D&D 5E More Spells Should be Able to be Cast at Higher Levels

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
I really like how spells can be cast in higher level slots, such as fireball to do more damage, etc. Unfortunately, most of the spells that do this are offensive spells. I think this mechanic should be used for most other types of spells as well, not just for increased damage. There are plenty of other things that could be improved with higher level slots than just damage, such as duration, range, area of effect, or number of targets affected. Here's a few other examples:

Find Familiar: higher level slots allow you to find more powerful familiars, like imps or mephits.

Gust of Wind: higher level slots increase the wind speed.

Mirror Image: creates one additional image per +spell level.

Polymorph: higher level slots allow changing into the forms of additional types of creatures.
 

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Gadget

Adventurer
I think I can agree with the knowledge that things can be taken too far; it is possible to get carried away and boil most of the spells into a few base spells that scale upward and/or outward with level increase. Not very D&Dish. For instance: all Polymorph spells could be re-written as scaling versions of a low level alter self type spell. That would be taking it a bit too far IMHO. It is nice to have new spell levels open up new features that you couldn't get with lower level (even scaled up) spells.

Find Familiar: higher level slots allow you to find more powerful familiars, like imps or mephits.

This might just make using the spell at low level a fool's choice when you could have waited a couple of levels and got a really cool familiar. Not really a balance issue per se, but...not ideal either.

Gust of Wind: higher level slots increase the wind speed.

I certainly don't see any real problems here, unless the scaling effect is too situational to compete for higher level slots?

Mirror Image: creates one additional image per +spell level.

This kind of scaling can get tricky. It could be that this gets unbalanced at higher levels with a lot of images? Perhaps just the duration or durability of the images increases?

Polymorph: higher level slots allow changing into the forms of additional types of creatures.

As long as you are still picking from a restricted (and presumably well vetted) list at higher levels, that sounds okay. One problem is that it might make the spell prohibitively long & complicated if they had to provide a list at each level you cast it at? I don't know. Maybe, again, it could scale differently: one additional person affected per level. A higher level Greater Polymorph could provide access to better/more powerful forms, perhaps?
 
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Salamandyr

Adventurer
As a general principle, I'm inclined to agree with the original poster. I hope we see more spell scaling when cast at higher levels.

Agreed with other posters that Find Familiar being one of them would be problematic.

In general I don't thing spells are quite "done". That's not a criticism per se. I think the intent of the playtest was to disseminate the principles and building blocks that spells are going to built with than to have each of them "perfected".

So here is hoping that, in the final product, nearly all spells scale, but not ones like Find Familiar that are cast so rarely. In that case, casting at the highest level isn't really a limiting factor.
 

Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
I agree with this sentiment. Tenser's Floating Disk gets larger and can carry more weight. Mass spells cover more people or a wider area. The speed and duration of the fly spell both increase. Dimension Door's range increases. Things like that.
 


WhatGravitas

Explorer
Agreeing as well. All spells should get better - that would also encourage using up higher spell level slots later on in the game instead of basically having all your low-level slots for utility and the high level slots for battle.

Of course, if I had a say, I'd pair that with culling lower level spell slots, similar to 13th Age...
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
I think I can agree with the knowledge that things can be taken too far; it is possible to get carried away and boil most of the spells into a few base spells that scale upward and/or outward with level increase. Not very D&Dish. For instance: all Polymorph spells could be re-written as scaling versions of a low level alter self type spell. That would be taking it a bit too far IMHO. It is nice to have new spell levels open up new features that you couldn't get with lower level (even scaled up) spells.

You could have a spell system where every spell starts at level 1 and gets better with higher level slots, but that isn't what I was proposing. Scaling spells in Next don't entirely replace higher level spells. Fireball, for example, when cast at 9th level, does the same damage as meteor swarm (12d6), but meteor swarm is still a superior spell, having a better range and area of effect. I like that. I just want to see this mechanic used for more than blasting type spells.

This might just make using the spell at low level a fool's choice when you could have waited a couple of levels and got a really cool familiar. Not really a balance issue per se, but...not ideal either.

Not necessarily. There could be higher gp costs or other concessions that make it so that getting a more powerful familiar isn't necessarily a better choice than sticking with a lower level one. Whatever the case, I just hope we can have things like pseudodragons as familiars again, even if it's in the form of an Improved Familiar feat.

This kind of scaling can get tricky. It could be that this gets unbalanced at higher levels with a lot of images? Perhaps just the duration or durability of the images increases?

Each image only lasts until it is "hit" by an attack, and then it disappears. So in effect, adding more images does increase the spell's duration.
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
Agreeing as well. All spells should get better - that would also encourage using up higher spell level slots later on in the game instead of basically having all your low-level slots for utility and the high level slots for battle.

Of course, if I had a say, I'd pair that with culling lower level spell slots, similar to 13th Age...

Having spell slots "migrate" to higher levels like in 13th age would be interesting. It could help address some balance issues. They could give casters more than one 6th-9th level spell per day without giving casters dozens of total spells per day. It would also address the oddity of cantrips doing more damage than 1st level spells at higher levels. Higher level mages wouldn't even have 1st level spell slots anymore.
 

Sadrik

First Post
One other thing I think would be neat is to do away with the whole idea of cantrips and fold those into effects of other higher level spells as rituals. Rituals that take one action to cast can be memorized as higher level spells for increased effect just like other spells.

For instance, ray of frost, might be a first level spell, it could be cast for 3d6 damage or it could be cast for 1d6 damage as a ritual (keep the spell slot) with no components (could limit though, cost of an arrow or something) or it could be scaled up for +1d6 damage per 2 levels memorized higher.

This is fantastic, it removes the cantrip subsystem and moves it into the regular spell system. It provides the infinite magic some are interested in achieving, it opens up other spells to doing this magic missile etc. and it potentially makes other higher level spells able to do this. Really opens this up.
 

mcintma

First Post
Frankly, there are not enough high-level slots to bother going too far (i.e. taking up room in the '5e PHB') with this IMO. D&DN Wizard (Mage) gets 1, and only one, slot of 6th level and higher spells.

Although I like the concept, and the examples, and they should do a few more than in the current list.
 

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