May 7, 2018

More Metamagic

Notes from the Nails: it's been a while since we've shown sorcerers any love. How about some more options for their most unique feature?

New Metamagic Options

The metamagic options in the PHB are only a small sample of the many ways in which sorcerers can manipulate the currents of magic. Below are some additional options that should open up exciting new possibilities for those talented souls.

Doublecast Spell
When you cast a spell that targets only one creature and doesn’t have a range of self, you can spend 3 sorcery points to cast a second, different spell at the same target. The second spell must also target only one creature and not have a range of self. You must expend the appropriate spell slot for both spells.

Efficient Spell
When you cast a spell of 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th level, you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell's level to cast it using a spell slot one level lower than the spell's normal level, without changing the effects of the spell.

Liquid Spell
When you cast a non-instantaneous spell with a range of Self, you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell's level (1 sorcery point for cantrips) to turn the spell into 4 ounces of drinkable liquid. You must have an appropriate container in which to store it. The liquid is then considered a potion, which grants the drinker the benefits of your spell for the spell's normal duration. The spell is treated as if it was cast by you, but you do not need to concentrate on it if it would normally require concentration. The potion loses its potency when you take a long rest.

Non-lethal Spell
When cast a spell that reduces a creature to 0 hit points, you can spend 1 sorcery point to knock the creature out, rendering it unconscious, rather than deal a killing blow.

Slippery Spell
You can spend 1 sorcery point when you cast a spell to make it unbreakable by the spells counterspell, dispel magic, and remove curse.

Switch Spell
When you are concentrating on a spell, you can use a bonus action on your turn and spend 2 sorcery point to change that spell to a different spell that you know. The new spell must require concentration, must be of a lower level than the original, and is considered to be cast at the lowest possible level. If the original spell had a target, that target must still be valid for the new spell; for example, you cannot switch a spell you have cast on someone else to a spell with a range of Self. The new spell's duration is equal to whatever time remained of the old spell's duration or its standard duration, whichever is shorter. You cannot switch a spell more than once.

Transmute Spell
When you cast a spell that deals damage, you can spend 1 sorcery point to change the spell's damage type(s) to any other type of your choice.

Changelog: 05/08/2018: Liquid Spell must be non-instantaneous.
05/09/2018: Cantrips cost 1 SP to liquefy.
10/25/2021: Switch Spell: you need to know the spell you switch to, and it must be a concentration spell.


  1. I think transmute spell might be a bit strong. As written, I would always transmute everything to deal force damage. For 1 sorcery point, I'd limit it to the following damage types: acid, cold, fire, lighting, poison, thunder.

    1. Agreed with this. Transmute as is is a bit too strong.

      Additionally slippery spell is just straight up game breaking for the low cost of 1 sorcery point.

    2. Slippery Spell is hella niche to be "game breaking". How often do your spells get dispelled? Even then, how often can you predict that they will be when you cast them? If more people think it's too good, I would be willing to increase the SP cost, but for now I'm holding fire.

      My thinking with Transmute Spell is: it may seem cheap, but would you pick it over another metamagic option? The opportunity cost of not having Twin, Quicken or whatever is part of the calculus here. Again though, I'm not opposed to increasing the SP cost. It could even have a variable cost, like 1 SP for the 'common' energy types and 2 SP for the more exotic ones.

    3. I'd also note that damage types aren't highly important when it comes to spells; at least, not the way Wizards balances them. As a spellcaster, you're going to have enough damage types on hand at any given time to bypass any enemy's damage resistance and immunities; this metamagic is mostly so you don't also have to compromise the actual spell you're using to do so.

    4. About transmute, I agree with Nails- taking this over something else means you deserve it to be good. And very few things in 5e have vulnerabilities, and those are usually already exploitable by casters.

      About slippery- At high levels, a smart villain would often dispel or counter (or have a 5th level mage to do it for him). That being said, being able to out-prepare the villain is a sign of thinking players and a DM who gives incentive to play smart, which is very good, so I think slippery is good as it is.

    5. Well, 1 sorcery point is a non-choice to deal force damage all the time, so in my games, it'll definitely be limited to the damage types I mentioned.

    6. Or just give bad guys who know the party sorcerer always deals force some potions of force resistance.

    7. ppl worried about sorcerers spamming transmute for force dmg on their campaings... Guys, keep in mind you can only put one metamagic per spell, sorcery points don't grow on trees(even with the spell trade-off, they come back only on long rest and some archtypes have other uses for it), for as good as force is to bypass resistance, I can't remember a single creature with weakness to force, so no extra dmg beyond the normal and as The Nails said, between force dmg and a Twin/Quickened spell, I know what will be picked on at least 8/10 cases..

      Although for me, I love the fact to finally be able to cast a slashing damage based fireball that's just a ton of knives flying all around!

  2. Some really cool stuff here. Always fun to see more stuff for my fav class.

    My only problems are with doublecast and liquid.
    Doublecast breaks the action economy, and liquid breaks the concentration economy.
    There's a reason a potion of haste is very rare, even though it's a 3rd level spell- it's a spell where one of the most balancing factor is the concentration. That's also why there's no mass haste. True, it takes an action to drink, but IMHO that's not nearly enough to balance it.

    Doublecast is a great option for a nova build, which is automatically dangerous. And without even a scaling cost. An 11th level Sorc can disintegrate+5th level blight someone, and then quicken a cantrip at them! That's 10d6+40+9d8+3d10=132 damage. Or you can Hold+disintegrate+q.cantrip. And it wouldn't be very hard to come up with higher numbers.
    I'm not necessarily objecting to the existence of this meta, but something like this requires very careful calibration.

    1. I brought up that exact concern about Doublecast before it went live (which is why it now carries a 3 SP cost), though I don't think we've reached an excellent solution for it. At some level, Doublecast is very similar to Quicken Spell, in as much as it allows you to throw around more spells per turn without much downside, except of course, that it's limited to a bonus action spell + a cantrip, like quicken is.

      If you have any novel solutions here, I'd love to hear them.

      Also, I think you might be right about liquid causing issues with concentration. I get the feeling that whoever drinks the potion should maintain concentration on the spell, but that's also very not-potion-y, which is weird.

    2. Note that Liquid Spell only works on spells with range Self. That excludes most of the powerful concentration buffs (including Haste and Fly), because they can be cast on other people.

      Although, scanning the list of Self-targeted spells, it occurs to me that a lot of them are AoE attacks, which don't make sense as potions. I may need to add a note to specify non-instantaneous as well as Self.

    3. I did not see that liquid only works on self-range spells. That does still allow some powerful spells (blink and mirror image are the most prominent ones), but these aren't concentration anyways- It just allows you to cast them on other people, which seems fine at first... Being able to blink/image every member of the party seems really powerful, but it'll come at a high cost, and requires preparation before combat.

      About doublecast, I must admit I have much criticism and no real solutions. Maybe reduce the cost to 2, and add being unable to use your next action to cast spells?

    4. So I'd like to point in the PHB on page 202 it states under "restrictions of a bonus actions" it states you may not cast a second non cantrip spell that turn so in fact quicken spell is in fact much less powerful than most think and doublecast is exponentially more powerful than quickened spell with this stipulation in place

    5. "that it's limited to a bonus action spell + a cantrip, like quicken is."

      The wording you have for Doublecast Spell says the one must use the appropriate spell slot for both spells. That seems to imply that the intent is to be able to cast two leveled spells. An option I like as it is a very unique option for the sorcerer. Am I misunderstanding something?

  3. A few comments on liquid spell:
    1) How long does it take to consume the potion? The casting time of the spell, or does it only works on spells with casting time of 1 action? (Like can this feat be used on shield or absorb elements which have casting times of a reaction)
    2) Presumably the cost should be 1 SP even for cantrips, or can I make an unlimited number of truestrike potions?

    1. If they use the standard rules for Potions, I believe it'd take an action to imbibe a potion.

      As to the true strike potion...I honestly don't see the point there. True Strike is somewhat worthless as a cantrip (It is nearly always better to attack twice on two rounds, than once with advantage in two rounds,) and (assuming it takes an action to consume) does not improve its status as a questionable choice.

      I'm more curious about the applications of Liquid casting to make a sorcerer alchemist, though the inability to use it with most healing spells puts a damper on things.

    2. Looking at the other metamagic options from the SRD though, I will cede that it should cost a sorcery point to liquify a cantrip. Twinned spell counts Cantrips as level 1 spells for the purposes of their effects.

      Its only fair that Liquid Spell abide by the same cost convention.

    3. Btw, I took the liberty of compiling a list of Sorcery Spells that I believe would work with Liquid Spells. I just crosschecked spells from that list that met the criteria, not any more practical concerns, like the viability of such a spell in that form:

    4. Yes, consuming a potion is a standard action unless you've got an ability that says otherwise (rogues might be able to do it as a bonus action). Spells that aren't normally cast as an action become an action when liquefied... So you can use Shield preemptively if you want. Probably not the most efficient use of the ability though.

      And cantrips should cost 1 SP as you say. Blade Ward and Friends (plus Produce Flame if you MC or take Magic Initiate) are the only PHB cantrips you can liquefy, but they shouldn't be free.

    5. Well I guess that works until they come out with spells that target self but have 1 hour casting times. Then being able to imbibe as an action might break things.

      Also, yeah, true strike is not really worth it, but I think letting you make an unlimited number of detect magic potions was probably not quite the intention.

      As it stands, it looks like Fear and Blur might be the most abusable items here as this would overcome the concentration requirements.

    6. Note that the potions lose their magic when you take a long rest. So you can't create a totally unlimited number.

  4. I know that Counterspell (and others, too) aren't too common among enemies, but I would still raise the cost of Slippery Spell to 2 sorcery points. Spending a single point to prevent prevention seems really strong, and if something really is important two points would be worth it anyways.

    From a player's POV, the first thing that popped into my mind is Continual Flame. I know it's not a class spell for them and costs material, but I'd personally have a blast setting the Villain's things permanently on fire, just to mess with him if nothing else.

  5. Efficient Spell is anything but efficient. That's just basic math. At its most efficient, the lowest level, it only sorta' breaks even. You're spending 2 sorcery points plus a 1st-level spell slot (so, 1 additional sorcery point if you would convert that spell slot) to cover a 2nd-level spell . . . that you could buy with 3 points. As the spell levels rise, this process gets to be less efficient, and saving a smidge of your action economy is neither worth it, nor suitable to be called "Efficient Spell." Total trap option.

    Liquid Spell is problematic with coffeelocks. That aside, circumventing whatever hoops others have to go through for magic items that grant concentration-free buffs is pretty silly, anyway, especially with Divine Soul sorcerers being a thing.

    Not sure how to feel about Switch Spell. Seems like you're offering quite a bit of action economy for a lower price, particularly because using this as a bonus action is not *casting a spell* and thus allows you to cast a non-cantrip spell as your action on the same turn. Most mages have to stop to cast spells when they have no more use of one and need another, but you just get to pay 2 measly sorcery points . . . I don't think that I approve.

    Doublecast and Slippery Spell are just unapologetically broken. No sense trying to reason with those. Transmute Spell is a YMMV entry.

  6. I'm confused by Switch Spell. We already have Quickened Spell, which can do the same thing, but it's less restrictive, and uses the same number of sorcery points.

    1. Um, Quickened Spell doesn't do the same thing at all? Switch spell is for when changing circumstances mean that the spell your concentrating on isn't useful anymore, but a different spell would be. It lets you switch out an ongoing spell for a different one without spending a spell slot.