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Level Up (A5E) Heightened Reflexes and spellcasting

nyarly23

Villager
The Heightened Reflexes maneuver states:

"You gain a number of reactions equal to exertion points spent. You must use these reactions before the start of your next turn."

Can multiple spells with a reaction casting time be cast this way? Is this intended, or could it be an undesired exploit?
 

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Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
RAW, I don't know of any rule limiting your spells cast as 1 reaction. That's a lot of spellslots.
 


MarkB

Legend
Ultimately you still need (a) spell slots, (b) spells that are reactions and (c) something to react to, so it shouldn't get too out of hand. It'd be nice to get in some arcane ripostes against an opponent with multiple attacks though.
 

Legendweaver

Explorer
Successively casting Shield to stack up an obscene AC (say in reaction to a series of multi-attack) is just one way this feature seems ripe for abuse.

It may be worth noting that the (O5E) DMG specifically warns against making action economy changes like extra reactions. Quoting from pg. 263: "Beware of adding anything to your game that allows a character to concentrate on more than one effect at a time, use more than one reaction or bonus action per round, or attune to more than three magic items at a time. Rules and game elements that override the rules for concentration, reactions, bonus actions, and magic item attunement can seriously unbalance or overcomplicate your game."

Obviously, the LU designers ignored this guidance in a few cases (Heightened Reflexes, as well as Overclocked Concentration and Duality). I hope they heeded the DMG warning about these changes, thought deeply about the implications and side effects, and hammered hard on them during the playtests...but I think it's more likely these features slipped through the cracks.

The quoted passage indicates that (along with bounded accuracy) the O5E designers view concentration, attunement, and action limits as essential elements of 5E balance. They form a watertight shell that restricts how abilities can interact, and anything that punches a hole in that shell threatens to flood the game with unexpected interactions. Consequently, I personally intend to forbid abilities which alter the core action economy (like Heightened Reflexes). Luckily, all the cases I've found relate to optional (rather than core) class features, so I think they're easy enough to exclude them on a case-by-case basis.
 

Anselm

Explorer
Successively casting Shield to stack up an obscene AC (say in reaction to a series of multi-attack) is just one way this feature seems ripe for abuse.
Multiple casts of the same spell would not be an issue (a la shield) because of the below.

COMBINING MAGICAL EFFECTS (PHB pg 205)
The effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap. The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don’t combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect—such as the highest bonus—from those castings applies while their durations overlap.

For example, if two clerics cast bless on the same target, that character gains the spell’s benefit only once; he or she doesn’t get to roll two bonus dice.

I cant easily find a similar clause in Level Up so RAW it might be possible though I'd rule the O5E way in It's absence. It's not impossible that there's be additional issues combining multiple reaction spells but it's much less likely.
 

Anselm

Explorer
I cant easily find a similar clause in Level Up so RAW it might be possible though I'd rule the O5E way in It's absence. It's not impossible that there's be additional issues combining multiple reaction spells but it's much less likely.
It does indeed:

However,
multiple castings of the same spell don’t combine.
When two versions of the same spells overlap,
the most powerful effect applies. For instance,
if a creature begins its turn in the area of two
cloudkill spells, one cast at 5th-level and one cast
at 6th-level, it only takes damage from the high-
er-level version of the spell.

Pg 495
 

nyarly23

Villager
I was thinking more along the lines of instant reaction spells, like Arcane Riposte or Counterspell (yes, very expensive slotwise).

I just find it odd/interesting that a combat maneuver could grant any sort of reactions. I wonder if the intent was to limit the extra reactions to maneuvers? That would seem to fit design-philosophy-wise.

Allowing additional magic reactions seems thematically out-of-sync to me.
 

Successively casting Shield to stack up an obscene AC (say in reaction to a series of multi-attack) is just one way this feature seems ripe for abuse.

It may be worth noting that the (O5E) DMG specifically warns against making action economy changes like extra reactions. Quoting from pg. 263: "Beware of adding anything to your game that allows a character to concentrate on more than one effect at a time, use more than one reaction or bonus action per round, or attune to more than three magic items at a time. Rules and game elements that override the rules for concentration, reactions, bonus actions, and magic item attunement can seriously unbalance or overcomplicate your game."

Obviously, the LU designers ignored this guidance in a few cases (Heightened Reflexes, as well as Overclocked Concentration and Duality). I hope they heeded the DMG warning about these changes, thought deeply about the implications and side effects, and hammered hard on them during the playtests...but I think it's more likely these features slipped through the cracks.

The quoted passage indicates that (along with bounded accuracy) the O5E designers view concentration, attunement, and action limits as essential elements of 5E balance. They form a watertight shell that restricts how abilities can interact, and anything that punches a hole in that shell threatens to flood the game with unexpected interactions. Consequently, I personally intend to forbid abilities which alter the core action economy (like Heightened Reflexes). Luckily, all the cases I've found relate to optional (rather than core) class features, so I think they're easy enough to exclude them on a case-by-case basis.
See now, I dont actually think WotC knows better about this stuff necessarily. 5e has been out a long time now, and plenty of folks have devoted a great deal of effort towards analyzing the system and seeing what can be done with it. WotC's deeply conservative design inclination has kept them from innovating unless heavily prompted. Plenty of other folks, like the A5e designers, have been doing great work and deserve their chance to try something new.
 

It may be worth noting that the (O5E) DMG specifically warns against making action economy changes like extra reactions. Quoting from pg. 263: "Beware of adding anything to your game that allows a character to concentrate on more than one effect at a time, use more than one reaction or bonus action per round, or attune to more than three magic items at a time. Rules and game elements that override the rules for concentration, reactions, bonus actions, and magic item attunement can seriously unbalance or overcomplicate your game."

Obviously, the LU designers ignored this guidance in a few cases (Heightened Reflexes, as well as Overclocked Concentration and Duality). I hope they heeded the DMG warning about these changes, thought deeply about the implications and side effects, and hammered hard on them during the playtests...but I think it's more likely these features slipped through the cracks.

The quoted passage indicates that (along with bounded accuracy) the O5E designers view concentration, attunement, and action limits as essential elements of 5E balance. They form a watertight shell that restricts how abilities can interact, and anything that punches a hole in that shell threatens to flood the game with unexpected interactions. Consequently, I personally intend to forbid abilities which alter the core action economy (like Heightened Reflexes). Luckily, all the cases I've found relate to optional (rather than core) class features, so I think they're easy enough to exclude them on a case-by-case basis.
It’s good to keep in mind, but it’s also worth noting that O5e now includes a subclass or two with extra reactions and a class with extra attunement. I don’t think they‘ve given out extra bonus actions or concentration yet.
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
Ultimately you still need (a) spell slots, (b) spells that are reactions and (c) something to react to, so it shouldn't get too out of hand. It'd be nice to get in some arcane ripostes against an opponent with multiple attacks though.
I just found a very nice and devastating combo using the Eldritch Archer feat chain.

"When you hit a target with a ranged weapon attack, you can use your reaction and choose a spell of 1st-level or higher, casting it through
your ammunition. The spell must have a casting time of 1 action, and target a single creature or have a range of Touch. If a spell cast in this way requires an attack roll and targets the same target as the triggering ranged weapon attack, it also hits as part of that attack. You may choose not to deal damage with a ranged weapon attack used to cast a spell."

Now combine it with Eldritch Volley Master:
"Whenever you cast a spell with a Cone area, you may additionally make ranged weapon attacks with a ranged weapon you are wielding against targets within that conical area. You may make up to a number of attacks equal to the level of the spell cast, each against a different target. Ranged attacks made in this way ignore the loading quality of weapons and use your conjured magical ammunition."

This means, if you have enough spell slots and exertion you can:
  • use a bonus action to activate Heightened Reflexes, spending 2 exertion and gaining 2 reactions for a total of 3
  • upcast Burning hands with a level 3 slot, allowing you to make 3 ranged weapon attacks
  • for each weapon attack that hits, you can spend a reaction to cast spells with range of touch and casting time 1 action, like shocking grasp.

That's quite the use of the action economy and the various resources: in a round you burn through 2 exertion, 1 level 3 spell slot and 3 other spell slots, but you really dish it out! Potentially, a level 7 character would be able to do that (level 4 wizard, level 3 fighter with the eldritch knight archetype). Unfortunately, Heightened Reflexes is a 3rd degree maneuver, so there's no way a level 3 fighter would pull it off, but basically this is the only thing stopping this combo to trigger at level 7. Would take a level 8 fighter, so at least a level 11 character.
 

Anselm

Explorer
Oh, see they didn't remove action surge. :)

Very nice find. it's worth noting that this requires the third of the chain of feats and you have to take them with every ASI to have the option of getting this at level 12. The first has a prerequisite of fighter 3 wizard 3 so you get the first at character level 7. In addition, you'd have to be able to cast level three spells for the combo you mentioned (you can do the extra attack twice when you take the feat at character level 12 with level 2 spell slots) requiring level 5 wizard in this case and 3rd degree maneuvers so a level 8 fighter. It's a lot to nova out but if a player gave up having anything more than a +3 in their primary stat with standard array at level 13, they're going to miss half those shots anyway against high cr monsters. :)

You could do that combo twice per long rest with 2 level 3 spell slots, 4 level 1 slots, 2 level 2 slots, and 4 of your 8 exertion, leaving 1 level 2 spell slot till a long rest and 4 exertion till a short rest.

(Someone check all my math?)

You'd get to do it more at higher levels but at a pretty slow progression. 1 more level in wizard doesn't get you the full combo again, for example since a level 6 wizard doesn't get any more level 2 slots. You'd need to be level 16 for wizard 8 and cast a heck of a lot of spells to do it 3 times. You'd also get one more attack two of those times using the 4th level spells. Wizard 9 (character level 17) doesn't get you another combo but does get you more that a 15 foot range with cone of cold. (Is there another cone spell besides burning hands before that?)

Very cool combo but it requires so many resources and time to get there, I don't think it's game breaking or anything. Would be fun as hell to play with a nice magic bow though. So many dice...
 
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lichmaster

Adventurer
Oh, see they didn't remove action surge. :)

Very nice find. it's worth noting that this requires the third of the chain of feats and you have to take them with every ASI to have the option of getting this at level 12. The first has a prerequisite of fighter 3 wizard 3 so you get the first at character level 7. In addition, you'd have to be able to cast level three spells for the combo you mentioned (you can do the extra attack twice when you take the feat at character level 12 with level 2 spell slots) requiring level 5 wizard in this case and 3rd degree maneuvers so a level 8 fighter. It's a lot to nova out but if a player gave up having anything more than a +3 in their primary stat with standard array at level 13, they're going to miss half those shots anyway against high cr monsters. :)

You could do that combo twice per long rest with 2 level 3 spell slots, 4 level 1 slots, 2 level 2 slots, and 4 of your 8 exertion, leaving 1 level 2 spell slot till a long rest and 4 exertion till a short rest.

(Someone check all my math?)

You'd get to do it more at higher levels but at a pretty slow progression. 1 more level in wizard doesn't get you the full combo again, for example since a level 6 wizard doesn't get any more level 2 slots. You'd need to be level 16 for wizard 8 and cast a heck of a lot of spells to do it 3 times. You'd also get one more attack two of those times using the 4th level spells. Wizard 9 (character level 17) doesn't get you another combo but does get you more that a 15 foot range with cone of cold. (Is there another cone spell besides burning hands before that?)

Very cool combo but it requires so many resources and time to get there, I don't think it's game breaking or anything. Would be fun as hell to play with a nice magic bow though. So many dice...
It's true that you need to be level 12 to have all the feats, but Figther 8/Wiz 4 should be enough. If you have Eldritch knight, 1/3 of your class levels count as full caster levels for the sake of spell slots progression, so this character would have the same slots of a Wiz 6, or Wiz 7 at Ftr9/Wiz4 (or obviously Ftr8/Wiz5).

At level 12, with Wiz 6 slots, you have 4 level 1 slots, 3 level 2 and 3 level 3. You can upcast burning hands using a level 3 slot, and than spend the other 3 slots how you see fit. Given you'd also have 13 exertion, you can pull that off twice as you're limited by spell slots.
At level 13, with Wiz 7 slots (4/3/3/1), you could be even more aggressive and use a level 4 slot to make 4 attacks and cast 4 spells in one go, and then do a "normal" nova like above.

Regarding not taking any ASI, I think it's a fair sacrifice given the crazy nova you can pull off, but the loss of ASI isn't that big of a deal IMO: lacking 2 asi in the relevant ability (dex) would mean missing "just" a +2 to hit, i.e. a 10% chance. Thanks to bounded accuracy characters are really not forced to take those ASI in order to keep up with increasing AC, which is an awesome thing for me.
 

Anselm

Explorer
Regarding not taking any ASI, I think it's a fair sacrifice given the crazy nova you can pull off, but the loss of ASI isn't that big of a deal IMO: lacking 2 asi in the relevant ability (dex) would mean missing "just" a +2 to hit, i.e. a 10% chance. Thanks to bounded accuracy characters are really not forced to take those ASI in order to keep up with increasing AC, which is an awesome thing for me.
Agreed- that was mostly tongue in cheek as the trade off is notable but the + to hit is not extremely significant. Given you need to take archery fighting style to get the feats as well, you'd have +9 to hit at 12 and +10 to hit at 13. Certainly enough to be effective.
It's true that you need to be level 12 to have all the feats, but Figther 8/Wiz 4 should be enough. If you have Eldritch knight, 1/3 of your class levels count as full caster levels for the sake of spell slots progression, so this character would have the same slots of a Wiz 6, or Wiz 7 at Ftr9/Wiz4 (or obviously Ftr8/Wiz5).
I missed Eldritch Knight as an option. That would require mixing O5E and A5E so some DM fiat on whether its allowed but certainly reduces the level requirement (unless there's an A5E subclass I am not thinking of that grants fighters spells). Though I think faster progression is the only thing you really get from the subclass whereas Sharpshooter would increase your overall effectiveness as an archer.
Given you'd also have 13 exertion
At fighter 8/wizard 4 you'd have 10, no? 8 from proficiency and 2 from extra reserves? That goes to twelve at char lvl 13 when proficiency goes to 5. Did I skip an extra one somewhere?

I think the biggest limiter on the build in fact is that the only cone spell I can find before cone of cold is burning hands. That's only a 15 foot cone. You have to be really close to things putting you in significant danger and requiring some maneuvering so you don't have disadvantage on all those attacks to be outside melee of your enemies (unless you take sharpshooter subclass, removing that disadvantage).
 
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lichmaster

Adventurer
I missed Eldritch Knight as an option. That would require mixing O5E and A5E so some DM fiat on whether its allowed but certainly reduces the level requirement (unless there's an A5E subclass I am not thinking of that grants fighters spells). Though I think faster progression is the only thing you really get from the subclass whereas Sharpshooter would increase your overall effectiveness as an archer.
Sharpshooter would be interesting to try in this kind of combo, but I went for Eldritch knight because I know it better. In principle all O5E archetypes should be compatible with A5E, and I don't see a good reason for a DM to forbid it unless the idea is to try A5E as is.
At fighter 8/wizard 4 you'd have 10, no? 8 from proficiency and 2 from extra reserves? That goes to twelve at char lvl 13 when proficiency goes to 5. Did I skip an extra one somewhere?
No, you're right, I must have misread a line for extra reserves.
I think the biggest limiter on the build in fact is that the only cone spell I can find before cone of cold is burning hands. That's only a 15 foot cone. You have to be really close to things putting you in significant danger and requiring some maneuvering so you don't have disadvantage on all those attacks to be outside melee of your enemies (unless you take sharpshooter subclass, removing that disadvantage).
Well a rare spell modified so that it works in a cone would have the same level of the basic spell, so it would be possible to convert a lot of AOE into cone spells. Color Spray, Searing Equation and Fear are cones too.
 

Anselm

Explorer
I don't see a good reason for a DM to forbid it unless the idea is to try A5E as is.
That's how I will rule it in my games as well but I wouldn't assume every DM will include subclasses from O5E.
Well a rare spell modified so that it works in a cone would have the same level of the basic spell, so it would be possible to convert a lot of AOE into cone spells. Color Spray, Searing Equation and Fear are cones too.
Good finds. Fear looks like its the only one that has a larger range and burning hands looks like it deals the most damage. Fear could be pretty effective depending on the save DC. Disadvantage on attacks ain't nothing. Color spray has the 15 ft range as well but maybe useful for the blind condition and potential advantage on some of the targets but at level 12+ a level 3 color spray would be lucky to get a single creature with the effect (avg 55 hp worth of creatures with 10d10).
Again, not calling this out as deal breaking, just something that really is a limiter on the effectiveness of the combo.

Very fun build though. If I ever get to play a lvl 13 character I think I would give this a try.
 

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