D&D (2024) How to reign in full casters for 1D&D? Maybe remove 6th to 9th level spells as a Variant rule.


We can all agree that after 10th level, game breaks down in some places, and main reason is specific spells from 6th to 9th level.

So, instead of 6th and 9th level spells(and spell slots), why not just give extra spell slots of 1st to 5th level for "full-casters" at levels 11-20?

by using "budget" from spell slot variant and adding 50% extra spell points for levels 11-20, as more spell slots of levels 1-5 just do not cut the same as spell slots of levels 6-9, here the variant table of spell slots/points.

Casters limited to 5th level.jpg

This way casters get more Actions per day to use on spells, as there is higher total of spell slots, so defaulting to cantrips is delayed or not encouraged, and game breakers are removed from the game.

we still get to keep the classics from 5th level spell levels like, Raise dead, Telekinesis, Teleportation circle, Greater restoration, Summon Celestial/Dragon/Elemental, Cloudkill and others.

Here is also an option to include bad 6th level spells and very bad 7th level spells as 5th level spells, looking at you Mordekainens sword...

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One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
personally, while higher level spellcasting power shenanigannery is a factor to spellcasters breaking open the game i think an equal if not more significant part of their power comes from simply having so many lower level slots that they can spend them constantly to solve problems without really worrying about running out for the most part, increasing the number of lower level slots would only magnify this issue.

edit: i think the ballance of spellcasting should be reworked around assuming 'the adventuring day' IS a 24 hour/1 day period, if the standard resting mechanics' long rest is 8 hours which is basically your overnight rest you're basically saying that's true anyway, cut their number of slots per spelllevel by 60~70%
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One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
So, no armor, no HP to speak of, no weapon skills, no expert skills and now next to no spells? Might just then delete the class.
you were the one suggesting we reign them in and oh, it's almost as if full spellcasters were originally designed to be fragile and lacking in other areas in exchange for the massive capabilties provided by spellcasting and to work as part of a group with other players to support them in the areas that they're weak in

removing 60% of their spells slots per level only seems like a massive comparative nerf because parties using the standard recovery timetable rest far too often, they've been running overclocked on available resources that the overclocking seems like the norm to players now, but is it so wild that i think a class balanced on resource management ought to have a level of consumable resources that causes them to actually have to manage them?


If you want to remove 6th through 9th level spells as a variant rule, go nuts. If it helps your table, then great. Personally I don't have any issue with the power of spellcasters right now (not even when compared to martial characters) so I don't think it needs to happen for all tables as the primary rule. But as a variant? No biggie. Those who want to try it can feel free.


While I agree with your premise that the game starts to break down past 10th level, I’m not sure 6th-9th level spells are the issue per se. For me, it’s more about 6th-9th level spell slots, and hp bloat. While I do agree that a daily allotment of 6th-9th level spells is a game changer, I agree with previous posters that proliferation of low-levels slots contributes just as much, allowing spellcasters a to cheerfully use utility spells without lacking offensive power (which contributes to make martials obsolete).

With that killjoy criticism said, that house rule is something I’d willing to try.

Nerf utility magic not just into the ground, but right on down to the 7th level of Hell.

Outside of a few deliberate choices, combat magic largely doesn't hurt intraclass balance all that much, and itd be trivial to bring martials up to par in thT context.

But with utility, it is simply far too powerful, abundant, and cheap. Just a massive pile of "turn off these game mechanics" buttons that the bulk of which all exist at the cantrip and 1st level.

To shoe horn in a reference to the game Ive been writing, I approached magic design by way of making it so that all spells have to be actively created by the players. And in this system, most explicit utility spells are actually fodder for high level mages; things that they aren't guaranteed to get because, unlike your Fireballs and Meteor Storms, they'll be quite difficult to create.

However, players also have open to them the option to improvise a spell in the moment, but this comes at the cost of a high risk; unlike the explicit spells that can be written, improvised magic has a significant chance to backfire, and induces effects not unlike Mercurial magic in DCC.

Done this way magic can still be very high octane, which is desirable, but not in a way that makes not playing a mage pointless. To play a mage in my system fundamentally means having to dedicate yourself to mage specific skills and attributes, because thats the only way to attain consistent control over magic in the system. This helps protect non-mages who will have much more robust skill and class ability systems that will allow them to compete with magic in the problem solving department.

because in reality, you can't.

players will take a long rest when they feel they want a long rest. period.

What will you do nuke the campaign? sure, you can, but what will that get you?
Players that have learned how important it is to conserve resources?

Alternatively, you could give spells expensive and rare materials components to limit the most powerful spells.

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