[RPG] Do enethe NPCs have to use spell slots for their spells


Would an evil mage be able to spam fireballs in a combat encounter or would they run out of slots to use eventually?

Best Answer

Yes, NPC spellcasters (usually) use spell slots

This is covered by the explanation of monster attributes and abilities at the beginning of the Monster Manual. Spellcasting is covered on page 10 (emphasis mine):

A monster with the Spellcasting class feature has a spellcaster level and spell slots, which it uses to cast its spells of 1st level and higher (as explained in the Player's Handbook). The spellcaster level is also used for any cantrips included in the feature.

In other words, they cast spells just like the PCs do, and their description will say which spells they have and how many slots they have. (For example, the Archmage NPC (MM, p. 342) is an 18th-level spellcaster with a list of spells and slots, e.g., they have four 1st-level slots.)

Innate casters are the exception

The “usually” covers the exceptions that don't use a Spellcasting feature. These are usually more monstrous critters that don't usually get called “NPCs”.

For example, a Pixie (p. 253) doesn't cast spells like a class and has no level, and has the Innate Spellcasting instead of the Spellcasting feature. Instead of casting using spell slots, they have “At will” and “1/day each” abilities that list the specific spells they can do on those terms. See the Monster Manual page 11, “Limited Usage” for details on these abilities.

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