Enhance Ability 5e Guide

The Enhance Ability 5E spell has a variety of use cases and can be a great option for a caster. In this guide, I’ll break down what the spell is, how it works, as well as a variety of situations where Enhance Ability should be used.

What does Enhance Ability do in D&D?

Enhance Ability is a 2nd level Transmutation spell in D&D. Here are some pieces of information you’ll want to know:

Spell Level2nd
Spell TypeTransmutation
Casting Time1 Action
Component RequirementsVerbal, Somatic, Material (fur or feather from a beast)
DurationConcentration, up to 1 hour
ClassBard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Artificer, Paladin (Oath of Glory), Wizard (Optional Class Feature), Rogue (Arcane Trickster)
At Higher LevelsWhen you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, you can target one additional creature for each slot level above 2nd.

How does Enhance Ability work?

DnD 5E’s Enhance Ability spell does exactly what the name implies; it enhances an ability of a character, with 6 total options to choose from.

Here’s how it works: Touch a creature and bestow a Magical enhancement that provides one (1) of the effects below:

  1. Bear’s Endurance: Advantage on Constitution checks, plus 2d6 temporary Hit Points until the end of the spell.
  2. Bull’s Strength: Advantage on Strength checks, plus the creature’s carrying capacity is doubled.
  3. Cat’s Grace: Advantage on Dexterity checks, plus the target will not take fall damage (max height of 20 feet and if the creature is not incapacitated).
  4. Eagle’s Splendor: Advantage on Charisma checks.
  5. Fox’s Cunning: Advantage on Intelligence checks.
  6. Owl’s Wisdom: Advantage on Wisdom checks.

The effect will last until the spell ends (1 hour or when the caster loses concentration)

Enhance Ability Use Cases

Here’s a quick list of use cases for Enhance Ability:

  • Bear’s Endurance
    1. Additional hit points before battle
    2. Additional hit points to keep a character alive during battle
    3. Deal with exhaustion
    4. Successfully hold your breath longer
    5. Tracking down an enemy (running for a while to keep up)
    6. Drinking contests
  • Bull’s Strength
    1. Carry more stuff for the group (use to take a dungeon haul home)
    2. Breaking a door down
    3. Keep from falling off a cliff
  • Cat’s Grace
    1. Give your not-sneaky Paladin in plate armor a flat roll instead of disadvantage on stealth checks
    2. Advantage on initiative checks
  • Eagle’s Splendor
    1. Successfully schmooze a high priority NPC
    2. Get information out of NPCs
  • Fox’s Cunning
    1. Better investigation
    2. Advantage on Arcana and History checks
  • Owl’s Wisdom
    1. Better passive perception
    2. Better tracking and animal handling

What to keep in mind before casting Enhance Ability

Although Enhance Ability is enticing, there are a few things to keep in mind before casting this spell:

  • Material component: Enhance Ability in 5E requires a material component – fur or feather from a beast. This material component is quite common, though. Also, most DMs will ignore this material component as long as they don’t have gold value.
  • Concentration – If your character doesn’t have War Caster feat (and get advantage on Constitution saving throws rolled to maintain concentration on a spell), Enhance Ability could be risky. The last thing you’d want is for this spell to drop right before making a crucial ability check.
  • You can only choose one ability, so choose wisely – Another point of consideration is that you can only choose one ability check. So you’ll need to really think it through before casting. If you assume wrongly about an enemy caster and the types of spells they’ll cast, for example, Enhance Ability could prove useless.
  • Enhance Ability applies to skill checks only – One of the biggest drawbacks to Enhance Ability, in my opinion, is that it specifically applies to skill checks, not saving throws.

How good is Enhance Ability in DnD 5E?

At the end of the day, is 5E Enhance Ability a good spell? Simply, yes, this is a good spell to include in your character’s spell list. Assuming you plan correctly, this can save the party. Here are a few reasons why Enhance Ability is a good spell:

  • Advantage is always helpful – Enhance Ability is a great option if you’re hoping to guarantee a successful check. Whether that’s opening a high priority locked door or moving a boulder, Advantage is extremely handy.
  • Cover up weak spots – Most characters have weak spots. If a character isn’t quite up to snuff when it comes to an ability check, Enhance Ability can be exactly what they need.
  • Additional benefits – Depending on the skill you choose, there are additional benefits that come with it that can be a good utility play for the group.

DnD Classes that can cast Enhance Ability

By choosing the following classes, Enhance Ability will be available to your character:

  • Bard
  • Cleric
  • Druid
  • Sorcerer
  • Artificer
  • Paladin (Oath of Glory)
  • Wizard (Optional Class Feature)
  • Rogue (Arcane Trickster)

Enhance Ability vs Other Options

While Enhance Ability is a good spell, there are some other options to consider! Depending on your campaign, characters, and more, Enhance Ability may be exactly what you need or fall flat. Let’s take a look at the comparisons:

Enhance Ability vs Guidance

Many D&D players, after learning about Enhance Ability, would probably wonder how it stacks up against the Guidance spell. Here’s the quick breakdown:

  • Enhance Ability – advantage on a a specific ability check for an hour
  • Guidance – add 1d4 to a roll

At first glance, it seems like Enhance Ability could be your better option, especially at higher levels where your casters have more spell slots to work with. However, something to consider is the recent rule changes around the Guidance spell. One D&D is changing how Guidance works. Instead of taking a full action to cast, it (1) can be used as a reaction but (2) can only be used on a creature once per long rest!

With the rules around the Guidance spell changing, Enhance Ability becomes a much more viable option.

Enhance Ability vs Skill Empowerment

Skill Empowerment is an interesting spell. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Spell type: 5th-level Transmutation
  • Casting time: 1 action
  • Range: Touch
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Duration: Concentration up to 1 hour
  • What it does: You touch one willing creature and give it expertise in a skill of your choice. The creature doubles its proficiency bonus for ability checks using that skill. The caveat is that you can’t double the proficiency bonus for a creature that already has proficiency.

To be honest, Skill Empowerment is very similar to Enhance Ability. Here are the key differences:

  • The mechanics are a bit different (advantage vs double proficiency), but the difference is minor
  • Skill Empowerment is found on the Bard, Sorcerer, Wizard, and Artificer spell lists
  • It’s a 5th-level Transmutation spell! That’s very costly for something that provides, essentially, the same thing as Enhance Ability.
  • There is no Material component requirement

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use Enhance Ability on yourself?

Yes! You can cast this spell on yourself.

Does Enhance Ability work on skills?

Yes, the description specifically says that it works on skills.

Does Enhance Ability apply to attacks?

Unfortunately, no, Enhance Ability does not apply to attacks.

Does Enhance Ability work on initiative rolls?

Yes, because initiative is a Dexterity check.

Enhance Ability 5E: Conclusion

The DnD 5E Enhance Ability spell is a great option, especially at lower levels, to increase skills when you’re in a bind!

Additional D&D Spells to Consider:

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