Wrathful Smite Spell Guide 5e: Put the Fear of God Into Them

The Player’s Handbook is home to many spells that players can use to improve their gaming experience. Whether they’re looking for damage, utility, or just roleplay, there’s no end to the flavorful spells we can find in the source material.

Wrathful Smite is a unique spell since it’s exclusive to Paladin players. Here’s what you can expect when taking Wrathful Smite.

Wrathful Smite

  • Casting Time: 1 bonus action
  • Range: Self
  • Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
  • School: Evocation
  • Class: Paladin
  • Level: 1
  • Damage/Effect: Psychic
  • Attack/Save: Attack Roll
  • Components: Vocal
  • Ritual/Concentration: Concentration

Spell Description 

The next time you hit with a melee weapon attack during this spell’s duration, your attack deals an extra 1d6 psychic damage.

Additionally, if the target is a creature, it must make a Wisdom saving throw or be frightened of you until the spell ends.

As an action, the creature can make a Wisdom check against your spell-save DC to steel its resolve and end this spell.

What Is Wrathful Smite?

Wrathful Smite is a 1st-level Evocation spell on the Paladin spell list. It causes the next melee attack the Paladin lands to deal an added 1d6 psychic damage.

It’s a fantastic way to bolster your melee damage as a Paladin without losing out on any melee weapon damage.

Wrathful Smite is really the first introduction to the Smite mechanic for Paladins.

It’s the first toe you dip into the Paladin mechanics and helps you get acquainted with the flow of combat as a Paladin. It may not scale, but the point of it is to become obsolete in the face of more powerful smites.

Who Can Cast Wrathful Smite?

Wrathful Smite is a first-level spell on the Paladin spell list only. Only Paladins have this spell on their spell list naturally.

Anyone else who wants to cast Wrathful Smite will need to either dip a level into Paladin to get the spell or take Magic Initiate and select Paladin as their spellcasting class to get the spell.

When and Where Should I Use Wrathful Smite?

Wrathful Smite is basically the Paladin spell. You’ll pretty much use it every time it goes down and cast it immediately again when you use it.

This will always keep a high-damage threshold available to you. So, don’t be afraid to use Wrathful Smite any time you have an inkling that it could be useful.

Why Should I Take Wrathful Smite?

If you don’t take Wrathful Smite as a Paladin, you’re kind of ignoring the whole Paladin skill set. While healing and weapon-focused Paladins are important and valid, they don’t have the same kind of playstyle as Smite Paladins.

Ensure that you understand how you’re supposed to be playing the build you choose when choosing a non-Smite Paladin, as Smite Paladins are the default for a reason.

A DM’s Guide To Incorporating Wrathful Smite

Incorporating Wrathful Smite as a DM is really a matter of giving your Paladin enough challenge as a tank. Wrathful Smite is a straight-up damage spell.

There are no hidden mechanics or scaling to worry about. All Wrathful Smite does is make a Paladin deal more damage.

The biggest struggle with incorporating Wrathful Smite usually comes because of the small window in which Wrathful Smite is useful.

It starts to get out scaled by more powerful Smites the longer the game goes. So, getting your use out of Wrathful Smite early is integral to making it feel useful for your players.

If they don’t get their uses out of Wrathful Smite early, they’ll forego it except when they don’t have higher-level spell slots available.

A Player’s Guide To Using Wrathful Smite

Wrathful Smite is a very interesting concept to use as a player since Paladins are such a malleable class.

Paladin is one of the best multiclass options because of its high power spike at level 1. A single level in Paladin gets you access to Wrathful Smite, Divine Sense, and Lay on Hands.

It also combos well with primary spellcasting classes, like Sorcerer, who can get access to bountiful spell slots.

It’s been said that a Sorcerer with one level in Paladin will get off more Smites than a Paladin at a higher damage threshold, and if spec’d correctly, this does hold true.

Paladin is a strong class on its own, but multiclassing it offers potential for a more spellcasting-focused Paladin.

Newer players often forget that Paladin is intended to be a physical-damage class, and if you want to play a more spellcasting-focused Paladin, you’ll want to nab a multiclass in a primary spellcasting class, like Sorcerer, Bard, or Warlock.

Common Questions About Wrathful Smite

How Many Times Can Wrathful Smite Hit?

Wrathful Smite can only hit once. It will hit when the player chooses after they’ve made a successful melee attack. Concentrating on the spell will not allow you to make multiple Wrathful Smite attacks.

Does Wrathful Smite Require Concentration?

Wrathful Smite requires concentration to “allocate” the magical power needed to execute the Smite attack. Once the Smite attack has been executed, concentration is no longer necessary since the spell ends.

Can You Use Wrathful Smite with Booming Blade?

You can use Wrathful Smite with Booming Blade. In order to do so, you’ll want to use Wrathful Smite first. It’s a concentration spell that can last up to one minute or 10 turns.

Then you’ll want to use Booming Blade on the turn you intend to make an attack, and you’ll get the hits for both Booming Blade and Wrathful Smite at the same time. 

What Book Is Wrathful Smite In?

Wrathful Smite is part of the Player’s Handbook.

Final Thoughts

Wrathful Smite is a great way for newbie Paladin players to get their toes wet with Paladin mechanics. It offers a hefty bonus early on, and later it gives way for more powerful Paladin smites.

However, the most important thing about any tabletop game is that the players and DM are having fun. Never be afraid to tweak and homebrew things to make things more fun and engaging for your players.

Good luck, have fun, and happy questing!