[RPG] Is an item that increases spell save DC balanced


One of my players' characters likes to use illusion spells in combat. To improve their effectiveness, he is asking me for an item that increases his spell save DC. The Rod of the Pact Keeper provides a spell save DC boost. However, it is locked to Warlocks. I'm considering giving him a similar item without the class restriction.


Ring of channeling (very rare)
While you wear this ring, the spell save DC of your spells is modified by +2.

Would it be unbalanced to have an item provide just a bump to Spell save DC?

If it is relevant, he is a level 15 Sorcerer and already has Charisma 20.

Best Answer

Probably Not

Increased Spell DC is, as you've said, very hard to find. The lack is probably due to the bounded accuracy of 5e, but the fact that it's so rare to find something to boost it is an indicator that doing so homebrew may be dangerous.

Increasing DC is generally accounted for by the increasing proficiency as you Level. While some items can force Disadvantage on a save (like a Bardic Instrument for Charm Spells), that is balanced by having a lot of enemies immune to charm or resistant to magical effects (advantage on their saves.)

An illusionist is a tricky situation. Many of their spells are either Intelligence saves (so magical resistance still works, but against INT, which is generally a lower stat for many creatures) or Investigation(INT) checks (which very few have any proficiency in.)

ASIs and Assumptions

I am assuming that this level 15 character has maxed out their Spellcasting modifier to 20/+5(charisma for the Sorcerer.) If maxed out, the only Magic Items that increase his Spell Save DC are the Tome of Leadership and Influence (Very Rare) which increases their Charisma and Charisma Max by +2 and the Robe of Archmagi(Legendary, only for Walrocks, Sorcerers, and Wizards) which increases Spell Save DC by 2.

In addition, allowing a straight +2 to DC without increasing the Spellcasting Ability could create an odd situation where your Ability Modifier for DC is different, and greater than(!), the maximum modifier for ability scores. An example of this would be either a max 20 Ability score generating a +5 modifier, except for DCs which would turn it to +7. Or a situation where someone has a Headband of Intellect which increases their Int to 19. That should generate a +4 Ability score modifier, but instead it would end up being +6, which is the equivalent of 22 Intelligence.

Other Ideas

My table uses the Variant rule in the DMG for Proficiency Dice (DMG, 263). It makes that DC swingy (could be lower than normal, could be higher), but it adds a neat effect to the DC set. And you get to roll (more) dice.

You could also look at creating a homebrew feat. Maybe give him a couple more illusion spells and allow a 1/SR ability to force disadvantage on the first save/check against an illusion? I had a feat like that for one of my characters that focused on illusions and it did make them a bit more interesting. However, illusions are very table dependent and the power of this will vary. For us, we allow illusions to impart conditions, so this gave my illusions a big boost without a huge downside. We still try to play the monsters reasonably and also balance "we're not removing this monster from the entire battle with a low level illusion spell" with "let's make this more fun"

Related Topic