Lightning Bolt 5E — DnD spell explained 2024

Harness the raw energy of lightning with our guide to the Lightning Bolt 5E spell in DnD. Unleash a devastating electric blast.

Lightning Bolt 5E: Wizard in DnD shoots lightning from his hand
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What is Lightning Bolt 5E?

Lightning Bolt 5E is a 3rd level evocation spell, which is available natively only to Sorcerers and Wizards. It requires vocal,  somatic, and material components with the latter being a rod made of crystal, glass, or amber and a bit of fur. It takes an action to cast, creating a bold of lightning in a line extending from the caster which is 100 ft. long and 5 ft. wide. Creatures hit by this lightning must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 8d6 lightning damage on a failed save or half that amount on a successful save. Any objects that aren’t being worn or carried which are flammable are ignited if caught in the area of this spell.

If you cast this spell with a 4th level or higher spell slot, the amount of damage increases by 1d6 for every level above 3rd. For example, a 5th level casting of Lightning Bolt would deal 10d6 lightning damage.

Is Lightning Bolt 5E a good spell?

Lightning Bolt is a pretty good spell, with its strong points being the extreme range it can reach and the amount of damage it does. The line shape of the spell can make it harder to hit as many enemies as you would like compared to a spell like Fireball, however, lightning damage is typically more reliable than fire damage. The line can also be an advantage, allowing you to hit some creatures whilst avoiding allies in a relatively small space. The ability to ignite objects that aren’t carried is a ribbon that won’t often come up but could be taken advantage of by spreading oil in the environment.

The easiest way to improve this spell is to increase the amount of damage it does with features such as a Draconic Sorcerer’s Elemental Affinity. You can also enhance the spell in other ways, such as using the Heightened Spell metamagic to give disadvantage on the Dexterity saving throw, or the Evocation Wizard’s Sculpt Spells feature to safely use the spell amongst party members.

How can you get Lightning Bolt 5E spell?

If you find yourself in need of acting like a vengeful Norse god, fear not! Here is a list of how you can grab this spell:

  • Sorcerer and Wizard – These classes all have Lightning Bolt on their spell lists.
  • Arcane Trickster (Rogue Subclass) – This Rogue can choose spells from the Wizard spell list, and can choose Lightning Bolt as one of their unrestricted spells from 14th level.
  • Eldritch Knight (Fighter Subclass) – Similar to above, this Fighter subclass can choose spells from the Wizard list and can choose Lightning Bolt as one of their spells as it matches their evocation restriction.
  • Circle of the Land (Druid Subclass) – By choosing mountain as your land option, these Druids gain Lightning Bolt as an always-prepared spell from 5th level.
  • Armorer (Artificer Subclass) – This Artificer gets Lightning Bolt as an always-prepared spell through the Armorer Spells feature.
  • Fathomless (Warlock Subclass) – Thanks to their Expanded Spell List feature, these Warlocks of the deep can choose Lightning Bolt as a spell known.

How to roleplay the Lightning Bolt 5E spell

Need some help roleplaying the Lightning Bolt spell? Here are some examples to help you out:

  • Faced with a horde of oncoming goblins, the Wizard takes a deep breath and extends her hands, releasing a devastating bolt of lightning. The brilliant arc of electricity tears through the swarm, leaving a trail of scorched goblin remains in its wake.
  • In the midst of a fierce storm at sea, the Sorcerer calls upon the power of his draconic bloodline. He raises his hands to the sky, drawing a bolt of lightning from deep within himself and directing it at the pursuing sea monster, searing its tentacles with electrical energy.
  • As a stone golem lumbers towards the party, Thalia the half-elf wizard quickly traces a sigil in the air, invoking a powerful Lightning Bolt. The bolt cracks the air, striking the golem with force enough to chip its stone exterior and momentarily halt its advance.

Hopefully, this article was informative and helped you to do your best Thor impression. if you’re interested in this spell for your next Armorer Artificer, then check out our Artificer 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, maybe it’s worth clipping a friend or two to get a good line up, right?

Expert Editor-in-Chief