D&D 5E Chromatic Orb

You can use your spell casting focus instead of material components except where there is a cost for the component listed.

Chromatic Orb requires a diamond worth 50gp.

But it's a level 1 spell - is it just me or does this seem a bit of a nerf for low level PCs?
 

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I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Eh...it's not much of a big deal. A brand new character shouldn't take CO, but by the time you've been on one adventure, you should have 50 gp, and it's a one-and-done cost and it becomes just another spell in short order.
 

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
To add to what the Banana has said; if you are using the option to roll your starting funds and purchase your equipment rather than choose from the packages provided through class and background, affording a 50 gp gem to enable use of your chromatic orb spell isn't particularly unlikely.

And since this is a tiny speed bump slowing down the character from having a single spell with such versatility as to likely bypass most encountered resistances or immunities and exploit most encountered vulnerabilities, it's not at all a "nerf" unless you use that word to mean "has been prevented from being hands-down better than the majority of other choices".
 

Jediking

Explorer
It's also an easy enough detail to handwave away for those who really want to use it and DMs who don't care.

Or after the first adventure or session, maybe they help out a grateful dwarf or find a blinged out bugbear and can use it. Not a huge reward compared to a level up or a horde, but for a level 1-3 spellcaster it's similar to getting a better weapon option. Ranger finds a second shortsword to dual wield, Wizard finds a sparkly.
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
You can use your spell casting focus instead of material components except where there is a cost for the component listed.

Chromatic Orb requires a diamond worth 50gp.

But it's a level 1 spell - is it just me or does this seem a bit of a nerf for low level PCs?

To me it reads like an attempt a balancing the spell in a non-standard way. It's a 1st level spell that is best used by higher level PC's, so they had a moderately costly material component to discourage 1st level PC's from using it.

The simple answer is to start off with Magic Missile and then switch to Chromatic Orb once you are higher level (say 3rd or 4th).
 

Remember that, unless specified otherwise, components are not consumed in the casting. So it's only a one-time cost, not "50 gp every time you cast it."
 


aco175

Legend
Follow up, How many DM's keep track of components, especially in low level spells. I usually ask if the healer has the component and cash for a raise dead spell, but never bothered with 1st level spells. 5e also seems to make the component rather simple and mundane to get away from the eschew materials feat from 3e. Am I missing something to make my game better, or worrying about these details falls in with speed factor and such?
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
My wizard player purposefully bought his equipment just so that he could afford to pay for the gem to start with. He wanted Chromatic Orb at the very top and chose to go without a bunch of other equipment to do so. It ended up being fine.
 

Caliban

Rules Monkey
Follow up, How many DM's keep track of components, especially in low level spells. I usually ask if the healer has the component and cash for a raise dead spell, but never bothered with 1st level spells. 5e also seems to make the component rather simple and mundane to get away from the eschew materials feat from 3e. Am I missing something to make my game better, or worrying about these details falls in with speed factor and such?


Generally you only worry about components if there is a cost associated with them, otherwise it's assumed to be in the spell component bag, or the arcane focus makes the material component unnecessary. Even for those spells that have expensive components (and 50 GP is expensive for a 1st or 2nd level character), in most cases the component is more like a special focus for the spell, since they aren't used up unless the spell specifically says so.
 

discosoc

First Post
Follow up, How many DM's keep track of components, especially in low level spells. I usually ask if the healer has the component and cash for a raise dead spell, but never bothered with 1st level spells. 5e also seems to make the component rather simple and mundane to get away from the eschew materials feat from 3e. Am I missing something to make my game better, or worrying about these details falls in with speed factor and such?


There are basically 3 types of spells, when it comes to components:

1. Spells without any materials required. These are easy and obviously don't need to be tracked.
2. Spells with components that do not specify a cost or value for the components. These do not need to be tracked, however the player does need to have a component pouch or an arcane focus to cover the cost (as well as the free hand to use either). It's worth noting that the component pouch never really needs to be "refilled" or anything, so contents of the pouch don't really matter.
3. Spells with components that *do* specify a cost or value for the components. These *do* need to be tracked, which means your wizard will probably have lots of random high-value items in his robes or pouches (gems, carvings, etc) in addition to his normal arcane focus or component pouch. You also need to track when certain spells destroy the component as part of the casting, and which ones simply require a valuable item to be manipulated.

Ignoring these details won't break the game any, but there's really no reason for them not to be able to afford the components pretty quickly. I also wouldn't recommend ignoring components for 1st level spells, because that's the whole purpose of cantrips. 1st level spells *should* be considered useful and special, unlike older additions where they were considered baseline.
 

AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
Follow up, How many DM's keep track of components, especially in low level spells. I usually ask if the healer has the component and cash for a raise dead spell, but never bothered with 1st level spells. 5e also seems to make the component rather simple and mundane to get away from the eschew materials feat from 3e. Am I missing something to make my game better, or worrying about these details falls in with speed factor and such?
I have caster players keep track of any spells that need a specific expensive component, including how many "uses" of each that is expended in casting, but all other material components I embrace the spell component pouch or spellcasting focus rules and keep the tracking at "do you have a spell component pouch or spellcasting focus on hand? Then you are good."
 

Satyrn

First Post
I don't really ever pay attention to components when I'm DMing, except when they get really expensive and I'm actually aware of the requirement. I leave the players deal with the fiddly bits if they want to.
 

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