Like a symphony of liquid magic, water spells weave a dance of droplets, waves, and currents, harnessing the elemental power of water to shape the world itself. Few forces are as fundamental and versatile as water.
From tranquil streams to raging tidal waves, water spells offer spellcasters a remarkable array of possibilities and power. In this article, we delve into the realm of the seas, exploring the 10 best water spells in D&D.
10. Shape Water
Shape Water is the water-bending spell of D&D. This cantrip can be used to manipulate a small amount of water. The water cannot be used as a projectile to hurt creatures, but it still has other uses such as moving the water away from your path or into someone else’s path.
Using the spell, you can also form simple shapes and images on the water for communication purposes. You can also change the appearance of the water, making it seem ghastly green or bloody red.
Shape Water uses might seem limited, but in reality, the only restraint is the user’s imagination, especially since water is the most common element in D&D, considering most parties carry some with them at all times.
9. Water Walk
This 3rd-level spell has a variety of uses and can be surprisingly useful when needed. Water Walk grants up to 10 creatures the ability to walk on most liquids as if they were solid ground. These liquids include water, acid, mud, snow, quicksand, and lava (though lava will still damage creatures walking on it).
The spell is very situational, as it is not often that a player will want to cross a large body of liquid quickly or engage in combat on it, but it is still great. It can help traverse mud without slowing down or avoid being completely submerged in acid or melted in lava pools.
You can also use it to cross rivers and lakes by walking over them. Another more peculiar use is to fight on water; fighting an underwater creature, like a Kraken or a shark, is exceptionally difficult in its home terrain, but if you are walking on water, you put both of you in an uncomfortable position—the creature having to get out of the water to fight, and you fighting something that is always attacking from below. Even then, it’s a preferred situation to fight underwater.
8. Create or Destroy Water
Most, if not all, playable races in D&D require water to survive, especially when out exploring dungeons and caves for days where clean water is scarce. Eventually, the water inside the waterskins will run out, and the party will begin to slowly thirst.
The 1st-level spell Create or Destroy Water is made to deal with that problem. As the name implies, the spell can create water, up to 10 gallons of clean drinkable water, in a container.
Alternatively, it can also rain the water down, which could be used to water crops or extinguish flames. You can also simply destroy the same amount of water or even clear fog. It’s a good spell for groups that spend much of their time exploring dangerous places where supplies are scarce.
7. Water Breathing
Water Breathing is a 3rd-level spell and acts very similarly to Water Walk. The spell can target up to 10 creatures, giving them the ability to breathe in water as if it were air for a full day. This spell is most often not chosen as it does not provide much to a normal adventure, except for a few underwater caverns needing exploration.
However, many campaigns fully revolve around the sea. One of the most fun campaign settings is a pirate setting in a world of water. In such campaigns, this spell should be chosen 100% of the time. Its uses are practically endless, allowing the sea to feel safer and making life slightly easier for everyone when needed.
The spell is also not a concentration spell, so it can be recast every morning to create a permanent water-breathing effect for the rest of the game.
6. Wall of Water
Wall of Water is one of the four elemental wall spells in D&D. The wall created by this 3rd-level spell can be up to 30 feet long, 10 feet high, and 1 foot thick, or a ringed wall up to 20 feet in diameter, 20 feet high, and 1 foot thick for more enclosed defense.
The wall serves to weaken ranged attacks mainly, but it also affects fire attacks. If a fire-based ranged attack passes through the wall, its damage is halved. The wall also interacts with cold damage; when hit by it, the part hit becomes frozen and stronger.
These two elemental interactions are where the spell is most useful, especially when fighting enemies that use fire or ice. Fighting a Red Dragon can be trivialized if its fearsome breath weapon now deals half the damage to a barbarian. A white dragon will only strengthen your wall further by attacking it. If used in the right situations, it can truly turn the tide of the fight.
5. Tidal Wave
Tidal Wave is a 3rd-level spell used to deal high damage while also knocking enemies prone. The spell creates a 10-foot-tall and 30-foot-long wave that crashes onto creatures around it. The spell requires a saving throw to avoid, which means it will deal damage regardless.
If a creature fails the save, they are also knocked prone. A side benefit of Tidal Wave is its ability to quickly extinguish flames. The water created by the spell also remains and spreads around the area. The spell can be used in combat to deal damage and knock down enemies or to quickly create a large, very large, amount of water.
4. Watery Sphere
With this 4th-level spell, you summon a sphere of water hovering slightly above the ground. Any creature that is in the sphere’s space or that is pushed or moves into it must make a saving throw or be restrained inside.
On subsequent turns, the caster can use an action to move the sphere up to 30 feet in a straight line, taking the restrained creatures with it. The sphere can hold multiple creatures, depending on their size, one large or four medium-small.
The spell has a clear use: to restrain one or multiple creatures and then displace them by putting them away from their allies or off a cliff. However, that is not the only use the spell has.
Watery Sphere can also be used to move multiple creatures or objects with ease, acting as a vehicle, a very wet one at that. Additionally, once a creature escapes or is dropped, it is knocked prone, further removing it from combat. Watery Sphere is a combat-centric spell, even though it deals no damage, it can still prove useful.
3. Control Water
The 4th-level spell Control Water acts as the name suggests; it allows the user to manipulate water but on a much grander scale compared to the Shape Water cantrip. The spell enables you to control and change the water inside a 100-foot cube in specific ways.
Using the water inside the cube, you can create a flood by making the water rise up to 20 feet and overflow any container it’s in. If you use this on a large body of water like the sea or a lake, you instead create a 20-foot-tall wave that pulls huge and smaller creatures along with it.
A second and very biblical use of the spell is to part the water, creating a gap for creatures to safely pass through. The water does begin to flow back soon after, but passing through is still possible. Additionally, you can make the water (if it’s flowing) change directions.
You can even make it go in very unnatural directions, like upwards. The last option available with the spell is to create a vortex, which works very similarly to the Maelstrom spell. The spell’s might speaks for itself, being able to create vortexes out of lakes or parting the seas are feats only achieved by powerful mages.
Using just a leaf, the spell Maelstrom creates a small amount of water that quickly swirls, covering a 30-foot radius area. The swirl acts as difficult terrain, slowing down those who wish to challenge it. The swirl created is much stronger than that; when a creature starts its turn in the maelstrom, it has to make a saving throw or take 6d6 damage and be pulled toward the center.
This 5th-level spell creates a zone that covers a very large area while also being difficult to cross, and if anyone does not cross it, their progress is nullified by being pulled further in.
Maelstrom is not intended for direct damage but rather focused on strategy. Using the spell correctly means using it to slow enemies down rather than attack them. While fighting a large group of creatures, you can use the spell to impede their movement and attack them from afar or to escape more easily as they will struggle to get past the might of the sea.
Tsunami is the 8th-level spell that can level whole towns in less than a minute. It works similarly to Tidal Wave. The spell creates a massive wave up to 300 feet long, 300 feet high, and 50 feet thick, which then moves 50 feet away from you every turn.
Any creature caught inside it is drowned and smashed with other creatures inside, taking a significant amount of damage and being moved with the wave. The way the spell works is simple, but its scale is fantastic for combat.
It can be used to destroy entire armies or push around dragons and other large beasts that adventurers often fight. It has amazing damage output and area coverage, with its only drawback being its size, which limits its usability in all situations.