Thaumaturgy spell in DnD 5E explained

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What is Thaumaturgy?

Thaumaturgy (PHB, p. 282) is a transmutation cantrip available to Clerics (don’t worry, we’ll cover other ways to get it below!) that takes an action to cast, with a range of 30 feet, and only requires a vocal component. Like many other utility cantrips it has multiple options to choose from when you cast it:

  • Your voice booms up to three times as loud as normal for 1 minute.
  • You cause flames to flicker, brighten, dim, or change color for 1 minute.
  • You cause harmless tremors in the ground for 1 minute.
  • You create an instantaneous sound that originates from a point of your choice within range, such as a rumble of thunder, the cry of a raven, or ominous whispers.
  • You instantaneously cause an unlocked door or window to fly open or slam shut.
  • You alter the appearance of your eyes for 1 minute.

You can even have up to three of the effects that last for 1 minute at the same time if you recast the spell, and you can dismiss any of those effects as an action.

Is Thaumaturgy a good spell?

It’s okay, this is more of a fun or roleplaying cantrip and the divine equivalent of the infamously hard to pronounce Prestidigitation. As a result of this, the usefulness of Thaumaturgy is down to your own creativity and the permissiveness of your DM. That said it can be a fantastic way to distract guards with a slamming door, or to intimidate the criminal you need information out of with a combination of glowing eyes, booming voice, and the very ground he’s cowering on shaking beneath him. 

How can you get Thaumaturgy?

As you might expect from a cantrip that is iconically Cleric spell, it’s only available on the Cleric spell list, but fear not we have dug up all of the options for you:

  • Cleric – The path of least resistance and obvious choice.
  • Divine Soul (Sorcerer Subclass) – This Sorcerer can choose spells from the Cleric list, letting you grab Thaumaturgy along with other great spells like Cure Wounds and Spiritual Weapon.
  • Blessed Warrior (Tasha’s Optional Fighting Style for Paladins) – This Fighting Style will allow you to choose two Cleric cantrips of your choice.
  • 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.
  • Magic Initiate (Feat) – By choosing Cleric as the class for this feat you can grab Thaumaturgy, in addition to one other cantrip, and a 1st level spell that you can cast once per day without a spell slot.
  • Strixhaven Initiate (Feat) – Both the Lorehold and Silverquill colleges will allow you to grab Thaumaturgy, with a choice between two other cantrips, and a 1st level spell from one of two spell lists.
  • Tiefling: Asmodeus, Baalzebul, Dispater, and Zariel (Race Variants) – All of these Tiefling variants from MToF get Thaumaturgy as a racial spell, along with two leveled spells.

How to roleplay the Thaumaturgy spell

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

  • As you cast Thaumaturgy, the air around you ripples and bends, as if pushed by an unseen force. Your voice booms three times louder than normal, echoing throughout the area. Those within earshot may feel a slight tremble in their bones as your words command attention.
  • Your eyes glow with an otherworldly light as you channel the magic of Thaumaturgy. The ground beneath your feet shakes, causing nearby objects to rattle and tremble. A faint breeze picks up, causing torches and candles to flicker and dance to your command.
  • You feel a sense of power surging through you as you invoke Thaumaturgy. The room is suddenly filled with the scent of brimstone as a gust of wind rushes through the area. Flames leap higher in the torches and braziers, casting eerie shadows on the walls. Your voice resonates with a supernatural force as you speak.
  • The air seems to shimmer and distort as you cast Thaumaturgy. The sound of your voice becomes thick and syrupy, causing those within earshot to feel a strange sensation in their heads. The light dims and flickers as the area around you is plunged into darkness, before being suddenly illuminated by a brilliant flash of light.
  • A palpable sense of fear washes over your foes as you cast Thaumaturgy. The ground shakes, and a low rumbling sound emanates from the earth. A gust of wind rushes through the area, extinguishing all flames and sending debris flying. Your voice takes on a menacing tone as you speak, causing those who hear it to quiver with apprehension.

Whilst it may not be as impressive as shaking the earth beneath your feet, we hope you’ve found this article informative and helpful. If you are new to the game then check out our how to play section, or if you’re looking for interesting cantrips then check out our Booming Blade article. Good luck out there adventurers, and remember, everyone loves a good entrance.

Expert Editor-in-Chief