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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default How Exactly Does Heighten Spell Work?

    My Understanding

    It has recently been suggested to me in the Simple RAW Thread (and in some follow-up PMs I made to clarify exactly what the person was saying without debating in-thread) that I have a gross misunderstanding of how spellslots and Heighten Spell work.

    Say I had the spell "scrying" as a spell known, a level 3 spell. The rules state that I am allowed to prepare it using a level 4 spellslot:

    A spellcaster always has the option to fill a higher-level spell slot with a lower-level spell. A spellcaster who lacks a high enough ability score to cast spells that would otherwise be his or her due still gets the slots but must fill them with spells of lower level.
    To my reading, nothing there suggests that this level 3 spell would now count as a level 4 spell despite being prepared using a level 4 spellslot. Additionally, Heighten Spell seems to be then be required to have a lower-level spell count as, effectively, a higher-level spell:

    A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level. For example, a cleric could prepare hold person as a 4th-level spell (instead of a 2nd-level spell), and it would in all ways be treated as a 4th-level spell.
    Therefore, a Scrying cast using a level 4 spellslot would count as a level 3 spell, but a Scrying heightened to a level 4 spellslot would arguably count as a level 4 spell.

    The Dispute

    It has been claimed to me in no uncertain terms that casting a level 3 spell using a level 4 spellslot makes the level 3 spell count as a level 4 spell. Aftert asking for clarification, it was then claimed that this does, indeed, make the feat completely worthless if it isn't being used for sanctum earth spell early entry shenanigans or gnowhere gnome.

    According to this person, if one were to use +1 metamagic to have the spell consume a level 4 spellslot, it would still count as a level 3 spell, but using Heighten Spell or just casting it out of the level 4 spellslot unheightened would both carry the benefits of using Heighten Spell.

    I wanted to seek some clarification on this, as I am having a hard time reconciling this view with my understanding of RAW, and I cannot seem to find many sources discussing this (and no sources verifying it): am I just completely misled in my understanding of RAW? Does just casting a level 3 spell without Heighten Spell out of a level 4 slot make it count as a level 4 spell for all intents and purposes?
    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    sleepyphoenixx's Avatar

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    Default Re: How Exactly Does Heighten Spell Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Despair View Post
    Therefore, a Scrying cast using a level 4 spellslot would count as a level 3 spell, but a Scrying heightened to a level 4 spellslot would arguably count as a level 4 spell.
    This is correct. Without the Heighten Spell feat the only difference using a higher slot makes is that you use a higher slot. Nothing else.
    With Heighten Spell the spell is considered to be of the same level as the slot it's cast from.
    Last edited by sleepyphoenixx; 2020-09-23 at 05:54 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: How Exactly Does Heighten Spell Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyphoenixx View Post
    This is correct. Without the Heighten Spell feat the only difference using a higher slot makes is that you use a higher slot. Nothing else.
    With Heighten Spell the spell is considered to be of the same level as the slot it's cast from.
    Agreed. That's the whole purpose of the feat. Without it, you just prepare a spell on a higher slot, no benefit other than getting an extra cast of that spell instead of a higher level spell.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: How Exactly Does Heighten Spell Work?

    Casting Burning Hands as a wizard with a 9th level spell slot results in a Reflex save of 11 + int + feats and it is blocked by Sphere of Invulnerability which stops low level spells. This is a level one spell.

    Casting a Heightened x2 Burning Hands in a 9th level spell slot ( you could have used a lvl 3 spell slot) results in 13 + int mod +feats. Sphere of Invulnerability stops still spell as well because it is 3rd and below. This is a level 3 spell for spell turning, saves, and such.

    Casting a Heightened x8 Burning Hands in a 9th level spell slot ( the minimum to be used ) creates a save of 19 + int mod + feats. Sphere of Invulnerability does nothing to stop this. It is too high a spell. This is for spell turning, spell level checks, and affect checks a 9th level spell.


    Also look at the Dragon Magazine Flaw Magical Overlord. It forces a caster to use one of their highest level spell slots with a lower level spell. It states this basically gives you Max Spell Level Slot -1 for Max Spell Level -1 Slot +1. It lists examples of use too.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Telonius's Avatar

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    Default Re: How Exactly Does Heighten Spell Work?

    Here's the text from the SRD:

    Spell Slots
    The various character class tables show how many spells of each level a character can cast per day. These openings for daily spells are called spell slots. A spellcaster always has the option to fill a higher-level spell slot with a lower-level spell. A spellcaster who lacks a high enough ability score to cast spells that would otherwise be his or her due still gets the slots but must fill them with spells of lower level.
    The slot is just the opening; the slot isn't the spell. You can fit a level-3 spell into a level-4 slot, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a level-3 spell.

    Think of it like this; each spell is a different ball, sized based on the spell level. Each spell slot is a hole. Higher level spells are bigger; higher level slots are bigger. You can fit a smaller ball into a bigger hole, but not the other way around. Heighten Spell lets you take a smaller ball and make it bigger, so it "fills up" the whole slot. Without it, you're just putting a smaller ball into a bigger hole.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: How Exactly Does Heighten Spell Work?

    You can prepare and cast spells from a higher level slot without heighten spell, but they are still considered to be their original spell level. This is useful for when you want to prepare more 2nd level spells than you have slots for, for example, and think one of your 2nd level options might just be more useful in a particular scenario than any of your 3rd level spell options. Effectively, you temporarily convert a 3rd level slot to a 2nd level slot to put a 2nd level spell in it. Using heighten spell allows your spells to pack a bit more of a punch when doing this.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
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    Dec 2004

    Default Re: How Exactly Does Heighten Spell Work?

    It looks like your friend is remembering what was changed between 3.0 Heighten and 3.5 Heighten, and it's causing him to be confused about how casting spells from higher level slots actually works.

    In 3.0 just having Heighten Spell caused an affected spell to count as the same level as the spell slot used to cast it, even if other metamagic was being applied. The idea that spells always count as the level of the spell slot they're cast from is a 3.0 Heighten Spell thing. That it no longer counts spell slot increases from other metamagic feats is what 3.5 Heighten fixed, along with significant verbiage changes to the feat itself. He may have played a long time under house rules, and is now mistaken as to how the published rules actually work.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How Exactly Does Heighten Spell Work?

    The line "Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies" proves that you are correct. If the person disagreeing was right, this wouldn't be true.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: How Exactly Does Heighten Spell Work?

    All right, so the related question then is: does [Heighten Spell] + [Magical Training] mean you qualify for prerequisites that specify you must be able to cast "first level spells", for example when asking if a character with no spellcasting class levels therefore qualifies for Arcane Duelist?

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: How Exactly Does Heighten Spell Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saintheart View Post
    All right, so the related question then is: does [Heighten Spell] + [Magical Training] mean you qualify for prerequisites that specify you must be able to cast "first level spells", for example when asking if a character with no spellcasting class levels therefore qualifies for Arcane Duelist?
    No, because Magical Training gives you 0-level spells and 0-level spell slots. You would need to have a 1st level spell slot to cast a Heightened version from.

    Magical Training spontaneous version + Heighten Spell + Versatile Spellcaster would work, though.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Crake's Avatar

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    Default Re: How Exactly Does Heighten Spell Work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Biffoniacus_Furiou View Post
    No, because Magical Training gives you 0-level spells and 0-level spell slots. You would need to have a 1st level spell slot to cast a Heightened version from.

    Magical Training spontaneous version + Heighten Spell + Versatile Spellcaster would work, though.
    And Magical Training + heighten spell + versatile spellcaster + sanctum spell/snowcasting/earth spell would let you take Extra Slot for a 1st level spell slot, which would then let you take extra slot for a 2nd level spell slot, and so on. If you took all three of those extra feats, you could jump straight to 3rd level spell slots, then 6th, then 9th.
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