escape, making it a valuable asset in one-shot adventures with complex environments or intricate challenges.
12. Mind Blank (8th Level, Abjuration)
Mind Blank is the ultimate protection against mental intrusion and manipulation. It grants immunity to psychic damage and protects against all forms of mental influence, such as charm, fear, or telepathy. In a one-shot adventure with powerful mind-controlling foes or cunning manipulators, Mind Blank ensures that your party remains clear-headed and focused on their objectives.
13. True Resurrection (9th Level Necromancy)
True Resurrection can provide a powerful story element for one-shot adventures that carry significant emotional weight. This spell allows you to bring a deceased creature back to life, which can lead to heartwarming reunions or dramatic sacrifices. While it may be an ultimate necromancy spell with high-level requirements, its impact on the narrative can make it a fitting climax for a particularly poignant one-shot adventure.
Conclusion on Top Spells to Use in One-Shot Adventures
Ranging from the 1st-level healing spell Healing Word to the powerful 9th-level necromancy spell True Resurrection, we have covered 10 of the best spells to pick when playing through a one-shot adventure. Depending on the level your party plays at, you may be able to take most of these spells or only one or two based on your interests and needs as a character.
The benefit of being able to assume you have the required components to cast a spell supports players in picking and trying out new synergies without worrying about cost or a risk-reward scenario for long-term play.
As you embark on your next one-shot adventure, consider incorporating these spells into your spellcasting repertoire to make the experience more thrilling, engaging, and memorable for everyone involved. Now, take what you have learned and stack your spellbook high with powerful ammunition to slay your foes and support your team in the next one-shot you play.