Alter Self 5E Spell

Hello magic casters of all shapes and sizes! welcome to my spellbook and thank you so much for checking in to the 3rd episode of our second level spell series. This is known to be one of the most commonly requested spells i’ve ever had to do to be honest i’m not 100% sure as a while but it’s still pretty cool that i’m finally getting around to doing it.

Today we’re going to be taking a look at alter self which is kind of one of the cooler spells at least when the cooler low level spells from a thematic standpoint and has a ton of utility to it as well. It is usable by the sorcerer, wizard and artificer and by that what i mean is on their spell list and there are other classes that get access to this. Namely the warlock, through an invocation.

That being said though it is still found on the sorcerer, wizard and an artificer spell list so that’s what we base it off of. It is found in the players handbook so we should all have access to it and it’s kind of a staple amongst d&d culture as a whole. In any case let’s move on to its actual mechanics now.


  • Casting Time: 1 Action
  • Range: Self
  • Duration: 1 Hour (Concentration)
  • Components: Somatic and Verbal
  • School: Transmutation

Your cast time will be the standard 1 action, your range is self, the duration is one hour and it is a concentration spell so just please bear that in mind. The components are somatic and verbal meaning you have gesture with one hand and speak forth an incantation.

The school and this is actually pretty important is transmutation. The reason that’s important is these are physical things that happen to your body. This is most notable when it comes to changing at your appearance and that is the primary reason why this is so much better than the sky itself is people can’t just realize it’s a fake by touching you. You’ll stand up to a physical inspection which is really really important.

The effect at a glance is as followed: Change your form to gain 1 of 3 benefits:

1) Aquatic adaptation: You can breathe under water and gain a swim speed. That swimsuit is equal to your walking speed by the way so just make a note.

2) Change Appearance: Change your height, weight, facial features, sound of your voice, hair length, coloration and distinguishing characteristics within several limitations. Those limitations are you’ve got to stay within the same size and basic shape. You can’t appear as though you are a different race stuff like that but same size and shape. Your stats also same by the way.

3) Natural Weapons: Unarmed strikes deal 1d6 bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, as appropriate. Attacks made this way are considered to be magical and gains a +1 to attack damage rolls. You’re also proficient with these unarmed strikes which is pretty cool although i’m pretty sure you are already proficient with unarmed strikes. I might be wrong on that, if i’m wrong on that please comment down in the comment section beneath.

Without further ado and with the main mechanics addressed. Let’s take a look at the full description here. Just you know so we can understand it better stuff like that.


As per this alter self 5e spell you do assume the different form. Whenever you cast the spell, just select one of the below mentioned options, actually the effects of which last for the specific duration of the spell. But while the spell lasts and you can end one option like an action to gain the benefits of some different one.

Aquatic Adaptation: You do adapt your body for an aquatic environment, sprouting gills, and also growing webbing in between your fingers. You can also breathe the underwater and gain the swimming speed which is equal to your walking speed.

Change Appearance: You can transform your appearance. You can also decide what you should look like be, it includes your height, weight, facial features, sound of your voice, hair length, coloration, and also distinguishing characteristics, if any. Also you can make yourself appear like the member of another race, even though nothing in your statistics would change.

You also do not appear like the creature of a different size than you and also your basic shape would stays the same; sometimes if you’re bipedal, then you can not use this spell for becoming quadrupedal, for an example. At any situation for the particular duration of the spell, you have a chance to use your action for changing your appearance in this way again.

Natural Weapons: You can grow the claws, fangs, spines, horns, or a different natural weapon depends on your choice. Actually, your unarmed strikes deal 1d6 bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage like appropriate to the natural weapon that you chose, you’re very proficient with your unarmed strikes. Finally, here the natural weapon is a magic and you’ve a +1 bonus to the attack and also the damage rolls which you make using it.

After the above mentioned options you may also interested to know about see invisibility spell 5e

Oh man that is quite the mouthful there let me tell you. So it’s gonna be worth noting that by raw these are the only three options you can pick. It doesn’t say anything about you coming up with another one and your GM allowing it.

That being said though it is something that can happen just run it past them well in advance. Explain why you want to do it and why is pertinent to your character and they might allow you to.

A good example of this would be to reskin the breathing underwater to get you a climb speed for instance and that would make a lot of sense and would make sense thematically based on your character. But outside of simple reskin like that i would be very hesitant to allow anything else in my game if that makes sense. With that all being said let’s take a look at some alternative uses that apply by raw.

Alternative Uses

The best ones to use would be to take advantage of transforming your appearance in a crowded venue. The problem with doing this with disguise itself is all it requires is someone to bump into you and they depending on what you disguise yourself is can figure out that you’re not who you say you are. With this is not an issue.

This is also superior to the changelings ability and the main reason why that is is a changeling can only change into another creature it’s seen before. Whereas alter self allows you to basically appear with completely randomized characteristics you can look like well one of a kind person. It’s really cool would you consider like that.

Another great use for alter self would be in gladiatorial combat or in fights where you’re not gonna have your regular weapons and that’s where you’re gonna really take advantage of that natural weapon feature. Which is really good, really cool helps you gain that edge right!

Another great use of altering your appearance would be to make yourself look like someone famous influential or a figurehead and this would really allow you to take advantage of a couple other NPCs the placed on roleplay.

Although mechanically and as written it doesn’t grant this i would certainly allow you to make rules with advantage on any of your charisma related checks just cuz you know it kind of makes sense and if the role plays good. I’d allow inspiration anyways so for me personally that makes a lot of sense.

You can also take advantage of being able to swim and breathe underwater based on certain quest lines which is kind of a given granted but it’s still something worth noting. Fantastic that’s about all i could really come up with.

Attributes Of Alter Self 5E Spell

Casting Time1 action
ClassesSorcerer, Wizard
ComponentsV S
DurationUp to 1 hour
NameAlter Self

If you have any ideas, alternative uses or cool stories involving alter self i’d really like you to put them down into the scripture beneath i like reading up everyone else does as well and if you want some bonus points i’d recommend just putting down any thoughts or ideas of things you would allow alter self to do reskins other abilities things of that nature.

I’m just curious to see what other dm’s allowed in the past to be honest with you just ideas for my games you know and i’m sure that they’ll get ideas for their games as well so it’s kind of a win-win. That being said! thank you so much for your time guys i really appreciate it, i hope you all have a wonderful day and as always happy casting.

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