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I am planning on using a Circle of the Stars Druid subclass, but I am confused about one of the features using their star map. All druids who pick this subclass automatically have the Guiding Bolt spell prepared, and can do as stated:

You can cast Guiding Bolt without expending a spell slot. You can do so a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

Does this mean that at 9th level, you could cast Guiding Bolts of any level for free a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus?

I was wondering about this because it seems overpowered to be able to cast a 5th level guiding bolt a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus.

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2 Answers 2

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When a feature allows you to cast a spell without expending a spell slot, you cast it at its minimum level unless it specifies otherwise**

Sage Advice Compendium pg 13

Such a spell is cast at its lowest possible level, which is the level that appears near the top of its description. Unless you have a special ability that says otherwise, the only way to increase the level of a spell is to expend a higher-level spell slot when you cast it.

So basically you can cast Guiding Bolt at 1st level a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus per day. Or you can expend a spell slot to cast it as normal at that level.

** What level is a spell if you cast it without expending a spell slot?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Akixkisu's answer is quite definitive, and deserving of sending traffic to it for upvotes, but you also might consider quoting and linking the SAC ruling for users who would like to directly see the source of your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Feb 14 at 5:08
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Unless otherwise specified, when a feature allows you to cast a spell without using up a spell slot, you cast the spell at its lowest level. So, you essentially can cast First Level Guiding Bolt as many times as your proficiency bonus; however, you are unable to upcast that damage.

Sage Advice Compendium pg 13

Such a spell is cast at its lowest possible level, which is the level that appears near the top of its description. Unless you have a special ability that says otherwise, the only way to increase the level of a spell is to expend a higher-level spell slot when you cast it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! This sounds reasonable, but can you cite the rules that cover this case? \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Feb 13 at 23:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center. \$\endgroup\$
    – Community Bot
    Feb 13 at 23:58

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