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Are there any game features that allow a wizard to add damage to every spell cast?

Background:

In our 5e game, we have play-tested a 3rd-party wizard subclass from MCDM Productions, the Order of Hibernation.

One feature of this subclass called "Winter Reserves" is as follows:

As long as you have three spell slots remaining, you gain the following benefits:

  1. ...
  2. ...
  3. You add your Intelligence modifier to the damage you deal with any wizard spell.

(Benefits 1 and 2 are unimportant for this question.)

Benefit #3 seems pretty straight-forward. You cast an average fireball, doing 27 points of damage, let's say your Intelligence modifier is +5, so that's 32 points of damage.

In a recent game, Sleepy, our Hibernator, cast magic missile. Discussion ensued. One point of view, each missile gets the +3; another point of view, the spell as a whole gets the +3. The DM made a call, saying no precedent was being established, and we moved on with the game.

It does make a big difference. Magic Missile upcast, say to 5th, is 7 missiles. POV 1, a 20-Intelligence wizard a 5th level spell that does 19-40 (ave 29) points of no-save, no-miss force damage. POV 2, it's 49-70 (ave 59) points. Contrasting with a normal MM upcast to 5th of 14-35 (ave 24), that's a pretty big difference.

In the end, interpretation is up to the DM, but several of us DM, and we'd like to have consensus. We aren't reaching it based on the language provided by the author: some of us read it one way, some another.

I am looking for something to compare and contrast this feature to, to help us come to concensus, so, my question is:

  • Is there a feature in the published official rules that applies x damage that the character deals with any wizard spell?
  • Failing that, is that a feature that is similar in some way, such as damage dealt with edged weapons, or some other category?

I have searched and have not found anything, but it's a big ruleset.

Alternatively, I'd be interested in any other insight that can be backed up by rules or personal experience.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't count potent cantrip, since it's just cantrips. Empowered Evocation is a fairly close example, it's wording specifically negates the damage-per-missile scenario, although whether that argues for POV 1 v. POV 2 I suppose will be a matter of debate.... \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Dec 6, 2021 at 19:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, so you all did a scrub and maybe MCDM's little homebrew is a bit more powerful than the norm ... thanks for clarifying. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 6, 2021 at 19:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ If I as a DM allowed this, I would change the wording to "You add your Intelligence modifier to the damage you deal with any wizard spell that does damage." Otherwise, "I cast sleep" becomes, "Okay, you put three of the goblins to sleep - but then they wake up after they each take 4 damage." or "I make myself invisible" followed by "Fine, but you also take 5 damage from your own spell." And see here \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Dec 6, 2021 at 23:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt If a spell doesn’t do damage there is no damage to add to. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 7, 2021 at 9:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related, regarding Magic Missile specifically: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/47140/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Dec 7, 2021 at 11:41

2 Answers 2

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The Evocation Wizard can do this for Evocation spells.

The Evocation Wizard's Empowered Evocation says:

Empowered Evocation

Beginning at 10th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier to one damage roll of any wizard evocation spell you cast.

It doesn't get you every spell, but it does get you every Evocation spell.

The War Mage's Power Surge

The War Magic wizard has a feature that can do what you;re looking for, but it requires some "charging up", so to speak:

Power Surge

Starting at 6th level, you can store magical energy within yourself to later empower your damaging spells. In its stored form, this energy is called a power surge.

You can store a maximum number of power surges equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum of one). Whenever you finish a long rest, your number of power surges resets to one. Whenever you successfully end a spell with dispel magic or counterspell, you gain one power surge, as you steal magic from the spell you foiled. If you end a short rest with no power surges, you gain one power surge.

Once per turn when you deal damage to a creature or object with a wizard spell, you can spend one power surge to deal extra force damage to that target. The extra damage equals half your wizard level.

This is different from Empowered Evocation in that it works on any wizard spell, but it does requires charging up to use more than once.

The 14th-level Bladesinger can get a bonus to melee weapon attacks.

The Bladesinger is a bit of an odd duck among wizards, it focuses on melee weapons for dealing damage. At 14th-level, they get a feature called Song of Victory:

Song of Victory

You can add your Intelligence modifier (minimum of +1) to the damage of your melee weapon attacks while your Bladesong is active.

Comparing to these, the feature in question seems a bit more powerful.

Empowered Evocation is probably the best of these three, the only condition is that it applies to Evocation Spells, which is plenty of damage dealing spells. Power Surge is once per day if you don't bother charging it up by using counterspell and dispel magic, which is a somewhat high cost. Song of Victory is really just something different altogether, applying to melee weapon attacks. Overall, the feature seems comparable to Empowered Evocation, except with a bit more flexibility.

Honorable Mention: Imbued Wood Focus and Chromatic Dragon-Touched Focus

The imbued wood focus from Eberron: Rising from the Last War applies a +1 damage to spells dealing an appropriate damage type:

When you cast a damage-dealing spell using this item as your spellcasting focus, you gain a +1 bonus to one damage roll of the spell, provided the damage is of the type associated with the item’s wood. The types of wood and their associated damage types are listed in the Imbued Wood Focus table.

The Chromatic Dragon-Touched Focus from Fizban's Treasury of Dragons functions similarly, providing a bonus to damage rolls for spells dealing an appropriate damage type:

Chromatic. Whenever you use a spell slot to cast a spell that deals acid, cold, fire, lightning, or poison damage, roll a d6, and you gain a bonus equal to the number rolled to one of the spell’s damage rolls.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ These are good comparisons, thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Dec 6, 2021 at 19:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Technically, there are also racial benefits like the Goblin's Fury of the Small that can do something similar - and a level 20 Goblin Wizard buffing a 9th-level Magic Missile spell with the ability can do an hilarious amount of damage. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Dec 7, 2021 at 10:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to note the War Wizard's power surge is once per short rest if you don't use counterspell*/*dispel magic - you can't store extra surges over a long rest, but you will always have at least one after a short rest. Not that it makes a massive different to this analysis. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Dec 7, 2021 at 11:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ It should be noted that the features listed in this answer (except for Song of Victory, which applies only to weapon attacks) are limited to one creature per turn or one damage roll per spell. It is not clear whether this is the case also for the feature in the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Surpriser
    Dec 7, 2021 at 14:20
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In addition to Wizard features listed in this other answer, some other classes have similar features.

Some Cleric subclasses have this feature, starting from level 8 and only applying to cantrips:

Potent Spellcasting

Starting at 8th level, you add your Wisdom modifier to the damage you deal with any cleric cantrip.

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything offers this optional alternative feature for Clerics:

Blessed Strikes

8th-level cleric feature, which replaces the Divine Strike or Potent Spellcasting feature

You are blessed with divine might in battle. When a creature takes damage from one of your cantrips or weapon attacks, you can also deal 1d8 radiant damage to that creature. Once you deal this damage, you can’t use this feature again until the start of your next turn.

Then there's this Warlock Eldritch Invocaton, which probably comes closest to your subclass situation with Magic Missile, but this scales much more slowly, adding extra beam at levels 5, 11 and 17 for up to 4 (compared to MM, which goes from 3 to 11...). Additionally, Agonizing Blast has opportunity cost, you must give up taking some other sweet Invocation to be able to take it.

Agonizing Blast

Prerequisite: eldritch blast cantrip

When you cast eldritch blast, add your Charisma modifier to the damage it deals on a hit.

And then there is Sorcerer Metamagic option, which is limited by sorcery points and only improves worst-case damage, not maximum damage:

Empowered Spell

When you roll damage for a spell, you can spend 1 sorcery point to reroll a number of the damage dice up to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one). You must use the new rolls.

You can use Empowered Spell even if you have already used a different Metamagic option during the casting of the spell.


Of these, only Warlock's Agonizing Blast with its multiple beams at higher character levels is even remotely comparable to Magic Missile with ability modifier bonus damage. It's worth noting, that this Warlock feature is also quite closely guarded, a non-Warlock can't get Agonizing Blast with Eldritch Adept, for example.

Then there are features such as Whisper Bard's Psychic Blades (which consume Bardic Inspiration uses), Battlemaster's Superiority dice, Monk's Ki points and probably a few others. They all have limited uses per day, while if you use this feature for cantrips, and at later levels where you are unlikely to run out of spell slots very often, it's practically unlimited.

So, nothing on other classes comes even close.


To make this even remotely balanced, compared to what is available to other classes:

  • It must not have unlimited uses with cantrips until level 8 or 10 or so (comparable to Cleric and Evocation Wizard). It either needs to consume some resource when used with cantrips, or not be usable with cantrips until these higher levels (or ever).
  • It can not apply to more than one projectile when used with Magic Missile, Scorching ray and similar spells (similar to Evocation Wizard). The important thing here is, this damage should not scale with upcasting the way it scales with these multi-target spells as written. Nothing else scales like that, even Agonizing blast is far behind.

Even with these limitations it's still very strong, because it works with Area of Effect spells. Fireballs better than what an Evocation Wizard can make them until level 10, that should say enough.

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