5E UA Spell Versatility: A deeper dive

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I agree with @ad_hoc & @dnd4vr here @Ashrym

It says "enhances Spellcasting", and then it says "replace one spell you learned from this Spellcasting feature". Spell Versatility doesn't have a "spellcasting feature" outside of the base "Spellcasting" for these classes.

Right now RAW with 2 weeks of downtime a Sorcerer could swap out every single spell known at 17th level. That is my biggest problem with it, it completely changes the nature of what a Sorcerer is in that you can be a completely different sorcerer from 1 week to the next.

obviously based on the back and forth in the other thread there are people for whom the ability to be a completely different sorcerer over time is appealing. But it's not to me.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
No. It says "this feature" while using the spell versatility feature. 5e uses specific language and it would have said "bard spell you know" or which ever class if that were the case.

EDIT: it's not one use either. It's one spell known that gets swapped on a long rest, like a floater.
Yes, because it is creating an addition to the feature.

It is an additionally paragraph in the spellcasting feature of the class.

Your interpretation would actually do absolutely nothing as the class doesn't actually have any learned spells from the 'spell versatility' feature.

Here it is again. Read it with your interpretation. It does nothing.

"Spell Versatility 1st-level bard feature (enhances Spellcasting)Whenever you finish a long rest, you can replace one spell you learned from this Spellcasting feature with another spell from the bard spell list. The new spell must be the same level as the spell you replace. "
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
I agree with @ad_hoc & @dnd4vr here @Ashrym

It says "enhances Spellcasting", and then it says "replace one spell you learned from this Spellcasting feature". Spell Versatility doesn't have a "spellcasting feature" outside of the base "Spellcasting" for these classes.

Right now RAW with 2 weeks of downtime a Sorcerer could swap out every single spell known at 17th level. That is my biggest problem with it, it completely changes the nature of what a Sorcerer is in that you can be a completely different sorcerer from 1 week to the next.

obviously based on the back and forth in the other thread there are people for whom the ability to be a completely different sorcerer over time is appealing. But it's not to me.
Yes, because it is creating an addition to the feature.

It is an additionally paragraph in the spellcasting feature of the class.

Your interpretation would actually do absolutely nothing as the class doesn't actually have any learned spells from the 'spell versatility' feature.

Here it is again. Read it with your interpretation. It does nothing.

"Spell Versatility 1st-level bard feature (enhances Spellcasting)Whenever you finish a long rest, you can replace one spell you learned from this Spellcasting feature with another spell from the bard spell list. The new spell must be the same level as the spell you replace. "
You can dispute on intent but that's not RAW here.

If a character has 8 spells known, 7 of them would never change. The only one that ever changes is the one selected using spell versatility under that RAW. If you swap healing word for cure wound then you can only swap out cure wounds. Swapping out cure wounds for heroism and you can only swap out heroism because those are the spells "learned from this spellcasting feature".
 
You can dispute on intent but that's not RAW here.

If a character has 8 spells known, 7 of them would never change. The only one that ever changes is the one selected using spell versatility under that RAW. If you swap healing word for cure wound then you can only swap out cure wounds. Swapping out cure wounds for heroism and you can only swap out heroism because those are the spells "learned from this spellcasting feature".
"Spellcasting" is capitalized, which means it refers to the sorcerer's Spellcasting feature, and the "Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher" section in particular, quoted in full (but unformatted) from the SRD as follows:

Spellcasting
An event in your past, or in the life of a parent or ancestor, left an indelible mark on you, infusing you with arcane magic. This font of magic, whatever its origin, fuels your spells.

Cantrips
At 1st level, you know four cantrips of your choice from the sorcerer spell list. You learn additional sorcerer cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Sorcerer table.

Spell Slots
The Sorcerer table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these sorcerer spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
For example, if you know the 1st-level spell burning hands and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast burning hands using either slot.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher
You know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the sorcerer spell list.
The Spells Known column of the Sorcerer table shows when you learn more sorcerer spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 3rd level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.
Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the sorcerer spells you know and replace it with another spell from the sorcerer spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Spellcasting Ability
Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your sorcerer spells, since the power of your magic relies on your ability to project your will into the world. You use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a sorcerer spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Spellcasting Focus
You can use an arcane focus as a spellcasting focus for your sorcerer spells.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
"Spellcasting" is capitalized, which means it refers to the sorcerer's Spellcasting feature, quoted in full (but unformatted) from the SRD as follows:
Only if by "this feature" the text refers to a different feature that's not "this feature".

spellvers.jpg


Spell versatility is a 1st-level feature. It's reaching to make assumptions that "this" refers to anything else.

The other thing I would point out is that the spell selected has to match the level replaced. As a 1st level feature that's going to lock it into cantrips or 1st-level spells as well.






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Only if by "this feature" the text refers to a different feature that's not "this feature".

Spell versatility is a 1st-level feature. It's reaching to make assumptions that "this" refers to anything else.
Except that it's not "this feature", it's "this Spellcasting feature", which means it's referring to Spellcasting, not Spell Versatility, which if it ever sees print in an official product, would likely be a subsection of Spellcasting, like "Cantrips", "Spell Slots", and "Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher".
 
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Bacon Bits

Adventurer
I had a lot of the posts in the other thread about this, so while I'll follow along, I doubt I'll chime in much.

The only thing I'd like to add here is that the proposed option would not work with Magical Secrets because it explicitly states that you can change out spells gained through the Spellcasting (or Pact Magic) feature.

Magical Secrets is a different feature.
Even if we ignore the "Spellcasting feature" clause, Magical Secrets still doesn't have a particularly beneficial interaction with Magical Secrets because it requires the new spell to be on the Bard's spell list.

Bard Spell Versatility says:

Whenever you finish a long rest, you can replace one spell you learned from this Spellcasting feature with another spell from the bard spell list. The new spell must be the same level as the spell you replace.
Magical Secrets says:

1. Choose two spells from any classes.
2. Those spells are now Bard spells for you. (This is necessary because it's what determines which ability to use for saves and spell attacks.)
3. Those spells are now known spells for you.

At best, Bard Spell Versatility only lets you mess with step 3.

Even if we say that the Bard can chose to exchange spells learned through Magical Secrets, the new spell must come from the Bard spell list. Even if the spell is no longer a spell known, spells added to the Magical Secrets spell list would remain on your Bard spell list.

A Bard could choose to lose fireball in exchange for hypnotic pattern. Fireball would remain on that Bard's spell list even though it was no longer a known spell because Magical Secrets made it a Bard spell and Spell Versatility doesn't affect that. In any event, the Bard couldn't exchange fireball or hypnotic pattern for aura of vitality because that's not on the Bard's spell list.
 
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Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
A Bard could choose to lose fireball in exchange for hypnotic pattern. Fireball would remain on that Bard's spell list even though it was no longer a known spell because Magical Secrets made it a Bard spell and Spell Versatility doesn't affect that. In any event, the Bard couldn't exchange fireball or hypnotic pattern for aura of vitality because that's not on the Bard's spell list.
Right. I agree with you.

I think I was trying to head off people who would interpret it as allowing you to re-use your magical secrets feature to grab any spell on a LR, though in my desire to be concise, I wasn't as clear as you.
 
I actually think it would be quite flavorful for the various Spell Versatility options to have minor differences, such as the warlock needing to make an offering of 20 gp per level of the spell to persuade his patron to grant him different spells.

For the sorcerer, I think it may suit the flavor of the class more if it was a new Metamagic option, since it expands on the sorcerer's ability to modify spells on the fly. Something like the following:

Any Spell
You can use sorcery points to cast a sorcerer spell you do not know. The cost to cast a spell in this manner is as follows (about one and a half times the cost to create a spell slot, progression smoothened):

Spell LevelSorcery Point Cost
Cantrip1
1st3
2nd5
3rd7
4th9
5th11
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
Except that it's not "this feature", it's "this Spellcasting feature", which means it's referring to Spellcasting, not Spell Versatility, which if it ever sees print in an official product, would likely be a subsection of Spellcasting, like "Cantrips", "Spell Slots", and "Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher".
That's because this feature is a spell casting feature. When I say a person can argue intent it leaves room for what's intended. When someone is arguing that "this spellcasting feature" isn't referring to this feature I have to disagree.

I also find it more plausible that WotC's intent was a small benefit for versatility and not the ability to rewrite one's entire spell list during downtime. ;)

I pointed out the wording. My recommendation is play it how you want and give back feedback on the survey expressing concern over the wording if you feel my interpretation is not correct.
 

MarkB

Hero
That's because this feature is a spell casting feature. When I say a person can argue intent it leaves room for what's intended. When someone is arguing that "this spellcasting feature" isn't referring to this feature I have to disagree.

I also find it more plausible that WotC's intent was a small benefit for versatility and not the ability to rewrite one's entire spell list during downtime. ;)

I pointed out the wording. My recommendation is play it how you want and give back feedback on the survey expressing concern over the wording if you feel my interpretation is not correct.
It specifies "this Spellcasting feature" because multiclassed characters have access to multiple Spellcasting features, and each version of the UA enhancement only applies to that class's Spellcasting feature, not those gained from other classes.
 
Firstly, I would just like to point out that:

Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters appear to have been completely forgotten.

Also, High Elves should be included if you are allowing cantrip changing.

The general feeling in our group is we don't like this idea. No one has ever had a problem with sorcerer, warlock or bard spell selection, and therefore we consider the rules as is "not broke". Even if someone feels they have made a poor spell choice waiting to level up to fix it doesn't seem like a long time. I guess in a game with very slow levelling it might become an issue. I guess it might be useful for level 20 characters to have some way to change spells, but I have never played D&D at level 20 (outside CRPGs). Under those circumstances I would prefer changing spells to be a downtime activity, taking a couple of weeks and some gold, to "long rest".
 

Coroc

Adventurer
I can't see any case in which is this "too much" of a boost for Sorcerers. They're a weaker class than other spellcasters, by and large. They're vastly weaker than Wizards. This would help them - it won't fix them, and indeed the other stuff for them is mostly just mucking around charmingly than boosting their power, but it's the right direction.

With Bards, I think you can't make a reasonable case that it's "too much" except with level 7/8/9 spells, because they know sufficiently few of those, and they're sufficiently dramatic that I could see limiting them to changing out spells of level 6 or below, and perhaps being allowed to change out a 7/8/9 spell with a month's notice or something.

I feel like your analysis doesn't really look at how Clerics are already rather more powerful and flexible than any of these guys, whilst wearing good armour + shields, having decent weapons, and in many cases having extremely good non-spell abilities.
Sorcerers are not weaker than wizards, they are just different and they have some abilities (metamagic conversion nof spell points)a wizard never gets close to. Also their physical prowess (dragon sorcerer) is better than the wizards. If you allow favored soul sorcerers then you even get healing abilities for sorcerers plus your favourite arcane spells.

To balance all those abilities out what would you restrict or limit for sorcerers so that they are not better than wizards in all aspects except versatility?
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
To increase clarity, Spell Versatility should say:

Spell Versatility
1st-level bard feature (enhances Spellcasting)
Whenever you finish a long rest, you can replace one spell you learned from [the bard] Spellcasting feature with another spell from the bard spell list. The new spell must be the same level as the spell you replace.



Heh, using pronouns like ‘this’ without a clear antecedent is a style failure that English teachers warn us about.
 
I find the OP very painful to read. Thousands of words to explain something I already know anyway i.e. how the core classes work.

I don't see any reason why Spell Versatility should be added to 5e. It doesn't have any benefit. It makes all characters of those classes a lot more similar to each other, which is not good. It won't matter than much anymore which spells to choose when designing a character of that class, so why bother. Players will create those characters with less care because they can fix them later.

In addition, core characters will get the shaft, so DMs will be asked to enable Spell Versatility to all characters so they can get a free boost. In AL organized play it will suck if you're already using another book for character material, because with the PHB+1 book rule everyone who picks whatever new book has Spell Versatility will get a boost for free, but if you wanted an Archetype or feat or else from a different book, no free boost for you.

So in order to avoid the previous scenario, if Spell Versatility receives good feedback then WotC will put it into a new PHB instead, meaning 5.5 and the usual fracture between gamers.

I don't know if WotC does it on purpose because they already need a revision or new edition financially, but if they care for 5e then this kind of "global fixes" are seriously bad design ideas. They are very significant changes to some basic assumptions of the game. Of course they can easily find lots of players who will shout "yes, free boost!" and use it as a "proof" that it's a good idea instead.
 

Krachek

Adventurer
That is giving incredible short shrift to the WotC team who has done great work and on something that is playtest material.

Playtest material is always "over designed" so that they can reign it in as necessary based on player feedback. If they under designed it, then when they got that feedback, they'd have to up a feature in power and re-release it in playtest to see where they were. More work than is necessary.
They have done great job.
they are at the junction point of all feedback about DnD,
designing rules update like they did need some thinking and structure but I also ask
some artistic feelings about the game.
some math but a lot of taste, intuition and a will to produce a joyful product.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
I don't see any reason why Spell Versatility should be added to 5e. It doesn't have any benefit. It makes all characters of those classes a lot more similar to each other, which is not good. It won't matter than much anymore which spells to choose when designing a character of that class, so why bother. Players will create those characters with less care because they can fix them later.
Heh... you say this as though most players don't already default to the exact same 8 spells across each character class. ;)

If spellcasters all seem to be the same, its because those players have decided on what spells are "optimal" for their particular game and can't help but build a load-out that follows that. But that's on them. They can't then complain that all characters look the same if they are following along.
 
Heh... you say this as though most players don't already default to the exact same 8 spells across each character class. ;)

If spellcasters all seem to be the same, its because those players have decided on what spells are "optimal" for their particular game and can't help but build a load-out that follows that. But that's on them. They can't then complain that all characters look the same if they are following along.
Doesn't happen to my players, but it doesn't matter.

The problem is not even necessarily designing a game where all spellcasters know all their spells. The problem is changing the established rules of the game. Especially because there is nothing wrong to fix here.
 

MarkB

Hero
To increase clarity, Spell Versatility should say:

Spell Versatility
1st-level bard feature (enhances Spellcasting)
Whenever you finish a long rest, you can replace one spell you learned from [the bard] Spellcasting feature with another spell from the bard spell list. The new spell must be the same level as the spell you replace.



Heh, using pronouns like ‘this’ without a clear antecedent is a style failure that English teachers warn us about.
Bear in mind that these entries aren't meant to be read in isolation - they're intended to be inserted into the existing PHB text. The wording is a lot less ambiguous when the paragraph is simply one more sub-heading under the Spellcasting class feature.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Only if by "this feature" the text refers to a different feature that's not "this feature".

spellvers.jpg


Spell versatility is a 1st-level feature. It's reaching to make assumptions that "this" refers to anything else.

The other thing I would point out is that the spell selected has to match the level replaced. As a 1st level feature that's going to lock it into cantrips or 1st-level spells as well.
Hopefully by now you understand your reading isn't RAW. It is cool if you want to run it this way and it would make it less powerful. But even with your reading it wouldn't limit it to cantrips or 1st-level spells, it would limit it to spells of a level when you first use it. If you waited until 5th level, you could and the first time you used this was with a 3rd level spell, then you would be locked into 3rd level spells for the swap.

Now, if you are still reading it not RAW, I would like to point out if you are reading "this Spellcasting feature" as the Spell Versatility feature, it says "you can replace one spell you learned from this Spellcasting feature." But Spell Versatility doesn't allow you to "learn" a spell, so you'd have nothing to replace.

So, what is your thinking now?
 

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