Levitate is a dynamic 2nd-level spell falling under the Artificer, Sorcerer, and Wizard spell lists.
This spell is mainly overlooked because many players don’t know how effective this spell can be. However, levitate only needs someone with a particular playstyle and experience to find a good use for it.
The Player’s Handbook specifics are as follows:
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (either a small leather loop or piece of golden wire bent into a cup shape with a long shank on one end)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes
One creature or loose object you choose that you can also see within range rises vertically, up to 20 feet, remaining hovered for the duration.
An unwilling creature succeeding on a Constitution saving roll is unaffected.
The target can only move by pushing or pulling against fixed objects or surfaces within reach (a wall, ceiling, vines, or rocks), allowing it to move as if it were climbing.
On your turn, the target’s altitude can be changed by 20 feet in either direction.
If you are the target, you can move up or down as part of your move. Otherwise, the player can use their action to move the target, which must remain within the spell’s range.
When the spell ends, the target floats gently to the ground if it is still aloft.
Is Levitate Useful 5e?
D&D has a lot of unique scenarios. Therefore, players excelling in strategy can find levitate to be particularly useful.
Players should target a creature that can threaten a specific player in their party. A simple example would be melee enemies. Since some enemies can only attack within melee range, levitating them can render their attacks useless.
Powerful leaders usually command groups of enemies. Therefore, levitating stronger enemies takes them out of the battle until your party has dealt with their underlings.
Can You Levitate Party Members?
You can protect healers, supportive players, or players near death by levitating them.
Protecting weaker players from harm can usually save your party resources and unnecessary damage when fighting. While levitating, the levitating player can still cast their supportive spells to help the rest of the party.
Saving players near death will help your party not lose any valuable members. However, before trying to save them, always be on the lookout for ranged enemies, as their attacks can still reach levitating players.
Drawbacks of Levitate
Being able to cast spells easily is one of the most redeeming factors for many lower-level spells.
However, to cast levitate, you must first acquire a small leather loop, or a piece of golden wire bent into a cup shape with a long shank at one end.
Keep a keen eye on the requirements when using levitate in your spell list.
Trying to save a party member while completely forgetting to obtain or make the components needed to cast the spell might cause the death of a party member.
The weight of a target plays a significant role. Tiny to medium creatures (imps, goblins, and werewolves) are usually light enough to levitate (below 500 pounds).
While larger creatures (such as hippogriffs and ogres) can be light enough to lift but can also grow to weights above 500 pounds.
Players cannot levitate creatures categorized as huge or gargantuan if their weight exceeds 500 pounds.
Using levitate as a spell against larger creatures will be a waste of a spell. Use it as a supportive spell or switch it out for a more versatile spell like sanctuary or cure wounds.
Levitate has many mechanics which players overlook. Specifically, players need to realize there are some simple spell pairings and ordinary uses for levitate.
Cloud of Daggers
Cloud of daggers is a 2nd-level spell that pairs exceptionally well with levitate.
When you cast cloud of daggers, a cube with 5 feet on each side is created, filling the air with spinning daggers. A creature entering this area will take 4d4 slashing damage and start its turn there.
Note: Players should cast cloud of daggers away from a wall or anything the target can use to move around.
Cast levitate and move the target into the area of spinning daggers. The creature will not be able to dodge for over 10 minutes.
Evil players might even find it amusing to move the poor creature around in the cloud.
Scouting Your Surroundings
Levitating yourself has a great mechanic if you want to scout an area.
Since the range for levitate is 60 feet, casting it on yourself means the casting range will never change, allowing you to see over almost any terrain.
Levitate makes traversing a mountain range, wandering a thick forest, exploring a large city, or scouting an enemy encampment effortless.
Should You Use Levitate?
Many 2nd-level spells are very straightforward and easily identifiable as damage, defensive or supportive spells.
Unfortunately, for many newer players who aren’t as well-versed with all of the spells, levitate can seem underwhelming or upright useless. It is primarily because of the strange playstyle levitate forces players to have.
Therefore I suggest that newer players either research before using this spell or stick to a specific wizard or sorcerer role.
Some well-versed players might find witty uses for levitate, so keep their clever spell combinations in mind!
Overall, levitate is a spell that requires a player to think outside of the box.
It enables players to use not only spells but their environment and other party members to their advantage. Two spellcasters might even use this spell to render a specific target useless.
In the end, don’t only look at what the spell can do, but look at what you can do with the spell. Speak to your party, and ask them if they find levitate useful or if they have any suggestions on how you can use levitate to provide value to your party.
D&D is all about imagination, so start imagining!