With a spoken word and a holy symbol, a burst of radiant energy bursts forth from your body, illuminating the area and damaging any foes foolish enough to stand in your way.
This spectacle of holy light strikes fear into the hearts of enemies, showing all around you how strong even a bit of divine power can be!
The Supplement, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, says:
Word of Radiance 5e
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 5 feet
Components: V, M (a holy symbol)
When you speak a divine word, searing brightness bursts from you. Each creature of your choosing that you can see within range must pass a Constitution saving roll to avoid taking 1d6 radiant damage.
At Higher Levels: Word of Radiance’s damage increases by 1d6 when reaching the 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).
Spell Type: Damage
Which Classes Can Pick Word of Radiance 5e?
The Cleric is the only traditional class that can freely unlock Word of Radiance.
Clerics can unlock and use Word of Radiance at level 1.
No subclasses can freely unlock Word of Radiance.
Is Word of Radiance Good in 5e?
Word of Radiance isn’t necessarily the best damaging Cantrip out there, but it has some redeeming factors.
What it lacks in range, it makes up for in damage and its over-the-top showcase of flames.
Advantages – Word of Radiance
Word of Radiance can be cast unlimited times per day without the need for spell slots, making it an always-available option for you.
Therefore, you can use it as an effective means of dealing damage to enemies, illuminating dark areas, or providing a source of light when entering dark places.
You’ll also not have to worry about running out of spell slots or choosing between using Word of Radiance or another spell.
Most of the time, having a Material component is a disadvantage to a spell. It’s the opposite for Word of Radiance because of who can cast it.
Clerics are the only class who can cast Word of Radiance, and the material needed for the spell to work is a ‘holy symbol.’ Who knows everything about holy symbols? That’s right, Clerics do.
If the Cleric only has a piece of cloth or paper, they can quickly scribble down a holy symbol for the spell.
They won’t have to search for the symbol or pay someone to write it.
Radiant damage is effective against a wide range of enemies found across the D&D universe.
Not all of them are vulnerable to Radiant damage, but the chances of the creatures having Radiant resistance are extremely slim.
Note: A few creatures, such as Shadows, Shadow Demons, and the Undead Bulette, are vulnerable to Radiant damage.
Radiant damage is recommended against Shadow Dragons because of the resistance it gets when in dim light. Most Radiant spells illuminate areas, meaning it won’t be able to obtain its resistances.
Having Radiant damage is never bad, even if it’s a Cantrip spell!
Disadvantages – Word of Radiance
Word of Radiance is only available on the Cleric’s spell list. Other classes who want to unlock and use Word of Radiance will have to use their feats or other class-specific abilities to unlock it.
Unfortunately, this limits the number of players who will see and use Word of Radiance.
Clerics have a lot of good spells in their spell list, so they might also not even pick Word of Radiance, overlooking the spell entirely.
Word of Radiance has an effective range of 5 feet. Some might even classify it as a melee spell.
Clerics are spellcasters; even though they aren’t as squishy as usual, they’re still spellcasters.
When enemies are within 10 feet of spellcasters, they are threatened by most martial enemies’ superior melee skills.
It is much safer to use long-ranged spells and have your martial party members handle the incoming enemies.
Spells Similar to Word of Radiance 5e
When or How Should I Use Word of Radiance?
Due to Word of Radiance having a short range (5 feet), players should opt-in to cast it when enemies come close to them.
With it being a Cantrip, nothing stops you (except the action economy) from spamming Word of Radiance.
Example: If an enemy breaks through the frontline, you can use Word of Radiance to defend yourself if you judge your martial skills as sloppy.
Leverage Its Level
As the text above mentions, Word of Radiance is a Cantrip spell, and you should use that to your advantage. Cantrips are far less taxing to cast due to them not taking spell slots.
Note: It also has automatic character-level-based upscaling, making it an option when reaching higher levels.
Since you won’t lose anything, except the materials, from casting Word of Radiance, you can use it as an intimidation tactic.
If you’re in a tavern, harassed on the street, or want to show guards that you’re not a phony, use this spell.
Note: Remember, even if the radiance touches the people around you, it is up to you if the radiance will do damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Cantrips Can a Cleric Prepare?
At the beginning of a campaign, Clerics can start with three cantrips, and having Word of Radiance as one of them isn’t a bad choice.
Make sure to choose wisely; you won’t be able to change your Cantrips.
Note: Upon reaching level 10, Clerics will already have 2 extra Cantrip slots to choose from.
Will Casting Word of Radiance Cancel My Concentration?
Word of Radiance isn’t a Concentration spell, so you can cast it while concentrating.
The only things that will break your Concentration are taking damage and casting another Concentration spell while another one is active.
Despite Word of Radiance’s relatively low level, it remains a decent choice for players starting as Clerics.
The power to dispel darkness and strike down those who would harm your party makes it invaluable to naturally good (aligned) Clerics.
Whether you use Word of Radiance as a show of force or a beacon of hope, it truly lives up to its name as a radiant word of power!