Dungeons & Dragons is a game that has been played countless times, with each edition being stress-tested by numerous groups of players who tried to bend the rules to their advantage. The easiest way for a player to bend the rules in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign is with the aid of magic, as magic by its very nature allows you to influence reality in your favor.
The spellcasting classes have often been the most feared in each edition of Dungeons & Dragons, due to their ability to make fire fall from the sky like rain, to transform mighty dragons into helpless puppies, and to teleport across the world in a matter of moments.
The spells that appear in the Player's Handbook and other supplemental materials have set rules that lay out how they are supposed to work, but the developers didn't count on the ingenuity of the players who want to use the spells in ways that they never considered. There are also some incredibly powerful spells that were buried away in later books that most players aren't aware of, which can also be used to your advantage.
We are here today to reveal the conniving ways in which you can use spells to tilt the odds in your favor in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign - from the spell that will send your opponent to a speedy grave to the greased-up vines that will lock your opponents into place.
Here are the 20 Ways To Use Spells To Cheat The Game In Dungeons & Dragons!
20 Use Haste To Dispose Of Your Enemies
Haste is one of the top tier spells that most players will have access to, regardless of the edition. The ability to move faster and receive more actions per turn is one of the best buffs in the game. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons added a strange drawback to haste in that it aged the recipient by a year, which is something that was often ignored by dungeon masters and players alike.
The haste spell can be cast on your enemies and they won't receive a saving throw against its effect. If you stick to the haste rules as written, then you can force your enemy to make a system shock check due to being artificially aged by magic and if they fail they will instantly perish. The aging effect of haste can also be useful for disposing of older characters (such as spellcasters), as the dungeon master will have to work out how many years they have left on their lifespan.
19 Wall Of Salt = Profit
The average Dungeons & Dragons character will earn their fortune through slaying monsters and taking their stuff. However, it's possible to use your characters abilities and magic to earn money in legitimate business enterprises, such as using teleportation spells to act as international traders. One of the easiest ways to earn money in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons is to abuse the pricing of salt. The Player's Handbook lists the value of a pound of salt as five gold pieces, which is pretty expensive.
The Sandstorm supplement introduced a new spell called wall of salt that allows you to create a wall made of salt. Wall of salt is a 4th level cleric/druid/sorcerer/wizard spell, which means that it's easy for most groups to get their hands on it. Your character can create a thirty-five-foot wall made of salt at the minimum level required to cast wall of salt, which you can then carve up and sell.
18 Simulcram Can Be Used To Bypass The Limitations Of Wish
One of the most contentious high-level magical combos in the current edition of Dungeons & Dragons involves combining the simulacrum and wish spells. Wish is the most powerful spell in the game, but it comes with some pretty severe drawbacks, including temporarily reducing your Strength to 3 and a 33% chance that you will never be able to cast the spell ever again.
One of the ways to go around this drawback is to create a simulacrum and have that cast the wish spell instead so that it's your duplicate who faces the drawbacks from the spell. This is also a way to get around the 33% chance of never being able to cast wish again.
17 Divination Magic Can Detonate Explosive Runes From Afar
The explosive runes spell allows you to trace magical runes on a surface that will explode when read, dealing 6d6 force damage without a save. All you need to do to activate an explosive runes spell is to read it, but it doesn't say you have to be in the same room as the runes, as you can read things from a distance using magic.
If you wanted to perform a long-range assassination attempt using magic, you could deliver an innocuous item that has the explosive runes spell drawn inside of it to the target and have a spellcaster ally use arcane eye or scrying to read the runes when the target is close enough. This causes them to take the full brunt of the damage and without anyone being the wiser as to how it happened.
16 Conjure Animals Can Summon An Unlikely Team
The spells associated with summoning monsters were totally revamped from the jump from the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons to the current one. There are far fewer summoning spells and most players won't gain access to them for several levels.
The conjure animals spell allows you to summon an animal of challenge rating 2, two animals of challenge rating 1, four animals of challenge rating 1/2, and eight animals of challenge rating 1/4. The conjure animals spell allows you to summon an unlikely but highly effective team of animals - two dire wolves and a giant elk. Dire wolves have a chance of knocking creatures prone with their attacks, while a giant elk can use its hooves attack to deal 4d8+4 on a prone enemy.
15 Transmute Rock To Mud Can Trap Enemies When Combined With Dispel Magic
The ability to control the position of enemies on the battlefield is one of the key features of the spellcasting classes, as you can use magic to lock your opponents into place while your allies fill them with arrows. One of the most effective ways to trap opponents in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons is with the transmute rock to mud spell. The spell turns all unworked ground into wet mud, which has a depth of ten feet.
The most effective use of transmute rock to mud is to cast it, then have one of your allies cast dispel magic in the same turn. If they are successful, then the enemy will be trapped in the ground. If your ally can't use dispel magic, then you can cast it yourself on the following round, as you can automatically dispel your own spells without needing to make the check, but this gives the enemy a chance to escape while the mud is still wet.
14 Reduce & Web Can Trap Enemies Like Flies
Spiders have long been the bane of adventuring parties, due to their poisonous bite and ability to trap party members in thick webs. The web spell allows a player to trap enemies within a magical web of their own, which can be even more effective when combined with another spell.
If you cast reduce on an enemy and then trap them in a web, then they are one saving throw away from being screwed over. If they fail their initial Dexterity saving throw, then they become restrained and will have disadvantage on further Dexterity checks to escape. Normally, a trapped enemy could make a Strength check to escape, but the effects of reduce gives them disadvantage on that check. The combination of two low-level spells can incapacitate some of the nastiest solo enemies in the game.
13 Tenser's Floating Disk Can Be Used As Portable Cover
One of the most annoying tricks a dungeon master can pull on a party involves including a treasure that is too heavy to lift, such as a statue. It's for this reason that many players seek out a bag of holding or portable hole, as it allows them to bypass the annoying encumbrance and carrying load rules.
The Tenser's floating disk spell is intended to allow a magician to carry more gear out of a dungeon, as it creates a floating disk that can carry up to one hundred pounds of weight. One of the best alternative uses for a Tenser's floating disk spell is to use it as cover. You could stack several shields on the disk in order to provide cover from archers, which will make it harder for your party to be hit from certain angles, especially if you have the capacity to create multiple disks.
12 Wall Of Force Is One Of The Best Trapping Spells In The Game (If You Can Afford It)
The wall of force spell creates an invisible barrier that is almost impossible for most standard opponents to destroy. The only thing that a wall of force has to be worried about is a spellcaster, as they can counter the wall with a dispel magic spell. In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, you can shape a wall of force into a hemisphere, which can protect the party from all angles.
One of the best uses of a wall of force was to combine it with a lingering area of effect spell to create a trap, like casting cloudkill on a group of enemies and sealing them within a wall of force. The only drawback to this tactic is that wall of force costs 5000 gold pieces in diamond dust each time. The third edition version of wall of force was even better, as it had the same function but didn't have a costly component cost. The spell was nerfed in the 3.5 update, however.
11 Minor Creation Can Make Expensive Poison For Free
Poison was one of the less effective means of disposing of an enemy in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons, due to the fact that most of them only dealt negligible stat point damage and will turn most characters evil, as using a sword on an enemy is ok, but poisoning them is not. The best poison in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons is black lotus extract, which deals 3d6 Constitution damage, which is enough to slay most living creatures in the game.
The problem with black lotus extract is that a single dose costs 4500 gold pieces. A single dose is all you need, as the minor creation spell can be used to create either black lotus extract or the black lotus itself. This black lotus will only last for a few hours before it disappears, but it will still function as a poison if you use it within the time limit.
10 Dispel Magic Can Turn Explosive Runes Into A Grenade
There is nothing in the description for explosive runes in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons that prevents you from casting the spell on every page in a book. If a person read a page from this book, then only one explosive runes spell would be fired off, but there is a way to activate them all at once.
You could throw a book full of explosive runes at the foot of an enemy and have an ally intentionally fail a dispel magic check. This would activate all of the explosive runes at once, dealing an astronomical amount of damage. The damage dealt towards the enemy would pale in comparison to the pain you would feel when your dungeon master throws a book at your head for using such a broken tactic.
9 You Can Command Your Enemies To Drink Poison
The command spell has been a staple of the priestly classes throughout the history of Dungeons & Dungeons. When you cast command on an enemy (and they fail the save), you can give them a one-word command that they have to obey. This spell is limited to making an enemy disable themselves in some way, as the rules for command states that you can't make an enemy willingly harm themselves.
The command spell only has a verbal component, which means that you are free to use your hands for other things, such as holding out a bottle. You could then use the command to say "drink." There are all kinds of things you could put in a bottle that will dispose of the enemy once they drink the liquid, with acid and poison being just two examples.
8 Shrink Item Can Create A Powerful PokéBall
In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, there were strict limitations on which weapons each class could use, with mages being reduced to only a handful of choices. The existence of the shrink item spell means that you never need to bother with a physical weapon, so long as you have a good aim. The shrink item spell is used to shrink a nonmagical item down to 1/16th of its original size. This spell is intended to be used for transporting large items or letting you hide important items.
The shrink item spell is broken when the item is tossed against a solid surface, which means that you can fill barrels full of acid, oil, poison, or other unsavory liquids, and combine them with the shrink item spell to make them throwable. Once these miniature traps hit the opponent, they will expand back to their original size and spill their contents.
7 Stone To Flesh & Flesh To Stone Would Be Useful In Westeros
There are plenty of creatures in Dungeons & Dragons that can turn the player into stone, such as the basilisk and the Medusa. However, it's possible for the player to turn living creatures into stone using the flesh to stone spell and reversing the process with the stone to flesh spell.
Combining these spells would allow a player to make a lot of money in agriculture, as it allows you to keep farm animals in a state where they don't require food or a living area. A spellcaster could stock up on livestock during nice weather, turn them to stone, and keep the animals stored away in a bag of holding or other extradimensional space until the arrival of winter, at which point the price of healthy livestock would increase due to the demand.
6 Shivering Touch & Spectral Hand Can Defeat The Most Powerful Foes In The Game
One of the best spells in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons was tucked away in a book called Frostburn, which dealt with adventures that took place in locations with a cold climate. The spell in question is called shivering touch and it drains 3d6 points of Dexterity on a successful melee touch attack. The majority of the creatures you encounter in a Dungeons & Dragons game won't have more than eighteen points in Dexterity, which means that this spell can totally incapacitate most enemies in the game without a saving throw.
The problem with shivering touch is that your spellcaster will need to get into melee range to use the spell, which is always a risky prospect. This weakness can be overcome by using the spectral hand spell, which will allow you to use shivering touch at a distance.
5 You Can Fabricate A Wall Of Iron To Make Lots Of Weapons
There are several spells in Dungeons & Dragons that conjure a magical wall that you can use to protect yourself from your enemies. One of the best wall spells is wall of iron, which creates a huge metal wall that is incredibly difficult to push over using physical strength. It's also possible to angle the wall in such a way that it will fall on an approaching enemy and deal a lot of damage to them.
The wall of iron stays conjured after the spell is cast, which means that a spellcaster with a high Craft skill can use the fabricate spell to transform the wall into all kinds of items and weapons that they can then sell. It's possible to make masterwork items using this method, though the Craft check will be pretty high.
4 Mass Snake's Swiftness Can End A Battle In A Single Moment
Haste has always been a controversial spell due to how great it is. The version of haste that appeared in the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons was one of the first things in the game to receive a rule errata to make it less broken. The haste spell has nothing on mass snake's swiftness, which is the same level and can be exploited in numerous ways.
Mass snake's swiftness allows all allies within a twenty-foot burst to take an extra attack unless they have already used an effect like haste to make an extra attack. This spell is especially dangerous when used in conjunction with a group with a lot of long-range specialists. The ability to turn one spell into a series of extra attacks is extremely broken for a third-level spell (or second-level if you are a druid). The only downside is that your allies need to stay fairly close together in order for mass snake's swiftness to be effective.
3 Alter Fortune Can Protect You From Critical Hits
One of the most satisfying moments in any Dungeons & Dragons game is scoring a critical hit on an enemy. This is especially satisfying in the current edition of the game, where you get to double the amount of dice rolled, which is great for people playing a rogue. It's less fun when the dungeon master scores a critical hit against your character, especially in the editions where you can only go so far below zero hit points before losing your character for good.
The alter fortune spell from the Player's Handbook II offers built-in resistance to critical hits, as it allows you to spend an immediate action to force the dungeon master to reroll a dice and use the second result. The only downside is that the spell costs two-hundred experience points to cast, which is a small price to pay compared to taking a potentially lethal amount of damage.
2 Heart Of Water Is The Total Package
There are many options available for spellcasters who want to specialize in one of the four elements, but players are often wary about overspecialization, due to the dungeon master's ability to exploit your powers. The Complete Mage offers four elemental spells that partially transform the recipient - heart of air, heart of earth, heart of fire, and heart of water.
Heart of water is easily the best spell of the bunch and is one of the best spells in the game, due to the fact that it allows you to cast freedom of movement as a swift action on yourself for a number of rounds equal to your level. Freedom of movement is an amazing spell that makes you immune to most of the paralysis and movement impeding effects in the game and is a higher level spell than heart of water. The fact that heart of water gives you an activatable freedom of movement means that it will be very hard to trap your character with a status effect.
1 Good Luck Escaping From Greased Up Vines
The grease spell used to be looked down upon by players, since making a floor slippery doesn't really fit the game. However, those players soon changed their tune when they saw how effective grease could be in combat. You can combine grease with entangle in the current edition of Dungeons & Dragons to create one of the best low-level combos in the game.
An enemy caught in the range of an entangle spell has to pass a Strength check or be restrained, which gives them disadvantage on Dexterity checks. If you cast grease on the same area, then that same enemy has to pass a Dexterity check or fall prone. The effect of grease means that they need to pass a Dexterity check to attempt to stand up, while entangle means they have disadvantage on the check. If the enemy manages to pass the Strength check, then they still need to spend half their movement to stand up or crawl through difficult terrain, both options which may end up costing them several turns, all in exchange for two low-level spells.
Are there any other ways to use spells to cheat Dungeons & Dragons? Let us know in the comments!