Fire Bolt spell in DnD 5E explained

The forest clearing was filled with the exhausted breathing of the entire party, the mound of green flesh in front of them stitching itself back together from the latest barrage of hammer blows, sword slashes, and blasts of arcane force. No matter how much punishment the troll took, its grotesque form pulled itself back into shape to continue the onslaught. The adventurers didn’t know that trick, however, and their own wounds were adding up. Faust searched his book in a panic for some abstract piece of eldritch history that might help when the troll’s claws came towards him. In a panicked reaction to the fresh gashes, his hand shot forwards and flame blossomed forth and time seemed to stand still. This time the troll wasn’t healing. A couple more hurried castings, and the smell of burnt meat filled the night air as the exhausted heroes collapsed. 

What is Fire Bolt?

Fire Bolt is an evocation cantrip available to Artificers, Sorcerers, and Wizards, however, there are plenty of alternative ways to pick this spell up. It takes an action to cast with vocal and somatic components, when you do so you can make a ranged attack against a creature or object within 120ft. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 fire damage, with a flammable object igniting if it isn’t being worn or carried. The damage increases to 2d10 at 5th level, 3d10 at 11th level, and 4d10 at 17th level.

Is Fire Bolt a good spell?

Generally speaking yes, with one important caveat: fire damage is one of the most common damage types that monsters have resistance or immunity to. How much this weakness comes up will be campaign specific, and could arguably be counterbalanced by some creatures that have some kind of weakness to fire. Some examples of this are the mummy’s vulnerability, a flesh golem’s fire aversion, and a troll’s regeneration which is halted by fire.

On the more strictly positive side, 120ft is an excellent range for an offensive cantrip, tied with Eldritch Blast as the only two cantrips to offer such an extreme range. This is also one of only a limited amount of spells that allow you to explicitly target an object instead of a creature, allowing you to be more creative in your use of the spell. For example, setting the bridge on fire behind you, or lighting the fires of Gondor.

If you choose to focus on Fire Bolt or fire spells in general, for your offense you may want to choose options that enhance the fire damage you will be doing. Examples of this are:

  • Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer’s Elemental Affinity ability at 6th level allows you to add your Charisma modifier to the damage, as long as you have chosen brass, gold, or red for your Draconic Ancestry.
  • Celestial Warlocks can add their Cha to the damage using their 6th level ability Radiant Soul.
  • Evocation Wizards will get Empowered Evocation at 10th level, allowing them to add their Intelligence modifier to the damage.
  • Artillerist Artificers can add 1d8 to the damage by casting the cantrip through their Arcane Firearm.
  • Elemental Adept would allow you to ignore resistance to fire damage, whilst letting you treat any 1s your roll on your fire damage dice as 2s.

How can you get Fire Bolt?

Being a cantrip on the Wizard’s spell list there are plenty of different methods to obtain this fiery spell, so take your pick of:

  • Artificer, Sorcerer, and Wizard – All three of these classes get access to Fire Bolt as part of their normal spell lists.
  • Pact of the Tome (Warlock feature) – This pact allows you to choose three cantrips from any spell list and make them Warlock spells for you.
  • Arcane Trickster (Rogue Subclass) – This subclass gets access to the Wizard spell list and can choose Fire Bolt as one of their two cantrip choices.
  • Eldritch Knight (Fighter Subclass) – Similar to above, this Fighter can choose from the Wizard list for their cantrips.
  • Arcana Domain (Cleric Subclass) – This Cleric can choose two Wizard cantrips and make them Cleric spells, this allows Fire Bolt to pair with their 8th level feature Potent Spellcasting to add their Wisdom modifier to the damage. 
  • High Elf (Subrace) – To represent this subrace’s mastery of the basics of magic, they can choose a Wizard cantrip of their choice.
  • Sun or Moon Half-Elf (Race Variant) – Similar to their ancestors, these half-elves can choose a Wizard cantrip.
  • Aberrant Dragonmark (Feat) – This feat allows you to choose a cantrip from the Sorcerer’s list.
  • Artificer Initiate (Feat) – You may have guessed it, this feat allows you to choose a cantrip of your choice from the Artificer spell list.
  • Magic Initiate (Feat) – By choosing Wizard as the class you choose this as one of your two cantrips.
  • Spell Sniper (Feat) – This feat allows you to choose the Sorcerer or the Wizard list to gain access to this cantrip, with the modifier used depending on your choice.
  • Strixhaven Initiate (Feat) – If this feat is available, then choosing Prismari as your college will get you Fire Bolt as well as either Prestidigitation or Ray of Frost.

We hope you’ve found this article informative and have picked up a cool new way to light your candles, or defeat evil, whatever your week entails. If you found this guide planning your Celestial Warlock, then check out our Warlock Guide, or if you just like learning about 5E spells then check out our spells section. Good luck out there adventurers, and until next time, stay lit.