Zone of Truth is a 2nd-level control spell belonging to the Bard, Cleric, and Paladin spell lists.
Truth is lost in a world without safety. Even among the holy Clerics and Paladins, the only effective truth serum is available with otherworldly magic.
The Player’s Handbook states:
- Zone of Truth 5e
- Which Classes Can Pick Zone of Truth?
- Is Zone of Truth Good in 5e?
- Advantages – Zone of Truth
- Disadvantages – Zone of Truth
- Spells Similar To Zone of Truth
- When or How Should I Use Zone of Truth?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Zone of Truth 5e
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: 10 minutes
You can create a magical zone guarding against deception in a 15-foot-radius sphere centered on the point of your choice within range.
Until the spell ends, creatures that enter the spell’s area for the very first time on a turn or start their turn must make a Charisma saving roll.
On a failed save, a creature cannot speak a deliberate lie while in the radius. You will know whether each creature succeeds or fails on its saving throw.
An affected creature will be aware of the spell and can thus avoid answering certain questions to which it would typically respond with a lie. Such creatures can be evasive in their answers as long as they remain within the truth’s boundaries.
Which Classes Can Pick Zone of Truth?
Traditional classes, like the Bard, Cleric, and Paladin, can use this spell.
The Bard and Cleric can use this spell at level 3, while the Paladin can use it at level 5 (they unlock 2nd-level spell slots).
Subclasses like the Order Domain (Cleric), Oath of Devotion (Paladin), and Oath of the Crown (Paladin).
The Order Domain (Cleric) can use this spell at level 3, while the Oath of Devotion and Oath of the Crown (both Paladin) can use it at level 5.
Is Zone of Truth Good in 5e?
Zone of Truth isn’t useless, but it isn’t good, either. It has its situational uses, but even those are few and far between. It is also quickly out scaled by higher-level spells with better statistics.
Advantages – Zone of Truth
Zone of Truth is a 2nd-level spell, meaning full casters can use it at level 3. Having a spell with good utility or control at a low level will come in handy.
No Material Component
Material components can be tricky to find or expensive. In most cases, you can’t find rarer materials in the wilderness. You will have to find a merchant, a trading Wizard, or get to a town with the necessary shop.
You will also need to worry about the price, but since you don’t need materials, you can just cast it using the other components.
Most creatures in D&D don’t have high Charisma. Since most creatures in the Monster Manual are there for combat, their stats will reflect that.
Martial types will have higher DEX or STR, while spellcasters will have WIS or INT. Charisma is, therefore, a weak point with the potential to be exploited.
Note: Spells like Bestow Curse decrease a creature’s saving roll, which lowers the chances of a creature successfully rolling a save even more.
Disadvantages – Zone of Truth
Since Detect Thoughts is a 2nd-level spell with a similar ability to Zone of Truth, it can easily replace it. The main difference is that it targets only one creature but allows players to delve into their minds.
Unfortunately, it isn’t available to Clerics and Paladins, but it has a much more foolproof feature without the chance of secret rolls being made by the DM.
Spells Similar To Zone of Truth
Changing your shape is one way to obtain spells or abilities similar to Zone of Truth.
Transforming yourself into a Drow Inquisitor (CR14) provides you with the ability, Discern Lie. You’ll be able to sense the lies told by those around you (30-foot radius) by looking at the disturbances caused by their aura.
When or How Should I Use Zone of Truth?
Players can use Zone of Truth in many situations, all of which are outside of combat.
Everyone is looking out for their own hides in the D&D universe. Telling lies has become so natural for most that they can even believe their lies.
That is where Zone of Truth can come in handy, as casting the sphere around a conversation will tell the caster of lies being told.
Be careful not to aggravate people, as they might think the zone is a trap!
Outside of Combat
You shouldn’t believe everything the Zone of Truth tells you. One session will never be enough to discern whether or not a creature is lying, so while the spell is still up, keep asking questions.
In combat, this is impossible, so if you want to use this spell effectively, then always use it out of or after combat.
Players love interrogating enemies, especially when they get to break their bones. Luckily, for those players who aren’t prone to violence, using Zone of Truth is also an option.
Interrogating a creature without violence may also be wise, as you won’t have to watch your back or kill the target in fear of them taking revenge.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can You Beat Zone of Truth 5e?
A creature can beat Zone of Truth by using high-level features or using extreme psychological advances.
Believing your lies, having an ally use Modify Memory on you, not alerting the caster you are unaffected, etc.
Surpassing a spell’s effects can be pretty tricky. However, having a skill is always helpful since you never know when you’ll end up in a situation where you’ll need it.
Does Zone of Truth Affect the Caster?
As confirmed by Jeremy Crawford on Twitter, if Zone of Truth’s caster is in the range of the sphere. They can also be affected by the spell.
Zone of Truth isn’t a spell you will use often, but it can have a decent effect when used. Even though this spell doesn’t function exceptionally well for classes like the Cleric and Paladin, it can be just enough to provide utility.