Hello spellcasters welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking out the fifth episode of our cantrip series. Today we’re going to be going over control flames dnd 5e / control fire dnd 5e which is in my opinion at least one of the best cantrips in dnd 5e in general. Its probably number two on my list if i’m being honest, maybe number three depending on what class i’m playing but it’s certainly always in that upper tier and i’ll explain why in a little bit later on.
It’s also one of the most underappreciated, underused and really just kind of pushed aside cantrips in the game as well. Which is quite disheartening, but in any case hopefully this article will go a long way towards making a little bit more mainstream and maybe leading to some pretty cool encounters of your own. control flames cantrip 5e is usable by the druid, sorcerer and the wizard.
As so far as to say it is found on their spell lists, there are ton of ways to gain access to it but it’s always going to be found on those three main spell lists. This spell is found in the elemental evil player’s companion as with a ton of our other favorite elemental based spells. It’s a great book, it’s available for a free pdf download so you should be able to grab it. Also check out this create bonfire 5e.
A couple of the spells have been printed in other books however, so you might already have access to a lot of them but still it’s a pretty neat book nonetheless. Now with all of that out of the way let’s dive into control flames mechanics.
Table of Contents
The effect at a glance is as followed: Manipulate a nonmagical flame, you can expand the flame by 5 feet. Extinguish the flame outright, double or halve the area of light, you can also change the color of it as well but we will get into all that a little bit later. and you cna create simple shapes. There is a lot of cool things you can do with this, i know based off of this kind of effect overview, it seems kind of mundane, seems like prestidigitation or one of the othee utility-based cantrips might be a little bit better. Trust me there’s something this can do that no other spell can and it’s worth paying attention to get.
In any case its cast time is one action, its range is actually a fairly impressive 60 feet and the area of the effect is a five foot cube. The duration is instantaneous although that’s kind of half true i’ll get into that in a little bit. The components are just somatic which is actually really incredible. So even if you’re in a zone of silence you can still cast this spell and there’s a pretty cool way of doing that where it might actually end the zone of silence and the school is unsurprisingly transmutation as you are transmuting a flame to do other things.
Now taking a look at this at a glance i can understand why it doesn’t seem that good. But let’s get into the full description i’ll flush out a little bit more of the details behind how this spell functions. And then we’ll get on to some pretty interesting ideas. Let’s check out the description first however. Also check out gust 5e.
Now you kind of getting why this might be a little bit better than a couple of the aforementioned prestidigitation and other utility cantrips. There’s a couple reasons firstly the effects can last up to an hour and it’s not concentration and it just takes an action to activate and an action to dismiss. And you can have three of them active, there’s no real cost outside of the actual casting itself.
And there’s not really any limitations and it uses the word animate which provides a ton of interesting ideas, very similar to how some higher level illusion spells work where you can actually change the shape of the illusion as the spell progresses. You gain that same effect only you’re using physical fire as a way to do it. If that doesn’t get the creative juices flowing i don’t really know what will.
Also the ability to change the color of a flame means you can actually just change it to black so that it doesn’t give off any light. I think that’s a really interesting as well or play around with different colors and treat it almost like a black light to reveal certain things, that might otherwise be unseen.
I think those are all great ways to use it on a surface level that i am yet to see anyone other than myself and a couple close friends doing an actual game. Which is quite surprising, once again i just feel like the spell as a whole is quite often overlooked and taken in place of some habitual options that people just go with because they’ve always gone with.
Another really interesting thing about this spell that i don’t see anyone really talking about is that there is no limitation on where you can move the flame to, so long as it’s within five feet. I’m talking about that first bullet point there. A lot of times what will happen is spells will have special caveats saying that if an item’s being worn or carried then you can’t affect it with a magical effect.
This spell doesn’t contain that line anywhere. As a direct result you know it might make sense that you can cause out enemy wizards want to catch fire or something like that. This spell also brings up the idea of potentially being able to do damage just because you’re dealing with actual fire. Al though the spell itself doesn’t give any damage dice for that so it’s not meant to be a damaging spell so speak with your dungeon master if you plan on catching people on fire.
I think a better way of doing it would be for them to move with difficult terrain or something like that as they or even use an action to extinguish the flame. Something like that might not really a damaging effect but still something that requires a resource of some form or another to get rid of. I think that would be fair. In any case let’s now move on to some control flames 5e uses.
The first i will be at most apparent alternative use for this spell is to use it to help plans go off without a hitch. It’s kind of vague in general but it’s really kind of meant to be, you can have something like as soon as you spot an enemy guard approaching the party you’ll have his flame go out like use a held action like that.
Or as soon as you see the diamond crown left unguarded you’ll turn the flame by green to signal the rest of the party to move in. Something to that effect would be super super interesting and just a very creative way to use this spell. And there are more obvious examples like using it to cause i don’t know the entire alchohol supply to just burst into flames or burn down a farmhouse or a tower or even an enemy’s munition supply anything like that would work fine as well.
I’d try to emploty as much creativity as possible. Speaking of creative uses another great way to use this spell is to use it to give your performance an edge. This is especially true if you’re a bard or if you went with the entertainer background or something to its effect. I think it’d be really cool to have you juggle flaming balls above your head as you dance around or something of that nature.
Remember you can have up to three simultaneous effects active at once. So long as they’re the non-instantaneous variety so it can be quite cool there. And a third way of using this spell is to just use it to create panic. You don’t necessarily have to be burning buildings down to do this, you can instead have the visage of a pack of wolves emerging through the flames, more of an illusion of course but if the townsfolk happen to have a huge fear of wolves for whatever reason. Then it could be quite impactful, maybe even leading to them being infected with the frightened condition.
I think that would be fine, there are some other ways to use this spell in a more utility way though. For example using it to cook meals with very delicate ingredients where the recipe calls for very specific temparatures or using it to help forge a weapon where the heat required is more than ordinary fire would be able to give off.
I think all of that would be fine as well and well within the limitations of the spell itself. That being said, if you know of any more feel free to put them down beneath in the comments section. Now let’s get into some potential combinations for control flames.
It is a little difficult to come up with combinations for this spell. Simply because although it’s fire, it’s a cantrip and it doesn’t deal any fire damage. So there’s not a ton it works with. However these are pretty interesting nonetheless.
The first is surprisingly the actor feat skilled at mimicry and dramatics you gain the following benefits. Plus one your charisma and you gain advantage on deception and performance checks when you try to pass yourself off as a different person.
You can also mimic the speech of another creature so long as you’ve heard them for a minute and it’s inside check versus your deception to see if the listener to determine that the effect is faked. The main reasons this works is it blends in with some pretty cool elements of the animated part of controlled flames.
For example you could have the shape of a humanoid appear and then mimic the voice of a loved one saying like help me i’m burning blah blah blah blah blah blah…potentially forcing an NPC to dive into the flames to try and save someone that isn’t really a person and leading them to be in a pretty dire situation or if you really wanted to crank up the dramatics you could pretend to be a demon overlord and create the visage of one in the flames and try to pseudo threaten the townsfolk into doing what you want i think that’d be pretty cool.
I understand that the actor feat doesn’t let you throw your voice but there’s another cantrip that does. So i’m gonna wait a little bit until we get into that. However another thing that works great with this spells is a couple meta magics. Namely quickened and subtle spell.
Quicken spell lets you cast it as a bonus action instead of an action, the main reason this works so well is if you’re a creature with darkvision you can use your bonus action to cause the control flame spell to illuminate more of the area and then use your main action to actually deal some damage or vice versa i guess it doesn’t so much matter.
And subtle spell really good because it removes that somatic component which makes stealthy casting so much better using it to do something like make a wizard’s robe catch fire and maybe having them make a constitution save to maintain concentration as a direct result of that. I think that’d be pretty cool!
And of course anything with fire resistance can really take advantage of this spell. Since it’s not intended to be a damage dealing spell i’d probably make the argument that someone with fire resistance could make it through the flames more or less unscathed, you might have to make a constitution check or something to that effect.
Maybe dexterity to make sure that they can but i don’t see why a dungeon master wouldn’t allow that and if you were able to do that then you’d be able to use the control flames cantrip to kind of seal off the path behind you or maybe even discourage enemies from getting near you in the first place. Very good stuff!
If you have any other potential combinations, drop them down beneath of course. Now let’s move on to my personal thoughts. You can also check out this dnd 5e reactions list.
If i wasn’t super clear at the beginning of this article, i love control flames almost as much as i love shape water that’s my favorite cantrip in the game. Control flames however will always have a special place in my heart, if you combine the two you’re pretty much and from avatar which is pretty dang neat if you ask me.
But even this spell on its own is really nice, especially if you have a lenient DM who plays into its cool factor. If you don’t and you happen to be the actual DM this would make an amzing spell for your bbg to make him come across as far more powerful and menacing than he is having like pseudo-dragons flying around him are always being shrouded in flames. All that cool stuff that most bad guys would typically have just add to his badass points and take him to 11.
That being said, however there are more practical uses as we discussed in this article you might give it to a forge or a blacksmith and have him use the spell to. Fine tune his smelting processs or something of that nature.
That being said, let me know what you think of control flames down beneath in the comments section, be sure to mention any thoughts, questions, comments, concerns, ideas or even stories you have involving it. I hope you all have a wonderful day and as always happy spellcasting. You can also read these articles produce flame 5e | sacred flame 5e | mold earth 5e.