Sorcerers are no ordinary casters and their metamagic feature proves it!
This is the most important class feature for Sorcerers. If you want to play a Sorcerer well, it’s important to have a full understanding of how metamagic works in D&D 5e!
But fear not, dear Sorcerer!
Today we’re answering all of your questions about metamagic
This is the complete guide to using metamagic in D&D 5e!
What is Metamagic?
Metamagic lets Sorcerers manipulate and alter spells to fit their needs in creative ways that other casters can’t. Because your magic is so instinctive, you’re effectively able to defy the boundaries of what other casters might think is possible!
Your spells might have better range, hit harder, or not require verbal and somatic components to cast (to name a few!).
We’ll cover all of your metamagic options in more detail later in this article. For now, let’s start with the basics!
Who Gets Metamagic?
Sorcerers have access to metamagic starting at level 3. When you first gain the metamagic feature, you’ll choose two metamagic options to help you on your journey!
Sorcerers get number of metamagic features based on their sorcerer level. You can see the number of metamagic options known by level in the table below.
|Total Number of Metamagic Known
There was a time where Sorcerers were stuck with the metamagic options that they chose unless they could successfully beg their DM to change.
Thanks to the Sorcerous Versatility feature from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, those days are gone!
Now, Sorcerers can change their metamagic options when they reach levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 18 in the Sorcerer class.
The Metamagic Adept Feat
The Metamagic Adept feat from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything allows more than just Sorcerers to use metamagic to enhance their spells.
Spellcasters like Wizards, Bards, Clerics, and Druids can use metamagic if they take this feat.
Basically, if a class has the Spellcasting feature, they’re able to take this feat. Warlocks’ Pact Magic feature also counts for this requirement as well.
If you are a Sorcerer looking to gain extra metamagic options to add to your arsenal, this is how you do it. Otherwise, you’re capped at the number appropriate to your level.
Just note that taking the Metamagic Adept feat also gives you two sorcery points.
If you’re already a sorcerer, make sure to keep track of these points separately from your other points. The sorcery points you gain from Metamagic Adept can only be used for metamagic and not for creating spell slots with your Flexible Casting feature.
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So we’ve gone over the broad strokes of what metamagic is and who can use it. Let’s now take a look at the different metamagic options available to you!
I’ll be including some of my own personal thoughts for each of these options as well.
That said, note that I’m speaking generally.
Depending on your Sorcerer’s role in the party, build, and your own personal preference, you might get better use out of some than others!
Ideally you don’t have a tendency to catch your allies in your AoE spells, but sometimes it’s impossible to avoid. For those situations, there’s Careful Spell!
When you cast a spell that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, you can protect some of those creatures from the spell’s full force.
To do so, you spend 1 sorcery point and choose a number of those creatures up to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one creature). A chosen creature automatically succeeds on its saving throw against the spell.
With good positioning and team coordination, you shouldn’t need this too much.
Sometimes you really need a spell to hit or affect something that’s just out of reach. Distant Spell can help with that!
When you cast a spell that has a range of 5 feet or more, you can spend 1 sorcery point to double the range of the spell.
When you cast a spell that has a range of “touch”, you can spend 1 sorcery point to make the range of the spell 30 feet.
If this could be combined with spells like Cone of Cold, it would be a no-brainer but unfortunately those have a range of “self.”
Most spells have some solid range to them and it’s a bit rare to need the extra range. Expanding the range of “touch” spells is a bigger benefit to this metamagic option, but it’s still a bit niche.
Once again, keeping good positioning will help you get over the problem of spell range in most cases.
There aren’t many things that cue the “sad trombone” sound effect harder than dropping a Fireball only to roll all/mostly 1’s on the damage dice.
Empowered Spell lets you get around this unfortunate situation!
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.
It’s usually not worth it to use this on a single-target spell. Using it to buff up your AoE spells, on the other hand, makes this excellent!
You do have to use your new rolls, so dice that rolled average are entirely up to you. If you think you can do better, go for it! Personally, I’d let an average roll stay on the table and focus on rerolling only the lowest ones.
1 sorcery point to deal the difference between your rolls times the number of enemies you’re hitting with an AoE spell a great value!
Have you ever wished that a certain spell’s effect would last just a little longer?
One moment you’re zipping around with the Fly spell, but once that 10 minutes is up you find yourself falling face-first to the ground…
If only you had the Extended Spell metamagic!
When you cast a spell that has a duration of 1 minute or longer, you can spend 1 sorcery point to double its duration to a maximum duration of 24 hours.
Extended Spell helps you be more efficient with your spell slots when you’re buffing allies, offering some arcane utility, or putting debuffs on enemies.
The effectiveness of the Extended Spell metamagic depends entirely on the duration of spells you actually use.
If a spell normally has a duration of 1 minute, it will generally last for the whole combat. Extending that to 2 minutes is only going to be beneficial if the next combat starts immediately afterwards.
On the other hand, a spell that has a duration that’s measured in hours could now easily last you all the way until your next long rest!
Want to make sure that enemy doesn’t make its save against your spell? Add the Heightened Spell metamagic to your casting to give them disadvantage!
When you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a saving throw to resist its effect, you can spend 3 sorcery points to give one target of the spell disadvantage on its first saving throw made against the spell.
There are some very powerful spells in D&D 5e that are simply incredible… if the enemy fails their saving throw. If they succeed, you’ve just wasted a spell slot.
While Heightened Spell is great for any spell that you want to make sure succeeds, it’s especially useful for these “save or suck” spells.
That means spells like Polymorph, Suggestion, or Disintegrate will be much less risky to cast. Sure there’s a chance they might still succeed, but for 3 sorcery points you’ve greatly turned the odds in your favor!
This is also useful if you want to make sure an enemy takes the full force of your Fireball or other spell that requires a saving throw.
Note that this disadvantage is only applied to the first save against the spell. If you’re casting something like Hold Person or Fear, they’ll have disadvantage on the first save but make their save each turn normally.
Nevertheless, this is another one of my favorite metamagic options!
Find yourself with so many targets but too little time? This just might be my favorite metamagic in D&D 5e…
Break the rules of action economy with Quickened Spell metamagic!
When you cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you can spend 2 sorcery points to change the casting time to 1 bonus action for this casting.
Most spells in D&D 5e take an action to cast. Being able to cast a spell as a bonus action leaves you with a ton of ways to use your action.
Of course, it can also be incredibly handy for defensive tactics as well. Using Quickened Spell to cast Mirror Image as a bonus action then follow up with a cantrip like Fire Bolt with your action, you’re able to kick combat off with a handy defensive buff!
At a cost of 2 sorcery points, this is a great way to get action economy on your side and make some really cool plays!
Just be careful. If you are getting in the habit of using this every round, you’ll quickly chew through all of your sorcery points.
Personally, I like Quickened Spell for lining things up in the first round of combat. May as well start things off with a bang (or two), right?
If things get dire and you need a Hail Mary, a clever use of Quickened Spell can save the day as well!
Seeking Spell (TCoE)
Nobody likes to miss on an attack roll, but it’s especially rough if that attack roll also cost you a spell slot!
If you make an attack roll for a spell and miss, you can spend 2 sorcery points to reroll the d20. You must use the new roll.
You can use Seeking Spell even if you have already used a different metamagic option during the casting of the spell.
If you’re paying a spell slot to cast a spell at an enemy and miss, 2 sorcery points to potentially turn that into a hit is a small price to pay. That’s especially true if you’ve upcast a spell like Chromatic Orb only to get a 2 or something on the attack roll.
For those days we’ve all had where your trusty d20 seems to be in a fickle mood, Seeking Spell is great!
It’s weird to have a metamagic that is so niche and situational but that also has so much room for creative use.
When you cast a spell, you can spend 1 sorcery point to cast it without any somatic or verbal components.
Sounds simple, right?
Out of combat, you’ll typically have a hard time making friends if you’re trying to cast spells.
If you’re trying to enchant someone into giving you information, they’ll probably (and justifiably) get upset if they you start waving your hands and chanting arcane babble. Even if they aren’t a caster, they’re probably smart enough to know what you’re trying to pull.
With Subtle Spell, you’re spending a sorcery point to skip those verbal and somatic components. True to the name, you’re able to be much more sneaky with your casting!
In combat, it’s not uncommon for casters on both sides to be yelling all kinds of arcane babble and making arcane hand gestures.
For my own games, I reason that this is why casters can see what’s happening and cast Counterspell. Without verbal and somatic components or some effect that is impossible to miss (like the earth shaking or a fireball launching towards them), the enemy caster would have no reason to start counterspelling.
(For my group that specifically wanted a harder experience, I’m one of those DMs that won’t take issue with countering the party’s healing spells. The party’s Divine Soul Sorcerer got a ton of use out of Subtle Spell!)
Of course, in a pinch where you find yourself restrained or affected by the Silence spell, Subtle Spell can help you still be able to cast spells.
Transmuted Spell (TCoE)
So maybe you wanted to be an epic fire-based Sorcerer who can burn their enemies to cinders.
It’s been fine so far, but now you’re trying to fight off some Fire Elementals or an Efreeti and you’re doing… well… not as much as you’d prefer…
If you’re trying to get around an enemy’s resistances or exploit an elemental weakness, you’ll be glad you have the Transmuted Spell metamagic!
When you cast a spell that deals a type of damage from the follow list, you can spend 1 sorcery point to change that damage type to one of the other listed types.
Spell types: acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, thunder
As the fire elementals close in on the party, you start to cast a Fireball.
Spending a sorcery point, that ball of flame in your hands begins to radiate frost. As the explosion of frost takes out the elementals and puts out the flames on the battlefield, you can’t help but feel proud of yourself!
If you’re trying to build towards a certain character concept (like a lightning-based Sorcerer), check with your DM about reskinning certain spells to fit the theme. Trying to do this with every spell you cast for the sake of flavor is a colossal waste of sorcery points.
But if you are trying to get around your enemies’ resistances or poke at their weaknesses, this is fantastic. Whatever they’re resistant to, you’ll always have a way to get around it while still using your strongest spells!
It’s a toss-up between Twinned Spell and Quickened spell for my favorite metamagic options.
When you cast a spell that targets only one creature that doesn’t have a range of “self”, you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell’s level to target a second creature in range with the same spell. (It costs 1 sorcery point if the spell is a cantrip.)
To be eligible, a spell must be incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell’s current level.
Being able to double up on powerful spells like Polymorph, Hold Person, or Haste can have a crazy high impact. Turning the two biggest threats into turtles or paralyzing them can be an almost instant-win for the party. Twinning spells like Haste or Invisibility also make you an efficient buffer for the party!
This is the most expensive metamagic option as you use it on higher level spells, though. You’ll want to bust it out at those key, high-impact moments.
There are a couple limitations to keep in mind though.
Note that the spell has to target a single creature. You can have one of the twinned spells target yourself, but it can’t have a range of “self.”
Spells that don’t target anyone also can’t be twinned. This means spells like Wall of Fire, Cloud of Daggers, or Minor Illusion would also not qualify.
Secondly, you can’t have both twinned spells attack the same creature. Twinning something like Chromatic Orb will require you to direct one orb at Enemy A and the other at Enemy B.
Your ability to use metamagic is powered by your Sorcery Points. You have as many Sorcery Points as you have levels in the Sorcerer class.
Keep in mind that your Sorcery Points are also used to recover spell slots, so you want to manage them effectively. If you find yourself needing Sorcery Points in a pinch, you can burn a spell slot (up to fifth level) to recover points.
I’ll include a table below for the exchange between Sorcery Points and Spell Slot Levels.
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|Spell Slot Level
FAQs – Metamagic in D&D 5e
Finally, let’s look at some specific questions that players tend to have about metamagic in D&D 5e.
If you have a question that isn’t covered by this article, let me know in the comments! The metamagic feature can get a bit confusing and I’m happy to help you out!
Using Multiple Metamagic Effects
You can use only one metamagic option on a spell when you cast it unless otherwise noted.
Like Empowered Spell and Seeking Spell, these will specifically say that you’re able to use them alongside other metamagic abilities.
To date, these are the only two metamagic options that mention this. If more metamagics are released, I’ll be updating this article accordingly!
It is not possible to “stack” your Metamagic in D&D 5e.
What this means is adding the same metamagic effect to a spell multiple times.
For example, someone might use Extended Spell to double the duration of a spell’s effect from 1 hour to 2 hours. If they are hoping to “stack” these effects, they might ask if they can spend more sorcery points to double the effect further from 2 hours to 4 hours and so on.
D&D rules boss Jeremy Crawford confirmed this on Twitter.
Can You Use Metamagic on Cantrips?
You can use metamagic to affect your cantrips.
In cases like Twinned Spell where the sorcery point cost is based on the spell’s level, it costs 1 sorcery point to use that metamagic on a cantrip.
Metamagic is mostly used on stronger spells, but sometimes you have to do some improvising and that’s what metamagic is there for!
Can You Use Metamagic on Reactions?
You can still use metamagic when casting a spell as a reaction.
This will pretty much always happen with the War Caster feat if you’ve taken that. With War Caster, you can cast a spell for your opportunity attack as long as the spell has a casting time of 1 action and only targets 1 creature.
So let’s say an enemy is provoking an opportunity attack from you and you decide to cast Polymorph on them to turn them into a harmless turtle.
In this case, you could use the Heightened Spell Metamagic to spend 3 sorcery points and give them disadvantage on their save against the spell’s effect.
Depending on the situation, it could certainly be worth it. Who’s to say the enemy wasn’t trying to run away and call reinforcements?
A Weird Stack of Exceptions…
Things get a little weird with one Metamagic option and attacks of opportunity you take with War Caster.
Let’s say you have taken the War Caster feat so that you can cast spells when an enemy provokes an attack of opportunity. As the enemy provokes this opportunity attack, you go to zap them with a Ray of Sickness.
But you’ve got the Twinned Spell metamagic! That means that you can spend 1 sorcery point (because it’s a level 1 spell) to zap the provoking enemy and one of their allies that’s also in range of the spell!
Well… Not exactly…
For War Caster to work, the chosen spell has to target only one creature and have a casting time of 1 action. The spell can only be cast at the creature that provoked the opportunity attack.
But Twinned Spell duplicates the effect and send a second spell at a second creature.
What you get is a Chicken/Egg argument.
Does Twinned Spell take effect first and therefore make the attempt not qualify for War Caster? Or does the spell qualify with War Caster AND THEN get twinned?
Honestly, I’ve read HUGE arguments on this topic and it’s enough to make your head start to spin. Overall, the general consensus seems to be that this would not work. This thread over at StackExchange goes very in-depth on the matter.
Personally, I’d be inclined to let this fly at the table as a “Rule of Cool” kind of situation. It’s a cool visual and the character has taken a feat, is using a reaction, using sorcerer points, and possibly spending a spell slot to make it happen.
Furthermore, opportunity attacks aren’t incredibly common in most encounters.
If we were to somehow get into the territory of that ruling being exploited, that would be a different situation though. Remember, the correct ruling is the one that creates the most fun at the table while maintaining the structure of the game system itself.
Can You Get More Metamagic?
The only way to gain more metamagic as a Sorcerer is to take the Metamagic Adept feat. That feat is found in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
Choose your metamagic options carefully. You can always change them out when you hit levels that give you an Ability Score Increase.
If you’re really having a bad time with one, see if your DM will let you swap it for something you’ll actually use. Most DMs won’t have any issue with this at all.
Can You Cast 2 Spells With Quickened Spell
The rules of spellcasting still apply here.
You cannot cast multiple spells on your turn when using the Quickened Spell metamagic. However, you can cast one spell as a bonus action (because of Quickened Spell) then use your action to cast a cantrip.
Plan your turn wisely!
Conclusion – Metamagic in D&D 5e
There’s definitely a lot to cover when it comes to metamagic in D&D 5e! But it’s such an important part of playing a Sorcerer well that it really warranted having its own focused article.
I hope this article has helped you learn the ins and outs of metamagic. I tried to answer as many questions that I’ve encountered as possible, but don’t hesitate to leave a comment if there’s still something you’re not sure about!
It may be easy to snub the Sorcerer class in favor of something like a Wizard with a larger spell selection.
What a shame!
Metamagic lets you break the rules and find all kinds of new applications for your spells. It’s incredibly fun and definitely the stand-out reason to play a Sorcerer!
There’s nothing like natural talent, after all!
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