Complete Guide of DND Schools Of Magic 5e : Hey there! If you’re into Dungeons & Dragons, then you know that magic is an essential part of the game. It lets you do impossible things, like conjuring up a fireball or creating a powerful enchantment. Magic is so potent that it can even influence the mind and make you do things you wouldn’t normally do.
In the 5th edition of D&D, magic is broken down into eight categories or “schools”: Conjuration, Necromancy, Evocation, Abjuration, Transmutation, Divination, Enchantment, and Illusion. Each school has its unique spells and abilities that allow players to do incredible things, like raising the dead or reversing time.
In this guide, we’re going to explore each of the schools of magic 5e and give you a better understanding of what they do. We’ll highlight some of the most iconic spells from each school, so you can get a sense of what kind of magic each school is capable of.
After that, we’ll take a look at the origins of magic in D&D and how it has evolved through different editions of the game. Finally, we’ll delve into the two different sources of magic – arcane and divine – and explore whether all magic must fall within one of the eight schools or be either arcane or divine.
You can use the table of contents below to jump to the section that interests you the most. Or, you can keep reading and learn all about the schools of magic in 5e. Get ready to cast some spells!
What is History of Magic in D&D
Magic has been a fundamental part of Dungeons & Dragons since its very first edition, setting it apart from its predecessor, the medieval wargame Chainmail. Creator Gary Gygax knew that adding magic was essential to truly immerse players in a world of fantasy.
Over the course of five major editions, magic in D&D has grown increasingly intricate and diverse, with new schools of thought emerging on how it should be utilized at the table. Fifth Edition strikes a balance between the best ideas from the previous editions, making it the most versatile yet.
For instance, consider the humble cantrip and the introduction of spell slots. When Gary Gygax created the magic system for the original edition, he aimed for magic to be both potent and practical – a way to harness the raw, cosmic energy of the universe to a mage’s will.
Magic has always been an integral part of Dungeons & Dragons, but its inclusion posed a unique challenge for the game’s creator Gary Gygax. He recognized that unrestrained magic in the game could quickly lead to an imbalanced experience, where spellcasters overshadowed other characters and gameplay became boring.
To avoid this, Gygax devised a magic system that allowed for balance between spellcasters and martial characters, with spellcasters being weaker at lower levels and gradually surpassing their martial counterparts.
The initial magic system in the game, found in Original Dungeons & Dragons, included around 100 spells accessible only to the Wizard class. Two years later, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons introduced the concept of “prepared spells,” which allowed magic users to memorize a spell and erase it from their memory after casting it.
This approach, inspired by the Dying Earth novels by Jack Vance, remained the primary means of spellcasting in D&D for many years. Today, with the development of different schools of magic 5e, spellcasting has become more complex, diverse and exciting than ever before.
The addition of magic was a major game-changer for Dungeons & Dragons, setting it apart from its predecessor, Chainmail. Magic was added to the game to allow players to explore a fantastical world filled with elves, orcs, dwarves, and other magical creatures.
Over the course of five major editions and countless variations, the magic system in D&D has grown increasingly complex. New styles and schools of magic 5e have emerged, and the system has swung back and forth, seeking balance between spellcasters and martial characters.
The eight schools of magic 5e have remained relatively consistent throughout D&D’s evolution, but the rules governing magic have changed. For example, the Sorcerer class was introduced in 3.5e, which allowed players to access innate magical abilities, rather than learning spells from a book.
In 4e, every class became a wizard, and spells were divided into “powers” that could be used per day, per encounter, and “at will”. This approach was refined in 5e, where cantrips allowed simple spells to be cast at will, while higher-level spells used a Vancian magic system.
Today, D&D’s magic system is a hybrid style, with different classes having their unique forms of magic, from the Warlock’s Pact Magic to the Cleric’s divine spellcasting.
The eight schools of magic 5e remain the foundation of spellcasting, but certain spells have been recategorized in different editions. For instance, all non-mind-altering spells were moved from Enchantment to Transmutation in 3rd Edition.
DND Schools Of Magic 5e
There are eight schools of magic 5e that classify the various magical effects that a spellcaster can create? Each school has its unique set of spells and abilities that enable players to do incredible things, like conjuring creatures or transforming objects. So if you want to become a powerful wizard or sorcerer, it’s crucial to understand the schools of magic 5e and what they can do.
There Are Eight Schools of Magic 5e 2023
Abjuration – Schools of Magic 5e
The school of Abjuration is all about using magic to create shields, barriers, and other forms of protection against harm. Abjuration magic can ward off evil or good entities, deflect sword strikes, or safeguard the mind from external influences.
While it may not be as destructive as Evocation spells, Abjuration magic isn’t just for defense. It can also be used to harm attackers. Abjurers, the wizards who specialize in Abjuration magic, are skilled at banishing evil spirits, preventing extraplanar invasions, and defeating other spellcasters.
The word “Abjuration” comes from “abjure,” which means to reject or renounce. As an abjurer, you’ll be able to renounce the attacks of your enemies and protect yourself and your allies from all sorts of harm.
Armor of Agathys (1st-level) : you can summon a magical force field that grants you temporary hit points and deals cold damage to enemies who dare to attack you. It’s a great way to deter would-be assailants and protect yourself in battle.
Banishment (5th-level) : is a powerful tool for removing enemies from the fight altogether. You can send a creature to another plane of existence or even back to its home plane, potentially for good. Be careful, though – some foes are immune to this kind of magic.
Imprisonment (9th-level) : allows you to restrain a creature in a variety of ways. You could trap them in a hidden dungeon, seal them inside a gemstone, bind them with unbreakable chains, or put them into an enchanted slumber. This spell can be tricky to cast, but it’s a great way to take a dangerous foe out of commission.
Illusion – Schools of Magic 5e
Illusion magic in D&D creates illusions that play tricks on the senses, whether it be through visual or auditory illusions, or even illusions that can produce smells. Unlike Enchantment magic, which affects the mind directly, Illusion magic tricks the senses to create the desired effect.
Spells in the school of illusion include things like mirages, silent images, and powerful disguises. Some illusionists are mischievous pranksters, while others use their powers for more nefarious purposes, such as deception and assassination.
Disguise Self (1st-level): Disguise Self is a spell from the school of magic called Illusion. It allows the caster to change their appearance by creating an illusory disguise of another person, including their clothing, armor, and belongings. This spell can be useful in a variety of situations, from avoiding detection to pulling off a convincing disguise. However, it is important to note that the illusion is only visual and does not change the caster’s voice or scent.
Minor Illusion (can trip): With a wave of your hand, you create a small, convincing illusion of a sound or image that appears real to most onlookers.
Simulacrum (7th-level): Using the magic of the Simulacrum spell, you can craft a flawless copy of a living being, with the same abilities and knowledge as the original. However, keep in mind that the duplicate is not as sturdy as the original, and may not survive the same threats and dangers. This magical process takes about 12 hours to complete.
Divination – Schools of Magic 5e
Divination magic is not just about seeing what’s yet to come – it’s much more than that. Those who study this intricate and often-misunderstood discipline strive to pierce through the fabric of time and space.
They aim to learn the skills of scrying (observing things from afar), perception (uncovering the truth of things), knowledge beyond human capacity, and foresight.
Wizards who become experts in Divination magic appear to have mastery over destiny, bending and shaping causation to meet their desired outcomes.
Find Traps (2nd-level): With this spell, you can spot any traps or harmful objects nearby. When you cast the spell and look around, you’ll see any traps or harmful objects light up with a halo of light, making them easy to spot and avoid.
Locate Creature (4th-level): If you need to find a creature, this spell will help. Just describe the creature you’re looking for, or name a type of creature, and you’ll learn its location if it’s within 1,000 feet. This can be very useful if you’re trying to track down someone or something.
Foresight (9th-level): This powerful spell grants someone supernatural insight into their immediate future. When you touch a creature and cast the spell, they gain an advantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws. Additionally, any enemies attacking them will have a disadvantage for the next eight hours. This can help your ally avoid danger and succeed in their goals.
Transmutation – Schools of Magic 5e
Transmutation magic is all about transforming one thing or person into another, just like the ancient alchemists who sought to turn lead into gold. But unlike those mystical practices, Transmutation is more akin to science in our own world, using raw energy to craft physical forms and mental qualities.
Masters of Transmutation possess a burning curiosity and a sense of godlike power, with the ability to reshape reality itself. It’s a type of magic that’s closely tied to the natural world, making it a favorite of Druids and those with a deep connection to nature.
Transmutation can give you the power to forge reality, creating something new and exciting. And while Druids may not realize that their Druidcraft is a form of Transmutation, they certainly understand the transformative power of magic.
Awaken (5th-level): With great patience and effort, you can perform a ritual that will grant consciousness to an animal or plant that was previously not able to think for itself.
Feather Fall (1st-level): If you or someone you touch falls from a high place, you can slow their descent so that they can land safely, instead of becoming a puddle on the ground.
True Polymorph (9th-level): Some believe that this spell represents the pinnacle of Transmutation magic. It allows you to change any creature or object into another creature, object, or even something that never existed before, and the change is completely real and permanent.
Conjuration – Schools of Magic 5e
The magical art of Conjuration is centered around bringing things into existence, whether it’s summoning an object from thin air or calling forth creatures from other worlds. A skilled Conjurer can conjure up a raging storm of lightning bolts or call forth a powerful demon to do their bidding.
Conjuration magic also allows its users to move people and objects from one place to another, including opening portals to other planes, dimensions, or distant locations. By wielding Conjuration magic, a wizard can create small but useful items like keys, lanterns, or even statues, and travel from one place to another in the blink of an eye.
Conjuration magic is all about bringing things from elsewhere into the world, and wizards who master it can summon powerful creatures from other dimensions and even teleport themselves and others across vast distances.
Conjure Animals : a 3rd-level spell, a wizard can summon up to eight creatures from the feywild, which can range from ferocious bears to creepy giant spiders or even a swarm of velociraptors for those who have access to Volo’s Guide to Monsters.
Dimension Door : The 4th-level spell Dimension Door allows a wizard to instantly teleport themselves and another creature within 500 feet to a different location. However, it’s important to have a clear picture of the destination in mind, or the spell could fail with potentially dangerous consequences.
Tsunami : At the pinnacle of Conjuration magic lies Tsunami 8th-level spell that summons a massive wall of water 300 feet long to sweep away anything in its path. Only the most powerful Conjurers can master this spell, but those who do have the power to reshape the world around them.
Evocation – Schools of Magic 5e
The school of Evocation in 5e is all about harnessing the power of the elements to create magical effects. With this magic, you can conjure plumes of fire, walls of ice, and rivers of caustic acid to deal damage to your enemies.
Evokers are some of the most potent magic users in the game and can lay waste to entire armies or even entire cities. However, an expert in Evocation magic can also control their spells to avoid harming allies while cutting down enemies.
This school of magic is not only about destruction, but it can also heal grievous wounds and call upon the power of gods to heal or harm. In many ways, Clerics are similar to Evokers, but with a focus on their deity’s powers.
The school of Evocation has a massive spell list, which is more than twice as long as other schools. It includes many powerful spells that can turn the tide of battle, heal your allies, or cause devastating damage to your foes.
Fireball (3rd level): You create a ball of fire that explodes on impact, dealing massive damage to all creatures within its area of effect.
Lightning Bolt (3rd level): You unleash a bolt of lightning that strikes through multiple targets in a straight line, dealing significant damage.
Cure Wounds (1st level): While not a traditionally destructive spell, Cure Wounds is an Evocation spell that allows a caster to heal a creature’s wounds, restoring hit points.
Chain Lightning (6th level): Similar to Lightning Bolt, but instead of a straight line, the lightning arcs to multiple targets, bouncing between them.
Meteor Swarm (9th level): You summon four meteors that crash to the ground, each exploding in a fiery blast that can decimate a large area.
Sunburst (8th level): You create a burst of sunlight that radiates out in a 60-foot radius, dealing significant damage to undead and other creatures vulnerable to sunlight.
Power Word Kill (9th level): One of the most devastating spells in existence, Power Word Kill instantly kills a creature with less than 100 hit points.
Enchantment – Schools of Magic 5e
The school of Enchantment in 5e D&D focuses on manipulating the minds and perceptions of others. This magic allows spellcasters to charm and compel people to do their bidding.
Enchantment magic can be used for both good and evil purposes. Some enchanters use their powers to calm down aggressive individuals or to defuse tense situations. However, others may use their magic to dominate and control people against their will.
Enchantment is like a form of magical hypnotism, where the caster can control the thoughts, actions, and behavior of their target. Wizards, Warlocks, Sorcerers, and Bards can all learn Enchantment spells to bend the wills of others to their desires.
Hold Person (2nd-level): This spell allows you to reach into the mind of a humanoid and paralyze them, but only if they fail a Wisdom saving throw. This can be a powerful tool in combat, as it can give you time to focus your attacks on other enemies or subdue the paralyzed target for questioning.
Modify Memory (5th-level): With this spell, you can manipulate another creature’s memories, charming and incapacitating them while also changing their recollections of the past 24 hours. This can be useful in a variety of situations, from gathering information to helping someone forget a traumatic experience.
Power Word Kill (9th-level): This spell is one of the most powerful in existence, allowing you to instantly kill a target with fewer than 100 hit points by uttering a single word of command. This can be a devastating tool in battle, but it should be used with caution as it carries a heavy moral burden.
Necromancy – Schools of Magic 5e
The Necromancy school of magic is one of the oldest and most debated schools, allowing magic users to wield power over the balance between life and death.
Necromancers are often misunderstood, viewed as outcasts and dangerous individuals who use their abilities to raise hordes of undead creatures, create deadly diseases, and even bring back the deceased.
In addition to animating corpses, Necromancers can manipulate the vital force of other creatures, and excel in spells that control or destroy the soul.
There are many paths to the realm of the dead, and if you’re curious about the dark arts of Necromancy in Dungeons and Dragons, there are many secrets to uncover.
Create Undead (6th-level): As the night falls, Necromancers can call forth their dark powers to raise an army of ghouls, mummies, or wights to serve them. They use their magic to animate the corpses and bind them to their will. However, they must be careful to never practice this under the sun’s rays.
Finger of Death (7th-level): With a single pointed finger, Necromancers can unleash a powerful burst of necrotic energy on a nearby creature. If the target is unable to withstand the 7d8+30 necrotic damage, it dies and immediately rises as a zombie under the Necromancer’s control.
Magic Jar (6th-level): This spell allows Necromancers to transfer their own soul from their body into a reliquary container. From there, they can attempt to possess the body of another nearby creature, trapping their soul in the container as they take control.
Although it may appear similar to Enchantment magic, Magic Jar is a prime example of Necromancy. Rather than simply controlling the mind of the subject, the Necromancer is forcibly removing their soul from their body, a power unique to their school of magic.
What is Arcane or Divine Sources of Magic
Arcane magic is the result of manipulating the fundamental forces of the universe, often with the aid of special tools such as spellbooks, wands, or even a sorcerer’s innate magical ability. Arcane magic is often associated with the Wizard class, who are the quintessential spellcasters of the D&D world. Arcane magic is also commonly used by bards, sorcerers, and warlocks.
Divine magic, on the other hand, is granted to mortals by powerful deities or other divine forces. Clerics, paladins, and druids are the most common classes associated with divine magic. These classes receive their magical powers through prayer or meditation, and their spells often focus on healing, protection, and the smiting of evil.
Both Arcane and Divine magic have their unique strengths and weaknesses. Arcane magic is often more flexible and versatile, allowing spellcasters to adapt to a wide range of situations. Divine magic, on the other hand, is often more specialized and focused on specific tasks, such as healing or combat.
Regardless of the source, magic is a powerful tool in the hands of skilled practitioners. In the world of D&D, mastering the use of magic is often a key part of becoming a successful adventurer, and many dangers can only be overcome through the use of arcane or divine spells.
A Look Beyond the Schools of Magic 5e
Looking Beyond the Eight Schools of Magic 5e
Let’s dive into some unconventional thinking: while the eight schools of magic 5e are useful for wizards to study and apply arcane magic in-game, they may not be the most accurate or effective way to understand how magic actually works.
For instance, the Detect Magic spell – a Divination spell that detects magic within 30 feet – reveals a magic aura around any visible creature or object and its associated school of magic. However, this strict categorization may limit our understanding of the full potential and nature of magic.
Expanding the Horizons of Magic in 5e Schools
Don’t limit yourself to thinking that all magical effects fall within the constraints of the eight schools of magic 5e. It’s not necessary for every magical effect to fit into a school, and forcing them to do so is limiting the creativity and imagination of the game.
DMs often struggle with categorizing a magical effect within a specific school when a player uses detect magic. However, it’s essential to remember that not everything has to fit into a predetermined category. There are countless ways to produce magic in D&D, and it’s perfectly fine to say, “it doesn’t have a school. You don’t know how this works. I put it in my world because it’s cool.”
Instead of limiting yourself to the traditional magical schools, think of magic as a language. There are plenty of cultures with different linguistic structures to convey meaning, just as there are many ways to produce magic in D&D. So why not try breaking down magic in your world by using different dichotomies like Natural vs Industrial, or even Nature vs Demonic?
Don’t be constrained by the stuffy teachings of a few long-dead wizards. The eight schools of magic 5e are just one way of understanding how magic works in 5e. Let your imagination run wild and come up with something that works best for your world.
I just wanted to mention that the schools of magic 5e can be a useful tool for organizing spells into different categories. However, it’s important to remember that not everything magical needs to fit into one of these schools. In fact, applying the schools too strictly can take away from the wonder and mystery of magic.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many schools of magic are there in 5E?
There are eight schools of magic 5E: Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, and Transmutation.
What are the eight schools of magic?
These are the eight DND schools of magic 5e, each with its own unique focus and abilities.
- Abjuration specializes in protection and defense, allowing for the creation of magical barriers and the ability to negate harmful effects.
- Conjuration involves creating something from nothing, summoning creatures or objects, and teleportation magic.
- Divination is all about knowing things, whether it be uncovering the truth or gaining insight into the future.
- Enchantment deals with the manipulation of senses, minds, and free will, often used to charm or control others.
- Evocation focuses on the control of elemental energies such as fire, ice, and acid, as well as the ability to heal.
- Illusion is the art of creating sensory effects that can deceive and delight, allowing for illusions and mirages to be conjured.
- Necromancy deals with the power exerted over life and death, allowing for the manipulation of undead creatures and control over life force.
- Transmutation involves the conversion of one thing into another, such as turning lead into gold or transforming the form of objects or creatures.
While each school has its own strengths and weaknesses, there is no “best” school of magic in 5e as it ultimately depends on the player’s playstyle and the situation at hand.
What is the best school of magic in 5e?
In terms of the best school of magic in 5e, the answer is not so straightforward. It depends on the situation and what you’re trying to accomplish. That being said, the school of Evocation is often considered one of the most powerful.
It’s known for its destructive capabilities, but it’s also the source of all healing magic (although wizards specializing in Evocation don’t gain access to healing spells themselves). Additionally, it has the most extensive spell list of any magical school. However, each school of magic has its strengths and weaknesses, so the effectiveness of a particular school will depend on the situation you find yourself in.
What school of magic is a construct?
When creating a construct such as a golem, there are multiple schools of magic 5e that can be used to bring it to life. Enchantment, although the least likely option, could be used if the construct was already sentient. Alternatively, the Transmutation school offers spells such as Animate Objects or Awaken, which can grant sentience to the construct.
Conjuration may also be an option, as it can be used to bind a spirit to the physical form of the golem. For flesh golems or other similar creations, the school of Necromancy, particularly the spell Magic Jar, could be a viable option.
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