5E comparison 3e 5e metamagic
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  1. #1

    comparison 3e 5e metamagic

    Careful Spell lets you select a number of targets that make their save automatically. No direct d20 equivalent through of course Sculpt Spell does something similar.

    Distant Spell doubles the range. Its Enlarge Spell and Reach Spell in one.

    Empowered Spell lets you reroll some damage dice. In d20, it added 50%.

    Extended Spell doubles the duration, much like it did in d20.

    Heightened Spell makes one target save with disadvantage, which is one way of "increasing" the save DC. In 3e/PF, the save DC scaled with spell slot level, but you couldn't "upcast" unless you used heighten spell. Thus, the specific effect of d20-Heighten is redundant in 5e (spell save DC scales with character level, no upcasting needed).

    In 5e, "upcasting" (which you don't need metamagic to do) instead increases the spell's effects (damage, number of targets etc) on a spell-per-spell basis. In return, this ability was redundant in d20 where damage, range etc scaled universally with "character"* level**!
    *) actually, with something called "caster level", which is like character level, but counting levels like you do for determining multiclass spell slots. That is, you only count, say, half your paladin levels and only a third of your Rogue levels (if you have the Arcane Trickster feature).
    **) up to a certain extent. Fireball, for instance, stopped getting better at caster level 10.

    Quickened Spell changes the casting time action type, but that in itself isn't the big deal. In short, it meant Fireball + Fireball in d20, but means Fireball + Firebolt in 5E.

    Subtle Spell removes the verbal and somatic requirements. That's both Still and Silent in d20 terms.

    Twinned Spell lets you attack a second target. No direct comparison.

    From the d20 perspective Empowered (and Maximized) Spell has been reined in. Quicken outright nerfed. Widen and Sacred outright dropped.

    Disguised Spell was also dropped, but for other reasons. ("Bards not getting metamagic" and "the Bard changed" are equally likely in my mind)

    ---

    Overall:

    The biggest upgrade in 5e over 3e/PF isn't directly related to any single metamagic effect. It's that you no longer pay by upcasting in higher-levelled spell slots.

    Another difference is that in d20 you generally got access to metamagic through feats - each metamagic effect required you to pick a specific feat.

    Of course 5e metamagic is a Sorcerer class feature, which explains all of this. You don't need feats in 5e, you simply take your pick of metamagic effects at certain Sorcerer levels.

    And you don't need to upcast your spells, you pay for your metamagic with sorcery points.

    ---

    All in all, this makes metamagic much more accessible and much less accessible at the same time.

    A 5e Sorcerer can use metamagic even on level 9 spells, since there's no need for "level 10" slots you don't have. The cost in sorcery points even stay the same for several metamagic effects regardless of the spell level.

    But if you aren't a Sorcerer, you can't do metamagic at all in 5e.
    Last edited by CapnZapp; Thursday, 10th August, 2017 at 11:48 AM.

  2. #2
    Making this a wiki, so you can help improving the comparison.

  3. #3
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    Quibble: you keep contrast 5e to 'in d20' - 5e is a d20 game, it has an SRD.
    What you mean is 3.x/PF, since that's the other ed with metamagic.

    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Distant Spell doubles the range. Its Enlarge Spell and Reach Spell in one.
    'Enlarge' spell never made sense to me, the name, I mean. :shrug:

    Heightened Spell makes one target save with disadvantage. Previously, it both increased the save DC and did what we nowadays accomplish by upcasting.
    The 'increased the save DC' from Heightened Spell in 3.x is what all spells get, for free, in 5e. DCs are not based on spell level anymore, nor even on slot level - so all your spells use the same DC, which is based on Proficiency, which is based on character level.

    In 3.x, if you wanted to cast a low-level spell with the same DC as your highest-level spell, you needed the Heighten Feat and you needed to use that highest-level slot - in 5e, you automatically get the higher DC for free, and you can up-cast any spell in a higher level slot, too. In effect 3.x Heighten is free to all casters in 5e, so they 5e Heighten had to do something else.

  4. #4
    @Tony Vargas: Feel free to edit, it's not a wiki thread for nothing.

    Didn't I mention upcasting. (Hopefully your detailed explanation wasn't meant for me)

    And everyone uses d20 as shorthand for "3rd edition and 3.5. And oh, Pathfinder too". But as I said, don't let that stop you from squashing those quibbles! *thumbs up*

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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Didn't I mention upcasting. (Hopefully your detailed explanation wasn't meant for me)
    The way you said 'both increased DCs and accomplished upcasting' seemed like it needed clarification, since DCs go up automatically in 5e, without Heighten or up-casting. You made it sound like Heighten was better in 3.5, when just casting in 5e is as good as casting with Heighten was.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    The way you said 'both increased DCs and accomplished upcasting' seemed like it needed clarification, since DCs go up automatically in 5e, without Heighten or up-casting. You made it sound like Heighten was better in 3.5, when just casting in 5e is as good as casting with Heighten was.
    What I meant was, that Heighten mostly did the Spell DC increase (that we now get for free). The (other) bonuses associated with casting in a higher spell slot (what we now do simply by upcasting) mostly came for free back then. I felt I needed to separate the two because one thing we get from regular levelling the other from upcasting.

    Of course, saying 5e does Heighten just as good as 3.5 is... hard to justify. After all, damage spells scaled automatically with caster level, no upcasting necessary (unless you wanted the spell DC increase too).

    Anyway.

    Instead of me trying to tweak the language on something I'm not even sure I see clearly, how about you taking a stab at an explanation you feel does not advertise 3.5 in the way you feel it does now.

    You can even respond here and I'll do the OP editing for ya

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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Careful Spell lets you select a number of targets that make their save automatically. No direct d20 equivalent through of course Sculpt Spell does something similar.

    Distant Spell doubles the range. Its Enlarge Spell and Reach Spell in one.

    Empowered Spell lets you reroll some damage dice. In d20, it added 50%.

    Extended Spell doubles the duration, much like it did in d20.

    Heightened Spell makes one target save with disadvantage. Previously, it both increased the save DC and did what we nowadays accomplish by upcasting.

    Quickened Spell changes the casting time action type, but that in itself isn't the big deal. In short, it meant Fireball + Fireball in d20, but means Fireball + Firebolt in 5E.

    Subtle Spell removes the verbal and somatic requirements. That's both Still and Silent in d20 terms, a rare upgrade.

    Twinned Spell lets you attack a second target. No direct comparison.



    From the d20 perspective Empowered (and Maximized) Spell has been reined in. Quicken outright nerfed. Widen and Sacred outright dropped.

    Disguised Spell was also dropped, but for other reasons. ("Bards not getting metamagic" and "the Bard changed" are equally likely in my mind)
    All of these took upcasting but with no additional effect, so you couldn't do any of them on your highest level spells. That's an across-the-board boost for 5e metamagic.

    Also some context for these. Subtle can avoid the 5e Counterspell, I'm not sure if 3.x Still+Silent could do the equivalent (readied Dispel Magic). Also it's been a really long time, didn't Still help casting in armor?

    3.x Enlarge would also work on spells like Fireball, while distant only increases area on cone spells.

  8. #8
    It is true I didn't mention the cost in slot levels. I felt that was mostly relevant for a metamagic vs metamagic comparison within d20, which this thread (being located in the 5e forum) isn't. But feel free to tweak the phrasings.

    I wouldn't call it an across-the-board boost for 5e metamagic, however. 5e metamagic is, sadly, no longer a general concept; it is specific to Sorcerers. Never forget, metamagic is now a class feature. Just to pick a perhaps outlandish example, it could theoretically have been made stronger to shore up an otherwise weak class.

    Obviously I started the thread because I felt it useful to compare metamagic across the editions. But then I meant things like what does Extend or Quicken do to a spell now, and what did it do then.

    Any overall comparisons of metamagic as a whole will be useful first when the concept is opened up to more classes, I'm afraid.

    Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app

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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Of course, saying 5e does Heighten just as good as 3.5 is... hard to justify. After all, damage spells scaled automatically with caster level, no upcasting necessary (unless you wanted the spell DC increase too).
    It's probably not exactly a wash, but 3.5 scaled DCs with spell level (or, with the Hieghten feat, slot level) and damage with caster level (with a cap, generally), while 5e scales DC with character level (with a de-facto cap, BA), and scales damage (mosty) with slot level.

    It's another case where 5e seemed to see a problem with 3.x, fix it, then re-create a similar issue somewhere else.

    You're right though, it's hard to express in a clear, concise way.
    I might as well try the wiki function....

  10. #10
    One reason for having this thread is my personal desire to understand the function and pricing of those strange things called "metamagic rods" in d20.

    It all began when I misread Tony Vargas' Black Cave Pearls and how they function. It made me stumble over Metamagic Components... and here we are - trying to understand what a thing that lets you Empower or Widen or Heighten a spell meant in d20 (and how to translate that feeling into 5E: "what did these metamagic tweaks do back then and how do they do it differently now?" can be said to be the thread's mission statement)

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