Heat Metal 5e D&D Guide

Heat Metal provides the ability to make a foe useless in battle by causing scorching hot fire damage to the metal they wear or carry. 

This spell has experienced an upsurge in popularity and is now a standard for certain classes in 5e.

The guidelines for Heat Metal are found within the Players Handbook on page 250.

Heat Metal 5e

Transmutation: 2 2 Level

Time to Cast: 1 Action

Distance: 60 Feet

Components: V and S Components: V, S (Apiece from iron, and also a torch)

Duration: 1 minute (Concentration)

Select a metal object that has been manufactured like an iron weapon or armored suit made of medium or heavy armor made of metal, which can be seen within a distance. 

The object will shine red hot. 

Any creature that comes into physical proximity to the object will suffer 2d8 fire damage each time you use the spell. 

The spell will last until the end of time you may use an additional action every subsequent turn to trigger this damage once more.

If an animal is wearing the item and suffers the damage then the creature must make a success in a Constitution saving throw, or throw the object away when it’s possible to. 

If it does not fall the object is at an advantage in attack rolls and ability checks up to the beginning of the next round.

At higher levels: If the spell is cast with the slot for spells of 3rd or more the damage is increased by 1d8 for every slot degree above 2 2.

The rules of Heat Metal reveal how devastating the spell can be. 

Ability to inflict damage round-after-round to any creature that wears metal armor is very important according to the circumstance. 

It’s not difficult to see the reason Heat Metal has become more well-known among the 5e.

Why Is Heat Metal So Good?

Heat metal is praised by a lot of musicians, and with good reason. Let’s start with the fact that it will definitely cause fire damage.

It’s not a joke to do 2d8 base damage, and if you upcast it, you’ll do even more. Even though this can still be stopped by resistances and immunity to fire, very few creatures in the game have these abilities.

For everyone else, there is no safe distance or saving throw. Instead, it just happens, and they can’t do anything about it if they can’t drop the item.

The damage then keeps going as long as bonus actions (not actions, bonus actions) are used. You could get up to 10 rounds of 2d8 base damage even if the caster’s concentration changed. Most of the time, this is more than enough to kill most enemies, but there’s more!

Most players look at the spell and think, “Okay, but if I make the Bugbear’s sword really hot and he drops it, doesn’t the damage stop?”

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Actually, it does. But you should also know that the creature you are fighting has now lost its weapons. You’ve taken a tough creature’s weapon away, so it must either spend an action trying to get it back while it’s still hot, or use something else to fight you.

This is either their second, less powerful weapon or their natural teeth, claws, and strength. It’s not as strong as a sword, so the creature is at a big disadvantage for the rest of the fight.

You can also cast the spell at their metal armour. If they fail the saving throw, they will be cooked alive by their armour, or they will have to take it off.

Do Heat Metal work on Warforged?

This is an excellent illustration of the clarity afforded by the description of the spell in 5e. 

The description of the spell Heat Metal specifies “choosing a manufactured metal object.” 

Since Warforged is creatures, non-objects, they are unable to be attracted with Heat Metal.

For more clarification, the second part of the description identifies the object being worn or held. 

Warforged is a product made of metal, and it is not wearing or holding that metallic material. 

That is not to suggest that a metal object that is held by a Warforged can’t be targeted. It is completely feasible to attack an object that is worn or held by Warforged.

A Hot Tip

The descriptions of spells in 5e are very literal in the way they describe what happens and what doesn’t. 

If something isn’t explicitly mentioned, then it does not occur. 

This is further emphasized by the “specific rules overrules general” concept that is outlined in rulebooks too.

How Does Armor Come Off?

Most people don’t take off their armour, but here’s a quick rundown of how it’s done. Putting on or taking off a creature’s armour takes a certain amount of time, depending on what kind of armour it is.

The Player’s Handbook says that putting on and taking off Light armour takes 1 minute (10 combat rounds). Again, 10 rounds of 6-second combat take 1 minute to take off medium armour, and it takes 5 minutes to take off heavy armour (50 rounds of combat).

Since most metal pieces of armour are heavy armour, it will take a long time for a creature with heavy armour to take off its hot gear.

Heavy armour isn’t coming off in battle, even with help that cuts the time it takes in half. This makes the spell very useful, since heavy armour also makes a character’s AC go up a lot.

If you can get a tough character to focus on taking off their boiling hot armour, they won’t attack you and their AC will go down a bit as well.

One of the reasons Heat Metal is so useful in battle is because of this. Putting aside the constant damage, you can make your enemies weaker in battle, which means you can kill them faster and with less cost.

Also, if the creature decides to keep attacking even though it hurts, it will not only take 2d8 base damage every round, but it will also attack at a disadvantage every turn.

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This makes them even weaker and can make an orc warlord miniboss with a lot of armour sweat and boil so much that he can’t hit anything.

Can Wizards Learn Heat Metal?

This Heat Metal spell is only available to the Artificer, Bard, and Druid classes as a standard choice of spells. 

The Forge Cleric is also able to access the spell. 

The majority of spells in 5e are a part of that of the Wizard’s lists in some manner, however, Heat Metal is one of the few exceptions.

These classes which make Heat Metal available have lore that provides a basic description. 

Artificers work with and manipulate metal using an alchemical process that is infused with magic, which is why it is a good class spell for the class.

Druids are strongly opposed to nearly all metal that is manufactured which is why once again it is logical to use the spell as an elemental spell. 

The Bard can theoretically alter the properties of materials using the use of frequency so that they can create similar effects to the other two, though in a different manner.

Bottom Line

Heat Metal is a highly powerful spell that works in a variety of scenarios and is available only to specific classes as a way of achieving equilibrium for the game. 

Every class has its unique qualities and skills which make them distinctive which is another of them. 

Of course, there’s always the chance to alter the rules to suit what is most appropriate for your particular game. Always consult your DM regarding rules modifications.

Can Heat Metal Work on Magic Items?

Heat Metal, according to the spell’s description, can perform magic on objects. 

In the past, in the description, if there’s no spell in the spell which hinders its use the spell will work. 

There are specific rules regarding magical item resistance found in DMG on page 141.

The rules state that magical items must have resistance to any damages. 

This is geared toward destroying the item. But, it could also be used to prevent heat from the damage of metal since magical items are believed to be much more powerful than ordinary objects.

If you believe it’s the case that Heat Metal is too powerful in your game, one possible solution is to let the object lower the damage through the hit points of the object. 

This could be a modification of rules to help balance the spell, but would not necessarily damage anything.

Is it Heat Metal Concentration?

Heat Metal is a concentration spell that is based on the description of the spell. 

It lasts for one minute, as long as the concentration does not break during the duration. 

There is no saving to stop the damage of the spell, but instead to make sure that the object does not fall if the target can.

This sentence could be the most significant part of the description. 

A creature wearing armor made of metal is not able to remove it. 

This means they will be vulnerable to all damages and subsequent rounds of damage should the caster decides to take with subsequent damage.

A different rule could be to only allow the spell to be directed at a specific object, for instance, an armor piece. 

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If the spell is directed at the helmet alone, say the helmet can be taken off in a single round.

This is only an idea if you think the spell requires more balance in your game.

Final Words

It is said that the Heat Metal spell is one of the most powerful Druid spells that are available. 

It has a rich story and roleplay to help you use it. The spell itself can do an impressive amount of damage in a reasonable range. 

The ability to cast it on higher levels is an enormous advantage, as it allows it to prove effective at higher levels.

The only drawback is that it’s only casting on metal objects that have been fabricated. 

The spell is therefore ineffective against creatures that do not use armor.

FAQs

What About Natural Armor?

We might like to think that everyone protects themselves with metal, but not every monster or NPC does. Some people protect themselves with armour made of hide, stone, or wood, and this works just fine. If you try to cast heat metal on a target that doesn’t have any metal on it, the spell won’t work and you’ll have used up a spell slot.
This means that the spell can only be used on creatures that wear metal armour and creatures that wear armour. So you can’t use heat metal on a kobold wearing wooden armour or an enemy druid wearing stone armour. Even if their gear has some metal in it, it’s not enough to hurt them. The same is true for weapons that aren’t made of metal; they won’t be affected either.

Is Their Anyway To Defend Against Heat Metal?

If you are unfortunate enough to have heat metal happen to you, you really only have one thing to do. You need to figure out how to stop the enemy from focusing on you. If you hit them from a distance or with magic, it might break their concentration on the spell and save you from being burned.

So, try to stay still while your allies get closer. Some DMs also let powerful enough cold spells be used to cancel out the effects of heat metal. Powerful spells like Ice Storm, Chill Metal, and Protection from Fire could be used to cool down the character. However, these are homebrew solutions that need to be talked over with your DM. The spell can also be broken by casting a strong enough dispel magic spell, but your caster will need to be ready with the magic.

What Is Under The Umbrella Of Manufactured Metal?

If you’re not sure what “manufactured metal” means, it means all weapons and armour for the purposes of how the spell can be used. When the metal is taken out of its ore and made into something that can be used, this is called manufacturing. In that case, you can change the item by making the metal hot.

The umbrella also covers nails, horseshoes, posts, beams, keys, and tools. With this information, you might also be able to use the spell outside of battle.