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Power Word: Pain 5e D&D Guide

Power Word: Pain 5e D&D Guide

As the seventh veil between mortal realms and arcane wonders part, the caster’s voice resonates with the ancient incantation of Pain. 

With an utterance that shatters reality itself, a torrent of ethereal anguish surges forth, ensnaring a hapless target.

In the wake of this eldritch proclamation, the very essence of pain binds the victim, their existence awash in a symphony of torment that knows no respite until the spell’s dread decree is lifted.

Power Word: Pain 5e

7th-level Enchantment

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 60 feet

Components: V

Duration: Instantaneous

You utter a word of power that cause waves of excruciating pain to assail a single creature you can see within range. If the creature has 100 HP or fewer, it becomes the subject of intense pain.

If the requirements are not met, the spell has no effect on the creature. Creatures that are immune to being charmed are also left unaffected by the spell.

While a creature is being affected by intense pain, any speed it can muster can be no higher than 10 feet. The creature will also have disadvantage on ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws (other than Constitution saving throws).

Be aware that if the creature tries to cast a spell, it is forced to succeed on a Constitution saving throw first, or the casting will fail, and the spell becomes wasted.

A creature suffering from this pain may make a Constitution saving throw at the end of each turn. If the save is successful, the pain ends.

Which Classes Can Pick Power Word: Pain 5e?

Traditional classes like Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards all have Power Word: Pain on their spell lists.

All the abovementioned classes can use Power Word: Pain at level 13 when they unlock their first 7th-level spell slot.

No subclasses have Power Word: Pain on their spell lists or can obtain it freely.

Is Power Word: Pain Good in 5e?

Let’s be clear about something. Power Word: Pain is a non-combat spell disguised as a combat spell, so we’ll judge it accordingly. 

In other words, it’s horrible, but if you want a creature to feel PAIN, it’s fantastic!

Advantages – Power Word: Pain

Straightforward Application

Even as a 7th-level spell, Power Word: Pain stays simple to understand and doesn’t require much thought. 

The primary purpose of Power Word: Pain is to cause severe pain, but it also debuffs enemies while they go through pain, meaning it acts as a disabling spell.

I say this because you can easily use Power Word: Pain on a creature that poses a significant threat to your party, basically disabling it – simple enough, right?

Powerful Debuffs

I’ve briefly touched on the fact that Power Word: Pain has debuffs, but most players don’t know just how powerful these debuffs really are.

Affected creatures become slowed, have disadvantage on saving throws (other than Constitution saves), ability checks, and attack rolls, as well as force creatures to make a Constitution save whenever they cast a spell (making the spell fizzle out if failed).

Come on, having disadvantage on at least one of these is already powerful, but having all of them is just overkill, although it probably makes sense for a 7th-level spell.

Roleplaying Possibility

Some players form unhealthy, violent relationships with particular creatures in 5e, but if they want to be spiteful, they can expend a 7th-level spell slot just to cause that creature extreme pain.

Yeah yeah, I know it’s petty, but sometimes you just can’t resist giving it to one of those annoying NPCs that always look down on you!

Disadvantages – Power Word: Pain


Even though Power Word: Pain has some powerful debuffs, as well as causing a creature severe pain, there are better ways to use a 7th-level spell slot.

The point is, why would you use a 7th-level spell slot against a creature below 100 HP, whereas, at this point, you can probably just dish out 100 points of damage and kill the creature instead of debuffing it?

Note: In most cases, it’s better to take care of a threat before it has a chance to injure or, worse yet, kill a party member.

High Level

Spending a 7th-level spell slot on a spell that can’t even kill a creature, whereas other lower-level spells used competently can kill creatures with 100 HP.

Understand that killing a creature that threatens your party is more valuable than just causing debuffs and having the creature deal more damage to your party.

Spells Similar to Power Word: Pain 5e

Spells with similar features to Power Word: Pain are; Inflict Wounds (1st-level), Bestow Curse (3rd-level), Contagion (5th-level), Harm (6th-level), Power Word: Stun (8th-level), and Power Word: Kill (9th-level). 

When or How Should You Use Power Word: Pain?

Challenging Situations

At this point in your campaign, you’ll face all sorts of circumstances that would either traumatize lower-level adventures or kill them. These creatures will also have a lot of resistance and HP to boot, so it’s best to kill them quickly. 

Therefore, you’ll need to be very careful how you use Power Word: Pain, especially if you have limited spell slots or other situational spells.

Unfortunately, Power Word: Pain will only be helpful after a creature is at 100 HP or less, so you should use it more as a supportive spell to help other players kill a designated creature quickly.

If you act similar to how I’ve explained, you should get a lot out of Power Word: Pain, even though it’s a terrible spell.

Quick Escape

While not often, at certain times, you should cut your losses, tuck your tail between your legs, and run.

However, before you do that, try to cripple the creature with the highest threat level, as they’ll become distracted by the intense pain and be unable to chase after your party.

Even though you’ll burn a high-level spell slot, escaping with your lives is much more valuable.


Using Power Word: Pain can help a ton when interrogating a creature that needs a bit of physical coercion to talk.

If you know Power Word: Pain will work on them, then go right ahead and cast it. You’ll see just how quickly you gain precious information from that good-for-nothing.

Note: Remember that you’ll be burning a 7th-level spell slot, but who cares? It’s all in the spirit of roleplay!

Power Word: Pain 5e FAQs

Can Monsters Use Power Word: Pain in 5e?

Not many monsters can use magic, but those that can usually have very precise spells, leaving the DM to add spells into their arsenals. A good idea would be giving Power Word: Pain to a Lich.

In other cases, they’ll have creatures like high-ranking vampires, fiends, or demons also possess Power Word: Pain, as they are the definition of pain and suffering.

Can Power Word: Pain Deal Damage in 5e?

There is no mention of damage being dealt by Power Word: Pain in any sense, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the DM to add damage to the spell because of the pain.

In fact, it would actually make the spell much better, especially when compared to other 7th-level spells.

Note: There are many interpretations of the pain caused by Power Word: Pain. Some argue it would do more physical damage, and others argue it would also cause Psychic damage, but it’s up to your DM to decide.

Final Thoughts

While Power Word: Pain isn’t a great spell by any means, it can have a place in your spell list (but only after careful consideration, as there are so many better spells to choose from).

That said, its roleplay potential is awesome and perfect for players who want to cause their targets as much pain and suffering as possible.

Some might tell you to completely avoid Power Word: Pain, but before completely writing off this spell, use it for yourself and see if it fits you. You’d be surprised how much fun a bad spell can sometimes bring!

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