30 ft Components:
V, S, M
, up to 1 minute
A beam of crackling, blue energy lances out toward a creature within range, forming a sustained arc of lightning between you and the target. Make a ranged spell attack against that creature. On a hit, the target takes 1d12 lightning damage, and on each of your turns for the duration, you can use your action to deal 1d12 lightning damage to the target automatically. The spell ends if you use your action to do anything else. The spell also ends if the target is ever outside the spell's range or if it has total cover from you.
When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the initial damage increases by 1d12 for each slot level above 1st.
a twig from a tree that has been struck by lightning
Verbal Component (Alternative):
This witches hex, a spell most frightening; an arcing blast, a bolt of lightening. Classes:
Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard, RogueTags:
DamageSource: Player's Handbook [5th Edition] (page 289)
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Other Planes and Effects
Below is information about this spell as it relates to other planes and area of effects (i.e. underwater). Some of the information is pulled official D&D sources (such as books and the twitter feeds of D&D officials), but other information is derived from forums and online discussions. As always, it is up to the DM to decide how they wish to handle spell effects.
Underwater - Verbal Component
Official rules have been verified by Jeremy Crawford - "No rule prohibits verbal components from working underwater. Keep in mind that if you're talking, you're not holding your breath." Hence, while submerged underwater and holding its breath, a creature can cast a spell that requires a verbal component. After casting the spell, if the creature can't breathe underwater, it immediately runs out of breath. The creature can survive for a number of rounds equal to its Constitution modifier (minimum of 1 round).
Underwater - Lightning Effects
None of the lightning spells mention water interaction in any way. In addition, the section in the PHB about underwater combat (pg. 198) doesn't mention anything about lightning spells behaving differently in water. So officially, there are no rules amplifiying or diminishing the spell effects. In addition, Jeremy Crawford has made a comment regarding a fireball in water that relates to this subject, "Nothing in the rules causes a fireball to vaporize water. Magic ≠ physics. DMs may apply whatever magical/scientific logic they like."