5 Underappreciated Spells in D&D

5 Underappreciated Spells in D&D

When it comes to Dungeons & Dragons, players often gravitate towards the most flashy and powerful spells—fireballs, lightning bolts, and mind controls. But what about the lesser-known, underappreciated spells that can be just as game-changing? Here's a look at a few such spells that deserve a spot in your spellbook, why they're often overlooked, and how to harness their potential effectively. 

1. Gust of Wind

Description: Gust of Wind emits a strong line of wind from you in a direction you choose for the spell's duration.

Why it's underappreciated: Often passed over for more direct damage-dealing spells, Gust of Wind is actually a versatile spell for battlefield control. It can extinguish flames, disperse gas, and push enemies away. When you're up against enemies that need to get close to deal damage, or set upon by environmental hazards, Gust of Wind can come through to save you.

How to use it: Use Gust of Wind in narrow corridors or bridges to push enemies off edges or into traps. It’s also great for scenarios where visibility needs to be cleared, like dispersing fog or smoke. Its use is made even more potent whenever you're in high places like floating cities or on sailing ships where wind is extremely powerful.

2. Silence

Description: Silence creates a sphere where no sound can be made or heard.

Why it's underappreciated: Another spell that doesn't deal damage or have an immediate effect. However, its ability to shut down casters can turn the tide of battle since any spell that has a verbal component can't be cast within silence. Additionally, Silence can be infinitely useful in roleplaying scenarios, shutting down NPCs from spilling secrets or guards from sounding alarms, even being a good demonstration of power without having to hurt anyone or cause embarrassment or property damage.

How to use it: Cast Silence strategically during combat to prevent enemy spellcasters from using their most dangerous spells. It’s also perfect for sneaking past guards or executing a stealth mission without alerting anyone nearby. Use in roleplay situations to control the flow of dialogue or demonstrate power.

3. Speak with Plants

Description: Speak with Plants allows you to communicate with plants, making them animated and allowing them to follow your commands. It also allows you to remove difficult terrain caused by plants or cause difficult to appear so long as there are plants nearby.

Why it's underappreciated: This spell is often seen as whimsical or situational. However, its utility in gathering information where no NPCs or animals are present combined with the ability to control the battlefield through the natural environment is significant.

How to use it: Use Speak with Plants to turn the terrain to your advantage. Extract secrets from the forest, or create paths where none existed. It’s also effective for ambushing or evading enemies by manipulating foliage. Basically it turns you into the perfect guerrilla warrior.

4. Mold Earth

Description: Mold Earth lets you manipulate a 5-foot cube of dirt or stone, moving or shaping it at will without needing labor.

Why it's underappreciated: It's a cantrip that doesn’t deal damage and thus can be overlooked, but its potential for utility and creativity is vast. Anytime you have two feet on the ground there's the potential to utilize this spell.

How to use it: Mold Earth can be used to create cover during a fight, dig trenches, or even make traps and obstacles to hinder your enemies. It's also great for quick burials or unearthing hidden items. It saves time and gives you an element to manipulate in whatever ways are helpful, from building natural staircases to active camouflage. 

5. Nondetection

Description: Nondetection hides a target from divination magic, including scrying sensors.

Why it's underappreciated: While it doesn’t provide a direct combat advantage, Nondetection is crucial for preventing enemies from gathering information about your whereabouts or plans. When so many BBEGs have the ability to keep track of a party's movements, Nondetection might not make its utility known right away, but it can allow you to get a significant jump on some scary bad guys.

How to use it: Use Nondetection to shield your party’s key figures or objects, ensuring your strategies remain hidden from prying magical eyes. It’s especially useful in campaigns involving espionage or high-stakes political intrigue.

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