5th Edition Spells – Acid Splash

Acid Splash

Artificer, Sorcerer, Wizard - Cantrip Level Spell

School: Conjuration
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 60 ft
Components: Verbal and Somatic
Duration: Instantaneous
Attack/Save: DEX
Reference: PHB 211

You hurl a bubble of acid. Choose one creature within range, or choose two creatures within range that are within 5 feet of each other. A target must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 1d6 acid damage.

This spell’s damage increases by 1d6 when you reach 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).

My Comments: To be honest, I think this spell is in here to give a cantrip in the acid damage category, but it is kind of a cool visual. I love the idea of acid splattering all over the place, and a clever DM would have tons of opportunity to apply unintended consequences.
One of the best questions I’ve seen though is whether to not the acid splash could be stored. Honestly, I don’t think the designer had that in mind at all, but let’s look at this idea for a moment…

The spell is in the conjuration school, so it means something is being conjured, or created, out of thin air and the duration is listed as Instantaneous, which means the magical effect is gone right after casting. The question is, was the magic the creation of the acid, or the effect of the acid?
When we compare Acid Splash to Create Food & Water, another conjuration spell with an instantaneous duration, the food & water exist after the spell’s casting is done. So with that in mind, is the acid from Acid Splash still there after the instantaneous casting time of the spell? If it’s like Create Food & Water, then it would be, right? Which means you could catch it in a container and use it later, right?

But wait… Produce flame is also conjuration and it specifically says it disappears at the end of the casting time, if not sooner. That’s just the ephemeral nature of flame though, right?

Maybe, but let’s grab another conjuration spell, Arms of Hadar, or Sword Burst, or Poison Spray… OK, the Arms and Swords are described as ethereal and the poison is a cloud, not a liquid, so still kind of ephemeral.

How about Conjure Barrage? The barrage disappears after the spells instantaneous effect goes off. It’s still kind of ephemeral though, like Unseen Servant, Mage Hand, Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound or Magnificent Mansion… All items purely created from magic energy that goes back to being just energy when the spell is done.

But, but, but! What about the conjure creature spells, like Find Steed, or Find Familiar? These are creatures that are fully formed of real matter and they stick around until the die or are banished.

Just like food and water… So, if I’m DM and a player said they wanted to cast Acid Splash and store it in a vial, I’d let it work, after all it’s just a vial of acid. But I’d have a damn good time with the difficulties of it. If they wanted to cast Acid Splash in the normal way and have it fly across a room and soak a target in acid, well I guess I guess the acid is pretty much all over the area and not going to be re-used.

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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. Oland on May 4, 2017 at 3:55 am

    I definitely think the RAI (Rule as Intended) is for the Acid to be a magical effect the disappears after the duration (instantaneous or after it hits the target). This could also explain why there is no lingering damage from the acid. Now for RAF (rules as fun) being able to store the acid leads to all types of creative uses which I think should be encouraged. The only problem I see is with unlimited cantrips and persistent acid…

    • DaveGoff on May 7, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      Yeah, if I had to rule on it, I say they could manage to keep some of it if they trapped it in a vial, but the effort wouldn’t typically be worth it.

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