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Mage Hand 5e D&D Guide

Mage Hand 5e D&D Guide

Mage Hand offers a spectral appendage that is fully controlled by the caster and can be utilized to complete simple tasks.

The rules for Mage Hand can be found in the Players Handbook, pg 256.

Mage Hand 5e

Conjuration Cantrip

Casting Time: 1 Action

Range: 30 Feet

Components: V, S

Duration: 1 Minute

A spectral, floating hand appears at a point you choose within range. The hand lasts for the duration or until you dismiss it as an action.

The hand vanishes if it is ever more than 30 feet away from you or if you cast this spell again.

You can use your action to control the hand. You can use the hand to manipulate an object, open an unlocked door or container, stow or retrieve an item from an open container, or pour the contents out of a vial.

You can move the hand up to 30 feet each time you use it.

The hand can’t attack, activate magic items, or carry more than 10 pounds.

The rules for the Mage Hand are clear in the description of how the spell functions and the representation of the spell in-game.

The description clearly identifies the abilities of the hand and what actions it can take. There are also specific movement allowances provided as well.

Is Mage Hand Good?

Mage Hand is undoubtedly a great utility spell, especially for a Cantrip, as it has many uses and can be used indefinitely by a creative player.

It also has incredible compatibility with the Arcane Trickster (Rogue) subclass, and it wouldn’t be the same without it.

Can You Use Mage Hand To Steal?

Mage Hand is an interesting spell because of the ability for any mage as well as the Arcane Trickster Rogue, to utilize it.

The interesting thing is that the Arcane Trickster can use the spell to perform intricate tasks such as picking locks and pockets (sleight of hand). The mage does not have this ability.

It is the same spell, but the wizard never gets the proficiency to use Mage Hand in this way. This means that while Mage Hand can be used to steal for the Arcane Trickster, it cannot be used in this manner by any wizard just because they can cast the spell.

Hot Tip
5e is a system in which anyone can try to do anything. If, for some reason, a mage wanted to use Mage Hand to perform a sleight-of-hand task, they could attempt it. They would not be proficient with it and would not add any bonuses other than the ability modifier. It would be up to the DM if that would be a check for Intelligence (spell casting modifier) or Dexterity (Sleight of Hand).

Is Mage Hand Visible?

The Mage Hand spell specifies what the spell looks like. It consists of a spectral hand floating in the air. This would confirm that the magical hand is visible.

The rules in 5e are extremely specific. The spell doesn’t say that the hand can be opaque or transparent; therefore, it cannot be opaque or transparent.

Hot Tip
The DM should remember that Mage Hand is entirely visible. Often players try to give the impression that it can perform tasks without being seen or making noise. This is not the case.

Can Mage Hand Deliver Touch Spells?

Mage Hand is a spell. It is in no way an extension of the caster. It cannot be used to deliver touch spells. A familiar is an option for delivering touch spells at range if you have one.

Can Mage Hand Go Through Walls?

The spell creates a spectral floating hand, but it is not incorporeal, meaning it is spectral only in appearance and cannot go through walls.

Since Mage Hand can interact with objects and isn’t described as having the ability to pass through solid objects, there’s no evidence for it being able to go through walls.

Can Mage Hand Hold a Torch?

The spectral hand can carry up to 10 pounds. This is sufficient strength to carry a torch. The spell only lasts a minute, though, so the torch would fall at the end of the duration.

The spell could be cast again to pick up the torch and keep moving it. This could be troublesome in an area where stealth is important.

Hot Tip
While Mage Hand can carry magic items, it is not capable of activating them. It also cannot attack.

Can Mage Hand Hold a Shield?

As long as the shield weighs less than 10 pounds, Mage Hand can hold it. There is a significant difference between holding and using, though.

Mage Hand is not intelligent; it doesn’t have reactions or actions. This means that it would be a full action to ready the Mage Hand to deflect an incoming attack, and it would only work on the first one.

Mage Hand holding a shield in melee combat is useless. There are some scenarios where it could make sense to use Mage Hand. If you need something obscured, the hand could move the shield in the way and just sit there for a minute.

This would be useful for covering windows or holes. The other possible use would be to shield one specific thing or direction. Mage Hand could hold the shield between you and the threat creating some cover. Both of these scenarios are your DM’s decision, though.

Can Mage Hand Be Used To Push Someone?

Let’s be clear; you can’t use Mage Hand to push someone, as this is basically shoving. While it is clever thinking, it isn’t something that the description of Mage Hand includes or allows.

Can Mage Hand Disarm Someone?

To be clear, there are one or two parts in Mage Hand’s description that hint at why Mage Hand can’t be used to disarm someone. 

Firstly, it can’t be more than 10 pounds, so why would it be able to disarm someone of their weapon, it just simply isn’t powerful enough. 

Secondly, the description doesn’t specify how the hand would work when pulling against resistance, simply meaning it wasn’t meant to handle resistance (except the weight of up to 10 pounds) in the first place.

Note: One thing you can do is remove arrows or darts from a quiver or pouch, as they aren’t being held by a creature; they’re simply lying in a “container.”

Final Thoughts

Mage Hand is a variable spell. It is common but not mandatory for any mage. It is nice because it can interact with objects such as doors and chests from a safe distance.

It is also a spell that is nice to have but is optional to use and, with the limited number of cantrips available, can be passed over without much worry.

The versatility is great on the spell and its many uses. Mage Hand is a commonly taken spell for this very reason.

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