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DnD playtest turns B-tier spell into a damage-dealing monster

If you enjoy the power of rolling lots of DnD dice at once, check out what Dungeons and Dragons has done to this spell in playtesting.

DnD playtest Conjure Minor Elemental - Wizards of the Coast art of an elf casting a spell

If the new DnD playtest is anything to go by, Dungeons and Dragons bosses should be very afraid of the spell Conjure Minor Elementals. Wizards of the Coast released a playtest document on November 27 that completely rewrites the spell – and gives it broken levels of damage output.

The original version of the fourth-level 5e spell allowed you to summon different numbers of elementals (depending on what challenge rating you wanted them to be). These elementals had their own group Initiative number, and they would obey verbal commands from the DnD Druid or DnD Wizard that summoned them. Casting the spell at higher levels allowed you to summon twice as many or three times as many elementals.

The new version of the spell can be cast by the same DnD classes, and it’s still a level four spell that requires concentration. But other than that, a lot has changed.

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Conjure Minor Elementals is now cast in a 15-foot radius, with you at the center. For up to ten minutes, you’ve got a small army of elemental spirits flying around you.

The main benefit to this? Any attacks you make against a creature within 15 feet now deal an additional 2d8 damage – either Bludgeoning, Cold, Fire, or Lightning. Plus, the ground in this 15-foot radius is now Difficult Terrain for enemies.

As it stands, this is pretty good – Wizards of the Coast has basically made a new version of Spirit Shroud with different damage types to choose from. However, it’s when you upcast Conjure Minor Elementals that things start to get ridiculous.

For every spell slot above level four that you use to cast Conjure Minor Elementals, the spell’s Difficult Terrain increases by five feet – and you deal another 2d8 extra damage. That means you’re dealing 4d8 extra damage at level five, 6d8 at level six, 8d8 at level seven, and so on.

DnD playtest Conjure Minor Elementals - Wizards of the Coast art of a gnome using lightnign magic on a monster

Given that an upscaled version of Spirit Shroud only grants an extra 1d8 for every two levels above third used, this is a significant power boost. We’ll be keen to see whether this survives the playtesting feedback period.

Several other ‘conjure’ spells have been given a similar makeover. According to Wizards, this is “to differentiate them from the summoning spells from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, which will appear in the 2024 Player’s Handbook”. Each of these deals damage in a similar way and has just-as-beefy damage output, but Conjure Minor Elemental is perhaps the best example of the humongous damage scaling proposed.

For more on the latest playtest, here are the DnD Monk playtest changes that are shaking things up. You can also check out Wizards of the Coast’s design tweaks in the original playtest document. Or, for more on DnD character builds, check out our guide to DnD races.