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If a party wanted access to every spell in the PHB, what is the minimum number of PCs needed and which classes would those PCs need to be?

To clarify, I mean the potential to choose from all spells throughout their 20 levels, not necessarily having access to all spells at one given point in time.

  • Assume no magic items, potions, etc.
  • All PCs are level 20 and can access all spell levels available to them by RAW
  • Multiclassing is available
  • Feats from the PHB are available and may reduce the number of classes needed, for example: Spell Sniper, Ritual Caster and Magic Initiate allow PCs to choose cantrips, first level or ritual spells to use from other spell casting classes.
  • Class and racial features from the PHB may be factored in
  • Any other features included in the PHB may be factored in
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    \$\begingroup\$ With "access", do you mean having all of them prepared at once, all of them potentially available after preparing spells, or just all them on a character's class list? \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Mar 10 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik, please let me know if that edit doesn't fully clarify. \$\endgroup\$ – lightcat Mar 10 at 19:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Lightcat do you mean that at any given level, the collective party should have potential access to every spell that can be cast by characters of that level? Or do we only care that by 20th level, the characters have had the option to potentially know every spell? \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Mar 10 at 19:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer I mean that throughout their combined 20 levels they will have had, in total, the option to choose from all spells in the PHB. To phrase it a bit differently that in their combined 20 levels there is no single spell they could not have chosen. Let me know if that phrasing is more clear and I'll add it into the question. \$\endgroup\$ – lightcat Mar 10 at 20:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @lightcat yeah, I think that clarifies your intent nicely. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Mar 10 at 20:03
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One Bard

Thanks to the Magical Secrets class feature:

At 18th level, you have plundered magical knowledge from a wide spectrum of disciplines. Choose two spells from any classes, including this one. A spell you choose must be of a level you can cast, as shown on the Bard table, or a cantrip.

An 18th level bard has 9th level spell slots available and they can use Magical Secrets to choose spells and cantrips from any class spell list, so they can potentially gain knowledge of any spell that exists in the game (though of course they will only actually know a handful of non-bard spells in the specific case).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ha! Very Nice!! \$\endgroup\$ – lightcat Mar 10 at 20:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yep. All bards get 2 spells from any class at 10th, 14th, and 18th level; College of Lore bards also get 2 spells from Additional Magical Secrets at 6th level. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 10 at 20:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Though it is worth mentioning that every class does have at least one exclusive spell (hunter's mark, eldritch blast, etc.), so if you don't want to spread the bard super thin you need some unholy multiclass/ a character in each full or half-caster class. \$\endgroup\$ – MegaCrow Mar 10 at 21:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MegaCrow sorcerers do not have any exclusive spells \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Mar 10 at 21:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MegaCrow: And of course Eldritch Blast only really shines for Warlocks that take Invocations to buff it (e.g. add your modifier to the damage of each bolt), so it's not very valuable for a single-class bard to pick it up. It's maybe not a bad choice for a damage cantrip, though, vs. the Bard's own damage cantrip, Vicious Mockery. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Mar 11 at 12:42

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