Shatter 5E — DnD spell explained 2024

Unleash sonic devastation with the Shatter 5E spell in DnD. Harness sound to damage structures and creatures alike.

Shatter 5E: Half-orc from DnD breaking stone with Shatter spell
© Dice Cove

What is Shatter 5E?

Shatter 5E (PHB, p. 275) is a 2nd level evocation spell, which is available natively to Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards. It requires vocal, somatic, and material components with the latter being a chip of mica. It takes an action to cast, forcing creatures within 10 ft. of a point you choose within 60 ft. to make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save they take 3d8 thunder damage, taking half this amount on a successful save. Creatures have disadvantage on this save if they are made up of an inorganic material, such as metal or stone. Nonmagical objects in the spell’s area also take damage if they are not worn or carried.

If you cast this spell with a 3rd level or higher spell slot, the amount of damage increases by 1d8 for every level above 2nd. For example, a 5th level casting of Shatter would deal 6d8 thunder damage.

Is Shatter 5E a good spell?

Shatter is a solid AoE spell for a 2nd level slot, whilst it may not have the push effect of its lower-level cousin Thunderwave, the range makes it much safer and easier to use. Its ability to damage objects gives it some versatility, which can be used to blast your way through some obstacles or potentially alter the environment to your advantage, for example by destroying a bridge. Notably, it’s one of the few damage-orientated options available for Bards, making it a higher value spell for them.

Ways to make this spell better include the Tempest Cleric’s Channel Divinity, which allows you to use the maximum damage value instead of rolling dice. Armorer and Artillerist Artificers are able to choose Shatter for their Spell-Storing Item feature, allowing it to be used practically like a cantrip with a +5 Int modifier. Artillerists are also able to increase the spell’s damage with their Arcane Firearm feature, adding an additional d8 to the damage, essentially a free upcasting!

How can you get Shatter 5E spell?

If you find yourself in need of blowing a little more than the bloomin’ doors off, then fear not! Here is a list of how you can grab this spell:

  • Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard – All of these classes have Shatter on their spell lists.
  • Arcane Trickster (Rogue Subclass) – This Rogue can choose spells from the Wizard spell list, and can choose Shatter as one of their unrestricted spells at 8th level.
  • Eldritch Knight (Fighter Subclass) – Similar to above, this Fighter subclass can choose spells from the Wizard list and can choose Shatter as one of their spells as it matches their evocation restriction.
  • Armorer (Artificer Subclass) – These Iron Man enthusiasts gain Shatter as an always-prepared spell thanks to their Armorer Spells feature.
  • Artillerist (Artificer Subclass) – Similar to their heavily-armored brethren above, these blasty Artificers get Shatter through their Artillerist Spells feature.
  • Four Elements (Monk Subclass) –  The Gong of the Summit Elemental Discipline allows these Monks to cast Shatter for 3 ki points from 6th level.
  • Tempest Domain (Cleric Subclass) – These Clerics get Shatter as a domain spell and can bolster its effectiveness with their Channel Divinity.

How to roleplay the Shatter 5E spell

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

  • Cornered in a cavern, the Bard notices stalactites hanging precariously above the approaching goblin horde. With a swift incantation and a discordant note on her lute, she casts Shatter on the ceiling. The crushing sound wave causes the stalactites to explode, raining shards of rock onto the unsuspecting goblins below.
  • In a stand-off against an iron golem, the Wizard extends her staff, channeling her magic into a Shatter spell. A harsh, booming sound ripples from the staff’s tip, hitting the golem and causing its metallic form to resonate violently. The echo of the spell cracks the construct’s iron form, weakening it for the ensuing battle.
  • While storming a fortified castle, the half-orc Sorcerer targets the thick wooden gate barring their path. With a forceful word, he unleashes Shatter. The thunderous shockwave that follows splinters the wood, creating a breach through which the party can storm the fortress.

Hopefully, this article helped you blow a group of bad guys to bits. if you’re interested in this spell for your next Sorcerer build, check out our Sorcerer 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, sometimes blowing a hole in a wall is faster then kicking down the door!

Expert Editor-in-Chief