Hypnotic pattern is a 3rd-level utility spell that players can use offensively and defensively. It falls under the Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard spell lists.
Hypnotic Pattern is a typical charming illusion spell that can be used effectively in many, especially if the caster is creative!
The Player’s Handbook Description is as follows:
Hypnotic Pattern 5e
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: S, M (a luminous stick of incense or a crystal vial filled with phosphorescent content)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
You construct a twisting pattern of colors that swerves through the air inside a 30-foot cube within the spell’s range. The pattern will periodically appear for a moment and then vanish.
Each creature in the area who witnessed the pattern must now make a Wisdom saving roll. If the roll rails, the creatures become charmed for the entire duration.
Note: While charmed by the spell, the creatures are incapacitated, and all have a speed of 0.
If the affected creatures take any damage or use an action to awaken the creature from its stupor, the spell ends.
Classes That Can Pick Hypnotic Pattern
Traditional classes like the Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard all have Hypnotic Pattern in their spell lists.
Subclasses like the Armorer (Artificer) unlock and can use Hypnotic Pattern upon reaching level 9.
Oath of Redemption (Paladin) is similar to the Armorer as they also unlock this spell at level 9.
Is Hypnotic Pattern Good in 5e?
Hypnotic pattern is a great spell. Compared to other charming spells, such as Charm Person, the affected creatures and charm effect are stronger. It holds insane potential for such a low-level spell.
Advantages – Hypnotic Pattern
Since squishy spellcasters mostly use this spell, it must have sufficient range. Being too close to enemies might make them target you, especially if they know you are a mage-type.
Note: If Hypnotic Pattern is cast successfully and only some enemies are taken care of, things could get ugly. The conscious enemies will immediately tell the others of your power, making you their priority!
No Verbal Component
With no Verbal component, players don’t have to worry about being silenced.
Players only need to make a Somatic movement and have the intended material to cast Hypnotic Pattern successfully.
Full casters such as the Bard, Sorcerer, and Wizard can all unlock and use Hypnotic Pattern at level 5.
Warlocks are entirely different; therefore, they can only unlock and use this spell at level 9.
Even though the Warlock only gets Hypnotic Pattern at level 9, it can still successfully use it to enter battles. Just be aware that it remains a Concentration spell, so taking damage will cancel it early.
Disadvantages – Hypnotic Pattern
Hypnotic Pattern is a Concentration spell, meaning its effects stop as soon as anything cancels that concentration.
The most common way for a spellcaster’s concentration to be broken is if they cast another Concentration spell or take damage. Taking damage is by far the most common, but it is also avoidable.
Note: Be sure to cast Hypnotic Pattern from a distance so that enemies won’t be able to target you efficiently.
Material components can cause some trouble if they are expensive or rare. If a player sees the need for a Material, they should prepare to spend some pennies!
Incense isn’t difficult to find as it’s a common material for a few spells.
The phosphorescent material becomes difficult to obtain as you must find an alchemist or magical shop that has them in stock.
Certain DMs might make it more difficult to find, while others could put a hefty price on it.
When Should I Use Hypnotic Pattern?
Hypnotic Pattern isn’t the most demanding spell to cast, making it relatively easy to spam.
However, keep in mind that it will still burn a level 3 spell slot, so it might be better for you to keep the spell when it’s needed most.
Breaking Enemy Spellcaster’s Concentration
When facing a group of enemies, there are bound to be a few pesky spellcasters within their ranks.
Charming a creature will break any concentration or movement they are busy completing.
Hypnotic Pattern, on the other hand, goes a step further, incapacitating the creature for the entire duration (or until the concentration is broken).
Note: This will cancel any troublesome Concentration spells, and the charmed enemies will be useless for the duration.
Be Weary of Dispel or Counterspell
The problem with spellcasters is that they always have something up their sleeve.
Even though Hypnotic Pattern can quickly incapacitate creatures, it must be cast before it takes effect.
Most DMs will react immediately, having one of those pesky spellcasters cast spells like Dispel Magic or Counterspell.
Note: It is common for DMs to ensure spellcasters have some Dispel ability as it will provide a more significant challenge.
When this happens, the best a player can do is try again or hope for an unlucky roll.
Most of the time, lower-ranked spellcasters won’t be able to cast it more than once or twice, as the DM will be sitting with a bunch of angry players!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Hypnotic Pattern a Charm Spell?
As it is stated in the spell’s description, Hypnotic Pattern does put a charm on the affected creatures.
Are Undead Immune To Hypnotic Pattern?
Undead are immune to charms. Therefore they are excluded from the creatures that are charmed by this spell.
Does Hypnotic Pattern Affect Allies?
When the spell is cast, it states that ‘each creature that sees the pattern must make a Wisdom saving roll.’
Players count as creatures; if they aren’t careful, they can also be charmed if they gaze at the pattern.
Hypnotic Pattern might seem like a relatively calm utility spell to the typical player.
Things change when you realize how powerful it can be against masses of enemies (especially if they have low Wisdom).
There aren’t many low-level spells that can affect this many creatures without a significant flaw. If you aren’t sure if you should use it, try it and see the results yourself!