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I love the Hex spell. It is probably my favorite enchantment spell amongst the first few levels of spells. The Hex spell dishes out some very nice damage, even at the late game. No wonder it is a staple amongst warlocks in DnD.
In this guide, I am going to go quite in-depth regarding the effects, when to use it, and what kind of tactics work best. This guide is mainly aimed at beginning players. Since this is one of the first spells you can use, I am pretty sure intermediate and veteran players have plenty of experience using it. I will try to include some more advanced tips and answers to questions that might help those with more in-game knowledge too.
As with most of my posts, I am writing this Hex 5e guide mainly from a Dungeon Master’s perspective. I have been DMing for years, and this has given me plenty of opportunities to see how creative players can get with spells like Hex. Continue reading our Hex 5e Guide to find out everything you need to know about this spell.
What Does The Hex Spell Do In 5e DnD?
So if we look at the information on the Hex spell in the player manual, you will see right away that it is a 1st level enchantment spell.
If you use Hex, the creature needs to be in the range of sight for you to be able to place a curse on it. As long as the spell is active, you will deal an extra 1d6 of necrotic damage to the creature you have cursed with hex. This extra damage will apply whenever you hit your target with a massive attack.
Additionally, you can also pick out an ability when you have started the casting of the spell. This causes the target creature to have a standard disadvantage on the ability checks it has to do. The saving throw of the target creature you want to hex is then done with the chosen ability.
Let’s go more technical and check out the attributes of the hex spell in 5e.
- Casting time – You do not use your attack action for this spell, but your bonus action.
- Range – The target needs to be within 90 feet; this is the range of the spell.
- Components – V, S, M: You will need the petrified eye of a newt.
- Duration – This is a concentration spell. The spell lasts up to one hour.
This all looks pretty good for a level one spell. You can find the spell on the Warlock spell list, and for your own reference, you can look at the player’s handbook on page 251.
Is Hex A Good Spell Or Is It Overrated?
I am going to discuss the spell, assuming you are a warlock. However, the explanation and argument here will make sense for almost any class. You have a limited amount of spell slots, so you need to pick your arsenal of spells wisely. Hex is a level one spell. However, it scales really well, in my opinion, but does it scale well enough to be viable at the mid-and endgame of a DnD campaign?
At the lower level, you get some very nice damage output. So having it as a spell as a warlock is a no-brainer. Hex is great due to the disadvantage it gives on saves. It makes it a real nightmare for opponents, even at higher levels. Hex also levels up in an indirect way. There are a lot of good spells you can choose from at the higher levels, but I think Hex remains a top pick.
At the higher levels, the Hex spell has the effect that you can maintain your concentration for this spell for as many as 8 hours. If you put it in the 5th level spell slot, you can keep the concentration for this spell up to 24 hours. Remember: Hex does not take an attack action, but a bonus action to cast. So this means that you can cast Hex on a target and then attack the target with your attack spell in the same turn as you have used the Hex in 5e.
The Hex Spell: More Than Just A Combat Skill
It is pretty well known that Hex is very useful in combat situations. However, it is also a great spell to use in some niche situations outside of content. Here are some scenarios in which you can do a Hex spell
A contest – So your bard has singing content, or your barbarian has a drinking game with a half-orc in your local pub. Casting a Hex on the opponent can give them the edge you need for your team member to win. The logic goes as follows. Let’s say that we are doing the drinking challenge. Your DM might say that you have to roll for constitution every time you down a beer. If you fail the saving throw, you get a bit more drunk. The one who fails the first 5 rolls is the loser. By using Hex, you can give the other opponent a disadvantage on the CON saving throw every time he drinks. Giving a massive advantage to your team.
2. Annoy casters – The hex is great to give a caster an additional difficulty for them to maintain or cast a spell. This can give you a nice advantage in both combat or non-combat situation
3. Failing certain checks – If you want your target to fail an insight or an intimidation check, a good idea can be to cast the Hex spell on them. This will make it just that little harder for them to do it successfully. The opposite is also true; you can use it to help you intimidate a target and make it easier for you.
4. Haggling – Hex can save you some serious money. If I play a warlock with the Hex spell in my arsenal – which is always – I make some nice bargains. What I do before trying to buy an item from a merchant is Hex them. I give them a disadvantage on their charisma and start bartering.
Remember that you can only have one hex going on at a time. You either have to break concentration, or the target has to drop to 0 hit point for you to be able to choose a new creature to curse. When you cast the spell on your new creature, you can pick a new ability for them to have a disadvantage on.
I really love this aspect of the Hex spell. It gives you a nice damage boost against a target of your choosing, and for a pretty long time (an hour of concentration at the first level), you can give them a disadvantage on a skill check of your choice.
Tip: if you are a Dungeon Master and you want to avoid your players screwing with every single competition and NPC you have planned out, there is quite a simple fix for this. You can give one of the nearby NPCs or the NPC itself the ability to detect the casting. Another option is to give some of your monsters or NPC´s the ability to Remove Curse. When you cast this on the target, the spell ends early.
Question: Is Hex an attack action?
Answer: No, the Hex is not an attack action but a bonus action. You can use it to place a curse on a creature that is within your range. In case that the creature that is hexed by you drops dead or goes to 0 hit point, you can use your bonus action to cast the Hex on another creature.
Question: Is it possible for me to stack Hex with the Eldritch blast in 5e?
Answer: If you cast a relentless Hex in 5e, the damage is not a part of the Eldritch blast spell. So it would stack with all the rest. There are a couple of other great spells to use with Hex in 5e. The most common to do this with is the Hexblade curse. This is because 5e Hexblade does not require concentration.
Question: I am not a warlock, is there any way for me to still use Hex?
Answer: As you might have noticed, the Hex spell is only on the Warlock spell list. However, no need to worry; there are a couple of ways to get Hex spells anyway! The most obvious answer would be to give being a warlock a try. It is one of the most awesome classes in the whole DnD. However, if you are not willing to do this, there are still some cool ways you can get Hex.
- Fey Touched – This is a new feat in 5e. This one allows you to pick a mental stat and make it go up with one point. It also gives you a misty step and one divination spell of the first level you can pick. Now to get to the point. Hex is a level one divination spell! So in case you want to use Hex without being a Warlock, you should obviously pick that one as your option.
- Aberrant mind – If you are in the Sorcerer subclass, you have the perk of getting additional spells at certain levels. Now, if you are familiar with this class, you know Hex is not one of those. That is correct. However, when you level up, you can trade out a spell that you have gotten for another spell that is either a divination spell or an enchantment. You can pick those spells from the spell list of Sorcerers, Wizard, and the Warlock! This way, you can Hex anyway!
- Magic initiate – This is another feat. If you have this feat, you have the ability to pick two cantrips from the spell list of the warlock class. You can also cast one spell that you are able to cast, and you do not need a spell slot for this. This is another way for you to get the Hex spell without picking the warlock class!
Question: Does Hex damage crit in 5e?
Answer: If Hex wasn’t strong enough already, the damage also has the possibility of crit. The basic rules go that in DnD 5e, any damage dice that you roll counts double. So in case you have a warlock that has done a crit when doing the eldritch blast while the target that you are casting on has been hexed, the damage roll will be doubled. This way, you will be rolling 2d6 dice instead of a 1d6.
Hex 5e Guide: Conclusion – Hex Is Great In And Out Of Combat!
Hex is a spell you get as a warlock at your first level. It is one of those spells that you can use for almost your entire game. The first great thing that Hex has going for it, is that it is a bonus action. So you can cast the Hex spell and then take your attack action in the same turn.
The damage that Hex does also is pretty nice. In longer fights that go on for 3 or more rounds, those 1d6 damage rolls really start to add up, definitely in the earlier levels.
Hex is one of the coolest spells that have both a combat and non-combat application. Your target creature gets a penalty on an ability check that you can choose, and he does not have a saving throw. So hexing the target creature is almost as sure as a given. This has a use in and out of combat, so fellow DMs, make sure you are prepared to detect the Hex spell if you don’t want to have your plans get ruined.
The concentration duration of the Hex spell is amazing. At level one, it is already an hour, which is enough for almost every situation I can think of. At higher levels, it gets 8 and the maximum time is a stunning 24 hours. This covers just about any event where the hex would come in useful.
While the Hex spell does seem to fall off a little at the higher levels, it is one of the best spells in D&D that you can get at the first level, even more so if you know how to make the most use of it outside of combat!