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DnD Shocking Grasp 5e spell guide

Want to learn how to cast the DnD Shocking Grasp 5e cantrip? You'll be shocked how easy it is with this TTRPG rules guide, courtesy of WotC

DnD Shocking Grasp 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of an elf casting magic from a book

The DnD Shocking Grasp cantrip seems like it might be ideal for pranksters – static electricity and novelty buzzers are all the rage for would-be comedians in real life. This sizzling spell is no laughing matter, though – one touch is enough to take out a chunk of health points (and singe off your eyebrows). Shocking Grasp 5e also has deceptively simple rules. That’s why we’re here to help with a clear-as-crystal guide to casting the cantrip.

Before this 5e spells guide gets going, here are a few other TTRPG guides that might be helpful for anyone crafting a character right now. We can help you find the perfect DnD races and DnD classes, or we can suggest a DnD character creator that does the hard work for you. We’ll even help you pick out the right DnD character sheets.

Here’s your complete guide to the DnD Shocking Grasp 5e cantrip:

DnD Shocking Grasp 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a group of adventurers fighting goblins

How to cast Shocking Grasp 5e

Here are the key features for Shocking Grasp:

Level Cantrip
Casting time One action
Duration Instantaneous
Range / Area Touch
Attack / Save Melee
School Evocation

All you need to cast the cantrip is verbal and somatic components. This means, once you’ve got your magic words and those arms waving, you’re good to go.

Shocking Grasp then causes lightning to shoot from your hand, and you can use it to electrocute a creature via touch. You’ll need to succeed on a melee spell attack to hit your intended target (though you get advantage if they’re wearing metal DnD armor). A successful hit deals 1d8 lightning damage and stops your victim taking reactions until the start of its next turn.

DnD Shocking Grasp 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a gnome casting lightning magic on a beast

Who can cast Shocking Grasp 5e

This cantrip is found in the spell list for three DnD classes – the Sorcerer 5e, the Wizard 5e, and the Artificer 5e. It goes without saying that the Bard 5e can also get in on the action with their Magical Secrets trait, but they’ll need far more DnD level ups to learn the same cantrip as their peers.

Other classes can also pick up the Shocking Grasp cantrip if they choose specific subclasses. An Eldritch Knight Fighter 5e and Arcane Trickster Rogue 5e can do the learn Wizard cantrips as early as third level, and an Arcana Domain Cleric 5e can learn the cantrip even earlier at first level. That’s more shocks for everyone!

A few subraces from the DnD Elf race also let you choose a cantrip to learn. This includes the Aereni Wood Elf, the High Elf, and the Valenar High Elf.

DnD Shocking Grasp 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a fighter watching two dragons fighting

DnD Shocking Grasp tips

One of the nice things about this cantrip is that it scales as you level; at levels five, 11, and 17 you can deal an extra 1d8 damage. That’s going from 1d8 to 4d8 by the end – not too shabby.

This is a spell that requires you to get up close and personal with your enemies, which is usually bad news for the famously squishy spellcasting classes. Fortunately, there are plenty of subclasses that lend themselves to melee-caster DnD character builds. A Bladesinger Wizard, Eldritch Knight Fighter, or Battle Smith Artificer are all solid choices here.

While you might be itching to find lots of creative uses for this cantrip, it’s important to remember the core rules for the spell. Mainly, the shock must be transferred via touch. (A flexible DM might let you find less conventional ways to ‘touch’ a person – such as through a conductive object – while a more strict DM may even stop you from using the spell if something like gloves gets in the way – judge what you can bend based on the campaign you’re in.)

Additionally, the spell specifies that you must be touching a creature, so this isn’t necessarily the best way to create electrified pools of water. That novelty buzzer idea is also possibly a no-go without some creative rulings.