Call Lightning 5e Dnd: how it works and best uses 

Calling from the heavenly skies above, Mother Nature answers a druid’s cries by bringing down lightning to strike down the earth. With the third-level conjuration spell, Lightning Bolt, druids can create and use the storms to attack whoever goes against you and your party members.

What is Call Lightning 5e: mechanics and requirements


  • Casting time: 1 action
  • Level: 3rd level conjuration
  • Range:120 feet
  • Target: A point in the air where a storm cloud could appear 100 feet directly above you
  • Components: V S
  • Duration: Concentration, Up to 10 minutes
  • Classes: Druid

Spell description

A storm cloud appears in the shape of a cylinder that is 10 feet tall with a 60-foot radius, centered on a point you can see 100 feet directly above you. The spell fails if you can’t see a point in the air where the storm cloud could appear.

When you cast the spell, choose a point you can see within range. A bolt of lightning flashes down from the cloud to that point. Each creature within 5 feet of that point must make a Dexterity saving throw. A target takes 3d10 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. On each of your turns until the spell ends, you can use your action to call down lightning in this way again, targeting the same point or a different one.

If you are outdoors in stormy conditions when you cast this spell, the spell gives you control over the existing storm instead of creating a new one. Under such conditions, the spell’s damage increases by 1d10.

At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher level, the damage increases by 1d10 for each slot level above 3rd.

Player Handbook DnD
5e call lightning

Advantages and drawbacks of Call Lightning 5e


  • Targetable AoE (Area of Effect): Given that you can choose a target for this spell, it’s a great way to avoid hurting your fellow party members. In addition, creatures within 5 feet of the point will take damage as well!
  • Continuous damage: On each turn of the spellcaster using the Call Lightning spell, they can use their action to call down lightning and strike at a target until the spell ends. Spellcasters are given the option to strike it at the same target or to even move on to another one.
  • Guaranteed damage: Whether or not a creature passes or fails the dexterity saving throw, it is guaranteed that the creature targeted will take at least half of the damage roll.
  • Long duration: The Lightning Bolt spell can last up to 10 minutes with Concentration. The spellcaster can use this for up to 100 rounds when cast during battle!
  • Long range: The Lightning Bolt spell gives the player a 120 ft worth of range to utilize when choosing an enemy to attack.
  • Upcast: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher level, the damage increases by 1d10 for each slot level above the 3rd level.
  • Safe spell: Since the spellcaster has control over who they might point the bolt of lightning onto, it is safe to say that it isn’t likely for any party members and allies to be harmed during the usage of the Lightning Bolt spell.
  • Special conditions: Under special conditions, when this spell is cast in a place with an existing storm or stormy conditions, an additional 1d10 damage is dealt to the target.
  • Stealthy Attacks: Because the lightning attack is struck indirectly by the spellcaster, this is great when making sneak attacks on unknowing enemies. Instead of having a bolt of lightning shot from the caster, it is brought from a storm cloud instead, making it not too out of the ordinary.


  • Limited environment: The Lightning Bolt spell fails if you can’t see a point in the air where the storm cloud could appear, such as a small room that cannot accommodate a storm cloud. So, it is recommended to use this spell outdoors or wherever there may be plenty of space.
  • Requires Concentration: To maintain Lightning Bolt involves Concentration. If the Concentration is broken, the spell ends. Regular activity, such as moving and Attacking, doesn’t interfere with Concentration, but Concentration can be terminated at any time or if the following occurs:
    • They are casting another spell that requires Concentration. Suppose a player wants to cast another spell while in Concentration; the current spell will break.
    • Taking Damage. Whenever you take damage while concentrating on a spell, you must make a Constitution saving throw to maintain your Concentration. The DC equals ten or half the damage you take, whichever number is higher. 
    • Being Incapacitated or killed. If you are incapacitated (when you can’t take actions or reactions) or if you die, you will lose Concentration.
  • Common saving throw: The dexterity saving throw is one of the most common proficiencies for monsters to have in the Dungeons and Dragons universe. A handful of creatures can make the save and take half damage.
  • Common damage type: Out of the many creatures that the world of Dungeons and Dragons has to offer to both players and Dungeon Masters, many of them are resistant or even immune to the lightning damage type.
  • Follow-up saving throws: This spell gives enemies a chance to roll again for their dexterity saving throws if they are ever targeted again by the spellcaster.
  • Limited class: To access the Call Lightning spell, you must either be a druid or multiclass to become one of them.
call lightning 5e dnd

Best uses for Call Lightning 5e

Combat Tactics

Before combat even starts, using this spell is a great tactic to throw off unsuspecting enemies. Especially since the cloud is what strikes it instead of the caster, you can strike enemies when they least of combat. But that ambush attack doesn’t last until your enemies put one and two together.

By the time you are driven to engage in combat, you and your party can make the most of this spell by working together. If you have party members and allies with high dexterity and who specialize in melee attacks, you can coordinate with them and have them near a shared target to deal more damage.

A Change of Weather

If you need 10 minutes of stormy weather, you can definitely use this spell. This can be useful when you may need to shoo off creatures in an open area or even cause a fright. You may use this spell in many applications outside of combat, and the skies are the limit!

Creating an Open Turret

Protecting your home turf whenever you and your party face intruders or even an invasion is always important. Up on the high ground with a clear view of your surroundings, it is best to ensure that you have some cover to protect you as you defend your base. You can then most certainly defend your territory with no problem. 

Let’s say that some enemies are approaching your home base. As you and your party members run through basic protocols, you, as the spellcaster, make your way to the roof of your base, provided that you have a cover. Using the Call Lightning spell in this situation, you have plenty of range to work with, along with tremendous damage to take down your enemies.

Heavenly Entrance

With the spell description in mind, the Call Lightning spell creates an epic entrance during combat or even roleplaying. If you’ve ever wanted to look like the God of Thunder and Lightning, like Zeus and Thor, using this is an awesome way to enter any situation to look like a demigod. Using extra flavor to spice up this spell, like the Light and or Thaumaturgy cantrip, is a cool way to add special effects.

Advice and final thoughts

There’s more striking for druids than using the Call Lightning spell! Not only is it flashy, but with this, you can call lightning upon whichever enemy you desire while they least suspect. What’s more, you can repeatedly inflict a great deal of damage to the enemy and others with your lightning strokes.

Like any spell with an area of effect, it’s best to plan out who you target and where you may cast it to make the most out of this spell. This is mainly because you will have to consider the environment that you cast it in to even work. This spell is recommended for the beginner player and Dungeon Master to use in future sessions.

Call Lightning FAQ

Can the Call Lightning spell be in conjunction with itself or other magical spells?

If the spellcaster casts the Call Lightning spell again while the first is in effect, it drops the first Call Lightning spell since the Concentration of the spell would be broken. Thus, the effect can’t interact with the second call lightning.

Can two characters use the Call Lightning spell from the same storm?

According to the spell’s description, “the spell gives you control over the existing storm”. With this in mind, it does not necessarily specify if that means being one or more people. So, it can be assumed that two spellcasters can share the same storm unless the Dungeon Master says otherwise.

Is the cloud always centered on the caster or can it be conjured anywhere in the 120-foot range?

About the spell’s description, the storm cloud would be positioned and centered on a point you can see 100 ft directly above the spellcaster. But the lightning can be struck 120 ft away.

Does the Call Lightning spell work indoors?

It is very much possible to cast the Call Lightning spell indoors. However, there needs to be sufficient space to do so. As long as the room is 110 feet high with a width of 120 feet and the spellcaster is in the middle, you’re good to go in using this spell.

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