D&D 5E would you let a PC learn a non spell magic power?

DND_Reborn

Legend
I should add in 2E we allowed PCs to learn spells with non-weapon proficiency slots, with each spell level costing 2 slots (IIRC no one ever learned more than a 2nd level spell since it cost 4 slots!). Any PC could do it, and you got the spell once/day.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

FitzTheRuke

Legend
The scenario probably wouldn't happen in any of my games, but if it seemed like fun and made a player happy, sure. Like you say, it would fill the spot of a magic item of similar power, so it's not really a balance issue. It's easy enough to build a story for it, so that part would satisfy me.
 


dave2008

Legend
Some new monsters replace action attack spells with magic abilities that are close to (and in some case exact dup) of spells. If you have a monster/npc with a firey blast that duplicates fireball but doesn't count as a spell, and a player makes friends with them, can they learn firey blast?

if so would the character have to be a caster?

Can my 9th level fighter make friends and spend downtime learning Fiery blast ?

in some cases it seams like it would just be a boon like a magic item (maybe use an attunement slot maybe not) but if so and if not WHY?


side question: what would you think if someday there was a sorcerer (or other name but sorcerer like) class that just did this as there class thing... semi duplicate spells but not count as spells?
I would allow a spellcaster to a learn a spell like a magical ability. But it would be a spell and have the same requirements of any spell.

I would also allow a magical ability that mimics a spell to be counterspelled.

I would not allow a non-spellcaster to learn a magical ability that is like a spell, generally. However, I could see that allowed as a supernatural gift or boon.
 


I give boons instead of items that are unique abilites all the time already

I don't see a reason not to (but It would be rare to both make that friend and want that power)

that is what I am asking... and I am leaning toward if the NPCs can have it yes.

yeah I mean it would be a cool upgrade for a single ability (This one isn't counterspellable even though all the others are)
None of that is wrong. You table your game. But at my table we want their to be a difference between the player characters and the non-player characters.

I (and many of the players in my campaigns) have played in games where the PCs are super powerful and can get the most powerfu labilities. But after a short while, it's not fun for us. There is little challenge if our PCs can do anything and everything.

So, for us, a challenge is to overcome by not being the most powerful creature in the room, but rather the smartest, luckiest, most tactical, or just the one that as a party working together.
 

HammerMan

Legend
There is little challenge if our PCs can do anything and everything.
I can’t speak for everyone but I have never known any DM to not be able to challenge PCs even if you let them play as gods. There are always bigger gods or numbers of lesser gods to challange.
So, for us, a challenge is to overcome by not being the most powerful creature in the room, but rather the smartest, luckiest, most tactical, or just the one that as a party working together.
I don’t even care if WE do overcome the challange. Some of the best outcomes are RPing through failure (as long as the fail state isn’t death)
 

I (and many of the players in my campaigns) have played in games where the PCs are super powerful and can get the most powerfu labilities. But after a short while, it's not fun for us. There is little challenge if our PCs can do anything and everything.

So, for us, a challenge is to overcome by not being the most powerful creature in the room, but rather the smartest, luckiest, most tactical, or just the one that as a party working together.
I can't imagine a 1/sr or a 1/lr extra spell that can't be counterspelled is really that much power... and in no way is it really going to 'overtake all challanges.
 

Its not about exceptions, or one-offs. As I already implied, there are always exceptions. It's about non-spell spells becoming common. Or NPC owers becoming nothing more than a pool of powers for the PCs to choose from.

Its about attitude and perception. As long as everyone has the right attitude and everyone's perceptions of the game are meeting their expectations, go for it.

For me, exceptions and special cases are just fine, but I won't be turning NPC abilities into a catalog of powers for the PCs to choose from.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Even though these abilities are not built as spells, if there is something that looks like a spell, I'd be inclined to allow a wizard to be able to learn it and add it to their spellbook (using the equivalent spell if it is just a renamed fireball, for instance). Other classes would also be able to learn them. If a cultist of orcus uses something that looks like a spell then that would be opened up for warlocks, priests would grant new options for clerics, etc.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Some magic powers aren't spells. They're something some monsters have access to through how they're born, something that happened to them, etc. You can't just learn to be another species.

Some magic powers aren't spells because... the editing is sloppy and there's no proper keywording. I just add keywords and then yeah, maybe you can learn it if you can find someone who knows and isn't inclined to put you in a headline.
 



Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Some new monsters replace action attack spells with magic abilities that are close to (and in some case exact dup) of spells. If you have a monster/npc with a firey blast that duplicates fireball but doesn't count as a spell, and a player makes friends with them, can they learn firey blast?

if so would the character have to be a caster?

Can my 9th level fighter make friends and spend downtime learning Fiery blast ?

in some cases it seams like it would just be a boon like a magic item (maybe use an attunement slot maybe not) but if so and if not WHY?


side question: what would you think if someday there was a sorcerer (or other name but sorcerer like) class that just did this as there class thing... semi duplicate spells but not count as spells?

not learn it - but I might let them take it as a Feat, to show that their very nature has been changed (by divine boon, magical transformation, gamma radiation or Ooze-tainted blood)
 
Last edited:

ECMO3

Hero
Some new monsters replace action attack spells with magic abilities that are close to (and in some case exact dup) of spells. If you have a monster/npc with a firey blast that duplicates fireball but doesn't count as a spell, and a player makes friends with them, can they learn firey blast?

if so would the character have to be a caster?

Can my 9th level fighter make friends and spend downtime learning Fiery blast ?

in some cases it seams like it would just be a boon like a magic item (maybe use an attunement slot maybe not) but if so and if not WHY?


side question: what would you think if someday there was a sorcerer (or other name but sorcerer like) class that just did this as there class thing... semi duplicate spells but not count as spells?
I would make something like that a custom feat and have its damage or affects in line with other feats.
 

Some new monsters replace action attack spells with magic abilities that are close to (and in some case exact dup) of spells. If you have a monster/npc with a firey blast that duplicates fireball but doesn't count as a spell, and a player makes friends with them, can they learn firey blast?
Sure. There are many strange and alien magical techniques. What is required is a mentor and talent, or a means to wrest the power from the target and make it your own. Do they have to be a magician of some sort? Maybe, if the creature they encounter is. A fighter that befriends Emberhart the Salamander can probably learn some awesome forging techniques, spear fighting, and eventually hold hot metal in their bare hands. Those favored and bound to the Plane of Molten Skies can learn to project an aura of intense heat when aroused, much like the salamanders themselves.

side question: what would you think if someday there was a sorcerer (or other name but sorcerer like) class that just did this as there class thing... semi duplicate spells but not count as spells?
Nope. They use spells, just have an inherent talent. If they were a Binder, and thus using something else's power, I could see it being a power instead of a spell. Whether or not the effect would be countered by a globe is a separate issue.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
In my opinion, this is what the Magic Initiate and Ritual Caster feats are for. If the player wants more powerful spells, I would work with them to write a more powerful version of these feats. Something like...

Magic Adept
Prerequisites: Magic Initiate, character level 4
You learn one additional 1st level spell and one 2nd level spell from the class that you selected when you chose the Magic Adept feat. Using this feat, you can cast each spell once at its lowest level, and you must finish a long rest before you can cast it in this way again.

Magic Doyen
Prerequisites: Magic Adept, character level 8
You learn one additional 2nd level spell and one 3rd level spell from the class that you selected when you chose the Magic Initiate and Magic Adept feats. Using this feat, you can cast each spell once at its lowest level, and you must finish a long rest before you can cast it in this way again.

(just off the cuff here, very rough draft, needs polish, etc.)
 
Last edited:

jgsugden

Legend
If it fits the story, of course. I'd strive to make sure it doesn't break the game, but the game is far more sturdy than people give it credit for being.

And by the way - Ritual Caster Feat and Divine Boons both already do this, as does multiclassing into certain classes ... so ....
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Some new monsters replace action attack spells with magic abilities that are close to (and in some case exact dup) of spells. If you have a monster/npc with a firey blast that duplicates fireball but doesn't count as a spell, and a player makes friends with them, can they learn firey blast?

I think building the monsters/NPCs with magical abilities rather than using the spell frameworks is really a gameplay convenience for the GM. The stat block does not (or should not) define the narrative, merely the mechanical effect when a fight starts.

The GM should use the narrative context to decide if the attack can be learned, not the stat block.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
It would entirely depend on the narrative of why the monster/NPC has that ability in the first place.

I'm very much a fan of the players growing via narrative events rather than simply gaining power through their class, so I'd generally be on board.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top