Green Flame Blade
Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard - Cantrip Level Spell
Casting Time: 1 Action
Components: Verbal and Material
Reference: SCAG 143
As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a weapon against one creature within the spell’s range, otherwise the spell fails. On a hit, the target suffers the attack’s normal effects, and green fire leaps from the target to a different creature of your choice that you can see within 5 feet of it. The second creature takes fire damage equal to your spellcasting ability modifier.
This spell’s damage increases when you reach higher levels. At 5th level, the melee attack deals an extra 1d8 fire damage to the target, and the fire damage to the second creature increases to 1d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier. Both damage rolls increase by 1d8 at 11th level and 17th level.
(NOTE: For some reason people interested in Green Flame Blade are also interested in Booming Blade, found here)
My Comments: Have I mentioned that I’m doing these posts as an exercise to force myself to learn more about the available spells in 5th edition? I think I mentioned it in the first post and not recently.
You, my clever reader, probably have used these spells before, or have been researching them so that you can use them to best advantage. I’ve neither used this spell nor have I even read the SCAG (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide) that it comes from.
Here’s my go at it. Imagine me thinking out loud… like I’m some weird guy in the game shop muttering in the corner as he looks over a battered scroll with a picture of a green-glowing blade…
So, it takes an action, but that action will be an attack with a weapon as the material component.
Not just an attack, but specifically a melee attack.
Your attack hits your primary target normally and then a ‘splash’ damage hit another target within 5ft for just your spellcasting ability modifier until 5th level, then increasing to d8+sam, and so on…
- You have to have an action available – no big deal if you were going to make a melee attack anyway.
- You have to make a melee attack – same as above, except it should be noted you are making an attack with your Strength ability modifier.
- There has to be another visible target within 5ft for the extra damage to trigger.
- You have to make an attack with a melee weapon, so an unarmed attack wouldn’t work. Too bad, it would fun to have a monk build with this spell just for the cinematic role-playing quality…
- Oh! And the attack has to hit, and hit using your strength roll.
- Actually, this is relevant… “you must make a melee attack with a weapon against one creature within the spell’s range.” It implies the spell won’t work if you use your action to make two attacks. As a matter of fact, the action itself is the spell, not the attack.
Okay, let’s add all that up. It’s a Sorcerer, Warlock or Wizard spell and a cantrip, so I see it could be useful if you can cast unlimited cantrips and you just happen to get stuck in melee. Of course, here is where I note that I think there should be a limit on number of cantrips cast per day, but let’s go with it for now.
I guess in that case it’s okay. Mostly though, it seems like a damage buff for people who don’t already do great melee damage. I wouldn’t bother to do a dip in caster level or waste a feat on it if I were a fighter or other class that can get multi-attack because it limits to one attack in that action. Besides, they can already do plenty of damage without a spell like this.
It could be used while two-weapon fighting, because the second attack happens in the bonus action, but the spell would only trigger on the attack action, not the bonus.
It’s also not great for casters that used Strength as a dump stat because you still have to hit with it.
All in all, it’s a fun spell, but I don’t think it’s all that great. Quick! Someone remind me that it gets stronger at higher levels and can be twinned and boosted, and and and…! Sure, I get it, I do, but you know what also gets stronger at those levels? Your opponents. Okay, it’s cool to get an extra 3d8 of damage on an attack plus 3d8 splash on another target without burning a real spell slot, but…
No, wait… that actually is kind of cool. Okay fine, it’s not all bad. As a table rule I would say that the green flame gives off a glow to light up 5-10 feet around you. The description doesn’t say that but it does make sense and helps with the issue of the second target being visible.
Now you see the weirdo in the corner of the game shop finish muttering with a “Huh!”, a raised eyebrow and an appraising nod, then you blink and he’s gone.