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Play Your Next 5E D&D Game as a Deadly Spell Assassin

Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted get inspired by a comment made during Live Chat Revivified and set out to explore the concept of a magical assassin for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. When it came up how an Assassin rogue’s signature Assassinate feature indicates advantage on any attack rolls — not just weapon attacks — the gears began turning. A dash of this, a dip of that and out comes an unusual but very effective 5E D&D character. So let’s get into it.

Spell doom for 5E D&D enemies

The components of this 5E D&D spell assassin character represent rather low hanging fruit. The engine for this magical destruction runs on two key class features: Assassinate from the Assassin Roguish Archetype and Channel Divinity: Path to the Grave from the Grave Divine Domain. A 5th level character can achieve this multiclass outcome as long as they have 13 Dexterity and 13 Wisdom. Wildhunt shifters, kenku, aarakocra, Aereni wood elves, pallid elves, Valenar wood elves, wood elves, ghostwise halflings, Lotusden halflings, Mark of Hospitality halflings and of course humans lend themselves to this concept mechanically with ability score bonuses in Dexterity and Wisdom. Of course the terrific optional rules for customizing 5E D&D character origins in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything enable players to realize their imagination for a character of any ancestry following this path.

From this point it’s pretty much wide open to players what direction their 5E D&D spell assassin character goes. A player might discover a low level spell on their list satisfies their desire to Assassinate via spell and never further their magical studies. On the flip side working to get steel wind strike in their repertoire could drive their ambition for much of their adventuring career. Whatever path a player chooses to follow for their spell assassin it’s wise to know the spells capable of such magical destruction. Here’s all the official 5E D&D spells requiring an attack roll listed by character class.

Artificer

  • Booming blade
  • Fire bolt
  • Green-flame blade
  • Magic stone
  • Ray of frost
  • Shocking grasp
  • Thorn whip

Bard

  • Mordenkainen’s sword

Cleric

  • Guiding bolt
  • Inflict wounds
  • Spiritual weapon
  • Contagion

Druid

  • Magic stone
  • Primal savagery
  • Produce flame
  • Shillelagh
  • Thorn whip
  • Ice knife
  • Flame blade
  • Contagion

Ranger

  • Steel wind strike

Sorcerer

  • Booming blade
  • Chill touch
  • Fire bolt
  • Green-flame blade
  • Ray of frost
  • Shocking grasp
  • Chaos bolt
  • Chromatic orb
  • Ice knife
  • Ray of sickness
  • Witch bolt
  • Scorching ray
  • Storm sphere
  • Wall of light
  • Crown of stars
  • Blade of disaster

Warlock

  • Booming blade
  • Chill touch
  • Eldritch blast
  • Green-flame blade
  • Magic stone
  • Witch bolt
  • Ray of enfeeblement
  • Vampiric touch
  • Wall of light
  • Crown of stars
  • Blade of disaster

Wizard

  • Booming blade
  • Chill touch
  • Fire bolt
  • Green-flame blade
  • Ray of frost
  • Shocking grasp
  • Chromatic orb
  • Ice knife
  • Jim’s magic missile
  • Ray of sickness
  • Witch bolt
  • Melf’s acid arrow
  • Ray of enfeeblement
  • Scorching ray
  • Vampiric touch
  • Faithful hound
  • Storm Sphere
  • Steel wind strike
  • Wall of light
  • Crown of stars
  • Mordenkainen’s sword
  • Blade of disaster

And for shiggles here’s spells from the School of Beardomancy eligible for the spell assassin to do their thing.

Beardomancy

  • Beard whip
  • Hair whip

Lastly here’s a smattering of spells from various other sources we’ve created over the years.

Other Nerdarchy spells

  • Withered thorn whip — from Secrets of the Vault: Friend or Foe Vol. 1
  • Spider bite — from Secrets of the Vault: Lost Lore Vol. 2
  • Pack of spiders — from Secrets of the Vault: Lost Lore Vol. 2
  • Spectral spider servant — from Secrets of the Vault: Lost Lore Vol. 2
  • Darkling’s hand — from Gaze of the Void Eye

And there you have the 5E D&D spells with the potential to work in tandem with the Assassin rogue’s Assassinate feature. If I’m honest I hoped to find more cleric spells to fit the mold. You could also modify the Flesh Render CBG and work rogue in there for a really creepy character focused on inflict wounds and warlock looks interesting too (because eldritch blast isn’t versatile enough already right?).

On a related note with the release of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything we’ve updated our list of sorcerer spells eligible for Twinned Spell Metamagic. We break it all down and give you a list of those spells here.

If any of our own spells intrigue you it’s worth noting when you sign up for Nerdarchy the Newsletter you’ll receive $9.99 in store credit so you can add some new magic to your game along with a bunch of other stuff for basically free. Speaking of free we’ve also put together a special free gift for new subscribers you can get here.

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Doug Vehovec

Nerditor-in-Chief Doug Vehovec is a proud native of Cleveland, Ohio, with D&D in his blood since the early 80s. Fast forward to today and he’s still rolling those polyhedral dice. When he’s not DMing, worldbuilding or working on endeavors for Nerdarchy he enjoys cryptozoology trips and eating awesome food.

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