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Let’s Talk About Slots, Baby…

…let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be… 🎶

Well it’s mostly good things, let’s be honest, especially if you are full caster. Spells are freaky powerful in Dungeons & Dragons, and once you hit 5th level you basically never run out of slots to cast them with. At least that’s my experience.

Indeed 5th level is a watermark moment in the game. Extra Attack comes online to almost double martial classes’ potential damage output, but conversely it’s also when spellcasters (arcane ones at least) start to accelerate out of sight of martials in terms of dealing damage, leaving fighters et al. firmly in their rear view mirror.

It’s a bit frustrating, because there’s genuine parity between martial classes, including rogues at this stage. Fighters (battlemasters) can attack twice a round and can add a 1d8 superiority die damage per attack for a limited time; rangers get a fairly reliable additional d8 once per turn from their colossus slayer feature (I feel like the hunter was intended as the default ranger), while a 5th level barbarian will deal an extra 4 damage from raging, assuming they hit with both attacks. Fifth level paladins overperform somewhat by being able to add 2d8 or 3d8 per attack via the rather broken Divine Smite feature, but it’s for a very limited time at least. Meanwhile, rogues are doing 1d6 plus 3d6 sneak attack damage once a round, and a monk can do the same, or even a little more, by spending a ki point and unleashing 4 x 1d6 attacks (and getting their modifier on each die).

This is a massively simplistic breakdown obviously, but none of these classes are grossly outperforming one another at this stage.

Unfortunately, in waltzes the wizard and incinerates this balance with a single, well-placed fireball. Suddenly, one class is doing 8d8 damage a round to multiple foes, very likely exceeding 100 hp of damage per round (200 hp is well within the range of realism… a fireball covers 52 squares on a grid and might easily wipe out 10 gnolls with 22 hp each).

Wrong building? Don’t worry, I’ve got another!

In a classic dungeon-crawl style adventure, where you might reasonably expect to have the six encounters a day which the DMG suggests, being able to settle two of those encounters with fireball is overpowered, but arguably not game-breaking. DMs can plan for it, and, by blasting through two fights, it might actually leave you time to play those other four encounters. My guess is that the original design intentions for 5e went along those lines.

(Note: I’ve seen a number of comments recently, around various corners of the Internet, hitting back at the notion that 5e class design was balanced around the 6 encounters a day that the Dungeon Master’s Guide famously says the party can handle. Sure, the DMG doesn’t explicitly say the party should face 6 encounters a day, but that’s literally the one thing it does say on the matter. In the absence of any stronger or clearer statement I personally take it as read that 5th edition was in fact designed along those parameters).

Unfortunately for lovers of balanced play, D&D keeps moving further and further away from this rapid succession of encounters style of play, as people prefer to play more narrative, character-based adventures over dungeon or wilderness crawls. Additionally, 5th edition’s unintentionally bulky combat system means it just ain’t practical to play more than one or two combats in an adventuring day anyhow, unless you are willing for the story to drag along at a snail’s pace.

This means that instead of playing, say, 18-24 rounds of combat in an adventuring day, as I believe the designers had intended/predicted, a group of PCs is likely to face just 3-4 rounds of combat between long rests, if they have one encounter a day, or perhaps 6-8, if they have two. Even if we get to a third encounter, that’s still half as many as was perhaps originally predicted in the 2014 rules.

My supposition is that a 5th level wizard was supposed to be able cast fireball in around 10% of combat rounds they were engaged in; but the 5e reality of 2023 means they are more likely to be casting it in around 33% of combat rounds. Attacking with a humble longsword seems very sidekicky by comparison.

Stand back you puny non-caster… I’ll deal with this!

This issue is becoming more and more prevalent in my Waterdeep campaign, which I’m running as a kind of ‘West Marches’ series of one shots. The characters are only 3rd or 4th level, but the full spellcasters amongst them already have enough slots to cast a spell in pretty much every round of combat, allowing them to considerably outshine martials (even before fireball has come online!). Because each session is a one shot, characters always start the adventure with a full complement of slots and there’s only ever time for one large combat, or two short ones, before the adventure comes to its conclusion.

“Ah, well that’s your fault Duncan… it’s the way you’re playing D&D that’s the problem, not the mechanics of the game! If you played a regular ongoing campaign like everyone else, players would often be starting sessions without all their resources, or would hold back some of their firepower.”

But hang on…. isn’t the D&D Adventurers League exactly the same format? You turn up, with a fully charged character sheet, and play the module, knowing that you may as well give everything you’ve got. Meanwhile, players that have to manage their resources across two sessions inevitably fail to do their bookkeeping anyhow, and more often than not the DM just has to take their word for it that they only used cantrips and that one first level slot last session.

While my current game table style is no doubt exacerbating the issue of full spellcasters having too many slots, as a player in my friend’s ongoing, combat-heavy, campaign I can’t remember the last time my 7th level bard ran out of spell slots – even with 2-3 encounters a day played out over several sessions. I currently have 11 spell slots, and since after 2 rounds of combat the battle is usually decided and I can probably already conserve slots by switching to cantrips. Moreover, my solution to dropping concentration on conjure animals, or too many bad guys passing their saving throw on hypnotic pattern is just to cast my overpowered spell again (note: we actually play with Hipster Remixes of both spells… but they are still sick!).

It’s all a far cry from my memories of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons when you’d desperately cling on to your one chance to cast sleep once a day, and spend the rest of the adventure tossing darts at kobolds! (I’m not actually at all nostalgic for that btw!).

New Spell Slots Table

Anyway, the TLDR takeaway from this post is that I’ve re-done the spell slots table for full casters. I feel like one additional slot per level is easily generous enough, and I don’t think there’s any need to give 5th level casters two fireballs the moment they level up (nor 3rd casters, two 2nd level slots). This party piece spell, whether fireball, lightning bolt or hypnotic pattern, should be a wow moment, not a ‘have a second go’ moment.

Anyhow, it’s very much an experimental table and I’d be interested to hear what others think in the comments…

New Spell Fuel System

My own thoughts on my new table (after mulling it over for a few days) are that it is actually still way too generous. And so now I’m thinking of replacing spell slot tables with a daily ration of ‘spell juice / nuggets / fuel’. Let’s call it ‘mana’ for now, since I’ve seen that term used in other RPGs in the past.

I think full casters should get their level x 2 of ‘mana’, from which they can fashion slots in any combination they wish, at a rate of 1 mana per level of spell slot.

So a 5th level wizard gets 10 mana, which they could use to cast one 3rd level spell (3 mana), two 2nd level spells (4 mana) and three 1st level spells (3 mana), or any other combination of spells up to the level they know. In some ways I’ve made the situation worse, because now they could potentially cast fireball three times a day (at 3 mana each), but then they’ve only got 1 mana for shield or some utility spells. Currently there’s no trade off for wizards, because they’ve just got too many resources!

This system would work up to 10th level I think, after which I would say your level plus 10, so a 15th level wizard gets 25 mana… and a 20th level 30 mana.

Thinking about it some more, you could still refer back to the Player’s Handbook tables in order to put a top limit on how many high level spells characters can cast… maybe a 5th level wizard gets 10 mana but is still bound by a max. of 2 third level slots, as indicated in the PH.

Half casters would get their level of mana, per long rest, which is a little mean, but maybe once per day they can get their Proficiency bonus of mana back after a short rest.

Another Solution?

I’ve had another thought as well, about how to put more strain on the resources of full spellcasters, but hey, enough wacky ruminations for one post!

As always, let me know your thoughts, and whether you’ve tackled the same issue in your home games. I’d love to know your own solutions!

Unrelated Post Script: I’m releasing a new heist adventure soon, my very own Key From The Golden Vault… if anyone would like a complimentary review copy, please send me an email on duncan@hipstersanddragons.com , I’d love to send you one.

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26 Comments

  1. G Van Booven

    DMs can also make casters more balanced by requiring material components for certain spells and making those harder to come by. Fireball requires bat guano and sulfur, which are probably not items an adventurer often encounters, making a quest to a bat-filled cave within a volcanic region a nice adventure hook. Maybe your world doesn’t have arcane shops where players can drop in and purchase what they need. If such shops exist, rest assured that the proprietor isn’t likely to sell components for dangerous spells to just anyone and will charge a premium for them when they do.

    If you wanted to ramp up the challenge, you could rule spell components are consumed when the spell is cast. That may make a player think twice before spamming a spell.

    What about an arcane focus? Either don’t allow them, or only permit their use for certain spells. You are the DM, making the call and/or negotiating it with your players.

    • duncan

      Hi G

      I half like this suggestion, half not so much… spell components offer some cool flavour, and hand-waving them is perhaps missing an opportunity. But I am not too sure I like the idea of the whole party being forced to schlepp off on a sidequest to get stuff just for the spellcasters. Plus I’ve probably always got something else I want to play more than such a sidequest.

      I’ve also found my players to be fairly unreliable bookkeepers, so adding replenishing spell components is going to bring up the old ‘tracking number of arrows’ issue that in principle I want players to do, but in practice becomes too much hassle or just isn’t done.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment… I’m going to give this some more thought!

      • Rick Coen

        Another thought, regurgitating some ideas from other people, and some new concepts/angles.

        1) A caster can cast one spell per day, per caster level. [Full casters 1:1, Hybrids 2:1, martial subclasses 3:1.]

        2) A caster always has access to any cantrips they know. [You could limit this down to “once per fight at highest power”, or “once per fight, per point of (con or casting stat) mod”.] — Make this more restrictive (and force casters to carry weapons) by making it “one cantrip per fight, per casting stat mod”.

        3) All spells are cast at their lowest spell level (i.e. no upcasting). However, a caster can upcast a number of spell levels per day equal to the lesser [higher, for less restriction] of their CON or Casting Stat mod (min 0).

        4) Break any of these rules by gaining Exhaustion. 1 extra spell, 1 Exhaustion; 1 upcasting (to max), 1 Exhaustion. Extra cantrip/cantrip-power, 1 Exhaustion…

      • G Van Booven

        Totally understand. I try to stick as close as possible to RAW since my players like to hone in on that. Since spell components are in the PHB it keeps things more standardized. I like it more than overhauling the available spell slots because my players would certainly balk at that idea. But if I can make the acquisition of components more challenging – like costing the party ample gold for certain items – then it helps to keep things in check.

        Keep up the good work and the interesting ideas!
        G

  2. Rick Coen

    Your “spell fuel” system already exists (more complicated) in the DMG: Spell Points. In my games, we let Sorcerers use this system, to make them distinct from the other casters (esp. wizards). I played a sorcerer with these rules; at 5th level, when Fireball came online, *I* had great fun unleashing like 4 fireballs before resting. The DM expected the first two, which made the third so satisfying as 16 bandits on horses charged at us… But this is, in fact, worse than the RAW issue you are concerned about.

    Methinks you would be happier just cutting all spell output by half. Or, give Wizards and Clerics spell slot progression like a half-caster; paladins and rangers barely get any slots (which is fine with me – roll them into class abilities!) and the spellcasting martial subclasses … not sure here, but maybe they get toned down spells.

    For example, a Wizard 5 would have access to 3rd level spells, but have only 1 3rd level slot. Or the other way, Wizard 7 maybe just got 3rd level spells, and a Paladin 5 might still has only 1st level spells (but 3d8 smites, perhaps).

    • duncan

      Hi Rick, oh yes, thanks I’d actually forgotten the DMG does have that option. As you say however, it makes the situation worse not better… just seems to offer greater flexibility, without reducing their overall ‘arcane output’ so to speak.

      In any case, the fact that the DMG’s system doesn’t solve my problem, leaves my own solution on the table, for me at least. So I will try it out. I might add (with the necessary exception of 1st level) you can only cast your highest spell level once per long rest… after that the rest of your mana is flexible.

  3. Panos

    Hey Duncan, I’m Panos from Greece! I have been studying, using and testing a similar system which Wizards of The Coast Created, the Spell Points. But I found out the original system was a bit complex and weird, so I took it as an idea which is great and I simplyfied it! To cast a spell using spell points, you simply pay a number of points equal to the level of the spell: 1 point for a 1st-level spell, 2 points for a 2nd-level spell, and so on.
    1st =1 spell point 6th=6
    2nd=2 spell points 7th=7
    3rd= 3 8th=8
    4th=4 9th=9
    5th=5
    A full spellcaster has a pool of spell points equal to his level x2 as you did.
    I tried various methods and ways of level x proficiency bonus with a maximum of x4, x3, but all get way too many. We wanted to have limited Spell Point pool because we had already so much versatility.
    Nowhere is a limitation as Wotc used on DM’s guide a little flavored.
    You can spend as many spell points as you want to cast spells up to 5th level. Spells of 6th level and higher are particularly taxing to cast. You can normally use spell points to create one slot of each level of 6th or higher. You can push on beyond that limit to cast more of them, at the risk of exhaustion. You need to sacrifice double the number of spell points equal to the level of the spell each time you attempt to cast a spell of 6th or higher beyond that point. A character must make a Constitution saving throw at the end of the casting. The DC is 10 + the number of the spell level used every time you cast more of 6th level or higher level spells. If you fail the saving throw, you suffer one level of exhaustion (see appendix A on PHB).

    To be fair and not break the game by making spellcasters even more powerful than they already are, especially the full casters, I have limited the total of spell points a character gains per level and added a nice flavor of epic and dramatic feeling when pushing beyond your limits at the cost of exhaustion. We now have flexibility, simplicity and a bit more realism I could say at the cost of less spell points in total. Fair trade for everyone.

    Sorcey Points & Spell Points; You can use the PHB system of Tranforming Sorcery Points To Spell Slots and vice versa with Spell Points. Because in this system each spell level or spell slot equals a spell point, whenever you see spell slot you have to to switch it to spell point. The Spell Points must have more value than the Sorcery Points as do in the PHB. If you don’t do this and let 1:1 ratio, it will only make the sorcerer to have significantly more sorcery points, which means even more Spell Points, meaning in RAW more spell slots than it was intended in the design.

    Spell slots as the were used in 5e were a much better version of spellcasting than the 3e & 3,5e. They did a good job when they transitioned the previous system to this but I personally find the spell point system very nice and even more easy and flexible to use for players, like mana on rpg games as an energy pool which makes more sense and it is more logical as a concept than spell slots. I agree that spell points is a generally better system than spell slots to be used in One d&d newer version. The spell point system in DMG page 288, is complex as the same designers say at the cost of flexibility. You have to consult the table when you gain levels or want to cast spell points.

    • Rick Coen

      Our experience with Spell Points (from DMG) was pretty clear and simple; it’s “1.5 spell points per spell level, rounded up”. And it was key balance limiter that a 3rd level spell (i.e. Fireball) was not three times a 1st level spell – it’s 2.5.

      Against this background, then, it was simple and easy to allow the Sorcerer to use Sorcery Points back and forth as desired – no math or conversion loss – within the limits of the rules (can’t have more Sorcery Points than level, takes a Bonus Action to switch from Sorcery to Spell, or vice versa). So as a 5th level sorcerer, I could cast Fireball 5 times (25 of by 27 spell points), and Empower or Quicken it a couple times – or just cast Fireball a 6th time (converting all my 5 Sorcery Points to spell points for one more casting).

      I think Duncan’s issue, though, is that full caster have too much magic. In which case, the “right” balance is to probably keep the spell *costs* the same as the DMG spell points variant, and cost the spell *points* the caster gets by 33% or even 50%!

      As for your ideas on 6th level casting… I like ’em!

      With regard to casting without points, at the cost of Exhaustion – we noticed that the casters rarely end up with Exhaustion, and that this basically gave them a free bonus casting of a spell each day (RAW: regain 1 Exhaustion on Long Rest). We “solved” this with “hit 0hp, gain Exhaustion” [still mostly affects martials, but makes the casters more careful], and “on Long Rest, make a DC 8 CON SAVE to regain Exhaustion” (which is, itself, affected by Exhaustion!) [easy for the martials, hard for the casters!]

      • Panos

        The system I use is simpler but has also a significantly more restricted Spell Point pool than DMG’s has on the basic system. I would like to test it a bit more and discuss it in the future again when we will have more ideas.

      • duncan

        Hi Rick, I may run out of battery during this comment so I’ll keep this quick

        For me a 3rd level spell is AT LEAST three times more powerful than a 1st level spell. The DMG has made things more complex AND less accurate. Doing 8d6 damage to maybe 20 foes in a single round at 150 feet is probably 10-20 times more powerful than doing 2d8 (thunderwave) to 2 or 3 foes at close range., and even doing it 3 times, you won’t come close to the power of a fireball.

      • duncan

        You make a great point about exhaustion… a spellcaster could effectively get a free spell slot and then rest if off at the end of the day without much risk.

        I would personally do one level of exhaustion per level of spell slot. You want to cast fireball… three levels of exhaustion. Worth it to get out of a fix, but come what may you’ll be disadvantaged tomorrow for your efforts.

    • duncan

      Hi Panos

      Wow, actually seems like we’ve independently created a very similar system indeed.

      After restricting players spell points/fuel, I was thinking of bringing in a rule I mooted in an earlier post allows players to trade spell slots for levels of exhaustion

      https://www.hipstersanddragons.com/using-exhaustion-5e/

      Cheers!

      • Panos Afendis

        Yes Duncan, I read your article about the Surges and I find it to be a bit more intersting to use in place of my last paragraph.

  4. Mitchell

    Excellent as always Duncan! my suggestion to get the table to line up with 20 slots at level 20:
    drop level 5 slots at level 17 from 3 to 2
    drop level 7 slots at level 20 from 2 to 1

    I like the symmetry of 20 slots at level 20, and only one slot of 7, 8, 9 drives home how powerful these spells are!

  5. Panos Afendis

    Hello guys once more! Mitchell at this levels you don’t care so much about a slot or two of powerful spells maybe because your opponents usually keep getting tougher.
    Duncan I was thinking how to make the good ideas even better and read your article that you mentioned. Now I’ve come to the conclusion of:

    Full casters have a number of spell points equal to caster level x 2.
    Half casters have spell points equal to half caster level rounded up x 2.
    1/3 casters have spell points equal to 1/3 caster level rounded up x 2.

    For example a 5th level wizard who has 9 spell slots total of 1st, 2nd and 3rd maximum spell slot and if we divide them to 1st level slots, 16 slots of 1st. We now have a total of 10 spell points.
    A Paladin of 7th level who has 7 slots total wit 1st & 2nd level spells with 10 slots of 1st, now has 8 spell points.
    A Fighter Eldritch Knight 9th level who has 6 slot total of 1st & 2nd level spells with 8 spell slots of 1st level, now has 6 spell points.

    You can spend as many spell points as you want to cast spells up to 5th level. Spells of 6th level and higher are particularly taxing to cast. You can normally use spell points to create one slot of each level of 6th or higher. You can push on beyond that limit to cast more of them, at the risk of exhaustion. You need to sacrifice double the number of spell points equal to the level of the spell each time you attempt to cast a spell of 6th or higher beyond that point. A character must make an Intelligence (Arcana) test at the start of the casting. The DC is 10 + the number of the spell level used every time you cast more of 6th level or higher level spells. If you fail the test to keep control of the weave, your character suffer one level of exhaustion (see appendix A on PHB) and the casting fails.
    And now about Arcane exhaustion:

    🙂 The Weave never runs dry… sometimes you just have to dig deeper to use it! If you ever run out of spell slots you make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 15. If you fail, you gain a level of exhaustion.
    When you run out of Spell Slots or Spell Points, you can try to cast again by pushing yourself beyond your normal limits. As part of your Magic Action to cast a spell, you can spend a Number of Hit Dice to regain one spell slot or spell point per Dit Die spend. You must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or gain a level of exhaustion and fail your spellcasting action. The saving throw DC is 10 + (number of Hit Dice spend).
    This has a cumulative effect. Every time you try to to this again the DC increases by 2. When you finish a long rest, any stacked penalties are removed.

  6. Ajit Kirpekar

    What do people think of swapping the primary stat for Sorcerers and Warlocks to intelligence?

    It always struck me as odd that Charisma was their stated stat block, but semantics aside, it strikes me as too advantageous to have a primary stat block overlap with a skill that shows up everywhere in almost every circumstance. I have somewhat of the same issue with Wisdom, but that would take some major plastic surgery to fix that issue.

    • Rick Coen

      The most standard response is “Warlocks use Charisma to convince their Patron to give them power, with little to no oversight [RAW].” Many DMs allow INT, from the angle of pursuing otherworldly secrets.

      With Sorcerers, “Charisma is force of personality, which Sorcerers use to force their internal power to affect the world around them.” Not sure how INT would work there, but I suppose you could flavor it as “Sorcerers have an internal pool of power, but use their INT to figure out how to make is useful.”

    • duncan

      This is an interesting idea and it does feels a bit unfair that wizards are required to go in heavy on a stat that offers little else.

      Instead of pushing Warlocks and Sorcerers towards Int though, you could approach it from the other side and make Intelligence more useful by:

      a) asking for a lot more knowledge checks… DMs have different opinions on this but my players enjoy rolling and so I constantly call for History, Religion, Arcana and Nature checks for any lore they might find useful.

      b) swapping out some Wisdom saving throws for Intelligence saving throws, or giving people a choice of Int or Wis saving throw for charm effects etc.

      c) offering an extra language per positive Int modifier

      Just some thoughts for you!

      Cheers for the comment

      D.

    • Panos Afendis

      The stats as they are make sense in a logical way. Not a bad idea if you want to work with your DM to make a change. The abilities of characters are just badly and unevenly deisigned by the Latest editions Wizards of the Coast. Some time ago I cannot say that they were better but different. Some designed things were better , others worst. A system that is balanced and Not oversimplyfied hasn’t yet been developed by WOTC. I have made several changes to stats to make people feel that whatever they play or build their character would have disadvantages and advantages. No Overpowered things builds. Charisma plays a bit more significant role, Intelligence plays a more significant role and Strength plays a more significant role too in my campaign.

  7. pholz

    Completely disagree. Fireball may be OP when facing lots of low-hp foes in a pile, but many spells have the mechanic that nothing significant happens on successful saves, meaning that wizards especially often expend slots for no effect (e.g. Slow), others are good but would be underused (e.g. Haste) if a wizard had to save the one spell slot for the situation in which fireball would make the biggest difference. And as a spellcaster you want the feeling that you can do at least one really useful thing in each battle (and lvl1 magic missile doesn’t feel that way)

    • Panos Afendis

      Almost all the times man a fireball makes a difference! I haven’t seen many cases which DMs ruled otherwise… It’s just an unbalanced spell among some others.

  8. Mike Burke

    For fireball in particular, of course its use may be constrained by the combat environment (confined spaces, enemies and allies clustered in the same area, “the smell of methane”, etc).

  9. Rick Coen

    Rereading the article, and all the comments (including Panos’s new comments), my gut says “D&D magic system = broken. Enjoy, or play something else.” My brain says “Broken? Must fix!”

    I liked that almost no spell was “wasted” in 4e. Most had an “Effect” that happened whether you “hit” or not, and then an extra/enhanced effect if you landed the spell. I can’t find my 4e books at the moment, but let’s pretend I know what I’m talking about. SLOW, for example, might always cut 10′ of movement from every target in the area; each target you “hit” (4e saves were “attack vs. Will/FORT/REF”) can take only a single action (Minor Action to maintain each round). Spells almost never (I’m sure there were exceptions) did *nothing*… you might just be underwhelmed by the effect. The more powerful the “Hit” result, the less powerful the “Effect”, iirc… and of course, Dailies hit harder than Encounters, and likewise At-Wills.

    The point of all this was that the argument *against* reducing slots/spellpoints is that “casters sometimes ‘waste’ slots that have no effect” (save or suck spells). If every spell had at least a minor side effect, then this argument goes away. A perspective I read on the ENWorld forum last week was “Don’t think of it as sometimes my spell does half damage [target saves]… think of it as sometimes my spell does *double* damage! [target fails save]”. So what if the 6th level wizard only has 6 total spells for the day – as along as every spell does *something*, and he still has cantrips, he’s still a contributor.

    Playing Baldurs Gate 3 reminds me that I almost always just gut through encounters with cantrips. At 5th level, all-day-long 2d10 Firebolts get the job done, why throw an Ice Knife? In BG3, the answer is “because hit or miss, Ice Knife creates a big icy patch on the ground”. 2d4 Melf’s Acid Arrow vs. 2d6 or 2d8 cantrip? Melf’s creates a big “-2 AC if you stand in it” acid patch on the ground. Etc.

    • Panos Afendis

      Well Rick has surely a point here and he is right about many things! Thanks Rick for sharing some enlightening ideas . In my world I have revised almost all spells. As less As I could. Bad and mediocre are now solid options and overpowerd ones are normal so all players have valid roll play and combat spells which are much more thematic, in their concept and more balanced. I don’t agree about cantrips getting stronger as a character progress as WOTC have designed it. Damage spell become so potent and other cantrips mostly for roll RP become less effective. Lvl 1 spells and all others should also become more powerful with this tactic automatically as a PC progresses… When you reach 5th the upcasting should happen automatically For example a burning hands shouls do 4d6 damage.

      • Rick Coen

        Panos – if nothing else, that last idea feels like it should be standard! I’m always about raising martials and/or nerfing casters, but auto-upcasting lower level spells feels like it should just be a thing. Like “when you achieve a new spell level, all spells 2 levels below get 1 free upcasting level”. At 2nd spell level, your cantrips get +1 damage (not +1 die!); at 3rd spell level, your 1st level spells get +1 level – one extra die of damage mostly. Maybe at 4th spell level, your cantrips get another +1 damage, along with 2nd level spells getting one free upcast level.

        But again, unequal spells make blanket adjustments hard. Fireball upcast does a single extra die of damage – but Haste and Fly doubles their effectiveness! (affects 2 targets)

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