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For instance, lets say you are a Drow wizard, and you have taken Quicken Spell as a metamagic feat. You wish to Quicken your innate darkness ability, so that you can throw down a cloak of magical darkness quickly as a getaway move without having to burn a spell slot on a Quickened Darkness.

Is this allowed? Is there some RAW out there that forbids this? Or is this a case that'd mandate a DM ruling?

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No, there are separate Meta-Spell-like Ability feats, like Quicken Spell-like Ability and Empower Spell-like Ability. Metamagic only applies to spells; you can’t prepare or cast your racial darkness from a higher level spell slot to use Quicken Spell anyway.

That said, the proliferation of Meta-X feats in 3.5 is, I think, a mistake. I would support houserules to allow Quicken Spell to also count as Quicken Spell-like Ability, so if you have Quicken Spell, you can also quicken your darkness per the Quicken Spell-like Ability feat. There is no reason why someone with both spells and spell-like abilities should have to buy the same feat twice.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Irrelevant Trivia: DDO (that is based on 3.5) allow you to use metamagics on Spell-like abilities. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nibelung
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 4:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer is correct. However, this DM would not implement house rules allowing metamagic feats also to be used as the similar feats that modify spell-like abilities. Monsters with spells and spell-like abilities are often sufficiently badass that letting them get double-duty from their metamagic feats seems like just a straight power-up to monsters not really in need of one. (Although, admittedly, I've not playtested such a house rule.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 4:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan true enough, but my feeling there is that monsters can be tailored appropriately either way, while I can think of few cases where a player could cause problems and several where these features represent unnecessary taxes. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 4:59

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