Happy Thursday everybody! Today we’ll be taking a look at the Sorcerer’s metamagic, more specifically Careful Spell. I have some personal experience with this one, so I’m excited to talk about it!
The Sorcerer Supreme
Metamagics are the signature ability of Sorcerers, allowing them to augment their spells in ways that no other caster can. There’s quite a few of them to pick from, but you’re limited in your choice with only two until level 10, where you get a third one and level 17 where you acquire a fourth. Therefore, it’s important to pick options that are not only fitting for your character, but ones that you’ll be happy with, since you can’t switch them out!
Careful spell is the first option in this list, and it certainly looks appealing! Allowing your allies to succeed on a save in an AoE effect can prove to be very useful. This ability combines rather excellently with spells like Hypnotic Pattern or Pyrotechnics, both of which have no effect if a creature succeeds on the save, but has an adverse effect if you fail. This lets your allies play more aggressively and making you not have to worry about asking them to move out of the way of a spell. Lastly, it’s nice that the spell only costs 1 Sorcery Point, which is the lowest any of the metamagics cost!
However, there is one glaring drawback of this ability. The ability is not like the Evocation Wizard’s Sculpt Spells where an ally that succeeds a save takes no damage as opposed to half damage, so you’ll still be damaging your enemies. Perhaps one of the greatest draws of an ability like this is that you can take it with a damage spell and protect your allies with it. While this works for say, Ice Knife and Earth Tremor, a majority of the other damage spells will be dealing half damage on a success. And though you may say “it’s not for damage spells,” there are only four and a half (thanks Reverse Gravity) spells that work ideally with Careful Spell. Spells such as Cloudkill or Insect Plague require a save at the beginning of each turn or the first time a creature enters the area, meaning that it does not interact with Careful Spell.
Since I don’t want this article to be terribly short, I’d like to talk about Careful Spell a bit more in relation to other metamagic options. To me it feels like there are really two main choices for Metamagic, Twinned and Quickened. Twinned spell not only works to effectively double your damage output, but can double any sort of support you’ll be doing, such as Haste, Freedom of Movement, Dragon’s Breath, etc. It effectively lets you cast two spells with one Action, which breaks the action economy in a way only sorcerers can. Speaking of, we move onto Quickened Spell which lets you cast any spell as a bonus action! There’s never a world where this metamagic is bad or useless, since it allows you to cast both a spell and a cantrip all in the same turn.
Apart from those two metamagics, we begin to see that the other metamagics simply don’t stack up to them. I’m biased towards Subtle Spell, but it’s hard to find use with that in most situations. Heightened Spell is ridiculously expensive and won’t see as much use as the two aforementioned options. Distant and Extended Spell are both niche in their use, particularly Distant since most battle maps aren’t large enough to make a big difference (pro tip, make your Divine Soul’s Cure Wounds ranged with Distant Spell!)
What I’m getting at is it’s very difficult to justify taking the other metamagic options with how niche they are when Twinned and Quickened spell are so incredibly versatile. Certain builds can make good use of other metamagics, but more often than not your average sorcerer will be taking the two main options we’ve talked about.
To finish, I think it’s pretty clear by now what I’ll be giving Careful Spell. I think that this option is Underpowered, but a quick fix would be to allow it to be treated similar to Sculpt Spells for the Evocation Wizard. With this, I think that it would be a contender for a solid pick along with the other two metamagics, but as is? It’s sad that the metamagics are dominated, but talk with your DM to find a way to make the others worth taking!
Sorry for the shorter article today folks, and I’m also sorry that we got a little off topic but I genuinely think Metamagic is one of the coolest abilities in the game! It’s part of the reason Sorcerers are my favorite class. What do you think of metamagic or Sorcerers in general? Let us know on our twitter or instagram. Thank you all for joining us for this article!!