Spell Points (Variant Rule) Explained: A DnD 5e Guide for Players and DMs

Last Updated on July 22, 2022

Spell points are a variant rule for DnD 5e that gives spellcasters more versatility in how they use their spells. Instead of having a set number of spells per day, spellcasters using the spell point system have a pool of spell points that they can use to cast spells.

What Are Spell Points?

You can use spell points to represent your character’s magical power. Characters in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition can only cast a limited number of spells per day. This can sometimes lead to spellcasters feeling like they have to pick and choose their spells carefully as they may not have enough magic power to cast all the spells they want.

With the spell points variant, characters have a pool of magical power that they can use to cast any spells they know. These points give spellcasters much more control over their spellbooks as they can use their spells how they see fit in any given situation.

Spell points are ideal for those players who are looking for a more rewarding spellcasting experience. Part of the fun of using spell points is that they add a layer of complexity to your character, giving you more options in how you wield magic.

Unleash Your Magic Powers

Spell points give players a lot of freedom in how they want to play their characters. For example, a sorcerer using spell points could choose to burn through their entire spell point pool in one battle, or they could conserve their points and use them more strategically over the course of a day.

The downside of the spell point system is that it can be confusing for new players. In addition, because spellcasters have more freedom in how they use their magic, there is potential for players to abuse the system. The rules for using spell points can be found in the Dungeon Master’s Guide (pg. 288-289).

How Do You Use Spell Points?

You’ll need to be playing a character with the Spellcasting feature in order to use spell points. Also, it’s important to ask your DM before making a character who uses the spell point variant rule. Not all DMs will be okay with using special rules.

With spell points, each spell you cast will have a point cost based on the spell’s level. For example, to cast a 1st-level spell, you’ll need to spend 2 spell points. With this variant, spellcasting isn’t limited by spell slots. Instead, you’ll need to keep up with the number of points you spend each day. You recover all of your spell points after finishing a long rest.

How many spell points you have is based on your spellcasting level. You can’t create slots for spells above your abilities. You might have enough spell points to make a slot for a 7th-level spell, but you’ll need to be at least level 13 before you can do it. 

PCs will find that spells of 6th level or higher are more taxing to cast than most. You’ll need to be well rested in order to cast these powerful spells. For instance, after you cast a 6th-level spell, you won’t be able to cast another one until you’ve taken a long rest. 

Spell Point Cost by Spell Level

Calculating Your Spell Points

You’ll need to consider your class when it comes to calculating how many spell points you have. Bards, clerics, druids, sorcerers, and wizards will use the spell points table to determine how many spell points they have. 

Paladins and rangers need to halve their character’s level before consulting the table. It’ll be up to you to keep up with your spell points as you level up your character.

Spell Points By Class Level

Why Use Spell Points?

Spell points offer a number of advantages over the traditional spellcasting system. Most importantly to many players, they give you more flexibility in how you use your spells, making it easier to adapt to changing situations. 

Another one of the big advantages of using spell points is that they give players a way to keep track of their spells without having to use spell slots, provided they are okay with doing a little math. This system can also make it easier for players to calculate the cost of spells on the fly. Of course, the ease of use of each system is dependent on players’ preferences. 

An additional benefit of using spell points is that they can help balance out some of the differences between classes. For example, a sorcerer might have fewer spells per day than a wizard, but they can cast their spells more often. A sorcerer using spell points can potentially have more spells available to them.

What Are the Disadvantages of Spell Points?

There are a few disadvantages to using spell points. One is that players who are newer to DnD might have difficulties understanding how to use their spells, especially if they’ve already familiarized themselves with using spell slots. Another drawback is that spell points can make it difficult to balance encounters since the number of spells a character can cast in an encounter is no longer limited. More math is involved in keeping track of spell points than with the standard rules, and the idea isn’t for everyone.

Are Spell Points Better Than Spell Slots?

The answer to this question is a matter of personal preference. Some players prefer spell points because they offer more possibilities, while others find spell slots to be simpler and easier to understand. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which system you prefer.

Typically, sorcerers and other spellcasters can only cast so many spells of each level. However, with the spell point system, they can cast any number of spells as long as they have enough points. The spell point variant rules were included in the 5th edition to give players more options for how they use their spells. These rules are optional, so it’s up to you and your group to decide if you want to use them.

Advice for DMs Using Spell Points

If you’re a Dungeon Master, there are a few things you should keep in mind if one or more of your players is using spell points.

First, don’t be afraid to let your players use spell points if they’re unfamiliar with the system. It’s okay if things take a little longer as they figure out how the system works.

Second, remember that spell points give players more options for how to use their spells. Encounters might take longer to resolve if players are trying to figure out the best way to use their spell points.

Finally, try to avoid creating encounters that rely heavily on a single type of spell. If players only have a few options for how to deal with a monster, they might feel like they’re being forced to use their spell points in a specific way. Just remember that it’s up to you to decide whether or not spell points are suitable for your game.

Spell Points (Variant Rule): Frequently Asked Questions

Because spell points are a variant rule, there are bound to be some questions about how they work. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about spell points.

Do Spell Points Work With Sorcerery Points?

Yes, sorcerers can use their spell points to fuel their spells and control their magical abilities. Because of how sorcery point conversion works, players will be able to convert spell points into sorcery points and vice versa. With spell points up their sleeves, Sorcerers will have plenty of opportunities to fine-tune their spellcasting.

What Spells Can You Cast With Spell Points?

You can use spell points to cast any spell you have enough points for. However, keep in mind that some spells are more expensive than others. For example, if you’re a wizard and you have the Fireball spell, you can cast it using spell points instead of a spell slot. The number of spell points you’ll need to expend will depend on the level of the spell. Because Fireball is a 3rd-level spell, it costs 5 spell points to cast. Higher-level spells cost more spell points to cast than lower-level spells.

What Happens if I Run Out of Spell Points?

If you run out of spell points, you can’t cast any more spells until you’ve rested. During a long rest, you’ll regain all of your expended spell points. Because cantrips don’t cost any spell points, you can continue to cast them even if you’ve run out of points. This can be useful for characters who want to keep up a continuous stream of low-level spells.

Final Thoughts on Spell Points

Spell points are a great way to add more excitement to your spellcasting experience. Using this variant, you’ll have more options for how you use your magic, and you can tailor your spellcasting to suit your needs.

If you’re new to DnD or if you’re not sure whether or not you want to use spell points, try them out for a few sessions, and see how they feel. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy the extra flexibility they provide.