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D&D 5E Cause Fear vs False Life

ECMO3

Adventurer
Level 7 Arcane Trickster taking shadow touched feat at 8th level. This will give me a couple more castings and a couple more spells effectively "known".

I am debating the 1st level spell to get with it. I have narrowed it down to these two. Neither seem great to me (I am doing it for the invisibility and int bonus). False life would give me a few more hps cast ahead of when we would likely battle, and some back door healing as well if I needed it. Cause fear could give me a nice string of advantage to hit an enemy (and the rest of the party).

I have never had either of these spells on a character before, so I have not used them. I once played a Warlock with a false life invocation, but that is a different animal because you can cast it over and over again - unlimited castings, so he was always walking around with 8 extra hps and that is all it really was.

The character is a booming blade melee Rogue that normally uses a short sword.
 

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toucanbuzz

Legend
I don't think it matters as I don't see you using either at 8th level. However, false life would be of more utility because (1) it can be cast before heading into danger and forgotten, (2) doesn't consume a valuable combat action, and (3) that's about it. Cause Fear is likely less useful because it (1) consumes a valuable action and (2) is save-based, so unless your casting modifier is maxed, it's not as useful as it could be. If a monster saves, you're out an action and you don't get the reaction attack of opportunity you were hoping for.
 


Normally I'd go with Cause Fear, but with this specific build False Life is probably better. Cause Fear is high risk/high reward, since the advantage will trigger sneak attack, but concentration and two saves (initial and end of their turn) can easily cause you to lose the spell before you benefit from it.
 

Stattick

Explorer
If your spell attack modifier is good, I'd consider Ray of Sickness. There are only two spells that inflict the poisoned condition. A creature with that condition makes its attacks with disadvantage. This is a valuable spell for when you have an enemy that's absolutely wrecking your party, so it's more important to make it miss than it is to Sneak Attack. Yes, it's of situational value, but it can be a clutch spell to pull out when the time is right.
 

ECMO3

Adventurer
If your spell attack modifier is good, I'd consider Ray of Sickness. There are only two spells that inflict the poisoned condition. A creature with that condition makes its attacks with disadvantage. This is a valuable spell for when you have an enemy that's absolutely wrecking your party, so it's more important to make it miss than it is to Sneak Attack. Yes, it's of situational value, but it can be a clutch spell to pull out when the time is right.
ROS would seem inferior to cause fear for this. Frightened seems as bad as poisoned but ROS requires a hit and a failed save and it only lasts one turn max. Cause fear will accomplish the same with just one failed save and it lasts until the enemy saves. Cause fear can also be upcast to affect more than one enemy.
 

briggart

Explorer
I'm not sure how Cause Fear can give you advantage? Anyway, I'd go for Cause Fear. As others pointed out, it's situational, but I think it opens up more interesting opportunities, both in and outside combat, than 5-8 more HP.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Cause Fear does seem the more utilitarian, but it is worth noting that you can precast False Life and it won’t break your invisibility, if that’s worth considering.
 

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