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
Range: Self
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 Spirit Shroud works and how to make the most of it.

Who Can Cast Spirit Shroud in 5e?

The following classes have Spirit Shroud on their spell list:

No subclasses get Spirit Shroud for free.

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.

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.

What Are the Rules for Spirit Shroud in 5e?

The rules for Spirit Shroud 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.

dungeons and dragons paladin mini

How Do I Use Spirit Shroud in 5e?

Here are a few ways to use Spirit Shroud in DnD 5e:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    This also works with spells like Scorching Ray, but not with something like Magic Missile that doesn’t involve an attack roll.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 5e a Good Spell?

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?

Simple Spirit Shroud 5e Spell Text

Spirit Shroud: (3rd-level necromancy, 1 bonus action, Self, Concentration, up to 1 minute, V/S) When you hit a creature within 10 feet with an attack, deal an extra 1d8 radiant, necrotic, or cold damage (your choice upon casting). A creature that takes this damage cannot regain hit points until the start of your next turn.

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.