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I've played about 3 sessions and I DM'd my own session a few weeks ago, so I’m pretty new to all this.

I've been reading the rules in the Player’s Handbook and on RPG.SE and I came across the following rule about multiple spells in a single turn (bonus action + action, PHB 202) which basically is the following:

During a turn you can cast:

  • Cantrip (action) + Spell (bonus action)
  • Spell (bonus action) + Cantrip (action)
  • Cantrip (action) + Cantrip (bonus action)

I believe this follows out of the PHB on page 202.

I'm not sure why the action is limited to a cantrip. Why isn't it allowed to do the following?:

  • Spell (action) + spell (bonus action)
  • Spell (action) + cantrip (bonus action)
  • Cantrip (bonus action) + spell (action)

My thinking is: most rules are there for a reason and when you follow the PHB-rules everything should be balanced.

So the question is would it be OP to let my players do the above, or does it mess up balance between classes? When they cast 2 regular spells in a turn they do have to burn 2 of their spell slots... and looking through the spell list I can't really find any super powerful combinations you can do with this.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You say "my question is:" twice for two very different questions ("why are things this way" and "would it be OP to do things this other way"), and I've revised this to focus on the second, since that seems to be the most practically impactful part of the question for you. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 6 '18 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes indeed the second question was the most impactful. Thanks :) \$\endgroup\$ – Dreeze Mar 6 '18 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I can see the balance issue now. Not following the rules would turn sorcerers into quick-fire artillery. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Dreeze Mar 6 '18 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ As a note, you can use action surge from fighter to cast 2 action spells in a turn \$\endgroup\$ – Mark Omo Mar 6 '18 at 20:17
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The designers thought it was a balance issue.

See the following Tweet from Mike Mearls, the rules designer.

Question: Is there a specific reason to explain why you can only cast a cantrip after a bonus action spell? Curious.

Mearls' Answer: It was a perceived balance issue, mainly to prevent massive volleys of spells; not sure we actually needed it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well I guess that's my answer, thanks :) . I'll probably see how the official rules play out and if ignoring the rule seems more fun i'll go with that (if all players are in favor) \$\endgroup\$ – Dreeze Mar 6 '18 at 15:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've seen some speculation that it was mainly to balance sorcerers. Is there any evidence of that that you know of? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 6 '18 at 15:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ The link 'Sdjz' posted above seems to adress the balance issues sorcerers would have: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/77746/33707 If you would allow regular spells as an action and bonus action a sorcerer would be able to cast 2 regular spells during a turn with 'quicken spell' making other casters or characters feel irrelevant \$\endgroup\$ – Dreeze Mar 6 '18 at 15:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Doublecasting Fireball does tend to cause rather an obscene amount of destruction.... \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Mar 6 '18 at 16:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @guildsbounty To be fair, that has more to do with the fact that fireball is significantly more powerful than a spell of that level should be rather than two of them being tossed around. \$\endgroup\$ – Valthek Mar 7 '18 at 7:25
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A dangerous combination that this could also allow would be to combine Misty Step. which is a bonus action spell, with just about anything else, allowing the spellcaster to pop in from hiding by surprise and immediately cast a devastating AoE spell, or even a touch spell -- or likewise to be able to run up to an opponent, cast a touch spell on him, and immediately Misty Step away to safety. I think that would be an imbalance as well.

As a wizard player, I found myself very frequently wishing I could Misty Step up to the castle wall and immediately blow stuff up in the courtyard without warning, or similar combinations. How often and how badly I wanted to do that is, to me, a very good indication of how unbalancing it would have been to allow that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It isn't quite the same but if you have a spare round to set up, Blink might help you with your hit-and-run explosions. \$\endgroup\$ – Pilchard123 Mar 7 '18 at 10:42

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