The stray lightning bolt streaked past Jhorium’s head, singing his eyebrows and leaving the scent of ozone thick in the air. The young sorcerer squared his shoulders, glaring at the crazed storm mage bearing down on him and his companions. They had come seeking clues to the kidnapped prince's whereabouts, not a fight. But the storm mage, lost in his own madness, had attacked without provocation.
Jhorium sighed, flexing his fingers as he prepared to tap into his font of magic. A twisted smile split his face as he envisioned the intricate spell combo he was about to unleash, a combo only made possible by one of the most powerful metamagic options available to a sorcerer – quickened spell.
What Is Quickened Spell in D&D 5e?
For those unfamiliar, quickened spell is a metamagic option available to sorcerers starting at 3rd level. It allows a sorcerer to spend 2 sorcery points to change the casting time of certain spells to a bonus action rather than the normal standard action.
This may not seem incredibly powerful at first glance, but quickened spell opens up a wealth of tactical options by freeing up your standard action on your turn. And in the action economy focused combat of 5e, actions are the name of the game.
Of course, quickly casting spells is not without limits. The general rule for bonus action spells still applies. If you cast a spell as a bonus action using quickened spell, you can only cast a cantrip with your standard action, not another leveled spell. But as we’ll see, even with this limitation, quickened spell allows sorcerers to shape battles in dramatic fashion.
Now, let’s look at some of the most effective ways to put quickened spell to use on your sorcerer. Consider each scenario another mystical secret unlocked within the font of magic!
Unleash Destructive Spell Combos
One of the most straightforward uses of quickened spell is coupling it with damaging cantrips. This adds even more pain on top of your leveled spell damage. Even a single quickened fire bolt after a fireball is enough to finish off weakened foes. But more impressive is using empowered spells that shoot multiple projectiles together.
Eldritch blast packs quite a punch on its own by firing multiple beams, and it scales impressively with level. A quickened empowered eldritch blast at higher levels can deal damage rivaling a lower level actual spell. Combining area of effect spells like fireball with the ranged punishment of eldritch blast makes for legendary destruction.
And don’t overlook creative spell combinations using other cantrips. A quickened chill touch to stop regeneration, then shocking grasp to deal extra damage to their metallic form can really ruin a helmed horror’s day! Cantrips may be simple spells, but fueled with sorcerous magic they can enable complex tactics.
Curse and Bless for Success
While dealing extra damage is nice, don’t overlook quickened spell’s power to enable beneficial or debilitating spell combos centered around buffs, debuffs, and crowd control. The ability to quickly get a bless off on the party before wading into battle or to curse a demanded foe before unleashing your heaviest weapon attacks is pivotal.
When every party member gains a bonus to their attack rolls, that +1d4 quickly multiplies into a major advantage. Likewise, imposing disadvantage through a quickened bane will drastically cut into enemy attacks. A sorcerer can shape probability itself with these instant magical alterations!
For crowd control, a quickened hold person on a high value target like an enemy mage followed by an empowered scorching ray with automatic critical hits can devastate elite opponents. And there are so many great spells that impose debilitating conditions like slow or hypnotic pattern that benefit from the speed of quickened spell before the chaos of battle allows the targets to reposition.
Blink Away From Danger
One creative use of quickened spell is coupling an area of effect damage spell like fireball with a quickened escape effect like thunder step or dimension door. You can devastate a cluster of enemies with the explosion then immediately blink away before they can retaliate!
This combo requires some maneuvering so that your escape teleport takes you outside the blast zone but puts you in a better strategic position. But practiced sorcerers can use a quickened retreat like this to destroy then reposition in an instant.
An overeager lich hellbent on catching you in its own deadly fireball only to find you suddenly 50 feet away thanks to a quickened misty step will quickly come to regret underestimating your arcane mastery!
Subtle Counterspell Protection
Lower level quickened spells also combine particularly effectively with subtle spell metamagic. Since subtle spell hides the normal components, it makes it much harder for enemies to react to your sudden spells in combat. No somatic components means nothing to see and counterspell!
Imagine an enemy mage believes they have the upper hand, only to be caught completely off guard by a quickened hold person cast without any perceptible components by a subtle casting sorcerer. Before they can react, the sorcerer then unleashes a devastating fire bolt and disengages thanks to their freed up action.
This kind of unforeseen magical barrage enabled by combining metamagic gives sorcerers a reputation for chaotic trickery and their spells near mythic status as miracles mimicking the unpredictability of raw magic itself!
Overwatch Allies with Ready Spell Action
Here's an advanced maneuver that builds on the versatility of action types in 5e. Take the Ready action to prepare a spell with the trigger being “after the skeleton archer shoots at the ranger” then unleash a quickened spell like shield or absorb elements after it attacks but before resolving the damage.
This mixes your regular action with reaction and bonus action for a triple spell turn! Though it relies on initiative order and allies being targeted, with practice a sorcerer can use ready spell overwatch to protect their companions as dangers unfold.
And since readied spells must be cast with their full casting time once triggered, quickened spell removes that delayed effect. The spell takes effect immediately after the readied trigger rather than at the end of your next turn.
Twin Your Buffs for Maximum Impact
Another metamagic combo is pairing twin spell with quickened spell. At first this doesn't seem that effective since you can't twin a quickened spell. But by carefully selecting your spells, you can get both buffs active in the same turn.
For example, turn one twin haste on your two weapon wielding allies. Then on round two when only one haste remains, quickened spell a bless to benefit the whole party. Your friends attack twice before the enemies even have a chance to react!
Or if controlling the battlefield is your intent, turn one twin slow to cripple a menacing beast's attacks. Then when only one slow spell remains, quickened spell a hypnotic pattern to potentially incapacitate a whole cluster of hostiles at once.
Rapid enhancement and disruption spells like these demonstrate how quickened and twin spell together enable rousing magical chaos!
Maximizing Quickened Spell's Potential
Now that we've covered quickened spell's tactical potential, let's discuss how to get the most out of this powerful metamagic option. Which character builds, feats, and magic items can really push those spells per round into overdrive?
Increasing Your Sorcery Point Fuel
First and foremost, more sorcery points equals more quickened spell uses. The bloodwell vial from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything is perfect for this. Attuning to the bloodwell vial as a sorcerer not only grants more spell attack and DC but also lets you regain expended sorcery points when spending your hit dice during a short rest.
What's even better is the vial gets more powerful based on the rarity. An uncommon vial regains 5 points while the rare vial can get back 10! For any sorcerer, this item is an easy pick for one of your rare magic items.
Of course, sorcerers don't have all day to rest. Extra sorcery points in the moment come from converting spell slots or the metamagic adept feat. Metamagic adept is available to any spellcaster but is tailor made for the sorcerer, granting 2 extra sorcery points and extra metamagic options!
Having just 2 or 3 more points can fuel another quickened spell when you need it most. Suddenly, twin hasting the paladin and fighter seems possible when before you may have needed to pick just one. Every extra point expands your flexibility.
Class Dips and Feats to Enhance Action Economy
Being able to take full advantage of your freed up action takes the right feats and class combinations. War caster is a must have, enabling you to quickened spell booming blade or green-flame blade and exploit their enhanced reach and disengage triggering opportunity attacks.
Spell sniper can extend the reach of these cantrips even further, allowing you to 30 feet away from many enemies. And since war caster applies to all of these, you can ready a spell triggered by an enemy entering your reach. When the roaring owlbear barges into proximity, hit it with a readied booming blade!
For even more attacks, multiclassing two levels into fighter nets action surge allowing two standard actions in one turn. Now you can quickened spell booming blade then action surge regular booming blade for a cantrip overloaded smackdown!
Other multiclass options like a dip in warlock or paladin combine quickened spell with their own concentration buffs. A quickened hex before eldritch blasting as a sorlock or searing smiting as a sorcadin exploits multiple class resources at once.
And while sorcerers gain little armor, multiclassing can help here too. A single level of hexblade grants medium armor. Or for even heavier defense, cleric dips provide heavy armor along with useful low level utility buffs like bless and healing word.
Gear for All Situations
Don't neglect your equipment when building a quickened spell slinger. beyond a spell focus like the bloodwell vial, the right magic gear enhances your options. Boots and cloaks of elvenkind boost stealth, allowing you to quickly reposition unnoticed.
The robe of stars from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything grants starry transformations fitting the celestial soul sorcerer. And staves like the Staff of Power maintain concentration for you, freeing quickened spell for non-concentration effects.
Even a simple ruby of the war mage turns a mundane focus like a wand into a spell focus. Enchanting your sidearm for backup spell attacks after a big quickened spell demonstrates crafty preparation. You want your gear supporting your action economy, not hindering it!
Putting it All Together
Once you have your sorcerer primed and ready, it's time to put quickened spell through its paces! Remember its limitations – cantrips only for your standard action spells, and no twinning quickened or quickening twice for massive nova turns.
Start simple by buffing then escaping or debuffing and attacking. As you master action economy intricacies, attempt the more complex maneuvers like readied spell triggers. Growth takes experience even for prodigal sorcerers, so don't feel rushed.
And above all, maintain a contamination over your power and its potential! Rest and prepare between adventures to replenish sorcery points. Rely on more than just quickened spell so you don't exhaust resources too quickly.
Never forget the lessons etched in myth by sorcerers that came before you. Their tales tell of brilliant successes and terrifying recklessness. Seek greatness, but temper it with wisdom.
The Magic Within
Jhorium smiled, his eyes flashing with power. The storm mage thought he could bully these heroes into submission. But he did not yet realize a sorcerer stood against him. Jhorium's magic came from within, not born of study but of an implacable spirit.
The sorcerer's hands flourished as he strode forward. His party's eyes were on him, their expressions mirrors of hope and determination. They trusted him to see this deed done. To strike like the storm but with purpose. For inside Jhorium flowed the legacy of dragons. An implacable will. A font of power.
He was a sorcerer. And he would show them a storm of his own creation!