Dungeons & Dragons: 8 Best Spells With A Range Of Touch

Dungeons & Dragons: 8 Best Spells With A Range Of Touch

Among the many spells available to players in Dungeons & Dragons, touch spells are often overlooked due to the restriction that their short range places on your character’s positioning. The greatest example of this is the common knowledge that Healing Word greatly outperforms Cure Wounds even though it heals for half as much hit points.

This is largely due to the fact that Healing Word has a range of 60 feet while Cure Wounds requires you to touch the target. Nonetheless, there are a number of spells with a range of touch that players ought to consider picking up owing to their utility or raw power.

9 Vampiric Touch

Herald of Hadar by Valera Lutfullina for MTG
Herald of Hadar by Valera Lutfullina

Vampiric touch is a 3rd level necromancy spell that’s often overlooked due to its relatively low damage for the spell level. The spell is a melee attack that deals 3d6 necrotic damage to a target and heals you for half the damage dealt.

However, it’s also a concentration spell that allows you to make the same attack again as an action on each of your turns. A clear criticism of this spell is that you can hurl a fireball that deals 8d6 fire to a whole room full of creatures for the same level spell slot which is a damage difference that’s difficult to ignore.

Even so, vampiric touch has its place in a full spellcaster build that is looking to tank. While it’s hard to imagine a Wizard build that makes use of this spell, both Clerics and Warlocks are capable of becoming quite tanky and the healing vampiric touch provides gives you some added wherewithal.

8 Booming Blade

Bladesingers from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything by Wizards of the Coast
Bladesingers from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything by Wizards of the Coast

This is a cantrip that just about every player interested in the sword and sorcery playstyle is familiar with. Booming blade involves a melee attack with the weapon you cast the cantrip on that then covers your target in thunderous energy.

If the creature willingly moves before the start of your next turn, it takes 1d8 thunder damage. This cantrip becomes better at higher levels as it deals 1d8 thunder damage initially once you reach 5th level as well as 2d8 additional thunder if the target willingly moves.

Like other cantrips, this damage scales by an additional damage dice at levels 11 and 17.

Unfortunately, the fact that this cantrip requires your target to willingly move to deal damage makes it a little difficult to consistently use. That being said, abilities like the mobile feat and the swashbuckler’s fancy footwork allow for builds where you can hit a target with this and then move away: encouraging the enemy to come after you and take damage.

7 Inflict Wounds

Hand of Vecna by Irina Nordsol a cultist fusing Vecan's hand to their own arm with black magic
Hand of Vecna by Irina Nordsol

This 1st level necromancy spell is notable for doling out more damage than any other 1st level spell in the game. Inflict Wounds deals 3d10 necrotic damage to a creature you touch on a successful melee spell attack.

You can also upcast the spell to deal an additional 1d10 necrotic damage for each increased level of the spell. Yea, that’s going to leave a mark.

6 Green-Flame Blade

prince faces off against spirit scorpions
Gold for Fools and Princes via Wizards of the Coast 

Like the booming blade, the green-flame blade is another melee cantrip option for spellcasters who enjoy getting up close and personal. While the damage on this cantrip is more reliable, it also requires your target to have another enemy within 5 feet of them.

As part of casting this cantrip, you make an attack with a melee weapon in your hand. Green fire envelops the weapon and the flames spread to a creature within 5 feet of your target, dealing damage to them equal to your spellcasting ability modifier.

This cantrip’s damage also increases at higher levels, dealing 1d8 fire to your primary target and 1d8 + spellcasting ability modifier fire to a nearby target at the 5th level. As with other cantrips, this damage scales by an additional damage dice at levels 11 and 17.

5 Lesser Restoration

A Dawnbringer cleric heals an ally with holy magic.
Dawnbringer Cleric by Lie Setiawan

Debilitating conditions and status effects are one of the most frustrating things to deal with as a player character. Thankfully, the 2nd level abjuration spell lesser restoration can cure many of these ailments.

As an action, lesser restoration cures a disease or ends a condition including blinded, deafened, paralyzed, or poisoned afflicting the target. These are all very common conditions for enemies to inflict on characters, and there are few better ways to earn the respect and trust of your party members than ending one of these annoying conditions.

4 Shocking Grasp

mage shocks zombies with lightning on roof
D&D – Curse of Strahd DM Screen by Sidharth Chaturvedi 

Shocking grasp is yet another cantrip that makes it surprisingly high on this list. One of the best ways to threaten spellcasters is by putting an enemy in melee with them.

However, a spellcaster equipped with this cantrip can easily escape a single enemy.

Shocking grasp is a melee spell attack that deals 1d8 lightning damage and prevents the target from taking reactions until their next turn. In other words, this disallows the target from making an opportunity attack.

Shocking grasp also has advantage if the target happens to be wearing metal and many enemies interested in getting in melee are quite fond of metal armor.

3 Greater Restoration

party of adventurers in angelic wings stand against sea serpent
Call of the Netherdeep by Wizards of the Coast

The big brother of lesser restoration, greater restoration is a 5th-level abjuration spell that will likely remove any harmful condition that lesser restoration cannot solve. This spell does consume diamond dust worth 100gp when cast though, so make sure to stock up on the component.

Specifically, greater restoration removes one curse afflicting the target including attunement to a curse magic item, any reduction of an ability score, one effect reducing the target’s hit point maximum, or the charmed and petrified conditions. Greater restoration is also one of the few ways to remove a level of exhaustion which can be an absolute lifesaver for an ally whose suffered multiple levels of it.

2 Bestow Curse

Dungeons & Dragons - Darkling Elder
Darkling Elder by Brian Valeza

This 3rd level necromancy spell requires concentration, however, the curse it inflicts is capable of removing an enemy from combat entirely. Needless to say, that’s well worth your concentration.

When you cast bestow curse, you choose the curse’s effects from one of the following: disadvantage on ability checks and saving throws for a given ability score, disadvantage on attacks against you, your attacks and spells that damage the target deal an additional 1d8 necrotic damage, or the target makes a Wisdom save at the beginning of its turns and if it fails this save, it wastes its action doing nothing.

Obviously, the best option by far here is the repeated Wisdom save. However, you can also use bestow curse to curse the target with an alternative effect that’s no stronger than any of the effects described above.

Any alternative effect is subject to dungeon master approval. It’s also worth noting that you can upcast this spell to make the curse last a longer duration and remove its concentration requirement.

1 Contagion

Dungeons & Dragons: In You Find a Cursed Idol by Sidharth Chaturvedi, adventurers argue in front of cursed statue
You Find a Cursed Idol by Sidharth Chaturvedi 

Finally, our award for best touch spell in the game goes to the 5th-level necromancy magic Contagion. This melee spell attack makes the target suffer the poisoned condition with no save.

While poisoned from Contagion, the target makes a Constitution save at the end of its turn. If it fails three saves before it succeeds on three saves, the effects of the poison worsen as it mutates into a disease.

You choose the disease that the contagion becomes. Options are as follows in the table below.

Blinding Sickness

  • Disadvantage on Wisdom ability checks and saves and inflicts the blinded condition

Filth Fever

  • Disadvantage on all rolls related to Strength (including attack rolls)

Flesh rot

  • Disadvantage on Charisma checks and vulnerability to all damage

Mindfire

  • Disadvantage on Intelligence checks and saving throws, and the creature suffers the effects of the confusion spell

Seizure

  • Disadvantage on all rolls related to Dexterity (including attack rolls)

Slimy Doom

  • Disadvantage on Constitution checks and saving throws. Whenever the target takes damage, it becomes stunned until the end of its next turn

While slimy doom is definitely the best of the options, there’s an argument for using the other diseases depending on your target. Contagion lasts for 7 days.

Even if your enemy escapes the combat, they’ll be severely weakened if you manage to track them down.

NEXT: Dungeons & Dragons: The Best Potions

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