5th Edition Spells – Sapping Sting

Sapping Sting

Wizard - Cantrip Level Spell

School: Necromancy
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 30 ft
Components: Verbal and Somatic
Duration: Instantaneous
Attack/Save: CON
Reference: EGW

You sap the vitality of one creature you can see in range. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 1d4 necrotic damage and fall prone.

At Higher Levels. This spell’s damage increases by 1d4 when you reach 5th level (2d4), 11th level (3d4), and 17th level (4d4).

My Comments: I can see people looking at the damage die on this spell and scoffing but the tactician will see the possibilities. I remember my first “prone” experience in 5e (or “D&D Next” at the time, as we were doing the playtest that came before 5e), our fighter tripped someone and we all thought that was pretty awesome, except the opponent’s turn came right after and they just stood right back up again and attacked like nothing happened. Boooo!

However, the power of making an opponent go prone can be awesome if used correctly.

  1. After you knock someone down, let your multi-attack fighters get in there and pound on them with advantage. Just make sure your timing is right.
  2. Need to get away? Knock someone prone and they lose half their speed.
  3. Alternatively, want to make sure somebody can’t run away? Sapping Sting is here for you.
  4. Knocking someone prone plus grappling can be great.
  5. Being prone gives advantage to attacks within 5ft and disadvantage to those further away, so you could realistically knock a friend prone to help them avoid missile attacks when they can’t move due to turn order. After all, taking d4 damage might be worth it.
Wizard casting Sapping Sting cantrip spell

I wasn’t able to find attribution for this image. If you know who created this art, let me know.

That does bring up a few points to remember-

  1. knocking someone prone is most useful when you have extra attacks or friends to take advantage of it, not so much a solo tactic.
  2. Attacks from further than 5ft away have disadvantage, so knocking them prone from 30ft away and then following up with ranged attacks won’t work as well as you might hope.
  3. Con saves mean that creatures probably aren’t the best targets. That’s okay because it’s often great for using on casters.

Also- This cantrip from theExplorer’s Guide to Wildemont  is only accessible to Wizards with the Chronurgy and Graviturgy Tradition.

Finally, this cantrip spell is fun from a role-playing perspective  and, as you know from reading my other spell reviews, this is pretty important in my games.

Tell me your favorite Sapping Sting story!

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

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.

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