dnd 5e – Can Aberrant Mind Sorcerers upcast Psionic Spells using Sorcery points?

Reading the feature more carefully and “Casting Spells at a Higher Level,” it’s clear that this is not possible:

When a spellcaster casts a spell using a slot that is of a higher level than the spell, the spell assumes the higher level for that casting. For instance, if Umara casts magic missile using one of her 2nd-level slots, that magic missile is 2nd level. Effectively, the spell expands to fill the slot it is put into.

That is, casting at a higher level is predicated on using higher-level slots (which is not the case here).

In short, there is the level of the spell (which the feature references, in singular), there is the level of the slot, and by using the higher slot, the spell assumes the slot’s level.

However, without the use of a higher-level slot, the spell can only assume its innate level. A L1 spell can only become a L3 spell by casting it with a L3 slot (but at that point, it’s already cast—you can’t use 3 SP to cast the L3 version).

There is no rule/allowance for up-casting with resources other than slots unless otherwise indicated (confirmed in Sage Advice):

Sage Advice Compendium version 2.3, page 13:

What level is a spell if you cast it without a spell slot?

Such a spell is cast at its lowest possible level, which is the level that appears near the top of its description. Unless you have a special ability that says otherwise, the only way to increase the level of a spell is to expend a higher-level spell slot when you cast it. (p 13)

Consider the Monk feature, Disciple of the Elements, discussed in the Sage Advice answer:

“The Monk’s Disciple of the Elements feature lets the monk spend ki points, rather than a spell slot, to increase the level of a spell.”

Disciple of the Elements:

“Once you reach 5th level in this class, you can spend additional ki points to increase the level of an elemental discipline spell that you cast, provided that the spell has an enhanced effect at a higher level, as Burning Hands does. The spell’s level increases by 1 for each additional ki point you spend.”

The Psionic Sorcery feature does not mention anything like that.

More details here.

spells – Animate Dead and Skeleton Archers

The Skeletal Archer Template does not increase the skeletons effective Hit Dice for the purposes of Animate Dead, nor should it.

Only templates that specifically say so will increase a creatures effective Hit Dice for the purposes of Animate Dead, that is to say, only Bloody and Burning Skeletons count as additional hit dice when determining how many undead you can create and control with the spell, and for good reason.

Burning and Bloody skeletons are significantly more powerful than a typical skeleton. Burning skeletons have a 2 point higher Charisma score, deal a bonus d6 of fire damage on all melee attacks, and have the Fiery Aura, which deals damage to everyone nearby with no save, and Fiery Death special abilities, meaning they deal a rather high amount of damage for the creatures CR.

Bloody Skeletons have the advantage of being nearly unkillable unless you use a specific means of killing it, plus Fast Healing, channel resistance, and a 4 point higher Charisma score.

The Skeletal Archer, meanwhile, gets the bare minimum of archery feats needed to even function as an archer, and that’s it.

spells – Does Detect Magic make an Arcane Mark placed on an invisible surface glow?

Signs point to “yes” with some wiggle room for GM interpretation.

The first hurdle: can Arcane Mark be cast on a creature?

If an arcane mark is placed on a living being, …

So, yes.

The second hurdle: can it be cast on an unwilling creature?

Range: touch

… and, there’s no “Target” field, so the spell doesn’t specify that it can’t be cast on an unwilling creature (though, a touch attack is likely required to do so).

The third hurdle: does it matter how the Mark is made invisible?

An Arcane Mark itself “can be visible or invisible”, and “(i)f an invisible mark is made, a detect magic spell causes it to glow and be visible”. So, an Arcane Mark which is created as an invisible Mark is definitely revealed by Detect Magic. But, what about a mark which is made on something which is later affected by Invisibility (or its variants)?

Fortunately, Invisibility answers that question:

Light, however, never becomes invisible, although a source of light can become so (thus, the effect is that of a light with no visible source).

Since the Arcane Mark explicitly glows, it’s a light source; since it’s a light source, the mark itself is visible-ish (at the very least, the square it’s in should be readily detectible, in the general case).

So, where does GM interpretation come in?

First: since Arcane Mark doesn’t explicitly state that it can be cast on an unwilling target, the GM could rule that it can’t be. This is something that the GM should be freely willing to talk about before the tactic is tried, of course.

Second: if the Mark is somewhere that the target can cover it (with a cloak or something), the GM could rule that the target can cover the mark, hiding the light (this GM remembers this being a valid option, but can’t find rules support at the moment; also, in fairness, this rule should apply to light sources generally: players should be able to close an invisible bullseye lantern or hide an everburning torch in their cloak to prevent foes from seeing the light source at the cost of not having it available themselves).

Third: the GM could rule that the area is bright enough that determining which square the target is in requires a perception check (simulationist real-world example: telling if a non-OLED LCD/LED display is on by seeing the … “brighter shade of black”, I guess … in a bright room vs. a dark room).

For what it’s worth, this GM thinks the tactic is clever. Further, since there’s a real cost to using it (it burns an action, which is the most valuable currency in the game), I wouldn’t be prone to nerfing it via either of the “interpretation” options above. However, I would have some canny foes who have had time and reason to watch the PCs in action (or to have received reports) use the tactic against them or be otherwise prepared for it (eg., by preparing – and preparing for – Darkness).

dnd 5e – Is this homebrew spell for speaking with the dead balanced when compared to other divination and necromancy spells?

This spell is pretty bad

Considering that Contact Other Plane already specifically covers speaking with the dead, this spell is a major downgrade at the cost of a higher level spell slot.

Let’s go through it:

The spirit is under no compulsion to answer you or to be truthful, and depending on its demeanor may be actively hostile to you.

Here’s where we get to the first real issue. The spirit is under no compulsion to answer you or be truthful, which defeats the entire purpose of the spell: getting information. In both Speak With Dead and Contact Other Plane, the target of the spell is forced to answer your questions, even though it’s not required to do so truthfully (at least in Speak With Dead, Contact Other Plane is unspecified). With Dream, you at least have the option of attempting to deceive the target by appearing differently than yourself. This spell offers no such advantage.

While this spell is active, every 10 minutes you must make a Constitution Saving throw of DC 15, or take 4d6 necrotic damage as the spell steals your life essence. If the spirit is hostile to you, it can choose to force you to make this save every minute. If you fail this save, your hit point maximum is reduced by the same amount, and you gain a level of exhaustion. The reduction to your hit point maximum goes away when you next finish a long rest, and if your maximum hit points are reduced to zero by this spell then you die. You can end the trance and the spell by concentrating for 1 minute, after which the spell ends. Once a spirit has been summoned in this way, it cannot be targeted by this spell for a year and a day.

This next part, though, is a significant problem. If the target is hostile, then they get to try to just keep you locked in the spell until you die. No other spell in the game can just outright kill its caster, except for maybe Wish, if the wish is especially poorly worded and you have a mean DM.

I’m not sure why this is even here, is it a punishment for the players for “picking the wrong target”? Because if that’s the case, I disagree entirely. Players should never be punished for expending their resources.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of this spell is supposed to be, since it covers much the same territory as Contact Other Plane, but with more risks involved, and has significantly less chance of an actual payoff for casting it, considering that even an indifferent spirit is unlikely to answer some random guy who just summoned them from the afterlife. Sure, the target can give full answers, but unless it’s someone you already know or you have a really really good reason why they should help you, I don’t see this actually providing any benefits when cast, only downsides.

pathfinder 2e – What kind of spells can damage unattended items?

While reading several spell entries I realized that most attack spells have “Targets 1 creature“, and most area damage spells only say that “You deal X damage to creatures in the area“.

Does this really mean you can only attack or damage creatures with them?

This seems absurd to me, and extremely gamist. I hope that I’m missing something or I’ll have to come up with a house rule to fix it.

Several examples of what I mean:

Can you burn a letter with Produce Flame or Burning Hands?

Can you melt a wooden door with Acid Arrow?

Can you destroy a barn with Meteor Swarm?

pathfinder 2e – Are Heightened effects of spells optional?

Most Heighten effects are purely beneficial, but some significantly alter the effect of a spell. There is an edge case where you may want to use a high level spell slot but get the effect unaltered. The most obvious instance of this, to me, is Invisibility

Duration 10 minutes
Cloaked in illusion, the target becomes invisible. This makes it undetected to all creatures, though the creatures can attempt to find the target, making it hidden to them instead. If the target uses a hostile action, the spell ends after that hostile action is completed.
Heightened (4th) The spell lasts 1 minute, but it doesn’t end if the target uses a hostile action.

A hypothetical, to illustrate, would be attempting to bypass a Dispel trap or otherwise expecting the Invisibility to be Counteracted while still wanting the 10 minute duration. Could I cast Invisibility using a 4th+ spell slot and still maintain the normal Duration and benefits/limitation of the spell?

can a rogue with the minor magic talent take the extra cantrips to gain other spells?

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dnd 5e – How do the Warding Bond and Sanctuary spells interact?

Sanctuary only protects the person it is cast on, and only from attacks. If it’s only on you, enemies don’t need to make the save to attack your ally. The sanctuary isn’t nullified, it still works for you, but doesn’t affect the paladin.

You can cast any spells or cantrips that aren’t attacks while protected by sanctuary without breaking it, including healing, defensive buffs, or even offensive buffs like bless, as long as you’re not the one doing any attacking. You can also use abilities that aren’t attacks, like a Life Cleric’s area-healing ability.

You can’t prevent the damage from coming through warding bond with an ability that prevents attacks, because there’s no attack. You just take the damage. (What’s happening is that you’re taking half the damage for the warded ally, but it’s represented by them taking half damage and then you taking the same amount.)

spells – How much Hit Points does casting a two action heightened 2-nd level Heal restore?


You channel positive energy to heal the living or damage the undead. If the target is a willing living creature, you restore 1d8 Hit Points.

Two Actions (somatic, verbal) The spell has a range of 30 feet. If you’re healing a living creature, increase the Hit Points restored by 8.

Heightened (+1) The amount of healing or damage increases by 1d8, and the extra healing for the 2-action version increases by 8.

I’m reading this as a two action heightened 2-nd level Heal restoring 2d8+16 Hit Points. Am I interpreting this correctly?

dnd 5e – Do your spells end when you die?

Spells that require concentration end when you die. Aside from that, a spell has to specify that it ends when you die for this to be the case. First up, we have the base duration rules:

A spell’s duration is the length of time the spell persists.
A duration can be expressed in rounds, minutes, hours,
or even years. Some spells specify that their effects last
until the spells are dispelled or destroyed.

Nothing in there about the caster dying. Spells in this category last however long they say they last.

Next up, instantaneous spells:

Many spells are instantaneous. The spell harms,
heals, creates, or alters a creature or an object in a way
that can’t be dispelled, because its magic exists only
for an instant.

Obviously in this case the question is irrelevant; the caster is alive when they cast the spell, and even if they die straight afterwards (for example, if they fireball themselves :P), an instantaneous spell is already over.

Finally, we have concentration spells.

Some spells require you to maintain concentration
in order to keep their magic active. If you lose
concentration, such a spell ends.

There are a number of ways to lose concentration, but the important one for our purposes is:

Being incapacitated or killed. You lose concentration
on a spell if you are incapacitated or if you die.

So of the basic types of spell durations, only spells that require concentration will end on death.

That said, spells can have their own rules. If a spell specifies a condition that will end it in its description, that condition will end it. For example, take death ward:

If the spell is still in effect when the target is subjected to an effect that would kill it instantaneously without dealing damage, that effect is instead negated against the target, and the spell ends.

So if you cast death ward on yourself, then get targeted with an instant death effect, the spell will end. Obviously, this isn’t exactly the same as the spell ending because the caster died, but it illustrates the principle of spells having their own rules.