Low Magic Spellcasting Progressions (5e Variant Rule)

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Low Magic Spellcasting Progression[edit]

Vanilla 5e magic is very geared towards a high magic fantasy setting. In such a setting, magic almost always outshines martial prowess. This set of rules attempts to make martial characters viable against magic-wielding characters by diminishing the power of spellcasters.

With low magic rules, cantrips do not scale in damage, and no caster has access to spells of 5th level or higher. Spells with material components consume them. Priced components that are not normally consumed have their prices divided by 5. A component that does not normally have a listed price is assumed to have a value of 1 gp. Material components are not consumed when ritual casting. Spellcasting focuses do not exist and are entirely replaced by component pouches, which have 25 charges. A charge is used when a component that does not normally have a listed price is consumed.

Additionally, Very Rare and Legendary magic items should either not exist, or they should be unique.

Full Caster Progression[edit]

For the purposes of this rule set, Bards, Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards count as full casters. Full casters know 1 less cantrip and follow the spell slot progression as seen below:

Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1 2 - - - -
2 2 - - - -
3 3 - - - -
4 3 - - - -
5 4 2 - - -
6 4 2 - - -
7 4 3 - - -
8 4 3 - - -
9 4 3 2 - -
10 4 3 2 - -
11 4 3 3 - -
12 4 3 3 - -
13 4 3 3 1 -
14 4 3 3 1 -
15 4 3 3 2 -
16 4 3 3 2 -
17 4 3 3 3 1
18 4 3 3 3 1
19 4 3 3 3 2
20 4 3 3 3 2

Half Caster Progression[edit]

For the purposes of this rule set, Paladins and Rangers are half casters. Half casters follow the spell slot progression as seen below:

Level 1st 2nd 3rd
1 - - -
2 2 - -
3 2 - -
4 2 - -
5 3 - -
6 3 - -
7 3 - -
8 3 - -
9 4 2 -
10 4 2 -
11 4 2 -
12 4 2 -
13 4 3 -
14 4 3 -
15 4 3 -
16 4 3 -
17 4 3 2
18 4 3 2
19 4 3 2
20 4 3 2

Third Caster Progression[edit]

For the purposes of this rule set, Arcane Tricksters and Eldritch Knights are third casters. Third casters start with two extra spells (from any school of magic) and gain an extra cantrip at 19th level, and they follow the spell slot progression as seen below:

Level 1st 2nd
1 - -
2 - -
3 2 -
4 2 -
5 2 -
6 2 -
7 3 -
8 3 -
9 3 -
10 4 -
11 4 -
12 4 -
13 4 2
14 4 2
15 4 2
16 4 2
17 4 2
18 4 2
19 4 3
20 4 3

Class Changes[edit]

Some class features of spellcasters have been changed.

Warlock[edit]

The Warlock has half as many invocations. Additionally, Mystic Arcanum of 6th, 7th, and 8th level spells are replaced by 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level spells respectively. Mystic Arcanum of the 9th level spell is replaced by an additional cantrip. Warlocks follow the spell slot progression as seen below:

Level Cantrips Known Spell Slots Slot Level Invocations Known
1 2 1 1st -
2 2 1 1st 1
3 2 2 1st 1
4 3 2 1st 1
5 3 2 2nd 2
6 3 2 2nd 2
7 3 2 2nd 2
8 3 2 2nd 2
9 3 2 3rd 3
10 4 2 3rd 3
11 4 2 3rd 3
12 4 2 3rd 3
13 4 2 4th 3
14 4 2 4th 3
15 4 2 4th 4
16 4 2 4th 4
17 5 2 5th 4
18 5 2 5th 4
19 5 2 5th 4
20 5 2 5th 4

Wizard[edit]

Wizards start with only four 1st-level spells in their spellbooks and add only one free Wizard spell to their spellbooks upon leveling up. Additionally, Arcane Recovery restores a number of spell slots of a level up to a quarter of a character's Wizard level. For example, at 4th level, a Wizard would regain a 1st-level spell slot, but at 5th level, he or she could regain a 2nd-level spell slot or two 1st-level spell slots.


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