In general, damage-dealing spells do not seem worth upcasting; the damage just doesn't scale very well. This is probably by design, because no one would bother casting higher level spells if an upcast lower one was better. Regardless, I'd like to homebrew a magic item that increases the damage output of spell upcasting to be roughly the same as using an equivalent higher level spell. This is hard for me to figure out, however, because there are so many qualitative differences between spells - it's hard to sort out how much I need to buff in order to quantitatively make things balance out. I know upcasting damage spells usually isn't effective, but I don't know how much I need to add to make it worth it.

The Objective is to create a magic item that increases the power of upcasting to be roughly the same as using a higher level spell. An example might be "when you upcast a spell, add an additional damage die to all damage" - except that seems like too much. I cannot provide a specific example of a spell I'd like to make it easier to upcast because the idea here is to create an item that applies to many spells. I am open to making the item have a limited number of daily charges.


closed as too broad by Miniman, Ruse, linksassin, Rubiksmoose, ZwiQ Jan 3 at 3:37

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    \$\begingroup\$ You really need to specify a particular spell you want to look at an upcast-upgrade for. Just asking generally 'how do I make upcasting worth it' is much too broad to be answerable. I'd suggest picking one or a few spells, and making your item specifically upgrade those. Depending on how you ask, it still may not be answerable on SE, but at least you'll be looking at something more clear and specific. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Jan 3 at 2:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ By the way, it's worth mentioning that the developers have commented a few times that fireball and lightning bolt are intentionally somewhat overpowered. They're core spells to the combat wizard/sorcerer and playtest reports showed such iconic spells felt a little wimpy and underwhelming when they were merely 'on level'. So if you're looking at what power level upcasting should provide, you might want to exclude those two from consideration. \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Jan 3 at 14:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DarthPseudonym I'm making an item that buffs a spell whenever it is upcast. I can't specify a spell because I'd like a rule that applies to many spells. \$\endgroup\$ – Pink Sweetener Jan 4 at 22:52

The guidance in the books:

There is some rough guidance in the Dungeon Master's Guide that discusses approximate damage output for spells of different levels. In the "Creating a Spell" section of Chapter 9: Dungeon Master's Workshop (p. 283-284), it touches on damage estimates for each spell level:

For any spell that deals damage, use the Spell Damage table to determine approximately how much damage is appropriate given the spell’s level. The table assumes the spell deals half damage on a successful saving throw or a missed attack. If your spell doesn’t deal damage on a successful save, you can increase the damage by 25 percent.


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