Dungeons & Dragons: The Schools of Magic Explained

Magic is an integral feature of Dungeons & Dragons, available to heroic adventurers and monsters alike. While six of the game's core classes are spellcasters that are based around the use of magic, nearly each of the game's martial classes are capable of wielding magic through specific subclasses.

When examining the spells of D&D, each spell is part of one of the game's eight schools of magic, with each of these schools possessing their own identity and types of magical effects that may be found within them. So we're going to break down everything you need to know about the eight schools of magic in Dungeons & Dragons!

Abjuration

The school of Abjuration is home to a variety of wards and defensive spell options that can be used to protect one's self or an ally from harm. While many early-level Abjuration spells such as Mage Armor, Protection from Evil and Good, and Shield are quite straightforward in their warding capabilities, the school of Abjuration is quite multifarious. In addition to covering protection-based spells, the school of Abjuration is home to the magic that can be used to combat magic itself such as Counterspell, Dispel Magic, Greater Restoration, Nondetection, and Remove Curse.

Conjuration

Conjuration is a school of magic that is primarily defined by the ability to summon and create creatures and objects as well as its ability to provide magical transportation through the likes of teleporting effects. While Conjuration is the school of magic home to spells like Find Familiar and Conjure Elemental, it is also home to spells like Misty Step and Dimension Door. As the school of Conjuration is also home to effects that would create objects, many offense-based spells that produce a physical force that can damage foes such as Ice Knife or Tidal Wave are classified as Conjuration spells.

Divination

While spells of the school of Divination are rarely useful in combat, as the school is centered on providing knowledge and answers to a caster, many of the most useful out-of-combat utility spells in D&D can be found in this school. Many of the most popular DIvination spells are those that can be used to identify various objects, spells, or problems that adventurers may encounter in their travels such as Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Detect Thoughts, and Identify. The school of Divination is also notably home to many great spells that can be used to essentially ask a DM for hints or even direct answers to questions such as Augury, Divination, and Commune.

Enchantment

The school of Enchantment is based around magic that is capable of affecting a target's mind or mental state. Filled with spells capable of charming targets, or spells that compel a target to perform certain actions, some low-level Enchantment spells include the likes of Calm Emotions, Command, Sleep, Tasha's Hideous Laughter, and Suggestion. This school also includes various offensive spells that can deal psychic damage or provide hindering effects to a target's mind such as Psychic Scream, Raulothim's Psychic Lance, and even Power Word: Kill!

Evocation

Perhaps the most straightforward school of magic in D&D, the school of Evocation is centered upon highly damaging effects that can be used in combat, providing anything from beams of energy to full-fledged magical explosions. The school of Evocation is filled with iconic spells synonymous with spellcasting in Dungeons & Dragons, including the Warlock staple, Eldritch Blast as well as potent damage options like Bigby's Hand, Fireball, and Lightning Bolt.

In addition to containing highly damaging spells, this school of magic also features a wide range of spells that can heal the wounds of one's allies, such as Cure Wounds, Healing Word, and Heal.

Illusion

Spells of the School of Illusion tend to be the most deceptive magics a spellcaster can learn, aiming to manipulate the senses of others. While this school contains traditional illusion spells that one may expect such as Disguise Self, Minor Illusion, Silent Image, other Illusory effects such as those of Shadow Blade and Phantasmal Killer are powerful enough that creatures can sustain damage through these facsimiles.

As the school of Illusion is home to effects that alter the perception of one's senses, this school includes spells such as Dream, Silence, and even the likes of Simulacrum.

Necromancy

Necromancy spells are those that can manipulate life itself. As this is a somewhat broad umbrella, the Necromancy school is quite varied, featuring spells that can raise the dead or deal serious damage to one's enemies. In regards to magic capable of raising the dead, spells like Revivify and Raise Dead can bring a creature back from the dead, good as new, while spells like Animate Dead and Danse Macabre can be used to create undead. Due to the life-manipulating nature of this school, nearly each of its damaging spells deals necrotic damage. It should also be noted that this school is home to effects that can plague another creature with detrimental effects such as Blindness/Deafness, Bestow Curse, and Ray of Enfeeblement.

Transmutation

The school of Transmutation is based around spells that can physically alter the form of an object, including spells that can fundamentally change something. The manner in which transmutation spells can alter a target varies greatly. On one hand, a spell like Featherfall can alter the physics of how a creature falls and Longstrider can alter a creature's movement, while Polymorph and Reincarnate can be used to impose drastic magical changes on the forms of targets.

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