Welcome to the Poison Spray spell breakdown! Now that you have an idea as to how we feel about each spell, we can now delve into the fun part – playing the game! If your dungeon masters is anything like me, they will reward creativity that fits into the reality of the world that you are playing in. Each article will be broken into five sections – The spell attributes, pros, cons, when you can use it, and when you should be thinking about a better option. So let’s put our spellcasting cap on, and get to Spraying this cantrip out.
Poison Spray 5E Guide
- School: Conjuration
- Casting Time: One Action
- Range: Ten Feet
- Components: Verbal, Somatic
- Duration: Instantaneous
- Class: Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Your character targets an enemy within ten feet with a cloud of noxious gas; to not be affected by this gas, your target will need to make a successful Constitution saving throw. If your target fails the check, they will take 1d12 poison damage. This will increase to 2d12 at level seven, 3d12 at level eleven, and 4d12 at level seventeen.
When making a saving throw, your opponent will need to make a roll based off of the stat that is mentioned (Constitution in this case) that is higher than your Spell Save DC. That is determined with the following formulas:
Spell Save DC
8 + Your Proficiency Bonus + Your Spellcasting Modifier.
1d20 + Constitution Modifier
Your Proficiency Bonus is dictated by level – for example, a level character will always have a Proficiency Bonus of +2. Your Spellcasting Modifier is determined by class. Reference the following chart in order to determine what your Spellcasting Modifier is:
Class Spellcasting Modifier
To cast Poison Spray, you will need no additional materials and you do not have to concentrate. That means you can cast Poison Spray at a seconds notice, with no hesitation. The fact that Poison Spray is a cantrip also means that you do not have to prepare to cast this spell as well, so you can continually spray away.
Poison Spray uses the highest damage die in the game – d12. That is impressive considering that you can potentially take it up as one of your starting cantrips. The next highest die a cantrip uses for damage is d8.
And finally, Poison Spray will deal poison damage. So if you know your target is weak to poison damage, this spell will exploit that weakness.
The biggest Con to Poison Spray is that your opponent will get a chance to make a saving throw. Very few spells in this game will let your opponent make a saving throw, and usually, the benefit can outweigh the possibility of missing. In this case, you will have plenty of other options that have a lower damage output potential that does not allow your target to make a saving throw.
This spell will also use your regular action for the turn; thus, you cannot do anything else if your opponent is successful with their saving throw. I would not consider that to be a huge downfall, because you can miss with a melee attack too. But why would you take a chance when you could have a guaranteed shot at doing your damage?
And finally, Poison Spray is only efficient if you are within ten feet of your target. Unlike other damage-dealing spells that will let you hit them from a much larger distance, your character will need to be in the thick of combat in order to accurately affect your target. This is rarely ideal for a spellcasting character.
When Should You Use Poison Spray
My recommendation is to use Poison Spray in close combat. It is an instantaneous effect, so you do not spend any time preparing to cast Poison Spray. The range of the spell is ten feet, so it is not like you could use it in any other situation.
You could attempt to use the spell as a pseudo sneak attack, but that would be at the discretion of your Dungeon Master – if it were me, I would make you pass a move silently check first, then have your target roll their Constitution check with a disadvantage if you pass the move silently check. Having a disadvantage in fifth edition means you roll two dice and pick the lower of the two results.
When Better Options Are Available
I would not use Poison Spray when you know you only need a couple of hits to finish off your foe. For you to know this, your Dungeon Master should be doing a good job in describing how your enemy is reacting. A good example would be spotting that your enemy is laboring hard to finish an action, kneeling over from the pain, or trying to get up after an incredibly hard strike. You should be able to hit them with whatever weapon you are carrying as you should be attacking with an advantage. When you have an advantage, you get to roll two dice and keep the higher of the two results.
And finally, because Poison Spray requires your target to at most be ten feet in front of you, there will always be another spell that can hit your target from a much larger distance.