D&D 5E The Weakest Spells in 5e - The Quick Fix

Stalker0

Legend
In this thread, the goal is to address some of the weakest spells in dnd with quick simple changes. Again, our goal is not to revamp the spell and change it entirely, just a slight adjustment that fixes the biggest issue. I'm not all of the really weak spells here, just a personal top 5 of mine.

Weird: Remove the saving throw.
Now weird goes the worst 9th level spell in the game to a spell of unshakable fear. The spell can now do incredible damage if it applies long enough, and applies a long standing condition that cannot be resisted. The only way to beat weird is to endure it, to be immune to it, or to stop the caster's concentration.... aka a real 9th level spell.

Mordenkainen's Sword: Remove the attack roll, the sword automatically hits.
What is one of the lamest damaging spell in the game now turns into magic missiles big brother. An irresistible force effect, that while still doesn't do a lot of damage, now can affect a creature no matter their AC, giving it a decent niche.

Immolation: The target takes 1 exhaustion on each failed saving throw.
Currently immolation requires two failed saving throws just to get to the damage of a fireball....and its one target....and its concentration. This spell needs to do a lot more bang for the buck. Adding in exhaustion creates a nasty secondary effect, and makes failed saves painful beyond the mediocre damage.

True Strike: Change duration to 1 minute (concentration). The target may gain advantage on any 1 attack roll during the duration.
This gives True Strike a niche as a "buff and break down the door" spell. By allowing it to be used at some point during the minute, it provides much needed flexibility to the spell, allowing you to use it when you need it.

Circle of Death: All creatures in the spell area are poisoned until the beginning of your next turn (no save)
This spell just doesn't do nearly enough effect to justify its spell level, so now we add an automatic status rider (though a fairly weak condition at this level) to sweeten the deal.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Immoralkickass

Explorer
Uhh, most of them still suck after the changes.

Weird - The ones you want Frightened are usually immune, the ones that are not immune can be dealt with a 9th level Fireball anyway.

Mordy's Sword - Still crap. Now with the auto hit, it can be consistently crap. Concentration kills it.

Immolation - The problem is the target rarely fail the save. This change makes Immolation more like a single target Sickening Radiance, so still really crap.

True Strike - This one might make the spell actually worth using, if only for the situation you mentioned. Still not worth a cantrip slot though.

Circle of Death - Seems decent. Maybe higher level spells need to apply no-save conditions or debuffs to make them worth using, especially if their damage is low.
 

W'rkncacnter

Adventurer
perhaps:
Weird - not just remove the saving throw, but also change it from frightened to another condition - none of the conditions really fit (not even frightened, really) so it may have to be something specific to the spell...perhaps something like whenever the creature tries to target another creature with an effect, it must make a wisdom saving throw or target a different creature at random? the term "weird" never really struck me as being frightening anyway, but rather as just being so utterly bizarre that you can't actually figure out what's going on. i think messing with your targeting would fit with that, and it'd avoid the problem of most creatures you'd want to weird out being immune to the spell to begin with.

Mordenkainen's Sword - just lift concentration. boom, now it's an arcane spiritual weapon but not discount (ok, still a little discount, because it takes an action to cast and the damage on average is a little worse then a spiritual weapon of 6th level - 3d8+4 or 5 vs 3d10).

Immolation - even if fireball weren't OP, the expected damage on this spell is just bad for 5th level. maybe just make a successful save not end the spell (and instead avoid the entire 4d6 damage for that turn)? that might be much for 5th level but i can't think of anything else. the spell IS concentration. also, exhaustion just seems weird for this spell and could become a death spiral if used against a player.

True Strike - this doesn't solve the core problem of true strike, being that two attack rolls is always better then one at advantage (assuming each attack will do the same damage and have the same effects, of course). i have no clue how you fix true strike. maybe make it so you can apply it on friendly attacks, essentially making it a ranged help action?

Circle of Death - fireball damage and one round of disadvantage? not great, especially when you consider almost 500 (!!!!!) monsters have immunity to the poisoned condition. why not just make the base damage 11d6 (equivalent to a fireball of equal level) or 12d6 (one die higher)? could also do something like 10d6 and a level of exhaustion (whether the exhaustion is avoidable with the save is up to you). unlike immolation, exhaustion actually makes sense here flavour-wise, and the spell only happens once, so it isn't a death spiral unto itself.
 
Last edited:

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
In this thread, the goal is to address some of the weakest spells in dnd with quick simple changes. Again, our goal is not to revamp the spell and change it entirely, just a slight adjustment that fixes the biggest issue. I'm not all of the really weak spells here, just a personal top 5 of mine.

Weird: Remove the saving throw.
Now weird goes the worst 9th level spell in the game to a spell of unshakable fear. The spell can now do incredible damage if it applies long enough, and applies a long standing condition that cannot be resisted. The only way to beat weird is to endure it, to be immune to it, or to stop the caster's concentration.... aka a real 9th level spell.
I like it
Mordenkainen's Sword: Remove the attack roll, the sword automatically hits.
What is one of the lamest damaging spell in the game now turns into magic missiles big brother. An irresistible force effect, that while still doesn't do a lot of damage, now can affect a creature no matter their AC, giving it a decent niche.
It needs to lose concentration, IMO. And make multiple attacks with damage on a miss, rather than auto hit.
Immolation: The target takes 1 exhaustion on each failed saving throw.
Currently immolation requires two failed saving throws just to get to the damage of a fireball....and its one target....and its concentration. This spell needs to do a lot more bang for the buck. Adding in exhaustion creates a nasty secondary effect, and makes failed saves painful beyond the mediocre damage.
TBH, just lower the level on it.
True Strike: Change duration to 1 minute (concentration). The target may gain advantage on any 1 attack roll during the duration.
This gives True Strike a niche as a "buff and break down the door" spell. By allowing it to be used at some point during the minute, it provides much needed flexibility to the spell, allowing you to use it when you need it.
Also make it a bonus action, and it’d be worth it. Concentration would balance the action economy. Or, leave it but let it add force damage if someone hits the target.
Circle of Death: All creatures in the spell area are poisoned until the beginning of your next turn (no save)
This spell just doesn't do nearly enough effect to justify its spell level, so now we add an automatic status rider (though a fairly weak condition at this level) to sweeten the deal.
That works.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
That change to Weird is interesting. 30 ft, auto frighten and auto 4d10 damage at the end of every turn? That does make it a truly terrifying spell if you can find a way to be safe while concentrating on it. I still may want to have the initial damage happen sooner, since it is possible to have the spell dropped and it do nothing (Frightened creature hits you and breaks concentration before end of turn and the spell was useless) but it is an intriguing change.



Mentioning Magic Missile for Mordenkainen's sword got me thinking. What happens if you cast that instead? 7th level magic missile is 9d4+9, which averages 31.5 points of damage? Average of Mordenkainen's Sword is 16.5 (3d10). Which means you would have to have it active for two turns to get the same value out of it as upcasting Magic Missile. Three turns to be better. Compare with Finger of Death. 7d8+30 is an average of 61.5. Save for half is approximately 31.5, same as Magic Missile and the effect can net you a permanent minion. To be better than just using Finger of Death, Mordenkainen's Sword would need to be active and attack for five turns. Most fights are three.

I think the auto-hit is an interesting way to take it, but when you look at another single target damage spell, and see that you need four rounds to equal it's good effect and two to equal its failure? On concentration? I just don't think it is enough.


I have to disagree with you about Exhaustion. A single failed save is one level of exhaustion... which is meaningless in combat. No one except very specific enemies are making ability checks that matter at that point, and very few enemies at those levels are going to be terribly put out by this unless you have a specific grappler build. And grappling someone on fire is a bad idea. Two levels halves speed, which is kind of useful, but if you use this against an enemy that isn't moving much anyways? Not really going to make this spell more desirable.


Not only does making True Strike Concentration mess with the spell conceptually (you focus on a specific enemy you haven't seen yet?) But it also doesn't work if you have any other concentration effect. This is part of the problem with the spell already. And it isn't better than say... guidance to get +1d4 on the stealth check that gives you advantage on the enemy. I'd say it is more useful if you can cast it as a bonus action, but not sure.


I could see that. I've always been a bit of a fan of Circle of Death, because it ignores cover and hits a MASSIVE area. But the damage is pretty low for a sixth level spell.



Not to just go on your spells. A few I've changed around.... um... if I can find them. Where did I put that list? AHA, I seriously need to stop losing this thing.

Hmm, some of these are a bit more complex. Like Grasping Vine. I gave it the ability to restrain the target if it fails, and it starts its turn restrained, they take 4d8 damage.

Beast Bond I just made last an hour and increase the range to 1 mile.

Oh, Conjure Barrage was just a straight damage increase.

I thought I had notes for Stoneskin written down, but I can't find them. At a minimum, lose the concentration on it.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Immolation - even if fireball weren't OP, the expected damage on this spell is just bad for 5th level. maybe just make a successful save not end the spell (and instead avoid the entire 4d6 damage for that turn)? that might be much for 5th level but i can't think of anything else. the spell IS concentration. also, exhaustion just seems weird for this spell and could become a death spiral if used against a player.
You’re on to something. Saving means you only take the “you’re on fire” damage that turn, which you have to use an action to end.
True Strike - this doesn't solve the core problem of true strike, being that two attack rolls is always better then one at advantage (assuming each attack will do the same damage and have the same effects, of course). i have no clue how you fix true strike. maybe make it so you can apply it on friendly attacks, essentially making it a ranged help action?
Ranged Help is a decent cantrip, actually.
 

Horwath

Hero
True strike:
Adds +1d4 damage, +1d6 for twohanded melee weapons. Attack counts as magical. You can use your spellcasting modifier for attack and damage bonus.
+2d4 at 5th level
+3d4 at 11th level
+4d4 at 17th level
 

Gadget

Adventurer
Hmmm....There are lots of spells that could use a decent boost (and a few that could be nerfed a little as well).

Weird - Ok. Sounds decent at first blush. I had been carrying my fix for Phantasmal Killer forward with it: you take damage before making the second save at the end of your turn. Your fix makes it better for 9th level.

Mordenkainen's Sword - I would prefer just taking Blade of Disaster and toning the damage down a bit.

Immolation - Must disagree here. My fix just makes it average to mediocre, but I change it to any 3 creatures you can see in range. Gives it a bit more oomph in that it avoids friendly fire inherent in a regular fireball and can still potentially get more damage out of it if a couple targets fail their saves more than once. Also the whole turn to ash at zero hp.

True Strike - just make it a Guidance or Resistance for attack rolls. Target gets to add 1d4 to an attack roll in the next minute (10 minutes?). This way you can spend an action out of combat (when you know combat is imminent) to get a bonus during combat. Might keep concentration so it isn't 'always on.'

There are probably more that could be added. Witchbolt, Crown of Maddness, Find Traps, Negative Energy Flood, etc.
 


Quickleaf

Legend
In this thread, the goal is to address some of the weakest spells in dnd with quick simple changes. Again, our goal is not to revamp the spell and change it entirely, just a slight adjustment that fixes the biggest issue. I'm not all of the really weak spells here, just a personal top 5 of mine.

Circle of Death: All creatures in the spell area are poisoned until the beginning of your next turn (no save)
This spell just doesn't do nearly enough effect to justify its spell level, so now we add an automatic status rider (though a fairly weak condition at this level) to sweeten the deal.
Interesting selection of spells.

For Circle of Death... what if any creature damaged is cursed to be unable to heal? And it also creates an ongoing area effect in which healing is impossible?
 

jgsugden

Legend
In this thread, the goal is to address some of the weakest spells in dnd with quick simple changes. Again, our goal is not to revamp the spell and change it entirely, just a slight adjustment that fixes the biggest issue. I'm not all of the really weak spells here, just a personal top 5 of mine.
....

Circle of Death: All creatures in the spell area are poisoned until the beginning of your next turn (no save)
This spell just doesn't do nearly enough effect to justify its spell level, so now we add an automatic status rider (though a fairly weak condition at this level) to sweeten the deal.
Circle of Death is a limited situation spell, but it is already massively powerful. Why? 60 foot radius. That can be hundreds of targets. This is one of a series of war spells that can change the entire tide of a battle in one casting. Now, I'd usually prezer to have the Freezing Sphere spell with the superior range, but Circle of Death has a different resistance profile, is open to more classes and upcasts better (2d6 rather than 1d6). You're also not going to find that 'open battlefield' scenario in many campaigns, but when you do ... wow. These spells are amazing.

As a DM, I have several casters that use this spell. A powerful necromancer attacked a large town. The Necormancer's first ranks were spirits: Wraiths, Specters and Shadows. The guard rode out to face them ... and the entire guard was hit by a Circle of Death that ignored the immune spirits. The PCs then had to deal with the invading army long enough for the populace to flee.

I'm not saying that it couldn't be more powerful and still balanced - just that it doesn't need to be rebalanced as it has a powerful use that keepsit within the range of reason.
 



DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I re-did both True Strike and Blade Ward several years ago to have a duration of 1 hour, and that the recipient could choose which attack to have it go off. This allowed the caster to cast it out of combat and thus have it in reserve for when then needed it to pop.

Obviously the Bonus action cast would be easier to remember for True Strike (like others have put forth)... but there is the issue of giving Advantage on an attack that easily without some mitigating factor to give it a bit more cost. Other options do ask the player to pay an additional cost to gain the Advantage via Bonus action. Help uses your action, a Rogue using Hide requires them to make a Stealth check, a Battlemaster has to spend one of their Superiority Dice to Feint, a Rogue choosing to Aim cannot move the entire turn, etc. So to make TS a Bonus action cast... there probably should be another requirement to make it a bit more difficult.

But then again... I guess it really depends on how often a warrior that has access to cantrips would use their Bonus actions to cast it and if it really was as unbalanced as it might appear at first blush. It probably needs a good playtesting.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Making true strike a bonus action makes jt overpowered. For classes that don’t need their bonus action your giving them advantage on tap, that’s just too good.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I agree that circle of death is situational but doesn't need fixing as is.

True strike: what if we made it something that was a bit like ... a clockwork amulet, or maybe even reliable talent? A roll can be replaced with a flat 10? This isn't a fully developed idea, but I thought I would toss it out :)
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I agree that circle of death is situational but doesn't need fixing as is.

True strike: what if we made it something that was a bit like ... a clockwork amulet, or maybe even reliable talent? A roll can be replaced with a flat 10? This isn't a fully developed idea, but I thought I would toss it out :)
Good idea,

Can replace an attack roll with a flat 10 for the rest of the next turn, so it may be worthwhile for EK and other multi-attacker with acess to spells.

I think I'd still add +1/2/3/4 force damage on a hit.
Immolation:

I'd make it closer to Contagion, where you need to save 3 times (or fail 3 times), taking the damage for each failed save, half even on a sucess, and disadvantage on attack rolls, like Heat Metal. After 3 failed save, the target falls to 0 HP.

Circle of Death: All creatures in the spell area are poisoned until the beginning of your next turn (no save)
This spell just doesn't do nearly enough effect to justify its spell level, so now we add an automatic status rider (though a fairly weak condition at this level) to sweeten the deal.

Those who fail the save cant regain HP and are Vulnerable until the start of your next turn? The damage is automatic.

Or

Roll 10d8; the total is how many hit points of creatures this spell can affect. Starting with the creature that has the lowest current hit points, each creature affected by this spell dies. AKA Sleep ++
 

Don't forget Find Traps. It actually beat True Strike in the worst spell ever survivor thread.

Though I do love someone figured out it can be used on legal documents. :ROFLMAO:
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Circle of Death is a limited situation spell, but it is already massively powerful. Why? 60 foot radius. That can be hundreds of targets. This is one of a series of war spells that can change the entire tide of a battle in one casting. Now, I'd usually prezer to have the Freezing Sphere spell with the superior range, but Circle of Death has a different resistance profile, is open to more classes and upcasts better (2d6 rather than 1d6). You're also not going to find that 'open battlefield' scenario in many campaigns, but when you do ... wow. These spells are amazing.

As a DM, I have several casters that use this spell. A powerful necromancer attacked a large town. The Necormancer's first ranks were spirits: Wraiths, Specters and Shadows. The guard rode out to face them ... and the entire guard was hit by a Circle of Death that ignored the immune spirits. The PCs then had to deal with the invading army long enough for the populace to flee.

I'm not saying that it couldn't be more powerful and still balanced - just that it doesn't need to be rebalanced as it has a powerful use that keepsit within the range of reason.

I agree the range can make it useful, but I want to note that this scenario involved the caster being an NPC likely facing enemies several times weaker than them (Circle of Death is for 11th level casters minimum and town guards are CR 1/8). This isn't a scenario that Player Character's often encounter and when they do, it often isn't something they feel like spending their most powerful spell on.

The thing is, we rarely have PCs fighting more than 20 targets. A combat with 5 PCs and 20 enemies is already fairly busy. And 100 enemies? I've never seen it.

That isn't to say that "this is an anti-army" spell isn't a good point, because I agree with you, I love the ludicrous range of this spell and the fact that I'm fairly sure it goes through cover, but that doesn't make it a good spell for player characters, who are not often nuking villages or fighting armies. So, I'd like to find a way to rebalance it that allows it to be generally more useful.

I do like the idea of the spell preventing healing. Currently the only spell that does this is a cantrip, and giving this massive area of effect a rider that if you fail the save you cannot regain hitpoints for 1 minute would make this an amazing spell I think.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////


I agree that circle of death is situational but doesn't need fixing as is.

True strike: what if we made it something that was a bit like ... a clockwork amulet, or maybe even reliable talent? A roll can be replaced with a flat 10? This isn't a fully developed idea, but I thought I would toss it out

I like this idea. Maybe have it affect one attack to begin with, two attacks at 5th, three at 11th, and four at 17th so it scales with level? It still makes it kind of bad for an action though, because it doesn't change the action economy issue.

Huh.

You know Flame Blade and the other weapon cantrips have an attack as part of their action. What if True Strike allowed you to cast the spell, then make an attack as a bonus action on your turn? This circumvents the action economy issue, and it doesn't make true strike a bonus action for endless use, a mid level Eldritch Knight is still going to have to consider if this is worthwhile for them, since the turn they cast it, they don't get their full round of attacks.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////


Don't forget Find Traps. It actually beat True Strike in the worst spell ever survivor thread.

Though I do love someone figured out it can be used on legal documents. :ROFLMAO:

I honestly don't know if you can fix this spell without just making it... you know the nature and location of all traps within 60 ft of you. Which isn't really something I want a caster to be able to do.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I... may have actually come up with a decent replacement for Find Traps. Not a fix, because it no longer does the thing it was supposed to do, but... a decent spell I think all the same.

Trap Sense (replacement for Find Traps)
2nd level Divination
Casting time: 1 action
Range: touch
Components: V,S
Duration: 1 hour

You touch a willing creature in range, giving them a prenatural sense of danger from traps, natural hazards, and other passive dangers. For the duration of the spell, they gain the following benefits

  • They have advantage on rolls to find and disarm traps. They also have advantage on saving throws to avoid or resist traps and natural hazards
  • They have resistance to all damage dealt by traps and natural hazards
  • They may search for traps while moving at a normal pace, instead of a slow pace
At Higher Levels: If cast as a 5th level spell, the duration extends to 8 hours. If cast as a 7th level spell, the duration is 24 hours. And if cast as a 9th level spell, it lasts until dispelled



Also, I fixed Daylight. If you decide to concentrate on the spell, the light produced is sunlight. Yes, this can absolutely ruin specific monster's days, but so can any other concentration spell, so it should work out fine and it makes it no longer a "dispel magical darkness" spell.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top