If I'm not mistaken (and I triple checked), a Ranger has spell slots up to 5th level (2 spell slots). Hail of Thorns is a 1st level spell, and if cast at a higher level, it gets an extra 1d10 per spell slot level above 1st, so a 2nd level spell slot does a total of 2d10 dmg, a 3rd level slot does 3d10 dmg, and so on. This spell has a limit up to 6d10 dmg, so how can I cast it to achieve that 6d10 dmg? I mean, a 5th level spell slot would do 5d10 dmg, so where does the extra 1d10 come from? Am I missing something?

Hail of Thorns

1st-level conjuration

Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

The next time you hit a creature with a ranged weapon attack before the spell ends, this spell creates a rain of thorns that sprouts from your ranged weapon or ammunition. In addition to the normal effect of the attack, the target of the attack and each creature within 5 feet of it must make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 1d10 piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

At Higher Levels. If you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d10 for each slot level above 1st (to a maximum of 6d10).


2 Answers 2


The 6d10 maximum damage is not relevant for an usual ranger, but is brought into play when casting the spell at higher levels than five, which can happen...

By being a Bard

The Bard has spell slots all way to ninth level, and the class feature magical secrets allows them to learn spells of any class. A Bard could cast the spell with a sixth-level slot or above, dealing 6d10 damage.

By multiclassing into a spellcaster

If a Ranger takes the spell early, they can multiclass into Wizard, Sorcerer, Bard, Cleric or Druid and eventually gain access to sixth-level and higher level slots and use them to cast the spell at higher-than-usual levels.

By casting Wish to duplicate the effects of Hail of Thorns

A high-level caster can use the spell Wish to duplicate the effects of any lower-level spell, including Hail of Thorns. In this case, it'd be cast as a ninth level spell as described here.


On top of kviiri's great answer, the DM might hand out magic items or magical effects that increase your spell slot level (temporarily, or even permanently).

Imagine defending a druid circle's holy grove, upon which they give you a leaf of their magical power herb, which increases the "power level" (i.e. effective spell slot) of any ranger or druid by 1 for an hour.


Maybe you saved a master artificer that gives you a magical pendant that grants anyone who wears it a spell slot of 6th level.

To allow DMs to make these kind of choices they should also limit any spell in power.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What are you quoting here? \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Jan 29, 2018 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cubic Nobody, I was using that notation for hypothetical situations. I've removed it to clear up the confusion. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – Joran Dox
    Jan 30, 2018 at 6:28

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