What are the impacts of changing a Ranger’s spellcasting ability?


Background

As a follow up to this question: What are the impacts of allowing Rangers to cast Arcane spells?

If we assume that my DM is fine with letting the Ranger use the Wizard spell list instead of the Ranger spell list (since that’s what the other question is about; let’s also assume that our party’s Wizard is cool with it), then I think it would also make sense that the spellcasting ability should be INT, not WIS. WIS is typically associated with Clerics and Druids for casting divine spells (which includes druidic spells, at least I think that was the case in 3.5e anyway), not arcane spells.

Also, I personally think that, even if we gave the Ranger a different arcane spell list like the Warlock or Sorcerer spell list (since the Wizard spell list was picked arbitrarily as an “arcane” spell list), it still wouldn’t be something the Ranger would control through force of willpower (which is what CHA represents for Warlocks and Sorcerers), but rather something they would learn via INT (similar to Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters). Anyway, that’s enough of my opinions… on to the question.

Question

If I wanted to change the spellcasting ability of the Ranger from WIS to INT, what are the impacts of making this change? Is spellcasting the only (mechanical) reason why a Ranger would care about having a high WIS, or are there any other unintended side effects of making WIS less important for a Ranger?

Here are some reasons I can think of that the Ranger might care about WIS besides spellcasting:

  • Foe Slayer, the Ranger’s capstone ability, uses your WIS modifier (though I doubt this campaign will see us to level 20);
  • Most of the skill proficiencies available for that class are WIS skills (Animal Handling, Insight, Perception, Survival) vs. INT (Investigation, Nature);
  • A Gloom Stalker’s Dread Ambusher class feature uses WIS (XGtE, pg. 42);*
  • A Monster Hunter’s Hunter’s Sense class features uses WIS (XGtE, pg. 43);*

However, none of these seem like a huge deal to me, since I wouldn’t want Animal Handling or even Survival for a non-nature-y Ranger (I would rather him have Arcana, for example). Is there anything else I’m overlooking that might actually affect my character concept (from a mechanical perspective)?

[*] Note that I’m interested in making a Horizon Walker, so these don’t concern me for my current character concept.

Would it be possible to get a dragon to CR27 using only official material and variants (Shadow Dragon/Dracolich, innate spellcasting, etc.)? [on hold]

Ancient Gold Dragons and Ancient Red Dragons have a CR of 24. This means that, if you were to have such a dragon of the innate spellcasting dragons variety (MM p.86), they could know spells up to 8th level. I’m wondering if it would be possible to get a dragon up to CR27 (to give it access to 9th-level spells) using only official materials and variant rules.

By my calculations, an Ancient Gold Dragon has a defensive CR of 25 and an offensive CR of either 22 or 23, giving it an average CR of 24. In order to get it up to an average CR of 27, the easiest route would most likely be by raising its OCR, as it has more room for improvement. In order to get it to CR27, its OCR would need to be at least 28. The Ancient Gold Dragon gets a +2 boost to its OCR due to having an exceptionally high attack bonus, meaning its damage output would need to be equivalent to CR26, which is 231-248 damage per round on average over the first three rounds of combat.

As far as I know, making the dragon a Shadow Dragon or Dracolich doesn’t significantly increase its damage output. A Shadow Dragon’s breath weapon is more lethal due to instantly killing upon dropping a character to 0, but I don’t know how to quantify that.

Is there a selection of spells of levels 1-8 that could be given to a dragon in order to get its OCR up to 28? Or is there another way to get a dragon to CR27 that I’m overlooking?

Can a Shapechanger use Innate Spellcasting while in their animal form?

I’m running the Dragon of Icespire Peak, and one of the monsters is an Anchorite of Talos. It has the following abilities:

Innate Spellcasting. The anchorite’s innate spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 12). It can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:

1/day each: augury, bless, lightning bolt (8d6 damage), revivify

3/day: thunderwave (2d8 damage)

Shapechanger. The anchorite can use its action to polymorph into a boar or back into its true form, which is humanoid. Its statistics are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Rules as written, can the Anchorite of Talos cast any of its spells using Innate Spellcasting while it’s in its boar form?

What are the possible balance implications for houseruling INT as Paladin’s spellcasting ability and class features?

Related (yet different): What is the source of a Paladin’s spell-casting ability?

Related (strongly): What are the impacts of changing a Ranger’s spellcasting ability? (I don’t know if everything that’s said about the Ranger is applicable to the Paladin)

My player wants to create (L1) an investigator-type paladin (of the Inquisition) and asked that Intelligence becomes the character’s spell-casting ability and, if possible, also class features ability (e.g. Lay on Hands).

PHB states that:

Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your paladin spells, since their power derives from the strength of your convictions. You use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a paladin spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Since they are not asking for extra skills than the ones already provided by race, class & background, i.e. Paladins can pick from two Charisma skills (Intimidation, Persuasion) and one Intelligence skill (Religion) at character creation, I don’t see any system-unbalancing issue in this approach.

To be clear, my issue is not the fluff of “the strength of convictions” (I’ll probably trump it as “rigorous reasoning” ala Sherlock Holmes) but whether the PC becomes over/under -powered, compared to the normal Charisma-based option, over the short and long run.

In case it is relevant, it is a Human-only (for PCs) campaign, with options only from PHB (feats included) excluding multi-classing.

Can I embed a spellcasting focus into a shield, like a paladin or cleric?

I want to multiclass either cleric/wizard or paladin/wizard and I was wondering whether i can use my holy symbol as a spellcasting focus for my wizard spells and if not, can I embed my arcane focus into my shield as well as my holy symbol. I plan to take the warcaster feat and be an arcane cleric if that helps.

Does the feat Mobile Spellcasting allow movement when casting during a grapple?

If a character is engaged in a grapple and has the feat Mobile Spellcasting (Complete Adventurer, p.111), are they allowed to make a grapple check to perform the Move action alongside their spellcasting?

Mobile Spellcasting reads, in-part:

You can make a special Concentration check (DC 20 + spell level) when casting a spell. If the check succeeds, you can cast the spell and move up to your speed as a single standard action.

Can True Polymorph create creatures with the Spellcasting feature?

One notable limitation of the Shapechange spell reads as follows:

You transform into an average example of that creature, one without any class levels or the Spellcasting trait.

However, True Polymorph states no such limitation. Does that mean that you could turn into a creature with the Spellcasting feature? Some examples of such creatures would be the Drow Matron Mother, Archmage, Archdruid, etc.

If this is permitted, does it mean you could make creatures with the Spellcasting feature that don’t normally have it, provided that you stay within the CR restrictions? For example, could you create a Nothic with Wizard levels?

Can you retrain the Magic Initiate spell using the Spellcasting feature?

This question got me thinking about the mechanics of the Magic Initiate feat when you have class levels in the class into which you were inducted.

Among the classes you can pick with this feat are the Bard, Sorcerer, and Warlock, which know a limited number of spells and all have the same statement under Spells Known.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the [class] spells you know and replace it with another spell from the [class] spell list , which must also be of a level for which you have spell slots.

The term “learning” is used both to describe new spells acquired on level-up and the spell acquired through the feat. This would seem to indicate your Magic Initiate spell counts among the spells you know, and is thus eligible for retraining if you learned it as a spell of your class.

An odd change in wording occurs during the Magic Initiate feat description (emphasis mine):

In addition, choose one 1st-level spell from the same list. You learn that spell and can cast it at its lowest level.

This generalization in describing the learned spell’s level seems to imply that there exists a scenario where it would not be appropriate to restrict the spell to being cast as a 1st-level spell. Could one of the charisma casters retrain Magic Initiate into a higher level spell, which they could then cast once per long rest without using a slot?

This would turn an otherwise unexciting feat into, effectively, a Mystic Arcanum for Bards and Sorcerers. This seems too powerful to be intentional, but the feat description appears to have gone out of its way to permit it.

Can a character replace their Magic Initiate spells using the Spellcasting feature?

The feat Magic Initiate lets you learn a 1st level spell:

You learn that spell and can cast it at its lowest level. Once you cast it, you must finish a long rest before you can cast it again using this feat.

Depending on the class you choose, this spell will count as a [class] spell for the purpose of other features.

The Spellcasting class feature is one such feature that mentions [class] spells for classes like Rangers, Bards, and Sorcerers (among others):

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the [class] spells you know and replace it with another spell from the [class] spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Could you replace the spell from Magic Initiate with another spell from that class’s class spell list upon gaining a level in that class?
If you replaced the spell with a higher level one “for which you have spell slots”, could you then still cast it once using the feat (i.e. without using a spell slot) between long rests?


I’d prefer answers from a RAW perspective, as I’m aware of Jeremy Crawford’s tweet indicating a sort of RAI perspective:

Magic Initiate doesn’t provide a way to replace its spells