Growing up, I had only ever heard of Dungeons and Dragons as a punchline on popular sitcoms. Though they never called out the game by name, everyone knew exactly what the show writers for Lizzie McGuire were mocking when Gordo became obsessed with "Dwarflord: The Conquest." Come to think about it, Lizzie McGuire seemed to have it in for geeks as they constantly mock Larry Tudgeman for his love of their knock-off Star Trek show and constant Star Wars references. Though, after spending time with Larry, his nerdy references become endearing rather than sad and there is a message in there somewhere about not caring what others think and being yourself.
Regardless of whether the portrayal has been negative or positive, Dungeons and Dragons has been a household name since it was first created at the end of the 20th century and is here to stay. And since the game is mostly comprised of spells and enchantments, it would only be fair to discuss those spells at length. Starting a campaign and choosing which spells would best work for a new character can be tough, especially for beginners. So let this article act as a bit of a guide to help sort through the dozens of spells and figure out which ones are utterly overpowered and which ones fall a bit flat when put to the test.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to sort through some of the most powerful (and some of the weakest) spells in the Dungeons and Dragons world.
25 Overpowered: Wall Of Force
Wall of force is a spell which allows spells with it enabled to create a literal wall that cannot be breached until the spell wears off (or if an opponent happens to have one of the few spells that the Wall of Force is specifically weak to). The Wall of Force is immune to damage and is unaffected by the majority of spells. Though it is not the most powerful wall that players can create, in a pinch, this wall can be a great way to keep one's party safe from outside forces for a short period of time. And that is all one really needs from this sort of spell.
24 Weak: Silent Image
This spell is one of the more bizarre and nonsensical ones on the list. Truly and bewilderingly useless. Utterly weak and pointless. The Silent Image spell allows players to create an object no larger than a 15-foot cube that cannot speak nor do anything at all. It could be used to trick a monster but there are so many other far more useful spells that could achieve the same, actually, that could achieve a better result than this. Also, there is no guarantee that this amorphous cube will trick anyone. Save a spell slot for something that has more than one niche use. Please.
23 Overpowered: Reverse Gravity
This is one of those wonderful spells that does exactly what it claims to do. When used correctly, this spell allows players to temporarily reverse the effects of gravity. One important thing to note, this spell does not only affect the target but every object that is not nailed down surrounding them within the range of the spell. So not only does the target have to deal with the fall damage that will occur when the spell stops but they must also dodge the "falling" objects around them while they plummet towards the ceiling.
22 Weak: Grease
The Grease spell creates a small puddle of grease on the ground. That is it. I mean, if one were to get caught in the puddle, it could present a minor annoyance or a slight inconvenience while the player attempts to get out of the small puddle. But Grease is one of the easiest blocks to avoid. Players can simply step around the puddle with minimal effort and no consequences. The literal only use for this spell could be if a player is being chased out of an area by a huge group of weak/low-level creatures or characters and they need to briefly knock them off of their feet in order to get away. But there are many other more useful spells that could achieve the same result.
21 Overpowered: Meteor Swarm
As the name suggests, the Meteor Swarm spell allows players to create a literal rainfall of meteors. You read that correctly. This spell allows players to send full blown meteors raining down from the heavens straight into the world below. Not only will the meteors crush everything on the ground below as they crash down from the sky, but they also have the power to ignite every flammable thing that they come into contact with. It is important to both take cover and ensure that the members of your party have also found suitable hiding spaces before unleashing this spell onto the world.
20 Weak: There/Not There
There/Not There is ridiculous spell with an absurdly high failure rate that essentially, does nothing. When used correctly, this useless spell gives players the ability to hide an object from an opponent. But it is not that simple. The spell only hides the object the second time that the opponent attempts to look at the object. Not to mention the high failure rate. So there is no guarantee that the object will disappear the second time. And, if the spell does work properly, what are the consequences? No one is going to be spooked by it. They will, most likely, assume that their eyes played a trick on them and that the item never existed in the first place.
19 Overpowered: Mass Suggestion
Mass suggestion is a spell which allows those who have it enabled to, quite literally, create a mass suggestion which influences everyone around them. These suggestions can be applied to people and creatures in a close radius and allows the player creating the suggestion to implant said suggestion in those peoples' minds. This suggestion is centred around an action and, once suggested, they will perform said action. That is a truly powerful ability and, honestly, a frightening one at that.
18 Weak: Gust Of Wind
The Gust of Wind spell allows players to do pretty much exactly what you would expect from a spell of that name. Seriously. No catch. It's just a gust of wind. Woosh. That is all. Nothing to see here folks. This Gust of Wind can push you (and only you) slightly closer to your destination and it is also important to note that it has a high failure rate. Which means that you could waste an entire turn trying to show off and just end up worse off than when you started. Just walk. The spell can only blow you short distances anyway. Just save yourself the trouble and walk.
17 Overpowered: Fireball
Like the name suggests, the Fireball spell allows players to shoot explosive fireblasts out of their fingertips. That is truly powerful for such a low level spell and there is just something so wonderful and magical about being able to shoot fire out of one's hands. This is not only an incredibly powerful spell but it is also exceptionally destructive. Fire is truly a powerful element and is not something that one should mess with nor take lightly. It can wipe out all life forms in a given area so easily and if it does not succeed in fully wiping them out, it can, at the very least, truly impair them.
16 Weak: Cache
The Cache spell allows players to summon an object from the Astral Plane. Now this sounds cool at first but just know that you can only summon one object per hour and that there is a big chance that the object will come back broken. You are essentially treating the astral plane as a pocket and there is really no need to do so. There is no need to take up a precious spell slot on your character sheet in order to turn the astral plane into a very ineffective purse. Just stick the object in your actual pocket. Or bury it in the dirt. That would honestly be a better choice.
15 Overpowered: Animate Objects
This spell allows for players to shoot the spark of life into nearby objects. It is important to note that there are exceptions and limitations, such as the object cannot be in use and the spell will not work on any object considered larger than "huge." However, even considering the limitations placed upon the spell, it is still an incredibly powerful ability. From pranks to life-ending events, being able to bring life to nearby objects is a truly powerful, possibly even overpowered, spell.
14 Weak: Affect Normal Fire
An oddly worded spell for an odd result. Usually, fire spells are exciting and powerful but this spell just goes to prove that there are exceptions to every rule. Affect Normal Fire allows players to slightly dim the light of nearby fires. That is it. The literal only use I can think of for that spell is to help one sneak by but that could be better achieved by just extinguishing the fire entirely, which this spell cannot do. By the way, if you love any of the spells that have been labeled as weak/useless in this article, know that that is okay. There are as many ways to play the game as there are people playing it and every style of play is valid.
13 Overpowered: Chain Lightning
Lightning is one of those things that one ought to be careful when trifling with as the consequences may be dire. The Chain Lightning spell allows players to create multiple bolts of lightning in one go that can target multiple characters in one go (so long as they are reasonably close to each other). There is just something so intimidating and powerful about being able to summon, control, and unleash lightning. Being able to control one of one the more volatile elements on Earth is something to brag about. No need to be humble here.
12 Weak: Green Blockade
We have considered a few rather powerful walls in this list so I think it is about time to include an exceptionally weak wall. Let's throw the Green Blockade spell into the mix. Look, I love plants as much as the next half-ling but come on. The Green Blockade spell allows players to make a wall out of plants with the intention of keeping one's enemies locked up and away from them. Unless, you know, they have any sort of weapon or the ability to cut through the plants. Come on, there are so many more effective ways to achieve the same goal.
11 Overpowered: Time Stop
The Time Stop spell allows a player to freeze time for a selected amount of turns. Players can do whatever they please during said pause and the effects can range from funny (like pants-ing enemies) to serious (like turning a weapon towards the person wielding it.) I think it is fair to say that every single one of us has imagined, at one point or another, what would happen if we were able to temporarily stop time. Would we learn new skills, get all of our work done without cutting into our free time, and become the best versions of ourselves? Or would we, more accurately, use the extra time for a longer sleep and extra television/gaming time? If it makes you happy, then it is the right choice.
10 Overpowered: Sunburst
Sunburst sounds like a lovely spell to use on a nice and gentle lazy afternoon. But its effects are anything but nice and gentle. The Sunburst spell allows players to send out a blinding beam of sunlight into the world which can render them utterly helpless for a roll or two. It is important to note that some monsters are weaker/sensitive to the effects of sunlight, and therefore the spell itself, so having such a weapon in one's arsenal is a good choice. Always a good choice. I wonder if there is a way to dim it and use it as a flashlight for late night reading sessions.
9 Weak: Glitterdust
The Glitterdust spell allows players to summon a cloud of glitter dust that covers everything within a set radius. I mean, it can be helpful as it prevents opponents and enemies from being able to effectively camouflage themselves which can make them easier to take down. However, the glitter hits you as well. Which makes you much more visible to enemies and monsters. And the glitter sticks to you and your party for a very long time. So you won't be able to effectively hide for a few turns. I'm sorry but there are just so many more effective ways to locate and eliminate enemies that do not make you vulnerable as well.
8 Overpowered: Hold Person
Strap yourselves in and make sure that you have a good grip on your scalp because this next spell is bound to blow your mind. The Hold Person/Monster spell allows a player to freeze a person in place until the effects of the spell dissipate (or they perish). The held player cannot do a single thing (save try to escape) until the spell is lifted and that is a lot of power to have for such a low-level spell. That is just so utterly freaky. Imagine not being able to move a single muscle in the midst of a confrontation or battle? I shudder at the thought.
7 Overpowered: Prismatic Wall
Prismatic Wall is one of the coolest spells in the Dungeons and Dragons series. This spell creates a beautiful, multi-hued, strong wall of light that can protect players from enemies and the elements. It is important to note that the spell is so powerful that the light emitted from the wall can actually blind creatures and characters if they get too close and roll poorly. A simultaneously defensive and offensive move. That is a truly powerful move. Overpowered, wonderful, aesthetically pleasing, and perfect for your offensive and defensive needs.
6 Weak: Mandragora
Those who have memorized the entire script to the second Harry Potter film, like myself, might recall that Mandrakes, or Mandragora, produce a cry that is fatal to all who hear it. This spell allows players to whip out a jar containing said plant. The player will then open the jar and the plant will scream. The scream does have the potential to knock out players but it is important to note that the scream only works in a very small area and opponents can easily overcome it by using the power of will. There are better ways to knock out enemies.
5 Overpowered: Bones Of The Earth
Bones of the Earth is one of those spells that both sounds insanely cool and actually lives up to the aura of awesome created by the name itself. However, it is important to note that the name is a bit misleading as it is not really related to bones of any sort. It is related to the Earth though, so it is not a true misnomer. The Bones of the Earth spells allows players to erect large pillars from the centre of the Earth to shoot up beneath a target player or creature. Though this sounds a bit weak, it is important to note that these pillars not only trap players on top of them (and they risk a lot of damage if they try to climb off) but the act of the pillar shooting upwards causes a bit of damage as well.
4 Overpowered: Arcane Hand
Arcane hand is a spell which allows players to literally summon/create a giant disembodied hand that shoots fire. What? That is completely insane. Who decided that people can do this? Did they really think it through? The hand can also perform certain tasks and assist in battle! You can literally summon a ginormous hand that will fight your battles with/for you. Are you serious? That is incredibly overpowered and oh so very wonderful. I wonder if the Arcane hand can be used to tuck you into bed at night or if it is only truly suited for battle.
3 Weak: Tree Shape
This spell, oddly enough, does exactly what the name promises. This spell allows players to turn into a tree. Not literally, I mean, they will still be sentient and all of that. No, they will simply look like a tree to onlookers. It can be useful for spying, I guess, but only if a player is spying on someone in an area that has a lot of similarly shaped trees. No one is going to be fooled by a tree that suddenly appears in the middle of a ballroom or a library. It is also important to note that this spell only works for Druids and they already have the ability to transform into whatever they want (within reason)... so, this spell is pretty useless.
2 Overpowered: Wish
The Wish spell does pretty much exactly what the name suggests. The Wish spell allows players to make any thing that they speak aloud become reality. Literally. Anything that a player wishes for can come true. But be warned, the dungeon master is the one who grants these wishes and the results of said wishes are up to their interpretation. The vaguer a player is, the more freedom the dungeon master has to wreak havoc on the player who elects to use the Wish spell. So, not only is this a powerful spell because of the abilities it grants the player but also the possibilities for havoc and chaos it places before the DM, themselves.
1 Overpowered: Power Word Spells
At last, we have finally come to the Power Word Spell. For those of you who do not know, the Power Word spells are a special sort of magic that is truly overpowered within the context of the game. Basically, a player can speak a certain word (the word is not a specific set word and won't be the same word in every instance of this spell being used) and that word can either instantly stun a target or, if the more powerful version of the word is used, can end their lives. That is it. Simply speak a "word of power" and you can stun or end players, characters, and creatures around you. I guess they were right when they said that words have power.