Inflict Wounds 5e Guide

The Ultimate Inflict Wounds 5e Guide: How Does it Work?

Spellcasters are not well-known for being proficient with many weapons. In fact, all classes who have the spellcasting ability by level one are not proficient with martial weapons at all; some of them are only proficient with all simple weapons while the others are only proficient with a selection of simple weapons. They can fend for themselves using the weapons they are proficient in, but they do not deal much damage.

However, they can rely on their specialty to defend themselves: their spells. Spells widely vary from each other, and while many spells produce an effect, there are also a lot of spells that deal heavy amounts of damage to opponents (and allies as well if the caster is not careful). If a caster wants to attack using their spells, there are a lot to choose from.

One of them is the Inflict Wounds spell, a level one necromancy spell. It is considered a powerful damage-dealing spell and is extremely useful when doing close combat. Many damage-dealing spells are dealt as a ranged attack such as the level one conjuration spell Ice Knife. Many damage-dealing spells also deal damage in a certain area like a cone.

The above samples can be pretty troublesome. If you do a ranged spell attack while an enemy is near you, you would have a disadvantage. If you are trying to deal damage in a certain area but the said area has some of your allies, they can get hurt as well. Inflict Wounds can solve those issues in a snap. Read our Inflict Wounds 5e Guide to understand why.

What is Inflict Wounds?

Inflict Wounds is a level one damage-dealing necromancy spell that can be found in the Player’s Handbook on page 253. Necromancy spells are magical effects that deal with the forces of life and death. Some necromancy spells can bring people to life, while some can push others to the edge of death. Below are the details of the spell.

  • Inflict Wounds
  • 1st-level necromancy
  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: Touch
  • Components: V, S
  • Duration: Instantaneous

The next sections explore more into these details and explain how the spell works.

How to use Inflict Wounds

Since it is a first-level spell, there are requirements that one must meet to cast this spell successfully. These considerations are listed down below.

  • You must be able to use this spell (e.g. have this spell in your spell list, have this spell as a racial feature, etc.).
  • You must have at least a level one spell slot available which you can expend
  • You must be able to speak (e.g. your mouth must not be covered; you must be able to speak words out of your mouth)
  • You must be able to move your hands freely (e.g. they must not be bound by shackles, ropes, etc.)
  • You must be able to touch your opponent

Of course, you must have this spell in your spell list to use it. There are only a few who has access to the Inflict Wounds spell, which will be tackled in the “Who can use Inflict Wounds?” section. Next, at least a level one spell slot must be available that the caster can expend since Inflict Wounds is a level one spell.

Then, you must be able to speak since the spell has the “vocal” component. Furthermore, you must be able to move your hands since the spell has the “somatic” component.

The final requirement for this spell is that you must touch your opponent for the spell to work since it has a “touch” range. To deal damage to your intended target, you must touch them. This is achievable when your target is 5 ft. near you. So, if your target is too far away, you must be able to go near them. This is what makes Inflict Wounds a unique damage-dealing spell because it is quite a good spell for close quarters.

When you cast this spell and touch your target, you must make a melee spell attack. It is like a regular melee attack wherein you roll a 1d20 and add in the proficiency bonus, however you must add in your spellcasting ability modifier instead of the Strength modifier. This varies from class to class. When the attack roll reaches the Armor Class (or AC) of your target, then it is a successful hit and you then deal damage.

How Does Inflict Wounds Work?

Inflict Wounds 5e

When you meet all the requirements mentioned before and you have landed as a successful hit on your opponent using the Inflict Wounds spell, then you roll for its damage. Inflict Wounds deal 3d10 necrotic damage; that is a lot! On average, it would deal about 16 to 17 necrotic damage. It could even mean instant death for your opponent since many lower-level creatures have the same range of HP.

Necrotic damage is damage that impacts the life essence of a creature, similar to radiant damage. The difference is that necrotic damage deals with negative energy, while radiant damage deals with positive energy.

Many creatures are resistant and even immune to necrotic damage, especially the Undead. Yet, it is still very useful as the number of monsters that have this resistance in the Monster Manual is very low in comparison to the overall amount of monsters.

At higher levels

You need at least an available level one spell slot that you can expend to use this spell. However, you can also use higher-level spell slots and when you do so, it makes the spell even more powerful. When you use a level two spell slot or higher to cast Inflict Wounds, an extra 1d10 is added to the damage for every slot level above first.

For example, if you cast Inflict Wounds with a level two spell slot, the damage would be a 4d10 instead of a 3d10. On average, that dice would yield 22 necrotic damage, with a maximum of 40 and a minimum of 4. When casting the spell with a level four spell slot, the damage would be 6d10 necrotic damage.

Who can use Inflict Wounds?

Classes

There are relatively few options in terms of having this spell in your arsenal. In terms of classes, there is only one class that can have this spell: the Cleric class, whose description and details are found on page 56 of the Player’s Handbook. This makes the spell very rare to encounter and use, but it would make sense since clerics deal with life and death. If a cleric would attack an enemy by casting Inflict Wounds on them, their spell attack roll for it would be a 1d20 + their proficiency bonus + their Wisdom modifier.

Classes that can use Inflict Wounds Source Spell attack modifier
Cleric Player’s Handbook, page 56 Your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier

So for example, if a level one cleric with a Wisdom modifier of +2 attacks a creature with an AC of 15, they would need to roll at least an 11 on their attack roll. When the 1d20 results in an 11, then their attack roll would be 11 (1d20) + 2 (proficiency bonus) + 2 (Wisdom modifier). This results in a 15, which reaches the target’s AC.

Subclasses

There are only two subclasses capable of using Inflict Wounds, and they are listed below along with their sources and their spell attack modifier.

Subclasses that can use Inflict Wounds Originating Class Subclass Source Class Source Spell attack modifier
Divine Soul Sorcerer Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, page 50 Player’s Handbook, page 99 Your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Oathbreaker Paladin Dungeon Master’s Guide, page 97 Player’s Handbook, page 82 Your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

For Divine Soul sorcerers, they must choose the evil affinity in the Divine Magic class feature to gain access to the Inflict Wounds spell. For Oathbreaker paladins, they gain access to the spell at the start of taking the subclass, which is level three. They even gain access to another spell aside from Inflict Wounds, i.e. the Hellish Rebuke spell.

In the D&D world, Divine Soul sorcerers harness their magic from divine beings, and if they have an evil affinity, then it means that the divine being their powers come from must have been from an evil source. Oathbreaker paladins are paladins who have strayed away from their sacred oath. Instead, they pursue their dark ambitions or serve evil deities.

Are Inflict Wounds good?

Inflict Wounds D&D

Overall, it is a good, well-rounded, and useful spell to deal damage to your opponents. Its biggest advantage is its bulky damage and its range which is good for close combat. Below is a list of possible reasons, or the pros, on what makes the Inflict Wounds spell a good one.

Pros

  • It is a level one spell, so it is accessible very early in the game.
  • It does not need any materials to cast.
  • It deals heavy damage on a single target (3d10 necrotic damage). On average, the damage would be 16 to 17.
  • The caster can avoid unnecessary casualties as Inflict Wounds only targets one creature. Spells that deal damage in an area may damage allies as well; the Inflict Wounds spell does not suffer from this.
  • It is a melee spell attack, which means you can attack an enemy within 5 ft. of you. Many other spells deal damage through ranged attacks. Thus, they suffer from a disadvantage on their attack rolls if an enemy is within 5 ft. of them. Inflict Wounds does not have this drawback.
  • When a higher-level spell slot is used to cast Inflict Wounds, the spell becomes more powerful and deals more damage.

However, there are also downsides of the spell which you need to consider. They are listed down below.

Cons

  • You need to have your hands and mouth free from restraint to cast it.
  • Since it is a melee spell attack (i.e. you need to be within 5 ft. of your enemy to attack), it might not be a good spell to use for targets that are far away from you.
  • It is not a good spell to deal damage to a lot of creatures in an area, since it deals damage on only one target every time it is used.
  • In the Monster Manual alone, 13 creatures have resistance to necrotic damage and 12 creatures have immunity. When compared to radiant damage, there are only four creatures who have resistance and none who have immunity.
    • However, most of the 13 creatures who have resistance to necrotic damage are Undead, so it is still a good spell to use unless you are dealing with the Undead.
  • In the Monster Manual alone, there are no creatures that are vulnerable to necrotic damage. When compared to radiant damage, two creatures are vulnerable.

Do note that for the last two points, its only source is the Monster Manual. When you expand to more sources such as Volo’s Guide to Monsters, Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, and more, then the numbers would change.

Inflict Wounds 5e Guide: FAQs

Question: How much damage does Inflict Wounds deal?

Answer: It deals 3d10 necrotic damage. When the spell is cast using a higher-level spell slot, the damage increases by an extra 1d10 for every level past level one (e.g. if you cast this spell with a third-level spell slot, the damage would be 5d10).

Question: What is the range of Inflict Wounds?

Answer: Inflict Wounds is considered a melee spell attack. You damage your target by touching them. Thus, you would need to be within 5 ft. of your target.

Question: Is Inflict Wounds OP?

Answer: According to various sources, Inflict Wounds is not necessarily OP. While it does deal a huge amount of damage when compared to other first-level spells, it only targets one creature every time it is used.

Question: Does Inflict Wounds heal Undead?

Answer: When Inflict Wounds is used against the Undead, no, it does not heal them unless it is stated in the creature’s abilities and description.

Question: Can Inflict Wounds crit?

Answer: Yes, it can. Spells that perform melee or even ranged attacks have a chance of rolling a critical hit on their attack roll.

Question: What’s the difference between Guiding Bolt and Inflict Wounds?

Answer: Guiding Bolt and Inflict Wounds are both first-level spells that are exclusive to the Cleric class. However, Guiding Bolt is an evocation spell that does a ranged attack dealing 4d6 radiant damage while Inflict Wounds is a necromancy spell that does a melee attack dealing 3d10 necrotic damage.

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