Spell of the Week – Bane

Bringing your foes low through massive damage or mind-warping illusions is always enjoyable, but few things are as satisfying as the countless petty annoyances that come with a well-applied Bane.

The polar opposite of Bless, this spell causes up to three creatures to make a Charisma saving throw or suffer a 1d4 penalty to all their attacks and saves for the next minute. It’s not the most incredibly powerful ability out there, but with a little bit of luck it can turn the tide of battles and – more importantly – drive enemies utterly wild with rage as their attacks miss by the narrowest of margins.

The two biggest advantages Bane has going for it are that it only requires a first-level slot, and that it targets Charisma. This second part means that it’s incredibly easy to land on beasts, constructs and most non-humanoid monsters. Once you get a few levels under your belt, mindless creatures like the Gelatinous Cube will find it virtually impossible to resist this highly irritating bit of magic.

The only serious downside is that the spell requires concentration, which is a valuable resource that can often be spent on something more productive than annoying a handful of enemies. For example, Hex can effectively irritate one foe while also providing a good boost to damage output.

Beyond that, Bane really is an excellent spell. It’s incredibly slot-efficient and drops a pair of extremely effective debuffs onto a small group of foes. Just beware of the fact that if you begin to rely on it, your DM may also come to realise its effectiveness and let you know what an irritating ability it becomes when you’re the target rather than the caster.

Rating: A

It’s not a particularly flashy ability, but over the course of a battle it can make your enemies truly despise you, and that’s always a good thing.


Level: First

School: Enchantment

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 30 feet

Components: V, S, M (a drop of blood)

Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Up to three creatures of your choice that you can see within range must make Charisma saving throws. Whenever a target that fails this saving throw makes an attack roll or a saving throw before the spell ends, the target must roll a D4 and subtract the number rolled from the attack roll or saving throw.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, you can target one additional creature for each slot level above 1st.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Karl says:

    “Beyond [Concentration], Bane really is an excellent spell.”

    I really don’t understand your grade here. The spell requires Concentration. You will almost never spend Concentration on this spell. A rating of C- would be appropriate: yet another spell that can’t compete for your sole Concentration slot.

    Grading spells as if they did not suffer crippling drawbacks seems pointless.


  2. wintercoast says:

    Bane is great for low level Bards. Yes, Concentration is a valuable resource, but most Bard spells at 1st level don’t use it. It’s a solid choice against Hideous Laughter, Faerie Fire, and Heroism, and a much better choice than True Strike, Friends, Dancing Lights, and Silent Image.

    Detect Magic also uses your concentration, but Bane is generally a combat spell, while Detect Magic is rarely used during combat encounters, so the two don’t conflict with each other.


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