Silence is a 2nd-level control spell belonging to the Bard, Cleric, and Ranger spell lists.
Suddenly the drips of water, the hum of air, and the crunching of boots stopped. There was no sound, laughs, or screams; there was just silence. Nobody could hear us, not even the divines.
The Player’s Handbook states the following:
- Silence 5e
- Which Classes Can Pick Silence?
- Is Silence Good in 5e?
- Advantages – Silence
- Disadvantages – Silence
- Spells Similar To Silence
- When or How Should I Use Silence?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
2nd-level Illusion (Ritual)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes
For the spell’s duration, no sound can be created within or pass through the 20-foot-radius sphere centered on a point you chose within range.
Any creature or object finding itself entirely inside the sphere will be immune to Thunder damage and also deafened while inside it.
Casting a spell requiring a verbal component is impossible there.
Which Classes Can Pick Silence?
Traditional classes such as the Bard, Cleric, and Ranger can unlock Silence freely.
The Bard and Cleric can use this spell at level 3, while the Ranger can only use it at level 5.
Subclasses like the Circle of the Land – Desert (Druid), The Undying (Warlock), and The Fathomless (Warlock) can also freely unlock Silence.
All three subclasses can use this spell at level 3.
Note: By spending 2 ki points, the Way of Shadows (Monk) can also cast Silence.
Is Silence Good in 5e?
Silence is an excellent spell that many experienced players use. DMs also occasionally give it to enemy spellcasters to cancel a party’s Verbal spells.
At first, Silence might not seem that good. But in reality, being able to cancel any spell with a Verbal component will rule out around 90% of spells in D&D.
With that said, what spells will the enemy even be left with?
Advantages – Silence
Long Range (Plus a Radius)
Silence has a range of 120 feet. However, when cast, it is centered around a point with a radius of 20 feet (in a sphere shape).
Anyone inside that radius will be affected by the spell. An ideal way to use this spell would be by targeting a group of enemies, preferably spellcasters.
You’ll be silencing everyone in the sphere’s range when casting one spell.
Only a few spells in D&D have the ritual tag next to their description, mostly because rituals have an inherent benefit that standard casting doesn’t have.
Casting a spell as a ritual will usually increase the time to cast it (if it doesn’t use an action).
To compensate for that, it doesn’t use a spell slot from the caster, meaning they can save it to cast another spell with that spell slot.
Note: Most ritual spells are lower level, but any spell slot is valuable. If you are in a long battle, saving your spell slots is a clever move.
No Material Component
Silence only uses Verbal and Somatic components. The cast need only be able to speak loudly and clearly while having at least one hand free.
If it had a Material component, the caster must’ve also spent time looking for the material or buying it. Which can take up a lot of time and resources from the party.
Disadvantages – Silence
Silence uses Concentration to cast and control the spell. As soon as the caster loses Concentration in any way, Silence will be canceled, with a spell slot being used (if not performed as a ritual).
The easiest way to cancel your concentration is by taking damage or being distracted (don’t try casting other Concentration spells; focus entirely on your spell).
Having a powerful spell like Silence will make enemies target you. So try and stay out of the frontline, and watch your back.
You never know if the enemies might sneak up on you.
Spells Similar To Silence
The main difference between these spells and Silence is that they focus on canceling spells rather than making creatures unable to cast spells entirely.
When or How Should I Use Silence?
Disabling Verbal Components
The most apparent use for Silence is to disable other spellcasters from using spells containing a Verbal component.
In the early game, there won’t be as many strong spellcasters. But if they appear, you’ll want to have Silence ready.
Don’t be hesitant to use Silence even against only one enemy. Keeping HP high and progressing should be more important (especially since you’ll only be using a 2nd-level spell slot).
Spells like Entangle, Wall of Fire, Plant Growth, Web, and Wall of Force can all be used to restrain or keep enemies in place.
Using it like this makes it so that the enemies cannot move out of Silence, meaning you can target them with any damaging spells (except spells dealing Thunder damage).
Keep Missions Quiet
Silence isn’t only a ‘debuff’ spell. You can also use it to help your party sneak into places or complete missions quietly.
You can Silence on an area you wish to break into or move through silently.
Anyone in the 20-foot radius of the spell won’t be able to make any noise, meaning you can go along with your mission.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Silence Move With You?
Nothing is mentioned in the description of Silence that tells us the spell can move with the caster or be moved.
The only specifics we are told is that you cast it around a point, creating a radius. This means that where you cast it, there it will stay.
Does Silence Prevent Thunder Damage?
The description of Silence tells us that anything inside of the spell cannot be affected by Thunder damage.
Note: You can still affect enemies with Thunder damage outside of the spell’s radius.
Silence isn’t a spell a party should ignore. Disabling other spellcasters from casting Verbal spells gives your party a significant advantage.
You’ll find that the 2nd-level spell slot will also make it a lot less devastating if the spell is canceled.
Just make sure that the DM hasn’t changed the spell in any way. Sometimes they don’t like having their elaborate plans foiled by a 2nd-level spell!