D&D 5E Free Upcasting By Tier: A House-Rule

DND_Reborn

Legend
A house-rule I am considering is to allow free upcasting by tier, so when you reach a new tier, spells are automatically upcast using the normal slot.

1658618957217.png


Example #1: Cure Wounds
  • Cure Wounds heals 1d8+WIS mod as a 1st-level spell when you cast it in tier 1.
  • At 5th level (tier 2), your Cure Wounds improves to 2d8+WIS mod as if it was using a 2nd-level slot. You still use a 1st-level slot, however.
  • When you reach 11th level (tier 3), your Cure Wounds increases to 3d8+WIS mod (as if a 3rd-level slot) even though you still use a 1st-level slot.
  • Finally, when you reach 17th level (tier 4), it becomes 4d8+WIS mod while still using a 1st-level slot.

Example #2: Fireball
  • Fireball is 8d6 in tier 2.
  • Increases to 9d6 in tier 3.
  • Finally 10d6 in tier 4.
Although you are still using the same 3rd-level spell slot in each tier.

Now, you can still "upcast" and actually use a higher level slot, so in the above example a 5th-level slot for Cure Wounds (instead of the default 1st-level slot) would add another 4d8 healing, for a total of 8d8+WIS mod in tier 4.

This idea mimics the concept of a casting becoming naturally better with the spells as they advance in level, without having to use higher-level spell slots.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad



Stalker0

Legend
Maybe as a feature for a select few spells, like Signature Spells, etc. but at lower level?
Possibly. It always comes down to the spell. Player picks the right spell and suddenly you regret your life decisions :)

That’s why I think the best approach is for you to pick spells you think this would be appropriate on and allow that as a house rule, rather than giving players cart blanc choices
 








tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Care to expound on possible issues you think this would cause? Frankly, I don't see any.
There are a lot of spells with "intentionally overtuned" effects. It would probably work well in a lot of cases but I expect there is going to be at a bunch of "oops lets fix that", then there's the warlock taking a short rest every fight going nova with their upcasted pact slots.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
I can see the warlock possibly being an issue, but not likely. Their default slots stop at 5th, which could eventually be used as 7th, but I don't know if this would work for mystic arcanum--I'd have to double check the feature.

As for the spells with such effects or issues, instead of generalizations, do you have any specific examples you can think of?

No rush. I understand if you're busy so don't have time to look for examples now, but when you have time it would be interesting.

Getting an extra target or two, adding a dice or two of extra damage, etc. I don't see as being a big problem.
 


This existed in 3.5e. It was called "caster level." It was a bad rule then, and I'm fairly sure it's a bad rule now.

Casters do not need to be made more quadratic. If anything, they need to be made less quadratic.

Edit: As a specific mechanic--not something added to spells generally, but specific to certain spells or certain (sub)classes, this could be fine.

Given the relative weakness of the Sorcerer compared to the Wizard, this would make a lot of sense as a unique Sorcerer mechanic, for example. They may know fewer spells and cast fewer spells total over the day, but because they "specialize" in those spells only, they get inherently better at casting them, when feasible.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
The various hold spells, perhaps?
Not IMO.

You can affect an additional target at each higher tier. For hold person at 5th-10th levels, two targets, at 11th-16th, three targets, and four at 17th or higher.

As for hold monster, two targets when you are levels 11th-16th, and a third at 17th or higher.

They still get saves, each round, by the way (a huge nerf from prior editions...).
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Casters do not need to be made more quadratic. If anything, they need to be made less quadratic.
They've already been nerfed extensively compared to AD&D, they hardly need more nerfing.

Now, this just makes it so spells can keep up and be close to equally effective at higher levels without having to waste your higher level spell slots.

Honestly, at tier 4 is a 6-missile magic missile spell, averaging 21 damage, really going to break anything? No.

How about a tier 4 sleep spell which can affect 11d8 hit points worth of creatures instead of just 5d8?

And the fact that most games end around 10th level, this only impacts 1st and 2nd level spells, bumping them 1 spell level each in such groups.
 

cbwjm

Legend
I think this is a perfectly fine houserule, it'll make those lower level spell slots a bit better at higher levels.
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I can see the warlock possibly being an issue, but not likely. Their default slots stop at 5th, which could eventually be used as 7th, but I don't know if this would work for mystic arcanum--I'd have to double check the feature.

As for the spells with such effects or issues, instead of generalizations, do you have any specific examples you can think of?

No rush. I understand if you're busy so don't have time to look for examples now, but when you have time it would be interesting.

Getting an extra target or two, adding a dice or two of extra damage, etc. I don't see as being a big problem.
I'm in agreement that 5e casters have taken a lot of nerfs that combine into something more than the sum of their parts that very much need correcting as noted in post #17. I'd look for unexpected results with these:
  • conjure woodland beings (and probably other conjure/summon spells like it): At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using certain higher-level spell slots, you choose one of the summoning options above, and more creatures appear: twice as many with a 6th-level slot and three times as many with an 8th-level slot.
  • Create undead has some interesting upcast results that might need some thought.
  • Shadowblade: A hexblade EK (or any gish with multiple attacks) upcasting shadowblade might be an issue depending on the math
  • Spiritual weapon+spirit guardians+cantrips: I'd check the math at a couple points to see how it adds up since it's one of the few stackable spell combos.
    • crown oath paladin gets it too
  • Fly adds targets when upcast (so does blind banish & some others like invisibility). Might be worth giving those some thought.
  • mass suggestion & planar binding dramatically boosts duration when upcast
  • Glyph of warding has this footnote in upcasting "If you create a spell glyph, you can store any spell of up to the same level as the slot you use for the glyph of warding." I'd think hard about possible interactions if you allow that with the upcasted slot or the original slot that got expended
I'd also consider how various archetypes & paladin/gish builds combine with spells like those. Shepherd circle & conjure spells for example.
As for damage & frankly a lot of these spells just kinda felt "Yea that's fine" feel in most cases. I included blind & banish because monsters are already so pathetic while death saves are still a thing when facing PCs above level five or ten not because those would pack too big of a punch.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top