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If a caster with the ability to spontaneously cast some spells (such as a Cleric or Druid) prepares a lower-level spell in a higher-level spell slot, what level is used for the spontaneous spell?

ie. Lets say a druid prepares Obscuring mist (a 1st level spell) in a second level slot. Later, our hypothetical druid chooses to lose that spell in exchange for a Summon Nature's Ally. Does she get a Summon Nature's Ally I or Summon Nature's Ally II

The exact wording of Spontaneous Casting says

A druid can channel stored spell energy into summoning spells that she hasn’t prepared ahead of time. She can “lose” a prepared spell in order to cast any summon nature’s ally spell of the same level or lower.

So it seems like it should be the level of the spell, not the slot, but I wanted to make sure since it's a bit of an edge case.

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As written, you are correct, it’s the spell’s level. But as you say, this is a corner case, and I can imagine no good reason to rule that way. Cure wounds, inflict wounds, and summon nature’s ally are all already weak spells for their level (cure and inflict more so than summon nature’s ally), no doubt precisely because clerics and druids can cast them spontaneously—and choosing to prepare a lower-level spell in a given spell slot is also a dramatic reduction in power. Compounding those by not allowing the caster to at least get their full slot’s worth if they end up spontaneously converting the spell to a sub-par spell just seems wholly unnecessary.

Clerics and druids are certainly among the most powerful classes in the game, and could use nerfing, but nit-picky rulings around corner-cases isn’t the way to do it—you won’t actually affect their power in any significant way.

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