D&D 5E Casters should go back to being interruptable like they used to be.


Maybe it's better to clarify what I envision. Somatic spells with a casting time of one action will trigger attacks of opportunity, forcing a concentration check to cast successfully. In which case, you can cast a bonus action spell to avoid the attack if needed. I don't mind if the spell slot isn't consumed if the spell fails.

I would not mind ranged attacks being interruptible in melee either, but that's not the topic as per thread title.

Regarding your example, was it an ambush where your character was surprised? Otherwise, you can still cast a defensive spell before entering a known dangerous area, or even cast it in combat if initiative allows.

Additionally, even if you couldn't protect yourself in that battle, does this happen often? I don't think it is a big deal if the caster sometimes struggles, just like how sometimes a physical attacker fights a foe immune to non-magical weapons.

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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
None of Mirror Image, Misty Step and Shield require concentration. Wildshaping isn't a spell. All clerics get armor and shield proficiency to bolster their defenses, and have access to Sanctuary.

Besides that, the caster does not start every combat within range of the enemy and without the ability to cast a spell before engaging in combat. Dodging with Spirit Guardians active is an effective tactic for a reason.
Wizards are already using Mirror Image and Shield. Misty Step isn't going to get you far enough way from most enemies, who could simply dash after you if they were so inclined, unless you can Misty Step to a location they can't reach.

If you're using Wild Shape, you're not really casting spells.

Clerics have to choose to have either a shield or a melee weapon to cast spells, not both. High AC isn't really that special in 5e; by Tier 2 you've got Fire Giants with +11 to hit and Multiattack. Sanctuary prevents you from attacking or affecting foes, and healing spells are generally terrible.


One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Wizards are already using Mirror Image and Shield. Misty Step isn't going to get you far enough way from most enemies, who could simply dash after you if they were so inclined, unless you can Misty Step to a location they can't reach.
i'd hope that just on the other side of the wall of meat-n-steel also known as your frontline martials would qualify as 'far enough away in a location they can't reach' but that'd require martials actually be good at y'know, defending.


But why would they? If you can't hit your opponent, go beat up someone you can!
There are ways the fighter can keep them from going, such as Sentinel or features from the Cavalier subclass, not to mention using terrain features if you aren't in a dungeon. ;)

Which if you're in a dungeon or other setting with doors and corridors is certainly a possibility. But D&D busted out of the dungeon a long time ago, so odds are you're fighting on an open street, in a forest clearing, or in a large natural cavern as opposed to a labyrinth or ruins.
D&D has always been out of the dungeon (even if dungeons and ruins were the focus before, you had to get there...).

Open streets have buildings, carts/ wagons, vending stalls, etc.; forests (even clearings) have trees, rocks, cliffs, rivers, etc.; large natural caverns have stalagmites, enterances to the caverns, crevices, etc.; all of these can contribute to areas where a fighter can help keep a foe from getting to the wizard.

Sure, it isn't 100% of course, but it is certainly a viable tactic to use at times.

As an aside, shouldn't we also be discussing having ranged attacks be interruptible?
100% agree!!!


Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
the only case i can think of is if the fighter is body-blocking an entranceway.
I think about combat differently. I am trying to hit a creature and am not scoring damage does not mean I am not making any contact at all.

Likewise, if I am doing hit points of damage it may be that the creature is wearing down or tiring, but I don’t know that I would know specifically I am whittling down “hit points.”

If the fighter is making me hustle and block (I.e. hitting and doing hit points in damage) I don’t know that I would switch targets.

(I mean I would as a player if I was doing some unavoidable metagaming. But would an orc necessarily break off a fight with a warrior to go for a (in game terms) a softer target?


Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
On the flip side we cannot forget the new limitations on casters.

The spells often offer saves every round vs the duration they had in say 1e; bringing back interruptions would mean you would have to really reevaluate this mechanic.

I don’t think we would want spells to be interruptible AND allow saves round by round.

In short, the lack of interruptions is coupled with those frequent saves now. You could have to look at both if you made a change.


I’m not exactly seeing how bringing 1e-style interruptions into 5e’s very different balance and mechanics would make our games more fun. We are not having huge problems with the balance between different roles and players are still choosing and happily playing all classes.

This seems like a solution in search of a problem, as far as our games go.

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Any defensive spell used by a caster has to also not require concentration, as not only do your best spells require them, but any interruption of another spell you're casting will just open you up to a Con save to avoid losing the defensive spell in the first place. And some classes don't even have good defensive spell options to begin with.
With interrupable spells, I expect some of the concentration rules can be relaxed.

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Given the hit points of enemies in 5e, "not being able to get to a caster because they got blown away" is a hard sell. I mean, the 8d6 fireball can fail to kill some CR 1 foes, and it's one of the most efficient damage spells.

Now there are control spells that prevent monsters from getting to you. I try to employ these as much as possible when I play a caster, but generally my group features of bunch of hotheaded melee types who want to go beat up monsters, and get annoyed when I'm like "yeah, I wouldn't go into that ice storm if I were you". Heck, the last time I used Web in a game, my own party started attacking it with torches to get at the bad guys, rather than wait for them to come to us! It was very disturbing.

A savvy caster can usually park themselves in a position where enemies have to work to get at them. I've done it. But if the enemy isn't able to reach you, then it doesn't really matter if their spells are interruptible or not.

What I'm looking at are the times when you're fighting in close quarters, dealing with large numbers of enemies, or high mobility enemies. I've recently had to deal with all three as a Wizard, where I've had no choice but to do nothing but Dodge just to stay alive- the ability of my spells to be interrupted or not didn't really matter much in that scenario either.

But having a pair of undead wolves hanging off my shorts is bad enough when I've got 2/3 the hit points of the other characters. Being told that even if I wanted to cast a "Hail Mary" that I'd get 2 opportunity attacks and lose the spell (or just die outright) for my trouble? Yeah, no thanks.

If every party was built to protect back liners, or had good tactics, sure, you could have rules like this in place. But that's not generally the case- and if it were, the potential to lose spells due to interruption would be a rare event anyways, so I'm not seeing the real advantage.

Sure, you could argue that if casters needed to be protected, then players would have to protect them...but again, it's been my experience that most players don't seem to want to do that, let alone the fact that 5e doesn't give you good tools for it. If we want to go back in time and give Fighters the Defender role again, I'd be happy to see it, but I don't see that happening.

Or even rules like 1e, that once you've engaged in melee, you can't just go wherever you want on the battlefield.

As an aside, shouldn't we also be discussing having ranged attacks be interruptible?
This is the problem with everything having too many hit points, as I've said before.

And yes, ranged attacks within reach of melee opponents should be a bad idea.

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