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DnD schools of magic 5e

From Abjuration to Transmutation, here’s the Dungeons and Dragons schools of magic explained, with examples of excellent spells from each.

DnD schools of magic 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of two students practicing magic

The eight DnD schools of magic are used to categorize Dungeons and Dragons’ many, many spells. This guide will explain the key difference between each, with examples of the best spells from each school.

While a Wizard may choose to specialize in a particular Dungeons and Dragons school of magic, most other DnD classes will encounter them less frequently. Still, it helps to know what each means – particularly if you plan to cast DnD spells staple, Detect Magic. This tells you what school of magic a nearby spell belongs to, and it’s left up to you to deduce what that might mean for your party. Knowing your spell schools could help you avoid a deadly trap or uncover a key clue.

There are eight DnD schools of magic:

  • Abjuration
  • Conjuration
  • Divination
  • Enchantment
  • Evocation
  • Illusion
  • Necromancy
  • Transmutation

DnD schools of magic 5e - Wizards of the Coast art an elf holding a monster in a force field

Abjuration 5e

Spellcasters who study Abjuration 5e are interested in protection. They may negate harmful effects with spells like Counterspell 5e and Dispel Magic 5e, or they may grant invulnerability through a magical Shield 5e. Abjurers often work double time as exorcists, banishing evil and removing curses.

Conjuration 5e

Conjuration 5e magic is all about summoning something that wasn’t there before. This may involve calling an ally, such as through Mage Hand 5e or Find Familiar 5e. Perhaps you call the elements to rain hellfire on your enemies, or you’ve gotten the hang of teleportation. You can make anything from insects to Infernal beings appear.

DnD schools of magic 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a human casting mage hand

Divination 5e

Adventurers who want to know everything should consider the Divination 5e school of magic. Spells like Comprehend Languages and Detect Magic can help you better understand the world around you, while Arcane Eye and Scrying allow you to divine (get it?) information from afar. Want to see the future or spy on a foe? That’s divination, baby.

Enchantment 5e

The Enchantment 5e school of magic is all about influence. A powerful enchanter has immense power over other creatures, able to Command them to act directly, force them to tell the truth, or sweet talk them with spells like Charm Person. It’s not all playing nice, though; enchantment magic can also involve placing curses and driving victims to madness.

DnD schools of magic 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a Tiefling casting a spell with a staff

Evocation 5e

Evocation 5e might be the most aggro school of magic. Including damage-dealing darlings like Eldritch Blast 5e and Fireball 5e, this is the spell list to seek if you want to build an offensive spellcaster. Many of its spells focus on mastering magical energy. While this is mostly in service of creating as much destruction as possible, the school also throws a few healing spells in there, too. You might need to patch some of the party up after all that artillery, after all.

Illusion 5e

This is the school of magic dedicated to fooling the senses and making sure things are never what they seem. While this might seem like it’s only good for wowing children, the Illusion 5e school includes plenty of handy spells. Disguise Self and Invisibility 5e are perfect for stealth situations, and Fear lets you scare someone stiff by bringing their worst nightmares to life. This is the realm of dreams, hallucinations, and deception. It has practical and chaotic purposes.

DnD schools of magic 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a lich

Necromancy 5e

The Necromancy 5e school of magic is the only one that comes with an up-front warning. It’s generally good practice to check with your DM before you pursue a necromancy build. In many DnD settings, the practice is heavily frowned upon, and it could limit your roleplaying opportunities. It’s also the school that lets you create zombies, which can mean lots of NPCs on the battlefield when optimised.

When they aren’t creating armies of the undead, necromancers are causing fear, dealing curses, and sucking the life force from foes. Oh, and they do plenty of necrotic damage.

Transmutation 5e

Transmutation 5e spellcasters typically focus on changing the world around them, and potent students of this school can even shape reality itself. The school has a pretty versatile spell list, allowing you to do everything from send a Message 5e to take to the skies and Fly 5e. There are also the more obvious spells that allow you to transform materials; think Stone Shape, Control Water, and Flesh to Stone. Telekinesis and Polymorph are totally on the table here.

DnD schools of magic symbols

DnD schools of magic symbols

In the current DnD books, there are no official DnD schools of magic symbols. However, if you’re a D&DBeyond user, you’ll have seen the symbols above appear next to certain spell. While they’re not in the physical sourcebooks, these seem to be Wizards of the Coast’s way of symbolizing each school.

These symbols appear to have been used in earlier editions of Dungeons and Dragons. For example, you can see them in the revised AD&D second edition Player’s Handbook, as well as in the third edition Player’s Handbook.

DnD schools of magic colors

You’ll also notice that, on D&DBeyond, every school of magic has its own color:

  • Abjuration – Blue
  • Conjuration – Gold
  • Divination – Silver
  • Enchantment – Pink
  • Evocation – Red
  • Illusion – Purple
  • Necromancy – Green
  • Transmutation – Bronze

The rules for Detect Magic state that “you can use your action to see a faint aura around any visible creature or object in the area that bears magic”. We assume that the aura appears in one of these colors, and this helps your character to determine the school of magic that they’re facing.

For more rules reminders, here’s everything you need to know about DnD races. We can also walk you through the entire DnD character creator process to get you ready for your next game.