• Justin Handlin

Top 5 Alternative Ways to use Dungeons & Dragons Spells

Main Topic: Top 5 Alternative Ways to use Dungeons & Dragons Spells

In this episode, Crit Academy takes a look at the CBR.com article Dungeons & Dragons: 10 Spells With Alternate Uses (That Aren't Against The Rules) written by Ram Merrush. We discuss and expand on the merits of the Top 5 Alternative uses of these spells.

Crit Academy discusses the Top 5 Alternative Ways to use Dungeons & Dragons Spells. Whether as a player character or as a monster, there is a multitude of alternative ways to use D&D spells. Thinking outside the box helps us come up with new and interesting ways to enhance our stories and campaigns.

#5 Easy Meal: Sleep

When adventuring the wilderness the characters have to eat. Sometimes this means going out and hunting or fishing. In any case, it can take a bit of time and effort to do so. The interesting thing about sleep is that when it's used there isn’t a save. It just affects a certain number of creatures within an area based on hit points. Casting sleep on a tree filled with critters or a lake full of fish, they will instantly just fall asleep. Fish will float to the surface and critters will fall out of the trees. Never go hungry again.

#4 Safety Net: Web

Spell slots and known spells are precious commodities at low levels. That can mean that we as spellcasters have to really think hard about what we want to take. Feather Fall for instance is a great spell. It can turn a deadly drop into a slow and mind-blowing vista. But, as stated, we sometimes have to compromise. Enter the Web spell. If a creature has concerns about the party falling into a horrible cavern of death. You can use the web spell to create a safety net, or even a bridge in general to protect the group crossing. Sure it could leave you in a sticky situation, but the alternative is worse. And unlike feather fall, it is far more versatile.

#3 Slippery When Wet/Defog the Windows! Create or Destroy Water

Create or Destroy Water is generally just used to ensure that the party has drinking water. While there are some other limited uses. The fact the spell can be used to destroy fog in a 30-foot cube is no laughing matter. It’s safe to assume this applies to things like cloudkill and other fog-like features and spells. It's worth noting that it has a range of 30 feet. This gives it a bit more versatility. If your characters are crossing a ledge or small beam and are being pursued, you can use create water to make it slick. This makes it significantly more difficult for a chasing enemy to cross the same are as easy as you did.

#2 The Architect! Wall of Stone

Blocking a passage, or blocking the exit of a room with a conjured wall of stone is nice. But what about using it in your downtime to build homes, bridges and other structures when you’re not fighting the scourges of evil. With Wall of Stone, if the caster manages to maintain concentration for the full 10 minutes, the object becomes permanent. This can allow for lots of fun DIY projects around town.

#1 Put Powerful Enemies to Rest

Sleep is a spell that doesn't get a lot of attention. We can do better. Generally, by the time a creature is at low enough health to fall victim to Sleep, it's easier to just kill it. Whether the party is on a quest to capture a target, or if they just want an easier battle, combining Polymorph with Sleep is the answer. Polymorph can turn a big powerful monster into a snail with only a handful of hit points. Sleep only lasts a minute, so that snail better be locked up buried alive or tossed into a bag of holding.

Honorable Mention

Lost In Space! Banishment

Banishment is usually used to prevent an enemy from joining combat by locking them in a demiplane, or sending alien entities back to their plane of origin. But, if a player character ever finds themselves in a terrible situation on another plane. They can use this spell like a pair of ruby red slippers and send themselves or allies back to the material plane.

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Character Concept:

Bolhid Steelfist

Description: She is a mite stocky and dresses well wearing black shirts, loose pants, and blazers most of the time. Her auburn hair is wavy and long. She has several tiny ruby earrings on each ear.

Personality: She has a good heart but also a terrible temper. She will forgive often but not before yelling and berating someone for whatever they have done wrong. She has a habit of throwing herself into exceedingly dangerous situations.

History: The child of a Sellsword, who enjoyed hunting, Bolhild was taken on many hunting expeditions. She was a friend to animals and a trickster. In her defense of animals however she would do severe harm to people. She now mingles about in high society.

Motivation: Money/treasure; and she is compelled to act according to her religious beliefs

Monster Variant:

Monk of the Elements

Origin: Vampire Spawn

Lost Features: Regeneration, spider climb, vampire weaknesses, claws, bite, multiattack

New Features:

Evasion. If the monk is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, the monk instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.

Innate Spellcasting. The monk’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +5 to hit with spell attacks). The monk can innately cast the following spells, requiring no components. All spells are cast at 2nd level:

3/day each: burning hands, earth tremor, ensnaring strike (water whip), gust of wind, jump

Patient Defense (Recharge 5-6). The monk takes the Dodge action as a bonus action.

Multiattack. The monk makes three melee attacks, one with its quarterstaff, and two unarmed strikes.

Quarterstaff. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 +4) bludgeoning damage or 8 (1d8 +4) bludgeoning damage if used with two hands.

Unarmed Strike. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 +4) bludgeoning damage.


Deflect Missiles. In response to being hit by a ranged weapon, the monk deflects the missile. The damage it takes from the attack is reduced by 11. If the damage is reduced to 0, the monk catches the missile if it's small enough to hold in one hand and the monk has a free hand.

If the monk catches a missile in this way, it can make a ranged attack with the weapon or piece of ammunition it just caught, as part of the same reaction. The attack deals 1d8 +3 piercing damage and has a normal range of 40 feet and long-range of 80 feet.


A Lost Treasure

Young Isabel DeGrey, a young (F, commoner) has dropped a precious trinket into a wishing well by mistake. When the characters stumble upon her at the well, or she goes in search of help. They learn she has prayed to the Fairy of the well. The locals believe the fairy to be a benevolent being, as the tales say those who make wish upon the well may have it come true.

Believing this Isabel approached to make a wish. Planning to toss a family coin in, but she slipped and a barret given to her by her now passed great grandmother fell in. Upon her request, the fairy of the well makes a request of the young maiden. She must first seek out fresh mandrake root from the base of the waterfall to the west. A successful DC 17 Nature check is required to harvest it correctly. A character proficient with the herbalism kit has advantage on this check. Should the harvesting fail, the mandrake root juice sprays into their eyes and suffers the effects of the sight rot (DMG) disease.

Upon returning the characters offer up the mandrake root into the well. Upon completion the fairy thanks the efforts of the maiden and her adventurers. The voice from the well calls out. “Young maiden, do you wish to have your trinket returned to you? If so, then I make another request of you. To the north in the lake that this well is connected to. There lives a dangerous beast. It threatens me and my kin. Slain this beast, and bring back its tail as proof. Offer its tail to me and I will return your trinket.” The beast in question is a plesiosaurus. The characters must succeed a DC 15 Wisdom (survival) check to track and locate the beast.

Upon returning the fairy of the well makes one last request. It asks for the maiden's hand. Appearing from the well is a small but well-dressed goblinoid Nilbog(VGtM). With cackling and laughing, if she declines he takes the collection and the trinket and attempts to escape.

Magic Item:

Elk Horn Rod

Wand, rare (requires attunement by a spellcaster)

This rod is fashioned from elk or reindeer horn and marked with the algiz rune. As an action, its wielder can grant a +1 bonus on saving throws against spells and magical effects to a target touched by the wand, including him/herself. The bonus lasts 1 round. If the elk horn rod is held when performing the somatic component of dispel magic or comparable magic, it grants a +1 bonus on the caster’s spellcasting ability check.

-Midgard Heroes Handbook-

Dungeon Master Tip:


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Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick

You will comply!

It can be difficult to get an enemy to confess or share secrets with heroes. While special effects such as charm person and suggestion allow them to become allies and more willing to assist you. It isn’t always enough. Tossing in the zone of truth spell with any of these features will not only compel them to answer your questions, but now they must do so Truthfully. Even command becomes more powerful when a question is asked in the zone of the truth, while they may not be forced to reveal, a simple “Comply” command can force even most unwilling to reveal everything they know, even if it will put their lives in danger. This interrogation technique is far more effective than some brutish torture and threats that many have come to rely on.

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