D&D 5E I want a return to long duration spells in D&D Next.


Relaxed Intensity
I have no issue with long duration spells as long as spell slots don't ever get out of hand to the point where casting them is an afterthought. That being said spells should have a set duration. If a spell is meant to last all day have it always last all day and balance it accordingly. Don't make it so a spell that was originally supposed to have a relatively short duration turns into an all day affair.

Edit: That being said if a spell's duration lasts longer than a day I would like a mechanic in place that would require that the spell slot used stay committed to that spell much like how in Exalted you could maintain some effects but would have to leave your essence (spell power) committed to the task.
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I'd like to split the difference. Have most spells have durations at best in rounds, and if the spellcaster wants to maintain the duration for longer he gives up a (standard) action to continue the spell. To put a further limit, the spellcaster might only be able to maintain it for say, maximum 1 hour/level - and/or might have to make Con check to maintain the magic.

Thus, someone could use a charm spell in combat to gain a quick bodyguard, or use the spell while in town to make a friend out of an unwilling townsperson - at least for a little while. Someone could use invisibility in combat to position themselves for a well-placed strike in the middle of a fight, or do a little scouting or hiding or an extended period of time - but as soon as the character attempts to use it to strike (thus using a standard action), the spell is going to drop.

I think spell duration is an interesting topic worthy of discussion.

Sometimes, multi-round spells in 3.x/PF cause tracking issues (although as we play with an initiative board with rounds on it, it is not that difficult for our group). Our group has found the managing of conditions and spell effects in 4e somewhat awkward as well; although we fixed this by making special bases for the minis that have a stalk that you could put coloured tube pieces representing all the different stuff but that is a little messier. In 4e the "until the end of next turn stuff" became the biggest thing to remember (and the most often flubbed) so I would happily see this go the way of the dodo.

Perhaps spell durations could be represented by a more abstract:
* Instantaneous
* Sustain
* Encounter
* Day

The aim here is to take as much of the accounting out of it as possible. Sustaining a spell is the only one where you need to track the duration and this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the player who gets the greatest benefit from it. Perhaps as a character's spell mastery increases, they can sustain more than one spell. I really like the idea of spell/condition cards handed out until the spell/condition expires but I understand that anything card-related gets the auto nerd rage M:tGification knee jerk reaction from a section of the community. A shame, but I can certainly understand that if the core rules need cards/initiative boards/mini stuff to run the game, it has gone one step too far.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise


Yes, the downside of long-duration spells is the tracking. I think simplified durations are the way to go.

Apart from the usual "until the end of (somebody's) next turn", "sustain (action type)" and "save ends" durations, 4e also had "until the end of the encounter" and "until the end of your next extended rest" for longer-duration effects.

"Until the end of your next extended rest", is (IMO) a pretty good duration for really long-term effects that can be swapped out on a daily basis (unlike feats and class features). "Until the end of the encounter" probably needs to be reworded to remove the encounter stigma, but tying the effect duration to the standard duration of a "short" rest (or the 5e equivalent) and then making explicit the potential balance issues in de-linking the two durations might work. There could even be some flexibility in tying the spell duration to the duration of two, three or more short rests - the onus would be on the PCs to fit as many combats as possible within the time frame to maximize their advantage, of course.

The return of the concentration duration might also be interesting, with the proviso that a spellcaster can only maintain one sustain (action) or concentration duration effect at a time. The difference could be that whenever the spellcaster takes damage, he must succeed at some check or lose the concentration duration effect. Actually, given the way that actions seem to be playing out in 5e (everyone gets just one action per round, plus free actions), sustain (action) might no longer be applicable (expect for major effects that you are willing to give up your one action per round for) and concentration might be the way to go.

Since it seems likely that caster level will no longer affect spell power, we will probably also not have (round/minute/hour) per caster level durations. That said, it should be possible to extend an effect's duration by preparing it in a higher level spell slot. Perhaps as a 1st-level spell, it lasts for the duration of a short rest. As a 3rd-level spell, it might last for two short rests. As a 5th-level spell, it might last for four short rests, and as a 7th-level spell, it might last until the end of your next extended rest.

Holy Bovine

First Post
A long-duration buff quickly becomes a class feature or feat rather than an action unless there's a major, scaling cost to use it.

Having made a Favoured Soul who specialized in buffing the rest of the party (and healing when necessary) I can that this is 100% true, ime. We never bought stuff like cloaks of resistance or belts of giant strength thanks to my ability to buff (thanks to Extend Spell) for hours at a time. I had my spells/day laid out to make sure that, at the minimum, our party tanks and wizard were heavily buffed all day every day. In my estimation we were effectively 3 levels higher than we actually were. APL+4 encounters were breezed through and even the APL+8 encounter the DM threw at us when we kinda complained the encounters were too easy caused only 1 PC death that was quickly resurrected. We were 10th level and the fight that caused the death was a buffed Fire Giant w/6(?) levels of Fighter acting as bodyguard to the 13th level wizard Rakasha he worked for (who was also buffed to the max).

I will say it was fun while it lasted but keeping track of all that stuff was a major time investment on my part to make sure everyone always knew exactly what we had up and how long we could expect it to last.(I didn't mind I did it deliberately to see how much fun a PC like that was - he had zero offensive capability in spells)


Not sure why long term durations and problems with tracking are even mentioned. If you have a buff that lasts even 1 minute then tracking isn't a problem at all. That is 10 rounds of a buff that you don't have to worry about until 10 rounds later. Buffs in rounds are easy as well because everything is done in rounds anyway. You write your buffs on a separate sheet of paper and you right when they end.

If you want to talk about difficulties in tracking buffs then 4th edition is your worst nightmare. Having to to track multiple buffs that last only until the end of your next turn, or the beginning of your next turn etc can be a real headache.

It's a hell of a lot easier to be able to cast and spell and not have to worry about it for a while than 4th editions method. I can't tell you how many times he forgot about buffs and conditions and god knows what else.


A 10 round buff is basically just an Encounter buff so just make it an Encounter buff. Having multiple multi-round buffs is just as hard as one-round buffs are in 4E - you have to check every round to see which buffs you still have. 4E's method gives you a narrow window so you don't have to remember how many rounds its been.


A 10 round buff is basically just an Encounter buff so just make it an Encounter buff. Having multiple multi-round buffs is just as hard as one-round buffs are in 4E - you have to check every round to see which buffs you still have. 4E's method gives you a narrow window so you don't have to remember how many rounds its been.

Sorry but no way: What's more work?

1: Having to sit there and check your sheet every round to add and take away buffs.


2: Maybe having to check your sheet every 10 rounds to see if your buff ends?

Does your group not say the rounds out loud as they come up? "Okay guys we are on round 2."

It's very very simple actually and can all be done with a sheet of notebook paper.

Write down your buffs.

1: Buff A "ends on round 5"
2: Buff B "ends on round 20"
3: Buff C "ends on round 60"
4: Buff D "ends on round 4"
5: etc......

Long term durations are a lot easier to keep up with than the "coming and going" buffs of 4th edition.


Well, that was fun
Staff member
I'm not sure I agree with the premise that most spells had "until next turn" durations. There were plenty with "save ends" or with "Sustain: Minor".

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