[RPG] How is Counterspell a fair spell


I'm playing an Abjuration wizard in 5e, and am currently level 4. Looking ahead to the 3rd level spell list, I come across the spell I've been waiting for: Counterspell.

And then, reading the rules, I find that it's potentially extremely broken.

In order for me to counter a spell of a higher level than the one I cast the spell, all I need to do is succeed on a spellcasting check equal to 10+the spell I'm countering.

At level 4, my bonus is +6. Next level it will be +7. That means that to counter a level 9 spell, I only need to get a 12 or higher- 40% chance of success.

Is that balanced? And if so, why?

Best Answer

It's at the very least more fair than you think it is.

The check for the counterspell is an ability check of the type of your spell casting stat.

This means that the maximum bonus a character can get (unless they are a bard with Jack of All Trades), is +5. Bards being the rare exception get half proficiency to all checks they aren't proficient in already and thus can get up to +8 at 17th level.

Since you're at least 5th level, we can assume your casting stat is between 18 and 20 (it may be 16 if you took a feat or MCed a couple of levels, and it might be 14 if other circumstances are true), so we'll use 18 here.

This means that the modifier to the check is +4, meaning that to counter a 9th level spell, you need to roll at least a 15 meaning only a 30% chance of success. Sure this sounds like a lot, but in reality, a 30% chance isn't all that much.

The abjurer, at L10 does have a feature that will add their full proficiency to counterspell checks. However, since this is a pretty significant class feature (This is the same level the evocation wiz gets to add their int to all their damage), it's not out of line by any stretch.

Addendum: Though this isn't part of your question, this is a particularly nasty spell for an NPC to use on a group of PCs, and one that a DM should consider with caution. Counterspelling a fireball is fine, counterspelling the party's last-minute emergency teleport that was meant to prevent a TPK probably isn't. (HT to Miniman and BESW)

Related Topic