Looking at the spellcasting progression, casters only get a single 8th and a single 9th level slot, from when the spell level becomes available up to the 20th level(1). A similar situation happens to all spell levels starting at 6th: a second 6th slot is only gained at level 19, and a second 7th slot only on the 20th.

In all the previous editions (in which spell slots were a thing) casters would progress and earn a few more higher level slots.

What were the design reasons for such a limitation / change?

(1): Considering only the default class spell progression. Epic boons and other features that may add spell slots are disregarded.

Note: this is a question, so please back your answers with quotes from the game developers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ ♦ Just a mod note here. To date we've had five attempts to answer this without citing the designers, reasoning that it's too hard/not necessary/impossible to answer. That's fine — the question can wait for an answer until and if someone can manage to dig up citations. Meanwhile we don't want a pile of conflicting guesses cluttering the page and hiding that future good answer. So guesses and opinion will be removed from the page to keep it clean and ready for that possible future on-topic answer. The mods thank you in advance for helping us in that core objective of the site! \$\endgroup\$ Nov 25, 2017 at 20:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because designer reasons questions are now off-topic. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Aug 12, 2018 at 4:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Designer reason questions are off topic? Source? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Aug 12, 2018 at 5:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso: I assume you found the relevant post on meta at some point after leaving this comment, but for future readers' benefit, it's here: Are questions about rule intent on topic? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 19, 2020 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


Found the general answer about the number of slots in the current system. An excerpt from the Legends & Lore article, "Balancing Wizards in D&D" by Mike Mearls.


Reducing Total Spell Slots: Since wizards now have at-will magic, they need fewer spell slots. The current design places a cap on the total number of spells you can prepare, and it caps the maximum number of spells you can prepare of each level. The reduction of spell slots pushes more reliance on cantrips, and it makes combinations harder to repeat.

There's an interesting history to 7/8/9th level spells from OD&D, but that is out of scope for this question.


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