The Complete Guide to Armor of Agathys in D&D 5e

Armor of Agathys is a 1st-level spell in the school of abjuration in D&D 5e that provides a temporary boost to a character’s defenses by creating a magical layer of ice around them.

This spell can be especially useful for close-combat fighters who may need an extra layer of protection in battle. It was first introduced in the Player’s Handbook for D&D 5e and has since become a popular choice for players looking to beef up their defenses in combat.

The spell has a unique flavor, as the ice armor it creates is not only a defensive measure but also acts as a weapon by causing damage to attackers. Overall, Armor of Agathys is a versatile and powerful spell that can greatly enhance a player’s survivability in combat.

Physical Description of Armor of Agathys

The armor of Agathys is a defensive spell that creates a layer of icy armor around the caster’s body. The armor appears as a thick, transparent layer of ice that covers the caster’s skin, clothing, and equipment.

It is often accompanied by a visible mist that emanates from the caster’s body, indicating the presence of the spell. The thickness and opacity of the ice vary depending on the strength of the spell and the caster’s level of mastery.

At higher levels, the ice may be thicker and more opaque, giving the caster a more menacing appearance. Overall, the physical appearance of the Armor of Agathys is intimidating and serves as a warning to potential attackers.

History of Armor of Agathys

Armor of Agathys is a spell that originates from the world of D&D 5e. It was first introduced in the 4th edition of the game and has since been included in the 5th edition Player’s Handbook.

The spell is named after Agathys, the goddess of winter, and is typically associated with ice and cold magic. Over time, the spell has become a popular choice for players who want to protect themselves in battle while also dealing damage to their enemies.

Its unique mechanics and versatility have made it a staple of many characters builds, and it continues to be a favorite among D&D players.

How the Armor of Agathays Affects the Caster’s Body

When the caster of Armor of Agathys casts the spell, a magical force surrounds their body and creates a layer of shimmering, icy armor.

This armor is not just a visual effect but also has a physical presence that can be felt by the caster. The armor can cause a chilling sensation as if the caster’s body temperature has dropped.

How the Armor of Agathays Affects the Caster’s Body

Additionally, the spell imbues the caster’s body with the power of cold, making them resistant to cold damage and providing them with a cold aura that can damage attackers.

The caster may feel a surge of power and strength as the spell takes effect, giving them a sense of invincibility while the armor is active.

However, this sense of power and protection comes at a price, as the spell can also cause the caster to become slower and less agile due to the weight and bulk of the icy armor.

Mechanics of Armor of Agathys

Armor of Agathys is a spell in D&D 5e that allows the caster to summon an icy shield that damages any creature that attacks them in melee combat.

Spell level, casting time, range, and components

  • Armor of Agathys is a 1st-level spell in the school of Abjuration.
  • It has a casting time of 1 action and a range of Self.
  • The spell requires verbal and somatic components to cast but does not require any material components.

Duration and concentration

  • The spell’s duration is 1 hour, meaning that the caster remains protected by the armor for the duration.
  • Armor of Agathys does not require concentration to maintain, allowing the caster to focus on other spells or actions without fear of breaking the spell’s effects.

Damage and resistance

  • Upon casting Armor of Agathys, the caster is surrounded by spectral frost that provides them with a protective layer of ice armor.
  • The caster gains temporary hit points equal to 5 + the spell’s level (up to a maximum of 25 at the 5th level or higher).
  • Any creature that hits the caster with a melee attack while the spell is active takes cold damage equal to the amount of temporary hit points the caster has to remain.
  • The damage dealt is not reduced by the attacker’s resistance or immunity to cold damage.

How the Armor of Agathays Affects Incoming Damage

When a creature hits the caster while the Armor of Agathys spell is active, the spell causes frigid energy to erupt from the caster’s body and deal cold damage to the attacker.

The amount of damage dealt is equal to the level of the spell slot used to cast Armor of Agathys, plus the caster’s spellcasting ability modifier (if any).

How the Armor of Agathays Affects Incoming Damage

This effect only occurs once per casting of the spell, regardless of how many times the caster is hit. The cold damage is in addition to any damage the caster takes from the attacker’s attack.

Additionally, the Armor of Agathys spell causes the caster to gain temporary hit points, which can absorb some of the damage the caster takes from attacks.

The number of temporary hit points gained is equal to the level of the spell slot used to cast Armor of Agathys, plus 5. These temporary hit points last for the duration of the spell or until they are depleted.

Synergy with Other Spells

The armor of Agathys in D&D 5e can work well in combination with other defensive spells and abilities, such as Shield or Stoneskin.

Additionally, using it with a spell that increases the caster’s maximum hit points, such as False Life or Aid, can make the temporary hit points granted by Armor of Agathys more effective.

It can also work well with abilities that grant resistance or immunity to certain types of damage, such as a Tiefling’s Hellish Resistance trait or a Barbarian’s Rage ability.

Use of Armor of Agathys

  1. As a defensive buff before engaging in combat
  2. As a deterrent against melee attackers, as they will take damage upon striking the caster
  3. In conjunction with other defensive spells or abilities to create a powerful defensive strategy
  4. To bolster the health of the caster, as the temporary hit points granted by the spell can provide a significant buffer against damage
  5. As a means of punishing enemies who rely on melee attacks, as they will take damage even if they do not hit the caster.

Recommended Classes

There are some recommended classes for using Armor of Agathys in D&D 5e below:


Hexblade Warlock: Armor of Agathys can synergize with the Hexblade’s Curse and Armor of Shadows invocations for extra damage resistance and temporary hit points.

Fiend Warlock: The Fiend’s Dark One’s Blessing ability can add temporary hit points when dealing damage, which can be further boosted with Armor of Agathys.


Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer: The sorcerer’s Draconic Resilience feature grants additional hit points and AC, which can be further supplemented with Armor of Agathys.

Divine Soul Sorcerer: The sorcerer’s access to healing spells can help offset the self-damage from Armor of Agathys.


Oath of Redemption Paladin: The Paladin’s Resistance to All feature can stack with the Armor of Agathys for even more damage resistance.

Oath of the Ancients Paladin: The paladin’s Aura of Warding feature can also stack with Armor of Agathys for additional resistance to spell damage.

Other Builds

Abjuration Wizard: The wizard’s Arcane Ward can protect the caster from incoming damage and be bolstered with the Armor of Agathys.

Eldritch Knight Fighter: The fighter’s access to spells can include Armor of Agathys, providing a defensive option in addition to their martial abilities.

Hexblade/Valor Bard: The bard’s inspiration dice can add extra damage to Armor of Agathys, while the Hexblade subclass provides additional defensive options.

Optimize the Armor of Agathys

Armor of Agathys is a powerful spell that can provide significant benefits to certain classes and builds. Here are some tips to optimize its use:

  1. Increase the spell level: By casting Armor of Agathys at a higher level, you can increase both the temporary hit points and the damage dealt to attackers.
  2. Combine with other spells: Combining Armor of Agathys with other spells, such as Shield or Mirror Image, can make you even more difficult to hit and increase your survivability.
  3. Use it strategically: Armor of Agathys is best used in situations where you know you will be taking damage, such as when facing a swarm of weaker enemies or a single powerful foe. Using it too early in a fight can waste its potential.
  4. Choose the right class and build: Certain classes and builds, such as Warlocks with the Fiend patron or Sorcerers with Draconic Bloodline, can benefit greatly from Armor of Agathys due to their innate abilities or spellcasting features.
  5. Enhance with feats and items: Feats like War Caster or Resilient (Constitution) can help you maintain concentration on Armor of Agathys, while items like the Ring of Protection or Bracers of Defense can increase your overall defenses.

By optimizing the use of the Armor of Agathys, you can turn it into a powerful tool to help you survive and dominate in combat.

Popular Homebrew Versions

Popular Homebrew Versions

There are numerous homebrew versions of Armor of Agathys in D&D 5e that have been created by players and Dungeon Masters. Some of the popular ones include:

Elemental Armor of Agathys: This version of the spell allows the caster to choose an elemental damage type (fire, cold, acid, etc.) instead of just cold damage, and grants resistance to that damage type in addition to the temporary hit points provided by the spell.

Greater Armor of Agathys: This version of the spell increases the temporary hit points and damage dealt when an attacker hits the caster. The spell level is also increased accordingly.

Armor of Agathys Swarm: This version of the spell creates a swarm of small creatures (such as insects or rats) that surround the caster and deal cold damage to any attacker that hits them. The swarm disperses after the spell’s duration ends.

Shadow Armor of Agathys: This version of the spell grants the caster resistance to necrotic damage and causes any attacker that hits them to also take necrotic damage.

Eldritch Armor of Agathys 5e: This version of the spell is only available to warlocks and is based on their patron. It can grant additional effects such as extra temporary hit points, increased damage, or additional resistance.

Roleplaying Armor of Agathys

When using Armor of Agathys in-game, roleplaying can add depth to the experience. Here are some tips for roleplaying the use of Armor of Agathys in different scenarios:

  1. In combat: The caster can use the Armor of Agathys to intimidate their enemies. The cold aura surrounding the caster can give off an impression of an unstoppable force, which can be useful to create fear and panic among enemies.
  2. In social situations: The caster can use the armor to add an extra layer of protection to their character. For example, if the character is attending a royal ball, they can cast Armor of Agathys to ensure their safety in case of any attacks or confrontations.
  3. In exploration: The caster can use the Armor of Agathys to keep warm in colder climates. The armor’s cold aura can provide warmth to the caster and even potentially help them survive in harsh conditions.
  4. In roleplaying interactions: The use of the Armor of Agathys can be a significant aspect of a character’s personality or backstory. For example, a character who has lost a loved one to the cold might use this spell to cope with their grief or seek revenge.


The Armor of Agathys is a level 1 spell in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition that grants the caster temporary hit points and causes cold damage to attackers who strike the caster in melee.

This spell can synergize well with other spells and abilities and is especially effective for front-line fighters. There are various homebrew versions of this spell, and it has roots in Dungeons and Dragons lore.

Using the spell can have interesting implications for character development and storytelling in the game. Roleplaying advice includes playing up the icy appearance and effects of the spell and using it strategically in combat.

Give a Comment