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DnD Chill Touch 5e spell guide

Wizards of the Coast tabletop RPG D&D offers fledgling necromancers the DnD Chill Touch 5e spell, which doles out damage with a spectral skeleton hand

DnD Chill Touch 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a zombie

The DnD Chill Touch 5e spell can turn your enemy’s life into a waking nightmare. Picture your typical horror movie: a helpless victim is stalked by something supernatural. Their spine starts to tingle and the hairs raise on the back of their neck as a ghostly hand creeps along their shoulder, signalling things are about to go horribly, horribly wrong.

This is exactly what the DnD Chill Touch 5e spell looks like, and it comes with the added bonus of necrotic damage. If you’re looking for a flavour-filled way to deal easy damage in combat, this is the cantrip that can give you spooky, scary, and skeletons. Below budding necromancers will find everything they need to know about Chill Touch..

Here’s a complete recap of the DnD Chill Touch 5e spell:

DnD Chill Touch 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a Lich

Chill Touch 5e features

Level Cantrip
Casting time One action
Duration One round
Range / Area 120ft
Attack / Save Ranged
School Necromancy

DnD Chill Touch 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a person casting Mage Hand

How to cast Chill Touch 5e

Chill Touch requires verbal and somatic components, so get those wizardy words and magic gestures ready. Once you’ve provided these, the cantrip creates a spectral skeleton hand in the space of a creature within range. You’ll need to make a ranged spell attack against your target.

If your attack is successful, the creature is chilled by necromantic magic. Perhaps they’ve seen the moment of their own death, or perhaps they felt someone walk over their grave. However you want to roleplay it, Chill Touch deals 1d8 necrotic damage. The creature also can’t regain hit points until the start of your next turn, as the spooky hand has clung to it, refusing to let go of its victim. 

DnD Chill Touch 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of Tasha the witch

Who can cast Chill Touch 5e

Chill Touch can be found in the Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard spell lists. As this is a cantrip, these classes can pick up Chill Touch immediately.

Any subclasses that can access these spell lists will also have a chance to cast Chill Touch. The Eldritch Knight Fighter and Arcane Trickster Rogue can learn Wizard cantrips from third level. The unofficial Blood Hunter class can also learn Chill Touch at level three if they’re part of the Order of the Profane Soul, as this subclass has access to the Warlock spell list.

It’s also worth mentioning the Bard – this class can get hold of pretty much any spell list it likes. However, it has to wait until much later than everyone else to learn Chill Touch. Regular Bards can learn the cantrip at level ten thanks to the Magical Secrets class trait, and College of Lore Bards can learn it at level six. 

DnD Chill Touch 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a spellcaster raising a hand

Chill Touch 5e tips

This is a necromancy spell, so if you’ve chosen Chill Touch, chances are your character is all about the undead. We have good news and bad news for you budding reanimators. The good news is that Chill Touch works great against the undead – as well as its usual effects, undead creatures also gain disadvantage on attack rolls against you until the end of your next turn when affected by Chill Touch.

The ‘bad’ news is that necromancy can be a bit of a touchy subject in some D&D games. Traditionally, messing about with cadavers and creating zombies is very frowned upon in the Forgotten Realms (we can’t imagine why). Depending on how your DM wants to handle necromancy in their chosen setting, you may have to roleplay some negative consequences for using 5e spells like Chill Touch in front of witnesses.

Whether you see necromancy as an annoying taboo or a fun roleplaying opportunity, there are some other solid pluses for this cantrip. Namely, it’s a scaleable spell, so it’s going to get even more powerful as you level up. The spell gets an extra d8 of damage at fifth, 11th, and 17th level, so you’ll be rolling 4d8 by the end.