[RPG] let a single PC use the Spell Points variant rule without unbalance


One of my players (level 5 Druid) has been looking at the Spell Points variant rule in the 5th edition DMG (page 288) and wants to use it for his character. I've talked to the other players with spellcasting (a Wizard and an Arcane Trickster) and they would prefer to stick with spell slot. So,

  1. Would there be any problem in letting the Druid use Spell Points
    while the other PCs used spell slots?
  2. Would anyone be at a disadvantage by doing so (druid or other PCs)?

Best Answer

Individual rather than game-wide use is the intention of the Variant: Spell Points option. It's in the "Dungeon Master's Workshop" chapter, which has lots of advice and ideas for modifying the game to suit your table. Some of these are spelled out as game-wide. For example, under Combat Options, there are "Action Options", and the book says:

This section provides new action options for combat. They can be added as a group or individually to your game.

(That is, a group of all of these options, or just individual added actions. But, clearly, game-wide.)

On the other hand, this variant is under Creating New Character Options, and specifically "Modifying a Class". It says:

The classes in the Player’s Handbook capture a wide range of character archetypes, but your campaign world might have need of something more. The following section discusses ways to modify existing classes to better serve your game’s needs.

I think it's pretty clear that the intent here is for this option to be an example of a way to build a new, additional option to broaden the range of archetypes. Other sections here make it clear that this wouldn't need to even apply to all examples of a particular existing class. For example:

For example, you could decide that the clerics of a particular deity belong to an order that forbids the accumulation of material goods, other than magic items useful for their divine mission. Such clerics carry a staff, but they are forbidden from wearing armor or using weapons other than that staff.

So, come up with some reason why these druids are different. I might even consider going as far as to create a new druid circle that accesses magic in this way.

N.B. I have no experience with this option in play, and don't have particular knowledge or even opinion on whether it is unbalanced per se. I know answers which have that are preferred, but in this case, I think it's objectively clear that the option is meant to be a mix-in, not a game-wide replacement.