I'm exploring the capabilities granted by the Metamagic Spell Trigger feature at 7th level and the Metamagic Item Infusion (3rd Level). I'm seeking clarification regarding its interaction with the resulting DC calculation on wands.

As per the rules on saving throws against magic item powers, it states: "For a saving throw against a spell or spell-like effect from a magic item, the DC is 10 + the level of the spell or effect + the ability modifier of the minimum ability score needed to cast that level of spell".

Now, let's say I have crafted a Fireball wand (a 3rd-level spell). With the Metamagic Spell Trigger feature or Metamagic Item, I apply the "Twin Spell" metamagic feat to the wand's effect, effectively treating it as a 7th-level spell slot. This raises a question regarding the wand's DC calculation.

Would the DC of the wand indeed be calculated as if it were casting a 7th-level spell, considering the augmentation provided by the Metamagic Spell Trigger feature or Metamagic Item Infusion? Or does the DC remain unaffected by the applied metamagic feat?

Thank you for your time and assistance!


1 Answer 1


Metamagic effects don’t change a spell’s “actual” spell level, only the level of the spell slot it requires:

In all ways, a metamagic spell operates at its original spell level, even though it is prepared and cast as a higher-level spell. Saving throw modifications are not changed unless stated otherwise in the feat description.

So despite the fact that a twinned fireball requires a 7th-level spell slot, it’s still a 3rd-level spell. It still requires an ability score of 10 + 3 = 13 to cast it, which means its DC is 10 + 3 + the relevant ability score, which in the case of the minimum, means it’s DC 14.

The only exception is Heighten Spell, which says

A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level.

Thus, a heightened fireball cast from a 7th-level spell slot actually is a 7th-level spell, so it has a minimum ability score of 17 and its DC is 17 + the ability modifier, or DC 20 in the case of the minimum. If you crafted a wand of heightened fireball (with it heightened to 7th level), this would apply.

Whether or not that applies when using Metamagic Spell Trigger or metamagic item isn’t totally clear: so far as I know, nothing explicitly confirms the interaction. But Heighten Spell is pretty emphatic about using the higher spell level for “All effects dependent on spell level,” and lists saving throw DCs explicitly. So my guess is that it probably should apply, and most DMs will allow it to do so. You should double-check that with yours before you bank on it, though.

While you’re at it, if we’re being honest, you should mention that metamagic item is “omgwtf” broken, and should be banned. Metamagic Spell Trigger is extremely powerful, but metamagic item is just absolutely bonkers.

And, as a final thought: when dealing with magic items, you don’t want anything that allows a saving throw. The minimum ability score rule is extremely punitive, and enemies will make most of those saving throws. You’ll waste a lot of actions and charges on failed spells, and they’re too valuable to waste like that. Using Heighten Spell in this manner is a bad idea; it costs too much (well, outside of metamagic item, which is, again, omgwtf broken—and even there, while the price isn’t unreasonable, you could do so much more). The obvious exception here are staves, which use your stats instead of the item’s own caster level and the minimum ability score. With a staff, plenty of things that allow saves work just fine.


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