The ground in the area is covered with slick ice, making it difficult terrain. When a creature enters the spell’s area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, it must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, it falls prone.
If a creature starts its turn in the spell’s area and is concentrating on a spell, the creature must make a successful Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC or lose concentration.
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 150 feet
Components: V, S, M (a pinch of dust and a few drops of water)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
School: 3rd-level conjuration
Player’s Handbook, pg. 276
Sleet Storm 5e
Sleet Storm is a spell that players often overlook when presented with other 3rd-level options. Fire Ball go brr, after all.
But savvy spellcasters who read dig deep into exactly what Sleet Storm accomplishes will walk away impressed. We’ll cover common rules questions as well as the best ways to use Sleet Storm in your next DnD session.
Who Can Cast Sleet Storm in 5e?
The following classes have Sleet Storm on their spell list:
The following subclasses get Sleet Storm for free:
- Cleric (Tempest Domain)
- Druid (Circle of the Land: Arctic)
Warlock (The Fathomless) (TCoE 72)
Warlock (The Genie: Marid) (TCoE 73)
What Does Sleet Storm Do in 5e?
Sleet Storm creates a 40-foot radius zone of freezing rain and sleet, which has the following effects:
The area is heavily obscured. Meaning creatures can’t see through it and any creature inside it is effectively blinded. We’ll get into the nitty-gritty of this part of the spell and its interaction with rules around unseen attackers in the rules section below.
Exposed flames are doused. Both magical and mundane.
The area is difficult terrain. Meaning it costs +1 speed per foot movement (PHB 182).
A creature who enters the area or starts its turn there may fall prone. They make one saving throw at the start of their turn, and fall prone on a failure. The prone condition (PHB 292) has the following effects:
Prone creatures can only crawl to move; crawling costs +1 speed per foot movement (yes, this does stack with the difficult terrain modifier).
Standing from prone costs half a creature’s movement speed.
A prone creature has disadvantage on attack rolls.
Attacks within 5 feet of the prone creature have advantage; attacks from more than 5 feet away have disadvantage.
A creature who enters the area or starts its turn there may lose concentration. Concentrating spellcasters must make a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC and lose concentration if they fail.
As a reminder, a 40-foot radius is MASSIVE. If you’re using a battle map where 1 square/inch = 5 feet, it works out to a 16 square diameter, which looks like this:
That’s 201 squares of sleety goodness.
What Are the Rules for Sleet Storm in 5e?
The rules for Sleet Storm in DnD 5e are as follows:
The Dexterity saving throw and Constitution saving throw to maintain concentration are both made at the same time; the start of a creature’s turn. Here’s Sage Advice confirmation that this is the intended course of events.
Do note, however, that only the Dexterity save is made when a creature enters Sleet Storm’s area for the first time on their turn. Concentration checks only happen when a creature starts its turn in the area.
Sleet Storm can be cast underwater. We have Mike Mearls terse but positive answer in this Sage Advice thread. We also have another Sage Advice thread that talks about how spells like Create Bonfire work underwater, so that’s enough proof for me that the rules of physics don’t apply to magic.
How exactly Sleet Storm functions underwater narratively and mechanically is DM-dependent, though. The spell doesn’t say that creatures have to be touching the ground to be affected by the chance to fall prone, but how your DM interprets (or whether they allow for) the prone condition underwater is another matter.
This Sage Advice thread confirms that it’s possible to be prone underwater, and describes it visually as “floundering.”
Sleet Storm works on flying creatures. If a flying creature flies low enough (no higher than 20 feet above the spell’s point of origin) and they fail their Dexterity save, they’ll fall to the ground and land prone. Falling creatures take 1d6 bludgeoning damage per 10 feet of falling (PHB 183).
Again, the spell’s Dexterity check doesn’t specify that creatures need to be touching the ground. It’s kinda the same reason why the spell “just works” underwater as well.
Sleet Storm can only force one Dexterity per turn per creature. The Sage Advice Compendium cleared up spells like Sleet Storm and Moonbeam, confirming two things.
A) You can’t move creatures out of/back into an area of effect to cause its effects multiple times in one turn, and B) you can totally force creatures into these areas of effect to force their effects upon them (when their turn starts) (SAC 19). Note that the concentration check only happens when a creature starts its turn, so that’s capped at once per round.
Heavily obscured areas “block vision entirely” and creatures in the area “effectively suffer from the blinded condition” (PHB 183). The blinded condition, in turn, causes affected creatures to “automatically fail any ability check that requires sight” and “attack rolls against the creature have advantage” while “the creature’s attack rolls have disadvantage” (PHB 291).
This is very important because many spells require sight of the target in order to cast. Sleet Storm effectively prevents such targeted spells to work, however, it does still leave room for attempted ranged spell attacks like Fire Bolt and tossing out area of effect spells like Fire Ball.
Disadvantage on an attack from being blinded and attack advantage from being an unseen attacker cancel out to no advantage. What this effectively means is that a ranged attacker can attempt to attack someone on the other side of the Sleet Storm, but they’ll have to guess where to attack. They won’t have disadvantage, because it’s canceled out thanks to them gaining attack advantage from being unseen attackers (PHB 194-5).
It’s all rather unintuitive, but basically, you can guess and make an attack roll, and the DM will tell you whether it hits or not — if it misses, though, they don’t have to tell you whether you guessed correctly.
Note that all this applies to both ranged weapon attacks and ranged spell attacks.
Moving in difficult terrain while prone costs 3 feet of speed per 1 foot of movement. So if a creature has a 30-foot speed, they can crawl for 10 feet in difficult terrain in one round.
Sleet Storm affects the caster too. Including concentration checks to maintain the spell itself.
If a creature starts its turn prone in Sleet Storm, it doesn’t make a Dexterity saving throw. Even if it stands up, that’s still not the start of its turn.
Sleet Storm can douse magical flames (it seems). Nothing in the spell description makes it explicit, but I don’t know how far this extends. It definitely doesn’t stop instantaneous fire spells like Fire Ball from working.
It probably puts out fires caused by a spell like Burning Hands. Whether it works on a spell as powerful as Wall of Fire is probably more DM-dependent.
Crampons may or may not work to prevent falling prone from Sleet Storm. Crampons are a piece of adventuring gear that prevents a creature who’s wearing them from falling prone while moving across slippery ice.
Whether this works on magical ice seems DM-dependent, so we’ll save our two cents for the DM tips section below.
The War Caster feat does not protect against Sleet Storm’s forced concentration check. The War Caster feat’s first bullet point gives advantage on concentration checks when taking damage (PHB 170). Since Sleet Storm’s check isn’t caused by damage, War Caster doesn’t work against it.
How Do I Use Sleet Storm in 5e?
Here are a few ways to use Sleet Storm to you and your party’s advantage:
Stop enemy spellcasters. Sleet Storm is one of the best anti-magic spells among third-level options. Its ability to stop spells that require sight of the target is great, and the concentration checks that you force with Sleet Storm will likely have a DC of 14-15+.
For reference, you’d need to deal 28-30 damage to make for a concentration check that difficult by doing damage alone.
Plus, Sleet Storm lasts for up to 10 rounds of combat, giving it an advantage over spells like Counterspell and Dispel Magic that are limited to a single round.
Minimize the ranged damage your party takes. If you’re taking heat from a castle wall loaded with archers, an ambushing pack of gnolls, etc., Sleet Storm can be just the thing to force your adversaries to rethink their strategy.
Be warned that this also puts your ranged attackers at a disadvantage against targets blocked/engulfed by Sleet Storm in this way.
Keep groups of melee at bay. Yep — Sleet Storm is good against the whole combat triangle of magic, ranged, and melee. If you center Sleet Storm on a pack of melee creatures, it will likely take them two or more turns to emerge from the spell’s area.
What’s extra great about this, aside from buying you time, is that you stagger the engagement. It’s much easier to pick off one or two baddies at a time as they pop out of the Sleet Storm rather than face a more balanced action economy.
Bring down flyers. Sleet Storm doesn’t go up that high (only 20 feet), so you may have to aim the spell in the air and therefore miss out on the spell’s persistent effects. Still, if you center it on a group of flying enemies, you’re bound to bring some down prone.
Plus, if you keep concentrating on it for a few rounds and center it on the group, you’ll likely get at least two chances for a failed Dexterity save followed by a plunge from the sky. Heck, this can even kill flying creatures that don’t have many hit points. Casting it on a flyer at max range (150 feet) will cause 15d6 (52.5) bludgeoning damage when they hit the ground (PHB 183).
Pair with movement constraining effects. This is a simple one — if you’re able to coordinate with your party and set up Wall spells, slow effects (like the Slow spell), or pushing/pulling effects like Thorn Whip or Eldritch Blast’s Repelling Blast, you can keep enemies within Sleet Storm’s area of effect longer.
Pair with other hazardous terrain. Persistent area of effect damage spells like Spike Growth and Spirit Guardians (which also slows) are great for multiplying the pain caused by Sleet Storm. Plus, more incoming sources of damage = more concentration checks for any unfortunate spellcaster caught up in that mess.
Use it to Hide. Rogues and anyone else who can take the Hide action as a bonus action absolutely love the heavily obscured area created by Sleet Storm. It gives them a chance to hide pretty much every turn (which may or not be beneficial, but players that can hide tend to love doing it whenever possible).
Pair with Blind Fighting. The Blind Fighting fighting style introduced in Tasha’s works really well with spells like Sleet Storm and Darkness. It basically ensures that a player gets all the advantages of being in a heavily obscured area while suffering fewer of the consequences (sight is still limited to 10 feet, but hey).
This is also a handy tip to keep in mind for pets and Druid Wild Shape forms that have Blindsight (which quite a few do; spiders, bats, snakes, etc.).
Be mindful of your party. This is just a general tip — if you have a lot of ranged players in your group, be careful that you don’t cut off their main corridor of attack. And if your melee mates have to get somewhere, maybe don’t put a giant storm of ice in their path.
Sleet Storm is big, but you can effectively reduce its size by placing its center along the wall/corner of a room. Use this to your advantage when you’re in a tight space but still want to make it snow on some folks in the room.
Pair with the Careful Spell metamagic. Sorcerer’s Careful Spell metamagic allows them to give creatures automatic successes on the saving throws caused by spells they’ve cast (PHB 102).
While party members will still have to deal with the heavy obscurity and the difficult terrain, Careful Spell will make it possible for your allies to traverse the space without fear of falling prone or losing concentration.
If you’re in Sleet Storm, crawl away rather than walk. This is a tip for players who find themselves caught in an enemy’s (or careless ally’s) Sleet Storm. Especially if your Dexterity is bad, it might be better to stay prone and crawl rather than try to walk.
Here’s the important thing: if you start your turn prone, you don’t have to make the Dexterity saving throw. So it might be better to just accept the permanent 1/3 movement speed rather than take a chance and have to spend 1/2 your movement speed standing up from prone multiple times.
Who Can I Target With Sleet Storm 5e?
You can target any space you can see within 150 feet with Sleet Storm. Note that the point of origin for cylindrical spells is the center of the circle’s radius (PHB 204).
So while you need vision of the center of the Sleet Storm effect, you don’t necessarily need to have line of sight of the entirety of it.
Is Sleet Storm 5e a Good Spell?
Yes, Sleet Storm is a very good spell in DnD 5e. Being able to impose such harsh penalties on creatures in such a large space is undeniably potent. Its ability to neuter spellcasters is especially useful. It can also take out whole groups of enemies for multiple rounds of combat as they struggle to leave the affected area.
Sleet Storm’s huge size can also be a problem, though. Finding ways to coordinate as a party to make the most out of Sleet Storm, rather than be hampered by it, will be the difference-maker between an okay spell and a fantastic one.
Sleet Storm 5e DM Tips
We left DMs with three questions: underwater Sleet Storms, dousing magical fires, and crampons. Here’s my take on all three:
Underwater Sleet Storm works the same exact way. I like to describe it as a swirling whirlpool of icy water — it obscures, it’s difficult to move through, it messes with concentration, and it has the chance to make you fall prone.
Jeremy Crawford describes being prone while underwater as totally possible and visualizes it as floundering in the water. That works well enough for me, so Sleet Storm can function exactly as normal when cast underwater.
Sleet Storm douses lower-leveled magical fires, but not Wall of Fire. Since Wall of Fire is a higher-level spell, I think it wins out and stays up against Sleet Storm. But a fire started by the Fire Bolt cantrip? Yea, that’s doused. And, of course, it’s still totally possible to cast instantaneous fire spells in/into the Sleet Storm area.
Crampons work to make it impossible to fall prone from Sleet Storm. Hey, if someone is so prepared as to have crampons on their boots for the dude with Sleet Storm, they deserve to benefit — that’s my opinion anyway. Just don’t cheese this as a DM and give every BBG crampons to arbitrarily weaken Sleet Storm.
Simple Sleet Storm 5e Spell Text
Sleet Storm: (3rd-level conjuration, Concentration, up to 1 minute, 150 feet, V/S/M (a pinch of dust and a few drops of water)) Create a 20-foot-tall, 40-foot radius cylinder. The area is heavily obscured, and exposed flames in the area are doused.
The area’s ground is difficult terrain. When a creature enters the spell’s area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, it must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, it falls prone.
Concentrating creatures must also succeed on a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC or lose concentration if they start their turn in the spell’s area.