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I was thinking of homebrewing a feat with my DM, but before I start I wanted to know if it would even be balanced at all for feat that would give any character (such as a barbarian) the spell mirror image if they met the requirements, which would be having the spellcasting ability for that class of at least 13, such as Intelligence or Charisma.

They would be able to cast the spell once per short rest.

The feat would be sort of like the Magic Initiate feat, but it would grant the usage of mirror image once per short rest.

Maybe the feat could be called something like Magic Initiate Variant, where you only get one 2nd level spell slot per day.

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Once per short rest would almost certainly be too much. That means you might get as many or more castings of a 2nd level spell than a dedicated Wizard of your level (they get 3 at level 4, for all of their spells).

Once per long rest might be okay. This is more in line with Magic Initiate (gaining a slightly better spell once per day but losing out on the cantrips).

It's also not unheard of for non-casters to gain access to a 2nd level spell. Various races gain them as racial abilities at level 5. Some even get some (not very powerful) 3rd level ones.

There's also a few items that let you cast 2nd level spells when not a caster, so also in that regard it's not overpowered.

Also in the specific case of giving Mirror Image to a Barbarian, it seems fine to me... the Barbarian is essentially already a massive punching bag, at best this'll block a few more points of damage at the cost of your action.

So I'd be fine with allowing this, although I'd wonder about "how" in this case. Lore-wise, are you actually learning this one specific spell, or is the ability coming from something else? But balance-wise that's not a consideration.

The only thing I'd maybe consider, especially if you generalize the Feat to "any spell" is to slap on a "character level 3+" restriction. It might be a bit much for a Variant Human to have a 2nd level spell at level 1. (Probably still not overpowered, but better safe than sorry if you're allowing this as a full option)

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    \$\begingroup\$ It may also be worth looking at some of the racial feats in Xanathar's Guide to Everything (and Svirfneblin Magic, originally from the EEPC) as a comparison, since some of them grant 2nd- or 3rd-level spells (sometimes with limitations), and one of them (Fey Teleportation) grants a casting of a specified 2nd-level spell once per short rest. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 17 at 9:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Alex While I appreciate the checkmark, it's generally better to wait to see if any better answers come up. I might be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time, but if you accept an answer you probably won't find out ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Mar 17 at 9:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast: Still worth pointing out that not all spells of the same level are "equal" in balance terms, as context matters. E.g. Mirror Image is "self"-only hence would normally be cast by a wizard/sorcerer (or someone with levels in those classes) but has a different synergy if freely usable by a class with already high defences such as a barbarian. \$\endgroup\$ – PJRZ Mar 17 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PJRZ: Oh, I agree. Just felt they might serve as useful evidence for comparison. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 17 at 20:02

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