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10 Most Powerful Spells In The Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook

Magic is a prominent force in the world of Dungeons & Dragons and contributes to a large number of abilities for characters, monsters, and villains. In particular, many beings in D&D are able to cast spells. Many classes available to players have some sort of casting ability with wizards having the most spells at their disposal. As a character levels up, they gain access to more powerful spells.

Ninth level is the most powerful and spells at this level often have the power to bend reality itself and conquer the unconquerable, such as death. So if you're wondering what spells to give your high-level wizard or the final boss of the campaign, here are ten of the most powerful spells in D&D form the basic Player’s Handbook.

10 Meteor Swarm, 9th Level Evocation

Meteor Swarm could be a potentially devastating move that functions as four areas of effect spells as one. Four huge balls of fire rain down on points of your choosing up to a mile away as long as you can see it. The impact is a 40-foot radius and anyone caught in it must try to dodge out of the way (Dexterity Save) or take a staggering 20d6 fire and bludgeoning damage.

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If you succeed in dodging, you only take half the damage but there won’t be anywhere for you to run and hide as the spell damages buildings and catches flammable objects on fire.

9 Prismatic Spray, 7th Level Evocation

This beautiful spell weaponizes the rainbow and allows you to shoot out a 60-foot cone of eight rays of colored light that each does 10d6 of different damage types or have some other effect. When you fire the spell, roll a d8 to decide what creature gets hit with what ray: red, orange, yellow, green, and blue do fire, acid, lightning, poison, and cold respectively.

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Targets hit by the indigo-ray are stuck in place and must save three times against being permanently turned to stone. The violet ray first blinds the creature and then vanishes it to another plane of existence if it fails its save. The last ray combines the effects of two of the other rays and you roll a d8 to determine which two.

8 Power Word Kill, 9th Level Enchantment

This spell is a devastating choice for villains and player characters alike. It's simple but highly effective as a plot device or to end a long, difficult battle. The caster choosing one target they can see within 60-feet of them. They then speak a word of power; one can presume the word is “Kill” but you can choose whatever you like.

If the target of the spell has 100 hit points or less, they are instantly dead; NOT unconscious, dead. Player characters hit with this spell do not get saving throws against death, they are simply dead. However, if you are a player using this spell against your foes, choose your moment carefully because if the target has more than 100 hit points, the spell fails.

7 Power Word Heal, 9th Level Evocation

This spell’s power and scope certainly are worthy of a benevolent deity and the ultimate goal for clerics or paladins. By speaking a word of power, the spell completely heals a single target of any negative status conditions with the exception of disease, curses, or poisonings. The target gets all of its hit points back in an instant and is able to stand up (if prone at the time of casting) without using movement. The only stipulations to casting this spell are that the target must be touched and has no effect on constructs, mechanical or otherwise, and the undead.

6 Storm of Vengeance, 9th Level Conjuration

The caster conjures a storm to form a 360-foot radius around a point within their sight with howling winds, lightning, and deafening thunder. Everyone beneath the cloud takes thunder damaged and is deafened if they fail a Constitution Save in the initial casting and the storm continues to deal out effects over the course of 10 rounds of combat as long as the caster maintains concentration.

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In the second round, the storm produces acidic rain, the third round conjures lightning bolts, the fourth being a hailstorm and the fifth to tenth rounds maintain strong, freezing gusts of wind that cause a bevy of negative effects.

5 Symbol, 7th Level Abjuration

This spell is a particularly sneaky and tactical addition to this list because if a player can pull it off, it can have some story-altering effects. Cast by touch, an invisible glyph is placed on or inside an object with a trigger and effect of the caster's choosing.

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Once triggered, the effect takes place in a 60-foot radius from the glyph for ten minutes against all creatures who fail a saving throw against it. The choices for effects are massive amounts of necrotic damage, sowing discord amongst allies, frightening foes, afflicting hopelessness, causing temporary insanity, incapacitating pain, putting targets to sleep, or stunning them.

4 Clone, 8th Level Necromancy

Death is something every character and player fears in Dungeons and Dragons. Wizards, in particular, are soft targets for enemies due to their low health and defenses and are quickly attacked because of their ability to cast powerful spells. Clone is a spell that helps high-level wizards or their companions cheat death itself. By taking a small piece of a target’s flesh, a large sealed container, and a lot of necromantic magic, one can create a clone of the target. The clone is fully grown in 120 days and if the target dies at any point after that, their soul automatically goes to the clone and inhabits its new body.

3 True Resurrection, 9th Level Necromancy

As previously mentioned, death is a feared force in D&D. However, in the world of Dungeons & Dragons, death always isn’t the end of the story. Liches (wizards that have used necromancy to separate their souls from their bodies so they have eternal life) are fearsome undead villains that have the power to kill a foe with a single word. If you fall victim to this or meet another unfortunate fate, all is not lost. True Resurrection can restore life to a creature that has died from any cause (even if there is no body left!) that is not from old age and as long as it has been less than 200 years. Any and all ailments and injuries are healed, including the effects of being undead.

2 Tsunami, 8th Level Conjuration

The power of the ocean tides are truly a force of nature and the Tsunami spell allows you to harness it and unleash it upon your foes. This spell creates a wall of water that is 300-feet tall, 300-feet long, and 50-feet wide at any point within your sight that then moves 50 feet every turn after it’s cast, as long as you concentrate on the spell. Creatures hit by the wall take damage, are caught in it, and may be unable to move. With each turn, the damage decreases and the wave’s height decreases by 50 feet until its completely gone.

1 Wish, 9th Level Conjuration

Lastly, Wish, without doubt, is the most powerful spell in Dungeons & Dragons. It can be used to duplicate any spells that are lower than 9th level, create a non-magical item worth as much as 25,000 gold, fully heal 20 creatures you can see, grant ten creatures in sight resistance to damage, grant ten creatures immunity to a spell or magic ability, or undo one recent event. While these are the more practical options, you can discuss with your Dungeon Master about other things you might want to wish for.

Beware though, the more grandiose your wish, the more the spell becomes like a monkey’s paw; you’ll get what you want but not in the way you imagine and there will most certainly be negative side effects.

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