Fireball 5e: Everyone’s Favorite AoE Explosion

Casting Time

1 action






150 feet (20-foot cube)


Sorcerer, Wizard








Verbal, Somatic, Material

Spell Description:

A bright streak flashes from your pointing finger to a point you choose within range and then blossoms with a low roar into an explosion of flame.

Each creature in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on that point must make a Dexterity saving throw. A target takes 8d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

The fire spreads around corners. It ignites flammable objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 3rd.

3rd level5th level7th level9th level
Damage Dice8d610d612d614d6
Minimum Damage8101214
Average Damage24.530.536.544.5
Maximum Damage48607288

Level: Sorcerer (3), Wizard (3), Bard (10, Magical Secrets), Eldritch Knight (13), Arcane Trickster (13)

Materials Required: A tiny ball of bat guano and sulfur

Number of Targets: Any within a 20-foot cube

Die Type: d6

Number of Dice: 8 (increased by 1 for every spell slot level used above 3rd)

Damage Type: Fire

Save: Dexterity

Damage On Successful Save: Half

Statuses Inflicted: None

Status Duration: None

Affected By Cover: Yes

Advantage: None

Disadvantage: None

What is Fireball?

Fireball is, perhaps, the most well-known spell in all of Dungeons & Dragons history. It’s a 3rd level Evocation spell that deals Fire damage. The caster launches a blazing ball of flames in the direction of their choosing, dealing fire damage to all the creatures in the location they threw it at.

The spell is an Area of Effect, not a single targeted cast, so the caster will have to be mindful of their allies in the range of the spell, not just the enemies.

Who can cast Fireball?

Sorcerers, Wizards are the only classes with Fireball on their spell list. Bards can take the spell with their Magical Secrets feature, available to all Bards by the 10th level.

Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters will have to wait until the 13th level when they first get 3rd level spell slots.

When and Where should I cast Fireball?

If we’re following the guidance of many of our spell-slinging forefathers, “yes” would be the answer. Its massive popularity as a spell and its integration into a popular culture outside of Dungeons & Dragons has led to an ever-popular and relatively accurate joke that Wizards only need the spell Fireball.

The honest answer is that you should always be mindful of when and where you’re casting the spell. If you aren’t careful about when and where you cast the spell, you may find yourself habitually blasting your allies in the face with flaming spheres of doom, and no one likes to be killed by their allies. 

Why should I take Fireball?

Pretty much if you can take it, you should. There are few spellcasting classes for whom a little extra ‘boom for their buck’ is going to hurt. Fireball’s damage to cost ratio is hugely efficient.

The large area of effect is also just absurdly good to have on pretty much any character. It has a fantastic range that lets arcane casters stay well out of harm’s way while dealing substantial area damage for a low slot cost, and it can be up-cast for more damage.

Common Questions About Fireball

What is Fireball’s range?

Its full range is actually 160 feet since the target point is the center of the sphere, which means it can actually hit up to 10 feet past its maximum range using the far edge of the sphere.

Is Fireball’s save affected by cover?

Yes! Fireball’s save is affected by cover.

Can a Warlock cast Fireball?

Yes, but only if they took the Fiend as their Otherworldly Patron.

Is a Fireball hot enough to melt gold?

Probably, but the real issue with this is going to be that the spell is instantaneous. So unless the gold is near a flammable object, you won’t have a flame near it long enough to melt any gold on the person of interest.

Alternatives to Fireball

How to Use Fireball

For Players

Fireball is the most iconic spell in the Dungeons & Dragons errata. Its high damage potential and low resource requirements make it a tremendously strong damaging spell to use, so long as you have a clear shot that doesn’t put your allies in harm’s way.

Instead of discussing how to use Fireball, it’s better to address times where using Fireball would be wrong. It’s critical to remember that Fireball, unlike Fire Bolt, deals area of effect damage. So it damages not just the target(s) but also the target’s surroundings.

Using Fireball in an open field or forest and starting a giant wildfire would be bad and perhaps even deadly to you and your allies. Similarly, using Fireball inside of a wooden building would also set the building on fire.

Though you might be able to get out of a burning house, a large watchtower or other large building could spell the end of your party, should you set it ablaze.

It probably goes without saying that Fireball doesn’t function at full capacity underwater. The fire is magical and will still happen normally. However, all creatures submerged in water have resistance to fire damage. So they will all take half damage, quarter damage if they make the save.

For Dungeon Masters

For Dungeon Masters, there is no shortage of good ways to incorporate Fireball into your campaign. Even if you aren’t consciously thinking about it, you will probably have at least a few good encounters for Fireball just by virtue of having encounters.

If you have a flame happy caster, it might be good to beef up the number of a few additional enemies to give the Fireball user a little extra satisfaction as they immolate a large group of enemies all at once.