Transmutation is one of the basic schools of magic. It involves spells that mainly work to change a person or an object into something else. In the sections below, we will cover some of the best transmutation spells available, which classes have access to them, and how they work.
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Cantrips are available to full casters starting at level 1. For half-casters and quarter-casters, cantrips are usually not available without taking the Fighting Style Blessed Warrior or a feat.
The epitome of fun, gimmicky transmutation magic, prestidigitation has various effects that can improve your situation in small but meaningful ways. You can flavor those disgusting trail rations, give someone a cold compress, turn your skin purple, or clean up after a long day of fighting monsters.
Available to Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards, Artificers
Shape water is a funny transmutation spell because the applications are so varied. Our favorite use of this spell is pouring water into a doorknob and freezing it. The expanding ice should bust the lock completely. But you aren’t limited to flexing on your party’s rogue. If your DM is game, you could freeze over the floor and make everything very slippery, possibly forcing Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks not to fall prone. You can also do some serious damage if you can heave a five-foot block of ice on an enemy or prevent anyone from coming through a door that’s frozen shut. You could even build a bridge in some environments, although it would take some time.
Available to Druids, Sorcerers, Wizards
Level 1 spells are available to full casters beginning at level 1. For half-casters and quarter-casters, they become available between levels 2-3
Having a nice bag of berries that each restore a single hit point isn’t going to redefine your combat, but it is nice if you need to revive someone from unconsciousness or give a little extra boost between battles.
Available to Druids, Rangers
Fall damage can add up alarmingly quickly, and there are few ways to die that are more embarrassing. Mainly because you often have no idea where you’re going to land, and you don’t want to start an encounter low on health (or unconscious) because you just fell in. This transmutation spell only takes a reaction to cast and can target up to five creatures.
Available to Bards, Sorcerers, Wizards, Artificers
Level 2 spells are available to full casters starting at level 3. For half-casters, they start at level 5. For quarter-casters, they become available at level 7.
Isn’t it nice to have advantage? Why not give yourself (or a friend) the gift of advantage on all checks of one type for an entire hour? It can make social situations easier, provide yourself with advantage on checks for counterspell or dispel magic, or give someone temporary hit points and advantage on concentration checks.
Available to Bards, Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, Oath of Glory Paladins, Artificers, Rangers
This is one of the best area-effect transmutation spells. Even small amounts of movement cost enemies plenty of hit points. You can also use this spell to make a safe area to stay in, away from melee fights, if you prefer to fight at range.
Available to Druids, Rangers, Nature Domain Clerics, Genie Warlocks
Level 3 spells are available to full casters starting at level 5. For half-casters, they start at level 9. For quarter-casters, they become available at level 13.
It’s difficult to overstate how vital flying is. Once you can cast this buff on yourself, you should do it early and often. As you level up and your spell slots increase in level, you can target allies with this transmutation spell too.
Available to Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards, Artificers
If you need to get somewhere fast, want a slight boost to your AC, and think having another action on your turn sounds like a good idea, then haste is for you. Keep in mind that this transmutation spell requires concentration. The spellcasting rules only forbid casting a leveled spell as a bonus action and an action, but you can’t take the Cast a Spell action as your hasted action. Typically, you want to cast this on a Rogue, Barbarian, or Paladin. Sorcerers can also Twin this spell using Metamagic.
Available to Sorcerers, Wizards, Circle of the Land (Grasslands) Druids, Oath of Vengeance and Glory Paladins, Artificers
Level 4 spells are available to full casters starting at level 7. For half-casters, they start at level 13. For quarter-casters, they become available at level 19. This is the highest level for quarter-casters.
This is an excellent transmutation option for defensive or offensive measures. You can change yourself or an ally into a beast with many hit points, like a mammoth or something with a vicious attack like a T-rex. If you don’t need to awaken the beast in your companions, you can also try turning your foe into something harmless, like a bunny or a sea slug. We are not responsible for any ensuing Monty Python shenanigans if you choose a bunny.
Available to Bards, Druids, Sorcerers, Wizards, Trickery Domain Clerics
Plenty of terrain in D&D involves vast amounts of stone, so the ability to reshape it to fit your needs is convenient. You can use this transmutation spell to make a trap, open a door, disable a vicious statue, or trick someone into trying your cask of Amontillado.
Available to Clerics, Druids, Wizards, Artificers, Genie Warlocks
Level 5 spells are available to full casters starting at level 9. For half-casters, they start at level 17. This is the highest level for half-casters.
The benefits of having two attacks for your bonus action that also deal your damage modifier cannot be understated. While some Ranger subclasses rely heavily on their bonus actions (Beast Master and Drakewarden primarily), it’s still usually better to drop your other concentration spells and sacrifice your bonus action in combat.
It’s important to remember that you can’t combine this transmutation spell with either hunter’s mark for extra damage per strike or guardian of nature for advantage. However, if you have a +1/2/3 weapon or can flank with an ally, your likelihood of hitting your target dramatically increases. The only Rangers who might not benefit from this spell are those who took the Crossbow Expert feat and frequently combined their attacks with hunter’s mark. If you’re in a high magic campaign and have a magical weapon by level 17, this spell will improve your output and give you a higher chance for critical hits.
Available to Rangers
This transmutation spell might not seem very fancy, but it could absolutely save your life. We highly recommend taking it if you plan to spend a lot of time underground or are dungeon crawling. It allows you to make your own passages through unworked stone. You might use it to escape a trapped room with no obvious exits or tunnel your way underneath a vault to steal the treasures inside.
Available to Wizards, Circle of the Land (Mountain) Druids, Armorer Artificers
Level 6 spells are available to full casters starting at level 11.
This transmutation spell is one of the most potent damage spells, and necrotic damage is rarely resisted. Upcasting adds 3d6 damage for each level, which is fantastic. Sorcerers should use Heightened Spell Metamagic, or if you’re a Shadow Magic Sorcerer, your Hound of Ill Omen to impose disadvantage on the saving throw.
Available to Sorcerers, Wizards
Investiture of Stone
For classes that only have d8 or d6 hit points, resistance to a bunch of common damage types is great. Interestingly, this transmutation spell will also affect a Druid’s Wild Shape form, making this a must-have for Druids who frequently transform in battle. You also can ignore difficult terrain, which makes things easier since many spells cause difficult terrain.
Available to Druids, Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards
Level 7 spells are available to full casters starting at level 13.
If you manage a surprise round or can prepare for combat, it’s hard to go wrong with this spell. It does take your concentration, but you automatically release a massive attack on your bonus action, leaving you free to cast whatever you like. This is also a great way to fly without casting fly or relying on magical items.
Available to Druids, Sorcerers, Wizards
Level 8 spells are available to full casters starting at level 15.
Like enhance ability, glibness affects all of your Charisma checks, so ability checks with dispel magic and counterspell are included. Unlike enhance ability, though, this spell removes the reliance on rolls. Anyone could roll badly twice in a row, but you can take a flat number with this spell, so you never have to worry about failing.
Available to Bards, Warlocks
Level 9 spells are available to full casters starting at level 17.
This transmutation spell gives you 1d4+1 turns in combat to buff yourself, set up traps around enemies, or get out of a hairy situation. The spell ends early if you attack another creature or cause it to make a saving throw.
Available to Sorcerers, Wizards
This is a better transmutation spell than true polymorph because you can continue to change your shape with just a single casting. If you chose something that is now running low on hit points or doesn’t work well in your situation, you could just switch it up.
Available to Druids, Wizards