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

Yes. And as boon and treasure I prefer that the DM keep control on it.

Can PC have non spell magic power?
They already have a lot with class feature and some magic item. (Chanel divinity, wand of paralysis,…)
Future class in the 2024 revision will certainly have some of them duplicating spells.


For monsters block the basic of this is to allow a reliable attack. I guess that they found out that counterspell was not a so good addition to the game and may produce unsatisfying fight. So they may offer to PC caster to have some key spells considered as magical attack impervious to counterspell.

The goal is to have more dynamic fight and avoiding shutdown strategy.
 

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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.
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.
When I wrote the OP I was thinking of the wizard style NPCs (don't have the books at work but I swear the fireball example is in Witch light) and my default thought was a spellcaster asking "hey, how do you do that" AND being friendly... but I then imagined, what if the _____ class non caster did the same since it isn't a spell.

curses. biological abilities and the like would take more story work...
 

Stormonu

Legend
I would, if the ability was level appropriate and the character had a feat/class ability/etc. they could sack to learn the ability. Maybe even as a one-level "class" they could multiclass into to get the ability. At the extreme end, maybe as a quest reward. I wouldn't give it "just for free", though.

I'd encourage the player to gain the ability through already existing means if that was feasible and use the interaction to explain why they have the ability. If it couldn't be done that way, that's when I'd work with the player to see what was sensible and possible within the boundary of the game world.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
When I wrote the OP I was thinking of the wizard style NPCs (don't have the books at work but I swear the fireball example is in Witch light) and my default thought was a spellcaster asking "hey, how do you do that" AND being friendly... but I then imagined, what if the _____ class non caster did the same since it isn't a spell.

curses. biological abilities and the like would take more story work...
If it's a wizard style NPC, and their styles of magic are pretty similar, I would certainly allow the PC to learn it.
 

Stormonu

Legend
As a side rant, I think originally the designers just used spells in a lot of the original stats blocks because it was shorter and easier to point to a spell and indicate "it works like this" without having to fill up a page with explaining something that could be referenced elsewhere. The large list of spells in stat blocks was often for world-building, not necessarily combat. The change we're seeing in stat blocks like in Witchlight and MotM was meant to cut down on cross-referencing and ensuring creatures act appropriately for their CR in combat. That it is bringing back the old 3E headache of innate vs. spell-like vs. spell interactions with Counterspell, Anti-magic shell and the like I don't believe was considered, and most likely amuses the designers how much grief it gives to powergamers and rules lawyers to thwart their carefully laid builds. As a filthy casual DM/player, I'll rule case-by-case, but in most cases I'll still rule several of those abilities are spells regardless what the rules officially state. If their not, they're not, I'm not going to worry over it as Counterspell and the like hasn't been abused in the games I've run or played in.
 

Would you allow a pc to learn "Petrifying Gaze" from a friendly medusa?
If the player puts in the work to justify it and it genuinely fits with the story we're telling...sure, why not?

It might not work 100% the same way, or might be slower or weaker. But frankly that sounds cool as hell to me, and I'm on board for doing cool stuff.

Gotta love how people talk about 5e not needing balance and that balance is a foolish goal to strive for, and then when people start asking to do cool things then suddenly balance is important and pursued by 5e and too fragile to handle all this power creep!
 

It says in the action descriptions.

Ranged SPELL attack. Melee SPELL attack.

So for all those asking if these are spells or not, yes, they are spells. They are just spells that, for an unspecified lore reason, the players cannot normally learn. Whether you decide to them learn these, or whether you come up with a fun lore reason is completely up to you, but they are literally called spell attacks.
 

It says in the action descriptions.

Ranged SPELL attack. Melee SPELL attack.

So for all those asking if these are spells or not, yes, they are spells. They are just spells that, for an unspecified lore reason, the players cannot normally learn. Whether you decide to them learn these, or whether you come up with a fun lore reason is completely up to you, but they are literally called spell attacks.
I do not want to argue (especily since I am atleast a week out from getting the main book I am talking about) but in the other thread on it someone shared a youtube video of the Devs saying it isn't a spell, it is just a non spell magic that can't be counterspelled or magic resisted)

now I do not think your interpretation is wrong, it is how you read it.

I do think that "spell attack" in this case is "mental not physical attack"
 



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?
My group has had (over almost 40 years and massively multiple editions) characters who have become lycanthropes, vampires, liches, talking skeletons (misworded wish to get back ally turned undead), sentient animals (reincarnation), a displacer beast, a frail caster permanently taken over a muscle bound enemy's body using magic jar, and IIRC a treent character who met their demise in a sawmill becoming a sentient sailing vessel. I would have no issue with a character picking up (non-game-breaking) powers as the story presents itself.

That said, none of this has changed or been affected by the new books using 'spell-like abilities.' I agree with Umbran that these are gaming conventions and you have to decide on a case by case basis what they represent and how one might obtain those abilities.
When I wrote the OP I was thinking of the wizard style NPCs
Yeah. In my mind, those are spell-casters, and there's already multiple PC-facing methods for picking up spellcasting -- classes, feats, archetype choices, etc. I don't know if the new implementation moving even more away from PC-monster symmetry will be an improvement or not, but I get the reasoning and in my mind a MM mage is still a mage, etc.
curses. biological abilities and the like would take more story work...
'Run into a mage and decide to start learning magic' is more consistent, but I'd say that biological abilities makes for a more interesting story. Think about all the superhero origins that come from 'ran into a _____ and gained ____-like powers' (or, as mentioned in the She-Hulk thread, get a blood transfusion).
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?
The #1 thing I think Boons have going for them is that they are explicitly at the DM's discretion*. That makes it easier to say no to that one spell that will be disruptive but yes to the other spell (maybe of the same level and class list) that is just plain fun and in no way disruptive.
*yes, all things are DM-gated in theory.
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?
There was a PrC like that at the cusp of 3.0 and 3.5 (Illithid Savant, from Savage Species). I think the issue with such codification was that not all abilities are equal in power, so the effort to balance such a class is pretty much impossible (especially the instant your DM uses any third-party monsters).
 


It says in the action descriptions.

Ranged SPELL attack. Melee SPELL attack.

So for all those asking if these are spells or not, yes, they are spells. They are just spells that, for an unspecified lore reason, the players cannot normally learn. Whether you decide to them learn these, or whether you come up with a fun lore reason is completely up to you, but they are literally called spell attacks.
Unarmed strikes are weapon attacks, which are made in melee range, but they are not melee weapon attacks and cannot be used with features which require a melee weapon attack.

Trying to apply logic to the meanings of the terms used straight-up fails in 5e. "Ranged SPELL attack" does not guarantee that the attack is a spell. Just as unarmed strikes being weapon attacks, made in melee range, does not mean they are "melee weapon attacks."
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
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?
Yes, but they'd have to attune a magic item slot for it. And also it's a spell even though it doesn't use spell slots.
if so would the character have to be a caster?
No - casters have easier ways to get spells.
Can my 9th level fighter make friends and spend downtime learning Fiery blast ?
Sure, so long as they sacrifice a magic item attunement slot.
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 mean, if a player is slinging magic around it's a spell, so I personally think this question is contradictory.
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
Would you allow a pc to learn "Petrifying Gaze" from a friendly medusa?
Funny story - in my current 13th age campaign my players have befriended a medusa and so I've had to come up with an NPC version of a medusa that doesn't overpower the encounters all on her own. So I guess my answer is now yes? Since I've already done that work...
 


Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
Unarmed strikes are weapon attacks, which are made in melee range, but they are not melee weapon attacks and cannot be used with features which require a melee weapon attack.

Trying to apply logic to the meanings of the terms used straight-up fails in 5e. "Ranged SPELL attack" does not guarantee that the attack is a spell. Just as unarmed strikes being weapon attacks, made in melee range, does not mean they are "melee weapon attacks."
Unarmed strikes actually are melee weapon attacks, they're just not an attack with a melee weapon, since those two terms mean different things for some reason. Stunning Strike specifies it's used on a melee weapon attack, and it obviously works with an unarmed strike, for example.
 

Unarmed strikes actually are melee weapon attacks, they're just not an attack with a melee weapon, since those two terms mean different things for some reason. Stunning Strike specifies it's used on a melee weapon attack, and it obviously works with an unarmed strike, for example.
Ah, pardon. I got the association backwards. Regardless, it is one thing, but not the other, even though in natural language the two should be synonymous.
 

Micah Sweet

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 feel i would have to. To do otherwise makes no narrative sense.
 

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