This spell breakdown is going to be hot! Because today, we will be going over the Fire Bolt Cantrip. We have everything from the pros, the cons, and the situational utility that you will need to know when it comes to casting this spell. So let’s jump in while this article is on the burner!
Fire Bolt 5E Guide
Your character hurls a mote of fire at a single target within range. To see if you are successful, make a Ranged Spell Attack. Use the following formula to determine if you are successful:
If you are a Sorcerer, your Spellcasting Modifier if your Charisma Modifier. As a Wizard, your Spellcasting Modifier is your Intelligence Modifier. If you are trying to hit an aggressive target that is about five feet in front of you, you will be rolling with a Disadvantage. Rolling with a Disadvantage means that you will be rolling two dice and using the lowest result.
If you are successful, the target takes 1d10 fire damage. That damage increases to 2d10 at level five, 3d10 at level eleven, and 4d10 at level seventeen. Any flammable object that gets hit by this spell catches on fire unless it is being carried or worn by a character.
Fire Bolt has one of the biggest damage potentials at the Cantrip level. Eldritch Blast, which is a Warlock only Cantrip, also uses a d10 when administering damage. Poison Spray has the highest damage potential because it uses a d12 to deliver the damage, but instead of having you roll for a Ranged Spell Attack to determine if you successfully hit your target, Poison Spray has your opponent roll a Saving Throw. I would rather take my chance with Fire Bolt over Poison Spray because your opponent will most likely bolster their Constitution (the stat used to determine if the Saving Throw is successful) in anticipation of a moment like this, just like you are pumping up your Spellcasting score so you can take Advantage of your spells.
Fire Bolt is also a Ranged Attack, which means your squishy Sorcerer or Wizard can take cover behind a sturdy building and take potshots at your enemies. Both of these classes have few, if any, solid melee options, so it is important to keep them as far away from the combat zone as possible. This is possible because Fire Bolt is a Cantrip that requires no materials to cast; just your main action for the turn.
Behind Poison, Fire is the second most immune damage type in the game. If your Dungeon Master is anything like me and they see that you are relying too heavily on Fire Bolt to deal your damage, they will stick a fire immune enemy into the mix so they can get you to think outside of the box. The biggest way you can avoid this is by diversifying the type of damage that you are using. Luckily, Sorcerers and Wizards have plenty of options to choose from and the headspace to maintain that knowledge.
Fire Bolt also only has one use – to attack! While damaging is extremely important, as pretty much every campaign of Dungeons and Dragons will have some combat built into the story, you need to keep in mind that your character also has to survive in this world. Survival means finding food, providing shelter and heat, obtaining clothing, and communicating with other characters in the world. It is okay to have a couple of one-dimensional spells, but having too many of those will mean that you will have to rely on your skills with some below-average stats.
When Should You Use Fire Bolt
Fire Bolt has one use – combat! Before you get into a situation where your allies will be clashing swords with an overbearing force that could destroy the world, you should find a comfortable spot for your character to hide behind and lobe Fire Bolts. As a Sorcerer and Wizard, I recommend avoiding Melee combat as much as you can because you will not want to put stock into your Strength stat. Putting stock into Strength means you will be taking away from the stats that will make your abilities stronger.
When Better Options Are Available
Unfortunately, you will not be able to avoid melee combat forever. You could simply cast Fire Bolt while you are close to the enemy, but that means you will be rolling with a Disadvantage. Luckily, there are a few other spells that you can learn that will help you in the case that you find your Sorcerer or Wizard stuck in melee combat.
Shocking Grasp is a Cantrip level spell that requires you to touch your target when you use it, which means you will be making a Melee Spell Attack (which uses the same formula as a Ranged Spell Attack). On a success, you will deal 1d8 of Lightning damage. That damage will increase at the fifth level (2d8), the eleventh level (3d8), and the seventeenth level (4d8). If your target is wearing armor made out of metal, you will also be rolling with Advantage. To roll with an Advantage, you make two rolls and use the highest result. The Sorcerer and the Wizard can learn this spell.
Vampiric Touch is a third level spell that will not only deal damage, but it will also heal your wounds. With a successful Melee Spell Attack roll, you will deal 3d6 Necrotic damage, and heal the same amount of damage that you rolled. You can continually use this attack as a regular action until the spell’s duration (one minute) has ended. The damage this deals will increase by 1d6 for each spell slot above the third that you cast Vampiric Touch on. The Sorcerer cannot learn this spell.
In cases where you need to deal more damage more than one enemy, you can use Storm Sphere (fourth level fire damage that deals 4d6 as a bonus action) and Scorching Ray (second level fire damage that issues three attacks that deal 2d6). Both the Sorcerer and the Wizard can learn this spell.
Nerds and Scoundrels – Fire Bolt 5E Conclusions
That wraps up our Fire Bolt 5E Guide. Did we leave anything out? If so, don’t hesitate to let us know!