The ultimate Catnap 5e guide and 6 clever ways to use it

The obscure DnD spell of the day is Catnap 5e. In this guide, I will take a deep dive into this spell and tell you everything there is to know about it. This is one of those spells that make people go: “what is the point?” That is precisely why I love Catnap in 5e. Dungeons and Dragons are not about getting an optimized character and breezing through your campaigns; it is about having as much as possible.

This guide on catnap 5e is intended for both beginners and veteran players. I mainly use my experience as a DM to write my guides. However, both players and dungeon masters can use this article to add some unique mechanics to the adventures.

catnip 5e guide

What is Catnap 5e DnD?

Catnap will not be used by the end game boss or by level 20 adventurers very often. However, it is a great way to spice up your arsenal a bit and have a few excellent mechanics at your disposal that you might have never thought of. Catnap is a spell from the DnD book Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. These are the stats that you need to have:

Level: 3rd level enchantment

Spell List: Warlock, Wizard, and Cleric

Range: 30 feet

Duration: 10 minutes

Components: S, M (a pinch of sand) 

Catnap 5e spell guide

For new players, I will break this down part by part. You can refer to the guide if you don’t know anything about the requirements. 

What are cantrips, and what are spells

Cantrips 

A cantrip is the lowest level spell in Dungeons and Dragons. They are easy to learn and quick to cast, but they aren’t powerful in damage. However, they do not require you to put aside a spell slot, so they can be considered a supplementary spell to your heavy hitters.

Supplementary does not mean that they are weak altogether. Cantrips like Toll the Dead in Dungeons and Dragons can be very powerful if you pick the right moment to use them. You choose your cantrips at the beginning of the campaign when your player character is level one. 

How many cantrips you can pick depends on the class you will play in. For example, if you enjoy playing a wizard-like I, you can start with three cantrips. 

To know how many cantrips your class has, you need to check out the Players Handbook. This has all the info you need. For Homebrew races, you will need to check the information on the maker’s class. If you don’t find the news, I give magical classes 1 or 2 cantrips. I think three is just a bit too powerful unless you are a full-on mage class. 

Spells

Spells are also a part of the magic system of Dungeons and Dragons. There are multiple schools of magic in DnD. These are the School of Abjuration, the school of Conjuring, the school of divination, the school of evocation, The school of Necromancy, the school of illusion, and course, the school of enchantments, which Catnap 5e is a part of. 

Generally, unlike cantrips, spells are locked behind levels. For example, the spell Cloudkill 5e is a level 5 spell. This level means you need to have unlocked the 5th level spell slot. Unlike most cantrips, you generally can make spells a lot stronger. You do this by placing them into a higher spell slot.  

This spell is a level 3 spell. So that means you will need to have a level 3 spell slot free to use. You can also put the attack in a higher slot. That way, your spell will be a bit stronger. 

best cantrips 5e

What class can use Catnap 5e

Four classes can use Catnap in DnD. These do not include the HomeBrew races, as there could be thousands. So, I will discuss the official ones you can find in your player’s Handbook. 

The following classes can use Catnap 5e for their cantrip: 

1. Artificer

2. Bard

3. Sorcerer

4. Wizard

The amount of spells these classes can have is different. So you might want to think long about sacrificing one of those spots to catnap. While the magic is excellent and has many uses, some mighty spells might come in handier. Of course, you can also swap Catnap out when it is no longer as valuable.

Range and Duration

The spell has a range of 30 feet. So that means if you point catnap 5e at a target that is, for example, 100 feet away, it has no effect. It is simply out of range. However, if you cast the spell at a creature or an NPC within range, it will affect them only if they miss their saving throw against the spell. 

The duration of spells is something a lot of new players make mistakes. Lets look at Catnap in 5e. Catnap has a period of 10 minutes. This 10 minutes time period does not mean it takes 10 minutes to cast, but rather that it takes 10 minutes to wear off. These 10 minutes is the maximum duration. This duration can be cut short by actions made by the caster, the target, or third parties who want to interfere with the spell.

Some spells are instantaneous and have no duration but the action they are cast. Other spells can take hours to wear off. Then some spells are concentration spells. This magic is broken when the caster loses concentration. This loss of concentration can happen when they make another attack. 

Components

To cast Catnap, you will need to have 2′ 2′ components”. If one of these is missing, you can not use the spell. 

Somatic – The somatic component means you need to be able to move your arms. If there is a target you want to enchant and you can not point at them and do the movements, you can not enchant them. In Dungeons and Dragons, you can be both physically and magically constrained. 

Material: To be able to cast Catnap, you will need a pinch of sand. The pinch of sand is a material component. You will need to have this to make the spell work. There are a lot of spells that require materials, so if you are a magic caster, make sure you always have a steady supply. 

For DM’s who want to have a bit of HomeBrew, I define a pinch as 2 grams in my campaigns. I keep track of the inventory of my players too, so I often catch them trying to use spells without having the materials for it. 

As you see, Catnap, unlike most spells, does not need a verbal component! So you can cast this enchantment exceptionally subtly. You do not need to make any audible noise. I love spells like these as they are perfect for getting you out of a dangerous situation where you can’t make any noise.

As a DM, spells that do not require a verbal component are great for ambushes. Nothing is more fun than asking your unperceptive players to make a perception check. However! Catnap is not one of these spells. You need to make them willing first. You can do this by having your villain cast a charm first or eating a plant that makes them more susceptible to things.

The cat sleeps, alenaekaterinburg, frumusete, pillow, fantasy, sleep, cat,  animal, HD wallpaper | Peakpx
By alenaekaterinburg

What happens when you cast Catnap 5e

To cast Catnap, you start with making a calming gesture. Then, up to 3 creatures in your range will fall unconscious for up to 10 minutes. They can be woken up early if you damage the target or anything or anyone else. Reminder: Some spells, like feign death, prevent the target from taking any damage.

Another way to wake up the target is by using an action to wake it up, for example, by shaking or slapping the unconscious creature. If your target could sleep the full 10 minutes, it would benefit from getting the same effect as a short rest.

So two things stand out for me, both as a Dungeon master and a player. First, Catnap is a multitarget spell. This multitarget feature means you can simultaneously make multiple targets fall asleep. Check out the chapter on using the spell to see how powerful this can be for you as a DM. 

This spell’s second excellent mechanic is that the target benefits from a short rest when the duration is over. So you can use this to quickly get your allies some rest. For those who do not know, a short rest is 60 minutes. So a Catnap is going to make this go six times as fast. So in the right situations, this, too, can be very powerful. 

So what are the correct situations?

5e catnap

Six ways you use Catnap in Dungeons and Dragons

Note that the spell says that the creatures need to be willing. So you will need to use a spell-like charm first or convince them with your charisma first. If you cannot do this, a couple of these scenarios will not pan out well for you. Willing is also quite vague. A tired NPC will probably want to fall asleep when it is convinced (in)directly. A guard at a boring post at 4 AM will be more willing to fall asleep than one in a fortress at 2 PM. 

1. Prepare your party for danger.

So your party is somewhere in a dungeon or has managed to get themselves barricaded somewhere. You and your allies are tired, but you have some time. If you cast Catnap on one half of the party, they can rest for 10 minutes while awake and can keep guard. 

When those 10 minutes are over, you can cast a spell on the other half of the party (including yourself) and have those that have just rested take guard. You can get your party rested three times as fast as the norm. This resting boost is perfect for situations where you have some time but not a lot. 

2. Robbing NPC’s 

You see a wealthy NPC in your local tavern, on a bench, or just walking around minding his own thing. You start by casting a charm spell on him or her. First, say something that isn’t too suspicious, like, “wow, you look tired.” The NPC will likely agree because who isn’t tired all the time? Next, offer to help by casting a Catnap spell. When the target coordinates, you can rob them of the valuables without arousing much suspicion or taking many risks. 

3. Sneaking past guards

Catnap can make multiple targets fall asleep as long as they are in the same range. So having the two gate guards fall unconscious will be much more subtle than doing one after another. Thus, the alarm won’t be raised as quickly. On the other hand, you can cast the spell at three targets simultaneously, which is pretty effective in most a-guard-is-at-the-gate situations. However, don’t forget that the guard – or any other target – can make a saving throw. 

4. Manipulating people

To be honest, I didn’t know how to call this part, but this is the scenario I have in mind. Let’sLet’s say you are at a banquet and a significant speaker is speeching. For this example, let’s say it is the king. Catnap does not require you to say words aloud, so you can subtly cast the spell. If an annoying noble you want to get rid of or see punched is sitting on the first row, use Catnap 5e to make him or her fall asleep in the middle of the king’s speech. That is undoubtedly not going to give him or her any favors! 

5. Making the most out of rituals

In DnD 5e, there are a lot of ritual spells. Most of the time, all the rest of the party can do is sit around and wait until the ritual is completed. However, if you have Catnap at your disposal, you can give the players who are resting a nice boost to their health by giving them a short rest of 10 minutes by using the spell. This way, your party is fresh for when you plan to continue the adventure.  

6. Messing with your opponent’s action economy

When you are being harassed or messing with your players, you can make one to three targets fall asleep with Catnap. Then, if they want to have their allies back in the ”fight”, you will need to deal damage to the target to wake them up. Finally, the opponent will have to use an action like shaking them to wake them up.

Waking a target up costs one action. So that means, if you use your one action to cast Catnap in 5e, you can make your opponents lose up to 3 actions. That is a massive advantage if we are fighting a close battle. Also, if your players or the Dungeon Master have a strong Planar Ally in their party, you can have it fall asleep or waste their attacking turn on waking up the victims of your spell. 

Take battle very loosely in this context. Catnap requires the target to be willing. So you will need to be able to convince them they want to sleep for a short while. 

Man Parugs - sleeping knight

Final thoughts about Catnap in 5e

While Catnap 5e isn’t going to win you many battles, it can give you an edge. Since it is a level 3 enchantment, you will have it at your disposal very soon in the game. Therefore, it can be powerful when used on the right occasions.


During a battle, it might not be worth it to use. However, Catnap is a very lovely aid to have in your spell slot for the role-playing part of DnD and the preparation for a battle. Also, since you can cut the time it takes to do a short rest with 50 minutes, Catnap is perfect for those situations where you have some time to rest up but not a ton.

Catnap FAQ

Can you use Catnap on yourself?

Yes, you can use the spell on yourself. Catnap requires the creature to be willing. So, assuming you are ready, you can be the target of Catnap. Your allies and summoned creatures can also be the target of this spell. This is an excellent way to make your short rests a lot quicker.

Is Catnap a good spell in DnD 5e?

Yes, Catnap can be a good spell if you use it right. However, it will not be beneficial in combat unless you can somehow charm the opponent. Catnap in 5e shines when you use it in situations like robbing NPCs and restoring your party’s stats and health when you have a short break. While the spell is not amazing, Catnap can be pretty good!

What is the point of this spell? 

The point of Catnap 5e is getting a short rest in a record time. However, unlike a normal short rest that takes 60 minutes, Catnap gives you the same rest in only 10 minutes. In other words, you can use this magic while a ritual is being cast and when you have some time, but not a lot, and get a small edge for your next battle that is coming soon.

Can a Warlock use Catnap? 

Yes, Warlocks can use this level 3 enchantment spell if you are playing DnD with an expanded spell list. If you are playing without one, only four classes can use Catnap in 5e. These classes are 1) the bard, 2) the sorcerer, 3) the artificer, and of course, 4) the wizard. However, nobody stops you from doing a little HomeBrew and adding it to the warlock spells you can use.

What is catnip 5e?

This is a misspelling of Catnap 5e. Some DM’s and players wrongly refer to Catnap with this name. I suppose this is because they have not checked the source material (the Player Handbook) and just heard this as the spell’s name. As far as I know, there is no catnip in Dungeons and Dragons.

So there you have it! If you enjoy guides on obscure spells and monsters, I strongly suggest you check out the guide I wrote on Wall of Water 5e. Wall of Water is another pretty underused spell with many niche uses, making it pretty strong if you use it at the right time. 

Do you like to read about obscure DnD things like Catnap 5e? You might want to check out my guide on obscure monsters like the fire snake. I am sure you will enjoy reading about this interesting beginner monster, even more so if you are a DM looking to spice up your current campaign! 

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