D&D 5E Spells That Still Need to be Fixed (September Packet)

Falling Icicle

I've posted this topic before, but I'm updating my list of spells for the new packet. Surprise, most of the same broken spells are still broken. They did at least do what I suggested with fireball, though. It's a start. ;)

Animate Dead: I'd reduce the spell level to 1. Yes, I'm serious. The ability to create an ordinary, level 1 zombie or skeleton is hardly overpowered for a first level spell. For a third level spell, its pathetic. Also, instead of having the spell create more pets with each higher spell level (breaking the action economy and giving you a bunch of minions that suck), I'd make it so the pet is more powerful with higher level slots, such as giving it a bonus to its attacks and hit points. Or perhaps it could create more powerful kinds of undead at higher levels, like the old create undead spells. The spell also shouldn't go out of its way to mention how "evil" and "badwrongfun" it is. What is the point of having this morality clause except to encourage overzealous DMs to ban or restrict players from using it? There are many other spells with far more vile applications than this spell, and none of them go out of their way to say that they're oOoOoh evil! They removed the alignment restrictions from monks and paladins, it's time to remove them from the spells.

Call Lightning: The 10 minute duration is way too long. 1 minute seems more appropriate. The damage is also quite high for a 3rd level spell that can be used repeatedly, especially when cast outdoors. Outside the spell deals 6d10 damage. That's 33 damage on average. Fireball, which is also a 3rd level spell, does a maximum of 36 damage at the same level (an average of 21). And call Lightning can be used repeatedly over its duration!

Circle of Death: This spell should have its area of effect reduced, but also drop the stupid 500gp material component.

Cloudkill: This spell needs to have its damage reduced. Alot. Right now it's as powerful as cone of cold, which is the same level, but keeps repeating that damage round after round.

Cure/Inflict Wounds: These spells no longer have the opposite effect on undead. In fact they can't be used on undead at all. So it's impossible to heal an undead creature now. Take that, evil cleric liches! I'd like to see the opposite effect return (cure spells hurting undead and inflict spells healing them).

Destruction: Why, of all the spells in a cleric's arsenal, does this one require a special, 500gp holy symbol? Expensive material components are stupid for spells like this. It's just a finger of death minus the free zombie.

Dominate Beast/Person/Monster: These spells should require Concentration. The ability to make a creature your sock puppet slave is incredibly powerful.

Flame Blade: The scaling of this spell makes it far more powerful than other melee weapons. On the other hand, it doesn't allow you to make multiple attacks, use feats, etc that you could normally could with a scimitar. I would make the spell conjure a +1 flaming scimitar by default, and let it be wielded just like any other scimitar. With a 4th level or higher spell slot, treat it as a +2 weapon, or +3 with a 6th level or higher slot (similar to the magic weapon spell).

Knock: This spell is supposed to serve as a backup option if the party doesn't have a rogue or other lock picker, but the DC 20 limit prevents it from opening most difficult locks. The loud noise is also overkill. Why even bother with this spell when you can just have the fighter bash down the door or smash open the chest?

Melf's Acid Arrow: This spell does the same total damage as scorching ray, but gains half as much benefit from being cast in a higher level spell slot. Of course, it could very well be that scorching ray is too powerful, but it's still worth mentioning. In any case, this spell is really underwhelming. It doesn't even disrupt spellcasters concentration the way it used to. It's just a weak, single target blast that does half (or less) of its damage a round later.

Moonbeam: Compare this spell to Flaming Sphere, which is also 2nd level. It not only does more damage (3d8 vs 2d6), it's radiant damage (which unlike fire damage, is rarely resisted). It can be moved 50 ft. per round instead of 30 ft., and it's a 40 ft. tall, 5 ft. radius cylinder instead of a 5 ft. diameter sphere.

Polymorph: They need to limit the forms you can turn into with this spell. Right now it's "look through the monster manual and find the most powerful beast you can." And unlike those poor druids who only get to wild shape into specific, limited forms with bad stats and only some of a beast's powers, polymorph lets you get pretty much everything that creature has, from physical stats to attacks. Hurray for one wizard spell being more powerful than another class's signature ability!

Ray of Enfeeblement: Limiting the target to 1 damage is way too powerful. I'd remove the damage restriction, but I'd also make it so the target suffers disadvantage on ALL strength checks, not just attacks. With those changes, the spell could probably even go back to being level 1.

Read Magic: Why is this even a spell? This should just be an Intelligence (Arcana) check. Right now, it's just a cantrip tax. At the very least, they should make it a 1st level ritual so that it doesn't take up one of your precious two or three cantrips. Also, since this spell is required to decipher scrolls, and it isn't on the cleric, paladin or ranger spell lists, that means clerics, paladins and rangers can never use scrolls. Oops!

Scorching Ray: This spell scales much better than most spells do, gaining 2d6 damage per spell level. It is also annoying because you have to make an attack for each ray, and as a 9th level spell, that's eleven rays you have to roll to hit for.

Silence: This spell completely shuts down all spellcasters with no saving throw, effectively making it a 2nd level, double-width anti-magic field (which is an 8th level spell)! Absolutely ridiculous. An older packet allowed those in the area to make a check to try and cast spells through it. That needs to come back, or the spell needs to be MUCH higher level than 2nd!

Sleep: This spell is pretty much an auto-win at very low levels. If you roll enough "damage" (which at 4d8 is extremely likely at 1st level), the creature is put to sleep with no saving throw. I would give the creature(s) a Wisdom save to resist the effect. On the other hand, the spell's phantom damage creates an all-or-nothing effect, and would be a bit unfair on top of a saving throw. Instead of the spell doing nothing at all if the creature has more hp than the rolled threshold, I'd give a diminished effect instead (such as slowing it instead of putting it to sleep).

Smite Spells: Paladins got some attack spells in this packet, with names like Searing Smite. They all list a duration of 1 minute, even though they're written like they're supposed to be instantaneous attacks. Is this a typo? Also banishing smite is ridiculously overpowered for a 5th level spell, automatically sending anyone with 50 hp or less to hell with no saving throw.

Trap the Soul: The 1,000gp per hit die material component is insane.

True Resurrection: The 25,000gp cost of this spell is overkill. Raise Dead is 500gp and Resurrection is 1,000. Why should the 9th level version cost 25 times as much as the 7th level version? I suspect somone copy-pasted from 3rd edition without realizing just how much money 25,000gp is in Next.

Wish: This spell is still game breaking, enabling mages to create 25,000 gp of wealth or a rare magical item every single day! Yeah, it causes you to be weak for a couple days. Boo hoo. The wizard sitting safely atop his tower serving as a magic item factory or conjuring enough gold to ruin the economies of entire continents doesn't care. He can just wish himself a belt of giant strength while he's at it.

[Edit] Forgot Sleep and Trap the Soul
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First Post
Many of the usual culprits still outstanding I see. It will be disappointing if they don't tidy those up before publication.

An idea for Animate Dead: add your proficiency bonus to the creature's attacks (scales perfectly), or choose to increase the number of creatures you control, each with a reduced attack bonus (+1 creature for -1 attack, cannot reduce attack to less than zero?). HP and damage would need scaling too but I think this approaches a sensible set of numbers.


First Post
A wish is a wish. It means that "someone" fulfill it. Be it a god or an archdevil. I think the only "nerf" that 9th level spell requires is a nasty DM. Wanna "create" illimited wealth ? That's not how the spell works... Everything about "wish" should be about consequences.


The 1 minute duration for the smite spells refers to the secondary effects.

So the inial damage is instant, but for example the banishing the target to hell only lasts a minute. This also explains why damnation smite does require a saving throw, first you need to succeed on the attack role and then it only lasts a minute and the enemy comes back.


First Post
A wish is a wish. It means that "someone" fulfill it. Be it a god or an archdevil. I think the only "nerf" that 9th level spell requires is a nasty DM. Wanna "create" illimited wealth ? That's not how the spell works... Everything about "wish" should be about consequences.

DM adjudication is not a substitute for good rules. The rules of the Wish spell are very poor and that needs to be fixed.

DM adjudication is not a substitute for good rules. The rules of the Wish spell are very poor and that needs to be fixed.

Agreed. Something akin to Dungeon World's Basic Outcome resolution system would do the trick nicely here. Dependent upon the mechanical resolution of the Wish, the spellcaster could pick one or more specific outcomes that they want to happen and/or what complications that want to insure against not happening.

the Jester

I totally disagree about animate dead; traditionally, you have to be mid-level to create undead, and I would hate to see this become a first level shtick. Also, I think the balance is okay, and I really think the emphasis on the action economy is overblown; we'd be better off acknowledging pets, mounts, lackeys, etc as their own creatures with their own sets of actions and just try to watch action economy issues within a class (in other words, let's avoid 3.0 haste effects, or at least value them properly).

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