Schools of Magic 5e DnD
“The world of magic is vast. Far too vast for any one wizard.” The wizened old man droned on and his students barely paid attention.
His voice suddenly boomed and he appeared to grow three times in size. “Some magics will distort your perception.” The now massive man’s voice echoed through the room.
He waved his hands and a small sapling grew straight out of the ground, “Some will allow you to conjure up life.” The sapling withered and grew sickly.
“Others are darker and touched with a taint, and others cause pure destruction.” The man snapped his fingers and the sickly plant burst into flames leaving nothing but ashes scattered about the room.
“You must decide which school of magic to specialize in.” The man said as his appearance changed back into a wizened old man, and his voice continued to drone on as he continued his lecture.
What are the Schools of Magic 5e?
DnD 5e’s Schools of Magic are Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, and Transmutation.
Abjuration is about protection. Conjuration is about moving objects through dimensions. Divination is about revealing hidden information. Enchantment is about mind tricks. Evocation is about summoning energy. Illusion is about hiding objects. Necromancy is about governing the dead. Transmutation is about changing object properties.
That’s the gist. A spell makes it into a certain school depending on how it’s used. Let’s dive into the mana pool a bit more!
Abjuration spells in 5e deal with barriers and binding rituals, and revolve around shielding you and your allies from harm in some fashion. This protection can come from buffs, negating harmful effects, avoiding notice, keeping out intruders, or outright banishment to other dimensions.
Buffs: Shield and Mage Armor boost the target’s AC, while Aid gives temporary HP.
Effect Negation: Dispel Magic negates spells of level 3 or lower, while Lesser Restoration and Greater Restoration cure you of annoying status effects like Blinded or Paralyzed.
Keeping out intruders: Arcane Lock puts a magical lock on an object, while Alarm sets up a magical alarm.
Avoiding notice: Pass Without Trace gives you a +10 on Stealth rolls, while Nondetection hides your location from being divined.
Banishment: Banishment sends your target to another plane!
Conjuration spells in 5e deal with moving objects through dimensions. This movement can come in the form of summoning, teleporting, or creating objects out of thin air.
Summoning: Find Familiar summons you a helpful pet such as a Pseudodragon, while Find Steed summons you a trusty mount. You can also summon a damaging effect such as a Flaming Sphere or Acid Spray.
Teleporting: Hop in and hop back out of dimensions with Misty Step, or sneak objects into another dimension for an hour with Wristpocket.
Thin Air: Sword Burst from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything creates a storm of spectral swords around you, while Mage Hand and Unseen Servant give you ghostly helpers.
Divination spells in 5e deal with finding information in the world you normally wouldn’t be able to. You can achieve this through discovery, secret knowledge, or telepathy.
Discovery: Detect Evil and Good reveals unearthly beings near your party. Clairvoyance lets you see and hear or hear through a remote sensor. Find Traps reveals the presence of nearby obstacles that might harm you.
Secret Knowledge: Identify tells you what a magical object is used for, while Comprehend Languages lets you understand a foreign tongue.
Telepathy: Speak with Animals lets you communicate with beasts, while Augury lets you communicate with deities. Commune with Nature puts you in tune with your natural surroundings to find useful information.
Enchantment 5e is all about charming and cursing others. This can come in the form of forced friendship, straight-out commands, or debuffs.
Forced Friendship: Charm Person lets you appear innocent or appealing to a human, while Animal Friendship does the same for a beast.
Commanding others: Command makes your target obey a single-word command, while Suggestion makes them follow a “suggestion” of some kind for up to 8 hours. Crown of Madness lets you pick a target for your foe to attack!
Cursing Debuffs: Bane reduces attack rolls by 1d4, while Hex lets a Warlock negate 1d4 of any skill. Vicious Mockery lets you rattle an enemy with enchanted words to impose disadvantage.
Evocation is all about harnessing energy. Evoked energy is usually for damage, but can also be used to buff or heal your party. Evoked energy can come from natural elements or elements from other sources such as celestial or eldritch planes.
Natural elements: Spells like Fireball cause massive damage by harnessing fire, while spells like Ray of Frost and Chaos Bolt harness ice and lightning.
Other elements: Spells like Eldritch Blast dabble with ancient dark energies, while spells like Spiritual Weapon are connected with deities closer to the light. The DnD classic Magic Missile evokes darts of raw magical force.
Buffs and Heals: Cure Wounds evokes energy straight from the Weave to heal you, while Tiny Hut does the same to build a raw magical shelter around you.
Illusion is all about tricking others into believing something false. You can do this by projecting an illusion into the world or planting an illusion in your target’s mind.
Projecting an Illusion: Spells like Minor Illusion and Silent Image place perceptual tricks in the world to fool anyone who comes across them, such as imaginary traps or spooky music. Spells like Invisibility or Disguise Self let you clothe yourself in illusory magic.
Planting an Illusion: The spell Dream lets you send a messenger into a target’s mind, and Mental Prison from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything makes the target think they are trapped in a cell.
Necromancy is all about manipulating the forces of life and death. This comes in the form of draining life through necrotic or terrifying spells or cheating death by imitating and raising the dead.
Draining Life: Inflict Wounds does straight necrotic damage, while Eyebite lets you choose between Asleep, Panicked, or Sickened. Finger of Death does a whopping 7d8 + 30 necrotic damage on a failed constitution save… and turns humanoid enemies into zombies if they die!
Imitating Life: Summon Undead lets you create ghosts or skeletons to fight for you, while Clone lets you create a mimic of a character upon their death. True Resurrection lets you revive anyone who has died in the last two centuries… but it costs 25,000 GP.
Transmutation is all about changing one thing into another. These transmutations can take many forms but focus mainly on buffs for you and your party members, or modifying objects in the world.
Buffs: Enhance Ability lets you give advantage on ability checks, while Haste grants double speed, +2 AC, and advantage on Dexterity checks. You can even give yourself Dragon’s Breath to breathe fire!
Modifying objects: Stone Shape lets you manipulate stone to your advantage, while Shape Water lets you do the same for water in all its forms. Prestidigitation is a cantrip that lets you manipulate sensory effects in your environment. These spells can be quite powerful to a creative caster.
What is the source of magic in DnD 5e?
All magic in DnD 5e ultimately comes from The Weave, which is the “fabric” of magic that flows through the DnD universe.
Though the Weave is the ultimate source of magic in 5e, the way the Weave is used is different for the three types of DnD 5e magic: Arcane, Divine, and Dunamis, which was introduced in Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount.
Arcane casters directly hack into the Weave to pull out magic, while Divine casters need the help of divine beings or nature to do so. Dunamis casters use the Weave to bend time and space.
Divine magic has an inherent limit since it is bestowed by forces outside the caster. The Divine spellcasters in DnD 5e are Cleric, Paladin, Druid, and Ranger.
Arcane magic has no inherent limit, which is why it tends to be more destructive. The Arcane casters are Bards, Sorcerers, Wizards, and Warlocks.
Dunamis magic, or Dunamancy, is used by the Wizard subclasses Chronurgist and Graviturgist.
GameCows Tip: You can use Dunamis in any campaign! Consult with your DM to see if this fate-bending DnD magic is in your destiny.
Casters can tap into the Weave with gestures (Somatic), words (Verbal), and material components to pull out Divine, Arcane, or Dunamis magic. How the magic is used divides the spells into the eight DnD 5e magic schools.
DnD Schools of Magic 5e FAQs
How many schools of magic are there in 5e?
DnD 5e has eight schools of magic: Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, and Transmutation.
DnD 4e had primal and psionic magic, and older editions of DnD also had a school called Metamagic, which was magic to alter magic.
What is the best school of magic 5e?
Conjuration has the most powerful spell in DnD like Wish, which lets you do anything you and your DM agree on. Many people think that makes it the best school by default, though at level 9, it’s rarely encountered.
Transmutation has Polymorph, which many think is the most powerful pragmatic spell, and lets you transform one creature into a new form.
Where does magic come from in 5e?
Magic in 5e comes from the Weave, which is a balanced fabric of light and dark magic.
When Selune and Shar, the original goddesses of Light and Dark, engaged in a bitter battle, their essences mixed to create Mystyrl and the Weave. The Weave separated raw magic from normal waking life and let casters tap into it.
Who is the god of magic 5e?
Mystra, the Mother of All Magic, is the closest thing to a current god of magic in the DnD universe. Mystra’s predecessor Mystryl sacrificed herself to stop the Weave from being destroyed when an archwizard named Karsus stole her powers temporarily using a 12th-level spell. Over time Mystryl reincarnated into Mystra.
Now that you’ve schooled yourself on magic basics, get educated on spells like Mind Spike 5e, Enemies Abound 5e, and Armor of Agathys 5e.