Hellish Rebuke 5E — DnD spell explained 2023

Retaliate with infernal power using our guide to the Hellish Rebuke 5E spell in DnD. Inflict fiery punishment on those who harm you.

Hellish Rebuke 5E: Warlock from DnD pointing finger at the enemy
© Dice Cove

What is Hellish Rebuke 5E?

Hellish Rebuke 5E is a 1st level evocation spell, which is available natively only to Warlocks. It requires vocal and somatic components and takes a reaction to cast when you are damaged by a creature you can see within 60ft. The creature which damaged you must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d10 fire damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful save.

If you cast this spell with a 2nd level or higher spell slot, the amount of damage increases by 1d10 for every level above 1st. For example, a 3rd level casting of Hellish Rebuke would deal 4d10 fire damage.

Is Hellish Rebuke 5E a good spell?

Hellish Rebuke can be an excellent spell due to its use of d10 damage dice and reaction casting time, however, there are some pretty heavy caveats to this. First of all, fire damage is a very common resistance and immunity for monsters to have, how frequently you will actually come across this is dependent on the campaign you play in, but this should be kept in mind. Secondly, it’s worth considering how a Warlock’s Pact Magic feature affects this spell, as it is a Warlock exclusive. Having so few spell slots which scale up means that Hellish Rebuke will hit hard, but costs a significant amount of a Warlock’s casting potential at any given time.

The main way to improve this spell is with features that increase the damage, such as a Draconic Sorcerer’s Elemental Affinity feature or the Celestial Warlock’s Radiant Soul feature, both of which add your Charisma modifier to the damage. The Transmuted Spell metamagic from TCoE would allow you to change the damage type from fire to another elemental type, making the spell more reliable. The tiefling could also be considered a way to improve the spell, as you not only get a once per rest 2nd level casting of it, as it doesn’t require spell slots it makes using Hellish Rebuke more economical for Warlocks.

How can you get Hellish Rebuke 5E spell?

If you find yourself in need of scorching some foes that had the audacity to attack you, then fear not! Here is a list of how you can grab this spell:

  • Warlock – The only class to have Hellish Rebuke on their spell list.
  • Oathbreaker (Paladin Subclass) – These rule-breaking Paladins get Hellish Rebuke as an always-prepared spell thanks to their Oath Spells feature.
  • Magical Secrets (Bard Class Feature) – All Bards can use this feature to grab Hellish Rebuke, but this is most appropriate for Lore Bards, who get it at a much lower level.
  • Tiefling (Race) – The Infernal Legacy feature gives this hell-adjacent folk a 2nd level casting of Hellish Rebuke once per long rest, as well as the Thaumaturgy cantrip and one casting of Darkness per long rest.
  • Divinely Favored (Feat) – As long as you’re 4th level or above and in a Dragonlance campaign, this feat will provide you a Cleric cantrip, the Augury spell, and will let you choose Hellish Rebuke as long as you choose the Evil alignment.
  • Magic Initiate (Feat) – By choosing Warlock as the spell list, you can gain one casting of Hellish Rebuke per long rest and two cantrips from that same spell list.

How to roleplay the Hellish Rebuke 5E spell

Need some help roleplaying the Hellish Rebuke 5E spell? Here are some examples to help you out:

  • After being slashed by a bandit’s sword, the tiefling Fighter clenches her fist, her eyes glowing with infernal fire. She casts Hellish Rebuke, and a gout of hellfire engulfs the bandit, who screams as the flames sear his flesh in retribution.
  • Cornered by a snarling werewolf, the Warlock takes a bite to his arm. With a snarl of his own, he retaliates he uses arcane power to transform his wound’s blood into a scorching fire. The werewolf yelps as it is enveloped in an explosion of dark, crimson flames.
  • In the midst of a battle against a pack of gnolls, the Paladin is struck by an arrow. Muttering an infernal chant, the arrow melts and is propelled back at the shooter. The gnoll archer screeches in surprise and agony as ethereal chains of fire wrap around him, burning him from a distance.

Hopefully, we helped you show the monsters that you are not one edgy adventurer to be messed with. if you’re interested in this spell for your next Warlock, then check out our Warlock 5E guide, or If you’re interested in researching other spells then check out our DnD 5E spells section, Good luck out there adventurers, until next time, try coming up with some one-liners to add to that sick burn!

Expert Editor-in-Chief