Moonbeam 5E — DnD spell explained 2023

Illuminate the battlefield with our guide to the Moonbeam 5E spell. Conjure a radiant beam to smite foes in DnD.

Moonbeam 5E: Half-Orc druid calling upon the power of the Moonbeam spell
© Dice Cove

What is Moonbeam 5E?

Moonbeam 5E (PHB, p. 261) is a 2nd level evocation spell, which is available natively only to Druids. It requires vocal, somatic, and material components with the latter being a piece of opalescent feldspar and several seeds of a moonseed plant. It takes an action to cast, creating a 5 ft. radius, 40 ft. high cylinder of dim light at a point within 120 ft. A creature makes a Constitution saving throw when it enters the cylinder for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there. On a failed save it takes 2d10 radiant damage or half as much on a successful save. If the creature is a shapechanger it has disadvantage on the saving throw, reverting to its original form on a failure and is prevented from assuming another form whilst in the cylinder.

You can use an action to move the cylinder up to 60 ft. in a direction of your choice. The spell lasts for 1 minute or until you lose concentration.

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

Is Moonbeam 5E a good spell?

Moonbeam is a good spell as it offers a damaging effect that can be moved around in order to add some control to the battlefield. It has the potential to make monsters flee from it, if they start their turn in the beam, or prevent them from moving through a certain area without injuring them. The d10 damage die means that it has the potential to do significant damage and upcasts well, however, the damage can also be very swingy without a static number included with the dice. The shapechanger effect is very niche but makes this spell very potent against shapechangers such as were-creatures and doppelgangers. 

The best way to improve this spell is to have a reliable bonus action to take so that you can still contribute more to the combat on turns where you are either casting Moonbeam or moving it around. An example of this is the Circle of Stars Druid, which can use their Starry Form to make ranged attacks as a bonus action.

How can you get Moonbeam 5E spell?

If you find yourself in need of raining radiant light upon your foes, then fear not! Here is a list of how you can grab this spell:

  • Druid – The only class to have Moonbeam on their spell list.
  • Oath of the Ancients (Paladin Subclass) – These nature-protecting Paladins get Moonbeam as an always-prepared spell thanks to their Oath Spells feature.
  • Oath of the Watchers (Paladin Subclass) – Similar to the above, these vigilant Paladins get Moonbeam as an Oath Spell.
  • Twilight Domain (Cleric Subclass) – These Clerics get this spell as a Domain Spell.

How to roleplay the Moonbeam 5E spell

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

  • Amid the swarming werewolves, the druid lifts her staff high and calls down a beam of pure moonlight. The radiant column of light pierces the darkness, bathing the lycanthropes in searing, silvery energy that sends them reeling in pain and disrupting their monstrous forms.
  • On a moonless night the Paladin summons a Moonbeam in the midst of the vampire spawn pursuing them. A shaft of pure, radiant moonlight bursts from the heavens, causing the creatures to shriek in agony as the light burns their unholy flesh.
  • As the shambling horde of zombies closes in, the half-elf Druid thrusts her hand skyward, calling forth a Moonbeam. Brilliant light descends, engulfing the undead in its radiance. They sizzle and burn in the beam’s intense glow, their unholy existence challenged by the moon’s purifying light.

Hopefully, this article was informative and helped you reveal the shapechangers in your midst. if you’re interested in this spell for your next Paladin, then check out our Paladin 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, don’t worry about friendly fire, after all, shapechangers could be anyone!

Expert Editor-in-Chief