Toll the Dead is one of the spells that is widely used by spellcasters in D&D 5e. This powerful necromancy spell targets a single creature and inflicts significant damage, making it a popular choice for both offensive and defensive purposes.
Spellcasting is a vital aspect of D&D gameplay, allowing players to use magic to overcome obstacles and defeat enemies.
Spellcasters in D&D must carefully choose which spells to learn and prepare, as their choices can have a significant impact on their abilities and effectiveness in combat.
Toll the Dead is an important spell for spellcasters in D&D 5e because of its versatility and reliability. Toll the Dead can target both undead and living creatures, which makes it a versatile and valuable tool in various scenarios.
Additionally, the high damage output of the spell makes it an effective way to quickly eliminate enemies in combat.
Necrotic Power Spell Details
Here’s a section on Spell Details, Modifications, and Comparisons for Toll the Dead in D&D 5e:
Spell Level and School of Magic
Toll the Dead is a necromancy cantrip in D&D 5e, which means it belongs to the school of magic that deals with death and the undead.
Casting Time, Range, and Components
|Casting time:||1 Action|
|Spell List:||Warlock, Wizard, Cleric|
Spell Description and Effects
Toll the Dead inflicts necrotic damage on a single creature within range, with the amount of damage depending on whether or not the target has taken damage previously.
If the target has not taken damage, they suffer 1d8 necrotic damage, while if they have taken damage, they suffer 1d12 necrotic damage instead.
The spell’s damage increases as the spellcaster gains levels, potentially dealing up to 5d12 damage at higher levels. Toll the Dead is particularly effective against undead creatures, who suffer additional damage from the spell.
Spell Modifications and Enhancements
Casting Toll the Dead at higher levels can enhance its damage output. Each level higher than the initial casting level adds an additional 1d12 damage to the spell, up to a maximum of 5d12 damage at the 17th level.
The spell can also be modified using meta magic to target multiple creatures or increase its damage output even further.
Comparison to Similar Spells
Toll the Dead is often compared to other cantrips that deal damage, particularly those that deal necrotic or radiant damage. Sacred Flame is a similar cantrip that inflicts radiant damage and can be more effective against certain enemies vulnerable to radiant damage.
Vicious Mockery is another cantrip that deals psychic damage and has the added effect of imposing a disadvantage on the target’s next attack roll.
While these spells may have different effects, Toll the Dead remains a popular choice in D&D 5e for spellcasters looking for a reliable and versatile damage-dealing option.
Spellcasting Ability and DC
The class of the character casting the spell determines Toll the Dead’s spellcasting ability. example, a cleric would use their Wisdom modifier to determine the spell’s attack roll and damage, while a sorcerer would use their Charisma modifier instead.
The spell’s DC, or difficulty class, is also determined by the character’s spellcasting ability. The DC for Toll the Dead is equal to 8 + the spellcaster’s proficiency bonus + their spellcasting ability modifier.
The spell uses its DC to determine if it affects the target and to resist its effects in case the target can make a saving throw.
Target Selection and Damage Calculation
Toll the Dead targets a single creature within range. The spell’s range is 60 feet, meaning that the caster can target a creature up to 60 feet away from them.
One cannot target objects with the spell, only creatures, and one cannot use it to target multiple creatures at once unless modifying it with meta magic or other features.
Toll the Dead inflicts necrotic damage on the target creature. The amount of damage dealt depends on whether or not the target has taken damage previously.
If the target has not taken damage, they suffer 1d8 necrotic damage. However, if the target has taken damage, they suffer 1d12 necrotic damage instead.
At higher levels, the damage output of the spell increases. When cast using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, Toll the Dead deals an additional 1d12 damage per spell slot level above 1st.
This means that the maximum damage output of the spell is 5d12 when cast using a 9th-level spell slot.
Combat Tactics and Strategic Uses
Here’s a section on Combat Tactics and Strategic Uses for Toll the Dead in D&D 5e:
One can use Toll the Dead in a variety of ways during combat, making it a versatile spell. One common tactic is to target creatures that have already taken damage in order to deal maximum damage.
This can help take down weakened enemies quickly and efficiently, reducing the overall threat level of the encounter.
Another tactic is to target undead creatures, which take additional damage from the spell. This can be especially effective in encounters where the party is facing off against undead enemies, such as skeletons or zombies.
Toll the Dead can also combine with other spells and abilities to create devastating combos. For example, a spellcaster could use Toll the Dead to weaken an enemy’s defenses, then follow up with a more powerful spell to finish them off.
In addition to combat tactics, Toll the Dead can also have strategic uses outside of combat. The spell has versatile applications, such as using it to interrogate prisoners or intimidate enemies.
A well-timed Toll the Dead can be enough to convince an enemy to divulge information or surrender, without actually causing any harm.
Toll the Dead can also enable the user to create a distraction or cause chaos, drawing attention away from the party or creating an opportunity for escape.
For example, a spellcaster could use the spell to create a loud noise or eerie ringing sound, causing enemies to become disoriented or distracted.
Toll the Dead can have a variety of non-combat uses in the game. Players can also use Toll the Dead as a means to intimidate or persuade others, tapping into their character’s personality or backstory.
A spellcaster might use the spell to threaten or frighten an enemy into submission or to convince a non-player character (NPC) to reveal important information.
Toll the Dead can also be used as a distraction or a diversion. For instance, a spellcaster could cast the spell in a crowded marketplace, causing chaos and confusion as people try to figure out where the eerie ringing sound is coming from.
This could create an opportunity for the party to slip away unnoticed or to gain access to a restricted area.
Using Toll the Dead in non-combat situations can also provide rich opportunities for roleplaying. For instance, a spellcaster could use the spell to impress or intimidate NPCs, demonstrating their power and prowess as a spellcaster.
Conversely, the use of such a dark and unsettling spell might lead to mistrust or suspicion from other characters, particularly those with more moral or ethical concerns.
Characters can use Toll the Dead to explore their personalities or backstories. Perhaps the spellcaster has a particular interest in death or the afterlife, or maybe they have a personal connection to necromancy or the undead.
The use of Toll the Dead could reveal these aspects of the character’s identity and provide a platform for further character development and growth.
Homebrew Modifications and Adaptations
As with any spell in D&D 5e, Toll the Dead can be modified or adapted to better suit a player’s preferences or campaign setting. Here are a few examples of possible modifications:
Increasing or Decreasing the Damage Dice
Players can increase or decrease the damage dealt by Toll the Dead depending on the needs of the game. For example, a dungeon master might increase the damage dice to make the spell more powerful or decrease them to make the spell less overpowered.
Adding Additional Effects
The dungeon master can modify Toll the Dead to include additional effects, such as causing a creature to become frightened or stunned. Players can add these effects based on their character’s level or proficiency, or at the discretion of the dungeon master.
Changing the Damage Type
By default, Toll the Dead deals necrotic damage, but players and dungeon masters have the option to change the damage type to other options like fire or psychic. This can be a good option for campaigns that have a particular theme or flavor.
The players or dungeon master can adapt Toll the Dead to fit different campaign settings or genres, in addition to making modifications to the spell. Here are a few examples:
- Sci-fi adaptation: In a sci-fi setting, Toll the Dead could be adapted to a spell that causes a creature’s cybernetic implants to malfunction, dealing damage to the creature.
- Horror adaptation: In a horror campaign, Toll the Dead could be adapted to a spell that summons spirits or ghosts to haunt and harm a creature.
- Wild West adaptation: In a Wild West campaign, Toll the Dead could be adapted to a spell that causes a creature’s gun to misfire, dealing damage to the creature.
Alternative Versions and Interpretations
While Toll the Dead is a powerful and useful spell in its own right, there are several alternative versions of the spell that can be used in different situations. Here are a few examples:
Reskinned Damage Type:
While Toll the Dead deals necrotic damage by default, a DM may allow a player to reskin the spell to deal a different type of damage, such as radiant, thunder, or psychic, while keeping the same mechanics and saving throw.
Increased Damage Dice
DMs may choose to increase the damage dice for Toll the Dead, such as by rolling 2d12 instead of 1d12, to make the spell more powerful. Players can balance this by making the saving throw DC higher or by limiting the number of times the spell can be cast.
By default, Toll the Dead targets a single creature within range. However, a DM may allow a player to target multiple creatures within range with the spell, at the cost of increased spell slot usage or a higher saving throw DC.
Area of Effect
While Toll the Dead is typically a single-target spell, a DM may allow a player to use the spell as an area-of-effect attack, dealing damage to all creatures within a certain radius. This would require a higher spell slot usage and a higher saving throw DC.
Players could modify Toll the Dead to impose a temporary debuff on the target, such as a disadvantage on attack rolls or saving throws, reducing their speed, or inflicting a status condition instead of dealing damage.
This would require a higher spell slot usage and a higher saving throw DC.
In addition to alternative versions, there are also different interpretations of what Toll the Dead actually does. Here are a few examples:
- The Sound of Death: Instead of directly dealing necrotic damage, Toll the Dead could be interpreted as a spell that creates a deafening, otherworldly sound that causes the target to suffer psychic damage and possibly become disoriented or frightened.
- The Curse of Mortality: Toll the Dead could be interpreted as a spell that causes a target to feel the weight of their own mortality, dealing psychic damage and possibly causing them to age rapidly or become weakened.
- The Call of the Afterlife: Toll the Dead could be interpreted as a spell that summons spirits or ghosts to attack the target, dealing necrotic damage and possibly causing the target to become possessed or haunted.
Multiclassing and Synergy with Other Spells
Toll the Dead is a powerful spell that can synergize well with certain multiclass builds. Here are a few examples:
Toll the Dead can be particularly useful for a character who has levels in both Cleric and Warlock. The player can use the Warlock’s Pact Magic slots to cast Toll the Dead, while their Cleric levels provide access to other supportive spells and abilities.
A character with levels in both Sorcerer and Wizard can use their meta magic options to enhance the effects of Toll the Dead, such as by using the Twinned Spell option to target two creatures at once.
A character who has levels in both Bard and Cleric can use Toll the Dead as a powerful ranged option while still being able to provide supportive spells and abilities to their party.
Synergy with Other Spells
Toll the Dead can also synergize well with other spells in a character’s arsenal. Here are a few examples:
- Chill Touch: Both Chill Touch and Toll the Dead are cantrips that deal necrotic damage, making them a potent combination for a necromancy-themed character.
- Bane: Bane can be used to weaken a target’s saving throws, making it more likely that Toll the Dead will successfully deal damage.
- Hold Person: If a target is paralyzed or incapacitated by Hold Person, they automatically fail all saving throws, making it easier to deal maximum damage with Toll the Dead.
Campaign-Specific Variations and Flavor
Players can flavor Toll the Dead in a variety of ways to fit different campaign settings and themes in D&D 5e. Here are a few examples:
Players in a campaign with a Gothic horror theme could describe Toll the Dead as a haunting and tolling bell that echoes through the battlefield, inflicting spiritual damage on their targets.
Players in a campaign with a heavy focus on divine magic could flavor Toll the Dead as a holy bell tolling in judgment, smiting enemies with divine wrath.
Players in a campaign with a strong necromancy theme could describe Toll the Dead as a dark and ominous chant that calls forth the power of death itself to strike down their foes.
In a campaign with a focus on elemental magic, players could flavor Toll the Dead by infusing a blast of necrotic energy with the power of the earth, which deals damage to enemies and saps their life force.