Infestation 5e is a conjuration cantrip available to druids, sorcerers, warlocks, and wizards. It summons a swarm of parasites to attack an enemy of your choosing and send them fleeing in one randomly chosen direction.
The Infestation cantrip is an excellent spell with many uses, especially if you and your players are playing at a table. This spell isn’t as good for the theater of the mind D&D, but it can have great applications there too.
The Basics of Infestation 5E
The Infestation cantrip 5e is similar to Summon Swarm from 3.5e, but it has more direct results and deals damage. It is available to four classes at level zero and requires several different components.
Infestation Spell 5e:
- Casting Time: One action
- Range: 30 feet
- Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material: a living flea
- Duration: Instantaneous
- School of Magic: Conjuration
- Damage Type: Poison
- Saving Throw: Constitution
- Classes: Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard
You conjure a swarm of parasites like fleas, mites, and others to appear on one enemy. They must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the player’s spell save DC or take 1d6 poison damage.
The enemy also has to move in a random direction at least five feet. You roll a d4 to select the direction. One is north, two is south, three is east, and four is west. Enemies that go by do not provoke opportunity attacks though.
On top of that, this spell earns additional damage dice when the player reaches higher levels. At the 5th level, you roll 2d6; at the 11th, you roll 3d6; and at the 17th level, you roll 4d6. This makes this spell even more potent.
Infestation’s Practical Uses as a Player and DM
5e Infestation is a great spell that has several uses in-game. Both players and DMs can find it helpful, so let’s break that down here.
Driving an Enemy Off
This is a great spell to work with if you want to force an enemy out of melee range. This is perfect for spellcasters who need range to execute their spells correctly, especially if they don’t have a good AC.
Dangerous terrain is also a great thing to pair with this spell. If lava pits or cliffs surround the battleground, there is a chance your enemy will run right into a hazard and give you an instant kill.
Alternatively, DMs could use this spell to drive back a party getting too close to a fleeing villain or treasure. It’s a fun spell that can set the tone of a fight before blood is even shed.
The catch is, of course, that your d4 roll could put the enemy even closer to you or send them in a direction that doesn’t matter. You have to accept that risk when you cast this spell, but what isn’t left up to chance in tabletop games?
While it might sound off-putting at first, this spell is a great way to characterize your PCs or NPCs.
For example, if you have a character who grew up in a swamp or boggy wetland, you could summon a swarm of mosquitoes to drive them off. These mosquitoes might not be classified as the initially recommended pests, but you can use them to show where your character came from.
D&D 5e Infestation is a perfect way to add flavor to characters and villains alike. A villain with a heavy pestilence and famine theme could benefit from this spell for the pure aesthetic of it all.
The creatures don’t even have to be a parasite if they don’t work. You could summon a swarm of locusts or ants, and the same effect would come across. Talk with your DM and make sure these small changes are okay to present with the spell.
Dealing with Undead
As a DM, this spell poses an interesting question: does it work on the undead? To answer this, you need to look at a couple of different things.
If you want to stick to parasites, this spell only works on living creatures with flesh and blood. This means you can’t use this on the lich your party just accidentally woke up.
However, if you take the looser pest route, that can apply to many things. You could sic a swarm of bees on the being or even summon bone-eating pests.
The possibilities are endless, but you need to work with your DM to get the best possible outcome. Happy playing!
For more information on playing or DMing for a druid, check out our full guide on the 5E druid.
Infestation summons a swarm of pests, specifically parasites, onto an enemy. It drives them in one randomly chosen direction and deals poison damage.
D&D Infestation drives an enemy away from you in a random direction and covers them in a swarm of parasites or pests of your choosing.