The bonfire ignites flammable objects in its area that aren’t being worn or carried.
The spell’s damage increases by 1d8 when you reach 5th level (2d8), 11th level (3d8), and 17th level (4d8).
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
School: Conjuration cantrip
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, pg. 152
Create Bonfire 5e
Create Bonfire is a cantrip that players love for 101 reasons. We’ll cover a handful of its uses, frequently asked rules questions, and discuss why it’s a good spell.
Who Can Cast Create Bonfire in 5e?
The following classes have Create Bonfire on their spell list:
No subclasses get Create Bonfire for free.
What Does Create Bonfire Do in 5e?
Create Bonfire summons a bonfire that fills a 5-foot cube. A Dexterity check is made by:
Any creature on the space at the time the spell is cast
Any creature that enters the space for the first time on a turn
Any creature ends their turn on the space
If the creature fails their Dexterity check, they take 1d8 (average 4.5) fire damage. Nothing happens if they succeed.
The bonfire ignites flammable objects that aren’t being worn or carried (although most DMs will allow you to light a torch from your hand if you wish).
Finally, Create Bonfire’s damage increases at the same rate as most damaging cantrips, at 5th, 11th, and 17th level (+1d8).
What Are the Rules for Create Bonfire in 5e?
The rules for Create Bonfire in DnD 5e are as follows:
Create Bonfire works under water. Spells do what they say, and as this Sage Advice thread confirms, Create Bonfire works “regardless of the environment.”
Note that this extends to all harsh environments (wind, rain, blizzard, etc.) It’s a magical fire, yo.
The Control Flames spell cannot be used to spread the fire from Create Bonfire. This is the first time I’ve had to directly contradict a Sage Advice thread, in which Chris Perkins says he’d allow the Control Flames spell (which can’t be used on magic fire) to work on Create Bonfire.
However, in the Sage Advice thread we mentioned above (from ~6 months later), Jeremy Crawford disputes a player’s contention that Create Bonfire summons a “non-magical fire” by responding, “that’s not the design intent.”
If that’s true, then Create Bonfire is a magic fire (the spell literally calls it a “magic bonfire,” so what else would it be?) and therefore cannot be manipulated by the Control Flames spell.
All that being said, a DM is free to ignore all this, as it’s not a game-breaking interaction or anything.
Create Bonfire can damage a creature twice (or more) in one round of combat. While the Sage Advice Compendium cleared up a lot of rules questions around spells like Moonbeam and Cloud of Daggers that deal damage at the start of a creature’s turn, it missed Create Bonfire, which deals damage at the end of a creature’s turn (SAC 19).
And importantly, Create Bonfire does deal instant damage compared to those spells, which don’t trigger until later.
However, the other important part of that ruling, notably that a creature could be forced into a dangerous area on multiple turns within one round of combat, is also true for Create Bonfire, which reads “moves into the bonfire’s space for the first time on a turn.”
So if you were to, say, grapple an enemy and pull them off the fire space and back onto it, they would roll a Dex save again. And if the next player spent their turn doing the same thing, they would roll another save…etc., etc.
Create Bonfire creates a bright light. Some players will say that a spell like Produce Flame explicitly mentions shedding light as evidence that Create Bonfire does not create any light.
But to my reading, Produce Flame wanted to be explicit about the range its light extended to clarify it as something about as bright as a torch (as opposed to a huge bonfire, therefore making it suitable for exploration of dark places).
I think the developers’ assumption is that “well, of course a bonfire sheds bright light, and of course the spell Create Bonfire…creates a bonfire.”
For relevant rulings on what produces bright light and how it behaves: “bright light lets most creatures see normally…” and is provided by “torches, lanterns, fires,” among other things (PHB 183).
How Do I Use Create Bonfire in 5e?
Here are a few ways to use Create Bonfire in DnD 5e:
Pair with anything that restrains a creature. Any spells or effects that can restrain a creature effectively guarantees that they’ll be sitting in Create Bonfire for multiple rounds of combat, potentially causing damage multiple times.
This is even better if you have a grappler in your party. Not only can they help make sure that the enemy is sitting in fire at the end of their turn, but they can also pull them out of the fire and put them back in on their turn, doubling the damage potential per round.
Pair with push/pull effects. This is a reliable way to increase Create Bonfire’s consistent damage over the course of a fight. A few examples for pairing with Create Bonfire, either by yourself or working together with party members include:
Warlock’s Eldritch Blast invocations: Using Grasp of Hadar and/or Repelling Blast can pretty much guarantee that you can trigger Create Bonfire damage on multiple rounds of combat as long as the spell and your allies are strategically placed. And it’s a cantrip, so it’s easily replicable.
Lock down choke points. Create Bonfire is sometimes lovingly referred to as the mini Wall of Fire. While 5 feet isn’t huge, it’s also the size of many doorways and passageways in DnD’s many forts and dungeons.
Conjuring a bonfire in such a space forces an enemy to decide whether pursuit is worth the extra fire damage. Even better if you’re actively sniping them from afar.
Stay warm and well-fed. From a roleplaying perspective, having a bonfire on hand 100% of the time is pretty darn handy. No need to fear the icy tundras, even if the wind is a-raging. Based on the ruling above, weather doesn’t mess with the fire created by Create Bonfire.
Whether they move or not, they’re in for some hurt.
Who Can I Target With Create Bonfire 5e?
You can target “ground you can see” within 60 feet with Create Bonfire in DnD 5e. Some DMs interpret this to mean that you cannot cast Create Bonfire at the bottom of thick underbrush to clear it quickly.
The main point, however, is that you cannot conjure a bonfire in the air. Although this does raise the interesting question of whether this means you can only cast Create Bonfire at the floor of a body of water while submerged.
Is Create Bonfire 5e a Good Spell?
Yes, Create Bonfire is a good spell. 1d8 fire damage and a 60-foot range on a cantrip is solid, and that’s without getting into the utility and (small) battlefield control that it offers.
Pairing it with good grappling tactics or push/pull effects can make Create Bonfire truly devastating, but it does require teamwork and a few failed saving throws. Speaking of which, Dexterity saves are pretty solid, being the lowest average physical ability modifier among monsters in DND 5e.
The one thing that’s a bummer about Create Bonfire is the concentration requirement. This becomes more of an issue at later levels, when many powerful spells are vying for this slot, making Create Bonfire (sometimes) unusable.
That being said, its damage scales well, and its utility never stops being useful as you level. And if you find that the concentration requirement is a serious bummer, then Tasha’s gave most spellcasters a way to swap out cantrips as they level.
Create Bonfire 5e Compared to Fire Bolt
Fire Bolt is another cantrip that deals 1d8 fire damage; it also has twice the range of Create Bonfire and also ignites flammable things, leaving some players to wonder why Fire Bolt isn’t the clearly better option.
Two reasons: 1) Create Bonfire also comes with persistent battlefield control and the potential for multiple instances of damage in a single round, and 2) Create Bonfire is a Dexterity saving throw instead of an attack roll.
The second point isn’t always an advantage, but it is generally wise to have one damaging cantrip that’s an attack roll and one that’s saving throw-based.
Just don’t make those two choices both Fire Bolt and Create Bonfire, or you’ll be in trouble when you run into fire-resistant baddies.
Create Bonfire 5e DM Tips
There’s one clearly stupid problem with the rules as written on Create Bonfire: the inability for players to ignite things (torches, candles, etc.) that they’re holding in the fire created by Create Bonfire.
My recommendation? Ignore this ruling and let your players interact with the fire as much as they like.
Simple Create Bonfire 5e Spell Text
Create Bonfire: (Conjuration cantrip, 60 feet, Concentration, up to 1 minute, V/S) Create a magic bonfire that fills a 5-foot cube. Any creature on the space when cast, who enters it for the first time on a turn, or ends its turn there must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 1d8 fire damage. The bonfire ignites flammable objects in its area that aren’t being worn or carried. | +1d8 at 5th, 11th, and 17th levels.
How Other Conjuration Spells Work in DnD 5e
Mage Hand 5e
Sword Burst 5e
Find Familiar 5e
Ice Knife 5e
Cloud of Daggers 5e
Flaming Sphere 5e
Healing Spirit 5e
Misty Step 5e
Call Lightning 5e
Sleet Storm 5e
Spirit Guardians 5e