5th edition bards got a power bump when compared to previous editions. The magic still works roughly the same way through an instrument, wisecrack, or even interpretive dance.
The colleges that are available offer some interesting options to flesh out the class, but their magic is a big factor.
Bards draw spells from their own list, which is a hodgepodge of other class lists. The Bard really is a jack-of-all-trades.
- Best Bard Spells 5e
- 20. Friends
- 19. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter
- 18. Knock
- 17. Cure Wounds
- 16. Enemies Abound
- 15. True Seeing
- 14. True Polymorph
- 13. Legend Lore
- 12. Modify Memory
- 11. Dimension Door
- 10. Mage Hand
- 9. Heat Metal
- 8. Force Cage
- 7. Feeble Mind
- 6. Power Word: Heal
- 5. Otto’s Irresistible Dance
- 4. Sending
- 3. Suggestion
- 2. Greater Invisibility
- 1. Faerie Fire
- Final Thoughts
Best Bard Spells 5e
Friends is such an interesting cantrip choice it had to be on the list. It allows the caster to gain advantage on Charisma checks against a target.
The kicker is that when the spell ends, the target knows the caster used magic on them and might become hostile.
If you are planning to purchase some gear and get out of town, this would be the way to do it.
It depends greatly on the individual if they would engage you or seek retribution by some other means. All of that sounds like great fun for a bard.
19. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter
Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is a 1st level spell that allows the caster to tell jokes that incapacitate the enemy with laughter. This fits perfectly into the stereotypical bard.
The target gets a wisdom save, and, on a failure, they fall prone, incapacitated with laughter. At the end of its turns, and when it takes damage, it can remake the save.
This is a great spell to use to disable a tough opponent that struggles with wisdom. It is also low enough level to throw it out as a test to see how the enemy measures up.
The 2nd level spell Knock is one of those surprise spells. Many classes bypass this spell for bigger, flashier spells.
A bard with knock can be a great asset to the party, especially if they don’t have a rogue or if the rogue is incapacitated. It is also a great way to bypass magically sealed doors.
It doesn’t remove the magic lock but suppresses it for 10 minutes.
The downside to this spell is that a door with multiple locks only has one affected per cast of Knock.Also, a loud chime resonates out audibly for 300 feet which will alert enemies.
17. Cure Wounds
A staple for the Cleric class, Cure Wounds should be on the Bards prepared spells as well. A 1st level spell that can literally be the difference between life and death.
A bard that takes cure wounds is able to fill in for the Cleric, allowing them to be more active in combat or save some spells for later engagements.
The 5e Bard is a jack-of-all-trades, and Cure Wounds is a great tool for the toolbox.
16. Enemies Abound
Enemies Abound is a hilarious spell to use on mobs. This 3rd level enchantment spell forces an Intelligence saving throw. A failure causes the target to be unable to tell friend from foe.
It must attack creatures at random from those it can see. If an enemy moves to provoke an attack of opportunity, it must make the attack. It gets to repeat the save if it takes damage.
Generally, this spell will cause some serious confusion among enemy troops. Then the party can stand back and watch them fight each other for a bit.
15. True Seeing
The 6th level True Seeing spell allows the caster to give another creature the ability to see things as they actually are.
The benefits of the spell include Truesight, see all hidden doors and passages, and see into the ethereal plane out to 120 feet.
This spell is a catchall for anything invisible and also can create some really interesting RP depending on how the DM runs the ethereal plane.
14. True Polymorph
True Polymorph is a fun and potentially game-ruining spell that every Bard should get. This 9th level spell allows the caster to change the form of a creature or object permanently.
The caster can change a creature into another creature, an object into a creature, or a creature into an object.
The spell is really powerful and potentially game-ending; however, it is not available until late game. True Polymorph is often overlooked by other classes, which makes it a perfect pick for a Bard.
13. Legend Lore
This 5th level divination spell allows the caster to learn a brief history of a person, place, or object.
Legend Lore provides the caster with information related to how the item was created, who it was created by, and potentially details on if it is magical or cursed.
The information can be very figurative or literal depending on the object and how the DM interprets the spell.
The combination of Detect Magic, Identify, and Legend Lore is the best way to guard the party against obtaining magic items.
12. Modify Memory
Modify Memory fits perfectly with a fast-talking Bard and has a bunch of in-game practicality as well.
This 5th level enchantment spell allows the caster to literally alter the memory of the target.
The modification needs to be applied to something the creature experienced within the last 24 hours unless the spell is cast at higher levels.
Be aware, though, the target needs to hear and understand you for the effect to work. It is also important not to get too crazy with the modification as anything to wild or contrary might just be dismissed as a bad dream.
11. Dimension Door
The best part of this spell is that while you can teleport to a point you can see, you don’t have to.
The caster can teleport to a location they can describe or visualize. The caster can also take an additional person plus anything they are able to carry when using the spell.
10. Mage Hand
Mage Hand is a commonly chosen cantrip, but the versatility is incredible.
For a Bard, simple magic might be just the thing to really enhance the performance or take advantage of the distracted audience.
The spectral hand might be in charge of moving around the tip jar as the Bard plays for a crowd.
The hand also has several practical in-game uses, such as opening doors and chests from a distance or retrieving hard-to-reach objects.
9. Heat Metal
The 2nd level transmutation spell Heat Metal is too powerful to leave off the list. It allows the caster to heat manufactured metal items to searing red hot, dealing damage to the creature that holds or wears them.
2d8 damage per round or a constitution save to drop the item is caused by the spell on the target.
This is not nearly as important or flavorful for the Bard as it is the Druid, but if the campaign takes place in vastly urban landscape, it can come in handy.
Facing any kind of humanoid creatures that use armor and weapons creates a large selection of foes that this spell will impact.
8. Force Cage
Force Cage allows the caster to imprison foes in a magical cage made of force. The 7th level spell has two options for the cage. One being a 20-foot cube with bars and the other a solid wall box that is a 10-foot cube.
Creatures imprisoned in the cage cannot escape by nonmagical means.
If the prisoner tries to escape using teleportation or other magic, they must first succeed on a Charisma saving throw.
The cage also extends into the ethereal plane and blocks travel to and from there as well.
7. Feeble Mind
Feeble Mind is an 8th level enchantment spell that allows the caster to blast the mind of their foe. The initial blast deals 4d6 psychic damage.
The other effects are where the spell gets real flavor for the Bard.
The target makes an intelligence saving throw, on a failure, the targets Charisma and Intelligence become 1.
This removes all ability to cast spells, understand language, or communicate. The effect lasts 30 days at which the save can be repeated.
This spell allows the Bard to literally take away a casters magic. It can be flavored in any number of ways to fit the type of Bard being played.
6. Power Word: Heal
This 9th level evocation spell is a Bard exclusive, with an option for a Cleric to acquire.
That makes it a strong candidate for this list. The effects of Power Word: Heal are almost unparalleled.
The touched creature instantly regains all of its hit points. The spell also ends the charmed, frightened, paralyzed, or stunned conditions affecting the target.
The target can also use its reaction to stand up from prone.
The heroic application of this spell is the stuff legends are written about.
The Bard can flavor this spell in any number of ways, and the effects cause the target to instantly be healed and ready to get back in the fight.
It only requires verbal and somatic components, so a tune or melody is the perfect delivery system.
5. Otto’s Irresistible Dance
Bards generally cast their magic through a musical focus or performance of some kind, so Otto’s Irresistible Dance is made for the class.
This 6th level enchantment spell forces the target into a comical dance. There is no saving throw on the initial round when the spell is cast.
Dancing creatures have disadvantage to Dexterity, saving throws, and attack rolls. Creatures attacking the target do so at advantage. The creature may use an action to make a Wisdom save to stop dancing.
Sending is a 3rd level spell that shows up in a variety of spell lists.
The Bard might be the best one to take advantage of the spell, though, considering it allows the caster to communicate a message of 25 words or less to a familiar creature on the same plane.
If the creature is on a different plane, there is only a slight chance the message won’t arrive.
A character with the gift of gab should always have Sending. It is a great way to deliver and obtain information since the target can respond.
Taking this as a Bard alleviates the need for other classes to have it prepared, and generally, the Bard is going to have the best communication skills.
The 2nd level enchantment spell Suggestion feels like it was designed for a mental class like the Bard. It allows the caster to “suggest” an action or activity to a target.
The suggestion must be reasonable, and the target must be able to hear and understand you.
With a failed Wisdom save, the target tries to act on the caster’s suggestion as described to the best of its ability.
The target tries to complete the action for the duration. If the activity is done in a shorter time than the duration, the spell ends.
This is high on the Bard list because it is so manipulative. There is an option to set a trigger for the activity.
The spell fits so well with the typical Bard it is almost a must-have for the class.
2. Greater Invisibility
Greater Invisibility is a 4th level spell that allows the caster or a target become invisible for the duration along with anything they wear or carry.
The target is free to cast spells and make attacks as normal. Bards are not a sturdy class and are often squishy.
Any opportunity they can get to remain involved in a fight but out of sight is a blessing.
Greater Invisibility allows the Bard to support their allies with a bit of safety being out of the way and unseen. This spell is perfect for a support class Bard.
1. Faerie Fire
Way too often overlooked for higher damage spells or emergency plans by other classes, Faerie Fire is a must-have for the Bard class.
The 1st level spell is so practical and functional it will remain useful for the entire campaign.
The spell creates a 20-foot cube that outlines each creature inside that fails a Dexterity Saving throw.
For the duration of the spell, the creatures shed dim light, cannot be invisible, and all attacks made against them are at advantage.
This is one trick that any party will appreciate when the Bard pulls it out of the bag. There is no need to only use it on invisible enemies so the Bard can grant advantage to their party members in every fight.
Given the options for the Bard, it is hard to beat Faerie Fire as the #1 top spell for the class.
The Bard has a selection of spells that stretch out into various other classes.
This allows the bard to surprise the party with his capabilities and perform a role that might be lacking. He can step in to heal for a cleric or deal significant damage in place of a wizard.
There are also some great flavor options for anyone using the Bard class that really just allow the player to round out their personal vision of who the character is.