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Dissonant Whispers 5E Spell [Control Your Enemies With Sound]

Dissonant Whispers 5E Spell
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 11/01/2023
Est. Reading: 13 minutes

Are you looking to elevate your role-playing game and create a truly enchanting experience? Then, it would be best if you turned your attention toward the Dissonant Whispers 5E spell.

It’s a magical trick that any Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) player worth their mettle should be familiar with.

Adding this spell to your arsenal could be the turning point of your gaming sessions, enabling you to shock opponents and strengthen your position as a formidable player.

But what exactly is the Dissonant Whispers 5E spell, and how should you best utilize it to game success? Fear not, because this guide will help demystify everything there is to know about this exceptional D&D feature.

From understanding its basics to effectively implementing it on the gaming table, we’ve got it all covered. Trust us when we say that after reading this, you’ll be raring to test out its magical might in no time at all.

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Dissonant Whispers 5E Spell Attributes

Casting Time1 action

What is the Dissonant Whispers 5E Spell?

Dissonant Whispers is a unique, intriguing feature in the classic role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). Introduced in the 5th Edition, it is known as a valuable psychic spell.

What Is The Dissonant Whispers 5E Spell

As a level 1 spell, it doesn’t underestimate its capacity to wreak havoc on your enemies. It works by whispering an eerie tune that only a chosen creature within range can hear.

This tune wreaks mental distress on them, causing not just harm but also driving them away from you. Offering both strategic maneuvering and damage in one go, this spell certainly packs a punch with its multifaceted benefits.

Optimal Times and Locations for Casting Dissonant Whispers

If you’re an aspirant sorcerer, warlock, or bard seeking to harness the power of your enchanting voice, then this guide will open your eyes to understanding when best to unleash the power of this low-level damage spell.

Dissonant Whispers is a low-level damage spell

Despite being categorized as a level one spell, Dissonant Whispers brings considerable influence onto your gaming table. Remember, strategic usage of spells most often outperforms raw damage capability.

The critical aspect to understand about Dissonant Whispers is that it affect not just the physical constitution of your enemies but also their mental fortitude.

In a tight spot where enemies surround you, casting Dissonant Whisper can cause them mental distress, unraveling their formation and opening them up for debilitating attacks by your allies. This utility makes it an invaluable tool even late into campaign games.

Strong 3d6 damage, scales with level

A potent aspect of Dissonant Whispers is its potential damage output. Starting strong with 3d6 psychic damage at level one on a failed wisdom saving throw by its target draws significance in early levels.

This isn’t all; as you level up and gain more experience in your chosen class, the damage scale of Dissonant Whispers increases, too.

For each slot above the first level that you use to cast Dissonant Whispers, its hurt escalates further by an additional 1d6.

This characteristic makes it not just effective at lower levels but also exceptionally potent later on in campaigns where every hit point counts.

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Best against low Wisdom targets

Another key strategic point regarding the application of Dissonant Whispers revolves around your choice of targets within D&D sessions. It’s worth noting that this spell forces entities to make wisdom-saving throws against its effect.

This means creatures with low wisdom scores are particularly susceptible to the wrath of Dissonant Whispers because their likelihood of making a successful wisdom saving throw is diminished. As such, using the spell against them could clinch a victory.

It is equally crucial to avoid casting Dissonant Whispers against foes with high Wisdom Scores. These adversaries could easily resist its sway, resulting in a waste of resources that might be better employed otherwise.

Targets with high Wisdom resist

When entering combat in a D&D game, it’s essential to be aware of your opponent’s strengths and deficits. Creatures with high Wisdom scores are typically more resilient against enchantment spells like Dissonant Whispers.

They’re quite likely to resist its influence due to their elevated ability to succeed in Wisdom saving throws.

If your opponent successfully resists Dissonant Whispers, you’ll not only waste a spell slot but also potentially lose a strategic advantage.

As such, discretion is advised in using this spell against targets with elevated Wisdom scores. Make sure to assess your adversaries’ attributes carefully before casting Dissonant Whispers or any other enchantment spell.

Deaf targets auto-succeed saving throw

Another fascinating aspect of the Dissonant Whispers spell is how it interacts with deaf creatures. Since the spell relies on an eerie and discordant melody, logically, it can’t affect individuals who cannot hear it.

Consequently, deaf creatures automatically succeed in their saving throw against Dissonant Whispers – this means that they will still take half damage from the spell but won’t be forced into mandatory movement.

Strategic intelligence dictates that attacking a deaf creature with this isn’t necessarily an effective use of your actions or resources within the game.

Control effect relies on failed save

The true power of Dissonant Whispers stems not just from the raw psychic damage it can inflict upon foes but also from its control effect: forcing enemies into involuntary movement away from you.

This forced movement means you can direct your enemy’s position on the battlefield, often placing them between you and a hard-hitting ally.

This change in enemy position takes place only when they fail their Wisdom save. Therefore, choosing opponents who are unlikely to succeed in resisting its impact guarantees a winning strategy when usingDissonant Whispers.

Forces enemy to use a reaction

Dissonant Whisper has another fabulous trick up its sleeve. When your enemy is under the influence of this spell and fails their saving throw, they’re forced to use their reaction to move as far from you as possible.

This forced movement could potentially throw off their entire game strategy.

By forcing an enemy’s reaction in this way, you’re effectively interrupting their planned course of action, which could place them in a disadvantageous position.

Remember that this spell does not cause the frightened condition – a creature under its influence can still make attacks normally.

While Dissonant Whispers can disrupt an opponent’s strategy and provide opportunities for teammates’ attacks, wise use of it is essential for maintaining the upper hand in battle.

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Who Can Cast Dissonant Whispers in 5E?

Now that you’ve got a grasp on what Dissonant Whispers is all about let’s tackle who can actually cast this game-changing spell. The ability to wield the power of Dissonant Whispers is limited to specific character classes.

Who Can Cast Dissonant Whispers in 5E?

These are the Sorcerer, Warlock, and Bard. Each brings a unique flavor and approach to using this crafty spell in the game.


A sorcerer is undeniably one of the magical craftsmen of D&D who possess the skills necessary to channel Dissonant Whispers. Intriguingly, their magical proficiency stems from an inexplicable innate ability rather than learned wizardry.

This intrinsic magical prowess allows them to manipulate psychic energies into spells such as Dissonant Whispers. The spell can prove particularly potent when combined with a sorcerer’s natural charisma as their main spell-casting ability.

Since sorcerers can cast spells through sheer force of will and personality, this class effectively casts Dissonant Whispers, thereby inflicting devastating damage against enemies with low wisdom defense.


Warlock – a compelling character known for their pact with an otherworldly entity in exchange for powers. It’s from these dark pacts that warlocks draw exceptional abilities like casting dissonant whispers.

Warlocks use their charisma stat as their primary spell-casting ability. In terms of strategic gameplay, it’s recommended they reserve this higher-level spell for larger threats or crowds of lesser minions.

Given their broad spectrum of Eldritch Invocations (custom enhancements) available, the warlock could potentially pair those tuneful but deadly whispers with another formidable action or effect, maybe something silent but deadly like ‘Armor of Shadows’ for added protection.


The last class capable of weaving words into a symphony of destruction is none other than the quintessential master of the Bard.

As gifted musicians and spellcasters, Bards are the ones that the Dissonant Whispers spells seem tailored for. Their magic draws from the power of words, whether it’s a chant, a poem, or, indeed, a dissonant whisper.

With their charisma being the key to their spellcasting ability, Bards can use Dissonant Whispers with great effect. It allows them to harm enemies and also create opportunities for their comrades in combat by forcing enemies to retreat using this spell.

The Magic of Dissonant Whispers 5E in Action

The Dissonant Whispers spell works like a charm, quite literally. When cast, the spell compels your chosen target to make a Wisdom Saving Throw. This magical duel puts their mental fortitude to the test.

Should they fail this saving throw, they face psychic damage – 3d6 of it, to be precise. This can significantly affect their state, sowing chaos within their ranks.

Did they succeed on their saving throw? Well, they aren’t out of the woods yet. They still receive half of that potential damage as a repercussion – an unwelcome reminder that you are not one to be messed with lightly.

Still, believing there’s more for them to lose? You’re absolutely right! On a failed save, the target doesn’t just take a hit; it also instinctively uses its reaction – if available – to move as far away from you as it possibly can.

There’s nothing like keeping your enemies at arm’s length while playing them like fiddles.

Rules for Dissonant Whispers in 5E

Although Dissonant Whispers provides endless opportunities for strategy during gameplay, it also comes with its own set of intricate rules.

Rules for Dissonant Whispers in 5E

Acquainting yourself with them will significantly improve your gaming expertise. These guidelines help streamline the execution of this spell and prevent any game discrepancies that may arise.

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Dissonant Whispers Trigger Opportunity Attacks from Movement

When a creature fails its Wisdom saving throw against Dissonant Whispers, it is forced to employ its reaction (if available) to move as far away from you as possible.

The beauty of this is that the movement is considered involuntary and can, therefore, trigger an opportunity attack by anyone standing near the creature’s path.

This additional rule allows strategic players to capitalize on their enemies’ momentary weakness and possibly deal some more damage before their turn even begins.

It Doesn’t Cause The Frightened Condition

Now, you might think that such an eerie incantation would surely scare the living daylights out of your enemies. However, contrary to this belief, Dissonant Whispers do not cause the frightened condition in your opponents.

Despite its misleading name suggesting a terrifying effect on the opponents’ mental condition, this spell purely focuses on causing psychic damage and forcing escape attempts; it does not instill lasting fear or impose a disadvantage during enemy turns.

A Clear Path to The Target Is Needed When Using Dissonant Whispers

Getting into the specifics of casting Dissonant Whispers, one crucial thing you must remember is that there should be a clear, unobstructed path between you and your target for the spell to be successful.

If there’s a barrier or any hindrance in between, be it walls or another creature, the enchanting melody weaving out from you won’t reach your enemy’s ears.

So aim strategically; utilize your surroundings and position yourself accordingly before casting this compelling spell.

Do remember that mastering the Dissonant Whispers spell’s intricacies takes practice and a thorough understanding of its rules.

When put to proper use, this spell could potentially sway the odds in your favor during crucial moments of your gaming sessions.

It not only offers you a unique way to deal with damage but also provides strategic benefits that can disrupt enemies’ plans and create openings for allies.

The Movement From Dissonant Whispers Doesn’t Affect a Creature’s Movement Speed on its Turn

One common misconception when dealing with Dissonant Whispers is the belief that forced movement affects a creature’s movement speed during its turn. However, this isn’t quite accurate.

Though the spell compels your foe to take immediate action, this movement does not reduce or limit the creature’s typical mobility during its subsequent turn.

This distinction ensures that while your spell is convincing enough to make your enemy react instantly, it isn’t so powerful as to hamper their agility or momentum in following rounds.

It Forces Movement on a Failed Save, Even if The Target Is Immune to Psychic Damage

Another peculiar feature of Dissonant Whispers lies in its ability to compel movement, regardless of an enemy’s immunity to psychic damage.

Even though some creatures are immune or resistant to such forms of harm due to their mystical nature, they still cannot resist the command force of this spell.

If they fail their Wisdom saving throw against your casting of Dissonant Whispers, they’re obligated to move away from you despite suffering no actual psychic damage.

Involuntary Movement from Dissonant Whispers Doesn’t Trigger Effects Like Booming Blade

While we’ve commended Dissonant Whispers for inciting opportunity attacks from close-by enemies, you must understand that not all effects are triggered by this compelled movement.

Spells like Booming Blade, which follow foes and inflict damage when they voluntarily move, don’t respond to involuntary relocations caused by spells like Dissonant Whispers.

Forced motion won’t activate every effect; only specific conditions permit additional strikes.

Deafened Creatures Take No Effect From Dissonant Whispers and Only Receive Half-damage

Ears attuned only partially or not at all to sound do affect how your Dissonant Whispers operates. Deafened opponents or those under specific conditions like the Silence spell are practically immune to the spell’s complete influence.

They automatically succeed on their saving throw against this psychic assault and, subsequently, only receive half the potential damage.

Understanding this rule will enable you to choose your targets wisely, refraining from casting Dissonant Whispers on those who might not fully be at its mercy.

Dissonant Whispers Forces Movement Equal to the Creature’s Speed

An intriguing aspect of Dissonant Whispers is its effect on the target’s speed. When you cast Dissonant Whispers and your target fails its Wisdom saving throw, it must use its reaction to move as far from you as possible.

This movement equals its available speed and occurs regardless of any other action it may have planned.

This feature adds a layer of unpredictability and allows you to control the battlefield better, potentially putting adversaries in positions where they are more vulnerable.

The Target’s Reaction Is Still Used Even If It Can’t Move

Regardless of whether the targeted creature actually moves or not, once Dissonant Whispers is cast and a saving throw fails, the creature has used up its reaction for that round.

Perhaps due to fear or confusion caused by the illusionary melody, even if blocked by a physical barrier or another character standing in its way, the creature still loses its reaction for that turn.

Understanding this element could contribute significantly when planning your strategies.

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The Verbal Component Of Dissonant Whispers Is Separate From The Spell’s “Discordant Melody”

With many approachable mechanics in D&D 5E, it might feel a tad challenging to get hold of them all correctly.

It is differentiating between the verbal component needed to cast Dissonant Whispers and the “discordant melody” produced by casting it. There are two distinct elements within this spell.

The verbal component involves your character uttering enchanting phrases that set off this spell; following this initiation, an eerie melody resonates only in your target’s mind – causing distress and provoking them to flee if they fail their saving throw.

The Use Of Spike Growth Depends On The Dungeon Master

Here’s where things may get interesting: trying out spell combinations! One compelling technique is pairing up Dissonant Whispers with spells like Spike Growth.

When cleverly used, the pair can deal some substantial harm. It’s important to note that the spell’s interaction with Dissonant Whispers is largely dependent on the Dungeon Master’s ruling.

So, always be sure to get the all-clear from your Dungeon Master before setting this strategic trap.

Dissonant Whispers’ Forced Movement Requires The Target To React To Available

While the target is reacting to flee away as swiftly and directly as possible in response to Dissonant Whispers, remember that its own abilities and movement speed still govern it.

Despite being under mental distress caused by your spell, the creature won’t suddenly gain additional abilities or resources to aid its sudden escape. This nuance adds a remarkable realism even amidst all the magic and mayhem.

How Do I Use Dissonant Whispers in 5E?

The intricacies involved with the Dissonant Whispers spell are what truly set it apart, making it strategic and efficient. Immersing yourself in how to wield this power effectively can elevate your D&D experience significantly.

Here are some ways on how to utilize this spell effectively:

Create Powerful Opportunity to Attack Chains with Martial Comrades

One strategic use of the Dissonant Whispers 5E is that it allows you to create powerful chains of attack opportunities among your comrades.

You first cast the spell on a foe, causing them to move away from you. This forced movement, if done cleverly, can make your enemy vulnerable to Opportunity Attacks from your allies who were waiting for just such an opening.

Timing is everything, so you must strategize when exactly to spring this trap for maximum effect.

Protect Vital or Vulnerable Allies and Assets from Foes

Dissonant Whispers also prove handy in situations where you need to protect vital members of your team or specific vulnerable assets against menacing enemies.

When a threatening force is cornering an ally or is too close for comfort, cast these disconcerting whispers on them.

The magical melody drives them away, creating the space and time necessary for your threatened comrade or resource to regain their footing or find safety.

Prioritize Foes with Low Wisdom Scores

The effectiveness of Dissonant Whispers hinges significantly on the wisdom levels of your opponent as they have to fail their wisdom throw for the full effect of the spell, both movement and damage, to take place.

Targeting those with lower Wisdom scores increases the chances of success drastically. So always be informed about your enemies’ stats before deciding which ones should face the music.

Combine With The War Caster Feat For Added Effectiveness

War Caster is a feat available in D&D that provides several benefits, one of them being an advantage on saving throws to maintain concentration.

More importantly for us, it allows the casting of a spell rather than just a melee attack for opportunity attacks. When this feat is combined with Dissonant Whispers, the results are spectacular.

You effectively force the creature to move, offering you the Opportunity Attack and allowing you to cast Dissonant Whispers again.

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FAQs about Dissonant Whispers 5E Spell

Is Dissonant Whispers a good spell to have in a D&D game?

Yes, not only can it cause significant psychic damage, but it also serves as a strategic tool for manipulating enemy positions.

Can the target of Dissonant Whispers hear the whispered discord even if they are deaf?

No, if a creature is deaf and can’t hear the spell’s whispers, they are immune to its effects.

Why does Dissonant Whispers force the creature to move away from me?

The spell imbues them with such terror that their immediate instinct is to distance themselves from the source – you.

Are there any creatures resistant or immune to Dissonant Whispers?

Any creature with high wisdom may resist its full effects, and those who are deaf or have immunity to psychic damage will be unaffected by the spell.

How does using Dissonant Whispers give an advantage in battle strategy?

It allows you to control enemy movement, which could lead to triggering opportunity attacks or protecting allies.


  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!