Shatter: 5e Mechanics and Guide to Using the Spell

Casting Time

1 action






60 feet


Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard


Save, CON, Half DMG on Successful Save






Verbal, Somatic, Material

Spell Description:

A sudden loud ringing noise, painfully intense, erupts from a point of your choice within range. Each creature in a 10-foot-radius sphere centered on that point must make a Constitution saving throw.

A creature takes 3d8 thunder damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. A creature made of inorganic material such as stone, crystal, or metal has disadvantage on this saving throw.

A nonmagical object that isn’t being worn or carried also takes the damage if it’s in the spell’s area.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 2nd.

2nd Level5th Level7th Level9th Level
Damage Dice3d86d88d810d8
Minimum Damage36810
Average Damage12.524.532.540.5
Maximum Damage24486480

2nd-Level, Evocation, Damage, Thunder

Level: Bard (3), Sorcerer (3), Warlock (3), Wizard (3), Tempest Domain (3), Artillerist (5), Armorer (5), Four Elements (6, 3 ki points), Eldritch Knight (13), Arcane Trickster (13)

Materials Required: A chip of mica

Number of Targets: 1 10-foot spherical area that you can see

Die Type: d8

Number of Dice: 3 (increased by 1 for every spell slot level above 2nd)

Damage Type: Thunder

Save: Constitution

Damage on Successful Save: Half

Statuses Inflicted: None

Status Duration: None

Affected By Cover: No

Advantage: None

Disadvantage: Creatures made of inorganic material

What Is Shatter?

Shatter is an area-of-effect Thunder damage spell. It targets a point that the caster can see and creates a “painfully intense ringing sound” that deals damage to anything close to the point of origin, a 10-foot sphere.

It’s important to remember that Thunder damage is concussive. That is to say, it’s the sound that deals the damage, think the bleeding-out-of-one’s-ears type of loud.

Shatter won’t deal any damage if the creature is not within its sphere of influence or if that sphere of influence is centered on a point that resides in some sort of soundproofing, such as the bubble created by Silence.

Who Can Cast Shatter?

Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards all have Shatter included on their spell lists naturally and gain access to the spell, should they decide to learn it, at level 3.

Tempest Domain Clerics also get access to Shatter at level 3 through the Tempest Domain’s expanded spell list. Both the Artillerist and Armorer subclasses of the Artificer class will be able to cast the spell starting at level 5 with their expanded spell lists.

Lastly, the Four Elements Monastic Tradition allows the Monk to take Gong of the Summit at level 6, allowing them to cast Shatter by spending 3 ki points.

Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters don’t get their first 3rd level spell slots until level 13. They can take Shatter at this time.

When and Where Should I Cast Shatter?

Shatter is a great low-level damage spell since it’s an area-of-effect spell, so it can hit as many targets as you can jam into the space. The cost, however, is that it will hit all creatures in that sphere, including your allies.

Wizards who take the School of Evocation get access to the Evocation’s Sculpt Spells feature, allowing you to “bend” your spells around your allies so that it doesn’t affect them.

The Sorcerer has a similar ability in their Metamagic spell Careful Spell, which allows them to spend a Sorcery Point to grant up to 5 allies an automatic success on the saving throw to take half the damage.

However, even half damage may be significant at a high level, so non-Wizards should be careful where they’re casting Shatter.

Creatures made of inorganic material, such as rock, also have disadvantage on the saving throw for Shatter, making it suitable for taking out constructs and some elementals.

The idea is that metal constructs would ring or stone and crystal might crack, so these types of creatures would be more likely to take damage.

Why Should I Take Shatter?

Shatter is a low-level area of effect spell that has the potential to deal significant damage; enough to kill many low-level mobs and additional enemies in higher levels boss fights instantly.

Shatter’s damage potential is relatively high for such a low-level spell, and it can be an excellent spell to use to clear out space for your party.

Common Questions About Shatter