Dungeons & Dragons Provides Clarification on Controversial Spell

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Dungeons & Dragons has provided some clarification on a new spell, to make clear that the spell doesn’t somehow magically bypass other established rules that weren’t included in the description. Earlier this month, Wizards of the Coast published Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos, a new campaign setting book that provided details on the magical university of Strixhaven, which first appeared in a Magic: The Gathering card set. The book contained several new spells and feats to help players create characters that truly “belonged” in Strixhaven, including several options themed towards each of Strixhaven’s five magical colleges.

One of those five spells is Silvery Barbs, a 1st Level spell tied to Silverquill College. The spell can be used as a reaction whenever an enemy creature rolls a successful attack roll, ability check, or saving throw. Silvery Barbs forces a player to re-roll their d20 and take the lower roll, effectively forcing them to make a save or attack roll at disadvantage. The spell simultaneously grants advantage to another creature within range of the spellcaster, which they must use on the next attack roll, saving throw, or ability check.

Silvery Barbs has caused a firestorm of discussion due to a number of factors, with some players complaining that the spell is too powerful for a 1st Level spell (especially when used by higher level characters that rarely use their 1st level spell slots.) However, other players claimed that Silvery Barbs somehow bypassed Legendary Resistances, a mechanic given to certain high-powered creatures. Legendary Resistances allow a creature to choose to succeed on a saving throw when they would otherwise fail, and some players argued that Silvery Barbs could somehow force that monster to “burn” a Legendary Resistance by forcing them to re-roll a saving throw after they spent the Legendary Resistance…even though that’s not how Legendary Resistances work, as the Legendary Resistance fundamentally bypasses the d20 roll when used.

Luckily, Wizards of the Coast provided some clarification about Silvery Barbs, noting that forcing a creature to reroll a d20 doesn’t change that a Legendary Resistance automatically causes a monster to pass a Legendary Resistance. “When a creature uses Legendary Resistance, the creature turns a failed saving throw into a success, regardless of the number rolled on the d20,” Wizards of the Coast stated. “Forcing that creature to reroll the d20 afterward doesn’t change the fact that the save succeeded as a result of Legendary Resistance. No amount of rerolling will undo that success.”

While there will likely be plenty of arguments over whether Silvery Barbs is overpowered for a 1st Level spell, Wizards of the Coast at least put one part of the argument over the spell to bed.

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Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos is available for sale now.

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