You call forth spirits of the dead, which flit around you for the spell’s duration. The spirits are intangible and invulnerable.
Until the spell ends, any attack you make deals 1d8 extra damage when you hit a creature within 10 feet of you. This damage is radiant, necrotic, or cold (your choice when you cast the spell). Any creature that takes this damage can’t regain hit points until the start of your next turn.
In addition, any creature of your choice that you can see that starts its turn within 10 feet of you has its speed reduced by 10 feet until the start of your next turn.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d8 for every two slot levels above 3rd.
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
School: 3rd-level necromancy
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, pg. 108
Spirit Shroud 5e
Once feared as an overpowered spell, Spirit Shroud’s power level is now rightly regarded as a solid spell, but only for some character builds. It certainly didn’t break the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons.
Let’s go over exactly how DnD’s Spirit Shroud works and how to make the most of it.
What Does Spirit Shroud Do in 5e?
Spirit Shroud causes all of the caster’s attacks to cause an extra 1d8 damage whenever they hit a creature within 10 feet of themselves. This damage can be radiant, necrotic, or cold (caster’s choice). A creature that takes this damage cannot regain hit points for one round.
Additionally, all creatures of the caster’s choice that start their turn within 10 feet of the caster have their movement speed reduced by 10 feet for one round.
This spell can be upcast to deal an additional 1d8 damage per two slot levels above 3rd. So a 5th-level Spirit Shroud deals 2d8 damage, 7th-level deals 3d8, and 9th-level deals 4d8 on hit.
5e’s Spirit Shroud costs a bonus action to cast and lasts for up to one minute, concentration permitting.
The choice of damage type is decided upon casting the spell, and cannot be changed after this decision is made in later rounds.
How Do I Use Spirit Shroud in 5e?
Here are a few ways to use Spirit Shroud in DnD 5e:
Buff your Extra Attack’ing martial character. Spirit Shroud’s 10-foot range requirement is a serious hassle for spellcasting characters who prefer hanging out far from the creatures they’re attacking. But for a Paladin, who is almost always in melee range anyway, a spell like Spirit Shroud really shines.
Extra Attack automatically makes Spirit Shroud more impactful by increasing the average damage per round it’ll put out.
Other gish-type characters like the Hexblade Warlock, Bladesinging Wizard, and Eldritch Knight Fighter might also find some good utility out of Spirit Shroud, but the concentration requirement does beg the question of opportunity cost.
Boost your multi-hit spells. The crazy damage scaling stories you hear with Spirit Shroud usually involve Eldritch Blast, a cantrip already rife with opportunities for crazy damage modifiers. And this is indeed a good combination if you can reliably maintain the sweet spot of a 10-foot distance without getting a dude in your face giving you disadvantage on ranged attack rolls.
Stop enemy healers. Enemy spellcasters might have healing spells, and healing potions are always something to worry about. If your party focus fires the target that’s been hit with Spirit Shroud, there’s no way for them to get heals of any kind (except temporary hit points).
Prevent hit point regeneration. If you don’t have a good source of the correct damage type to prevent a creature’s hit point regeneration (vampires, trolls, revenants, etc.), Spirit Shroud is a good option for persistently denying this power.
Take advantage of damage type vulnerabilities. Spirit Shroud’s other strength is the option to choose between radiant, necrotic, or cold damage. Sometimes, the radiant damage is actually enough to stop hit point regeneration on its own (vampires, revenants, etc.)
Plus, radiant damage is great for stopping a zombie’s Undead Fortitude trait, making Spirit Shroud the star of the show for last-hitting brain-eaters.
Is Spirit Shroud Good in DnD 5e?
Spirit Shroud is an okay spell that performs well on Paladins, some martial/caster hybrid characters, and with hyper-optimized Eldritch Blast builds. But on the last point, Hex is usually a fine option to use instead, as it offers greater range (which in turn allows greater flexibility of movement in combat) at the expense of slightly lower damage.
And for gish-type characters, a spell like Shadow Blade often performs better for the role.
Still, for Paladins and for situations where preventing health regeneration is paramount, Spirit Shroud is an awesome spell with a ton of potential for flavor. Who are these spirits of the dead that fight alongside you? Are you like Aragorn leading an army of the damned, or are they the vengeful spirits of your enemies’ former victims?
In my experience as a player and DM, Spirit Shroud has always led to cool roleplaying moments. So even if it’s not the most optimal choice for your character build, if it fits with your character’s personality, I’d recommend going for it and leading your army of ghosts into battle.
What Are the Rules for Spirit Shroud in 5e?
The rules for the Spirit Shroud spell in DnD 5e are as follows:
Spirit Shroud’s damage only applies to your attacks. So things like conjured minions, your Find Familiar buddy, and Animated Objects won’t trigger the bonus damage or regeneration-denying ability of Spirit Shroud. Even something like Green-Flame Blade’s secondary target wouldn’t get the bonus damage/effect of Spirit Shroud, because it doesn’t involve an attack roll.
It only applies to your attacks specifically (melee, ranged, spell, etc.) — if you’re making an attack roll against a creature in range, you get to add Spirit Shroud’s damage and rider effect if the attack hits.
Spirit Shroud triggers with each instance of damage. So, for spells that involve multiple attack rolls (Eldritch Blast after level 5, Scorching Ray, etc.), each attack that hits gets a bonus 1d8 damage from Spirit Shroud and applies the hit point regeneration-denying rider effect.
Spirit Shroud DnD 5e FAQ
Does spirit shroud work with spells? Yes, spirit shroud works with spell attacks — in fact, it works with “any attack.” The only stipulation is that you must be within 10 feet of the target for it to “work” (deal damage), so it’s not very easy to pull off with ranged spell attacks. When you’re within 5 feet of your target and make a ranged spell attack, you have disadvantage on the attack roll.
So while a spell like eldritch blast works with spirit shroud, you need to be exactly 10 feet away from your target to gain a net benefit (bonus damage is not worth disadvantage on the attack roll). Note that spirit shroud does NOT work with magic missile, because magic missile is not a spell attack.
Is spirit shroud good for a Hexblade Warlock? Yes, spirit shroud is good for a Hexblade Warlock. With Pact of the Blade and the Thirsting Blade eldritch invocation, you essentially have Extra Attack, which means more opportunities to add spirit shroud’s bonus damage. It’s like a more impactful version of hex, but with a shorter duration (one fight instead of an hour or all day).
Spirit shroud vs. spirit guardians. Spirit shroud deals consistent bonus 1d8 on-hit damage to a single target while also applying a healing negation debuff to that target and slowing all hostile creatures in a 10-foot radius around the caster, while spirit guardians deals 3d8 damage to creatures who start their turn within 15 feet of the caster and fail a Wisdom saving throw (half damage on success) while also slowing all creatures in that 15-foot radius.
Overall, spirit guardians is regarded as stronger, but as a Cleric exclusive spell (+Crown Paladins), it’s not an option for Paladins, Warlocks, and Wizards who have spirit shroud as an option. Clerics should almost never opt for spirit shroud over spirit guardians, as spirit guardians offers more damage to more targets, as well as a bigger slow effect; the anti-heal power of spirit shroud is not usually worth these benefits.
Spirit shroud vs. hex. Spirit shroud deals more extra on-hit damage, slows enemies in a small radius, and causes an anti-heal on-hit effect for a 1-minute period; hex deals less extra on-hit damage, but lasts for 1 hour, scaling up to 8 and eventually 24 hours. Overall, hex is more efficient for adding a small amount of damage over the course of an adventuring day, while spirit shroud is more impactful, but only for a single fight.
Simple DnD Spirit Shroud 5e Text
Any creature of your choice that you can see that starts its turn within 10 feet has -10 feet speed until the start of your next turn.
+1d8 damage for every two slot levels above 3rd.