Alter Self Spell DnD 5E

Hello magic casters of all shapes and sizes! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the 3rd episode of our second level spell series. This is going to be one of the most commonly requested spells i’ve ever had to do. To be honest i’m not 100% sure as to while but it’s still pretty cool that i’m finally getting around to doing it.

Today we’re going to be taking a look at alter self 5e which is kind of one of the cooler spells at least when the cooler low level spells from a thematic standpoint and has a ton of utility to it as well. It is usable by the sorcerer, wizard and the artificer 5e and by that what i mean is is on their spell list there are other classes that get access to this namely the warlock through an invocation.

That being said though it is still found on the sorcerer, wizard and artificer spell list. So that’s what we base it off of. It is found in the players handbook, so we should all have access to it and it’s kind of a staple amongst d&d culture as a whole. In any case let’s move on to its actual mechanics now.


  • Level: 2nd
  • Casting Time: 1 Action
  • Range/Area: Self
  • Components: V, S
  • Duration: 1 Hour (Concentration)
  • School: Transmutation
  • Attack/Save: None
  • Damage/Effect: Shapechanging

Your cast time will be the standard one action, your range is self, the duration is one hour and it is a concentration spell so just please bear that in mind. The effect at a glance is as followed:

Change your form to gain 1 of 3 benefits: The first aquatic adaptation: You can breathe underwater and gain a swimming speed. The swim speed is is equal to your walking speed by the way so just make a note. Don’t miss this alter self 5e druid.

You can change your appearance: Change your height, weight, facial features, sound of your voice, hair length, coloration, and distinguishing characteristics within several limitations. Those limitations are you’ve got to stay within the same size and basic shape. You can’t appear as though you are a different race stuff like that. But same size and shape i mean your stats also say the same by the way. In any case we’d like you to like this article on ring of alter self 5e.

And the third effect is Natural weapons: Unarmed strikes deal 1d6 bludegeoning, piercing, or slashing damage as appropriate. Attacks made this way are considered to be magical and gains a +1 to attack and damage rolls. You’re also proficienct with these unarmed strikes which is pretty cool, although i’m pretty sure you are already proficienct with unarmed strikes. I might be wrong on that, if i’m wrong please comment down in the comment section beneath. You may also interested in polymorph 5e.

The components are somatic and verbal meaning you have to gesture with one hand and speak forth an incantation. And the school and this is actually pretty important is transmutation. The reason that’s important is these are physical things that happen to your body, this is most notable when it comes to changing at your appearance. Also check out this can you use alter self to fly?.

And that is the primary reason why this alter self so much better than disguise self is. People can’t just realize it’s a fake by touching you. You’ll stand up to a physical inspection which is really really really important. Without further ado and with the main mechanics addressed let’s take a look at the full description here. Just you know so we can understand it better stuff like that.


You assume a different form. When you cast the spell, choose one of the following options, the effects of which last for the duration of the spell. While the spell lasts, you can end one option as an action to gain the benefits of a different one.

Aquatic Adaptation. You adapt your body to an aquatic environment, sprouting gills and growing webbing between your fingers. You can breathe underwater and gain a swimming speed equal to your walking speed.

Change Appearance. You transform your appearance. You decide what you look like, including your height, weight, facial features, sound of your voice, hair length, coloration, and distinguishing characteristics, if any. You can make yourself appear as a member of another race, though none of your statistics change. You also can’t appear as a creature of a different size than you, and your basic shape stays the same; if you’re bipedal, you can’t use this spell to become quadrupedal, for instance. At any time for the duration of the spell, you can use your action to change your appearance in this way again.

Natural Weapons. You grow claws, fangs, spines, horns, or a different natural weapon of your choice. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d6 bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, as appropriate to the natural weapon you chose, and you are proficient with your unarmed strikes. Finally, the natural weapon is magic and you have a +1 bonus to the attack and damage rolls you make using it.

Oh man that is quite the mouthful there let me tell you! So it’s gonna be worth noting that by raw these are the only three options you can pick. It doesn’t say anything about you coming up with another one and your GM allowing it. That being said thoug, it is something that can happen just run it past them well in advance explain why you want to do it and why is pertinent to your character and they might allow you too. Also check out this change alignment spell 5e.

A good example of this would be to reskin the breathing underwater to get you a climb speed for instance and that would make a lot of sense and would make sense thematically based on your character. But outside of simple reskins like that i would be very hesitant to allow anything else in my game, if that makes sense. With that all being said, let’s take a look at some alternative uses that apply by raw. Also read can you change fighting style 5e.

Alternative Uses

So one of the best ones to alter self 5e uses would be to take advantage of transforming your appearance in a crowded venue. The problem with doing this with disguise self 5e is all it requires is someone to bump into you and they depending on what you disguise yourself is can figure out that you’re not who you say you are. Don’t miss out our comparision between 5e alter self vs disguise self.

With this is not an issue this is also superior to the changelings ability and the main reason why that is is a changeling can only change into another creature it’s seen before. Whereas alter self allows you to basically appear with completely randomized characteristics you can look like one of a kind person. It’s really cool, would you consider it like that.

Another great use for alter self would be in gladiatorial combat or in fights were you’re not gonna have your regular weapons and that’s where you’re gonna really take advantage of that natural weapon feature. Which is really good, really cool helps you gain that edge right!

Another great use of altering your appearance would be to make yourself look like someone famous, influential or a figurehead and this would really allow you to take advantage of a couple other NPCs they placed on roleplay. Although mechanically and as written it doesn’t grant this, i would certainly allow you to make rolls with advantage on any of your charisma related checks jus cuz you know it kind of makes sense and if the role plays good i’d allow inspiration anyways. So for me personally that makes a lot of sense.

You could also take advantage of being able to swim and breathe underwater based on certain quest lines which is kind of a given granted but it’s still something worth noting.

Wrap Up

Fantastic! That’s about all i could really come up with, if you have any ideas, alternative uses or cool stories involving alter self  i’d really like you to put them down into the comment section beneath. I like reading up everyone else’s as well. And if you want some bonus points, i’d recommend just putting down any thoughts or ideas of things you would allow alter self to do.

Reskin’s, other abilities, things of that nature i’m just curious to see what other dms have allowed in the past to be honest with you, just ideas for my games you know and i’m sure that they will get ideas for their games as well so it’s kind of a win-win.

Thank you so much for your time guys, i really appreciate it. I hope you all have a wonderful day and as always happy casting. Keep reading these alchemy jug 5e | all purpose tool 5e | alchemist fire 5e | alert feat 5e |

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