It’s no secret that our veteran DMs love Necromancy and all related spells. Vampiric Touch is one of the most fun but underused spells for villains and necromancers in Dungeons and Dragons 5e.
Vampiric Touch in 5e, as you might have guessed from the name, deals damage and heals you simultaneously. Sharpen your teeth and close the blinds; we are deep diving into this magic!
What is Vampiric Touch 5e, and how does it work
- Casting time: 1 action
- Level: 3rd level necromancy
- Range: self
- Target: Target within reach
- Components: Verbal and Somatic
- Duration: Concentration, no more than 1 minute
- Classes: Warlock and Wizard
When you say the enchantment and make the hand movement, your hand is cloaked in a shadow, and your Touch can siphon life power from your targets and heal your hitpoints.
Make a melee spell attack against a creature that is within your reach. If you hit the target, you will deal 3d6 of necrotic damage. You will also restore your hitpoints for 50% of the necrotic damage you have dealt.
For as long as Vampiric Touch is active, you can use it again on each turn by expending your action. It is also possible to upcast this spell. You can add a 1d6 die for extra necrotic damage for every spell slot above the third. You will also heal half of the additional damage you deal.
Best uses for Vampiric Touch 5e
1. Draining minions for health
One use for the vampiric touch spell is to heal yourself by using the spell on your minions. For example, you have used Finger of Death on a humanoid, and now you have a zombie at your disposal. While you can send him into battle, you can also siphon your minion for health by casting Vampiric Touch.
You can use this extra health to restore your hitpoints but also use them for Life Transference.
2. Using a familiar to deliver the Touch
In 5e DnD and other editions, you can have a familiar deliver a touch spell to the target. For example, your Owl Familiar can use its skill ‘Flyby’ to safely attack a target with Vampiric Touch. You will stay out of harm’s way, still, deal damage, and heal your hitpoints.
3. Building a Life or Death Cleric
Vampiric Touch is a good spell for a Life Cleric or a Death Cleric built. You can combine the spell with Disciple of Life, so you get an extra +5HP for every attack, in addition to the 50% HP restoration based on the damage you have done.
4. Incorporate it into an item
As a Dungeon Master, the world is yours to mold. I enjoy incorporating Vampiric Touch as a kind of trap and reanimation mechanism. For example, I have a Helmed Horror that has no hitpoints left. However, it is imbued with the Vampiric Touch, which activates as a reanimation mechanism. A player touches the armor, gets dealt 3d8 of necrotic damage, and the armor comes to life with 50% of 3d8 hitpoints.
Advice and final thoughts
While there are some exciting ways to make the most of Vampiric Touch in 5e DnD, these are all niche situations. If you have unlocked the 3rd spell slot, there are a ton of much better spells to choose from, which all deal more damage or are much more helpful if you are a creative player.
Advantages and disadvantages
- Healing: You get 50% of the hitpoints you deal in damage as restored health. This effect is helpful if you have disposable minions and want to heal a bit.
- No materials needed: The spell is free to cast because you only need a V and S component.
- Can be upcast: If you want to increase the damage of the spell, you can put it in a higher spell slot.
- Low damage: Vampiric Touch deals about 40% of the damage a Fireball does and isn’t an AOE spell. The damage output is way too low, and the 50% healing does not make up for this.
- Niche uses: There are almost no situations where this spell is the best option. The number of great spells you can unlock from level 3 is overwhelming, and most of them are better.
- Melee range: you need to be within melee range to use Vampiric Touch; this is at least 30 feet too close to combat for a Wizard or Warlock.
Vampiric Touch FAQ
Can you upcast Vampiric Touch?
Yes, you can upcast the Vampiric spell. For every spell slot above the 3rd, you add 1d8 of necrotic damage. You also heal 50% of the extra damage you have by upcasting.
Is Vampiric Touch 5e worth it?
There are very few scenarios where Vampiric Touch should be chosen as a spell for your third spell slot. It deals less than half the damage of Fireball 5e and forces you to go into melee range as a wizard or a warlock. So, no Vampiric Touch is not worth picking.
What level is Vampiric Touch 5e?
The spell is a level 3 spell in the school of Necromancy.