Magic Initiate feat in DnD 5E explained

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Everyone likes magic to some degree, it’s omnipresent in the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons and is one of the things that separates them from our own. Some players might want to add a touch of magic to a character that has none, whilst others may want to add even more magic to their mage, this is where Magic Initiate comes in.

Let’s break down what this feat gives you:

  • Two cantrips and one 1st level spell of your choice from one of the specified spell lists. You can cast this 1st level spell once per long rest, but you can’t spend any spell slots you may have on that spell unless you have levels in the class you chose for this feat. The ability score used for the spells is based on the class you chose for this feat, for example, if you chose Wizard then they would use Intelligence.

The nature of this feat means that you should primarily look at the cantrips as the main benefit unless you have levels in the class you chose. But everyone wants more magic right? Well, let’s take a look at what classes might want to spend a precious ASI on.

Magic Initiate is most useful for

  • Sorcerers – One of the main limitations of Sorcerers is their low number of spells known, by taking this feat they can keep an important spell like Shield available without needing to choose it as a spell known, and gain a free use per day of it too!
  • Rogues – This is a great way for a Rogue to get access to either Booming Blade or Green-Flame Blade, which can greatly increase the damage of most Rogues, in addition to adding a defensive spell, like Shield or Absorb Elements, or a utility spell, like Find Familiar. An additional ASI and being mostly Dex SAD makes it easier for a Rogue to pick up this feat compared to most other classes.
  • Fighters – With the most ASIs of any class, and similarly to the Rogue, having a good chance of being SAD, means that this feat is relatively cheap for Fighters to pick up. This would allow them to gain some utility magic or combat magic to cover a hole in their abilities. For example, choosing Bless as the 1st level spell to support allies, whilst being unlikely to lose concentration with a high Con mod and Con saving throw proficiency, with Guidance and Thaumaturgy for the cantrips.

Magic Initiate is least useful for

  • Barbarians – A MAD class whose main class ability shuts down spellcasting altogether, as well as concentrating on precast spells. Whilst they could use this feat for pure utility, it’s just not worth the cost.
  • Monks – Like the Barbarians above, Monks are extremely MAD making an ASI an extremely high cost to grab a bit of magic. If a Monk wanted to take this feat then it would be best to be a variant human, but even then it has fierce competition from feats that would more directly support the Monk’s playstyle, like Mobile.

How to roleplay the Magic Initiate feat

Need some help roleplaying the Magic Initiate feat? Here are some examples to help you out:

  • As you take the Magic Initiate feat, you feel a surge of power flow through your body. Your mind is filled with arcane knowledge, and you find yourself able to cast spells that you’ve never even seen before. Perhaps you’ve always had a natural talent for magic, or maybe you’ve been studying it for years, but either way, you now have the power to wield it in battle.
  • As you focus your mind on the magic that flows through you, you feel a connection to the weave of magic that permeates the world. You can now cast spells from a chosen spellcasting class, and you feel the energy of those spells pulsing through your veins. Whether you use your newfound powers to aid your allies or destroy your enemies, you are now a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.
  • With the Magic Initiate feat, you’ve gained access to a small but powerful set of spells that you can cast at will. You’ve learned to harness the elements, summon mystical creatures, and even manipulate the minds of your enemies. Your mastery of magic makes you a formidable opponent, and you know that you can use your powers to shape the world around you in ways that few others can.
  • As you delve deeper into the world of magic, you find that you are able to cast spells with increasing ease. You have mastered the basics of your chosen spellcasting class, and you can now summon powerful spells to do your bidding. Whether you use your powers for good or for evil, you know that you are now one of the most skilled spellcasters in the land.
  • With the Magic Initiate feat, you’ve unlocked the secrets of the arcane world, and you are now able to cast spells that can change the course of battle. You feel a sense of pride and accomplishment as you realize that you have become a true master of magic, and you know that you will use your powers to protect those you care about and defeat those who stand in your way.

We hope this article has been helpful and made your day just a little more magical. If you’re interested in other feats to customize your character with, then check out our feats spotlight, or if this has made you interested in playing a caster then, check out our Warlock guide.

Expert Editor-in-Chief