Encode Thoughts 5e DnD: What is this cantrip and the best 3 uses

Today, we are going to take a deep dive into probably one of the least picked cantrips in Dungeons and Dragons History. Encode Thoughts 5e and other editions are some of those spells that you just don’t see. Personally, I have maybe seen two players out of the hundreds that I have DM’d pick this at the start. 

This guide is mainly aimed at beginners and people who love to read about the less known things in Dungeons and Dragons, but I am sure almost everyone will learn something new in this article. 

What is Encode Thoughts 5e

Let’s take a look at the enchantment cantrip here. The D&D book where you can find more information on Encode Thoughts 5e is Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica. Here I am going to discuss all the components and requirements of the spell a bit more. This is for people who are total beginners to DnD or just need a refresher, so feel free to scroll down to the summary! 

  • Type: This is a cantrip. That means you do not need to have an open spell slot. If you are the appropriate class (wizard) you can pick this at the very start of the campaign. 
  • Casting time: If you want to use Encode Thoughts you need to use 1 action. So you won’t be able to do any other regular attacks. You will still be able to do a movement action. 
  • Range: This enchantment cantrip doesn’t really have a range, since you use it on your own mind. 
  • Components: This is one of those spells that only uses one component. You do not need a verbal component or a material component. You only need a somatic one. That means you need to be able to move your hands and arms freely. 
  • Duration: This spell lasts up to 8 hours. You can also cut the spell short yourself. It is also possible that the spell ends by being dispelled by magic. 


What happens when you cast the spell

The spell discussed in this text is specifically about the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons (5e), taking into account possible differences from previous editions such as 3.5 or 4. It focuses on the mechanics and outcomes of casting the Encode Thoughts cantrip.

Casting the Spell

When you cast the Encode Thoughts cantrip, you tap into your mind and extract an idea, thought, or memory. This “information” is then transformed into a tangible form known as a thought strand, resembling a touchable string. The thought strand remains intact for up to 8 hours unless you choose to dispel it.

Appearance and Placement

The thought strand materializes in an empty space within 5 feet of you, devoid of any objects or creatures. It bears the weight, texture, and dimensions similar to that of a regular ribbon. If left untouched, the thought strand remains stationary in the location where it was initially placed.

Interaction with Other Spells

The Encode Thoughts cantrip can be combined with other spells, such as Modify Memory and Detect Thoughts. When used in conjunction, you can convert the memories and thoughts of someone other than yourself into a thought strand. While the spell description does not explicitly mention a range, it is assumed that touching the target is necessary to utilize Encode Thoughts effectively.

Instant Reception of Information

By employing this enchantment cantrip, you can instantly access the contents of the thought strand, including memories, ideas, messages, or thoughts that it encapsulates.

Note: This information specifically pertains to the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons (5e) and may not apply to other editions.

Encode Thoughts 5e best uses

Best encode thoughts 5e uses in D&D

Yes, this cantrip is as good as useless in 99% of the scenarios you come across in a DnD campaign. I have had to think really long and delve into my years of experience as a DM to find these uses. I hope you enjoy them. If you have a better use, feel free to leave a comment.

Use CasesDescription
Transfer informationEncode Thoughts efficiently conveys information, making it ideal for sharing ideas or teaching.
Make moneySell valuable memories or knowledge encoded in thought strands, potentially earning substantial rewards.
Verify truthfulnessUse thought strands to verify truthfulness during interrogations or assess others’ honesty.
Taking bets and memoryThought strands serve as reliable references for bets and temporary reminders for important details.

See below for a more in-depth discussion!

1. Transfer information effectively

Let’s say you want to give someone a ton of information in a subtle way that does not require you to give a lengthy explanation or write a letter that can be read. Then you can use Encode Though to do this more effectively. It is also a great way for teachers and scholars to formulate their ideas and share them with others. 

2. Make money 

Information is power. The things you have seen and done on your adventures can be sold for a pretty penny in some instances. You never know that that monster you saw is rare and has materials that are pretty expensive. Maybe you have seen a secret base or read a scroll that you shouldn’t have seen. Ask your Dungeon Master if someone might be interested in the memories you have. 

3. Verify if you or someone else is speaking the truth

As far as I know, you can not change the thoughts that have been encoded with this cantrip. So that means you can verify you are speaking the truth by letting your interrogator or the person you want to convince read your thought string. I think it is also possible that you use this to verify if someone else is speaking the truth to you. 

4. Taking bets and remembering details

Guess what number I am thinking of for 60 Gold Pieces! With thought string Encode Thoughts 5e creates, you have a verifiable reference that your thought was exactly what you said it was. This can be useful when taking bets. 

If you have seen something, like a secret code, and you don’t have a paper to write it down to help you remember, you can use the Encode Thought cantrip in 5e as a little post-it for 8 hours or until you have access to pen and paper. 

encode thoughts 5e

Conclusion: Not often used for a reason

That is why I love the Encode Thoughts spell in DnD. Nobody uses it, so no player or Dungeon Master is ever going to expect you to use it. Well, admittedly there aren’t a lot of uses, so it is a very niche cantrip that you aren’t going to use in every single combat situation. 

As you can see from the description and the best uses for the spell Encode Thoughts 5e DnD, there is a reason why this enchantment cantrip isn’t very popular. There are just so few real uses for it, that almost nobody (rightfully so) in my opinion uses it. 

I have thought long and hard and went through all my experiences as a Dungeon Master to find these uses, and also asked a couple of friends who also love niche DnD cantrips. That is all we could come up with! 

If you have a great idea on how to use it effectively, or if you have had a player that completely surprised you by using this cantrip, I would love to hear it. Feel free to share your story in the comment here. 

Does Encode Thoughts 5e make you remove or lose a memory? 

No, if we look at the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica and other information we can find about Encode Thoughts in 5e, we can only conclude that it does not remove a memory or thought. So your target – or yourself – won’t lose the thought or idea you have transformed into a string. 

That is a logical conclusion, as the cantrip is used as a kind of secret communication channel most of the time. It would not make a lot of sense to forget the memory you encoded. In this way, the spell is very similar to the Thieves’ can’t spell. 

If you want to Homebrew the spell for some reason to give it more utility, ask your Dungeon Master if you can add memory loss to the effect of Encode Thoughts 5e. 

Do you enjoy reading about obscure magic in the D&D Universe? Then check out my article about Arcane Gate 5e! Here you will read everything you need to know and my favorite uses for this spell to surprise your Dungeon Master or players!