Hello everyone out there! I decided I want to make a series for each spellcasters spell list to see what happens when you cast spells using your highest level spell slot. While this might not be practical for most players, this is an exercise of fun! If a spell does not do anything when cast at a higher slot, it will not be included in this list. Maybe you will see something fun (if not impractical) that would surely give the other players at your table a laugh. I will put the maximum number of die in (parenthesis)after the spell if the spell deals damage or requires a roll such as healing or sleep, followed by the average damage/corresponding value of the die, and after i will explain if it hits multiple enemies, required saves, if it stops increasing damage at a slot earlier then 9, etc. afterwards( and maybe add some comments while I'm at it). I will start with level 1 spell slots and work my way up. Some of these options are surprisingly useful in your toolkit, and others are... interesting. I would suggest DM's to offer a bonus to the weaker options at level 9 if you really want to throw your player a bone and let them live out there level 9 healing word fantasy or whatever.
I will be adding the links below to the other threads as I make them so go check them out if you want to know how those classes stack up and what their best options are.
I decided to start with Bard because... it is the first spellcasting class on this forum! XD Bards get their first level 9 spell slot at 17th level. Without further ado let us begin.
1st level spells:
Animal Friendship You can target an additional creature for each spell slot. So at 9th level you may befriend up to 9 animals within 30 ft for 24 hours! Every crazy cat lover, dog lover, or just lovers dream! Want to tame a whole wolf pack? This is the spell for you.
Bane 11 whole whopping enemies will be affected by this spell. So for the small price of your 9th level spell, you can make a small battalion of enemies roll wisdom saving throws as long as they are within 30ft of you ( who lets that many guys come close in the first place as a bard?!?!), and everyone who fails must roll a d4 whenever they attack or make a saving throw and subtract that amount from their roll. How long does this last? A whole minute!!! Only really neat thing here to me is that the material for this spell if you are using a components pouch is a single drop of blood in order to affect 11 enemies. WARNING!!! THIS SPELL MAY REQUIRE CONCENTRATION FOR ITS MINOR EFFECT. ( theoretically, you could be subtracting 11-44 (27.5 average) away from enemies attacks rolls every round if they all failed their checks and were affected by it AND made attack roles, but no ones that lucky)
Cure Wounds (9d8)(40.5 average) The target has to be in melee range and you only heal them between 9-81+ spellcasting mod. Cool. but is that any way to use your level 9 spell slot? I don't think so. Screw the party, and screw that guy who just lost his leg he doesn't need our best spell slot. Jokes aside, this is a lot of healing for a not healing focused class and could prove very useful if needed in a pinch. This spell increases in viability if you are playing with 2 or less players though, since a massive single target heal is much better in that scenario then lets say a 9th level Mass Cure Wounds
Dissonant Whispers (11d6)(38.5 average) Meh. The only saving grace is that the target takes half damage on a successful saving throws, it works off of wisdom, and does psychic damage, but those no where near justify this spell as your sweet, sweet level 9 choice. This spell is usually used more for it's utility then its damage, and that utility doesn't gain anything from the higher slot. I actually think this spell could have been more interesting if you were able to target additional creatures with each attempt instead per spell level, but that would result in 24d6 with an average of 84 damage if you hit all targets, and still 42 damage average if all the enemies succeed their save, so it would probably be too strong adding that on top of its utility. Just food for thought for you homebrewers out there though.
Earth Tremor (9d6)(31.5 average) Just a damage upgrade, and a fairly poor one at that. It is inferior to other damage sources with a spell of that level after you factor in the dex save on top of its average damage. Maybe the only good use is if you are surrounded by like, 12 creatures and none of them are allies, then its die theoretically go up to 108d6 if they all hit, but how are you not dead if you are surrounded that much? (this is an exaggeration. But you would need a decent amount of enemies nearby that you are likely to hit for this to be worth) And they would all have to fail a dex saving throw. I guess if you somehow sneak into a group of very high level enemies that are some supped up orcs that your DM threw at you or something, but the actual chances that this is your best option in your toolkit for this level is just not too realistic (I could be wrong, but it seems like too many things would need to go right)
Healing Word (9d4)(22.5 average) Just no. DON"T DO THIS. Your DM would need to have something homebrewed as a bonus if you would ever want to consider casting this at this level. If you want to meme it up, you could do this for the lols though and make your whole table groan and laugh at the same time.
Heroism This one is kinda cool roleplay wise. If you absolutely need your entire party to be immune to frightened, this could see some use. But you would need your whole party within 5 ft. of you when you cast it and this is just asking for a fireball or similar effect to destroy everyone though. Concentration really doesn't help this spell either.
Longstrider Just like Heroism above, it has problems with a range of touch, grouping your party up. I could see this getting used more often then heroism however if your entire party needs to mobile for something specific such as a puzzle or if you are getting chased by overwhelming odds, or just really want your party mobile for a hard fight. It's really nice that this requires no concentration though, so it doesn't compete with your other concentration options.
Sleep (21d8)( 94.5 average) This spell... is really good... against hordes of weak enemies. Another situational spell, but this one feels like it could be more relevant then the others. What if you want to put an entire bar of npc's to sleep? Here you go XD a max role is 168 hp, which hits basically anything with a CR of 12 or less and rakshasha as long as you high roll. Doesn't do anything against any other monsters over a CR of 12 though, and is completely useless in those fights. Someone on your party probably has a better solution then you casting a 9th level sleep if there is a horde of weak enemies however. You probably have something better for that matter.
Thunderwave (10d8)(45 average) Basically just better then earth tremor. Dealing damage on a fail as well as having better damage in general makes this almost a straight upgrade, even against enemies with better con instead of dex ( within reason. Monsters with like a -3 dex and +5 con would be better with earth tremor) if you hit a whopping 12 creatures on this attack, and we assume you hit all of them, it is a whopping 120d8 of damage. That is an average of 540 damage. This seems like an amazing option if you are surrounded and should be your go too if a rare circumstance like that happens and you can't escape for whatever reason( or want to deal damage then escape). The best part is that this has better synergy with being surrounded then earth tremor too cause it pushes hit enemies away, potentially letting you get away easier. Solid AOE option, meh outside of that. Bonus since it always deals damage even on a fail, which makes it consistent.
2nd level spells:
Animal Messenger If you ever needed a messenger to last for 360 hours, this is how you do it. That is equivalent to 15 days for whatever poor little creature you want to force to travel for that long. A flying creature will be able to travel 750 miles, and other creatures would be able to travel 375 miles. As an example, America is 1,582 miles vertically, so you could effectively have a flying creature go half that distance, which is actually incredible. You could also have a swimming creature travel fairly far too an offshore island ( Like Korea too Japan or Mexico too the Caribbean). This is another funny one with a components pouch, since the component is a morsel of food ( which is literally just a small amount of food) that i'm assuming you feed the animal, and it's ridiculous that the food would last the creature that long. WARNING your DM might say that an animal that travels that far for that long with no rest, food, or water dies so you can't do that, but that's just them being a party pooper.
Blindness/Deafness You could attempt to try and blind or deafen up to 8 creatures within 30 feet of you. Kinda a cool idea and I could really see some awesome roleplay out of this from an evil character or npc. I have never tried to blind/deafen 8 creatures before, but it sounds useful. Advantage for your entire party for every attack roll against up to 8 enemies seems very strong, and when this works it will trivialize an encounter, or at least part of it. Deafen doesn't seem good unless you are fighting like scaled CR bat enemies or something that is homebrewed, but I doubt that's common.
Cloud of Daggers (18d4)(45 average) while the damage doesn't seem that good at first, if your party has some synergy and can force a creature to stay within this spell for more then a turn, it becomes bonkers. Once you can force a creature to stay within the spells effective range for longer, this becomes absolutely terrifying since the damage on the spell is guaranteed and it's by no means a small amount. If a creature is forced inside of the range for the entire duration of the spell, you will do ridiculous damage over time. If we assume a turn is 6 seconds and a minute is 10 rounds, you will be dealing up to 180d4 to that creature. You will be doing a minumum if 180 guaranteed damage too the creature if you rolled 180 1's in a row. Even the unluckiest person in the world would get major benefit from this spell. the average for that amount die would be 450 which would kill a majority of your high CR dragons outright, while leaving the rest with maybe a 100 hp ( which I think a party of adventurers at this level of a campaign can do in 10 rounds... I hope) With maximum rolls, you deal 720 damage. That's right, if you high roll the damage over ten turns with this spell, you could literally kill anything that doesn't resist this damage ( unless you manage to remove the resistance somehow). This spell is weak on its own basically, but it's an insane combo piece if you have the right party comp. ( i might be over exaggerating this spell, but that's the point of this post and even if I am, this is really good still if you combo it and you can't change my mind!)
Enhance Ability This one is interesting. I initially wanted to write this one off right away without looking at it, but after I read the spell description it actually could be quite good if you're setup right. If you know what you are about to be fighting, giving your entire party a buff against it's most predominant saving throws could be very powerful. The only problem is that it requires concentration, so you may get focused down in a fight, at least till your concentration breaks. So prepare to be slippery and evasive.
Heat Metal (9d8) (40.5 average) damage is just kinda meh at first glance. If your big, bad evil guy is wearing heavy armor however, this makes the fight a joke. He will be rolling this damage every turn, effectively putting the fight on a clock if you can stick this spell. you would be doing an average of 40.5 damage every round too them with a minimum of 9, and maximum of 81. If they are in the armor for the full duration of a minute which is approximately ten rounds, they take 90d8 with an average of 405 damage. Whoever is under this effect will be a well roasted turkey once you are through with them. 100% dead guaranteed.
Hold Person only works on humans and they get to try and make a saving throw each turn unlike blindness/deafen makes me feel iffy if this is actually good. It also requires concentration unlike blindness/deafen and Only possibly better if a big bad enemy has a bunch of low wisdom humanoid minions that he sicks on you, or against a city watch. Only times I could see a 9th level hold person being useful. I will give this spell a nod though in that it has a range of 60 instead of 30 making it much easier to land a 9th level spell casting and target 8 enemies (given you are fighting a lot of humanoids) giving it an edge over blindness/Deafen in that regard.
Invisibility Pretty straightforward. When invisible on your whole party is good, it's good. When it is meh, this is bad. But it's kinda fun to invisible your party and set up an ambush though not gonna lie. Party comp and potential synergies could make this very good.
Shatter (11d8) (49.5 average) this spell offers a lot of thunder damage if you can hit a couple enemies, especially if they meet the clause for damage. even if they don't, if you can net let's say 3 enemies in the blast, this is a good spell for damage. It's basically a slightly weaker fireball in a class that doesn't get fireball on it's original spell list. And fireball is good, so I am tempted to give this a pass. It hits on successes too which is nice just like fireball. 3+ targets is when this becomes a tempting option. (33d8) (148.4 average damage if everything fails, 74.25 damage average even if everything succeeds)
3rd level spells:
Bestow Curse I'm gonna go on a limb and say that even if this is really cool to use at 9th level, it is not good mid combat a majority of the time. It is an amazing spell for rp purposes however, and against particularly annoying enemies that you can hit with this effect reliably. There might be some niche situation combat wise that this is good, but a lot of high level encounters have legendary resistance and or some way to dispell this as well, so I'm skeptical. I will always dream though, cause I would like to ruin someone.
Catnap Everybody, lets nap!!! You and up to 9 of your friends can all be cats for 9 minutes, get all of your short rest perks, and just generally enjoy a peaceful nap in this brutal, dnd world. Everyone needs to just take a moment and relax and nap.
Dispel Magic Well, you can get a guaranteed dispel if someone on your party is subjected to a 9th level spell. If you are facing high level spellcasters and they totally blast a character with a horrendous effect, you will be happy to have access to this.
Glyph of Warding (11d8) (49.5 average) If i go into all the ways you can have fun with this spell at level 9, we would be here all day. Your creativity is basically the sky's the limit with this spell as long as you can afford to use the level 9 slot multiple times without triggering your other runes. For instance, you can stack like 10 of your highest damage spells, then your wizard teleports a lich or dragon too you, and boom, that was easy as an example. You could easily make the trigger like when something evil is x feet away, or when a huge creature is on the rune, trigger x, then just stack it. I'm sure players can find more ways to bust this spell besides to kill an enemy though. ( For rp purposes, would anyone want to curse their room with this spell and do any combination of 9th level bestow curse, silence, deafen, blind, 9th level dominate person, forecage, 9th level modify memory, etc.?)
Major Image Really doesn't go past level 6 spell slot for this spell, since you get no extra perks past a 6th slot. Would be fun to disguise your camp while you long rest (I highly doubt your camp couldn't squeeze inside a 20ft area if you tried. You just need a fire and places to sleep) and make it hard to find. Maybe make a sleeping, curled up giant dragon and nobody will want to check it out. Really, like normal with illusion spells like this, your imaginations the limit as long as the DM is fair about it.
4th level spells:
Charm Monster You can charm up to 6 monsters with this ability, which is good if you sneak up on them. Even if you don't charming some of a big evil bosses henchmen will surely be in your favor (though they will still probably attack your party, so your party might not appreciate it as much as you.) You don't have to worry about your squishy little bard being focused by the minions and leave that up to your warrior or paladin while you have a battle of wits with the big enemy. The power of this spell really would be DM dependent I believe, and how much they are willing to give you when you charm the targets.
Confusion If you like chaotic battles that make your DM cringe every time they role a die, this is a fun spell granted there is quite a few targets for it. ( it might be fun to "accidentally" hit an ally or two while you're at it). The area of effect for this spell is 35 feet, which can really give you a chance to have a lot of good targets. If you see a golden opportunity, i would say go for it and let the confusion commence!!!
5th level spells:
Animate Objects For each size category, I will list the damage that you can get if you maxed out the spell and controlled the most of said size as you can.
You can have 18 tiny and/or small objects( Tiny: eighteen attacks of +8 to hit, 1d4 + 4 damage. Assuming half hit, 58.5 damage average)(smalls: eighteen attacks of +6 to hit, 1d8 + 2 damage. Assuming half hit, 49.5 damage average)
9 medium targets (nine attacks of 2d6+1 per hit. assuming half rounded up hit, 37.5 damage average)
4 larges and two smalls (four attacks of 2d10+2, and two attacks of d4+4 per hit. assuming half hit, 28.5 damage damage average)
or 2 huge and 2 small objects (2 attacks of 2d12 + 4 per hit, and two attacks of 1d4+4 per hit. Assuming half hit, 18.5 damage average)
This could lead too some really good damage if an enemy lacks the ability to knock out multiple objects at a time. The damage i posted above might not be realistic, but it can give an idea of the power of this spell still. It's very easy to have 18 small objects. a bag of ball bearings or caltrops have 20 each inside of them. This spell gets to levels of ridiculousness if paired with an aoe buff like the paladins holy mantle. Outside of strong paladin synergy, this still represents a lot of potential damage against an enemy and has to be dealt with right away or they risk dying. Huge objects might seem like a terrible idea given how low their potential damage is, but they are unique in that they can grapple enemies incredibly well. They count as well, HUGE. They can grapple "practically" anything in the game as long as your DM is not a buzzkill. They have the best HP out of the objects, so you can expect them to actually survive attacks reasonably well with their 80 hp. On top of that, having 2 huge objects both trying to grapple a GARGANTUAN enemy is just hilarious they have 18 strength so it's not out of the question.
Dominate Person No real reason to cast this spell at level 9 instead of 8. There is great uses for this spell roleplay wise, and if you can hit a powerful creature with it, it is very powerful in combat too. Basically having 100% control over another humanoid for 8 hours is quite powerful depending on who you land this on.
Geas This spell is really cool. You can have a creature permanently charmed with this and that alone is super cool. You can punish bad actions as well with the damage part and this almost makes me want to say it's better then dominate person. Dominate person is the spell you want to cast when you need something short, quick, and dirty. This spell is if you have the time to train/punish who is affected until they become unable to disobey you out of fear of psychic damage and being charmed by you for a whole YEAR.
Hold Monster If the big bad guy uses a bunch of monster minions, you can attempt to stun the 5 most powerful ones which is amazing utility in combat. If you can snare 2 high level monsters with this spell for a couple turns, I would say that it is probably worth it since the prevented damage is effectively health you restored to your party. Against groups of high CR monsters that can't outright negate this and that also deal a lot of damage, this is an optimal choice, especially if you can find a way to give them disadvantage.
Mass Cure Wounds (7d8) (31.5 average per target+ modifier) I will say that is probably your best healing option in an average to large party size. if you hit 6 players with this spell at 9th level, (42d8)your total healing will average out at 189 health before your modifier which is fantastic. If your entire party is suffering, this can turn the tides of a battle. Sadly it's nowhere near as powerful as a wish spell for healing, but let's be real here. You don't have access to wish, (unless that is your magical secretm but then why are you reading these when you can just wish? ;) )and wish is broken anyways so let's not break eggs here because of that.( i don't know of many people using wish for the healing affect anyway, but then again I never really use wish)
Modify Memory Being able to alter any memory ever over someones entire lifespan is amazingly cool. This gets even more ridiculous if you capture someone and do it too them multiple times. Envision this. The big, bad evil guy from your campaign sends a few level 18-20 assassins at your party. You manage to capture one, and you start "therapy" replacing memories of the Big bad evil guy with you. You now have a high level assassin that you can send out to do your dirty work. That might not be a likely scenario, but it's cool. There are a lot of shenanigans you can do with this spell honestly and your creativity makes it more and more powerful.
Planar Binding If you have access to summoning an elemental or something else and making a magic circle in your party, you can start to make some strong minions to do your bidding theoretically. Outside of that, this is an incredibly powerful spell but good luck actually hitting anything ;) I would say most DM's will actively try to prevent you to bind something if it isn't for story purposes since having free minions that you can increasingly add too will probably break your campaign ( unless it was broken to begin with)
6th level spells:
Mass Suggestion Holy cow this is insane. For one year and a day, you can make up to twelve creatures be forced to carry out a task over that duration as long as you can fit it into a sentence or two? Here is a good one I thought off the top of my head. Remember that you need to make the request sound reasonable. "Meet me at _____ at _____ time and help me fight because (reason they should meet you)." If you are a good wordsmith, you can escape tricky situations or benefit yourself greatly with this spell.
7th level spells:
Etherealness No reason to cast this spell over 8th level. Really good if you have an "oh shit" moment and your party needs to escape or reposition.
8th level spells:
Dominate Monster This spell doesn't gain much from the jump from an 8th slot to a 9th slot. It's an amazingly powerful spell though. If your DM isn't careful though and starts you off on a hard fight before you fight your "actual" fight, you might be able to capture the monster for 8 hours casting this at level 9 if you're lucky and bring it into the fight with you making it extremely strong.
Phew! that was a lot more work then I expected but I really enjoyed it and it was a fun brainteaser. Let me know if i should include the 9th level spells in the list as well and use them to compare to the earlier ones when I go over them. If i should add the 9th level spells, I might edit this post or add another comment including them and if they are worth the 9th level slot (obviously should, right?)
Edited a lot of grammar mistakes but hopefully it's clean now :D
Edit 2: Magical secrets is a very powerful option I didn't talk about. I will be making these threads for each spellcasting class so if there is a spell you really like I would suggest going to the appropriate class I will add links to this retroactively that lead to the other classes. It has been awhile since I have made this but I will pick up the pace on the other ones life has just been hectic and I may or may not have had this slip my mind haha. ( You can never go wrong with a fireball or wish magical secrets though. They are great options. After I finish the other lists I will put a list of good magical secrets candidates for 9th level spells but I won't go in depth here you will have to find it on the other casters forum to see why it is a good spell this post is long enough as is, especially as I add the other list and a candidates sheet)
Edit: Wow am I stupid XD To be fair I haven't touched this in awhile and I barely woke up XD I'll just add a note at the bottom of this post for magical secrets haha. I will start the next one tonight ( hopefully should be posted no later than Sunday). I'm thinking cleric since it's the next on this forum and just keep working my way down the classes.