Spell Subtypes (5e Variant Rule)

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Spell Subtypes[edit]

The eight schools of magic in 5th edition go a long way toward being able to categorize magic. However, in many situations they are often not granular enough to be able to help you when making a rules call in certain situations: What if a water spell gets thrown at a fire elemental, for example? This is where spell subtypes come in.

A spell's subtype in this variant rule is written in parentheses next to its school, and serves to further subdivide a spell than what the umbrella spell schools can offer. A spell's subtype is largely for categorical purposes; however, there are some mechanical effects that do come from having a particular subtype, which will be defined under the subtype.
Unlike schools, spells are allowed to have multiple subtypes.


Fire spells involve the creation, manipulation, or application of fire, which includes both open flames and invisible heat. Fire spells include:

Spell Level Fire Spells
Cantrip control flames, create bonfire, fire bolt
1st burning hands, searing smite
2nd Aganazzar's scorcher, continual flame, dragon's breath, flame blade, flaming sphere, heat metal, pyrotechnics, scorching ray
3rd glyph of warding, fireball, flame arrows, Melf's minute meteors
4th conjure minor elementals, dominate beast, elemental bane, fire shield, wall of fire
5th flame strike, immolation
6th investiture of flame
7th delayed blast fireball, fire storm
8th incendiary cloud
9th meteor swarm


Water spells involve the creation, manipulation, or application of water, be it in its solid, liquid, or even gaseous state. Creatures that are made of fire, such as fire elementals, have vulnerability to any damage caused by spells within this subtype. Water spells include:

Spell Level Water Spells
Cantrip shape water, frostbite
1st create or destroy water, fog cloud, ice knife
2nd Snilloc's snowball swarm
3rd create food and water, gaseous form, maelstrom, sleet storm, tidal wave wall of water, water breathing, water walk
4th control water, watery sphere
5th '
6th '
7th simulacrum
8th control weather, tsunami
9th storm of vengeance


Earth spells involve the creation, manipulation, or application of earth, which includes soil, sand, gravel, and stone. Earth spells include:

Spell Level Earth Spells
Cantrip magic stone, mold earth
1st earth tremor
2nd Maximillian’s earthen grasp
3rd erupting earth, meld into stone, wall of sand
4th stone shape, stoneskin
5th transmute rock, wall of stone
6th bones of the earth, flesh to stone, investiture of stone, move earth
7th '
8th earthquake, mighty fortress
9th '


Air spells involve the creation, manipulation, or application of air, wind, or most sorts of gas. Air spells include:

Spell Level Air Spells
Cantrip gust, poison spray
1st fog cloud, zephyr strike
2nd dust devil, gust of wind, skywrite, warding wind
3rd fly, stinking cloud, wind wall
4th storm sphere
5th cloudkill, control winds, steel wind strike
6th investiture of wind, wind walk
7th whirlwind
8th control weather
9th storm of vengeance


Cold spells directly channel cold energy, independent of water. Many ice spells fall within this category. Cold spells include:

Spell Level Cold Spells
Cantrip frostbite, ray of frost
1st ice knife
2nd Snilloc's snowball swarm
3rd sleet storm
4th ice storm
5th cone of cold
6th freezing sphere, investiture of ice, wall of ice
7th simulacrum
8th '
9th storm of vengeance


Lightning spells involve the creation, manipulation, or application of lightning. Lightning spells may cause electrical components to overload and short-circuit. Lightning spells include:

Spell Level Lightning Spells
Cantrip shocking grasp
1st '
2nd '
3rd call lightning, lightning bolt
4th storm sphere
5th '
6th chain lightning
7th '
8th '
9th storm of vengeance


Sonic spells create or destroy sound; Spells that deal thunder damage fall into this category. If a Sonic spell suppresses noise, it prevents any spells with verbal components from being able to be cast within the affected area. Sonic spells include:

Spell Level Sonic Spells
Cantrip minor illusion, thaumaturgy, thunderclap
1st alarm, thunderwave
2nd blindness/deafness, knock, magic mouth, shatter, silence
3rd major image, thunder step
4th '
5th '
6th guards and wards
7th '
8th '
9th storm of vengeance


Creation spells spawn new creatures or objects using magic as opposed to summoning existing objects from other places. Creatures and objects spawned with Creation spells can be permanent, but most are temporary. Creation spells include:

Spell Level Creation Spells
Cantrip prestidigitation
1st create or destroy water, goodberry
2nd continual flame
3rd create food and water, phantom steed
4th faithful hound
5th creation, wall of stone
6th heroes' feast
7th simulacrum, temple of the gods
8th mighty fortress
9th wish


Summon spells summon creatures or objects from other places to your location, usually from another plane of existence. Summon spells are differentiated from Creation spells by the fact that they do not create new matter, only transport existing matter from another place. Summon spells include:

Spell Level Summon Spells
Cantrip '
1st find familiar
2nd find steed
3rd conjure animals, summon lesser demons
4th conjure minor elementals, conjure woodland beings, find greater steed, summon greater demon
5th conjure elemental, infernal calling
6th conjure fey, instant summons, planar ally
7th conjure celestial
8th '
9th gate


Teleportation spells involve instantaneous travel from one point to another. Spells or effects that block teleportation, such as private sanctum, shut down all of these spells within the affected area. Teleportation spells include:

Spell Level Teleportation Spells
Cantrip '
1st '
2nd misty step
3rd thunder step
4th dimension door
5th far step, steel wind strike, teleportation circle
6th scatter
7th teleport
8th '
9th gate


Dimension spells allow access or travel between planes or demiplanes. Spells or effects that prevent or block planar travel, such as forbiddance or temple of the gods, shut down any attempt at inter-planar travel by spells of this category within the affected area. Planeshift spells include:

Spell Level Dimension Spells
Cantrip '
1st '
2nd rope trick
3rd blink
4th banishment, secret chest
5th '
6th '
7th divine word, etherealness, magnificent mansion, plane shift
8th demiplane, maze
9th astral projection, gate


Ward spells protect an affected creature, object, or area from intrusion. The Ward subtype's domain includes personal shields and area protection. Archetypical examples of this kind of magic include shield and guards and wards. Ward spells include:

Spell Level Ward Spells
Cantrip '
1st absorb elements, alarm, protection from evil and good, sanctuary, shield, shield of faith
2nd arcane lock, gentle repose, warding wind zone of truth
3rd glyph of warding, protection from energy, magic circle, spirit guardians, tiny hut
4th fire shield, guardian of faith, private sanctum, resilient sphere
5th antilife shell, dispel evil and good, hallow
6th druid grove, forbiddance, globe of invulnerability, guards and wards, primordial ward
7th symbol, temple of the gods
8th antimagic field, antipathy/sympathy, holy aura
9th invulnerability


Hold is the converse to Ward: While Ward keeps stuff out, Hold keeps stuff in, by restricting or reducing movement. Archetypical examples of this kind of magic include hold person and imprisonment. Hold spells include:

Spell Level Ward Spells
Cantrip ray of frost
1st entangle, hideous laughter
2nd earthbind, hold person, Maximillian’s earthen grasp, web
3rd magic circle, slow
4th fire shield, guardian of faith, private sanctum, resilient sphere
5th hold monster, transmute rock
6th flesh to stone, irresistible dance
7th '
8th antipathy/sympathy
9th imprisonment


Infusion spells apply magical effects to mundane equipment, most often armor or weapons All kinds of buff spells, most notably the smite series, are included in this category. Infusion spells include:

Spell Level Infusion Spells
Cantrip magic stone, shillelagh
1st searing smite, wrathful smite
2nd branding smite, heat metal, magic weapon
3rd flame arrows
4th secret chest
5th animate objects, holy weapon
6th '
7th '
8th '
9th '


Heal spells restore hit points, and many also make it easier to prevent or outright negate death. Most Heal spells are not able to affect undead or constructs. Iconic Heal spells include heal and resurrection. Heal spells include:

Spell Level Heal Spells
Cantrip spare the dying
1st cure wounds, goodberry, healing word
2nd aid, healing spirit, prayer of healing
3rd beacon of hope, life transference, mass healing word, revivify
4th death ward
5th mass cure wounds, raise dead, reincarnate
6th heal
7th regenerate, resurrection
8th '
9th power word heal, true resurrection

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