Phantasmal Force 5E

Phantasmal Force 5E

One of my favorite attacks in DnD is casting a spell that brings forth illusions. I know it’s a little boring and not what you call a “powerful” spell. This doesn’t mean that it is completely useless because it all depends on the target and the person who casts the spell. D&D 5e has a lot of spells that can cast an illusion on the target and even cause psychic damage. One such spell is the Phantasmal force 5E.

A second-level spell is cast to place a target in an illusion that also harms them, but only if they believe that it is real. Now, the kind of illusion cast is limited only by the caster’s imagination and he can cast anything. You can cast a creature that attacks the target, bind them in chains, or take away their sensation of sound and sight. There is a multitude of possibilities with this spell. It all depends on the caster to make sure that the illusion is real.

The damage to the target is done only if the illusion you cast is capable of hurting them. For example, if you cast an orc attacking the target then it deals a certain amount of psychic damage. Similarly, if you make them catch fire, it deals damage too. Now, if you just scare them or bind them with chains, the target won’t take any damage from the illusion.

Phantasmal Force 5E Stats & Other Info

Before try going for an attack in D&D 5E or any other game, a player should always take a look at the stats of an attack. If you go into a battle without having proper knowledge of an attack then there is no other outcome but defeat. When it comes to D&D, you cannot play with this without having an idea about the attacks. So here are the stats for Phantasmal Force 5E.

The casting time for this attack takes 1 action and lasts for up to 5 turns. There is one thing though, for the spell to last more than 1 turn, the illusionist/caster must concentrate. This spell works on anyone who is in your visible range from up to 60ft. Just like every spell has certain requirements, and by that I mean components, this one does too. To use Phantasmal force, you need components like Verbal, Somatic, and Materials.

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If we talk about the classes who have access to this spell then we have the obvious one, the Wizards, Sorcerers, Bards, Warlocks(Archfey), the Great Old One, and the Arcane Trickster Rogues.

How Does the Phantasmal Force 5E Spell Work?

Phantasmal Force 5E

The first thing to know about the Phantasmal force spell is that certain effects might be debatable with your DM. As this spell has many possibilities, its effects and usage will depend on DM. When it comes to using this spell, it’s pretty simple. Cast it on a target and make them see any kind of illusion. It can only be a single illusion that can restrict the movement of a target or cause them damage. A phantasm born from illusion can deal 1d6 psychic damage to the target as long as they think it’s true. Also, the damage is only dealt with if that illusion can actually deal damage in reality.

As I mentioned earlier, the illusions like fire or physical beings can deal psychic damage to the target. Since those things are perceived to be real and have the capability of dealing damage if they were real. The spell also affects the sound, sight, and any other physical sense of the target. While this may sound like the spell can cause blindness, it can’t. It cannot cause a blindness effect but it can technically block the sight of a target. Like if you create an illusion of a wall or something huge.

Now, you might be wondering how can one escape from this annoying spell? Well, you can’t, at least not until your next turn. When your turn arrives, you have to throw intelligence save to get out of this clutch. If it is successful, then the illusion is gone, but if you fail then a phantasm object is born that is under 10ft. Now, this can be problematic for the target as they can get burned to the crisp, get smashed by a golem, and other such illusions.

What Is Phantasmal Killer 5E, and How Is It Different From Phantasmal Force 5E?

We have already talked about Phantasmal Force 5e in detail, but what is phantasmal killer 5e? Unlike the former spell, the Phantasmal killer is a 4th level spell which means it is deadlier and deals more damage. In every way, this is a better spell when compare to the phantasmal force as its increased range and damage. After you cast this spell on a target, they have to throw wisdom save to escape this nightmare illusion. Failing to do will unleash 4d10 damage on the target and also the target will be frightened. This spell can hit the target within 120ft range.

Apart from the very noticeable stat differences, the major difference here is the attack itself. While the Phantasmal force creates an illusion designed by the caster, the phantasmal killer is different. It looks deep inside the hearts and souls of a target to find out their deepest fears and manifest them. So this attack is deadlier than the phantasmal force even though the caster doesn’t decide the illusion, as it specifically targets a person’s despair and insecurities. The only similarities between these two spells are that they are both illusions.

In case of deciding the fear and the phantasm that is formed from that fear, it’s up to DM to decide those things. Sometimes deciding a fear and its phantasm right off the bat can be tricky, in that we have some suggestions that can help you choose some cool phobias and their phantasms. (Note: The below suggestions are created by a lead writer of D&D Beyond named James Haeck)

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Phantasmal Killer Phobias and Their Phantasms


This is the fear of the 8-legged creatures that are happened to be found in every house. Yes, we are talking about spiders. This is a pretty common phobia you might know at least one person who can be scared out of their wits when they see a spider. So why not create an illusion of a huge deadly spider?


Almost everyone can act courageous but when faced with death even the gutsy person can lose their minds. For such people, the sight of a dead body, zombie, or a body with rotting flesh can be a gruesome ordeal. So, conjure something like this of their phobia and stop them in their paths.


This isn’t something laughable or at the same time something that is taken seriously. We, humans, have evolved with the advent of fire and are still a little scared of it. Though it is natural to make sure that you are safe around fire, so people do have a phobia of fire(Like the Martian Manhunter). So for enemies who have this phobia, use the Phantasmal killer spell to engulf them in fire or just restrict their movement with a fire circle. Works either way.


This is a little weird but a fact. There are people who are scared of butterflies. Yes, those every little cute and harmless insects that just fly around doing nothing. It’s acceptable if you are not like them or insects, but having a phobia is a bit much. Well, it’s not like they can control it though. When faced with such foes, the best thing you can do is unleash a swarm of butterflies against them.

These are just a few examples of how you can play with your enemy’s fears with the Phantasmal killer 5e. While this can also work with the Phantasmal Force 5e, you have to know their phobias.

Wrapping Up

Even though the Phantasmal Force may not be as strong as the other illusion spells, it still is a good spell in your arsenal. With this level 2 spell you can stop your enemy in their tracks make them go crazy. Using it is pretty simple and deals decent damage when it works. Any info you need on this is already provided in this article. If you want to read more on this, then check out this Fandom article. It also covers the history of this attack from the very first version of DnD.

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Frequently Asked Question(FAQs)

What are some phantasmal force 5e ideas?

Need some suggestions to torment your enemy with some weird illusions? In that case, try illusions like showing them huge spiders(many have this phobia), making them fall from heights, a giant snake attacking them, a 3 faced hound, and many other things are possible. It works better if you have some kind of idea about their phobias.

Where can I find more info about the Phantasmal Force?

Apart from the official guidebook, you can look for info from many sites. Like DnD beyond, or Phantasmal Force 5e roll20, etc.

Which classes can use the Phantasmal Force spell?

A few classes like Bards, Sorcerers, Wizards, Arcane Trickster Rogues, the Great Old One, and Archfey Warlocks are the ones who can use this illusion spell.

Can you use this spell while moving?

A player can use this spell while moving but have to maintain concentration. The spell works as long the player can concentrate and for up to 5 turns.

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