Hypnotic Pattern 5e: Mechanics and Guide to Using the Spell

Hypnotic Pattern

  • Casting Time: 1 Action
  • Range: 120ft (30ft cube)
  • Duration: 1 minute ©
  • School: Illusion
  • Class: Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
  • Level: 3rd
  • Damage/Effect: Charmed, Incapacitated
  • Attack/Save: Wisdom
  • Components: Somatic, Material

Spell Description:

You create a twisting pattern of colors that weaves through the air inside a 30-foot cube within range. The pattern appears for a moment and vanishes. Each creature in the area who sees the pattern must make a Wisdom saving throw.

On a failed save, the creature becomes charmed for the duration. While charmed by this spell, the creature is incapacitated and has a speed of 0.

The spell ends for an affected creature if it takes any damage or if someone else uses an action to shake the creature out of its stupor.

3rd level, Illusion, Control, Charmed, Incapacitated

Level: Bard (5), Sorcerer (5), Warlock (5), Wizard (5), Eldritch Knight (13), Oath of Redemption, Armorer

Materials Required: A glowing stick of incense or a crystal vial filled with phosphorescent material

Number of Targets: Any in a 30 ft cube

Die Type: N/A

Number of Dice: N/A

Damage Type: None

Save: Wisdom

Damage On Successful Save: N/A

Statuses Inflicted: Charmed, Incapacitated

Status Duration: 1 minute, or until the target takes damage or is shaken from its stupor

Affected By Cover: No

Advantage: Fey Ancestry grants the target advantage against the spell

Disadvantage: None

Who can cast Hypnotic Pattern?

Hypnotic Pattern can be cast by Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards starting at the 5th level. Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters can take the spell from the Wizard Spell List starting when they get their first 3rd at the 13th level.

Oath of Redemption Paladins and Armorer Artificers get the spell on their expanded spell lists starting at the 9th level.

What is Hypnotic Pattern?

Hypnotic Pattern is a 3rd-level Illusion spell. The spell creates a “weird” pattern of colors in the air, and all creatures who see the pattern must make a Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by the spell. 

Creatures affected by the charm will be Incapacitated and unable to move for up to 1 minute. If a charmed creature takes damage or is shaken from its stupor by an ally, the spell’s effect ends early.

When and Where should I cast Hypnotic Pattern?

Hypnotic Pattern is a great low-level control spell. Using it on large groups of low-Wisdom enemies such as Goblins, Kobolds, and other smaller enemies that might be seen either as a low-level mob or as an additional monster in a boss fight can tip the scales of a fight drastically by putting them out of commission.

When using the spell against low-level enemies, Hypnotic Pattern can be used to incapacitate them for one minute or to incapacitate them briefly. Once the spell takes effect, the only

Why should I take Hypnotic Pattern?

While it might seem counterintuitive, Hypnotic Pattern’s real power comes from its lack of upcasting. Since there’s no value to be gained by upcasting the spell, it has a potent low-level effect that will always use an economical spell slot.

A low-level Incapacitate is always going to be helpful to the party. Since the spell immobilizes the enemy and also doesn’t have a repeated saving throw to end the effect early, the spell can be used to lock down large groups of enemies.

Alternatives to Hypnotic Pattern

  • Charm Person
  • Crown of Madness

Common Questions About Hypnotic Pattern

Does Hypnotic Pattern Charm?

Yes. Hypnotic Pattern’s effect is a Charm. This particular Charm does not give the caster influence over the enemy’s actions. Instead, it inflicts the Incapacitated Status?

Does Hypnotic Pattern Work in the Dark?

It’s unclear whether or not Hypnotic Pattern works in the dark. As written, it would be up to your DM to decide. Personally, I would rule that the Hypnotic Pattern is made of light as it is an illusion and would, therefore, be visible in the dark.

How Do You Break Hypnotic Pattern’s Charm?

The rules simply say that you must “shake them from their stupor.” So it can be assumed that physically shaking, speaking to them, or otherwise catching their attention should work. This must be done as a primary action, not a free, bonus, or reaction.

Does Hypnotic Pattern Give Advantage?

On attack rolls made against the creature, yes. Making an attack roll against an incapacitated creature is done with advantage.