Before the Second Sundering, the spell worked by shooting out from the sorcerer's hand towards the head of an enemy within 50 feet (15 meters), filling the target's mind with wracking pain in a telepathic attack. Enhanced and fueled by a sorcerer's charisma like virtually all sorcerer spells, chaos bolt grew in potency as the sorcerer casting it grew more powerful. Regardless of its exact effects, this version of chaos bolt was instantly recastable.
The post-Second Sundering version had an increased range of 120 feet (37 meters) and dealt damage of an unpredictable type, which could be acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, poison, psychic, or thunder.
Both versions of the bolt, powered by the wild magic of sorcerers, had unpredictable effects. It could simply injure the intended target or it could lash out and strike another target within 25 feet (7.6 meters) to 30 feet (9.1 meters) of the first. If this happened, it was possible that it would strike yet another target within the same range.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Jeremy Crawford, Mike Mearls, Robert J. Schwalb, Adam Lee, Christopher Perkins, Matt Sernett (November 2017). Xanathar's Guide to Everything. Edited by Kim Mohan. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 148, 151. ISBN 978-0-7869-6612-7.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jeremy Crawford, Mike Mearls, James Wyatt (March 2009). Player's Handbook 2. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 138. ISBN 0-7869-5016-4.