My question is about something that happens in S2E98 of Critical Role (potential spoilers if you haven't watched it yet).

In the episode, the wizard attempts to counterspell a dimension door spell. The counterspell is 4th-level just like dimension door normally is; however, the DM mentions that because the caster of dimension door is a warlock, it is a 5th-level dimension door spell, and the wizard still has to make the spellcasting ability check to see if counterspell works.

Is there some official rule that would explain why counterspelling a warlock would be different? This could of course be some house rule, but I don't see any hints that this show would have such a house rule.

The warlock is an NPC; his eldritch blast gives 3 shots, so he's at least 11th level. The player characters' party is 11th level.


2 Answers 2


The warlock 'upcasts' naturally

Warlocks don't have the options to choose what level of spell slot they use to cast a spell, as other casters do. Their Pact Magic feature assigns a single spell level for all their spell slots, and all their spells are cast at that level.

The Warlock Table lists what level their spells are cast at, which depends on their class level.

Normally, dimension door is a 4th-level spell if cast at its lowest level. However, depending on the level of the warlock, they could be casting at a higher level because all of their spells are cast at that level.

So it's not so much that it's the warlock that makes the difference, but the spell slot level that's used, which depends on the warlock's class level.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ A note that warlock only have a highest level slots would be helpful for people new to 5e or warlocks. It is something easy to miss. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Apr 14, 2020 at 19:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @findusl is that clearer? I'll add citations layer. Unless someone wants to put it in :) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Apr 14, 2020 at 20:55
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast: That last part's incorrect, for their spell slots. Warlock slots only go up to 5th level. Non-NPC warlocks get the Mystic Arcanum feature for each spell level beyond that (once per long rest, for each spell). The NPC version might not get such a feature, and/or some of its innate 1/day spells may be intended to reflect the Mystic Arcanum... \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Apr 15, 2020 at 5:06
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ "any other caster has no reason to upcast the spell, it has no added benefit" isn't completely accurate. A Wizard who's run out of 4th-level spell slots but who really needs to cast Dimension Door might cast it with a 5th-level slot, despite "wasting" the higher level of the slot. It's not going to be a common occurrence, but it could happen and it's worth being aware of this slight upside regarding it being harder to counter. \$\endgroup\$
    – LizWeir
    Apr 15, 2020 at 7:47
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @findusl There's also the situation similar to what's described by OP. Wizard needs to cast Dimension Door to escape. Knows the enemy is a spellcaster that might have Counterspell. Wizard deliberately upcasts Dimension Door in order to reduce the chance of the spell being countered and preventing their escape. \$\endgroup\$
    – Doc
    Apr 15, 2020 at 15:46

Warlocks only have highest-level spell slots.*

All spells Warlocks cast are always* cast at the highest-level spell slot available, because that's the only spell slots they have.

Because of that, warlock players and DMs often just don't speak of upcasting aloud. It is something that always happens, so it would get old pretty fast. And that's why if the Warlock had 5th-level slots, the Warlock's dimension door was automatically a 5th-level spell without anyone needing to say it.

* There may be discussions of whether warlocks could intentionally decide not to upcast if they wanted, but that's out of the scope of this Q&A.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .