Project Arcana: Transmutation Spell List 2

Only three primary schools left! Today, I’ll be hashing out the Transmutation spell list.

As a school, transmutation seems like it should be one of the more obvious categories of magical mechanisms. It’s a pretty standard concept, turning one thing into another, yet a lot of complexity and nuance exist within that scope. In short, we feel that there is a fundamental difference between converting lead to gold and turning a human into a sheep. Yet, these both fall under the umbrella of “Transmutation.”

So, with that in mind, here’s the PA school description.

Transmutation These spells manipulate the fundamental properties of substances, objects, and creatures. They can change a person into an animal, make that person stronger, or even turn them completely to stone. Some powerful transmutation effects can even create things seemingly from nothing.


Enhancement Spells in this form change the properties of an object or creature. They including changing a targets size and strength or hardening its skin against damage.

Shapechange Spells in this form transform an object or creature into something new and different.

Transfiguration Spells in this form manipulate the fundamental properties of substances and allow the caster to change them. Effects here include transforming one substance into another or creating substances from air.

Okay, so, here’s the table.

Animate ObjectsAlter SelfAcid Splash (*Conjuration)
AwakenAnimal ShapesCloud of Daggers (*Conjuration)
BarkskinFabricateCloudkill (*Conjuration)
DarkvisionPolymorphConjure Barrage (*Conjuration)
Enhance AbilityShapechangeConjure Volley (*Conjuration)
Enlarge/ReduceStone ShapeCreate Food and Water (*Conjuration)
Expeditious RetreatTrue PolymorphCreate or Destroy Water
Freedom of Movement (*Abjuration)Disintegrate
Giant InsectEnsnaring Strike (*Conjuration)
HasteEntangle (*Conjuration)
JumpEvard's Black Tentacles (*Conjuration)
LongstriderFlesh to Stone
Plant GrowthGaseous Form
Ray of EnfeeblementGoodberry
ResistanceGrasping Vine (*Conjuration)
SlowGrease (*Conjuration)
Speak with PlantsHail of Thorns (*Conjuration)
Spider ClimbHeroes' Feast (*Conjuration)
Stoneskin (*Abjuration)Lightning Arrow
Time StopMeld into Stone
Water BreathingMelf's Acid Arrow (*Evocation)
Water WalkMending
Poison Spray (*Conjuration)
Protection from Poison (*Abjuration)
Purify Food and Drink
Ray of Sickness (*Necromancy)
Spike Growth
Stinking Cloud (*Conjuration)
Swift Quiver
Thorn Whip
Tsunami (*Conjuration)
Wall of Stone (*Evocation)
Wall of Thorns (*Conjuration)
Web (*Conjuration)
Wind Walk

Spells Removed from Transmutation

Blink This is one of those times where I cannot even fathom what the hell anyone was thinking by putting this into Transmutation. This is a teleportation spell, and therefore clearly a Conjuration.

Control Water We moved this to Evocation because all of the effects here could be pulled off with an appropriate application of force magic.

Control Weather All weather related effects went to Evocation as either expressive or suppressive. Weather is just an application of energy into a system of air and water.

Cordon of Arrows Moved to Evocation as it is a magical force moving an inanimate arrow.

Druidcraft This, Prestidigitation and Thaumcraft have all been moved to Neutrum. Little spells which teach the fundamental basics of magic.

Elemental Weapon Going to Evocation as an expression of elemental energy.

Etherealness While this sounds like a fancy Gaseous Form, it’s actually a Conjuration in that you are sliding out of the material plane.

Heat Metal “Hot” is not a property of an object. This is clearly Evocation.

Knock “Lockedness” is also not a property. This is an application of force, so Evocation.

Levitate Force again, Evocation.

Magic Weapon Sent to Neutrum for binding non-formed magical essence to a weapon.

Message We’ve moved this to Divination figuring it as a type of limited telepathy.

Move Earth This is clearly force doing all the heavy lifting here, especially since hard stone is unaffected and it happens over time. Evocation.

Passwall While on the surface this looks pretty Transmutation-ey, I’m actually putting it in Conjuration as an Intraplanar. Though it may look like a regular opening, this is actually creating a small portal through which you can pass. This is why the structural integrity of the wall is unaffected, even if you make that entire segment suddenly an opening.

Regenerate Healing, so Vitae.

Reincarnate Obviously VItae.

Reverse Gravity This one was a bit tricky, but we settled on Evocation as force. If you create a force vectored upward at twice gravity, it’ll be this effect.

Rope Trick Uh, pocket dimensions? Yeah, Conjuration.

Sequester Hiding something away is a type of transportation, so Conjuration.

Shillelagh Pretty much Magic Weapon again, so Neutrum.

Telekinesis This is just force. Evocation.

Spells Added to Transmutation

Acid Splash Acid is not an energy. Creating acid from air is Transmutation.

Melf’s Acid Arrow Sigh, see Acid Splash.

Aura of Purity The bulk of this spell cleanses diseases and poisons, transfiguring them to less harmful substances in our opinion. However, it’s almost leaning into Divinus.

Freedom of Movement This spell just makes you surefooted and limber.

Resistance As I said in the Neutrum piece, this spell is more like granting a quick reaction time to aid in saves.

Stoneskin This should have been Transmutation from the start. Silly WotC.

Conjure Barrage/Volley These create extra ammunition from thin air.

Create Food and Water Again, transfiguring things out of air.

Ensnaring Strike, Entangle, Evard’s Black Tentacles, Grasping Vine These all work on the same principle: we’ve created a vine thing from either the ground material or the air. Transfiguration form.

Grease Here we’re transfiguring the top layers of molecules into grease.

Hail of Thorns A one-two combo of Conjure Barrage and Entangle. Nice!

Heroes’ Feast Just conjuring food from air again, albeit very excellent food this time.

Cloud Kill, Fog/Incendiary/Stinking Cloud Making the air into various clouds of death.

Tsunami We’re making an awful lot of water here, so that’s Transmutation.

Wall of Stone/Thorns Creating a wall from the air or ground.

Web Creating sticky webs is just like creating thorny vines.

Protection from Poison Turning poisons harmless.

Cloud of Daggers Transfiguring a whole mess of daggers from the air.

Ray of Enfeeblement Making something weak is an enhancement.

Ray of Sickness Though it’s called “sickness,” it’s actually just a poison ray. Creating poison is a type of transfiguration.

Suggested New Spells

1st-level Transmutation (Enhancement)
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V,S
Duration: 1 hour
The caster’s vision becomes extremely acute and can see clearly up to 200 feet as if it were only 20 feet, 100 feet as if only 10 feet, and 50 feet as if it were only 5 feet away. For the duration, the caster can dismiss and recall this enhancement with a bonus action.

Mordenkainen’s Comfy Bed
1st-level Transmutation (Shapechange)
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Touch
Components: V, M, S
Duration: 8 hours
This spell must target a piece of furniture. The furniture immediately turns into a luxurious four-post bed with clean, comfortable bedding. This bed is large enough to fit two creatures of the same size category as the original furniture was intended to fit. This spell will fail if insufficient room for the bed is available.

Midas Touch
4th-level Transmutation (Transfiguration)
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: Touch
Components: V, M, S
Duration: 1 hour
The target of this spell is turned to gold for the duration. If an object, that object must fit inside a 10 foot cube. Alternatively, this spell can target a collection of objects (such as a stack of coins) provided the collection fits inside a 10 foot cube. If the target is a creature, the caster must make a spell attack. On a hit, the target makes a Constitution saving throw. On success, the target is dealt 5d8 damage. On failure, the target and everything it is carrying is petrified as a golden statue for the duration. While a statue, the target has resistance to all damage. If damage is dealt to the target, it may make an additional save to end the effect (no additional damage is dealt).
At higher levels: If cast with a level 5 slot, the duration is 8 hours. It is further increased to 24 hours for a level 6, 1 week for a level 7, 1 month for a level 8, and the effect is permanent at level 9.

2 thoughts on “Project Arcana: Transmutation Spell List

  • Scott

    I’ve noticed a couple times (this time with Midas Touch) that you have the spell being cast with a higher level slot, rather than referencing Caster Level, to increase durations or effects. Why is that?

    • Matthew Stanford
      Matthew Stanford Post author

      That’s how 5e tends to handle such things. I believe the reason is primarily that it sidesteps the confusion of multiclassed casters (does this scale with player level, or with my Wizard level?). The only time in 5e where spells scale with player level are the damage cantrips, and those scale with player level (not just class level).

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