Following this question, I notified my player that I was thinking of changing the way that her combo would work. Before I could even tell her how that would work, she started digging into the books again for some new, more "conventional" ways to raise her spellcasting limit.

She asked me if I would allow the Complete Mage from D&D 3.5, and I (stupid me) said yes.

Now she appeared with a new character sheet, with two feats that gave me chills - Storm Bolt and Heighten Spell.

Then I looked at her Character Sheet. She managed to bring her Int up to 24 (in a legal way), thus she has an extra 7th level spell slot.

I immediately realized what she's planning - she will put a Heightened Lightning Bolt (7th level) on that slot and use the reserve feat to use a 7d6 "at will" Lightning Bolt.

First, Heighten Spell reads:

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.

And then, Storm Bolt reads:

As long as you have an electricity spell of 3rd level or higher available to cast, you can fire a 20-foot line of electricity as a standard action. This bolt deals 1d6 points of electricity damage per level of the highest-level electricity spell you have available to cast. A successful Reflex save halves damage.

Emphasis mine.

How will the Reserve Feat interact with this? I suppose it will use the effective spell level of the Heightened LB (7th), but there might be nuances that I'm missing.

I'm feeling a little uneasy about letting a wizard have an at-will 7d6 short lightning bolt, but again I don't want to punish players for creative use of the system.

Do these two feats interact in the way she is thinking they do?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've deleted/edited answers to remove references to his other "bonus spell slot" problem, now found here: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/36325/… \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 11:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I find myself once again answering a question's intent rather than wording, sorry, but... Draconic Reservoir (Lvl 3) Elemental Aura (Lvl 3) Lightning Bolt (Lvl 3) Ball Lightning (Lvl 4) Detonate (Lvl 4) Dragon's Breath (Lvl 4) Hellmouth Lash (Lvl 4) Shocking Image (Lvl 4) Lightning Arc (Lvl 5) Chain Lightning (Lvl 6*) Stormbolts (Lvl 8*) Ride the Lightning (Lvl 9) a quick search on the PFSRD revealed this list of electric spells. She didn't need Heighten Spell unless she very specifically wanted a level 7 spell. She could make do with a 6th until she got an 8th. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 20:58
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Complete Mage is a fairly well-designed supplement, somewhat on the lower end of the power scale, even. Reserve feats are generally viewed as a poor use of a feat; high-level spellcasters generally run out of actions in a combat faster than they run out of spells per day, which means wasting an action on a weak attack in order to save spells is a poor tactic. The bonus to caster level is actually usually more useful than the attack ability. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 1:15

3 Answers 3


This two feats interact the way she is thinking they do?

Yes. She can prepare a lvl 7 Heightened Lightning Bolt and cast it as much as she wants with the reserve feat (at a shorter range than the official spell).

When she levels up, and eventually gain access to higher slots, she can fill them with Heightened Lightning Bolts and use them as much as she wants.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Cast it is a relative term however, since the Heightened Lightning bolt is a seventh level spell, she'll only get 7d6 points of damage when using Storm Bolt. Which is less than she would get by just casting the third level Lightning bolt at Caster Level 13 ( which would deal 10d6 points of damage ) \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 5:31

Yes, it is perfectly legal, but before you worry too much about it, look at where other classes are:

In order get that at-will 7d6 lightning bolt, she has to spend two feats, effectively loose a 7th-level spell slot, and must be at least 13th level. (Untill she can cast other spells of that level, she should not gain the bonus spell slot either.)

By comparison, a 13th-level rogue deals a 7d6 backstab, at will. Moreover if he is flanking his opponent, he can deal that twice in a round as part of a full attack action and all on top of actual weapon damage.

Warlocks and dragonfire adepts are also dealing 6d6 damage every round. And they are each two feats up on her.

So, no, a 13th level spellcaster with an at-will 7d6 short-range lightning bolt should not be too disruptive to your game. If she is giving you problems, find ways to make your villains electricity resistant.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it is true that other classes might be dealing more damage per round on single targets, but this is a 7d6 AoE attack, without the need to be flanking or getting the enemy flat-footed. But what you say is true - she will need 13th level to use this combo. Take a +1 for singaling that out! \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 13:17
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for highlighting that she won't get the bonus seventh level spell slot until she can already cast 7th level spells. \$\endgroup\$
    – Haegin
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 10:35

Yes, it changes the spell level so it works

Heighten Spell is unique amongst metamagic feats in that it increases the effective spell level. So yes, preparing a heightened lightning bolt to 7th level is a 7th level spell for all purposes, including reserve feats.

Assuming she has 7th level spell slots to do this, it works. And while it's hardly the most broken thing a Wizard can do, I tend to agree that just being able to fire off 7d6 lightning bolts at will, infinitely, without using any resources, is less than ideal for everybody else in the party that deals damage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ at 13th level, 7d6 is fine for non-resource consuming attacks. It's a little stronger than others (sneak attack, channel energy, etc), but it also costs 1.5 feats and a spell slot, so it's balanced. It also doesn't scale up anymore, pretty soon the wizard will want to just use REAL lightning bolts, as 3rd level slots won't be very valuable. \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 20:17

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