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Catapult 5e D&D Guide

Catapult 5e D&D Guide

Catapult is a 1st-level offensive spell belonging to the Sorcerer, Wizard, and Artificer spell lists.

Catapult functions just like the historic medieval machines used in wars. The only difference with this one is that you’ll load it much more than heavy stones!

The Player’s Handbook states the following:

Catapult 5e

1st-level Transmutation

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 60 feet

Components: S

Duration: Instantaneous

You choose one object weighing 1 to 5 pounds within range that isn’t being carried or worn. The object will fly in a straight line up to 90 feet in any direction you choose before falling to the ground.

Note: The object will stop early if it impacts a solid surface.

If the object were to strike a creature, that creature must perform a Dexterity saving roll. If it fails, the object strikes the target and stops moving.

When the object hits something, the object and what is hit each take 3d8 Bludgeoning damage.

At Higher Levels: When you cast Catapult using a spell slot of the 2nd level or higher, the maximum weight of objects you can target with it increases by 5 pounds, and damage also increases by 1d8 for each slot level above the 1st.

Which Classes Can Pick Catapult?

Traditional classes like the Sorcerer, Wizard, and Artificer (TCoE 12) can unlock and use Catapult since it’s on their spell lists.

Even though the Artificer isn’t a full caster, it is still able to unlock and use Catapult at level 1

Is Catapult Good in 5e?

Catapult isn’t bad; it has good early-game damage and provides players with a creative alternative to deal damage. One thing is sure; it’s enjoyable to use!

Advantages – Catapult

Decent Early Game Damage

For a 1st-level spell, Catapult has some surprisingly high damage (3d8 Bludgeoning with an average of 13.5 damage).

One Component

Catapult only has the Somatic component, meaning players need not worry about being physically bound. Players will successfully cast the spell if their voices are clear and concise.

Medium to Long Range

The range in which players can choose objects to load isn’t that far (60 feet). However, the maximum range in which you can launch the item is (90 feet).

This gives a player quite a bit of space to work with, especially when targeting backline enemies like spellcasters.

Good Upscaling

When upscaling Catapult, you increase two of its stats. The damage (by 1d8) and its maximum launchable object weight (by 5 pounds).

Compared to some of the best 1st-level offensive spells, like Burning Hands, Chromatic Orb, and Thunderwave, where only their damage increases, Catapult comes out on top.

Note: This only looks at the effect of upscaling; some of these spells have much better features that allow them to outscale Catapult because of it.

Disadvantages – Catapult

It Only Works on Objects

Even though it would have been great to launch a reduced party member, it wouldn’t be possible if the DM isn’t following house rules.

Note: Some DMs could allow you to reduce the size of your Gnome and let him fly with the object, but don’t count on it.

How Should I Use Catapult?

Players shouldn’t only use Catapult in combat. They should also try to use it to provide utility to their party or scale cliffs using grappling hooks.

Effectively Set Grappling Hooks

Sometimes players don’t want to or can’t risk using certain utility spells (like Wall of Force or Teleport) for a mundane reason like crossing a large gap.

However, there aren’t formal rules for grappling hooks in 5e. Players should try and use Catapult to their advantage when grappling over areas.

Note: You’ll need to use a 2nd-level spell slot because a grappling hook with 25 feet of hempen or 50 feet of silken rope equals 9 pounds.

Surprise Enemies

When casting Catapult, you don’t need to be looking at enemies. You need to state the object you want to use and how far you want it launched.

Therefore, if you ever hear enemies coming from a hallway or path. Simply throw an item down (with acceptable weight) and wait for them to get closer.

When they come into range, you can launch the object. Maybe you’ll even get lucky and hit more than one enemy, getting more damage out of your plan than you bargained for.

Toss Objects to Allies

When an ally loses their weapon or has their weapon knocked out of their hand in battle. You can use Catapult to pick up the weapon (or a different one) and launch it back at them.

Note: Try to aim in front of them, as having them take 3d8 damage might be worse than being disarmed.

You can even pick up items and launch them to your allies. Keys, items over traps, or stuck weapons, can now easily be recovered or put into your possession.


If you were ever in a tavern with your party members, remember about Catapult.

Maybe they are drinking on the first floor, and you want their attention. Simply load up a pint of ale and launch it into their face.

Sure he’ll take some damage, but how much can a pint of ale hurt? I’m sure he’ll take it in good faith!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Catapult Deal Damage on a Successful Save?

Catapult doesn’t hit or deal reduced damage if a target makes a successful save.

Can Catapult Hit Multiple Targets?

Similar to a real Catapult. An object is launched with extreme force and can damage more than one enemy.

Can You Catapult a Weapon?

Weapons are classified as objects, enabling them to be launched with Catapult.

Does Weight Effect Damage?

Catapult deals 3d8 damage whether you are launching a rock or a sword. Weight enables only particular objects to be launched (depending on which spell slot is used). It does not correlate with damage.

Final Thoughts

Catapult wouldn’t have been good if it only brought damage to the table. But seeing that players can use it to move items increases its value quite a bit.

Having damage, coupled with great utility, is always useful. Just make sure not to launch a sword into your friend. They wouldn’t appreciate that!

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