My Love for Contagion in D&D 5e

. 15.06.2016 . 1 Comment

So as I was leveling up my Cleric for a recent D&D campaign my group is playing though I came across Contagion (PH 227), which Clerics can take when they gain access to 4th level spells.  This spell seems just too good, and may be worth toning down if you are the DM.  If you are not the DM and want to make the big baddies sweat, take this wickedly powerful spell and watch the tide turn in your group’s favor.

Ok, so here is the breakdown:

  • You must make a melee touch attack against a creature, this is not a concentration spell.
  • On a successful touch attack, the creature is infected. You may then choose from a pre-made list of 6 choices of which disease to inflict on your target.
  • The target may only shrug off the effects of the disease once they have made a cumulative 3 successful saving throws.   Should they fail 3 cumulative saves however the disease lasts for 7 days!

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The best disease in my mind is Slimy Doom, which mechanically works to stun the target for a turn after taking any amount of damage.  Should you have something like Spirit Guardians in play this is almost a guaranteed thing from the Cleric themselves, not to mention the rest of your party.  Compounding this de-buff is the fact that it takes 3 successful saves to remove the disease, meaning that even if the creature rolls perfectly they will be stunned and pounded upon for 3 turns with all attackers gaining advantage and with the target automatically failing strength and dexterity saving throws (I bet some wicked combos could be devised with this).

The only drawbacks are that the target must be a creature capable of being infected and that a spell that removes diseases could end the effects early.  Depending on your particular game I guess that these could be considerations, but for the most part this is a spell that can seriously ruin your enemy’s day.

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Category: Off the Cuff

About the Author ()

Tanz is an enthusiastic GM, Blogger, and avid table top gamer with over 15 years of experience. His first brush with tabletop gaming was with Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Ed. Over the years he has transitioned from player to GM, and has run many types of game systems favoring games that bend toward horror and with a supernatural twist in contemporary settings. His DM style is one that leans heavily towards adventure path style play, preferring to give players options rather than unrestricted 'sandbox' style play or narration on rails. He regularly engages with the tabletop gaming community on twitter @Tanz444, his articles can be seen on various digital venues, and loves to GM at conventions whenever possible.

Comments (1)

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  1. DarkonFullPower says:

    http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/rules-answers-june-2016

    “The effects of the contagion spell’s disease are meant to activate after three failed saving throws.”

    Sorry to say, your using the spell wrong.
    The effects only kick in after a minimum of 3 turns of failing, assuming they fail at all.

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