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Originally, Wizards and Clerics were the only casting classes available in D&D. This was to distinguish between an attacking spell caster and a healing spell caster. Now we have many casters to choose from, including Half-casters, Quarter-casters, and Full-casters. On top of that, they are differentiated into classes to further distinguish them from each other.
I have played through every class, both martial and arcane. While I cannot say that I know every spell in the game, I can get close to it with nearly a decade of experience as a player and DM of D&D and several other years under my belt with other TRPGs. I can wholeheartedly say that I will explain the next mechanic to the best of my abilities.
With Sorcerers come to Metamagic, and with that comes complicated options. Let’s begin our Quickened Spell 5e Guide and talk more about the Quickened Spell.
What Quickened Spell Does
When you cast a spell with a casting time of 1 action, you can spend two sorcery points to change the casting time to 1 bonus action for this cast.
In simpler terms, you can cast a spell as a bonus action rather than an action for a one-time effect. This uses Sorcerer Points, a pool of resources you regain after every long rest.
Font of Magic
Let’s go into these Sorcery Points before looking into the specific Metamagics.
A Sorcerer gains sorcery points at level 2 and from that point onwards will gain one sorcery point every level to a maximum of 20 sorcery points. This ability is called Font of Magic.
As part of Font of Magic, you also gain access to Flexible Casting.
Flexible Casting allows you to convert your spell slots into Sorcery Points or Sorcery Points into spell slots. Here is the conversion rate.
For converting spell slots into Sorcery Points, you can change a spell slot for Sorcery Points using a bonus action. You will gain the spell slot’s level as the number of Sorcery Points. For example, a 3rd level spell slot would become three Sorcery Points.
Doing it the other way around is a little more complicated. Let’s look at the conversion table of Sorcery Points into spell slots presented in the Player’s Handbook.
It still takes a bonus action to convert, and the spell slots gained this way are lost upon finishing a long rest. This works in a do-or-die situation but does not have a great conversion rate at higher levels.
Aside from this, Sorcerers gain access to Metamagic at level 3, which spend points on adding effects towards your spells.
Here is a quick list of Metamagic before we go into detail with Quickened Spell. Each with its little summary (aside from Quickened Spell)
- Careful spell: lets you protect your allies caught in the blast zone of your spell.
- Distant spell: doubles the range of your spell.
- Empowered spell: makes you reroll the damage if you think it’s too low.
- Extended spell: only works on spells with durations. It doubles the duration.
- Heightened spell: you can force a target to roll their saving throw against the spell with a disadvantage.
- Quickened Spell: We’ll get to this later.
- Seeking spell: lets you reroll a spell attack if you miss.
- Subtle spell: lets you cast a spell without needing to move or speak.
- Transmuted spell: this allows you to change the damage type of your spell so long as it is one of the common elemental types.
- Twinned Spell: lets you target an additional creature on spells that generally only allow you to target one.
Here is what Quickened Spell does. “When you cast a spell with a casting time of 1 action, you can spend two sorcery points to change the casting time to 1 bonus action for this casting.”
That means most spells turn into bonus actions to free up your action to do something else.
What makes Quickened Spell good
Bonus actions are generally underutilized, and most classes do not interact much with their bonus actions aside from one or two abilities each. So by opening the main action up, you can do practically anything in the game. You have options to explore, from disengaging to dashing or hiding, like using an item or casting a cantrip.
This fantastic potential is limited, however, by one rule. You are not allowed to cast a non-cantrip spell during the same turn you cast a non-cantrip spell as a bonus action. This rule also applies to holding your action to cast a spell as a reaction.
Back to the good stuff, though; this allows you to attack more often or get back into cover after running out and casting a spell. Action economy goes a long way in this game, and freeing up your action while still maintaining maximum effectiveness means you can be at 120% for a few moments.
Good Spell Targets
Here are a few examples of what spells are meant to be quickened and why they are influential in the right hands.
For early games, a great example would be Witchbolt. It is a first-level spell that usually takes an action to cast. Assuming you hit, you form a chain of lightning between you and the opponent; then, as an action, you can deal its damage again without having to roll.
If you use it as a bonus action, you can then use your action to trigger Witchbolt again, basically doing twice the damage.
Another great spell would be Hold Person. Paralyzing the enemy before getting in close with a melee attack or Cantrip ensures that when you hit, it will be a critical strike. These bursts of damage may be necessary for the long run.
You could also buff as a bonus action. Haste is good since it gives you a Hasted action on top of you keeping your action. Essentially doubling down on your turn order.
If you want to go big with the burst, your can always Bestow Curse or attack with a damaging spell a la Fireball before following up with more damage using a cantrip.
To go into more detail, here are a few combinations that I have seen in action and work effectively. It does take some multiclassing and feats, so I will briefly describe the new terms as we go along.
Spell + Cantrip
This is the bread and butter for the Metamagic, combining a regular spell with an additional attack cantrip. It doubles up on your damage as you cast two damage-based spells in one turn, from Fireball and Toll the Dead to Thunderclap and Thunderwave.
You can pair up two areas of effect spells to cull the horde or two single target damage to chunk a boss.
Pair Hold Person with a melee cantrip like Greenflame Blade so that you crit the moment you hit. You can cast Haste to buff an ally while still attacking or Slow to debuff a group of enemies and Guidance to help your Rogue pick the lock on that door.
The possibilities are endless with how many spells there are in the game.
The Hold Person or Hold Monster combo is my favorite for fighting solitary bosses. Hitting this spell guarantees a Legendary Resistance out of them, or you can start wailing on him with your martial classes for massive damage.
For fighting numerous enemies, Fireball always seems to do the trick. Mix that with either Guidance on an ally or Thunderclap, and you’ve got a gigantic burst of damage.
Spell + Item
Alternatively, you can use your bonus action to cast any one of the aforementioned spells and then take the action to use an item. From potions to magic items, many require an action to utilize. Ensure your item does not “let you cast the spell”; otherwise, you cannot use it. For example, you can Quickened Spell a wand of Fireball, but you cannot then use your action to cast Fireball.
Spell + Recast
Certain spells in D&D are cast as an action, then continue to be reactivated on the following turn. So by using Quickened Spell, you can cast the spell and activate its secondary effect at the same time. This allows you to double down on the damage while still keeping concentration and only using one spell slot. An excellent low-level example of this would be Witchbolt as a bonus action, then as an action deal its additional damage without having to roll.
Spell + Utility
Freeing up your action opens many options for you to take in combat. From dashing to disengaging to hiding, having an extra option to better position yourself is always helpful. If not positioning, you can use it to activate other abilities such as Bastion of Law or Warping Implosion. Normally those abilities would eat up your turn as they take an action, but with Quickened Spell, it lets you cast and activate this ability.
Things to Look out for
Items with interactions to keep in mind would be Bloodwell Vial and Sorcery Shards. Thanks to Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, we have class-specific items meant to enhance the gameplay and their identities.
Bloodwell Vial is an item that can come at various rarities, from uncommon to very rare. It can only be attuned to by a sorcerer and can only be attuned by dropping a few drops of the owner’s blood into it.
It can be used as a spellcasting focus, and you gain a +1/2/3 (increasing depending on rarity) bonus to spell attack rolls and to the saving throw, DCs of your Sorcerer spells.
In addition, when you roll any Hit Dice to recover hit points while carrying the vial, you can regain 5 Sorcery Points. You cannot use this property again until next dawn.
Sorcery Shards are a collection of individual shards that have an effect when a meta magic is cast. Each one is different and produces exciting results. The shards are Astral Shard, Elemental Essence Shard, Far realm Shard, Feywild Shard, Outer Essence Shard, and Far Realms Shard.
Quickened spell does not allow you to cast a second non-cantrip spell if you hold your action to do so. How it works is that rather than making your spell into a reaction, it casts the spell as an action, and the reaction is to release it at a designated target.
This comes up because when you hold an action, it seems like it uses your reaction, but instead, you prepare the move with your action, and your reaction is used when the trigger condition is met.
This also considers Spell Scrolls, which are counted as casting spells even if you do not have access to the spell naturally.
Question: Can Quickened Spell let you cast two spells?
Answer: Yes, provided that the non-quickened spell is a cantrip.
Question: Can you Twinned a Quickened Spell?
Answer: No, you cannot. Neither Quickened Spell nor Twinned Spell has the exception that allows them to be used with other Metamagics.
Question: Can I use Quickened Spell on a Cantrip?
Answer: Yes, you can. So long as the Cantrip has a casting time of one action, you can use Quickened Spell on it.
Quickened Spell 5e Guide: Final Thoughts
Quickened spell is one of the more powerful Metamagics in the game. Its ability to change a spell’s casting time to 1 bonus action allows for so many more options in combat that it is well worth the activation cost.
Pair that with the new items from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and specific character build, and you get a spell slinger type character similar to the old cowboy quick draw shooters. It also diversifies your options in combat so long as you have enough Sorcery points for it.
I would recommend it for someone more familiar with spell casting. In my experience, newbies more often run into analysis paralysis when given dozens of options at once.