D&D 5E Our 5 Session Playtest


First Post
AFAIK magic missile and a few other combat cantrips were never meant to be cantrips at all and were demoted from 1st level spells last minute for the playtest because the true combat-effective cantrips weren't ready to go yet.

In other words, I don't think this will be a problem in the future.

Definitely, the overkill in Magic Missile at will was mentioned in public Q&A by the deign team very early on. Their response was basically that they'd rather err in setting the power level high and turn things down for balance, than approach character power levels from the other direction.

log in or register to remove this ad


Not a bad idea and much preferable.

@slobbo & [MENTION=59816]FitzTheRuke[/MENTION]
Yeah, I am sure something will be done. I would rather not focus anymore of this thread on one spell either. ;)

As stated, most of the rest of the playtest went really well. And...I won't give the game away if it remains as is (I will simply House Rule this one teeny weeny spell. Easy :)).

So does anyone have Q's about how it went, etc?

Oh, and for those interested, I have attached my 'Realm' sheets for the Caves of CHaos and each of the tribes I detailed if interested. (Perhaps there are others yet to still do this :p).


  • Caves of Chaos - Ravine.doc
    286.5 KB · Views: 114
  • Barghests - Goblin Tribe.doc
    382.5 KB · Views: 80
  • Bleeding Butchers - Gnoll Tribe.doc
    373 KB · Views: 84
  • Feytrappers - Kobold Tribe.doc
    339.5 KB · Views: 101
  • Smiling Skulls - HobgoblinTribe.doc
    191 KB · Views: 78
  • Storm Furies - Orc Tribe.doc
    331 KB · Views: 94


First Post

So if I understand correctly, you're objecting to the fact that it's auto-hit and at-will, yeah? In that case I think we're more on the same page than it appeared. In my 5e playtest it did come in handy with the rabid gnoll in the hobgoblin torture room; I (playing the wizard) was able to say "I put it out of its misery with magic missile" and that was that, with no wasted time or effort. But I can understand the concern that being able to hit all the time no matter what, even if it's only for a small amount of damage, is too much. I think I was confused because your objections all focus on it auto-hitting, which as stated has been a feature of every magic missile I've ever seen (except the original 4e version, but again, that's an at-will as well). I think that a low-damage, auto-hitting spell that does use up a spell slot isn't overpowered-- would you agree?

As for the document I got at the start of that campaign, I should be clear that this was an extreme corner case dealing with something that had come up in play before I joined. It was a case of the DM codifying in writing something that he had ruled in the game so as not to forget the ruling later. I think you could raise a similar issue with lots of spells-- really any that deal damage on a miss/failed save, such as fireball and its ilk. They still "auto-hit" in a sense, so corner cases would similarly apply.

EDIT: Also, random thought about the hunting issue, which I've heard raised on other threads. I was bugged by that too but heard what I thought was a reasonable counter-argument, namely that hunting is different from combat and should really be handled with a wilderness or survival skill. Being able to kill an animal isn't necessarily the same as being able to take it down in a useful way. You can hunt ducks with lead buckshot in your shotgun but you sure wouldn't want to eat them; you could blow them up with dynamite but you wouldn't get a meal from it-- that sort of thing.
Last edited:


Well if magic missile hits 'b/c it is magical' why the rolls for EVERY other attack type spell.

How have you gone with at-will magic missiles over many sessions? Have you played a wilderness game where food is scarce and the mage is a better hunter than the ranger?

I agree - the main thing this needs is to be LIMITED in use. One of those spells for that very special occaision when other ranged attacks would be hard. Not everytime this is the case. I also agree that changing its damage is less of a concern for me. More damage + limited use suits me fine. It is the 'all the time under any circumstances' that does my head in.
...and unique. That part's important. If Magic Missile has a miss chance, it doesn't feel any different than a monk's ki strike ability or any of the other dozens of low damage spells over the years. The auto-hit puts the "magic" in magic missile to me.

I'm betting monster HP will get a small boost as the playtest data is refined since enemies dropping too easily has been a common complaint. That might fix the issue with magic missile being too spamable.

Another idea is to shift to a X per day power associated with a theme or class feature choice. A warmage would have a good reason to have an auto-hit ignores cover attack, but limiting it to "2 + Int Mod times per day" might take some of the sting out of its spamable nature. You can either thin out the mob or save it to chip away at the BBEG, but it's now a limited resource but not so much so that it takes away the feel of the spell being a basic spell.

As far as the hunting, the ranger's still going to have an edge because he/she can track and find the animal. The wizard's still got to find game to auto-kill it. And if you want flavor, have magic missile kills make the meat taste disgusting. I've always done that in a survival setting - kills by magic always spoil the meat. It's showed up enough in fiction for comedy purposes (Slayers and the Legend of the Seeker TV series off the top of my head) that it isn't coming out of left field.


First Post
Yeah, the problem is auto-hit + at-will.

The idea of prepping cantrips in a spell slot is interesting. It might be more complex/confusing than they want for the rules kernel, but this allows you to have magic missile both ways.

0-level spells would include an extra entry/paragraph describing the effects of casting that spell with a spell slot. This allows cantrips and orisons to scale with level without spamming crazy effects.

In the case of magic missile, the base 0-level spell requires an attack roll. When preparing it with a spell slot of any level greater than 0, magic missile auto-hits, and it's damage scales with spell slot level.

Kind of like a snapshot, or shooting from the hip; improvised magic vs prepared.


Magic Missile should be returned to full spell power.

My proposed solution is to make Magic Missile a Level 1 spell that lets you auto hit with 3 missiles that deal 1d4+1 each. The missiles can be targeted individually, so you can spread them out or assign them all to 1 target. Then if you prepare it as a higher level spell, you get more missiles. Would you cast a 2nd level spell to auto-hit 4d4+4 damage on one target? Or 5d4+5 damage on one target?

While Burning Hands might do more damage in its cone to more enemies, Magic Missile would be longer range and could target enemies who are further apart from each other. It would be a very flexible attack spell.

A replacement cantrip would be created in its place that does not Auto-Hit. It might require an attack roll at 100 feet range for 1d6 force damage. Perhaps Arcane Bolt?

Or if the designers wanted to go the route of utility cantrips that can be used to damage foes, they could make Mage Hand do a 1d6 force damage with a slap.

Actually, I reeeally want mage hand to be able to force slap enemies now.

An Ignite cantrip can heat things, set things on fire, and turn up the heat to burn your opponent.

Ray of Frost can variably chill or freeze things, or have the temperature dropped to reduce a creature's speed by 20 feet. (I don't like the immobilized condition being delivered by a cantrip. I would prefer a level 1 spell that did damage and immobilized.)

Stuff like that!


Aaarrrgghhh!....(Magic Missile Again)

I tried to end this and I really didn't want the whole focus of our Playtest to be on one spell...(my fault I guess, I did call it 'Dealbreaker' didn't I? :blush:).

If you wish to comment on my comments regarding the spell, PLEASE read all references to it above and in our playtest. I am merely saying, it did not suit our style, there were many moments where it came up that we did not like, and therefore I can only imagine there would be a WHOLE lot more over a campaign.

Sure, you can 'just say' the meat tastes bad if killed with MM, but WHY do that. It was killed by force. See, to me that is approaching this the whole wrong way. And yes, a ranger can track the food, but when it is around them (as I like to give wilderness areas life) the mage could blast away all day at small game that doesn't have the sense to stay away (in our case squirrels and ravens).

And yes, other spells do half damage BECAUSE THEY FILL AN AREA IN FIRE or what have you. I am cool with that. I am just not cool with a missile/ranged attack of any kind being able to hit ALL THE TIME, NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES and is an UNLIMITED RESOURCE. It is such an unimaginative spell in the first place, but then steps on the toes of all ranged attackers. When even the best archer can't quite get a decent shot off the wizard ALWAYS can and ALWAYS hits.

Man, and people were worried about wizards stepping on rogue's toes with invis, silence and knock spells.

So yes, I am happy to keep said spell auto-hit (I don't like it and and as statedin playtest we tried it), BUT it must be limited in use (and more than happy to change the damage. In fact, I don't care what damage it does. That was not an issue for us. I have no problem with the spell dropping 'minions' with one hit. My view on the playtest would be the same if it was 1d8+1. Damage was not the issue).

I'd 'prefer' to roll to hit like any other ranged missile however, and then I don't care where it sits level/use/damage wise.

Whoah, my bad. I'd rather not continue with the focus on MM (perhaps it could have its own thread...but I am sure it has been done to death anyway). So, please consider any further remarks on it 'in the context of our game and what I have said'. I really aren't that concerned about it to be honest - I doubt it will go through in its current form and if it does we'll House Rule. I am still all over DnDN :)
Last edited:


First Post
As one of the players in this session I found that overall the session was very enjoyable and the extra work put into making the game more suited to our style of game by the DM was greatly appreciated by all the players.

In general I personally felt it was more a return to the role playing of the characters (with a little background & personalities added) than the sheer number crunching some of our games felt like at times during 4E sessions.

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads