Dragon’s Breath: D&D 5e Spell Guide

Utilize the power of dragons from the past by magically transforming your breath with the power to exhale elemental destruction.

This thematic (and enjoyable) spell is an issue to use correctly, but it’s worthwhile for those who are a bit adventurous.

Dragon’s Breath Spell Details

Available To: Sorcerer/Wizard
School of Magic: Transmutation
Level of Spell: 2nd Level
The Time to Cast: 1 bonus action
Range: Touch
Time: 1 minute (concentration)
Components: verbal, somatic, material (a hot pepper)
Source: Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 154

You can choose one creature to release a 15-foot cone of damage out of its mouth.

When you touch the creature, it is possible to select the type of attack you want to take, such as cold, acid or lightning as the type of damage for an effect of breath.

Creatures within the spell effect area are able to make an Dexterity saving roll, taking 3d6 of damage on a failed and then half the damage if they succeed.

Touch one creature you like and give it the ability to release magical energy out of its mouth if it is equipped with one. Select cold, acid lightning, fire, or poison. 

When the spell is over the creature is able to use actions to release energy from the chosen type within a 15-foot cone. 

Every creature within that zone must perform a Dexterity savings throw inflicting 3d6 damage from the selected kind on a failed to save or half that damage for a successful save.

At higher levels. When you apply this spell using an enchantment slot that is 3rd or higher level the damage is increased by 1d6 per slot level higher than 2nd.

What Does This Mean?

Dragon’s Breath is a small area of effect spell that does decent damage at the level at which it’s.

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In the context of an effective concentration spell that is able to be repeated each round (up to 10 times).

It is able to cover a 15-foot cone that’s the maximum of three medium-sized targets when they are close. 

The most important aspect of this magic spell is the fact that it’s able to be cast upon anyone interested creature with the ability to speak – a feature that is crucial to make this an effective spell.

Who Gets It?

This spell is part of the list of wizards and sorcerers on the list of spells which means it is also used through Arcane Trickster Rogues and Eldritch Knight Fighters as a non-specific school spell at the level of 8.

It’s a good decision, as described below.

Dragon’s Breath: Pros

The ability to select the type of damage is a major benefit of the ability to work over the immunities or damage resistances the opponent may have.

If, for instance, you meet an entire group of Yuan-Ti determined to kill your NPC friend, you’d be aware not to spray poison breath because it will not have any impact.

Then you can turn them to ash using the classic fire breath.

Another advantage of this magic is the fact that it requires only an extra move to cast.

The action you take is to exhale the spell’s effect or use an enchantment or to make an attack using a weapon, in the event that you cast the spell on a creature.

Dragon’s Breath: Cons & Downsides

The biggest problem with this spell is the fact it’s a focused spell that puts it up against a myriad of powerful spells. Particularly, as you progress to more advanced spell slots.

Even as a second-level ability, its nature and the fact it requires concentration can require a player to decide between directing the battlefield using web-like spells, or focusing the person with Maximillian’s Earthen grip.

Although it is a spell that has an effect in a zone, Shatter has the ability to cause more damage to a larger amount of creatures in one shot.

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Furthermore, even though using the spell is only one additional action, to exhale the harmful effect, you must take an action on every turn.

Dragon's Breath

At lower levels, the damage output from this is acceptable and is worth the price of the action economy. Beyond level 5, you have better choices available for the majority of spellcasters and martial characters.

A sorcerer’s spell isn’t well-suited to the metamagic effects that are common. The spell is cast on a creature that then uses its actions to exhale energy. Therefore, the actual effect of the spell does not occur in the same place that the cast.

It’s not even able to be twinned as the Principal rules designer at WoTC explained.

Roleplay Ideas

One of my favorite aspects of this spell is the fact that the main ingredient is hot pepper.

The idea of biting into chili and then breathing in fire is an incredible photo… and giving jalapenos out when you cast your spell on your friends.

The draconic nature of this spell makes it a perfect choice for those who wish to be connected to those most formidable creatures of the world of D&D (looking at you Draconic sorcerers).

Dragon’s Breath Uses

In lower levels, this is is a great way to cast on a character with martial abilities that do not have access to magic damage as of yet.

Particularly if you’re fighting an opponent with immunity or resistances to normal slashing, piercing, or bludgeoning injuries (such as Lycanthropes).

It’s even better when an ally is able to create invisibility for the same person. The particular characteristics of the dragon’s breath mean they’ll remain invisible when they exhale the harm (although the smoke could signal their position).

The Dragon Death Drone

The most effective method to use Dragon’s Breath is to cast it over an old friend (best acquired by completing either the ritual casting or the magical initiator feat or multiclassing one level to a wizard or three levels to warlock to get pact of this chain).

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The appeal of this technique is that a person who is familiar with the prerequisites of the spell It’s willing, has a mouth, and perhaps most importantly since exhaling energy isn’t an attack or casting an actual spell, a familiar can perform it.

This was confirmed by the WoTC chief rules designer.

Beware that this tactic can put a large threat on your favorite/familiar.

Any DM using the monsters they have created with a bit of a shrew can kill their 1hp companion very quickly unless you are able to keep them out of danger.

Dragon’s Breath

This is why the owl is an excellent choice for your favorite’s body since the ability to fly by feature keeps it away from other creatures without creating attacks of opportunity.

A warlock multi-class may also include the imp or quasit or sprite familiar. These can be hidden when using Dragon’s Breath. This makes them difficult to locate and harder to hit.

Dragon’s Breath Builds

This spell is an ideal option for the Eldritch knight. It is also an arcane trickster.

When you reach the third level, and a rogue or fighter chooses one or more of these classes the known spell is a must-have. 

Why not utilize the limited and low-level casting slot alternative that makes the most of the wonderful familiar?

It is also crucial to think about having a high constitution score as well as the war caster feat. Make sure you’re able to keep your focus on the spell every time you are hit.

Final Insights

Dragon’s Breath is an amazing and thematic spell for casters who have low-level slots for spells that can inflict tactical attacks on the area of effect.

However, it could be defeated by stronger higher-level spells that require your focus. It is a good part of your plan, but not a full-time strategy by all by itself.