Dawn Spell Guide 5e

Dawn is an ancient spell used to daze and damage the foulest of monsters. In this guide, we will look at its mechanics and analyze how different classes can use Dawn. 

We’ll also answer your most common questions about this spell. Dawn is dazzling, and we hope this guide will help you make the most of it!


  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: 60 feet
  • Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
  • School: Evocation
  • Class: Cleric, Wizard
  • Level: 5th
  • Damage/Effect: Radiant
  • Attack/Save: Constitution Save
  • Components: V, S, M (a sunburst pendant worth at least 100 gp)
  • Concentration: Yes

The light of dawn shines down on a location you specify within range. Until the spell ends, a 30-foot-radius, 40-foot-high cylinder of bright light glimmers there. This light is sunlight. When the cylinder appears, each creature in it must make a Constitution saving throw, taking 4d10 radiant damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one. A creature must also make this saving throw whenever it ends its turn in the cylinder. If you’re within 60 feet of the cylinder, you can move it up to 60 feet as a bonus action on your turn.

Source: Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

What Is the Dawn Spell?

The stench of death lingered over the graveyard, but the Cleric was not deterred. With a wave of her hand, she called forth a cylinder of bright light that chased away the shadows and showed the way forward.  The Cleric had many tools at her disposal, but she knew that sometimes the best solution was to simply light the way.

Dawn is a powerful spell that can instantly turn the tide of battle. It is a rare spell available to Clerics and Wizards and a valuable tool in their arsenals. 

The Dawn spell fills a cylindrical area with bright sunlight. When the spell is cast, any creatures in the area must make a successful Constitution saving throw or take 4d10 radiant damage. Those caught within the cylinder of sunlight must also attempt a Constitution save if they end their turn within the light.

The spellcaster can use a bonus action to move the cylinder of light up to 60 feet, making it a versatile spell capable of both offense and defense. Players can read more about this spell in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

How Can the Dawn Spell Be Used?

The Dawn spell can be used in many creative ways, depending on your needs and the situation in which you find yourself.

Offensively, the spell can be used to damage enemies, blind them, or force them to traverse the battlefield. It’s especially effective against creatures vulnerable to sunlight or radiant damage. Because it only requires a bonus action to change the location of the cylinder of light, you can easily reposition it and catch enemies off-guard.

Defensively, the Dawn spell can provide light and visibility in an area, which can be helpful in dungeons or other dark places. It can also protect allies from enemies who rely on darkness to hide.

Lastly, the Dawn spell can be used for roleplaying opportunities. For example, you could use it to signal for help, inspire your allies, or show your defiance against an enemy. 

Using Radiant Damage Wisely

The light of the dawn breaks over the hill, exposing the enemy army who thought they could take your castle by surprise. You knew better. You cast Dawn. Now, as the first rays of sunlight touch down on the battlefield, you watch as the enemy is consumed by searing light. Their screams echo in your ears as they are vaporized; not even their ashes remain.

The Dawn spell has the potential to deal a lot of damage, but it’s important to use it wisely. Because this spell targets a wide area, it’s easy to accidentally harm allies or innocent bystanders. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and plan accordingly.

Additionally, if you happen to be fighting creatures that are vulnerable to radiant damage, the Dawn spell is an excellent way to end the battle quickly. Dawn will deal double damage to these monsters.

The list of monsters vulnerable to radiant damage includes:

  • Shadows
  • Skittering Horrors
  • Atropals
  • Gloomstalkers
  • Shadow Demons
  • Vampirates

Similarly, if you are fighting creatures who like to hide in the dark, the Dawn spell can be used to blind them and force them out into the open.

Which Classes Can Use the Dawn Spell? 

Clerics and Wizards are the two classes that can cast the Dawn spell. Clerics can choose it as one of their spells at 5th level, while Wizards can find it in the Evocation school. 


Clerics specializing in radiant damage will want to consider adding the Dawn spell to their repertoire. The spell’s ability to deal extra damage to creatures vulnerable to radiant damage makes it a beneficial tool for Clerics who often find themselves fighting those types of creatures.

Because Dawn affects a massive area, it’s also a great spell for Clerics who want to be able to damage a group of enemies.


Wizards who specialize in evocation will want to consider adding Dawn to their spellbooks. This spell will not only give Wizards an option for dealing radiant damage but also allow them to manipulate the battlefield in various ways.

For example, the Dawn spell is perfect for forcing enemies out of hiding. It can also create a wall of light that will blind and damage any creatures trying to pass through it.

Strategy Tips for DMs and Players

The Dawn spell is extremely effective in the right hands but can also be devastating if used carelessly. Here are a few tips to help DMs and players get the most out of this spell:

  • Keep in mind the strengths and vulnerabilities of your enemies when using this spell.
  • The Dawn spell is a good choice when there is a need for sunlight, whether to damage enemies or to provide illumination in an area.
  • Dawn will damage anyone within its area of effect, including your allies.  The light of the dawn can be just as harmful to them as it is to your enemies.
  • The Dawn spell can also blind enemies. The blinded creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom checks that rely on sight.

Dawn is also a good spell to have around in case of emergencies, as the light can be seen by your allies. Anyone wandering in the dark is likely to notice a 40-foot-high cylinder of bright sunlight.

Experiment with different ways to use the spell. The Dawn spell can be used in a variety of situations, so get creative!

Roleplay Opportunities Using the Dawn Spell

Sunlight itself can be a mighty weapon and a symbol of hope. Remember that it’s always the darkest before the Dawn!

Anyone wandering the Underdark’s deepest drifts will want to keep the Dawn spell in mind. Not only will it provide much-needed light and visibility, but you can use it to blind the dangerous monsters that call the Underdark their home.

Additionally, you can use the light of the Dawn spell to show defiance against enemies who insist on hiding in the shadows. By casting the spell, you effectively say, “I am not afraid of you.”

Casting the Dawn spell can also be used as a way to signal for help. The light can be seen from far away, and it is sure to attract attention, especially in the dark places of the world.

Common Questions About Dawn

Because Dawn is a rare spell, there are bound to be some questions about it. We’ve answered a few of the most common questions players have about using Dawn in their games.

What Is a Sunburst Pendant?

A sunburst pendant is an amulet that can absorb sunlight. Before you can cast Dawn, you’ll need to find one worth at least 100 gp. Finding one of these shouldn’t be difficult, as they are common items. However, they’re expensive, so you’ll need to save up your gold if you want to buy one.

Does Dawn Go Through Walls?

Dawn creates a cylinder of sunlight in a location of your choosing. The light does not penetrate through walls, but it will fill the entire cylinder. Anything caught inside the cylinder will be affected by the light. This includes both enemy and ally targets.

Does Sunlight Hurt Drow?

Drow have Sunlight Sensitivity. Any Drow caught in sunlight has disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom checks that rely on sight. Drow can be deadly, especially for low-level characters, so it’s best to avoid them if possible. Use Dawn to your advantage if you find yourself in a fight against them.

Will Dawn Hurt Your Allies?

Yes, the Dawn spell will damage your allies if you catch them in the area of effect. Be sure to target your enemies and not your friends! It’s best to place the cylinder in an area far away from your allies.

Choose your targets carefully as friendly fire is always a possibility with this spell.