Looking at other questions about casting spells as a bonus action has left me trying to keep a lot of information in my head about whether a given combination of spells is legal according to the official 5th edition spellcasting rules.

So I'd like to consolidate all these rules into a single easily accessible table, containing all the possible combinations of spells that could possibly be cast in a single turn, and hopefully create an easy reference for future use. But I'm not certain about how some of these combinations should be treated.

Based on the second question I linked, the ordering doesn't matter, so I've simplified the chart to ignore order of these actions, and only focus on what actions are being taken. But if I'm mistaken (i.e. the answer provided to that question was wrong) then this table will need adjusting.

Action Bonus Action Action Surge LEGAL?
Non-Cantrip Yes
Cantrip Yes
Non-Cantrip Yes
Cantrip Yes
Non-Cantrip Cantrip No
Cantrip Non-Cantrip Yes
Non-Cantrip Non-Cantrip No
Cantrip Cantrip Yes
Non-Cantrip Cantrip Yes
Non-Cantrip Non-Cantrip ?Yes?
Cantrip Non-Cantrip ?Yes?
Cantrip Cantrip Yes
Cantrip Non-Cantrip Non-Cantrip ?No?
Non-Cantrip Cantrip Non-Cantrip ?No?
Non-Cantrip Non-Cantrip Non-Cantrip ?No?
Non-Cantrip Non-Cantrip Cantrip ?No?
Cantrip Non-Cantrip Cantrip ?Yes?
Non-Cantrip Cantrip Cantrip ?No?
Cantrip Cantrip Non-Cantrip ?No?
Cantrip Cantrip Cantrip Yes

Is this table (Column 4 in particular) correct?

The core issue for me is that it's not clear to me how Action Surges interact with the spellcasting rules, hence the question marks listed there. It seems like an Action Surge might permit 2 leveled spells to be cast in a turn, unless a Bonus Action is used to cast a spell, in which case this is no longer permitted. If this is correct, then my table above should be correct, minus the question marks. But I need that validated.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ The table would be more helpful as an answer \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Oct 16 '18 at 17:36
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Your table is missing a column for reaction spellcasting, which is impeded by bonus action spellcasting just like action surge spellcasting is. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26 '20 at 3:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Specifically, reactions performed on the caster's turn. This prevents a caster from hitting themselves with Fireball and then using Absorb Elements to mitigate some of it or from casting Counterspell against an opponent's Counterspell (which was countering the caster's spell). \$\endgroup\$
    – Axoren
    Feb 26 '20 at 3:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ ...or using a cantrip in place of an opportunity attack (via War Caster) to hit someone that you'd forced to run away via dissonant whispers. Not legal, as it is a cantrip, but not with a casting time of one action. Reaction spellcasting is actually impeded just a little bit more. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Feb 2 at 19:35

The table is entirely correct

Action Surge does not interact in any way with the bonus action spell rule (other than being limited in the same way as other spells if you use a bonus action spell). The bonus action rule is only used for spells with a bonus action casting time.

You can’t cast another spell during the same turn [that you would cast a bonus action spell], except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

This is also further explained in one of the answers in the official rules clarification document Sage Advice Compendium which says:

If you cast a spell...with a bonus action, you can cast another spell with your action, but that other spell must be a cantrip. Keep in mind that this particular limit is specific to spells that use a bonus action. For instance, if you cast a second spell using Action Surge, you aren’t limited to casting a cantrip with it.

Basically, if you cast (or will cast) a bonus action spell (cantrip or non-cantrip) in a turn, no other non-cantrip spells (even ones using the action from action surge) can be cast.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The last sentence captures the rule perfectly. No need for a big table or long discussions. It's a simple rule to follow. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Oct 16 '18 at 16:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @rpeinhardt Those situations are accurate. If you cast a bonus action cantrip, you cannot cast a non-cantrip with your action. No matter what type of bonus action spell is cast, all other spells in that turn must be cantrips. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16 '18 at 17:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's one of the weirder rules. You can cast two action non-cantrips with action surge but not a bonus action and an action non-cantrip as far as I understand \$\endgroup\$
    – OganM
    Oct 16 '18 at 21:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OganM your understanding is correct, but whether it's weird is debatable. The intent is to give bonus action spells a measurable cost so they aren't even more effective than other spells \$\endgroup\$ Oct 16 '18 at 21:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron this is getting terribly close to being a discussion. But I'd argue it IS weird (or at least needlessly restrictive). Bonus spells are still a measurable cost compared to action-spells, you have to burn a 1xDay feature to use another spell. We can agree to disagree on this, I'm not going to agree about the RAW . \$\endgroup\$
    – 3C273
    Oct 17 '18 at 1:39

Your table is correct, but can be dramatically simplified to this one, which I threw together in sheets, sorry for relative simplicity: enter image description here and a text-friendlier version:

Max Spell-Cast-As-Action Level(*) Bonus Action Spell Legal?
Any None TRUE
None Any TRUE
Cantrip Any TRUE
Level 1+ Any FALSE

(*) Including during Action Surge

As above, this is based upon:

Basically, if you cast (or will cast) a bonus action spell (cantrip or non-cantrip) in a turn, no other non-cantrip spells (even ones using the action from action surge) can be cast.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I find the column title "max action / surge spell level" confusing, the chart is nice but maybe change title, or include a legend that explains the column titles. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26 '20 at 3:55

"(None)" means doing something other than Cast a Spell.

Allowed during your Turn (no Action Surge)

Action Bonus Action Reaction
Cantrip Any level (None)
Cantrip (None) Cantrip
Cantrip (None) Level 1+
Cantrip (None) (None)
Level 1+ (None) Cantrip
Level 1+ (None) Level 1+
Level 1+ (None) (None)
(None) Any level (None)
(None) (None) Cantrip
(None) (None) Level 1+

Allowed during your Turn (Action Surge)

2 Actions Bonus Action Reaction
Two Cantrips Any level (None)
Two Cantrips (None) Cantrip
Two Cantrips (None) Level 1+
Two Cantrips (None) (None)
Cantrip and Level 1+ (None) Cantrip
Cantrip and Level 1+ (None) Level 1+
Cantrip and Level 1+ (None) (None)
Two Level 1+ (None) Cantrip
Two Level 1+ (None) Level 1+
Two Level 1+ (None) (None)


Anything not in the lists above.


At this time there aren't any cantrip Reaction spells, but I included them in the table for completeness and in case any get added later.


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