Barkskin 5e: Everything You Need to Know

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If you’re a dog lover, you’ll be familiar with barkskin, a common term used to describe a dog’s thick, protective fur. But did you know that barkskin also features in the world of Dungeons and Dragons? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the spell and explore its uses in the game.

What is Barkskin 5e?

Barkskin is a level 2 transmutation spell in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition. When cast, it causes a creature’s skin to take on a rough, bark-like texture, providing extra protection. The spell targets one creature and lasts for one hour, requiring concentration throughout the duration.

How Does Barkskin 5e Work?

To cast barkskin, a spellcaster needs to touch the target creature, imbuing their skin with the spell’s energy. Once cast, the spell causes the target’s skin to harden and take on the texture of bark. This results in a natural armor class (AC) of 16, which is an improvement over the typical unarmored AC of 10 + Dexterity modifier.

It’s important to note that while barkskin improves AC, it doesn’t provide immunity to magical attacks or spells. It also doesn’t stack with other forms of armor or magic items that increase AC.

When is Barkskin Useful?

Barkskin can be a useful spell in a variety of situations. It’s particularly effective in battles against physical attackers or melee-focused creatures. A character under the effects of barkskin will have a much better chance of surviving these types of encounters.

It’s also a good spell to cast on non-combat creatures that may be exposed to danger, such as horses or other pack animals. Additionally, barkskin can provide a useful escape tactic for characters that need to flee quickly, as the spell’s AC increase can make them more difficult to hit.

How to Use Barkskin 5e in Combat

In combat situations, barkskin can be a valuable tool to have in your spellcasting arsenal. If you’re a druid, barkskin is available to you as a class spell. However, other spellcasting classes can also access it through certain subclass options.

It’s important to note that while barkskin provides additional AC, it does require concentration. This means that if the spellcaster takes damage, they will need to make a Constitution saving throw to maintain the spell’s effects. It’s best to cast the spell at the beginning of a combat encounter when possible, allowing the caster to maintain concentration without too much interruption.

Barkskin vs Mage Armor

Mage Armor is another popular spell in the D&D 5e universe, which creates a magical barrier around the target creature. Both mage armor and barkskin increase a creature’s AC. However, there are some differences to consider when deciding which spell to use.

Firstly, mage armor doesn’t require concentration, so it can be useful in situations where the caster may be distracted or damaged during combat. Secondly, mage armor provides a fixed AC increase of 13+Dexterity modifier, which is slightly lower than the AC increase provided by barkskin. However, mage armor can be cast on any creature, whereas barkskin only affects one target at a time.

Can You Stack Barkskin 5e?

While barkskin can’t be used in conjunction with other armor or magic items that increase AC, it is possible to stack multiple instances of the spell on a single creature. This can be a useful strategy for increasing a character’s survivability in a combat situation.

Can Barkskin 5e be Dispelled?

Like most spells, barkskin can be dispelled. If the spellcaster is hit with a dispel magic spell, they will need to make a check against the spell’s DC to maintain barkskin’s effects.


Barkskin is a versatile spell in D&D 5e that can provide an AC increase for a variety of characters and creatures. While it requires concentration and can be dispelled, its effectiveness in melee combat situations and as an escape tactic makes it a useful spell to have on hand. Whether you’re a druid or other spellcaster, consider adding barkskin to your spell list for increased survivability.


1. Can you cast Barkskin on a familiar?

Yes, you can cast Barkskin on a familiar, provided they are a creature and not a construct or undead.

2. Can Barkskin be used on multiple creatures at once?

No, Barkskin can only be used on one creature at a time.

3. How long does Barkskin last in D&D 5e?

Barkskin lasts for one hour in D&D 5e.

4. Does Barkskin stack with shield?

No, Barkskin does not stack with shield or other magic items that provide an AC increase.

5. Can Barkskin be cast on yourself in D&D 5e?

Yes, Barkskin can be cast on the spellcaster or another creature of their choosing, provided they have the spellcasting ability to do so.