Welcome to the Message spell breakdown! We will be taking a deep dive into everything that makes this spell tic – the pros, cons, when you should use Message, and when there is a better option for you to use. So let’s open up this Message and see what it has to say! Dive into our Message 5E Guide to learn more.
Message 5E Guide
- School: Transmutation
- Level: Cantrip
- Classes: Bard, Sorcerer, Wizard
- Casting Time: 1 action
- Range: 120 feet
- Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material (a short piece of copper wire)
- Duration: 1 round
One target and only one target, within range, can hear and reply to a message that you whisper to them. In order for your target to receive the message, you have to know where they are and they have to be in your range. If your target is behind an object, the spell can travel around corners or through openings; Message does not have to travel in a straight line. The message cannot travel through a magical silence, one foot of stone, one inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or three feet of woodblocks.See Also: Frostbite 5E Spell Guide
This is possibly the best way to communicate while in combat. You do not have to worry about getting close to your desired target, so you put no one in harm’s way when you trying to get pertinent information to your party members. While you will have to use your action in order to cast Message, your target does not have to use an action to respond because you already created the link when you cast the spell. So they can keep swinging away at the opposition as you are telling them exactly what they need to know at that moment.
You can also cast Message in moments where you need to be sneaky. For example, if you are in a room full of suspicious people, you can cast Message to make sure none of them hear what you need to say. You can also use Message while you are hunting for food so your prey does not run away while you are trying to communicate with your team. If you and your team are stuck in a mob of people, you can cast Message to let them know where you are or even where the nearest exit point is.
When I am playing a spellcasting class that can learn Message, I will always have it available because communication is the key to everything.
The biggest con to using Message is the fact that you need to use an action in order to cast the spell. While that con might not be a big factor in calm situations, it could possibly be a factor while you are in combat. Depending on where your character is standing, you could quickly jump behind something so you can have the cover you might need. But if nothing is within five feet of where you are standing, you will be putting yourself at risk of taking a lot of damage; something a Bard, Sorcerer or Wizard cannot afford to do regularly.
The other big con is the material component you need to cast Message – a piece of copper. Depending on where your team is traveling will depend on how often you will be able to reliably obtain this pertinent material. If you are always on the road, it might be close to impossible for you to find copper lying around in the grass. You could easily purchase a bunch while you are in town, but you also have to keep in mind weight capacity while you are adding items to your inventory. One copper penny weights 3.11 grams, and a pound of copper is the equivalent of 145 pennies. Stock up appropriately.
When Should You Use Message
You should indefinitely use Message when you need to get an important piece of information to someone while under a dire situation. If your team breaks up while in the middle of combat, a quick Message to someone within sight could help get you all back together quickly. If you have discovered new information about a tough enemy that your melee companion is going toe-to-toe with, send them a Message so they can use it.
You can even use Message to mess with your target! If you are sending the Message to an enemy, they are not going to expect to hear your voice in their ear. From there, you can do any number of actions like screaming at the top of your lungs or whisper something off-putting to throw them off.
When Better Options Are Available
If you are trying to communicate with someone that you cannot see or figure out where they are, there are two spells that are better suited for you in that moment – Telepathic Bond (fifth level) and Sending (third level).
Telepathic Bond will only work is all of your targets are within thirty feet of you, but you do not have to see them in order to make the link. You can link up to eight willing targets together telepathically, and this link will stay together for as long as the spell is in effect (which is one hour). Unfortunately, a Bard and a Sorcerer cannot learn Telepathic Bond.
Sending does not have a maximum range, but it can only send a message that is at most twenty-five words. You can even use Sending to deliver a message to other planes of existence, but that has a five percent chance of missing your target.
Nerds and Scoundrels
That wraps up our Message 5E Guide. This is a great spell in general, which is why it makes our list of the Best Cantrips in 5E, and many other lists.
Theorycrafting is one thing, but how many times have you actually used this spell? A few counter points… 1) 99% of times you could use an Action on this spell, shouting to everyone within 120′ works just as well for free. 2) You’ll be casting this about as stealthily as Prof Snape counterspells. If you’re not around the corner, everyone can still see you casting this spell, even if they don’t know exactly what you said. You’re literally pointing at who you’re talking to mumbling to yourself with a copper wire in your hand. 3) It doesn’t say the copper wire is consumed when you cast this spell. Also, you won’t cast this spell twice, much less 145 times; I wouldn’t worry about the weight of a wire. Also, copper wire shouldn’t hardly exist anywhere in worlds like Faerun anyway (maybe Khorvair though?) because it literally serves no purpose outside of electronics (which don’t exist) and this spell, so the fact that it does exist means you never needed a real reason to begin with.