What is Finger of Death in 5e Dnd, and how to use it best

Hello, adventurers and evil wizards. Today, we will take a closer look at one of the most intriguing 5e spells: Finger of Death. This magical attack is another necromancy spell that we will take a deep dive into. 

In the article, our experienced DMs will look at how to use this spell and the best uses for Finger of Death. As usual, we will also answer a couple of questions a lot of newer players might have about this necromancy magic and Dungeons and Dragons. 

What is Finger of Death 5e, and how does it work

When you cast Finger of Death and aim it at a target, you will send negative energy toward that creature. This negative energy will cause intense pain and force the target to make a Constitution saving throw. When the target fails this CON save, it will take 7d8 plus 30 damage. If the creature succeeds in the save, it will take half the damage. 

There is an additional effect to the Finger of Death 5e. If this negative energy kills a humanoid, this humanoid creature will rise as a Zombie at the beginning of the subsequent turn. This zombie is permanently under your command and will follow your verbal orders.

  • Level: Level 7 necromancy
  • Range: 60 feet
  • Target: The creature in a range of 60 feet
  • Components: Verbal and Somatic
  • Duration: Instantaneous
  • Classes: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

There is no material component needed for this spell to be cast. That means the spell is free to cast as you do not need to buy materials. 

5e finger of death

Best uses for Finger of Death 5e

While when to use a spell and how to use magic best mainly depends on the situation, there are a few uses for Finger of Death, which I think are almost always excellent. So here are five uses for the magic that I enjoy and almost always use when I have the spell in my spell slot. 

1. Creating a zombie army

Finger of Death has the fun side effect of turning every humanoid that it kills into a zombie. So if you fight weak opponents like goblins, villagers, etc., you can build a nice army without too much trouble.

An evil wizard can thus build a large army of decent monsters that can cause small villages a ton of trouble and grow your influence in the region as an evil being. Combine these new allies with your followers from animate dead 5e, and you have got yourself a legion of horrors in no time! 

2. Long-range attacks

If you are a wizard or a warlock without Agonizing blast or moonbeam, you might want to get some extra long-range attacks to help you out.

The cool thing about using Finger of Death as a long-range attack is not just its okay range, but the fact that you can cause a zombie to rise amid the enemies’ ranks, which is sure to cause quite some chaos for your enemies. 

3. Causing chaos 

Talking about chaos, you should not underestimate the power of a bit of turmoil in 5e. For example, you can use time stop to cast the spell while you are at an event or a crowded banquet for nobles and lords. 

Imagine casting a Finger of Death when time is frozen, and suddenly, a prominent noble (or two or three) falls to the floor. Then, mere seconds later, those fallen rise again as undead and start attacking other guests. 

If you are the only adventurers or ones who are skilled in combat, and you can save the nobles and other prominent figures from being killed, you can be sure to get a huge reward for your troubles. 

4. Budget magic casting

Casting magic can be pretty expensive in DnD. Some attacks require a lot of gold or even diamonds and rare items. However, Finger of Death only requires you to be able to say the magical words to cast it and make the movement of picking out a target by pointing at it with your finger.

So even if you are stripped naked without any belongings, you can use this magical attack. There are also many options without verbal components if you like silent magic. 

5. Turning villages into zombie hotspots

Imagine being a sinister, evil sorcerer who just wants to cause chaos for the next dude strolling through town. Or you want to lure adventurers far and wide towards a remote village.

Turning a village or two into a hotspot for undead with finger of undead is sure to stir up some trouble. Fewer villages mean less food for neighboring cities. So royals and nobles will be sure to send someone out to see what is happening. 

6. General evil doing with Finger of Death

Nothing is more fun than being a villain as a dungeon master. Finger of Death, thanks to its long range, you can just fire into a crowd and have some NPC drop to the floor and rise again as an undead monster.

If you want to scare people or collect taxes from towns, general bad guy stuff is always the motivation they need to pay up! 

finger of death 5e

Advice and final thoughts

Finger of Death is a lot of fun for Dungeon Masters. Is there an NPC that is very well-liked by your players? Your evil wizard can turn that sweet town girl into a zombie. You can also passively build a strong zombie army ready to cause havoc on the lands. 

While the spell is not the strongest of all, the advantages are clear:

  • Free zombie
  • Decent damage
  • No materials needed
  • Role-play potential
LevelLevel 7 necromancy
Range60 feet
TargetCreature within 60 feet range
ComponentsVerbal and Somatic
ClassesSorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Additional EffectKilled humanoids rise as permanent Zombies under caster’s command

Best Uses for Finger of Death 5e

Creating a Zombie ArmyConvert killed humanoids into zombies, building an army of undead minions.
Long-Range AttacksUtilize Finger of Death as a long-range attack, causing chaos and confusion with rising zombies.
Causing ChaosCast Finger of Death during frozen moments to create turmoil, resulting in rising undead and intervention.
Budget Magic CastingCast the spell without material components, allowing for cost-effective magic.
Turning Villages into HotspotsTransform villages into undead-filled trouble spots, attracting attention and disrupting nearby cities.
General Evil DeedsEmploy Finger of Death to scare, collect taxes, or create chaos as a villainous Dungeon Master.

Do you enjoy learning more about spells in the school of Necromancy? Check out our guides on the following:

Finger of Death 5e FAQ

Is Finger of Death worth it?

While Finger of Death is not the best level 7 necromancy spell in DnD, there are a couple of upsides. First, the significant advantage of using this harmful magic is that you build up a zombie army under your permanent control. So while zombies are not the strongest monsters in the world, there is strength in numbers. 

Can you heal necrotic damage in dnd? 

You can heal necrotic damage in 5d. There is no particular rule that necrotic damage must be treated differently than other types of damage like poison or fire. You can also heal the undead in 5e. 

What classes can use Finger of Death?

In 5e, three classes can use this spell. These classes are the Sorcerer, the Warlock, and the Wizard. But, of course, if you have access to magic like Wish, you can have other classes cast this spell too. That way, even a bard or a warrior can cast Finger of Death in 5e DnD.

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