Bestow Curse is a 3rd-level utility spell in the Bard, Cleric, and Wizard spell lists.
Bestow Curse focuses on cursing or debuffing enemies. By giving them disadvantages on saving rolls or attack rolls and causing the cursed target to be dealt more damage.
Similar spells, such as Hex and Contagion, also focus on inflicting disadvantages on targets.
The Player’s Handbook description says the following:
Bestow Curse 5e
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
You can touch a creature, and that creature must succeed in a Wisdom saving roll or become cursed for the spell’s duration.
When you cast this spell, you must choose the nature of the curse from the options below:
- Choose one ability score. While cursed, the target has a disadvantage on ability checks and saving rolls made with that ability score.
- While cursed, the targeted creature has a disadvantage on attack rolls against you.
- While cursed, the targetted creature must make a Wisdom saving roll at the start of each turn. If it fails, it forfeits its action that turn, doing nothing instead.
- While the targeted creature is cursed, your spells and attacks deal an extra 1d8 Necrotic damage to it.
Note: A Remove Curse spell ends this effect early.
You may choose an alternative curse effect at the DM’s option, but it should be no more powerful than the above-described curses. The DM has the final say regarding such a curse’s effects.
At Higher Levels
If you cast Bestow Curse using a 4th-level spell slot or higher, the duration is; concentration and up to 10 minutes.
Using Bestow Curse with a 5th-level spell slot or higher, the duration will be; 8 hours.
Using Bestow Curse with a 7th-level spell slot or higher, the duration will be; 24 hours.
If you use a 9th-level spell slot, the spell lasts until the target can dispel it.
Note: Using a spell slot of 5th level or higher grants Remove Curse a duration that doesn’t need concentration.
Which Classes Can Pick Bestow Curse?
Traditional classes, such as the Bard, Cleric, and Wizard, all obtain Bestow Curse for free. All three classes can use this spell at level 5.
Warlocks can also cast Bestow Curse because of their Eldritch Invocations they unlock at level 5.
The Oath of Conquest (Paladin) and Oathbreaker (Paladin) subclasses also obtain Bestow Curse for free. Both subclasses can cast this spell at level 9.
Is Bestow Curse Good in 5e?
Bestow Curse has some impressive statistics. It seems like a great spell until you notice its range is touch, which complicates everything.
Advantages – Bestow Curse
No Material Component
Luckily, Bestow Curse doesn’t have any Material components. Players don’t have to spend time looking for rare materials or spend GP to buy expensive ones.
Unlike many other spells, Bestow Curse has a unique upscaling feature.
If players use a 5th-level spell slot, the duration of Bestow Curse goes up from 1 minute to 8 hours. The best part, however, is that it becomes a regular spell as its concentration falls away.
If you wanted to cast it using a 9th-level spell slot, the curse wouldn’t end until it is dispelled, lasting forever if it isn’t (or until the creature dies).
Disadvantages – Bestow Curse
Extremely Close Range
Spellcasters don’t work well with short-range because of how squishy they are.
So if you cast Bestow Curse, you’ll be next to an enemy that can potentially damage you, canceling the spell.
If that were to happen, all your risks would’ve been for nothing, and the only thing you gained was a deduction in your HP.
Bestow curse is a Concentration spell at first; however, as your upscale it using spell slots, it’ll go away.
Even though it could affect gameplay at the beginning of the game, it won’t persist after you use a 5th-level spell slot later on.
Bestow Curse’s main problem, even worse than its close range, is its dispel chance.
If the enemy has spellcasters of their own, all the DM can do is incorporate a Counterspell or Dispel spell into their arsenal.
So even if you manage to curse a target, enemies would dispel your curse as soon as it becomes their turn.
How Should I Use Bestow Curse?
Cancel Hostile Concentration Spells
You can curse an enemy’s Constitution, decreasing their concentration, especially if they’re focusing on high-level spells.
Great Combined With Control Spells
You can decrease enemies’ chances of successfully making saving rolls or ability checks using Bestow Curse.
After that, one of your fellow spellcasters can cast a control spell like Hypnotic Pattern or Confusion. Since the curses decrease their saves and ability checks, they’ll easily fail and become influenced.
Have Familiars Cast Bestow Curse
An annoying element of Bestow Curse is its ‘touch’ range. As said before, spellcasters shouldn’t try and risk casting this spell too often. Instead, let someone or something else cast it for you.
Familiars, which you summon from Find Familiar, can also use Bestow Curse, as its range is touch.
Therefore, you can command your familiar (if they are within 100 feet of you) to deliver this spell to a targetted creature.
In the end, it keeps you from harm and lets you continue to support your party.
Note: Even though the familiar delivers the spell, you’ll still have a choice regarding the type of curse.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Cast Bestow Curse Multiple Times?
You can cast Bestow Curse multiple times to apply different penalties since they usually stack. Just be wary of the duration, as it could run out if you cast it with a 3rd-level spell slot.
Does Bestow Curse Stack With Hex?
If Bestow Curse is used with a 5th-level spell slot, you’ll be able to stack Hex (which uses concentration) and Bestow Curse.
Bestow Curse isn’t a spell you can just pick up and use without thought. It requires players to think outside the box, as they don’t want their character to die.
Using patience will prepare you for the late game, where the DM will most likely throw some nasty monsters your way. So it’s better to learn this skill early on when creatures can’t one-shot you yet.