How to use Bestow Curse in 5e Dnd as a pro

Greetings, adventurers, and welcome to another one of our in-depth expert guides. Everyone who has played DnD for a bit has heard of Bestow Curse 5e. Looking at the number of players who have used this necromancy, however, that number is significantly smaller. 

This expert article looks at how Bestow Curse 5e works, how you can use it in the best possible way as both a player and a DM, and some tips. Of course, we will also try to clear up any issues and questions many players have about this necromancy magic. 

Bestow Curse 5e: explanation


  • Casting time: 1 action
  • Level: 3rd level necromancy
  • Range: Touch
  • Target: A creature
  • Components: Verbal and Somatic
  • Duration: Concentration, up to one minute
  • Classes: Bard, Cleric, and Wizard

How it works 

You say the magic words (V) and make the arcane hand gestures (S). After that, you touch a creature you want to bestow with a curse. The creature that you targetted must succeed on a WIS saving throw. If it succeeds, nothing happens. If the creature fails the WIS saving throw, it becomes cursed for the spell’s duration. 

When you cast Bestow Curse, you can pick the nature of the Curse from the following options:

  1. Choose an ability score. While cursed, the target has a disadvantage on ability checks and saving throws on the ability score you have picked.
  2. While cursed, the target has a disadvantage on attack rolls against you, but not against other targets. 
  3. While the target is cursed, the creature must make a WIS saving throw at the start of each turn. When it succeeds, nothing happens, and it can attack as usual. If the target fails the WIS Save, it wastes its action that, in turn, does nothing.
  4. While the target is cursed, your attacks and spells deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage to the target. Remember that the duration is just one minute and that the bestow Curse is a concentration spell.

A remove curse spell ends this effect on the creature. Of course, adding other consequences to this list of options is possible, but you should ensure that it does not become OP for a level 3 spell. 

5e bestow curse

Upcasting Bestow Curse.

  • The duration is changed if you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher. The effect can now last up to 10 minutes, but the spell is still concentration. 
  • If you use a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the duration is 8 hours.
  • If you use a spell slot of 7th level or higher, the duration is 24 hours. 
  • If you use a 9th-level spell slot, the spell lasts until it is dispelled. 

You no longer need concentration from the 5th slot to keep the Bestow Curse effect active on the target. 

Bestow Curse advantages and drawbacks


  • No material needed: As long as you have your hands free and can say the magical words. Then, you can cast Bestow Curse. No materials are required. 
  • Versatile and potent effects: This magic is helpful as you have some exciting options to choose from if you want to use it. Your DM can homebrew the magic to make it even stronger. 


  • Requires concentration: To use bestow Curse and to keep the effect active, you need to concentrate. Only when you put the magic in the 5th slot then you no longer need to. 
  • Easily countered: If you are a DM and have put the spell in the 9th slot, then you can permanently curse a target. However, they can easily have it dispelled with a remove curse. 

Best uses and extra effects for Bestow Curse 5e

1. Mess with action economy

By far, the strongest effect that the Bestow Curse has in 5e DnD is the following: 

“While the target is cursed, the creature must make a WIS saving throw at the start of each of its turns. When it succeeds, nothing happens, and it can attack as usual. However, if the target fails the WIS Save, it wastes its action that turns doing nothing.” 

For the Curse to take effect, the creature must have failed a WIS saving throw before, so if it is a monster that is vulnerable to that kind of save, you can mess up the action economy of your opponent by having it fail over and over again.

While one minute is not a long time, it does have quite the impact if your opponent even loses a single attack opportunity. 

2. Homebrewing it for extra uses

Dungeons and Dragons are about being creative and making a world that best fits you and your friends. So you can add a lot of extra possible uses for the Bestow Curse effect that are not too overpowered but are a ton of fun. 

For example, you can give the effect that a creature loses the sense of smell or that their perception of hot and cold is switched. Make sure you do not make the additional effect too strong; if you do, the spell might be a bit too strong for a level 3 spell and even more so when it has been upcast. 

Bestow Curse 5e

3. Give it to Faerie Dragons and other creatures

If you did not know, Faerie Dragons in 5e are absolute pranksters. So a homebrew version of Bestow Curse with additional effects, like always sitting downwind from a campfire and its smoke, is a fun thing to add. 

Homebrew: There are many other creatures you can give this spell to. If you remove the usual effects and give it weak but funny results, you don’t have to put it in a 3rd spell slot but a second or even a first. This change is up to your DM. 

4. Use Bestow Curse as a 5th slot 

A great way to use the Bestow Curse to its full potential to by putting it in a 5th slot by upcasting it. Not only do you increase the duration of the magic substantially, but you also get rid of one of the most significant drawbacks: the fact that it requires concentration to use. 

Remember that you will only get a ton of use out of the spell if you mostly opt for the best pick out of the four vanilla options: messing with the action economy. However, depending on the situation, you might want to consider the three other options that Bestow Curse has in 5e DnD. 

Bestow Curse 5e FAQ

Can you stack Bestow Curse on a target?

No, you can not stack the Bestow Curse spell on targets. This is because there can only be one active simultaneously, so you can not prolong the duration by stacking or adding effect on the target. 

Is Bestow Curse any good?

Yes! Bestow Curse is a pretty fun spell to pick! You get a ton of significant effects from it. You can mess with the action economy of your enemy and make sure they have a much harder time fighting you. As a DM, you can get a ton of narrative out of a spell-like Bestow Curse, so make sure you think about Homebrewing it.

Do Warlocks get Bestow Curse? 

When you look at the classes that can use Bestow Curse, Warlocks are unfortunately not one of the classes that can get Bestow Curse. The fact that the warlock can not get Bestow Curse is quite unexpected, and I often Homebrew my campaigns in a way that they can get the magic. However, don’t forget that Warlocks also get Hex! 

What to remember

If you are wondering if you should pick Bestow Curse, I advise you to go for it! The spell might not be the best level 3 option you have, but it is a ton of fun, even more so if your DM allows you to add additional effects to it. 

As a DM, Bestow Curse is a wonderful spell to homebrew and give to monsters. You can give it in its current form to stronger Cult Fanatics or give a homebrew version with customized effects to creatures like the Faerie Dragon. Ensure you do not give the Bestow Curse too much power, or it can end badly.