Taking the energy from the universe to form a stroke of lightning, the level three wizard and sorcerer can cast a bolt of fury down a line of enemies. This evocation spell reaches a range of 100 feet, making it a powerful spell to zap those who are against you.
What is Lightning Bolt 5e: mechanics and requirements
- Casting time: 1 action
- Level: 3rd level evocation
- Range: Self (100-foot line)
- Target: Self (100-foot line)
- Components: V S M (A bit of fur and a rod of amber, crystal, or glass)
- Duration: Instantaneous
- Classes: Sorcerer, Wizard
A stroke of lightning forming a line of 100 feet long and 5 feet wide blasts out from you in a direction you choose. Each creature in the line must make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 8d6 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
The lightning ignites flammable Objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried.
At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th Level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 for each slot above 3rd.DnD player handbook
Lightning Bolt 5e Advantages and drawbacks
- High damage: The Lightning Bolt spell deals a lot of damage, dealing 8d6 lightning damage on a failed to save or half as much damage on a successful one.
- Long range: When this spell is cast, it forms a line 100 feet long and 5 feet wide that blasts out from the spellcaster in a direction they choose, giving a long enough distance to fight against multiple enemies found.
- 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!
- Guaranteed damage: Regardless of whether or not the enemy passes the Dexterity saving throw, it is ensured that they will receive tremendous damage with this spell. If they succeed, they will still have to receive half of an 8d6 damage roll.
- Upcast: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 for each slot above 3rd.
- Casting time: Unlike many other spells that require concentration, the Lightning Bolt spell only requires one action.
- Special feature: A feature of the Lightning spell is that the lightning ignites flammable objects in the area that aren’t worn or carried, which can be useful in creating clearings. This applies when you want to fire your enemies’ hideouts, evil lairs, and so on.
- Spellcaster safety: Since the Lightning Bolt spell is blasted out from the caster, this prevents the user from being harmed by the spell.
- Instantaneous: The Lightning Bolt spell can only last at the instant it has been cast and doesn’t last for a longer duration than that.
- Common saving throw: The problem with this spell is that it requires a Dexterity saving throw by the target. Many monsters in Dungeons and Dragons can be found with a saving throw proficiency in this, dealing only half of the damage.
- Common damage type: Out of the plethora of creatures found in Dungeons and Dragons, many of them can be found to have resistances and even immunities to lightning.
- Needs components: This spell requires all three spell components: bodily, verbal, and materials. Since it requires materials to cast, it means if you don’t own the materials, lose them or even have your materials taken away from you, you will be unable to cast this spell. What’s more, with the requirement of a somatic and verbal component, if you are in a situation where you are unable to move and are muffled, this also hinders you from casting.
- A disadvantage to your party: During combat, your party members who are along the line of the range will be affected by the spell and will receive damage whether or not they pass the saving throw.
- Fire hazard: An issue of the Lightning Bolt spell is the potential destruction around the surrounding area. As the spell describes, “The lightning ignites flammable objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried.” So, one must be careful of using this spell around wooden houses, trees, indoor areas, and so on that one may want to avoid setting on fire.
Best uses for Lightning Bolt 5e
In a Tight Spot
In many adventures, enemies may be found following your tail; using the Lightning Bolt spell is great to wipe them all out, given its range. Furthermore, due to its high damage dealing, it is guaranteed that enemies would take damage from this spell or at least half of it! This is especially useful if you find yourself in a narrow space such as a tunnel or hallway, as the spell can cover a lot of ground throughout that area.
Light Down the End of the Tunnel
While out and about in your adventures along with your party, you may encounter circumstances wherein there are blockages along your way. May it be a road blockage or even a fallen tree, as long as the objects are flammable, you may use the Lightning Bolt spell to clear it off. This is useful if you want to create a straight path so that you and your party members can easily pass through.
Do you see enemies approaching your territory? Or in need to intimidate anyone who threatens you? The Lightning Bolt spell is just for you if you need to show someone who’s boss. With a mix of great damage and range, you can scare off a couple of enemies while wiping some out. Even if you don’t want to harm the person going up against you by using this spell, it can surely intimidate anyone with everything surrounding them set ablaze.
Causing Havoc and Mayhem
If you identify as the chaotic type or just plain evil, this spell can surely be something that may interest you. With this, it grants the spellcaster the ability to light up flammable objects in the area except for ones that are carried or worn. This can be very useful if you want to burn enemy hideouts or even a cult village. But, of course, it’s up to you and your moral compass on how you’ll take measures in your own hands.
Advice and final thoughts
When you have a level three spell, it can be a tough decision to choose something worthwhile. From Fireball to Dispel Magic, there are many good options, and the Lightning Bolt spell is one of them.
This may be just for you if you need a spell that deals a massive damage output with a precise Area of Effect. But don’t let the battlefield be the only limitation for you to use this because there are creative ways to utilize this with how it can ignite surrounding objects.
Of course, like any other spells like this one, it’s important to know where you’re aiming to avoid any casualties. Overall, the Lightning Bolt spell is flashy and can surely strike fear in your future enemies.
Lightning Bolt FAQ
Should I choose Fireball or Lightning Bolt for my next spell?
Though the Fireball spell and the Lightning Bolt spell feature some similarities like long-range, ignition of flammable objects in the area, damage die, and such, Lightning Bolt is the safer option. Unlike the Fireball spell, where a 20-foot-radius sphere is centered on a targetted point, causing AoE damage, with Lightning Bolt, the spellcaster has better control of who they may target. The Fireball spell can be quite destructive to allies without proper planning. All in all, it is best and easier to use the Lightning Bolt spell.
Do the targets in front of the Lightning Bolt spell provide half cover for the line?
Technically yes, because according to the 5th Edition System Reference Document,
“A target with half cover has a +2 bonus to AC and Dexterity saving throws. A target has half cover if an obstacle blocks at least half of its body. For example, the obstacle might be a low wall, a large piece of furniture, a narrow tree trunk, or a creature, whether that creature is an enemy or a friend.”
This means that enemy targets can be shielded by any targets in front of it, granting them half cover.
Is there a way to increase the range of Lightning Bolt?
No, a spellcaster cannot increase the range of the Lightning Bolt spell since there is no mechanic in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition available.
Can you use the Lightning Bolt spell underwater?
Yes, you can. This is because the spell’s damage dealt is considered to be magical. Thus, the spell deals magical lightning damage, and the spell’s description does not say otherwise; a spellcaster may be able to use this spell. But it may be advisable to consult your Dungeon Master if this is an acceptable way to use this spell.
Does the Lightening Bolt spell cause extra damage to creatures in water?
Spells with lightning damage, such as the Lightning Bolt spell, do not behave differently in water since the spell’s description does not state any interaction between it and water.