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Slow 5e D&D Guide [2023]

Slow 5e D&D Guide [2023]

Slow is a 3rd-level control and debuffing spell available on the Bard, Sorcerer, and Wizard spell lists.

In a battle against a group of goblins. A wizard casts Slow on the goblin chief, a fierce warrior known for its speed and agility.

Suddenly the chief’s movements grew sluggish as the spell began taking effect, and it staggered as it tried to approach the party.

The Player’s Handbook states the following:

Slow 5e

3rd-level Transmutation

Casting Time: 1 Action

Range: 120 feet

Components: V, S, M (one drop of molasses)

Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Within a 40-foot cube that is within range, you can change time around up to six of your chosen creatures. Each target must make a successful Wisdom saving throw to avoid being impacted by this spell for the duration.


Affected targets lose half their speed, suffer a -2 penalty to their AC and Dexterity saving throws, and cannot use reactions.

It can only perform one action or one bonus action during each turn. The creature can only make one melee or ranged attack per turn, regardless of its special traits or magic equipment.

Roll a d20 to determine the outcome if the creature tries to cast a spell with a casting time of one action. On a roll of 11 or higher, the spell doesn’t start working until the creature’s subsequent turn, and it needs to be finished using that turn’s action. The spell is useless if it is unable to.

Note: At the end of every turn, a creature this spell has impacted must make another Wisdom saving roll. The effect is removed for it if the save is successful.

When Can Classes Pick Slow?

Traditional classes like the Bard, Sorcerer, and Wizard can freely unlock Slow.

All three classes can unlock and use Slow at level 5.

Subclasses like the Order Domain (Cleric) and the Circle of the Land – Arctic (Druid) can also freely unlock this spell.

Both subclasses can unlock this spell at level 5.

Is Slow Good in 5e?

Slow is rated highly by many D&D players. Its crowd control is a great tool for players facing many enemies.

Spellcasters focusing on control and utility will have a blast using this spell!

Advantages – Slow

Crowd Control

The most effective detail Slow offers a party is its 40-foot cube placed in an area. Not only does it affect all enemies within the 40 feet, but they’ll all have to make saving rolls.

Note: It is also a good way to immobilize and negatively affect spellcasters.

Long Range

Slow can be cast from a maximum range of 120 feet, meaning it doesn’t only have a large affected area; you can cast it from the safety of your backline.

Another benefit would be that it allows spellcasters to avoid any incoming damage that would cancel their Concentration. Most enemies wanting to use brute strength will have to break through the frontline before getting to you.

Note: Watch out for assassin types, as they love sneaking behind your defenses and quietly trying to take out spellcasters.

Disadvantages – Slow

Requires Concentration

As mentioned briefly in the text above, Slow is a Concentration spell and needs to be kept active.

While you have Concentration up, you’ll have to avoid damage, not get distracted at any point of the spell, and not cast any other Concentration spells (as it will cancel your current spell).

Note: Be careful of spellcasters trying to charm or frighten you. If they are successful, your Concentration will be broken.

Class Availability

Slow is available to Bards, Sorcerers, and Wizards. All other classes can freely obtain it and have to obtain it using other methods.

These classes fit well with Slow (even though Druids and Clerics would also find Slow useful).

Material Component

Slow uses a drop of molasses as its Material component. Luckily it isn’t expensive or difficult to find in towns.

The only problem is finding it while on an excursion in the wilderness. If Slow is part of your party’s game plan, prepare accordingly and make sure you have it before exiting cities.

Spells Similar To Slow 5e

Spells similar to Slow would be Hold Person, Entangle, Web, and Ray of Enfeeblement.

When or How Should I Use Slow?

Facing Multiple Enemies

Since Slow has such a large area of effect, players can get the most out of the spell by using it on large groups of enemies.

Note: The maximum amount of creatures you can affect in an area is 6, so choose wisely!

After slowing enemies, your party can choose what to do next and eliminate any threat without being overly stressed.

Control the Battlefield

By reducing the mobility of a large group of enemies, you can focus all your resources on taking down the remaining threats.

It also allows your party to regroup and analyze the threats before making your next moves. Not only does this give players time to recuperate, but it also reminds everyone of their duty.

Note: If you haven’t cast Slow yet, you can cast it on reinforcements before they can get to the main force.

Debuff Spellcasters

If an enemy tries to cast a spell while slowed, the caster will roll a d20. If it’s an 11 or higher, they will only be able to cast the spell on their next turn.

The spellcaster will likely have no other defenses and be wide open to ranged attacks!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Slow Be Cast on Allies?

Slow can be cast on allies, but it isn’t wise, especially in a battle.

You can cast the spell close to allies and have enemies go through the area, but having allies affected by Slow has no benefits.

Do Haste and Slow Cancel Each Other?

Haste and Slow cancel each other out.

If your party member is slowed, a Haste spell will return him to normal but won’t provide him with other benefits. The same is true when using Slow against a target with Haste.

Final Thoughts

Even though Slow is more complex than its counterpart, Haste, it provides much-needed effects that have the chance to affect many creatures on a battlefield.

The only letdown would be that Slow doesn’t have any upscaling potential. Maybe let your DM know and figure out how to incorporate an upscaling mechanic without breaking the spell!

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