Have you ever wanted to say, “This holy place is hallowed ground!”
Perhaps this is more your style: “Hope abandon all ye who enter here!”
Either way, Hallow is your key to that magic moment.
This post is all about that unique spell: who can cast it, when they should cast it, how they should cast it, and what they can do to get the most out of it.
After that, we will follow up with an FAQ section from our archives.
- Casting Time: 24 hours
- Range: Touch; 60-ft. radius
- Duration: Until dispelled
- School: Evocation
- Class: Cleric, The Fiend
- Level: 5
- Damage/Effect: Control, Buff, Utility Control
- Attack/Save: Charisma
- Components: V, S, M (1k gp of consumables)
- Ritual/Concentration: No
Hallow Spell Description
You touch a point and infuse an area around it with holy (or unholy) power. The area can have a radius up to 60 feet, and the spell fails if the radius includes an area already under the effect of a Hallow spell. The affected area is subject to the following effects:
First, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead can’t enter the area, nor can such creatures charm, frighten, or possess creatures within it. Any creature charmed, frightened, or possessed by such a creature is no longer charmed, frightened, or possessed upon entering the area. You can exclude one or more of those types of creatures from this effect.
Second, you can bind an extra effect to the area. Choose the effect from the following list, or choose an effect offered by the GM. Some of these effects apply to creatures in the area; you can designate whether the effect applies to all creatures, creatures that follow a specific deity or leader, or creatures of a specific sort, such as orcs or trolls. When a creature that would be affected enters the spell’s area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, it can make a Charisma saving throw. On a success, the creature ignores the extra effect until it leaves the area.
- Courage. Affected creatures can’t be frightened while in the area.
- Darkness. Darkness fills the area. Normal light, as well as magical light created by spells of a lower level than the slot you used to cast this spell, can’t illuminate the area.
- Daylight. Bright light fills the area. Magical darkness created by spells of a lower level than the slot you used to cast this spell can’t extinguish the light.
- Energy Protection. Affected creatures in the area have resistance to one damage type of your choice, except for bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing.
- Energy Vulnerability. Affected creatures in the area have vulnerability to one damage type of your choice, except for bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing.
- Everlasting Rest. Dead bodies interred in the area can’t be turned into undead.
- Extradimensional Interference. Affected creatures can’t move or travel using teleportation or by extradimensional or interplanar means.
- Fear. Affected creatures are frightened while in the area.
- Silence. No sound can emanate from within the area, and no sound can reach into it.
- Tongues. Affected creatures can communicate with any other creature in the area, even if they don’t share a common language.
Who Can Cast Hallow?
Clerics are the only mainline class that can cast Hallow. Back in the day, Paladins could cast it also. However, in these more balanced days of Dungeons and Dragons 5e, Hallow is strictly a Cleric spell on the divine side of things.
This makes a fair bit of sense as Paladins are now expected to be the holy warriors of the party and not necessarily the liturgical and ritual experts. While Paladins were out in the yard having fun with wooden swords, Clerics were in the scriptorium learning how to do things that actually matter long term.
Ooo, burn… Speaking of burn:
The Fiend Warlocks are the only arcane class that cast Hallow. Fiendish overlords have a long history of establishing power bases here in the material plane, and so Warlocks of this flavor can also make a holy location for their particular flavor of fiendishness.
I won’t go and say it is unhallowed or evil… but it is probably most definitely evil when a Fiend Warlock casts this particular goodie.
Druids get their own version of Hallow called Druid Grove that has a very similar effect toHhallow. So, if you are playing a Druid and you looked up this post in order to pine and envy at what you can’t do, go look that one up instead.
Is Hallow Better Than Other Spells?
At 5th-level Cleric or Warlock, you get a plethora of character-defining spells to add to your repertoire.
Danse Macabre, Commune, Infernal Calling, Dawn, Geas, Dispel Evil and Good, and literally every other spell at that level are all amazing spells to choose!
Hallow is firmly in this camp. It is a great, great spell, and only Hallow can do what it does.
So, is it better than summoning all the undead and half the devils to your aid? Is it better than dispelling or banishing extraplanar creatures and their effects? Is it better than sending out a massive psychic bomb and debuff that affects all the foes in range?
Yes, it is. But only if you are trying to create a magic fortress against extraplanar creatures. If you need something a little more instantaneous, go with a different spell because 24 hours and a 1,000 gp cost adds up fast.
Alternative Material Components
1,000 GP is a hefty price tag.
While the spell says you will be using 1k gp in herbs, oils, and other sacred objects, there are other ways to come about these things.
If you have proficiency in any type of artisans’ tools, consider asking for a price reduction as you can create those sacred objects.
If the DM is suspicious, ask them if you can make relevant Religion or Arcana checks while making your supplies to reduce that cost.
I know in DnD that we like formulas, so give this one to your DM:
For every day of downtime spent, you will make a DC 15 (10 + level of the spell) Religion or Arcana check to use your artisans’ tools to create or forage for your necessary materials. Every additional day adds +1 to the DC.
If successful, you will reduce the total cost of casting Hallow by 20% per day of success.
This 20% is not off of the 1,000 gp total, but it’s off of your new total, which means a successful day 2 would reduce the cost by 20% from your new total, not from the original 1,000 gp.
Therefore, 1 day with a successful DC 15 Religion or Arcana check brings the total to 800 gp (1000 – 20% = 800). Another day with a successful DC 16 check brings your total to 640 gp (800 – 20% = 640).
And so on until you finally fail the Arcana or Religion check.
When Should You Cast Hallow?
The best time to cast Hallow is during downtime or when you have infiltrated an enemy stronghold under stealth.
If successful, you will have created a buffer zone for you, your allies, and every peasant within range.
When combined with the Wish spell, you can get the effects of Hallow instantly. Consider this option when you are in the center of the BBEG’s lair.
But that is not a perfect defense.
In this scenario with Magic Circle: it is cheaper and faster and does many of the same things, but it is also more temporary. It can also be reversed to trap the enemy inside of it.
Common Questions About Hallow
We dug these questions out from the archives of Black Citadel and now offer them here for you, free of charge because, dear reader, we luvs ya. Don’t forget that.
If One of the Disallowed Creature Types Is in the Area When Hallow Is Cast, Are They Ejected?
The spell description gives us no guidance on that end. From a DM perspective, I would say that mindless creatures of that type get increasingly uncomfortable until they leave at some point during the 24 hours of the spell’s casting.
Intelligent creatures will do their best to interrupt the spell being cast, forcing the PCs to engage in a long battle of protecting the cleric for 24 hours. If the monster doesn’t die during that time, you might be better off casting Magic Circle.
If, for whatever reason, the spell goes active and there are disallowed monsters present, force the monsters to make Charisma saving throws each round they are within the spell’s area. If they fail, they are frightened until they finally leave.
A particularly difficult DM may make the spell uncastable until such creatures leave, so make sure you talk it over with your DM.
Does Casting Hallow Take 24 Hours, or Do You Cast It and Then Wait 24 Hours?
If the spell were something you cast and then held or simply walked away from, it would be a Ritual or Concentration spell.
Instead, the casting time is 24 hours, which means you must spend 24 hours engaged in casting the spell.
Luckily, the spell does not require you to make constitution saves or religion checks to maintain it, but it does require you to remain uninterrupted.
Some DMs may deem giving you a level of exhaustion until you take an appropriate long rest after the spell’s casting, and I would agree with them.
Can You Force a Disallowed Creature Into the Hallowed Space?
No. The spell says those creatures simply cannot enter. You could imagine a force field keeping them out if necessary.
If you wanted to have fun with it, you could say those creatures must make Charisma saves in order to enter, but once inside, they take levels of exhaustion for every round or every minute they remain inside. The same could happen if forced inside, which would make this spell a tactical option.
Can Hallow Be Cast on Moving Objects, or Must It Remain Stationary?
Hallow is a stationary spell. You can not cast it on a weapon, a cart, a moving castle, or a relic.
Sure there may be a magic artifact out there that has a Hallow effect, like some kind of Ark of the Covenant, but those are special cases designed to be major set pieces.
The spell is cast on the land or on a point in space. You are more than welcome to build a building within that point of space, but that is all.
You get a sphere 120 feet in all directions within which you can build. You could put a fairly large structure within that area, like a three-story 10,000-square-foot building with a playground and garden on the outside or the inner courtyard.
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I played the game a lot as a kid, back in first edition. Over the past few years since 5e was released, I’ve really started getting back into it. Currently, I run a campaign online for some friends and my brothers, and we also play a side-sesh just to mix things up.