D&D (2024) The new spell creation rules

Now to finally finish my response to the OP. :D


The 2014 corebooks provided the absolute bare minimum in guidance on how to make custom spells, something I as a player and DM have done for a long time. So I was thrilled that the April 2023 UA provides concrete guidance for how this works for wizards -- at least as long as one is modifying a published spell. I hope we'll see expanded guidelines in the DMG for creating one from scratch, although not doing so is a great way to ensure more sales of books with new spells to be modified.

But I have a few quibbles:

First, making abilities into spells is the new hotness in this UA, but in this case, it means someone playing a ninth level or above wizard has to flip back and forth through the spell listings just to get the rules for making new spells. I suspect they were made spells so the process wouldn't be a big intimidating wall of text, but from a usability standpoint, this isn't great. Just make them abilities and stick them in the class write-up so the wizard player can find them all in one spot.

I agree this is annoying -- it certainly was with hex and hunter's mark -- but I also don't really think it's anything more than annoying. They could print the spells twice in the book, once with the class and once in the spell list. That would be the best way to handle it, but also the most expensive. But printing class feature spells in the class listing probably makes the most sense if they have to choose one or the other.

So, multiple things about this list:
  1. As has been pointed out on the other threads, Create Spell strips the Arcane tag off these modified spells, so you can only modify them once. If you want to modify spells more, you'll need to gain some levels.
  2. At level 18, when you can cast ninth level spells, you can make a total of five modifications to a spell.

Isn't it 6 changes as a 9th level spell at 17th level? 1 change at 4th level, 2 at 5th, 3 at 6th, 4 at 7th, 5 at 8th, 6 at 9th.

Also of note is that if you cast Modify Spell as a ritual, you can't upcast it. Upcasting is explicitly barred by the ritual spellcasting rules. I totally forgot this limitation even existed until someone on Reddit pointed it out to me, but it is a significant limitation. So the ritual Modify Spell is only one effect on one spell at a time, and it has to be cast again after any long rest.

The fact that without Craft Spell and Scribe Spell that you're limited like this is critical to the design.

  1. Some of these changes are better than others and I feel the most powerful changes need a level adjustment on them, similar to how spells were balanced in 3E, with both spell creation and metamagic.
    1. Removing a non-expensive material component isn't a big deal. I can't imagine anyone going through the hassle of customizing a spell this way, since you'll need to spend gold to make the change, but sure, that's fine.
    2. Removing Verbal and Somatic components, on the other hand, is more of an issue. It's a tactical upgrade to remove these from illusion and enchantment spells, but it makes any spell modified this way one that can be cast while paralyzed. Every wizard fighting ghouls, for instance, needs to do this. But just removing Verbal components means than that Silence spell no longer holds any terror for the prepared wizard, taking a huge tactical element off the table. Removing Verbal or Somatic components are worth bumping up the resultant spell a level, IMO, and removing both is worth two level bumps.

Eh. Keep in mind that a character is paying 1,050 gp per spell level for this effect if they want it permanently, plus a significant amount of time. At least in the games I play, spell components of any variety don't come up that often. Sure, having a Still, Slient dispel magic, teleport, or misty step would potentially be powerful. But I'm not sure it's that powerful. And Sorcerers can already cast Careful charm person for 1 sorcery point. Why isn't that broken?

  1. Making Concentration spells that can't be interrupted by damage is definitely worth at least a level bump.

No, I don't agree. I think damage ending Concentration is something that primarily should affect NPCs. I think PCs are easy enough to incapacitate in other ways, and screwing over the NPCs by breaking their spells early is basically the entire purpose of the restriction. I think this is why they keep adding abilities to the game that make it all but guaranteed that you'll pass that Concentration save. I mean, how often do you really have the save be higher than DC 10? In my experience, it's not until early tier 3 that it really happens.

  1. The most dangerous damage type, Force, isn't one a spell can be modified to do, but I'm confident that there's someone out there with a spreadsheet that lists which of Acid, Cold, Fire, Lightning, Necrotic, Poison or Thunder is the least commonly resisted energy type. (Also, having Necrotic on the list, but not Radiant, feels like an oversight.) The moment an evoker hits level nine, they should be modifying all of their damaging spells to whichever is the most likely type to bypass resistances. If these were all roughly equally likely to be resisted, it wouldn't be worth a level bump, but I suspect there are some significant disparities. This might be worth a level bump.

This has never been worth a level bump, even in 3e. It was always a +0 ability there.

I'm pretty sure Thunder is the least resisted on the list. It's only limitation is the protection that silence spells offer. Necrotic is a pretty awful damage type in general, since many constructs and undead resist or are immune to it, but I agree it's usually restricted to divine or necromantic spells. If anything, though, I'd say it should use the same list of damage types as Transmuted Spell.

  1. Modifying range seems powerful, but in actual practice, I'm not sure that being able to cast an attack spell 600 feet away is a big deal, although it's probably a great way to irritate the party's archer.

Range would be powerful with cones or lines, like Burning Hands or Thunderwave would be nuts. However, the spell specifically blocks all Close spells, which covers all the spells I know of where the range determines the area.

The only issue I see is that it seems really good with cantrips. And extremely good in siege warfare! But I am not necessarily opposed to that. Hiring a Siege Mage ought to pay off.

  1. Are there really many spells that take 10 minutes to cast that aren't Ritual spells already? And if so, why aren't they? This feels like they're empowering players to fix poor editing in the 2024 edition.

In 5e it's a short list:

Find Familiar (already a ritual)
Clairvoyance
Galder’s Tower
Glyph of Warding
Fabricate
Hallucinatory Terrain
Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum
Legend Lore
Planar Binding
Scrying
Contingency
Create Homunculus
Guards and Wards
Create Magen
Dream of the Blue Veil
Mirage Arcane
Simulacrum
Antipathy/Sympathy
Clone
Control Weather
Astral Projection

Some of those I don't know and are from books I don't have. The best spells I see are Clairvoyance, Scrying, and Contingency. Most spells that take this long to cast are already expensive in terms of gp, or are spells that already have major problems that demand other changes (e.g., Planar Binding, Simulacrum, Clone).

Fabricate looks abusive, and it is, but it's not really more abusive than it already was. Being able to make full plate with the spell is already an absurd money fountain. 18,000 gp a day is a lot (3 casts an hour for 8 hours at 750 gp profit per suit), but in practical terms it's not that much better than 2,250 gp a day and you can do that at level 8 (2 slots + 1 arcane recovery slot at 750 gp per suit). Both are an overwhelming amount of gold. Honestly, I think the problem is just that Fabricate needs to be changed to require materials equal to double the value of the object created. It's potency should be in time and flexibility, not in efficiency or value generation. Let it create at a profit at 7th level or something.

I guess I feel like making a spell a Ritual should be limited to spells of 5th level or lower. The game typically assumes you can't cast spells higher than 5th level very often. That seems like a design limitation they've had in the past, but there really are very few available spells for this modification. Is it even worthwhile?

  1. Finally, making spells that automatically ignore allies is a huge change, especially since "allies" doesn't have a definition that I can see. Is everyone who voted me Most Attractive Wizard permanently my ally? Is everyone in my army of 100,000 conscripts all my ally? Are people who secretly did something nice to me that I don't know about my ally? I guess we'll find out when I start blasting away with Fireball! Even in the less extreme scenarios, being able to throw fireballs around in small spaces filled with the close-range attacker members of my party is a game changer. Without a level bump, why wouldn't every single group immediately subsidize Fireball being customized the moment their wizard hits level 9? Anything that obviously everyone should immediately do is no longer a matter of player choice -- it's overpowered. This absolutely needs a level bump, maybe two.

"Ally" is not a new term. It's not some truth sensor. It's whomever the creature decides. The monster ability Pack Tactics is where I remember first encountering it (see Wolf, Kobold).

It's also not a new effect to make AoE holes. Sorcerer's Careful Spell can do it at level 2. So can Evokers at level 3, even the playtest Evoker, with no cap on the number of times per day. Sure, those are written differently, but they're de facto the same abilities.

It is powerful, but I'm not sure it's overpowered. At level 7 it's limited to exactly one spell. At level 9, it costs 3,150 gp and at least a day of effort, and it's probably smarter to wait until level 10 so you can get two modificiations. Targetted Thunderburst is a very powerful modification, but it's also not cheap. If the party wants to invest in that, I don't think that's a bad thing, I guess? Like is fireball still that good at level 9?

I do agree that there are some concerns that Wizards with unlimited time and unlimited money can significantly boost their class abilities. But... I also think that's 100% on-theme for Wizards. I can imagine the party coming up against a thousand year old archlich, and he just has every spell in the book and they're all fully tuned and modified. Like holy cow no wonder Wizards hide away in towers doing endless research! No wonder they're infamous for becoming greedy! Look at the payoff!

As I said above, the fact that without Craft Spell and Scribe Spell that you're limited to one spell at a time is really critical to the design. My concerns are not with Modify Spell at all, and instead they rest entirely with Craft Spell. I think I would be more comfortable with Craft Spell if it were 6th level, but I think that's a balance issue.

Overall, I really like the design. Thumbs up from me.
 

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fuindordm

Adventurer
If Scribe Spell is a ubiquitous feature of wizard spellcasting, it doesn't even need to exist as a detailed class feature. You might as well just say "wizards use personalized ciphers to protect their spells against casual reading, but any wizard can decipher another wizard's spellbook given a day of downtime with a combination of study and arcane experiments."
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
110% agree.

They've recognized that eldritch blast & hex are predominantly used by so many warlock players they may as well be warlock features – which they've inched towards with the 1st level Pact Boon granting those "spells" automatically – and yet they feel compelled to spell-ify an existing feature of the wizard.

This playtest is really hard to figure out. There's so many design choices pulling in opposite directions. It feels the opposite of cohesive.
What good is cohesion if it makes some classes work better and some work less well?

If making hex and EB into class features is what’s needed for the warlock, that has nothing to do with whether making new spells for the wizard is the better way to allow wizards to mod and invent spells.

Cohesion isn’t an end in itself, it’s a tool.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It does steal some from the Sorcerer, but Sorcerer just stole the biggest thing that made 5e Wizard better than the 5e Sorcerer: The two One D&D classes share the same spell list. Additionally, Sorcerer gets the same number of spells prepared. Yes, Wizard does still get a bit more flexibility with spellbook, but at some point you run into diminishing returns and spellbook are a money sink.

Wizard does need something in return for that lost uniqueness, or else Sorcerer is literally Wizard plus metamagic.
Wizard was a very weak class if you were to treat all spells of a given level as equal.

By giving both classes the same spell list, the wizard is Spellcasting, arcane recovery (which the sorc has more fluidly), and very late level features to make low level spells into cantrips. Not a lot there until high levels. I’d have rather seen more class features and less “TEH UBER SPELLZ LISTZ” for the classes power budget.

This version makes it a lot more exciting to level up as a wizard than before, IMO.
 

Dausuul

Legend
It does steal some from the Sorcerer, but Sorcerer just stole the biggest thing that made 5e Wizard better than the 5e Sorcerer: The two One D&D classes share the same spell list. Additionally, Sorcerer gets the same number of spells prepared. Yes, Wizard does still get a bit more flexibility with spellbook, but at some point you run into diminishing returns and spellbook are a money sink.

Wizard does need something in return for that lost uniqueness, or else Sorcerer is literally Wizard plus metamagic.
You certainly have a point... but now wizards and sorcerers have the same spell list, the same number of spells, both having "spell modification" as their signature feature. Why do we even have two separate classes?

I feel like 1D&D is trying to make each class better, but they have a very narrow vision of "better" which causes all their designs to converge on the same point.
 

fuindordm

Adventurer
You certainly have a point... but now wizards and sorcerers have the same spell list, the same number of spells, both having "spell modification" as their signature feature. Why do we even have two separate classes?

I feel like 1D&D is trying to make each class better, but they have a very narrow vision of "better" which causes all their designs to converge on the same point.

I feel like the academic identity of the wizard is well established and giving them rules (not necessarily spells) to modify and invent new spells is aligned with that identity.

Sorcerers don't have an identity, or they have too many. The current playtest attempts to make both random/wild magic and metamagic part of their core identity. There is something contradictory about that: are sorcerers good at controlling their magic, or are they bad at it?? How do all the different sorcerer subclasses/heritages fit into this? Is dragon magic inherently chaotic? How about a clockwork soul sorcerer?

In fact we DO NOT need both. The only reason for the sorcerer to exist is to fulfil the story trope of "innate magic" but the wizard class does this just as well with some minor flavor changes. We could have just one class with a L1 option : spellbook (bonus: unlimited spells known) or innate (bonus: sorcery points fungible with spell slots).

Randomized/chaos magic, on the other hand, belongs in a subclass or spell school, not in a class' core identity.
 

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