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DnD Mage Hand 5e spell guide

Wizards of the Coast tabletop RPG D&D offers plenty of cantrips to keep roleplay creative, and DnD Mage Hand 5e is a great spell to start with

DnD Mage Hand 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a spellcaster in blue robes and golden armour

DnD players who want to lend their party a hand can be as literal as they like thanks to the Mage Hand 5e spell. Cast this cantrip, and you’ll suddenly have a big, ghostly hand floating beside you. And whether you want to be clever or chaotic, the Mage Hand can offer several creative roleplaying options.

Here’s everything you need to know about the DnD Mage Hand 5e spell:

DnD Mage Hand 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a spellcaster with arm raised and head bowed

Mage Hand 5e features

Level Cantrip
Casting time One action
Duration One minute
Range / Area 30ft
Attack / Save None
School Conjuration

DnD Mage Hand 5e - Wizards of the Coast alt cover art for Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

How to cast Mage Hand 5e

Mage Hand requires verbal and somatic components to cast. This basically means you’ll need to speak (verbal) and gesture (somatic) in an appropriate way while casting the spell. Spend an action doing this, and a ghostly floating hand will appear at any point you like within the spell’s range.

Your new floaty appendage can do a few things to help your character out. You can use it to handle or use an object – examples of this might include opening doors or bringing you items.

There are, however, some restrictions on Mage Hand. It can’t attack, use magic items, or carry things that weigh more than ten pounds. It also can’t go further than 30 feet away from you; if this happens, the hand dissipates, and you’ll have to cast the cantrip again. 

DnD Mage Hand 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of Wizard Tasha casting from a spellbook

Who can cast Mage Hand 5e

As this is a cantrip, plenty of classes can add Mage Hand to their list of skills right out the gate. This includes the Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard, and Artificer classes.

A few additional classes can also learn Mage Hand by picking specific subclasses. The Blood Hunter can learn two Warlock cantrips at third level if they join the Order of the Profane Soul, and both the Arcane Trickster Rogue and Eldritch Knight Fighter can learn Mage Hand at third level.

DnD Mage Hand 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a Rogue

In fact, the Arcane Trickster Rogue has to learn Mage Hand at this level, plus two other Wizard cantrips of their choice. This is pretty handy, as Arcane Trickster Rogues get several Mage-Hand-related perks from level three.

Firstly, these Rogues can use a bonus action to control the hand rather than a regular action. They can make also their handy pal invisible, and there are three additional actions the hand can do:

  • Stash an object it’s holding in a container worn or carried by another creature
  • Fetch an object from a container worn or carried by another creature
  • Pick locks and disarm traps on its caster’s behalf

DnD Mage Hand 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a party of adventurers

This is crime Mage Hand. It can do these things without detection if you succeed on a Slight of Hand check against a character’s Perception.

Arcane Trickster Rogues get even more Mage Hand options at level 13. At this point, they can use the cantrip to distract targets – simply target a creature within five feet as a bonus action, and you’ll get advantage on attack rolls against them until the end of your turn. 

DnD Mage Hand 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a halfling spellcaster

Pros and cons of Mage Hand 5e

As a cantrip with no material component or spell slot requirements, Mage Hand is as cheap and cheerful as spells come. There’s also an enormous amount of ways to get creative with Mage Hand, so there’s no reason not to cast it whenever you want.

Want to convince some wrong’uns they’re in a haunted house with a few slamming doors and floating vases? Mage Hand. Want to pilfer a treasury key from a sleeping guard? Mage Hand. Want to grab an important quest item without crossing a perilous bridge to get it? You guessed it – whip out the Mage Hand.

As with many of the cantrips that encourage creative roleplaying (looking at you, Minor Illusion 5e and Prestidigitation 5e), players can sometimes slip up and forget Mage Hand’s limits. Any action that’ll take more than a minute or 30ft to perform is automatically off the table. You can’t pinch an item from a hostile NPC and make a clean escape if they pursue the floating thief. Sure, you could dangle the stolen item in the air to taunt them for a while, but that object will come crashing down once the cantrip’s time limit is up.

There are plenty of situations where the rules-as-written won’t give a clear answer on what your Mage Hand can do. For example, it’s generally assumed Mage Hand is corporeal and can’t travel through walls, but the use of the word “spectral” in the description often sparks debate. In these situations, it’s always the DM that gets the final say on whether you can pull off your Mage Hand hijinks.