D&D General What is a "spell"? What isn't?


I found counterspell itself to be too generic. That's why I went with the known or opposing spell to counter (e.g. knowledge of wall of fire or wall of ice to counter a wall of fire). If there was a discernable magical effect and a magician wanted to try to counter it, I would be game if there was some parallel that the player could explain. In the past, a wizard tried to counter a strafing dragon's breath with a cone of cold. This seemed completely appropriate to me and they made the roll. For monstrous abilities, the trick would be understanding it enough to describe an appropriate spell to counter it...
That is a nice system that is very evocative.

In my setting I have dozens of ways to do countering magic. However, they're all based upon spells.

I have a 4th level Deflection spell that doesn't stop a spell, but instead lets you change the target (using wither the original caster or you as the source of the spell).

I have a 2nd level spell that reduces the range of a spell being cast by 1/2, forcing the caster to either select a new target, or give up on the spell.

I have a 5th level concentration spell that absorbs a spell being cast and allows the caster to release it at a later point (essentially recasting it) (concentrating on it until they cast it).

I have a 3rd level concentration spell that suspends the spell being cast so that it doesn't take effect as long as the countering mage concentrates (but it then springs into existence once the concentration drops).

I have a 6th level concentration spell that creates an aura around a caster that allows them to counter any spell of 3rd level or below cast within a 60 foot radius (but that has no effect on spells of 4th level or above).

I have a 3rd level spell that doesn't counter a spell, but instead duplicates it a round later (although it has a lot of limitations - it is written poorly, but the player using it loves it as is).

I have a 5th level alteration spell that is cast as a reaction that allows a caster to change history, forcing an enemy to select to do a different action than the one they selected. This is often used as a counterspell by forcing the spellcaster to choose to do something other than cast a spell.

I also have a NONCONCENTRATION 4th level spell that gives you an aura of 60 feet that automatically attempts to counter any spell with a counter tag - even if you're unconcious. However, these always are rolled (d20+modifier versus 10+ spell level).

I have a 9th level spell that counters all spells with a counter tag that are cast within 3 miles - for 24 hours.

Mage battles take on a different feel when different combinations of these magics appear in combats.

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