In Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), low-level but versatile magic like Heat Metal is sometimes surprisingly helpful.
What is D&D Heat Metal?
D&D Heat Metal is a second-level transmutation spell that allows the caster to heat up a manufactured metal object within 60 feet. The heated object deals 2d8 of damage to creatures or other objects in direct contact with them. There is no attack roll or saving throw for Heat Metal damage.
Let’s dive into everything you need to know about D&D Heat Metal.
D&D Heat Metal Stat Block
|D&D Heat Metal Stat Block||Details|
|Casting Time||1 action|
|Target||A manufactured metal object that you can see within range|
|Components||V S M (Verbal, Somatic, Material: a piece of iron and a flame)|
|Duration||Up to 1 minute|
|Damage||2d8 (Second level). Add an additional 1d8 for each additional level.|
|Classes||Bard, Druid, Cleric, Artificer|
What Does Heat Metal Do in DND?
In Dungeons and Dragons, Heat Metal is a spell that does five things:
- Allows you to heat up metal objects to “red hot”
- The hot metal can then be used to deal damage to your enemies or other objects
- Forces enemies to make Constitution throws or drop the object
- As long as the spell lasts, it gives you a bonus action to inflict 1d8 more damage on each of your turns
- Enemies who cannot drop the heated item suffer combat disadvantages (see details below)
The spell can be cast on any object made of manufactured metal, including swords, armor, and shields.
The object also must be within the 60-feet range of the spell.
The metal object will heat up to a temperature of at least 500 degrees Celcius (or 932 degrees Fahrenheit). This is typ]ically what is considered a “red hot” temperature.
With few exceptions, any creature that is touching the object when the spell is in effect will immediately take 2d8 points of fire damage.
Exceptions might be if the creature is immune to heat damage.
If the object is being worn or carried by a creature, that creature must make a Constitution saving throw.
If the hostile creature fails the saving throw, it takes the fire damage and drops the object.
If a creature does not drop the object (or cannot drop it, as in the case of armor), then that enemy suffers disadvantages on all attack throws and saving throws until the beginning of the spellcaster’s next turn.
Here is a good animated video that shows you how it works:
How Do You Cast Heat Metal in DND? (Description + Requirements)
Casting the D&D Heat Metal spell requires spell knowledge, spell preparation, spell components, and proximity.
As with most magic in D&D, your spellcaster must know the spell and have prepared the spell in advance of the adventure.
Heat metal requires material, somatic, and verbal components.
Here are the details of the spell components:
- Material—To cast the spell, your character must possess a flame and a piece of iron.
- Somatic—To cast the spell, your character must perform a hand gesture.
- Verbal—To cast the spell, your character must verbally speak.
Along with those spell components, the targeted metal object must be within the range of the spell.
The caster must then concentrate on the object, which causes it to heat up instantly.
The temperature of the object increases to that of a blacksmith’s forge (red hot), dealing 2d8 points of fire damage to any creature in contact with it.
Who Can Cast Heat Metal?
The history of Heat Metal swings back and forth between Druid exclusivity and multi-class inclusiveness.
Currently, DND Heat Metal can officially be cast by:
- Clerics (Forge Domain)
Other ways to get the Heat Metal spell include multiclassing one of the officially allowable classes or negotiating a Homebrew option with your Dungeon Master (DM).
For example, you can build a Wizard/Bard or Fighter/Cleric with Heat Metal accessibility.
With your DM’s approval, you might learn Heat Metal from a scroll or find a magic ring in a pile of sunken pirate loot.
10 Creative Uses of D&D Heat Metal
There are many ways to use D&D Heat Metal in combat.
Here are ten good uses for this spell.
1) Heat Metal on Weapons
Heating metal weapons is a great way to deal extra damage to your enemies.
The hot metal will deal 2d8 points of heat damage to enemies it touches. This can be a great way to punish an opponent, force them to drop a weapon, or to even finish off a wounded enemy.
What a great way to disarm an opponent before the battle even begins.
You can also use Heat Metal on metal arrows plunked into the chest of an enemy.
2) Heat Metal on Armor
If you heat up an enemy’s armor, they will take 2d8 points of fire damage and their armor will be damaged.
This can be a great way to disable an enemy wearing any type of light, medium, or heavy metal armor.
Since the enemy won’t be able to immediately remove the armor, they will suffer disadvantages on all saving throws and attack rolls until the spell ends.
Additionally, the enemy will take an extra 2d8 points of damage each round.
In a game I recently played, a Druid snipered an armored DND guard with Heat Metal as their fighter teammate rushed in to take them out with a battle hammer.
3) Heat Metal + Animal Trap
You can use heat metal to heat up an animal trap.
The hot metal will deal 2d8 points of fire damage to any creature that steps on the trap or is caught in the trap.
This is a great way to catch dinner, subdue a wild beast, or deter creatures from entering an area.
As a bonus, let’s say your players set out animal traps around their campsite. If any opportunistic enemies try to sneak attack the group while they sleep, one or more of them might trigger the animal trap.
Upon waking, the Bard amongst the group can cast Heat Metal on the trapped assailant.
4) Heat Metal Escape
If you are captured and restrained with metal handcuffs, you can use heat metal to escape.
The hot metal will deal 2d8 points of fire damage to you, but it might also make the handcuffs easier to break.
You can also use Heat Metal to disable guards or help you break through metal bars.
5) Heat Metal Interrogation
If you capture an enemy spy, you can use heat metal to interrogate them.
The hot metal will deal at least 2d8 points of fire damage to the spy, making them more likely to talk.
For an extra malicious tactic, bind the captive’s hands with metal, force them to hold metal, or otherwise place the metal on them.
- Put a metal helmet on them
- Lay a slap of metal on their bare chest or back
- Jab a long, slender piece of metal under their fingertips (yikes, now I’m even scaring myself!)
- Set their bare feet on a piece of metal
- Stab them in a non-lethal area of their body (and then cast Heat Metal)
6) Close Open Wounds
You’d probably need some extra proficiencies or skills to make your DM permit this use, but you can use Heat Metal for small first-aid purposes.
This method is called cautery.
It involves using a hot metal tool to burn the edges of the wound shut. Cautery can be used for both external and internal wounds, and it’s especially effective for wounds that are difficult to bandage, like those in hard-to-reach places.
The heat from the metal helps to seal the wound shut and stop the bleeding, and it also kills any bacteria that may be present.
7) Melt Ice
Melting ice can be useful if a player character needs water to drink in a frozen climate.
Or, if they need to unfreeze a locked treasure chest.
While you may not find yourself in these situations very often, it’s just another creative use of a flexible spell.
8) Keep Yourself Awake
This tactic is not necessarily the best way to keep yourself awake, but it probably will work.
For example, if your character is massively sleep-deprived but needs to stand watch for an emery ambush.
If your character gets too tired, you can use the Heat Metal spell to burn you into full wakefulness.
At least, temporarily.
Admittedly, this is an extreme action but it could save your life in a pinch.
If your party needs to create a quick distraction, they can throw a red-hot ember into a pool of water, causing it to boil and hopefully attracting the attention of whatever creatures are nearby.
Simply heating up nearby metal that burns someone might also distract a group of enemies.
Depending on how quick your party is, even a small distraction can give you enough time to sneak by or spring a surprise attack of opportunity.
10) Area Denial
One of the best uses for Heat Metal is area denial
For example, your party is behind a steel door. Enemies try to get through the door, so your Cleric casts Heat Metal on the door.
If the enemies touch the door while it is red hot, they suffer damage.
By heating up large steel doors or metal fences, the spell can create an impassable barrier that will force enemies to retreat or go around.
Although this is a temporary solution, it might dissuade some creatures from trying to reach you.
Is Heat Metal Good?
D&D Heat Metal is a great spell with multiple combat and non-combat applications.
Here is why Heat Metal is so good:
- It works automatically
- Characters get access to the spell at low levels (second level)
- It inflicts damage without saving throws (a massive advantage)
- It gives you a bonus attack
- It disadvantages your enemy’s attack rolls
- It disadvantages your enemy’s saving throws
- It inflicts more damage at higher levels
As we’ve seen, Heat Metal can be used to fight enemies, interrogate, escape, distract, or survive.
Be sure to use this spell wisely, as it can also harm your allies if they are touching the hot metal.
Casting heat metal requires careful planning and coordination. If you can use this spell effectively, it can be a great addition to your party’s arsenal.
Is Heat Metal Overpowered?
Heat metal is a powerful spell but it is not overpowered.
The spell has several limitations, such as its short-range and duration. There’s also the fact that single-class wizards can’t use it.
These limitations keep the spell from being too powerful.
If you are concerned about D&D Heat Metal being too powerful, talk to your DM about adding some additional limitations to the spell.
D&D Stacking Heat Metal
There are several ways to stack D&D Heat Metal for added effect.
You can stack Heat Metal with:
- Other spells
- Multiple spell casters
- A large area of metal
Stacking Heat Metal with Other Spells
Heat Metal can be even more powerful when it is combined with other spells.
For example, the spell Animate Object can be used to control a heavy chain net or suit of armor. These objects can then be placed on an enemy, weighing them down and making them more vulnerable to the effects of Heat Metal.
Alternatively, the Reduce spell can be used to reduce an enemy’s size.
You could then trap the reduced enemy in a small metal box, chest, or coffin. Heat up the box to deal multiple rounds of damage.
By combining different spells, creative players can come up with innovative ways to use Heat Metal in battle.
Multiple Spell Casters
Two or more magical characters can cast heat metal on multiple objects.
For example, your Druid can cast Heat Metal on an opponent’s sword while your Bard casts Heat Metal on the same opponent’s armor.
Each object will heat up to 500 degrees, causing 2d8 or more points of damage.
Large Metal Area
One of my favorite examples of using Heat Metal is when a player wielded the spell against a small army of enemies.
Let me explain.
The player, a fifth-level female Artificer, lured ten enemies into a room with a solid steel floor, then used the spell to heat up the entire surface of the floor.
All ten of the enemies touching the floor immediately suffered 5d8 (or, in this case, 20 points) of damage. Half died right away.
The others were severely injured and surrendered to the party.
How To Beat Heat Metal
There are several ways to beat the D&D Heat Metal spell.
Here are some of the most effective methods:
- Using a counterspell
- Removing the spell components or requirements
- Immunity to heat damage
Using a Counterspell
Another magical character can cast Counterspell or Dispel Magic to end the effects of Heat Metal, sometimes before they even begin.
Magic spells can also be used to:
- Break concentration
- Protect you from heat damage
- Teleport you out of the area
Removing Spell Components or Requirements
There are a number of ways to protect oneself from the Heat Metal spell by focusing on the spell components or requirements.
You can move farther than 60 feet away from the spellcaster.
This will cause the spell to be interrupted and prevent the metal from heating up. Additionally, hiding or turning invisible will also disrupt the spell, as the spellcaster will not be able to see a target to focus their magic.
Restraining the caster by binding their hands or depriving them of their voice.
This prevents them from being able to gesture or speak the words needed to cast the spell.
Finally, you could not touch anything metal.
This would involve not wearing metal, not using metal weapons or tools, and not being in a physical location (such as a room) with exposure to metal.
Immunity to Heat Damage
Possessing immunity to fire and fire damage is a sure-fire (pun intended) way to beat Heat Metal.
This may seem like a tall order, but there are a few ways to acquire these immunities.
Firstly, there are a variety of items and equipment that can provide immunity to fire and fire damage.
Items such as:
- Efreeti chain mail armor
- Armor of Invulnerability
- Red Dragon Masks (technically upgrades resistance to fire to immunity)
- Ring of Three Wishes
Secondly, there are a number of magical spells that can provide immunity to fire and fire damage.
These spells include:
- Investiture of flame (Druid)
- Energy Immunity (Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard)
- Primordial ward (Druid)
Finally, there are a number of classes and creatures who naturally possess immunity to fire and fire damage.
- Creatures like red dragons, fiends, hell hounds, and Efreeti
- Moon Druid (at 10th level, they can engage Wildshape to turn into a Fire Elemental
- Pyromancer Sorceror (They get fire immunity at the 18th level)
- Forge Domain Cleric (They gain immunity to fire at the 17th level)
If you want to take more extreme actions, obtain and use a Wish spell, beg a deity to grant you fire immunity, or attune yourself to a Ring of Fire Elemental Command and defeat a fire elemental.
Possessing immunity to fire and fire damage is one of the surest ways to come out unscathed.
Heat Metal FAQ
Can Heat Metal Crit D&D?
No, heat metal cannot crit in D&D.
The spell does not require an attack roll and, according to the official rules, only spells with attack rolls can crit.
However, if you cast the spell on an enemy that is already weak, you may be able to score a “critical” hit that destroys them.
Is Heat Metal a Concentration Spell?
D&D Heat Metal is officially considered a concentration spell.
The spell requires you to concentrate on the heat in order to maintain its effects. And, if you are interrupted, the spell will abruptly end.
Can I use Heat Metal to Weld Two Pieces of Metal Together?
No, you normally cannot use heat metal to weld two pieces of metal together.
Of course, your DM can houserule anything during an adventure. Your best bet is to come up with a good reason and try to convince your DM to let you do it in a specific circumstance.
Does Heat Metal Automatically Hit?
Yes, heat metal automatically does damage to any creature touching the heated metal.
There is no attack roll and no saving throw to avoid the damage.
This makes Heat Metal one of the few spells in D&D that deal automatic damage to enemies. And one of the reasons I’m a fan of the spell.
Is Heat Metal a Bonus Action?
No, Heat Metal is not a bonus action.
Heat Metal is a standard action spell. That means, by casting the spell, you will lose the ability to perform any other action on your turn.
However, if an enemy does not stop touching the heated metal object, you (as the spellcaster) will get a bonus action each round to inflict another 1d8 of damage on them.
Do I Need Line of Sight to Cast Heat Metal?
Yes, characters need a line of sight to cast Heat Metal.
This means you need to be able to see the target object. Not being able to see your target metal means you cannot cast the spell.
Therefore, you will not be able to cast the spell against:
- An invisible enemy
- An enemy that is hiding
- An enemy that is farther than 60 feet
Is Heat Metal a Touch Spell?
Heat Metal is not considered one of the D&D touch spells.
You can cast the spell without physically touching the target metal object. In fact, you can cast the spell from a distance of 60 feet.
This is a wonderful advantage in combat.
Your spellcaster can stay out of melee range while causing automatic injury to an enemy or enemies of their choice.
D&D Does Heat Metal Work on Mithreal?
No, Heat Metal does not work on mithreal. The spell only affects metal objects.
Mithreal is not a metal, so the spell will have no effect on it. The same is true for other non-metal objects, such as wood or stone.
Does Heat Metal Melt Metal?
While Heat Metal can cause metals to become extremely hot, it doesn’t actually melt them.
However, the heat generated by the spell might cause metal objects to warp, bend, and even break.
That’s up to your Dungeon Master and the particular context of the spell.
Is Heat Metal a Druid Spell?
Yes, Heat Metal is a Druid spell.
Druids can learn this spell at level 3. That means, starting at the third level, a Druid can choose this spell, prepare this spell, and activate this spell in-game.
How Much Damage Does Heat Metal Do?
Heat Metal deals 2d8 points of damage to any creature that comes in contact with a targeted piece of manufactured metal.
This includes armor, weapons, rings, and even metal coins.
Here is a simple table that shows D&D Heat Metal damage at different levels:
|Player Level||D&D Heat Metal Damage|
Can Heat Metal Start a Fire?
Heat Metal can start a fire.
This spell allows a caster to cause a piece of metal to red hot, making it easy to ignite flammable materials.
The exact temperature of the metal is not specified in the rulebooks, but it is generally agreed that it is hot enough to easily ignite paper or kindling.
The metal can also be placed on more flammable materials such as oil or wax.
Does Heat Metal Work on Warforged?
No, D&D Heat Metal does not work on Warforged.
The spell only directly affects metal objects, not organic metals. Warforged beings are made of a composite of materials, including metal, wood, and stone.
Therefore, Heat Metal also does not work against iron golems or steel dragons.
Since we’re on the topic, we have a great article about steel dragons over here.
Does D&D Heat Metal Affect Magic Items?
Yes, Heat Metal can affect magic items made of metal.
However, the spell doesn’t actually damage the magic itself.
At best, the heat generated by the spell might cause the magical properties of the item to malfunction.
For example, a sword that’s affected by heat metal might lose its +1 enhancement bonus for a brief period of time.
In my opinion, Heat Metal is a massively underappreciated spell that is too often relegated to low-level use.
With a little ingenuity, a spellcaster can cause insane havoc with this simple, unassuming spell.