Sacred Flame: 5e Mechanics and Guide to Using the Spell

Casting Time

1 action

School

Necromancy

Damage/Effect

Radiant

Range

60 feet

Class

Cleric, Warlock, Wizard

Attack/Save

Save, WIS, No DMG on Successful Save

Duration

Instantaneous

Level

0

Components

Verbal, Somatic

Spell Description:

Flame-like radiance descends on a creature that you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 1d8 radiant damage. The target gains no benefit from cover for this saving throw.

At Higher Levels. The spell’s damage increases by 1d8 when you reach 5th level (2d8), 11th level (3d8), and 17th level (4d8).

Level 1Level 5Level 11Level 17
Damage Dice1d82d83d84d8
Min Damage1234
Average Damage4.58.512.516.5
Max Damage8162432

Cantrip, Evocation, Damage, Radiant

Level: Cleric (1), Divine Soul (1), The Celestial (1), Bard (10, Magical Secrets)

Materials Required: None

Number of Targets: 1 that you can see

Die Type: d8

Number of Dice: 1 (increased by 1 at levels 5, 11, and 17)

Damage Type: Radiant

Save: Dexterity

Damage on Successful Save: None

Statuses Inflicted: None

Status Duration: None

Affected By Cover: No

Advantage: None

Disadvantage: None

Who can cast Sacred Flame?

Sacred Flame is a natural fixture of the Cleric spell list only. Divine Soul Sorcerers have access to Sacred Flame since they have access to the Cleric spell list and their Sorcerer spell list.

All spells chosen by a Sorcerer will count as Sorcerer spells whilst on their spell list. Warlocks who chose the Celestial Patron will also gain access to the Sacred Flame from their Patron, and this spell will count as a Warlock spell for them. Bards can pick Sacred Flame as one of their Magical Secrets cantrips starting at level 10.

Players wishing to get access to the Sacred Flame spell outside of these classes will need to take the Magic Initiate feat and choose Cleric as their Magic Initiate Class.

What is Sacred Flame?

Sacred Flame is a single-target, damaging cantrip that deals Radiant damage. It can be cast on any target within a 60-foot range that you can see and requires a Dexterity save to avoid the damage.

The spell details that it “descends on a creature”, which implies that the damage comes from in the air above the target — much like Flame Strike — rather than from the caster’s hand; the caster is raining divine justice upon the target.

As such, Sacred Flame also does not suffer from the cover debuff from which other spells that require a Dexterity save would typically suffer.

When and where should I cast Sacred Flame?

Sacred Flame is a damaging spell and represents a primary damage source for Clerics and other Divine casters as it costs no spell slots.

Not many creatures pack resistance or immunity to Radiant damage either, making it a relatively reliable source of damage if you aren’t sure what kind of damage you need to be dealing in a battle.

Sacred Flame’s Dexterity save entirely nullifies the damage, rather than dealing half damage as it is a cantrip. Using this against highly dexterous enemies will have diminishing returns. 

As it is not an area of effect spell and does not have any significant environmental interactions, Sacred Flame can and should be cast wherever the caster needs to deal damage.

Why should I take Sacred Flame?

Sacred Flame has several notable features that make it a worthwhile spell. Its damage, while lower than Fire Bolt or Toll the Dead, is significant.

Sacred Flame’s ability to get around the cover debuff can make it more reliable in cover-heavy settings than Fire Bolt, Ray of Frost, or even higher-level spells like Fireball. 

Though undead creatures do not possess a natural vulnerability to Radiant damage, Radiant damage is a core function for fighting certain undead monsters such as The Revenant or the Vampire as taking Radiant damage prevents their Regeneration feature from functioning.

Radiant damage is also helpful when fighting many high-level fiends such as Bael and Moloch as it similarly impedes their Regeneration features.

DM Notes

A good damage dealing cantrip that can disregard cover is hard to find. This is a must-have for any cleric.Scott

Common Questions About Sacred Flame