What Is Armor Of Agathys?
Armor of Agathys is a fantastic defensive spell that packs a chilling punch. Typically this spell is most often seen used by Warlocks although other classes such as the Oath of Conquest Paladin can also obtain this spell. Armor of Agathys is a potent buff spell with perhaps the only downside being that you cannot bestow it’s protective effects onto others.
This Level 1 spell is in the school of Abjuration and thus, it takes on a more defensive nature in how it functions. Using a cup of water as a material component, the caster and their equipped gear are coated in a layer of spectral frost. This is important to note as this mystical barrier will extend to your armaments or shields, in addition to other buffs you may have activated already, making this spell ideal for Warlocks looking to be in the fray of melee combat.
The components and magical effects of the spell offer a great opportunity for creative descriptions by the Dungeon Master and Players alike. An example would be the Warlock Vaxis, who serves in the city watch of Waterdeep. Vaxis is a successful homicide detective, in part thanks to his Patron Kallis who has gifted him with the ability to cast Speak With Dead. Kallis’s symbol is that of a spider but with aspects of constellations in its body.
When Vaxis encounters a group of Kenku assassins, he decides to cast Armor of Agathys to help better defend himself against numerous attackers. Vaxis reaches for his hip flask and empties the contents into his free hand while casting the spell. The water in his hand begins to freeze and the ice grows up from his palm but not in the beautiful patterns of frost one might encounter in the natural world. Instead, hundreds of glacier-blue spiders crawl over his body and freeze in place, shimmering and translucent.
How Does Armor of Agathys Work?
Costing 1 Action, this spell provides the caster with 5 Temporary Hit Points if an opponent should strike the caster with a melee attack, they are dealt 5 points of Cold damage in return. This applies to all melee damage dealt to the caster while they possess the Temporary Hit Points granted by the spell.
It should be noted that you must expend Temporary Hit Points first when taking damage, you cannot elect to save them for later use. However, should the caster for example only take 4 damage, the attacker would still take 5 Cold damage, leaving the caster with 1 point remaining. If they are struck again, the final point is expended and the attacker is still dealt 5 points of Cold damage.
The fact that this spell only applies to damage received from melee attacks, it makes sense to use in combination with more melee-based characters so that the chilling effects of this armor is more likely to trigger. Vaxis summons his pact weapon sword to his hand and the frozen spiders swarm the spectral blade as well. Two of the Kenku assassins flank Vaxis but the Warlock is able to hold his own against them, with neither side having the clear advantage. A third assassin silently creeps out from a broom closet behind the detective and lands a sneak attack on Vaxis with their short sword.
The temporary hit points from the spell help reduce the damage dealt to Vaxis but as soon as the sword touches the Warlock, the frozen spiders leap from Vaxis and cover the Kenku instantly, freezing it solid. The spider flare is fitting for Vaxis because of his patron but as mentioned before, you can describe the spell as you like because it doesn’t change the actual mechanics or outcome of the spell.
This spell can also be used by Warlocks seeking to buff their Health and Defense while casting or attacking from a distance, like some sort of bristly frozen porcupine. The Armor of Agathys spell also lasts for a whole hour so you have plenty of time to cast it before entering a dangerous situation. Do you have a dungeon that needs clearing? Cast this bad boy before getting down to business to ensure that your would-be attackers pay dearly for harming you. Armor of Agathys functions almost as a triggered reaction or in other words, a nicely laid trap for your enemies.
If we haven’t sold you on Armor of Agathys already, you should know that this spell also scales up with spell levels, increasing the number of Temporary Hit Points by 5 for every Spell Slot of the 2nd level or higher. It should be noted that the increase in these Temporary Hit Points will also increase the amount of damage this spell can dish out.
Warlocks also always cast their spells at the highest level that they are capable of, so investing in this spell early on will ensure that it remains a useful, if not vital part of your Warlock’s arsenal as you continue to level up. It’s the spell that just keeps on giving!
Have You Used Armor Of Agathys n D&D 5e?
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