5th Edition Spells – Absorb Elements

Absorb Elements

Artificer, Druid, Ranger, Sorcerer, Wizard - 1 Level Spell

School: Abjuration
Casting Time: 1 Reaction
Range: Self
Components: Somatic
Duration: 1 Round
Attack/Save: None
Reference: EEPC 150

The spell captures some of the incoming energy, lessening its effect on you and storing it for your next melee attack. You have resistance to the triggering damage type until the start of your next turn. Also, the first time you hit with a melee attack on your next turn, the target takes an extra 1d6 damage of the triggering type, and the spell ends.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the extra damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 1st.

* – which you take when you take acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage

Mage being hit by lightning to show how Absorb Elements spell works

This image is owned by fin more of their amazing work on deviantart here.

My Comments: My first thought here is that that the description could be clearer. I think we all get what it means, but I feel like it should specifically say “When the caster is damaged by acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder, this reaction spell captures some of the incoming energy […]” just for best clarity’s sake.

Besides being a bit pedantic about the wording, I actually do really enjoy this spell from the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion. Getting resistance to a particular attack is nice, but giving it back one the edge of your melee weapon is even better.

Except, there’s an issue: to give that damage back you have to make a melee attack. If you’re a caster in the back avoiding combat and get hit by lightning bolt, you probably aren’t going to push up into the middle of things just because you’ve got an extra d6 on your dagger. Besides, a lot of opponents that use these damage types already have resistance or immunity to them, so it’s not likely to make a huge difference.

At the same time, being able to avoid half the damage of a fireball or lightning bolt is pretty damn significant.

Also, it’s a reaction spell. You have to give a little love to reaction spells since there aren’t many of them and they tend to be a surprise for your opponent.

So, let’s add it up:

  • Resistance to a damage type (within the elements list): Excellent.
  • Able to add a d6 to your next melee attack: Cool, but not terribly
  • Reaction spell: Excellent
  • Only a Somatic component: Great! No need to talk or dig stuff out of pouches.

Overall, I think it’s a great first-level spell option. Sure, it’s more situational than a lot of spells and you won’t be using it every combat but when you do have a use for it you’ll be very glad it’s there.

Let me know if I’m missing anything in the comments.

[pssst… want to draw a card from The Deck of Many Things?]

[P.S. Check out the Wacky Dungeon game just above the footer!]

Dave Goff

Writing and creating in my spare time to avoid going crazy in this mad, mad, world. Check out some of my materials on DMsGuild and let me know what you think! subscribe to keep up with new posts and leave comments to keep the conversation going.


  1. Swanie on November 7, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    Seems like you should be able to apply the extra damage when using Mordenkainen’s Sword.

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