Yes you can, but there are a few rules restricting what spells and how this can be done as well as a few abilities that can help here.
To understand how you can cast multiple spells in one turn, you’ll need to understand the different spell durations:
- Action: Most spells take a single action to cast
- Bonus action: Some spells are a little quicker to cast and can be done so by using your bonus action instead of an action.
- Reaction: Some spells take a fraction of a second to cast and can be done so as a reaction. This occurs outside of the character’s turn in reaction to some event.
- Longer casting times: Some spells take longer than a single action to cast and can take minutes or even hours. Typically, these spells are cast outside of combat, but will maintain a character’s action for the duration of the spell.
Each spell will have a duration for its casting and can only be cast using the correct action type.
If you want to cast 2 spells on your turn, you can do this without any special abilities by casting a spell that requires a bonus action and then casting another spell that requires an action. The rules do stipulate an important restriction here though. The Player’s Handbook and SRD state:
“You can’t cast another spellPlayer’s Handbook
during the same turn (as you cast a spell using your bonus action), except for a cantrip with a
casting time of 1 action.”
It seems that levelled spells are too powerful and/or demanding to allow a character to cast 2 of them in a single turn.
In addition, while not part of your turn, you can also cast a spell as a reaction within the same round. This is because reactions don’t occur within your turn so there are also no restrictions on the level of spell either if you already cast a bonus action spell.
For these reasons, it’s important to consider your action economy when picking spells. Ensuring you have reaction spells in your repertoire (like counterspell or hellish rebuke) allows you to do more each round.
In addition, ensuring you have some spells that can be cast as bonus actions (like healing word or misty step) will give you the flexibility to use your bonus action more effectively. Just make sure you have some cantrips that can be effective in combat for when you cast a bonus action spell (or just for when you run out of spell slots).
Abilities allowing multiple spells per turn
In addition to the standard rules above, there are some class abilities and feats that allow characters to cast multiple spells in a turn. These are:
- Meta Magic – Quickened Spell (Sorcerer): Allows you to cast an action spell as a bonus action which then allows you to cast another spell (as long as it’s a cantrip) using your action.
- Meta Magic – Twinned Spell (Sorcerer): This ability doesn’t allow you to cast another spell, but it has a similar effect. It allows you to cast a spell and target a 2nd creature with that spell (a bit like casting the same spell twice using one action).
- Action Surge (Fighter): Action surge allows fighters to make an additional action in a turn. If you’re playing an eldritch knight or have multiclassed into a spellcaster, this action can be a spell (or even 2 spells if you cast a spell for your first action). These spells can be levelled too, unless you’ve cast a spell as a bonus action, in which case, both action spells would need to be cantrips.
- War Caster (Feat): Taking this feat allows you to use spells as attacks of opportunity instead of just weapon attacks. Bare in mind that this still uses your reaction, but you can use spells that would typically require an action for this.
What’s the maximum number of spells you can cast in a turn?
In theory, this means you can cast the equivalent of 6 spells in a round as a maximum (or 5 spells on your turn) if you count the additional effects of twinned spell as additional spells.
To do this, you’d need to be a fighter/sorcerer with enough levels for action surge (level 2 fighter) and meta magic (level 3 sorcerer). You can use action surge to have 2 actions, twin both spells (they’d need to be cantrips in this case), cast a spell as a bonus action and then use a reaction to cast a spell too. Of course, you’d quickly run out of sorcery points, action surges and spell slots doing this, but it is possible if you want to have an extremely destructive turn!
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