Call Lightning 5e D&D Guide

Call Lightning is a visually powerful spell that is able to punish and be continued to be used repeatedly. 

The strikes summoned by the caster inflict harm to tiny areas and could hit multiple targets.

The guidelines for Call Lightning can be found in the Players Handbook on page 220.

Call Lightning 5e

  • Conjuration 3rd Level
  • Time to Cast 1 Action
  • Range: 120 feet
  • Components: V, S,
  • Duration: 10 minutes (Concentration)

A storm cloud takes the form of a cylinder 10 feet high and has 60 feet of radius. It is centered around a point that you be able to see just above you. 

The spell is not successful in the event that you cannot detect a location in the air, where the cloud may appear (for instance, if are in a space that isn’t big enough to accommodate it).

If you wish to cast the spell, you should choose the location that you can see in the cloud. A lightning bolt is visible from the cloud until the point. 

Every individual within 5 meters of the point is required to make a saving roll. A creature is hit with 3d 10 lightning damage for the failure to save or half the damage if it succeeds. 

Each time you turn until the spell expires you may make use of your ability to bring down lightning again, this time targeting the same spot or a different point.

If you’re outside in a storm during the time you use this spell it allows you to control the current storm, as opposed to creating a brand new one. 

When you are in such a situation the spell’s damage will increase by 1/10.

At higher levels: If the spell is cast with the slot for spells at 4th or above the damage will increase by 1d10 for each higher than 3rd.

Rules for Call Lightning outline the massive scope of the spell as well as the long time it is performed. 

A 120-foot wide cloud that’s 10 feet tall lets the caster target any person inside, and deal injury to all creatures that are within five feet of the area of attack.

Calling lightning bolts to strike enemies takes some effort, and the casting of the spell requires concentration.

Therefore, when it’s cast the spellcaster must consider being at minimum partially committed.

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Do you have the ability to Call Lightning Indoors?

Call Lightning 5e

The short conclusion is that yes. It is possible to use the spell Call Lightning indoors. The space must be large enough to hold the cloud. 

This covers all components of the cloud as well as specifics for casting. The room needs to be 110 feet high with a width of 120 feet and the caster needs to be located in the middle.

This makes it challenging but not impossible to apply this spell within. For instance, a massive underground cavern might offer enough space for the spell to be successful.

Remember that if there’s enough space for the magic spell, it immediately is ineffective. The cloud is also not able to move around corners or through any other gaps.

There is a way to keep the focus on the spell even after having been indoors. That means that a spellcaster can use Call Lightning and then enter a hut or a house. 

The lightning will hit the hut or house instead of any creature inside, but it will certainly have the ability to strike creatures that are outside.

Do you Call Lightning Move with You?

The descriptions of spells in 5E are precise to a point. That means that if a spell doesn’t state that it is able to move (as the case with this one does) and it’s not, then it’s not. 

Call Lightning is best to cast in a spot where the person casting it intends to remain close to or in a strategic location.

The 120-foot radius does provide the caster plenty of range with regard to creatures they are able to be able to target. 

The spell does not stipulate that the spell will end when the caster leaves the location they have specified following casting. 

The caster needs to be able to see the area they wish to target but is not required to be within the vicinity of the clouds.

Call Lightning can be used in a myriad of ways. It is a complete force of nature in stopping the encroachment of a castle as well as destroying the hordes of smaller enemies. 

Concentration is the main disadvantage of the spell in addition to the fact that it is not suitable for indoor use. 

It can be used as a primary attack or aid to others. Additionally, the additional boost in damage from using an existing storm is an enjoyable surprise too.

What Does Call Lightning Do In 5E?

Call Lightning makes a storm cloud with a 60-foot radius anywhere above the person who sends it. On the turn they cast it, they can send a lightning bolt to a point below the storm cloud. All creatures within 5 feet of that point have to make a Dexterity saving throw.

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If a creature fails, it takes 3d10 lightning damage, but if it succeeds, it takes only half as much.

On the next turn, the person who casts the spell can use the same action to call lightning in the same way, or they can choose a different point (although it still must be below the storm cloud, which is stationary).

If the weather is stormy, the amount of damage goes up by 1d10. You can also pay 1d10 per slot level above 3rd to upcast Call Lightning.

Let’s quickly go over how the area of effect and range of Call Lightning work. First, here’s a picture of the total area where the spell works:

The person who casts the spell stands in the purple square. The small green circle shows where the spell is focused, and the large green circle shows how much space the cloud takes up. The cloud is also 10 feet thick, which makes it look like a giant hockey puck made of gas.

Note that the cloud must be directly above the person casting the spell. In practice, this means that a 15-foot-tall room is the minimum height needed to cast Call Lightning (assuming a 5-foot-tall caster and a 10-foot-tall cloud). Also, they can’t cast Call Lightning if there isn’t enough room for the cloud where they are (60 feet in all directions from the point where the spell starts).

So far so good?

Now, let’s talk about how to aim the lightning bolts at specific creatures. In the spell’s description, it says that you can aim at “a point under the cloud,” which means that the storm cloud stays put. No matter where the person who cast the spell goes afterward, the storm cloud stays where it was when the spell was cast.

They can only call lightning down from the area shown by the big green circle in the picture above. This is because all the points under the storm cloud are in that area.

The last part of the spell, “within 5 feet of the point,” means a 22 square. “Choose an intersection of squares as the starting point of an area” (DMG 251), says the Dungeon Master’s Guide about how to target with area-of-effect spells. For a picture, this is how it looks:

So in practice, Call Lightning can affect a maximum of 4 creatures.

Does the call to Lightning an occult spell for concentration?

It is true that Call Lightning is a focused spell. The caster is able to keep the spell in effect for up to 10 minutes. 

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This is a fantastic method to keep enemies at bay as the group regroups. It could also serve to protect a party that needs to leave. 

There’s nothing stopping the sea-going crowd from making use of Call Lightning to provide cover when they set sail.

Druids are able to keep their focus in wild form. This means that druids can use the spell to Call Lightning and then wild shape if required. 

There is a downside to using this action to summon an attack down, but it also offers a possibility of a strike that is ranged, something wild shape typically lacks.

Are there ways to Wizards cast Call Lightning?

In most cases, Call Lightning is a Druid exclusive spell. The Tempest Cleric is granted the ability to use this spell however it’s not available on other spell lists of classes

This is a unique aspect for the Druid that sets them apart from other casters and illustrates their relationship to the natural world. A Druid in the wilderness is a force to be taken seriously.

Druids draw their power from nature. They have different flavors than other casting casters. 

There are many possibilities to choose from a variety of Druids They don’t all require being nature-lovers. 

Their beliefs may be more grounded on the natural flow in life& death, or their appreciation for the beauty that nature has to offer while having no issues with reasonable use.

Call Lightning 5E Dm Tips

As a DM, you can use Call Lightning as a fake Lair Action for a monster in a stormy area or as a natural hazard, as explained in Tasha’s Guide to Everything (TCoE 170). When players are wearing full metal armor and wandering around in a storm, it’s always fun to randomly hit them with lightning bolts.

From a spellcasting point of view, Call Lightning is a great choice for any BBEG with a storm or nature theme (or their lieutenant, so the boss can do other things).

It’s a unique spell because it forces players to deal with an artillery caster, which should make them rethink strategies that usually work for them. It also makes the party want to split up because if they stand close together, they are more likely to get hurt.

Final Words

Call Lightning is a spell that deserves its place on the list. It is a Druid exclusive, it’s among the top sought-after spells that you can use with the class. 

It has its drawbacks however the effect it creates is quite powerful. The versatility and a variety of applications make it a fantastic multi-purpose spell for combat.