Thaumaturgy is a Cantrip utility spell belonging to the Cleric class’ spell list.
Thaumaturgy is similar to the Prestidigitation and Mold Earth spells. Mold Earth manipulates soil, and Prestidigitation focuses on simple magic tricks.
Thaumaturgy, on the other hand, relies on manipulating the sensory effects of others and the environment around them.
The Player’s Handbook specifies the following:
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Duration: Up to 1 minute
You can manifest a minor wonder, a symbol of supernatural power, within range. You then create one of the following magical effects below, within range:
- Your voice rumbles up to three times as loud as normal for up to 1 minute.
- You cause flames to flicker, dim, brighten, or change color for 1 minute.
- You generate harmless tremors in the ground for up to 1 minute.
- You produce an instantaneous sound that originates from a point you choose within range, such as a rumble of thunder, an ominous whisper, or the cry of a raven.
- You instantaneously cause an unlocked window or door to fly open and slam shut.
- You alter your eyes’ appearance for up to 1 minute.
If you cast Thaumaturgy multiple times, you are able to have up to three of its 1-minute effects active simultaneously, and you can dismiss each of the effects as an action.
Which Classes Can Pick Thaumaturgy?
Traditionally, only Clerics have Thaumaturgy in their spell lists. However, Bards can also pick this spell at level 10 using their Magical Secrets.
The Divine Soul (Sorcerer) subclass has access to every spell in the Cleric spell list. Therefore, they can pick and use it from level 1.
Tieflings can learn Thaumaturgy using their Legacy bloodline trait.
Bloodlines that include this spell are Asmodeus (Infernal Legacy), Baalzebul (Legacy of Maladomini), Dispater (Legacy of Dis), and Zariel (Legacy of Avernus).
Is Thaumaturgy Good in 5e?
Thaumaturgy is the Cleric equivalent of Presditigitation. If compared, it is mediocre at best and overshadowed by the more useful effects of its counterpart.
Advantages – Thaumaturgy
One great plus about Thaumaturgy is that it can stack any of its various effects up to 3 times. It gives a player ample choices, allowing them to combine any effect with another if they so choose.
Thaumaturgy only has the Verbal component players have to account for. Even if you were to be bound, you would still be able to cast Thaumaturgy.
Just make sure you can still be heard loud and clear, as this is the only way to ensure the spell is cast successfully.
Note: If an enemy uses the Silence spell on you, you wouldn’t be able to cast this spell.
Thaumaturgy is a Cantrip, which means that even if it fails, you’ll only lose time. There is no high-level spell slot, expensive material, or ritual. It’s only a simple spell used by low-level players in useful ways.
Disadvantages – Thaumaturgy
Thaumaturgy has a range of 30 feet, which can seem relatively low. However, compared to its alternative Prestidigitation, it’s quite high.
Note: Comparing this spell’s range to attack spells would be useless, as some spells range from 60 to 120 feet.
Limited Class Availability
Only Clerics have Thaumaturgy as a part of their spell lists. Compared to Prestidigitation, which is available to five classes, Thaumaturgy was meant only to be used by Clerics.
How Should I Use Thaumaturgy?
Clerics who pick Thaumaturgy, use it to manifest a minor wonder given to them by the gods. Thus, if they feel the cause is righteous, they will cast this spell and perform their wonder.
Most Useful Out of Combat
There are no damaging effects in this spell. It is a purely utility-based spell that can impress or scare the common folk or low Intelligence creatures.
Players can also use it to influence the environment around them.
Some areas of an environment might be trapped or mimicked. If you use the harmless tremors, you could potentially trigger any trap or trick placed in the area.
Tampering with a door can inform players if it is locked or not. Lights in hallways can also be dimmed or brightened to hide or reveal things within the environment.
Use for Misdirection
If you come in contact with enemies, you can influence their behavior in various ways.
Enemies without Darkvision would have a difficult time in the dark. Players should dim the lights as they identify the target, obscuring their view. In most cases, this can lead to a sneak attack or assassination.
You are also able to slam open doors without even touching them.
This can have many purposes, such as scaring enemies (which could lower their spirits), having them exit their room (into your attack), or just messing with them.
Are There Similar Spells Available?
Note: Each spell has no damaging effect and relies on the creativity of its spellcaster.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Thaumaturgy Better Than Prestidigitation?
Unfortunately, fans of Thaumaturgy would be mistaken if they thought it was better than Prestidigitation.
Even though you feel like you’re using a tiny bit of a god’s power, it cannot compete with the mechanics of Prestidigitation.
Prestidigitation has too many valuable effects that players can use in their daily journeys.
Can You Start a Fire With Thaumaturgy
Thaumaturgy doesn’t expressly state that it can start a fire. However, since it can ‘brighten’ a fire, it should be able to increase its flames and heat output as well.
Even though Thaumaturgy is similar to other spells, its description and intent are unique. It rewards a player’s ability to be creative in battle, on the street, or while roleplaying.
Sure, you trade damaging effects for utility, but in all honesty, damaging abilities are overrated (especially from spellcasters).
If you can creatively use a spell like this, you’ll be able to create some of the best combinations later in the game!