Can You Cast Spells Underwater in DND? (Solved)

You can cast spells almost anywhere in Dungeons and Dragons (DND), but what about underwater?

Can you cast spells underwater in DND?

Players can cast spells underwater in DND. Players can cast standard spells, cantrips, fire spells, and spells that require verbal, somatic, and certain material components underwater. How long they can hold their breath and exhaustion from swimming can impact a player’s ability to cast spells.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about, “Can you cast spells underwater in D&D?”

Can You Cast Spells Underwater? (Official)

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Hands and arms fluttering in the water—Can You Cast Spells Underwater in DND
Image by the author via Canva—Can You Cast Spells Underwater in DND?

The official rules as written by Dungeons & Dragons do not preclude casting spells underwater. Therefore, officially, players can cast spells while fully submerged.

The official rules only outline requirements related to:

  • Preparation
  • Character class
  • Character level
  • Spell slots
  • Spell targets
  • Spell components
  • The need for concentration
  • Duration
  • Distance
  • Visibility
  • If the spell takes an action, reaction, or bonus action

Nothing in the official rules directly mentions casting spells underwater.

In addition to the official rules, Jeremy Crawford, a D&D game designer, specifically said in a tweet on social media that it’s possible to cast spells underwater.

Here is the actual message in his tweet:

No rule prohibits verbal components from working underwater. Keep in mind that if you’re talking, you’re not holding your breath. #DnD

Who Can Cast Spells Underwater?

Any magical character class can cast spells underwater.

This includes:

  • Wizards
  • Sorcerers
  • Druids
  • Clerics
  • Paladins

Any player character multi-classed with any of the above magical character classes can also cast spells underwater.

Therefore, a Cleric/Barbarian multi-classed player character can perform spells underwater.

So can a Rogue/Wizard dual-classed character.

When Can You Cast Spells Underwater? (5 Times)

Although player characters can cast spells underwater in D&D, that doesn’t mean that they can cast spells underwater in every circumstance.

Let’s look at a few specific occasions when a player character might want to cast spells underwater.

Can You Cast Spells Underwater in DND When Swimming?

Many people don’t realize this, but you can actually cast spells while swimming in Dungeons & Dragons.

As long as the spell only requires verbal components, you should be able to perform it while swimming.

However, you might not be able to cast somatic spells that require gestures.

You might also not be able to cast spells that require some material components while swimming. It’s important to check with your Dungeon Master (DM) before trying to cast any spells underwater, as they may rule that you can only cast certain spells and not others.

Can You Cast Spells While Drowning?

Players can cast reaction spells while they are drowning.

They probably wouldn’t be able to cast any other spells that require concentration, verbal components, or material components.

It is possible that players might be able to cast spells that require somatic gestures.

The reason why reaction spells can be cast while drowning is because they don’t require any concentration.

The reason why other spells can’t be cast while drowning is because they do require concentration. If you are concentrating on a spell and you start to drown, your DM might want you to make a Constitution saving throw to maintain your concentration.

If you fail the save, you lose concentration on the spell.

However, it’s important to note that if you’re casting a spell with somatic gestures, you would still need at least one hand free to perform the gestures.

Can You Cast Spells Through Water? 

Player characters can cast spells through water.

There are a few things to keep in mind, though. First, how long your character can breathe underwater will affect how many spells they can cast.

Secondly, line of sight can be a challenge when casting spells underwater. The water may distort and reflections can make it difficult to see targets clearly.

Finally, the speed at which the water is moving can also impact spellcasting.

For example, it may be more difficult to hit a target with a fireball if they’re swimming away quickly in a rapid current.

Overall, though, it is possible to cast spells through water in D&D.

Can You Cast Spells Underwater With Freedom of Movement?

Players can cast spells underwater with Freedom of Movement.

They can also cast spells underwater without using the Freedom of Movement spell. However, Freedom of Movement will make it easier to cast spells with somatic components. Using Freedom of Movement at the beginning of an aquatic battle might be a smart move.

Here’s a closer look at how Freedom of Movement works in relation to casting spells underwater.

First, it’s important to understand that Freedom of Movement does not allow a character to breathe water. It simply lets them move freely, without a penalty for difficult terrain.

This means that if a character is held underwater and cannot escape on their own, they will still drown.

However, Freedom of Movement does make casting a spell with somatic components easier. With Freedom of Movement, the spellcaster can gesture freely.

Can You Cast Spells Underwater With Water breathing?

Players can cast spells underwater with the Water Breathing Spell.

While the spell isn’t necessary, it can make underwater magic must easier and less likely to end with drowning. As Jeremy Crawford said in his tweet, “If you’re talking, you’re not holding your breath.”

This spell is especially helpful for an entire party.

Water Breathing allows a spellcaster to grant up to 10 willing creatures within 30 feet the ability to breathe underwater for 24 hours.

One of those willing creatures can be the spellcaster him or herself.

What Spells Can You Cast Underwater?

In Dungeons & Dragons, there are many different types of spells.

What spells can you cast underwater?

Let’s look at a few different kinds of spells and whether or not you can cast them underwater.

Can You Cast Cantrip Spells Underwater?

Yes, you can cast cantrip spells underwater.

Cantrip spells are a type of magic spell that can be cast by players in DND.

These spells are typically low-level spells that have a wide range of effects, from providing light to creating small illusions.

Importantly, cantrip spells can be cast without the use of expensive or hard-to-find material components.

Often, a component pouch or arcane focus is all you need.

As a result, players who find themselves in aquatic combat can still make full use of their cantrip spells, giving them a significant advantage over their opponents.

Cantrip spells can also be helpful when exploring aquatic environments such as water-filled caves.

In these situations, cantrips can provide light and open underwater doors.

Can You Cast Reaction Spells Underwater?

The answer is yes, with a few possible exceptions.

Reaction spells are usually instant. However, some reactions might require somatic gestures that can’t be made underwater.

For example, the Mage Armor spell requires the caster to gesture in a specific way to create the magical barrier.

If a character is unable to make the required gestures, they won’t be able to cast the spell.

So, while characters can technically cast reaction spells underwater, there may be some situations where it’s not possible.

It’s up to your DM to decide what is and isn’t possible in your adventure.

Can You Cast Fire Spells Underwater?

Characters can cast fire spells underwater.

There is nothing in the official D&D books that prevent characters from casting fire spells underwater.

Magical fire, flames, or heat-related spells do not operate according to the natural laws of the universe. Instead, they are magical incantations that interact with supernatural forces or energy in the multiverse of Dungeons and Dragons.

Here is a quick chart that answers some specific questions about fire or fire-related spells:

Fire-Related SpellCan You Cast It Underwater?
Can you cast Fireball underwater?Yes
Can you cast Produce Flame underwater?Yes
Can you cast Burning Hands underwater?Yes
Can you cast Create Bonfire underwater?Yes
Can you cast Heat Metal underwater?No (You need a flame)
Can you cast Fire Shield underwater?Yes
Can you cast Flaming Shere underwater?Yes (water may disturb material components)
Can you cast Fire Bolt underwater?Yes
Can you cast Pyrotechnics underwater?Yes (target flame must not be in the water)
Can you cast Green Flame Blade underwater?Yes
Can you cast Wall of Fire underwater?Yes
Can you cast Incendiary Cloud underwater?Yes (Effects may be affected by water)
Can you cast Meteor Swarm underwater?Yes
Can you cast Conjure Elemental underwater?Yes
Can you cast Hellish Rebuke underwater?Yes
Can you cast Aganazzar’s Scorcher underwater?Yes
Chart: Can You Cast Spells Underwater in DND?

A workaround for Heat Metal is to use a magical flame for the material component.

Keep in mind, that fully submerged enemies get natural fire resistance. This impacts the amount of damage they take from your fire spells.

Can You Cast Spells Underwater in DND That Require Concentration?

As long as you are able to concentrate and fulfill all the other requirements of the magic, you can still cast the spell underwater.

There are, of course, some caveats.

For example, if a spell requires a material component, you need to possess it and use it.

However, as long as you can meet all the requirements for casting the concentration spell, there’s no reason why you can’t do so underwater.

Can You Cast Verbal Spells Underwater in DND?

Yes, you can cast verbal spells underwater in DND. According to the RAW (rules as written) and Jeremy Crawford, you can cast any verbal spell while completely submerged.

That’s more than good enough for me.

Some people believe that spells requiring verbal components cannot be cast underwater.

After all, how can you speak while holding your breath?

While it is true that speaking underwater is difficult, it is not impossible. Since you can basically pronounce the correct words, you can cast spells underwater just as easily as you can on land.

Can You Cast Somatic Spells Underwater?

Players can cast somatic spells underwater.

When you’re casting a spell that has somatic components, you might need to use one or both hands.

This means that sometimes you can’t be swimming while you’re casting the spell.

You’ll need to tread water or float for a moment while you make the necessary hand gestures. Underwater, you might find it difficult to make some of the more complex gestures required by some spells.

In this case, you can try making a simpler gesture or using a different hand.

As long as you don’t change the meaning of the gesture, it should still work. For example, if you’re trying to cast a spell that requires you to trace a symbol in the air, you might instead trace the symbol on your leg or on the water around you.

Ultimately, as long as you can make the necessary gestures without impeding your swimming, you should be able to cast somatic spells underwater without any problems.

Can You Cast Spells Underwater in DND That Require Material Components?

Yes, player characters can cast spells underwater that require material components.

However, it depends on the material components needed. For example, a spell that requires a physical, non-magical flame, would not be possible while fully submerged in water.

Any physical objects affected or prevented by water might not be able to be used as a material component for a spell.

At the very least, the water will change, minimize, or nullify the magical effects.

This can present some interesting challenges for player characters who find themselves in the middle of an aquatic adventure.

For casters who require specific materials for their spells, it might mean getting a little creative.

Perhaps they can try using magic to create the required components, or maybe they’ll have to find a way to get out of the water long enough to gather and activate what they need.

In any case, it’s always good to know the rules before diving into your next D&D campaign.

Can You Cast Divine Spells Underwater?

Yes, you can cast Divine spells underwater.

Water should not impact spells sourced from any diety, even a deity of fire or heat. As we’ve seen earlier in this article, magical fire is not stopped by natural water.

Therefore, players with divine magic don’t need to worry about casting spells underwater.

Why Would You Cast Spells Underwater? 

There are many times when casting spells underwater might come in handy during a D&D campaign.

For example, if you are trying to defend yourself from a water elemental, you could cast a spell that keeps the elemental at bay.

Similarly, if you are trying to find someone who has drowned, you could use a spell that allows you to see through murky water.

In these cases, being able to cast spells underwater can be a lifesaver.

There is a list of other reasons to cast spells underwater:

  • Exploring sunken ships
  • Battling enemies underwater
  • Rescuing other players or non-player characters who are fully submerged
  • Searching for sunken treasure
  • Needing to breathe underwater
  • Giving yourself fire resistance against an enemy

Here is a good video about how to run your DND combat encounters underwater:

YouTube video by Imaginary Jeremy—Can you cast spells underwater in DND?

Final Thoughts: Can You Cast Spells Underwater in DND?

One of my favorite campaigns involved entire underwater adventures.

where my party had to swim through submerged caves, find spaced-out pockets of air, and find creative uses for our spells, weapons, and magical items.

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Wizards of the Coast – DND Player’s Handbook