Vicious Mockery 5E — DnD spell explained 2024

Hurl cutting insults magically with our guide to the Vicious Mockery 5E spell. Damage foes through the power of words.

Vicious Mockery 5E: Bard from DnD playing a guitar
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What is Vicious Mockery 5E?

Vicious Mockery 5E is an enchantment cantrip available only to Bards natively. It takes an action to cast with a vocal component, when you do so a creature you can see within 60 ft. must make a Wisdom saving throw if it can hear you. On a failure, the target takes 1d4 psychic damage and has disadvantage on the next attack it makes before the end of its next turn. On a successful saving throw, it takes no damage and suffers no disadvantage. The damage increases to 2d4 at 5th level, 3d4 at 11th level, and 4d4 at 17th level.

Is Vicious Mockery 5E a good spell?

Vicious Mockery is a great cantrip when the caster focuses on its use as a debuff for monsters, those looking to do real damage with it will be disappointed by its mere d4 damage die. However, the fact that it is psychic damage makes it more reliable against most creatures, although it makes it worse against certain monsters, such as some constructs. Even if a creature is immune to the damage, it would still be affected by the disadvantage rider effect.

The main way to improve this cantrip is through the use of metamagic, such as Twinned Spell and Quickened Spell which can be gotten through Sorcerer levels or the Metamagic Adept feat. Depending on DM ruling, it might be possible for College of Spirits Bards to increase the damage with their Spiritual Focus feature. Another way of improving the effectiveness of this spell is to reduce the likelihood of a monster succeeding the Wisdom save, such as a College of Lore Bard’s Cutting Words feature.

How can you get Vicious Mockery 5E spell?

Being a Bard exclusive, there aren’t many ways to give your enemies a nosebleed with nothing but a sick burn, but here are some options:

  • Bard – The only class that gets Vicious Mockery on their spell list.
  • 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.
  • Devil’s Tongue (Race Variant) – Found in the SCAG, this variant of the tiefling allows you to trade the normal spellcasting granted by the Infernal Legacy feature with Vicious Mockery, Charm Person, and Enthrall.
  • Magic Initiate (Feat) – By choosing Bard as the class you choose this as one of your two cantrips, in addition to one 1st level spell.
  • Strixhaven Initiate (Feat) – If this feat is available, then r Silverquill as your college will get you Vicious Mockery as well as one other cantrip from a limited list and a 1st level spell from wither the Bard or Cleric spell list.

How to roleplay the Vicious Mockery 5E spell

Need some help roleplaying the Vicious Mockery spell? Here are some examples to help you out:

  • As the orc warlord charges towards her, the Bard strums her lute and unleashes a mocking retort. “Your mother was a goblin and your father smelled of elderberries!” she taunts. The words carry an arcane bite, causing the warlord to falter in confusion and pain.
  • As a dragon descends upon them, the human Bard plucks at her lyre, her words transforming into a Vicious Mockery. “You call that a roar? I’ve heard scarier sounds from a kobold with laryngitis!” The dragon, unaccustomed to such derision, blinks in surprise, the psychic insult causing it visible distress.
  • In a duel against an arrogant noble, Jareth the elf bard twists his words into a Vicious Mockery. “You’re as intimidating as a rabbit and half as charming!” The noble clutched his head, the sudden pain and disorientation throwing off his next rapier lunge.

We hope you’ve found this article informative and have learned that words can do far worse than mere sticks and stones. If you found this guide planning your Pact of the Tome Warlock, then check out our Warlock 5E guide, or if you just like learning about 5E spells then check out our DnD 5E spells section. Good luck out there adventurers, and until next time, be sure to come up with some funny insults in advance for the biggest effect on your fellow players!

Expert Editor-in-Chief