You and your Bard got separated from your group, and now your back is on the wall. In front of you are two huge, bulking cyclops ready to smother you with their clubs. You are extremely low on HP, and you are sure that you can’t strike down both of them with` your sword at once.
Suddenly, your Bard plays a gnarly tune on his violin that reaches the enemies’ ears. You wonder, “what can music do now?” You then notice the cyclops acting strange. One of them starts to move in seemingly random directions, oblivious of his surroundings. Meanwhile, the other one is just standing yet looking vacantly into the distance, as if he was daydreaming.
What is going on? You are left with no time to think about it because the Bard suddenly grabs your hand and escapes from the mess. What just happened? If you became confused too as to what occurred, then you probably got affected by the spell too.
This D&D spell‘s name is Confusion, and as the name suggests, it can confuse every creature within the spell’s area of effect. Side effects vary, such as moving in random directions, not doing anything at all, and more. If you are interested in the spell, then read this not confusing Confusion 5e guide.
Bottom Line Up Front
Confusion is a level four enchantment spell with a casting time of one action, a range of 90 feet, vocal, somatic, and material component requirements, and a duration of one minute. Everyone within a 10-foot radius sphere from a chosen center becomes affected by the spell.
On a failed Wisdom saving throw, affected creatures will randomly perform a list of effects. You can read more details about it in the Player’s Handbook on page 224.2
What is Confusion in D&D 5e?
Confusion is a level four enchantment spell you can find in the Player’s Handbook on page 224. Enchantment magic manipulates the thought processes and behaviors of other people, and the Confusion spell messes with one’s brain to act stupid. Below are key details about the Confusion spell.
- 4th-level enchantment
- Casting Time: 1 action
- Range: 90 ft.
- Components: V, S, M (three nutshells)
- Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
Confusion is a spell that requires concentration, which means that it needs your undivided attention to keep up its effects. To know more about how concentration works, you can read my Call Lightning 5e Guide. In this article, I discuss the many ways you can lose concentration on a spell, like casting another spell that also needs concentration.
How to use Confusion in D&D 5e
All spells have requirements that you must meet to successfully cast them, and the Confusion spell is no exception. You need stuff like the materials needed, the ability to move and talk, and more. For a detailed description, look up the “How to use” section of my Pass Without Trace 5e Guide.
The two spells have similarities, so it wouldn’t be too confusing. The only difference between them is that Confusion is a fourth-level spell, so you must prepare at least a level four spell slot.
Furthermore, the Confusion spell has a range of 90 ft., whereas the Pass Without Trace spell affects the caster only. Both are spells requiring concentration, though Confusion only lasts for one minute while Pass Without Trace lasts for one hour.
When you have verified that you can cast the Confusion spell according to its requirements, then you can follow the steps below.
- Choose a spell slot to use for Confusion. You need at least a level four spell slot for it to work. If you cast Confusion using a spell slot with a level higher than four, then the spell’s effects become more powerful; for every level after four, the area of effects’ radius increases by five feet.
- Choose the starting point of your Confusion spell. You can choose anywhere within 90 ft. of you. Also, as per the normal rules of spellcasting, you must be able to see the spell’s starting point. Take note that the spell’s area of effect is a sphere centered on the starting point with a radius of ten feet. All creatures within the area become susceptible to Confusion.
- Determine your spell save DC. Creatures hit by your spell will need to make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC to determine if they will become affected by it. Each class has different spellcasting abilities, and I will explain each of them in another section below.
After following these three steps, the spell will take effect, and it is up to your targets if they can withstand the power of your magic.
If you are a DM and you want to know how the Confusion spell works, I will explain the mechanics in the next section.
How does Confusion work in D&D 5e?
After a caster casts the Confusion spell, every creature within the area of effect is susceptible to its magic. The targeted creature must do the following:
The creature must roll a Wisdom saving throw vs. the caster’s spell save DC
To determine the saving throw, the DM rolls a 20-sided die (known as a d20) and adds the roll with the creature’s Wisdom saving throw bonus.
Determine if the creature succeeds in its Wisdom saving throw.
If the creature’s Wisdom saving throw is equal to or above the caster’s spell save DC, the saving throw is a success, and nothing happens. Otherwise, the saving throw is a failure, and the creature becomes affected by the spell.
The affected creature cannot take reactions.
This rule includes spells that have a reaction casting time.
At the start of the affected creature’s turn, they must roll a ten-sided dice (known as a d10).
This roll applies until the spell ends. The die will determine the affected creature’s actions during that turn. Refer to the list below for the corresponding behavior per resulting roll.
- If the roll is a 1: The affected creature must use all its movement in random directions by rolling an eight-sided die (known as a d8). You must assign a direction for each number, e.g., rolling a one means the creature must move north, rolling two means the creature must move northeast, and so on.
- If the roll is 2 to 6: The affected creature cannot do anything this turn.
- If the roll is 7 or 8: The affected creature must do a melee attack against a random creature near them. If no other creature is near them during this turn, they do not do anything else.
- If the roll is 9 or 10: The affected creature can act and move as they please.
At the end of the affected creature’s turn, they must succeed in a Wisdom saving throw
This saving throw is still against the caster’s spell save DC. If the saving throw is a success, the spell’s effect ends for the affected creature. If everything about the Confusion spell seems confusing, the next part is a thorough example scenario of someone using it against a bunch of enemies. This way, you can understand how to use the Confusion spell through the example.
Example scenario for using Confusion in D&D 5e
Welcome to Arthur’s D&D Lab! In this section, I will be giving an example scenario on how to use the Confusion spell. In this scenario, I will have my half-elf wizard Marshal cast the Confusion spell on a group of “volunteer” soldiers.
Take a look at the turn order below alongside essential information considering the spell. The first row goes first, followed by the second row, and so on.
|Name||Spell Save DC||Wisdom Saving Throw Bonus||Movement|
Marshal has the spell and a level four spell slot on hand, and he casts the spell as his action during his turn. He chooses a point within 90 ft. as the starting point of Confusion.
The cyan square, as per the picture below, symbolizes the starting point of Confusion. The spell’s area of effect is a sphere with a ten ft. radius. The green circle represents the area. In this configuration, the red, blue, green, orange, and purple soldiers will become susceptible to the spell. The pink soldier is barely out of the area, so he is not affected at all (see the picture below for visualization). It is the pink soldier’s turn first, and since he is a coward, he chooses to use his turn to leave the battle simulation. Next, it is the red soldier’s turn. At the start of his turn, he rolls a wisdom saving throw against Marshal’s spell save DC of 13.
He rolls an 11, and upon adding his wisdom saving throw bonus of 3, he succeeds with a 14. Like the pink soldier, he chooses his turn to leave the laboratory. It is the blue soldier’s turn, and like the red soldier, he does a wisdom saving throw against Marshal’s spell save DC of 13. He rolls a 12, and since his bonus is 0, he fails the saving throw; the blue soldier is now under the Confusion spell.
He then rolls a d10 to determine his behavior this turn and gets a one. Rolling a one in this scenario means that he will use all his 30 ft. of movement to move randomly.
Since 30 ft. consists of six tiles per the regular D&D map rules, he must roll a d8 six times.
Then, a direction is assigned to each number, i.e., one means he moves north, two means he moves northeast, three means he moves east, and so on in a clockwise manner.
He rolls the d8 six times and gets the following results in order: 8, 6, 3, 1, 7, and 5. Before the blue soldier ends his turn, he must roll for a Wisdom saving throw again. He rolls a two and fails; thus, he is still affected by the Confusion spell.
Next is the green soldier, who rolls a three on his Wisdom saving throw with the final save of five (three plus two from the bonus). He fails against the spell save DC and becomes affected by the spell.
He rolls a d10 and gets a three, which means that he will do anything at all this turn. Again, before his turn ends, he must roll for a Wisdom saving throw to determine if he can break out of the spell’s effects.
Like the blue soldier, he fails. The orange soldier is next, and he, like the other two, fails the wisdom saving throw. He rolls a d10 and gets an eight, which means that he will attack a random person nearest to him.
The green and purple soldiers are both near him, and by random choice, he hits the green soldier with his sword. Before his turn ends, he makes a Wisdom saving throw and succeeds against the spell save DC. By succeeding in the saving throw, he becomes free from the effects of Marshal’s Confusion. So, during his next turn, he can move and do as he pleases without rolling a d10.
Finally, the purple soldier makes his Wisdom saving throw. He fails and rolls the d10. By sheer luck, he rolled a ten, which means that he could do anything as he pleased this turn.
However, he is still affected by the Confusion spell until it ends. He uses his turn to tend the wounds of the green soldier, and since he is still affected by the Confusion spell, he makes a Wisdom saving throw before he ends his turn.
He fails, and so, during his next turn, he must roll a d10 again to determine how he will act. Thus, the battle simulation is over with the blue, green, and purple soldiers still affected by the Confusion spell in their next turn.
Note that the creatures within the Confusion spell’s area of effect must only make a Wisdom saving throw during the spell’s casting to determine if they become affected.
Then, the affected creatures must make a Wisdom saving throw before their turn ends to see if they break free from the effect.
If an affected creature breaks free from the effect, it will no longer be affected by that specific spell for the entirety of its duration.
Who can cast Confusion in D&D 5e?
In summary, the Confusion spell is accessible to four classes (Bard, Druid, Sorcerer, and Wizard), six subclasses (Aberrant Mind Sorcerer, Arcane Trickster Rogue, Eldritch Knight Fighter, Knowledge Cleric, Oathbreaker Paladin, and Spores Druid, and one subrace (Mark of Scribing Gnome), one background (Rakdos Cultist), and one eldritch invocation (Dreadful Word).
Classes that can cast Confusion in D&D 5e
Four classes can use the Confusion spell as part of their magical arsenal, and they are listed below along with the source where you can learn more about them, and their spell save DCs.
Classes that can cast Confusion
Spell save DC
|Bard||Player’s Handbook, page 51||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier|
|Druid||Player’s Handbook, page 64||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier|
|Sorcerer||Player’s Handbook, page 99||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier|
|Wizard||Player’s Handbook, page 112||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier|
All four of these classes can use the Confusion spell as early as level seven, as they all get one level four spell slot at that level.
Bards and Sorcerers have a fixed number of spells they know that increase per level, but if they want, they can change one of their existing spells to another one every time they level up.
Druids and Wizards, on the other hand, must prepare their spells from their class list.
Subclasses that can cast Confusion in D&D 5e
Six subclasses can use the Confusion spell thanks to their subclass features. Below are the said subclasses alongside their spell save DC and their source.
Subclasses that can cast Blink
|Originating Class||Subclass Source||Class Source||
Spell save DC
|Aberrant Mind||Sorcerer||Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, page 66||Player’s Handbook, page 99||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier|
|Arcane Trickster||Rogue||Player’s Handbook, page 97||Player’s Handbook, page 94||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier|
|Eldritch Knight||Fighter||Player’s Handbook, page 74||Player’s Handbook, page 70||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier|
|Knowledge Domain||Cleric||Player’s Handbook, page 59||Player’s Handbook, page 56||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier|
|Oathbreaker||Paladin||Dungeon Master’s Guide, page 97||Player’s Handbook, page 82||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier|
|Circle of Spores||Druid||Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, page 36||Player’s Handbook, page 64||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier|
Sorcerers with the Aberrant Mind sorcerous origin can change one of their existing spells to the Confusion spell upon leveling up, thanks to the Psionic Spells subclass feature. The Arcane Trickster Rogue and the Eldritch Knight Fighter gain a spellcasting subclass feature that relies on the Wizard spell list.
Since Confusion is part of the Wizard spell list, these two subclasses can also learn it. The spell is part of the Knowledge Domain spells for Clerics within the said domain. They add it to their list of prepared spells when they reach level 7, and the spell is always prepared without it adding to the count of prepared spells.
The same goes for the Oathbreaker Paladin, who gets the Confusion spell as part of the Oathbreaker spells subclass feature when they reach level 13. Finally, the Druid in the Circle of Spores gains the Confusion spell when they reach level 7 as part of the Circle spells subclass feature.
They always have this spell prepared, much like the Cleric, and it does not count to the number of spells they can prepare every day. If you are willing to give Unearthed Arcana content a try (i.e., unofficial content that still needs much playtesting), you can try out the Treachery Paladin.
Published in 2016, the Treachery Paladin can get the Confusion spell when they reach level 13 as part of their Oath spells subclass feature. Their spell save DC is that of a Paladin’s, i.e., eight plus their proficiency bonus and their Charisma modifier.
Races that can cast Confusion in D&D 5e
Gnomes with the Mark of Scribing can add Confusion to their list of spells if they can cast spells. Since Confusion is a level 4 spell, they can add the spell when they have a level 4 spell slot or higher.
If the Gnome in question belongs to a class that cannot cast spells such as Barbarians, Rogues, and the like, then the Mark of Scribing spells subrace feature does not apply to them.
You can find the details about the Gnome with the Mark of Scribing race in Eberron: Rising from the Last War on page 47.
Here’s all you need to know about Gnomes in 5e.
Backgrounds that can cast Confusion in D&D 5e
Characters with the Rakdos Cultist background can add Confusion to their list of spells if they can cast spells. The same rules of the previous section apply to this background, e.g., you need to have a level 4 spell slot or higher.
Other than the Rakdos Guild spells background feature, the background has plenty more benefits which you can read up on in Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica on page 79.
Other methods to cast Confusion in D&D 5e
Warlocks can cast the Confusion spell, albeit in an unusual way. Warlocks have a feature known as Eldritch Invocations, which are magical abilities they can perform. Dreadful Word is an Eldritch Invocation that allows the Warlock to cast the Confusion spell using an available spell slot.
After performing Dreadful Word, the Warlock cannot do so again until they finish a long rest. Furthermore, Warlocks can only have this Eldritch Invocation if they are level 7 or higher. You can read more about Dreadful Word in the Player’s Handbook on page 110.
Creative and useful ways to use Confusion in D&D 5e
You may think that the Confusion spell is too confusing to use. Do not worry because I know of a couple of ways that you can use this spell to its fullest potential, so much so that your other party members would think that the spell is godlike.
Here are some ways to use Confusion in D&D 5e that can help you deal with troublesome situations.
- Avoiding dangerous battles.
- Killing enemies instantly.
- Giving teammates an opening.
Avoiding dangerous battles using Confusion in D&D 5e
You can use Confusion as a defensive tool by casting it to avoid dangerous battles. For example, if there is a band of powerful thieves in front of you ready to tear your body to shreds and you do not have the power to handle all of them, you can cast this spell to slow them down in their vicious tracks.
80% of the time, affected creatures would become useless because they cannot move as they wish. One might argue that it is too risky to use to avoid dangerous battles because its targets can succeed on a Wisdom saving throw. Thus, the spell becomes increasingly effective if you use it on creatures with low Wisdom or if you use it while having a high spell save DC.
The higher the spell save DC, the more difficult it is for creatures to succeed in their saving throw. Suddenly, the band of powerful thieves in front of you stops their vicious gaze at you.
Some of them walk in random directions, while some just stare absent-mindedly at the sky. Some might even attack their friends! It is incredibly powerful to sabotage a group from the inside.
Killing enemies instantly using Confusion in D&D 5e
When you read up on the Confusion spell’s effects, it is incredibly difficult for it to cause damage to its victims. However, you have to think outside the box like I did!
Imagine this: you and your enemies are on a high place like a cliff. You cast the Confusion spell on them, and they fail their Wisdom saving throw.
There is a 10% chance that they would randomly move around the area and fall to their doom. Meanwhile, there is also a chance that they would just do nothing at all.
At that point, if they are near the edge, you or someone physically strong can just push them to their death Sparta-style. I can imagine a Barbarian kicking an enemy to fall off the edge while yelling, “this is the Sword Coast!”
And this method does not only apply to battles in high places. You can apply this technique when there are a lot of traps within the area.
There is a chance that a randomly moving enemy can trigger the trap that would instantly kill them. Plus, the trap becomes deactivated, making it safer for your party.
Giving teammates an opening using Confusion in D&D 5e
Creatures affected by the Confusion spell have an 80% chance that they can do any damage to you. 10% of the time, they might randomly move around. 50% of the time, they might not move at all. 20% of the time, they might attack a random creature near them, may it be a friend or foe.
In any case, them not doing anything against you can give your teammates the opening they need. They cannot counter an attack from your ally because they cannot take reactions.
Your friends can move toward them safely and attack them in an advantageous position. You can have the freedom to do anything with them because they will act like scarecrows being abused by the local teenagers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can Confusion be cured in D&D 5e?
Answer: No, you cannot cure Confusion in D&D 5e. For an affected creature to become free from the effects of the spell, they must be successful on the Wisdom saving throw against the caster’s spell save DC. They must perform this saving throw before ending their turn while they are under its effects. Once a creature is free from Confusion, they are no longer under its effects until the spell ends.
Question: Does Confusion need concentration in D&D 5e?
Answer: yes, the Confusion spell needs concentration in D&D 5e. The spell can last for up to one minute, which is ten rounds in combat. For the spell to last to its maximum duration, the caster must concentrate on it the entire time. Many factors can break their concentration, such as casting another spell, becoming damaged, and more. Once their concentration breaks, the Confusion effects stop.
Question: How big is the Confusion spell’s AOE in D&D 5e?
Answer: The Confusion spell affects creatures within a 10-feet-radius sphere whose center point is chosen by the caster. If your game uses the standard rules for maps where each tile measures five feet, then the sphere can affect a maximum of 12 regular-sized creatures. If you cast the Confusion spell using a higher-level spell slot, then the sphere’s radius increases by five feet per level higher than four.
Conclusion: Is Confusion a good spell in D&D 5e?
Confusion is a good spell that can be confusing to beginners to D&D. Some players may even skip past this spell without looking twice, not knowing how powerful this spell can be.
You can use Confusion in multiple ways, but ultimately, it is a tool to make the enemies waste their turn. 80% of the time, the spell makes the affected creatures useless in battle. However, it may backfire in some circumstances.
For example, if you cast Confusion on an enemy and they randomly move due to its effects, they may randomly move towards a position where you become disadvantageous. You may even kill your enemies instantly with Confusion!
Yet, the same goes for allies you might accidentally affect. So, if you plan on using Confusion, you must be extremely cautious. Some players may think that the Confusion spell is a bad spell in relation to its level because there are others that can do more damage or become more useful.
The argument is valid, yet I think that all spells, especially enchantment ones, are pretty situational. If I were a Bard, I would definitely consider the Confusion spell as part of my kit.