Bless is a foundation spell for any potential support character that can prepare it. It has two distinct functions that boost the attack and resilience of multiple target creatures.
The rules for Bless are found in the Players Handbook on page 219.
Evocation 1st Level
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (A sprinkle of holy water)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
You bless up to three creatures of your choice within range. Whenever a target makes an attack roll or a saving throw before the spell ends, the target can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the attack roll or saving throw.
At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, you can target one additional creature for each slot level above 1st.
The rules for Bless show the benefits in two forms and the bonus feature for casting it. It gives a bonus to attack rolls and saving throws for the full minute if concentration is maintained.It also affects multiple targets; a huge bonus for the spell, making it worth a 1st level spell slot.
Is Bless Good?
There are positives and negatives to consider with all buff spells, and the Bless spell is no different. The biggest negative of the spell is that it requires concentration. Concentration spells demand total focus, meaning only one concentration spell can be active at a time.
It also means anytime the character takes damage, they need to pass a concentration check or drop the spell.
At low levels with limited options, this isn’t necessarily a hugeissue, but as more powerful buff spells become available, you might not want to be tied up concentrating on Bless.
The best part of the Bless spell is that it rocks as a buff for your companions. It grants a +1d4 to all attacks and saving throws to the creatures targeted for the duration. This is particularly useful against enemies with a high armor class or enemies that use a lot of ability-based spells.
The affected creatures can move about freely, giving additional benefits to individual classes – such as a rogue. Since creatures are only required to be in range for the initial casting,they are free to advance tactically as they see fit.
Can You Bless Yourself?
In short, yes, you most certainly can cast Bless on yourself. The spell lists that you may affect X number of creatures of your choice, this means that you can include yourself as a creature included in the spell.
It also means that you count as one of the creatures in the allotted total that can be affected.
The bonus from Bless affects Death Saves on the targets. It doesn’t affect the caster as they would be unconscious and, therefore, would have dropped the spell.
Bless: Optimized for Combat
Bless is a combat geared spell, there is no doubt about that. Bonuses to attacks and saving throws only come into play during combat.
Optimizing the benefits requires a little help from your companions. Pairing Bless with Bane can be an encounter-turning combo. This requires a combination of classes to execute.
Another opportunity is to be particular about who gets the benefits during combat. Since it only affects attack rolls and saving throws, distribute it accordingly.
A rogue that has a bump to hit with a sneak attack is a good choice. A fighter that makes multiple attacks that would all benefit from the spell is another. Lastly, don’t forget about the paladin that always has a smite waiting in the wings.
Bless vs. Bane: Decisions, Decisions
Bless is the counterpart to Bane and vice-versa. Both are most commonly prepared as cleric spells and have similar durations, ranges, and effects.
Choosing which to prepare can be difficult, especially at lower levels when spell slots are harder to come by. See below for the itemized differences in the spells.
- Works automatically on the targets.
- Provides benefits to attacks.
- Provides benefits to saving throws.
- Targets make a charisma saving throw.
- Provides a penalty to attacks.
- Provides a penalty to saving throws.
Both spells last a minute and require concentration. The big question to address is whether you would rather have guaranteed better attacks and saves for your group or a potential penalty on a few enemies. In general, the safer option is the better option when comparing spells.
As far as buff spells go, Bless is top-notch. You can grant yourself benefits or target all allies. At low levels, the impacts and benefits from the spell can be immeasurable.
Used in the middle levels, the benefits can turn tides and save lives. Not to mention the availability to include more creatures in the bonus party with an up-cast.
Even though the benefits stay the same at high levels and for most encounters, it feels kind of weak, don’t underestimate the +1d4 against high AC enemies.