Hex Marks the Spot: A Guide to Hex 5e

Written by: Mysterydicegoblin.com Staff



Time to read 17 min

Are you ready to dive into the magical world of hexes in Dungeons and Dragons 5e? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about Hex 5e and how to make the most of them in your gameplay. Whether you're a seasoned player looking to expand your repertoire or a newbie eager to learn about this exciting aspect of the game, we've got you covered. From understanding the mechanics and limitations of Hex 5e to exploring different strategies and spell combinations, we'll provide you with all the insights you need to become a hex-slinging pro. Discover how to effectively unleash hexes on your foes, as well as how to use them to enhance your own abilities and skills. With our expert tips and tactics, you'll be able to harness the power of hexes to shape the battlefield and emerge victorious in your adventures. So grab your spellbook, gather your party, and join us as we delve into the enchanting world of Hex in Dungeons and Dragons 5e. Get ready to mark the spot and unleash your magical might!

Understanding the Basics of Hex 5e in Dungeons & Dragons 5e

Hex in Dungeons and Dragons 5e is a powerful spell that allows players to curse their enemies and gain an advantage in combat. But before we dive into the intricacies of this spell, let's start with the basics.

In its simplest form, Hex is a spell that allows you to choose a creature within range and curse it. This curse can have a variety of effects, depending on the specific spell you choose. The most common effect is the reduction of the cursed creature's ability to hit with attacks, but there are other effects as well, such as reducing the target's ability to make ability checks or saving throws.

To cast Hex, you must be able to see the target, and the range of the spell varies depending on the specific version you choose. Once the spell is cast, the curse lasts for the duration of the spell, which can be up to one hour.

Hex can be a powerful tool in your arsenal, but it's important to understand its limitations. For example, you can only have one Hex active at a time, so choose your target wisely. Additionally, if the cursed creature dies, you can transfer the curse to another creature within range as a bonus action, allowing you to maintain the curse throughout a battle.

Hex is a 1st-level enchantment spell in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, commonly associated with the Warlock class but accessible to other classes through various means, such as multi-classing or specific feats. Here are the core rules and description of Hex:

  • Level : 1st
  • School : Enchantment
  • Casting Time : 1 bonus action
  • Range : 90 feet
  • Components : Verbal, Somatic, Material (a petrified eye of a newt)
  • Duration : Concentration, up to 1 hour (extendable to longer durations with higher-level spell slots)

Hex 5e Damage

  • Extra Damage : When you hit the hexed target with an attack, the target takes an additional 1d6 necrotic damage. This damage occurs each time you hit the target with an attack, but the amount of damage does not increase with higher-level spell slots.

Duration Scaling

  • 1st-level Slot : Duration of 1 hour
  • 3rd-level Slot : Duration of 8 hours
  • 5th-level Slot : Duration of 24 hours


When you cast Hex, you place a curse on a creature that you can see within range. The primary effect of this curse is that the target takes an extra 1d6 necrotic damage whenever you hit it with an attack. Additionally, you choose one ability when you cast the spell (e.g., Strength, Dexterity, etc.). The target has disadvantage on ability checks made with the chosen ability.

Key Features

  • Transferability : If the target drops to 0 hit points before the spell ends, you can use a subsequent bonus action on a later turn to curse a new creature, transferring the remaining effects of the original casting to the new target. This ability to transfer the curse makes Hex particularly versatile and enduring over the course of multiple encounters within its duration.

  • Duration Scalability : The duration of Hex increases with the level of the spell slot used to cast it. It lasts for 1 hour when cast with a 1st-level slot, 8 hours with a 3rd-level slot, and up to 24 hours when cast using a 5th-level slot. This scalability allows casters to maintain the spell across an entire day of adventuring with a single casting, assuming they maintain concentration.

  • Concentration Requirement : The spell requires concentration, which means that maintaining the spell's effects can be interrupted by taking damage and failing a Constitution saving throw. The concentration aspect requires the caster to balance their tactical choices, particularly in combat situations where taking damage is likely.

Hex is a foundational spell for many Warlocks due to its synergy with their abilities and its low resource cost relative to its potential impact in combat and utility situations. It's especially powerful when paired with multi-attack spells or effects, making it a favorite in many players' arsenals for increasing damage output over time.

Strengths of Hex 5e

  1. Bonus Damage : Hex allows the caster to deal extra necrotic damage whenever they hit the hexed target with an attack. This is particularly potent for characters who make multiple attacks in a round, such as warlocks using Eldritch Blast.

  1. Debuff Utility : Beyond damage, Hex lets the caster choose one ability when casting the spell. The chosen ability, when used by the target, has disadvantage on ability checks. This can be strategically used to hinder enemies in various ways, such as giving disadvantage on Strength checks to resist grappling or on Dexterity checks that affect stealth and sleight of hand.

  1. Duration and Flexibility : Hex has a long duration—up to 24 hours at higher spell levels—and it persists through breaks in combat. It can be transferred to a new target once the original target dies, making it useful over multiple encounters in a day.

  1. Low Resource Cost : As a 1st-level spell, Hex is very economical in terms of spell slots, especially considering its potentially long-lasting effects and damage output over time.

  1. Synergy with Class Features : Hex works exceptionally well with the Warlock class, especially when combined with the Eldritch Blast cantrip and Agonizing Blast invocation for maximizing damage output.

Weaknesses of Hex 5e

  1. Concentration Requirement : Hex requires concentration to maintain, which means the caster can't use other concentration spells and risks losing Hex if they take damage and fail the resulting concentration check.

  1. Limited by Spell Slot Level : While Hex can be maintained for a long duration at higher levels, it still consumes a valuable spell slot. For Warlocks, who have fewer spell slots than other spellcasters, this can be a significant limitation.

  1. No Direct Control Over Saving Throws : Hex affects ability checks, not saving throws. This limits its utility in situations where debuffing an enemy's saving throws would be more beneficial (e.g., making them more susceptible to other spells or effects).

  1. Requires Sight and Range : Hex needs to be cast on a target within range that the caster can see. This can be limiting in situations with poor visibility or if the target is well beyond the spell's range.

  1. Opportunity Cost : By choosing Hex, the caster might forego the opportunity to cast other beneficial 1st-level spells that could provide immediate advantages in combat or utility, such as Armor of Agathys or Shield. This decision can sometimes lead to less optimal tactical outcomes depending on the situation.

Benefits of Using Hex 5e in Your Gameplay

Hex 5e can be a game-changer in your Dungeons and Dragons 5e sessions. This powerful spell offers several benefits that can give you the edge you need to emerge victorious in battle. Let's take a closer look at some of these benefits.

First and foremost, Hex allows you to significantly weaken your enemies. By reducing their ability to hit with attacks or make saving throws, you can make them less of a threat and increase your chances of survival. This can be especially useful when facing powerful foes or encountering groups of enemies.

Additionally, Hex can be used to enhance your own abilities and skills. For example, if you choose the Hexblade version of the spell, you can gain temporary hit points whenever you hit the cursed target with an attack. This can provide you with much-needed durability in combat and allow you to take on challenging encounters with confidence.

Another benefit of Hex is its versatility. With different versions of the spell available, you can choose the one that best suits your playstyle and character build. Whether you prefer to focus on damage output, crowd control, or utility, there's a Hex spell for you.

Furthermore, Hex can be a valuable tool for roleplaying and storytelling. The curse can add depth to your character's backstory and motivations, allowing for interesting interactions and plot developments. It can also create memorable moments during gameplay, as you strategically use Hex to overcome obstacles and outsmart your enemies.

Now that you're aware of the benefits of using Hex 5e, let's delve deeper into the mechanics of this spell.

human warlock with a crow o his shoulder

Hex 5e Mechanics Explained

Hex in Dungeons and Dragons 5e follows a set of mechanics that govern how the spell functions and interacts with other game elements. Understanding these mechanics is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of Hex in your gameplay. Let's break down the key mechanics of Hex.

When you cast Hex, you choose one ability score from Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma to be affected by the curse. This choice determines the specific effect of the spell. For example, if you choose Strength, the cursed creature has disadvantage on Strength checks and its attacks using Strength.

The curse imposed by Hex lasts for the duration of the spell, which can be up to one hour. During this time, whenever you hit the cursed creature with an attack, you deal an extra 1d6 necrotic damage. This damage increases as you cast the spell at higher levels, making Hex a potent source of additional damage.

It's important to note that Hex requires concentration to maintain. This means that if you cast another spell that requires concentration or take damage, you must make a concentration check to maintain the curse. Failing this check results in the curse being dispelled, potentially wasting your previous actions.

To make the most of Hex, consider combining it with other spells or features that synergize well. For example, the War Caster feat allows you to cast a spell as a reaction when an enemy provokes an opportunity attack, giving you the opportunity to maintain Hex without sacrificing additional attacks.

Now that you understand the mechanics of Hex, let's explore how you can create and design unique Hex uses for your campaign.

Creating and Designing Unique Hex Uses for Your Campaign

Hex in Dungeons and Dragons 5e offers a wide range of possibilities when it comes to creating unique uses for this spell in your campaign. By thinking outside the box and being creative, you can surprise your DM and fellow players with inventive ways to leverage the power of Hex. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Hex of Silence: Instead of focusing on combat-related effects, create a Hex that prevents the cursed creature from speaking or making any noise. This can be useful for infiltration missions or when you want to silence a particularly talkative enemy.

2. Hex of Misdirection: Design a Hex that causes the cursed creature to become disoriented, making it more likely to hit its allies instead of you. This can be a great way to create chaos in battle and turn enemies against each other.

3. Hex of Vulnerability: Create a Hex that increases the damage taken by the cursed creature from a specific damage type. This can be especially effective when facing enemies with known vulnerabilities, allowing you to exploit their weak points.

4. Hex of Reflection: Design a Hex that reflects a percentage of the damage dealt to the cursed creature back at the attacker. This can be a powerful defensive tool, especially against enemies with high damage output.

Remember, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating unique Hex uses. Discuss your ideas with your DM and work together to incorporate them into your campaign. Now, let's move on to tips for incorporating hexes into your storytelling.

Tips for Incorporating Hexes into Your Storytelling

Hexes in Dungeons and Dragons 5e can add depth and intrigue to your storytelling. Whether you're a player or a DM, incorporating hexes into your narrative can create memorable moments and enhance the overall gameplay experience. Here are some tips to help you make the most of hexes in your storytelling.

Weave Hexes into Character Backstories: Encourage your players to incorporate hexes into their character's backstory. This can provide a rich source of motivation and conflict, as well as opportunities for character growth and development.

Create Hex-related Quests and Objectives: Design quests or objectives that revolve around hexes. For example, the party may need to find and destroy a powerful hex artifact or help a cursed NPC break free from a hex's influence. This can add depth to your campaign and give players a sense of purpose.

Use Hexes to Create Tension and Conflict: Introduce hexes as a source of tension and conflict within the game world. For example, a powerful hexcaster may be causing havoc in a nearby village, and the party must find a way to stop them. This can create engaging storylines and memorable encounters.

Make Hexes an Integral Part of the World: Incorporate hexes into the lore and history of your game world. This can make hexes feel more immersive and believable, as well as provide opportunities for players to learn more about the world they're exploring.

By incorporating these tips into your storytelling, you can create a captivating and immersive campaign that revolves around hexes. Now, let's explore some resources and tools for DMs and players who want to delve deeper into Hex 5e.

warlock standing sideways

Hex 5e Resources and Tools for DMs and Players

If you're looking to expand your knowledge of Hex 5e or find resources and tools to enhance your gameplay, you're in luck. There are plenty of online resources, guides, and tools available that can help you master the art of hex-slinging. Here are a few recommendations to get you started.

Online Forums and Communities: Join online forums and communities dedicated to Dungeons and Dragons. These platforms are a great place to connect with other players and DMs, ask questions, and share your experiences with Hex 5e. Popular forums include Reddit's r/dndnext and the Wizards of the Coast forums.

YouTube Channels and Podcasts: Check out popular YouTube channels and podcasts that focus on Dungeons and Dragons 5e. Many content creators offer in-depth guides and discussions on various aspects of the game, including Hex 5e. Some recommended channels include Critical Role, Dungeon Dudes, and Web DM.

Official Dungeons and Dragons Resources: Visit the official Dungeons and Dragons website for official resources, such as rulebooks, adventures, and supplementary materials. These resources can provide valuable insights into Hex 5e and its applications in gameplay.

Digital Tools and Apps: Explore digital tools and apps designed to enhance your Dungeons and Dragons 5e experience. From character builders to spell databases, there are plenty of tools available that can make managing Hex 5e easier. Some popular tools include D&D Beyond, Roll20, and Fantasy Grounds.

By utilizing these resources and tools, you can deepen your understanding of Hex 5e and discover new ways to incorporate it into your gameplay. Now, let's take a look at popular hex-based adventures and modules.

fight and casting 5e hex

Popular Hex-Based Adventures and Modules

Hex-based adventures and modules offer a unique style of gameplay that focuses on exploration and discovery. These adventures typically feature a hex map filled with mysterious locations, hidden treasures, and dangerous encounters. If you're looking to embark on a hex-crawling adventure, here are some popular options to consider.

Tomb of Annihilation: Set in the jungles of Chult, this adventure tasks the players with exploring a vast hex map in search of the source of a deadly curse. Along the way, they'll encounter dangerous creatures, ancient ruins, and treacherous traps. Tomb of Annihilation offers a thrilling hex-crawling experience that will test the players' survival skills.

The Isle of Dread: Originally released in 1981, The Isle of Dread is a classic hex-based adventure that takes the players to a remote island filled with dinosaurs, hidden temples, and lost civilizations. This adventure offers a sandbox-style gameplay experience, allowing the players to explore the island at their own pace and uncover its secrets.

The Lost City: In this module, the players venture into a sprawling desert filled with hexes, each containing unique challenges and encounters. As they navigate the desert, they'll uncover the location of a hidden city and face off against its dangerous inhabitants. The Lost City is known for its sandbox-style gameplay and non-linear storytelling.

The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia: This hex-crawling adventure takes the players to an ancient underground realm filled with deadly monsters, hidden treasures, and ancient artifacts. The players must navigate a hex map filled with interconnected caverns, each with its own challenges and rewards. The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia offers a challenging and immersive hex-crawling experience.

These are just a few examples of popular hex-based adventures and modules available for Dungeons and Dragons 5e. Each of these adventures offers a unique gameplay experience that emphasizes exploration and discovery. Now, let's explore some variant rules and homebrew options for Hex 5e.

Hex 5e Variant Rules and Homebrew Options

While Hex 5e already offers a wealth of options and versatility, some players and DMs may be interested in exploring variant rules and homebrew options to further customize their hex-based gameplay. Here are a few variant rules and homebrew options you can consider implementing in your game.

Expanded Hex Effects: Create additional effects for Hex based on specific circumstances or conditions. For example, a Hex that causes the target to become frightened when in complete darkness or a Hex that inflicts extra damage against creatures with a specific alignment.

Hex Rituals: Allow players to perform rituals to create temporary Hex effects outside of combat. These rituals could provide bonuses to certain skills or abilities, grant temporary resistances, or enhance the character's senses for a limited time.

Hex Mastery: Introduce a hex-focused subclass or feat that allows players to specialize in hexes. This subclass or feat could grant additional Hex options, improve the effectiveness of existing Hexes, or provide unique abilities that synergize with Hex spells.

Hex Curses: Design curses that can be inflicted on the players by powerful enemies or as part of specific quests. These curses could have ongoing effects that the players must overcome, adding an extra layer of challenge and complexity to the game.

Implementing variant rules and homebrew options can add a personalized touch to your hex-based gameplay. However, it's important to discuss these options with your DM and ensure they are balanced and fit within the overall game world. Now, let's wrap up with some final thoughts on Hex 5e.

walock casting a hex

Conclusion and Final Thoughts on Hex 5e

Hex 5e stands out as a highly versatile and effective spell in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, particularly for Warlocks. It offers a strategic blend of damage enhancement and tactical debuffing, making it valuable in both combat and non-combat situations.

Versatility and Efficiency : Hex 5e is cast as a bonus action and can affect multiple targets over its duration without additional spell slots, making it economical and potent throughout prolonged encounters.

Strategic Depth : The ability to choose which ability the target has disadvantage on opens up various tactical possibilities, influencing their capabilities significantly during encounters.

Synergy and Limitations : Hex 5e synergizes well with abilities like Eldritch Blast, maximizing damage output. However, it requires concentration to maintain, which can compete with other valuable spells and makes the caster vulnerable to losing the spell if they are hit.

In summary, Hex 5e is an exemplary spell that offers a balance of power, strategy, and versatility, proving indispensable in many D&D campaigns. Its ability to shape encounters and complement a character's skill set makes it a favorite among players who value tactical depth and efficiency.

How does hex work 5e?

Hex 5e is a 1st-level enchantment spell that curses a target within 90 feet to suffer an extra 1d6 necrotic damage whenever they are hit by an attack from the caster. Additionally, the caster chooses one of the target's abilities (such as Strength or Dexterity), causing the target to have disadvantage on ability checks made with that ability. Hex 5e requires concentration to maintain and lasts for a duration that depends on the level of the spell slot used: 1 hour for a 1st-level slot, 8 hours for a 3rd-level slot, and 24 hours for a 5th-level slot. If the cursed target dies, the caster can use a bonus action on a subsequent turn to transfer the Hex to a new target.

What exactly does Hex 5e do?

Hex 5e is a 1st-level enchantment spell that allows you to curse a target within 90 feet. The cursed target suffers an additional 1d6 necrotic damage every time it is hit by an attack from you. Additionally, you choose one of the target's abilities (like Strength or Dexterity), and they have disadvantage on ability checks made with the chosen ability.

How long does Hex 5e last?

The duration of Hex 5e depends on the spell slot level used to cast it. It lasts 1 hour with a 1st-level slot, 8 hours with a 3rd-level slot, and 24 hours with a 5th-level slot. Hex 5e requires concentration to maintain for its duration.

Can Hex 5e be cast on multiple targets at once?

No, Hex 5e can be active on only one target at a time per casting. However, if the hexed target dies, you can use a bonus action on a subsequent turn to transfer the Hex to a new target.

Does Hex 5e affect saving throws or attack rolls?

No, Hex 5e only affects ability checks associated with the chosen ability of the cursed target. It does not impose disadvantage on saving throws or attack rolls.

Can you stack multiple instances of Hex on a single target?

No, a target cannot be affected by multiple instances of Hex at the same time, even if cast by different spellcasters. Only one Hex can be active on a target at any given moment.

What happens to Hex 5e if I lose concentration?

If you lose concentration (for example, by taking damage and failing the resulting saving throw), the spell ends immediately, and the effects of Hex 5e cease.

Is there any way to extend the duration of Hex beyond 24 hours?

Under normal circumstances and following the standard spell rules, Hex 5e cannot last more than 24 hours. Extending it beyond this would require specific campaign elements, house rules, or DM discretion.

Does Hex's bonus damage apply to spells and melee attacks?

Yes, the additional necrotic damage from Hex 5e applies to any attack that hits the target, whether it's a spell attack like Eldritch Blast or a physical attack with a weapon.

Can Hex 5e be dispelled or removed before its duration expires?

Yes, since Hex 5e is a spell with a duration longer than instantaneous, it can be dispelled by magic such as the Dispel Magic spell. Additionally, effects that end curses or spells can remove Hex.