Snare 5e Guide

Snare 5e Guide: Sometimes the Simplest Spells Are the Most Useful

A shadowy figure runs away in a dark forest, occasionally stumbling and fumbling. A hint of moonlight brushes through the trees and shines upon the figure; it is a tall man with a wound on his face.

He spots a large boulder and dashes toward it. He hides behind it and peers at the back; there is nothing but darkness. He thinks he got away from his pursuers, and he quietly laughs.

Suddenly, something snaps from below him. He tries to dodge this invisible trap yet fails. He is left hanging in the air, suspended by some magic trick. He looks around and spots familiar faces.

Indeed, he has fallen right into their Snare spell, a level one abjuration spell that can trap a creature and prevent them from escaping. It is a helpful tool to stop someone or something from leaving your grasp.

In reality, snare traps are primitive tools hunters used to catch animals like rabbits or deer. In some games, players can use it to capture other players or enemies, like in The Forest.

However, Snare is a magic spell in D&D that functions somewhat similarly. If you are thinking about adding this spell to your magical arsenal, this Snare 5e guide will help you decide if it is the spell you need.

Bottom Line Up Front: What is Snare in D&D 5e?

Snare is a level one abjuration spell you can find in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything on page 165. This spell is an abjuration spell similar to Pass without Trace and Lesser Restoration because it hinders enemies from harming you by restricting their movement. Below are the crucial details about the Snare spell.

  • Snare
    • Level one abjuration
    • Casting Time: one minute
    • Range: Touch
    • Components: S, M (25 feet of rope which the spell consumes)
    • Duration: 8 hours

How to Use Snare in D&D 5e

How to Use Snare in D&D 5e

You can’t set up magical restraining traps if you do not fulfill the requirements to cast the Snare spell. I covered the common requirements in other articles, especially the component requirements.

Thus, I would advise you to read my guide about Mage Armor because this spell and the Snare spell are nearly identical to each other, with a few exceptions.

Both are level one spells, so they require level one spell slots. You can use higher-level spell slots for both, but the effects do not change. Both have a duration of eight hours and a touch range, meaning you need to touch a target to enact the effects of the spell.

For Mage Armor, touching someone gives them magical protection. For Snare, you touch a line of rope to magically enchant it and place it on the ground.

The big difference between the two spells is the components; Mage Armor requires the Vocal component while Snare does not.

Furthermore, Snare’s Material component (the 25 feet of rope) becomes used by the spell, meaning you cannot use an arcane focus as a substitute. You need a physical rope for this spell to work; otherwise, you cannot cast the spell.

If you have the rope and everything checks out, you can cast the Snare spell. When you do, choose a circular area with a 5-foot radius on the ground. You will transform your rope into a magical trap and put it in the space you choose.

Snare is a simple spell to cast because you only need to choose an area to put your trap on. However, the more complex part is within the details of how the spell works after casting it.

How Does Snare Work in D&D 5e?

How Does Snare Work in D&D 5e

Magic coats your 25-foot rope, and as you place it on the ground, the following effects instantly take place:

  1. The trap becomes almost invisible. It would be nearly impossible to detect this trap, but someone can still find it. To do so, they must roll for an Intelligence (Investigation) check against your Spell Save DC.
  2. The trap lasts for eight hours. As long as no one triggers the trap, it can stay there for eight hours. It ends if eight hours have transpired and the ruse is still on the ground.
  3. A small, medium or large creature within the trap rolls for a successful Dexterity saving throw. If, for example, a person walks into the ploy, it triggers. Thus, they must roll for a Dexterity saving throw against your Spell Save DC. They succeed if their Dexterity saving throw is equal to or larger than your Spell Save DC.
  4. If they succeed, the trap fails, and the spell ends. The creature has evaded your ploy, and it dissipates.
  5. If they fail, the trap hoists them up. The trap triggers, catching the unsuspecting creature and hoisting them in midair. It hangs them upside down three feet above the ground.
  6. The trapped creature suffers from the “Restrained” condition. Their speed defaults to zero no matter any bonuses affecting it. They also have a disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws. Furthermore, anyone attacking the creature gets an advantage in their attack roll, while the creature gets a disadvantage in theirs.
  7. The trapped creature or someone else within reach can end the trap by using an action to make an Arcana check. If their Intelligence (Arcana) check is equal to or greater than your Spell Save DC, the trap (and by extension, the Snare spell) ends.
  8. The trapped creature can end the trap by succeeding in a Dexterity saving throw at the end of its every turn. This course of action does not cost an action; the trapped creature can do something for their action and attempt to escape via this method in the same turn.
  9. If a trapped creature escapes, the spell ends. The magical trap disappears, requiring you to cast the spell again if you still need it. Essentially, this trap only has a single usage on a single creature.

As you have read, casting the spell is incredibly simple, yet how the spell works require a little more elbow grease for your brain to comprehend. As a DM, I even occasionally miss some crucial parts of this spell because of how many moving parts involved in this trap. So, I will show you how it works visually in the demonstration below to give you a better understanding of the Snare spell.

Example Scenario Using Snare in D&D 5e

Would General Ackbar think that the Snare spell is a trap? Welcome to Arthur’s Lab, where we make terrible Star Wars references and think they are hilarious.

Today, we will be experimenting with the Snare spell with Marshal the Half-elf Wizard who has the spell in his kit. Involved in this demonstration are people who would “love” to be a part of magic’s progression. Below is everyone’s crucial info:

  • Marshal the Half-elf Wizard
    • Strength modifier: -1
    • Intelligence modifier: +3
    • Proficiency bonus: +4
    • Spell Save DC: 8 + Intelligence modifier + proficiency bonus = 8 + 3 + 4 = 15
  • Bandits
    • Armor Class: 12
    • Intelligence (Investigation) skill: +1
    • Dexterity saving throw modifier: +2
    • Intelligence (Arcana) skill: -1

Next, Marshal casts the Snare spell using a level one spell slot. Again, you can use a level two spell slot or higher to cast Snare, but the effects are the same regardless of the spell slot’s level.

If you have a level one spell slot, I would advise you to use it instead because casting it using a higher-level spell slot is wasteful. Marshal also has a 25-foot rope needed for the spell to work. He places it on the ground like so:

Example Scenario Using Snare in D&D 5e

Now that that info is out in the open, we will be conducting different scenarios to show how each mechanic of the Snare spell works.

First Scenario: The Bandit Passes the Investigation Skill Check

A bandit walks into the lab after someone tells him that a trap is on the ground; he knows there is one in the room, but he does not know where it is. So, he investigates the room in particular detail. The DM rolls for the bandit’s Investigation skill check and gets a 14. When we add his Investigation skill of +1 to the roll, we get a 15.

Since Marshal’s Spell Save DC is also 15, the bandit succeeds in his investigation and finds the trap. He walks past around it and exits the room.

Second Scenario: The bandit Passes the Initial Dexterity Saving Throw

A new bandit enters the room, but this time, no one informs him of the trap. He walks around the room, confused about the whole ordeal. Unfortunately for him, he lands in the trap. In a flash, he notices that he triggered a trap.

He must now attempt a successful Dexterity saving throw. The DM rolls for it and gets a 17. When we add his Dexterity saving throw modifier of +2 to the roll, we get a 19.

Second Scenario: The bandit Passes the Initial Dexterity Saving Throw

Since it is higher than Marshal’s Spell Save DC of 15, the bandit successfully moves out of the way. Because he triggered the trap, the spell ends and the trap disappears. The bandit exits the room and Marshal enters. He casts the Snare spell again in the same position as before.

Third Scenario: The Bandit Fails the Initial Dexterity Saving Throw

Another bandit enters the room similar to the one before him with no knowledge of the trap’s existence. Like before, he stumbles into the trap and must roll for a Dexterity saving throw. The DM rolls the d20 and gets an 11. When we add his Dexterity saving throw modifier of +2 to the roll, we get a 13.

The bandit unfortunately fails the Dexterity saving throw since 13 is less than Marshal’s Spell Save DC of 15. Thus, he fails to avoid the incoming trap; it hoists him up in the air and he is hanging upside down three feet above the ground.

He also gains the penalties from the “Restrained” condition (see the 6th step in the “How does Snare work in D&D 5e?” section above).

Third Scenario: The Bandit Fails the Initial Dexterity Saving Throw

Fourth Scenario: Marshal Attacks the Trapped Bandit

Marshal enters the room with a quarterstaff in his hands, similar to how a kid enters a piñata party with a baseball bat. Marshal engages combat with this poor guy in the air upside down and he uses his quarterstaff to attack using both hands. Since the bandit suffers from the “Restrained” condition, Marshal gets an advantage on his attack rolls.

Because of the advantage, I roll two d20s for Marshal’s attack roll and get a 5 and 12. You calculate the attack roll as such:

  • Attack roll = d20 + ability modifier + proficiency bonus

Marshal is doing a melee attack, so his ability modifier for this attack roll is his Strength modifier, which is a -1. Meanwhile, his proficiency bonus is +4. Therefore, both rolls result to:

  • First attack roll = 5 – 1 + 4 = 8
  • Second attack roll = 12 – 1 + 4 = 15

If we base our attack roll on the first one, Marshal’s attack would have missed since the bandit’s AC is 12. Thankfully, the advantage means that we can pick the higher roll between the two. 15 is greater than 12; thus, Marshal’s attack hits. After calculating the damage, the bandit’s HP drops to 24.

Fourth Scenario: Marshal Attacks the Trapped Bandit

Fifth Scenario: the Trapped Bandit Tries to Escape

It is now the trapped bandit’s turn, but since the trap restrains him (his speed defaults to zero), he cannot relocate his position. However, he can still use his action to do stuff.

The Snare spell grants the trapped bandit a chance to break free from the trap by using his action to make an Intelligence (Arcana) check. If the check is equal to or higher than Marshal’s Spell Save DC of 15, he can break free.

The bandit rolls for an Arcana check yet gets a three. With a -1 on his Arcana checks, he fails in escaping. However, the Snare spell is forgiving, as it grants the bandit another chance of getting out; at the end of his every turn, he can make a Dexterity saving throw against Marshal’s Spell Save DC of 15.

So, he makes a Dexterity saving throw, but since he suffers from the “Restrained” condition, he has a disadvantage on this saving throw. He rolls two d20s and gets an eight and 16. Naturally, the 16 would have let him escape from the trap, but thanks to the disadvantage, he must pick the lowest of the two rolls.

He still fails to escape via this method because his roll (8) plus his Dexterity saving throw modifier (+2) is not enough against Marshal’s Spell Save DC of 15. Thus, this futile attempt to escape signals the end of his turn.

Sixth Scenario: a Friend Helps the Trapped Bandit Escape

Another bandit enters the arena with a mission: to save his friend caught in the trap. He runs toward his trapped buddy and tries to untangle the magic.

Since the Snare spell also grants someone else a chance to free a trapped creature through an Arcana check. The DM rolls for it and gets a 16. If we subtract it by one due to the bandit’s Arcana skill, we get a 15, which is a success against Marshal’s Spell Save DC.

The trapped bandit is now free, thanks to the aid of his friend. It is Marshal’s turn, but his kind heart tells him to spare both of them (also, it is a waste of his time). So, the two bandits hurry off and exit the room, thankful that they are alive. The Snare spell also ends after the bandit freed his trapped friend, and the trap disappears.

Who Can Cast Snare in D&D 5e?

Four classes (Artificer, Druid, Ranger, and Wizard) and three subclasses (Arcane Trickster Rogue, Clockwork Soul Sorcerer, and Eldritch Knight Fighter) have access to the Snare spell. Understandably, only a few have access to this spell, considering it is from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

Classes that Can Cast Snare in D&D 5e

Artificers, Druids, Rangers, and Wizards have access to this magical trap made of 25-foot rope. All these classes, except for the Ranger, can get the Snare spell as early as level one since they can have level one spell slots by that time.

Rangers gain them when they reach level two instead. Below are the class sources, along with their individual Spell Save DC.

Classes that can cast Snare

Class Source

Spell Save DC

Artificer Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, page 9 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Druid Player’s Handbook, page 64 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
Ranger Player’s Handbook, page 89 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
Wizard Player’s Handbook, page 112 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Subclasses that Can Cast Snare in D&D 5e

Subclasses that Can Cast Snare in D&D 5e

Only three subclasses have access to the Snares spell; below are their originating class, source, and individual Spell Save DC.

Subclasses that can cast Snare

Originating Class Subclass Source Class Source

Spell Save DC

Arcane Trickster Rogue Player’s Handbook, page 97 Player’s Handbook, page 94 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Clockwork Soul Sorcerer Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, page 50 Player’s Handbook, page 99 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Eldritch Knight Fighter Player’s Handbook, page 74 Player’s Handbook, page 70 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

The Arcane Trickster Rogue and Eldritch Knight Fighter can pick the Snare spell to be a part of their magical kit as early as level three, which is the level where these subclasses start.

Both of them gain two level one spell slots. The Eldritch Knight can get the Snare spell when they can gain a new spell since it is an Abjuration spell.

However, the Arcane Trickster Rogue does not have this luxury, as they can only pick Enchantment or Illusion spells. Luckily, they can pick the Snare spell during level three because one of their initial three spells can be from any school. The next time they get this opportunity is when they reach levels 8, 14, and 20.

Sorcerers with the Clockwork Soul sorcerous origin can have this spell as early as level one since they already have a Spellcasting feature.

They gain access to the Snare spell thanks to their Clockwork Magic subclass feature. It allows them to replace one of their Clockwork Spells with that of an abjuration spell from the Wizard spell list every time they level up.

Creative and Useful Ways to Use Snare in D&D 5e

The Snare spell is an incredibly straightforward one; its primary use is to set up a trap that an enemy can trigger if you are anticipating a battle.

Due to how long it takes to cast, you must cast it before a battle commences; otherwise, you will have to take ten turns to set it up. Still, we can find some innovative methods to utilize the spell. Below is a list of some creative ways to use the Snare spell in D&D 5e.

  • Setting up an ambush
  • Avoiding a flank
  • Staying in midair
  • Negating disadvantages on attack rolls
  • Catching fast creatures

Setting Up an Ambush Using Snare in D&D 5e

Setting Up an Ambush Using Snare in D&D 5e

The most obvious way to use Snare would be to ambush someone. You can cast the spell at a checkpoint beforehand if you expect your enemy to pass through it. Then, you can wait and hide nearby for your target to trigger it.

However, you should not be too far away because a trapped creature can attempt an escape every six seconds, which is not a lot of time for you.

If you know your target’s route but there is no chokepoint, you can artificially make one. For example, you can set up blocking signs, large boulders, or impassable terrain on a wide road to force your target to go somewhere.

Ambushing someone through this method works great for assassinations, hostage taking, interrogations, and more (although it is a bit evil).

Avoiding a Flank Using Snare in D&D 5e

Flanks are dangerous; if you do not anticipate an enemy going behind your back, you might get overwhelmed pretty quickly and easily. In scenarios where you are defending something, like a structure or an item, someone must stand guard at every entry point.

However, if you are low in numbers, spreading too thin might be a problem. So, you can cast Snare on vulnerable entry points.

This strategy can buy you time before someone can fully enter the vulnerable spot. Still, it is not a surefire way to eliminate vulnerabilities. A possible weakness of this strategy is that there is no way of knowing whether or not someone triggered the Snare spell trap.

So, a great combination to Snare would be the Alarm spell; it can notify you whenever someone steps on your ambush.

Staying in Midair Using Snare in D&D 5e

You got separated from your party members, and now, you are stuck in a room. You notice a shiny, metallic button glimmering in the distance. This button might be the key to a way out, or it could be a trap.

However, you have no way of knowing and no other choice left. So, you press it. Congratulations! The doors slowly open. Bad news! The ground is slowly collapsing toward a huge cavernous hole.

If you are not ready, you might even die from this trap. A great way to avoid lethal scenarios like this one would be to cast the Snare spell beforehand. This way, you can willingly trigger your trap to stay in mid-air.

Plus, you can stay there for up to eight hours since the spell lasts eight hours. By suspending yourself in the air, you can try signaling your friends to come to rescue you.

Negating Disadvantages on Attack Rolls Using Snare in D&D 5e

Negating Disadvantages on Attack Rolls Using Snare in D&D 5e

You and your friends encountered one of the evil boss’ generals, and you readied yourselves to fight him. However, to your shock, he has a way of putting your attack rolls at a disadvantage, and his attack rolls in an advantage, may it be a spell or a passive ability.

Because of this hindrance, you had a hard time defeating him. He easily escaped your clutches, leaving you with bruises and injuries.

With the Snare spell, you could have avoided this ordeal because trapped creatures suffer from the “Restrained” condition.

If the evil boss’ minion got trapped in the Snare spell, your attack rolls against him would gain an advantage, while his attack rolls would be at a disadvantage. According to the rules, disadvantages can negate advantages and vice versa. So, at least the fighting ground is equal.

Catching Fast Creatures Using Snare in D&D 5e

You are out in the wild, trying to catch a creature whose body parts have magical properties. However, this boar is incredibly speedy. You can’t seem to capture it no matter how hard you try due to how fast it is.

A solution to this problem would be to cast the Snare spell on a path you will expect the boar to follow. To enhance the trap, you can even set up lures so that they will go toward your Snare spell.

Trapped creatures of the spell suffer the penalties from the “Restrained” condition; one of the penalties indicates that the trapped creature’s speed becomes zero regardless of any bonuses affecting it.

So, if a monster is too speedy for you, you can turn its speed to zero by trapping it with the Snare spell. This way, you have the upper hand in terms of speed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is Snare a Ritual Spell in D&D 5e?

Answer: No, Snare is not a ritual spell in D&D 5e. Therefore, you cannot cast it as a ritual; you must use a spell slot to cast it. However, some DMs who like to homebrew the rules in their game often change Snare into a ritual spell.

By doing this homebrew change, the spell becomes significantly more appealing to players. I would allow Snare to become a ritual spell if the players want to.

Question: Does Snare Need Concentration in D&D 5e?

Answer: No, Snare does not need concentration in D&D 5e. You simply cast it for a minute and the trap remains on the ground for up to eight hours.

However, the trap may dispel before completing its duration; triggering the trap and having no creature in it ends the spell. So, if a creature triggers the spell but evades it by succeeding in their Dexterity saving throw, the spell automatically ends.

Question: Can Snare Catch Objects in D&D 5e?

Answer: No, Snare cannot catch objects in D&D 5e. It is specifically written in the spell’s details that creatures can trigger Snare without any mention of objects.

So, you cannot trigger the spell by throwing a pebble or rock toward it. If you have a disposable animal like a chicken, you can make it trigger the trap, albeit it might be a little bit cruel.

Question: Can I Disarm the Snare Spell in D&D 5e?

Answer: No, you cannot disarm the Snare spell in D&D 5e. If you have discovered a Snare spell trap on the ground after succeeding in an Investigation check, you can only navigate around it.

There is no possible way to dismantle it unless you have a method to dispel magic in a certain area. You can also get rid of it by triggering it using a disposable animal like a rat or bird.

Conclusion: Is Snare a Good Spell in D&D 5e?

The Snare spell is useful if you are trying to ambush creatures. Other than catching creatures, the Snare spell has limited uses.

The good thing about the Snare spell is that trapped critters suffer from the penalties of the “Restrained” condition; their speed becomes zero, their Dexterity saving throws and attack rolls are at a disadvantage, and attack rolls against them gain an advantage.

The disadvantage of their Dexterity saving throws is an important bit that many players and DMs seem to forget. At the end of each turn, trapped creatures can try to make a Dexterity saving throw to escape the spell.

However, they are at a disadvantage, so escaping is more difficult than it may seem. That being said, six seconds is a lot of time for them to escape; its difficulty depends on your Spell Save DC.

Many parts of the spell rely on your Spell Save DC. Thus, be sure to have a high Spell Save DC if you want to make the most out of your Snare spell. Its use is mostly for combat due to the advantages of attack rolls against the trapped creatures.

However, the casting time is too long for one to use during a battle; it must be cast beforehand. With the proper tweaks, I think Snare can be something to consider.

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