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Suppose a Level 6 Warlock has expended both of their Level 3 Spell Slots. Then, upon receiving XP, they gain enough to level up to Level 7. They immediately gain access to their new spell (and their replacement spell if they so choose), but what happens to their spell slots?

  1. They now have 2 4th Level Spell slots, ready to be used, and their expended 3rd level spell slots vanish
  2. They now have 2 expended 4th Level Spell Slots, and they cannot be used until they take a Short Rest

Which is it?

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They are the same slots so they remain expended

The Pact Magic feature works a bit differently than Spellcasting. You don't gain two higher level slots and lose your old ones. The feature says (emphasis mine):

The Warlock table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your warlock spells of 1st through 5th level. The table also shows what the level of those slots is; all of your spell slots are the same level.

So, you have two spell slots, and the table describes that their level moves from 3 to 4 when you reach seventh level. Therefore, those slots increase in level when you level up. These expended 3rd-level spell slots are now expended 4th-level spell slots.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The wording of the text does not indicate whether at the new level the slots change or are new. Your interpretation is one of two possible and valid interpretations. \$\endgroup\$ – Eternallord66 Apr 12 at 17:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree. Nowhere does it say you gain new slots and lose the old ones. The wording "how many spell slots you have" and "what the level of those slots is" is clear enough, so I think this is the only interpretation \$\endgroup\$ – Weasemunk Apr 12 at 17:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eternallord66 If you think it is ambiguous, leave an answer and see if people agree with you over gatherer818 or I. Answers stating that the rules are ambiguous are acceptable (even though I disagree in this instance) \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 12 at 17:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that spell slots change. There is no reference to this anywhere in the cited text. If this is a spell slot rule present elsewhere, please include it in your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Winterborne Apr 12 at 20:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Winterborne The slots don't change. The rules say the spell slots exist and their level is described by the table. Since the table changes, the spell slots' levels must change. I added a line to make it a bit more clear. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 12 at 21:11
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These are new slots; they can be used anew.

No text anywhere in the Warlock spellcasting section nor the general Spell Rules indicates that a spell slot ever changes levels. Given that no other class has level-changing slots, and this unique rule isn't mentioned in any Warlock write-up, the most direct reading of the rules is that they lose their 3rd level slots and gain 4th level slots instead at that level.

If slots "gained levels", then a Wizard going from 2nd level to 3rd with all expended spell slots should have already expended his new 2nd level slots - two of his first level slots leveled up to second, and he gained three new first level slots to bring him up to the amount in the table. Obviously, that's not what happens - the slots at the new level are new slots.

Like many other recent questions, though, this situation could be simplified by having the party level up during a long rest, so the slots are all refreshed anyway. In my personal opinion, I think leveling up during a long rest was an assumption in the rules that never got written in, so now there are all these questions. Can't prove that, though.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll eat your drive-by downvotes; my answer has just as much direct rules support as the top-voted answer and matches precedent set by all the other classes; in the absence of an exception, I feel you must assume the rules work the same way for everyone. It would make just as much sense to say "Warlock level 1 to level 2 doesn't gain a second slot, his existing slot splits into two slots, so they're both expended if his previous one was" as "Warlock level 6 to level 7 doesn't get new 4th level slots, his old ones just change levels." \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Apr 12 at 16:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ I won't debate the topic too much (my answer does as much), but the rules do in fact say that the slots change level. "The table also shows what the level of those slots is". I'll make my answer a bit more conclusive with some emphases where I draw my conclusion. (P.S. wasn't my downvote) \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 12 at 16:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ "If slots "gained levels", then a Wizard going from 2nd level to 3rd with all expended spell slots should have already expended his new 2nd level slots - two of his first level slots leveled up to second, and he gained three new first level slots to bring him up to the amount in the table." - This does not logically follow. The fact that warlocks have limited slots that are all of the highest level is why they work this way; other casters gain new spell slots, their older ones unchanged. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 12 at 18:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ The warlock inherently does not match the precedent set by other spellcasting classes. Trying to use the one to set precedent for the other in cases like this simply does not work. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Apr 12 at 18:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ The wizard is adding new slots of higher levels, while keeping his old (and expended) slots. It's not that his first-level slots are becoming second-level slots. His first-level slots are still there. You're positing a situation where a warlock going up in level loses his lower-level slots and then instantly gains a similar number of higher-level slots, but if anything this is more violently out of precedent with all classes - no other class has you lose things by gaining levels. 4e rules are far enough from 5e rules that attempting to reference them is meaningless. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Apr 15 at 6:59

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