Bestow Curse Spell 5E

Hello magic casters of all shapes and sizes! Welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the fourth episode of our third level spell series. Today we’re going to be taking a look at one of my all-time favorite spells, favorite amongst necromancy users as well and by DM’s alike.

Today we’re going to be taking a look at dnd 5e spell bestow curse. This spell is usable by the bard, cleric and the wizard and it is found in the good old players handbook. Honestly i’m a little bit worried about the repercussions for this article just because i feel like a lot of dms are going to kind of use this as a punishment.

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You can if you want, i guess but i’d probably brought the command against it i’ll get into that a little bit later. But before i do let’s take a quick look at the mechanics here so we can kind of discuss it a little bit.


  • Level: 3rd
  • Casting Time: 1 Action
  • Range/Area: Touch
  • Components: V, S
  • Duration: 1 Minute (Concentration)
  • School: Necromancy
  • Attack/Save: WIS Save
  • Damage/Effect: Debuff

So the effect at a glance is as followed: On a failed save, a creature can be affected one of the following ways:

  • Disadvantage on checks and saves regarding a chosen stat.
  • Disadvantage on attack rolls against you.
  • Force a target to make a wisdom save at the start of each turn and on a fail they waste their action.
  • You can deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage to the target.

So you can only pick one of those, you don’t get all of them, if you did i would consider the spell or rage asleep broke and we get to pick one of those. Pretty good, honestly i think a lot of them are situational and we’ll get into that in a little bit.

The cast time is one action, the range is touch which is really interesting and the duration is one minute and it is a concentration spell at least kinda sorta we’ll talk about that in a bit here. The save is wisdom and the up casting is really unique.

So if you guys using the spell slot of fourth level it becomes a 10 minute duration and it’s still concentration, however at fifth level it’s eight hours and you drop that concentration which is pretty cool! It’s very interesting. At 7th level is 24 hours of no concentration and at ninth level it is until dispelled. Isn’t that hilarious…man that is awesome just awesome.

The components are verbal and somatic and the school is necromancy which makes sense. Now let’s take a quick look at the full description here so we can better understand exactly what’s going on. Keep checking can dispel magic remove bestow curse?.


You touch a creature, and that creature must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become cursed for the duration of the spell. When you cast this spell, choose the nature of the curse from the following options:

Choose one ability score. While cursed, the target has disadvantage on ability checks and saving throws made with that ability score. While cursed, the target has disadvantage on attack rolls against you. While cursed, the target must make a Wisdom saving throw at the start of each of its turns. If it fails, it wastes its action that turn doing nothing. While the target is cursed, your attacks and spells deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage to the target.

A remove curse 5e spell ends this effect. At the DM’s option, you may choose an alternative curse effect, but it should be no more powerful than those described above. The DM has final say on such a curse’s effect.

At Higher Levels: If you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the duration is concentration, up to 10 minutes. If you use a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the duration is 8 hours. If you use a spell slot of 7th level or higher, the duration is 24 hours. If you use a 9th level spell slot, the spell lasts until it is dispelled. Using a spell slot of 5th level or higher grants a duration that doesn’t require concentration.

My goodness it is a wordy one, but it is hella cool regardless. Needless to say it’s pretty apparent why a lot of people pick it, it’s just good. The fact that it’s a spell that can do multiple different things and that has such a potent up cast, make it very desirable for virtually every class that has access to it, with a couple exceptions based on playstyle here and there. Also read this what is the bestow greater curse?

Now something i would like to point out that i haven’t really seen a lot of people talk about is how dm’s use this spell. So a great way to use it as a dm is to have the BBEG’s familiar caster. Since it’s a touch spell it can be cast through familiars fairly consequence-free. So if you have let’s say the biggest damage dealer or someone who kind of did so a lot of dms use this as punishment so i will give an example.

Let’s say you’re in a cursive start campaign and straat appears and the bard just starts insulting him and insulting him and insulting him. Strahd will send a spider to him in the middle of the night, hit him with a bestow curse and make it so all of his checks and saves regarding charisma for example are now made with disadvantage and it’s until dispelled because you know straud kind of runs the show in that particular campaign.

So i think that’s how i’ve seen it most commonly uses at least by DMs but player characters can do the same kind of thing, the find familiar spell combos with this unbelievably well. Especially if you pick like a less conspicuous familiar like a spider for example that’s probably the best one to use but it’s pretty neat, pretty good stuff!

Something else i’d like to quickly point out here you can have additional effects other than the one stated, it is worth having a conversation with your DM you can try and reflavor some of these as well. Instead of having disadvantage of attack rolls against you, they have disadvantage against attack rolls on one particular member of your party for example. Also read contagion 5e.

I think that’d be pretty fair or even reverse it where you have advantage on attack rolls against them as opposed to them having disadvantage against you. I think it is worth having that conversation but once again take that with a grain of salt, individual DMs might want to play it individual ways. That being said, let’s take a quick look at some alternative uses here. Also check out is bane a good spell 5e.

Alternative Uses

The best way that i’ve personally are the most common ay for sure i’ve seen it used is when it comes to punching up. This usually happens in BBEG fight or in boss fights or one for more fashion and it’s very effective because this spell doesn’t just say you up to be in a good position but it can say your party members up as well.

For example chose stat dexterity and just bombard them with fireballs for example is a kind of a good way to do it like be mindful of what the rest of your party can do at the same time and it combos are really well with spells like eldritch blast that deals seperate attack rolls, you deal an extra one die eight per each attack right! So it can add up pretty dang quick. That being said, be sure not to abuse it or the DM might get little bit upset.

Another great way to use this is using competitions, that disadvantage on ability checks is super great if you’re in a sporting competition of it really any shape or kind. And another great way to use this is to help a balance out the encounters better, this is especially relevant towards the wisdom save at the start of each turn and if they fail that they waste their action.

Action economy very much a thing in 5e, it’s been a thing in virtually every edition that i can think of but in 5e it’s especially important, so if you can get them the waist in action just because that’s basically the equivalent of most npcs wasting their entire turn. Not a lot of npcs actually have a strong use for their bonus action especially towards at earlier levels but that being said your dm might make homebrew a lot of stuff to make sure that’s not a huge issue but who knows. Also read this remove curse scroll 5e.


Ultimately if you have any alternative uses, concetps, questions, concerns please let me know down beneath in the comment section. Also let me know what dnd curses you’d like to pitch to your DM. Try and make sure they’re balanced enough where it’s still playable, i think something involved movement would be kind of cool ike target can only move at half of their normal speed, that’d be a cool kind of curse but let me know what you think down beneath in the comment section as always i really do appreciate it. I hope you all have a great day and as always happy casting.

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