Metamagic feats are a great concept, but unfortunately they are usually limited to mid- to high-level characters due to the necessity of having spell slots of a level higher than the spell's. A rare few metamagic feats published have allowed you to use them without an increase to the level of the spell slot needed. The logic is that the opportunity cost of the feat, coupled with the need to either prepare the metamagic in advance or take extra time at the moment of casting, are enough to balance the feat's power. I like that idea, but so far most of the feats that use that idea are still not useful for low-level characters. So my idea here is to create a few zero-level-increase feats that I could see a low level wizard or sorcerer taking. (One of them ended up being a little too good for zero-level, but I like the idea too much to abandon it.)
Bane Spell [Metamagic]
Choose one creature type from the list of available favored enemies for the ranger class. You can tune your spells to be more effective against that creature type.
Benefit:A bane spell gains a +2 bonus to the DC for any saving throw for any creature of the appropriate type, but suffers a Ė1 penalty for any creature of a different type. If the spell inflicts one or more dice of damage, every creature of the right type suffers and additional +2d6 points of the same type of damage. A bane spell uses a spell slot of the same level as the spellís actual level.
Lucky Spell [Metamagic]
Your spells frequently have unusually fortuitous results.
Benefit:You may make any spell that heals or inflicts one or more dice of damage into a lucky spell. You may reroll any such dice once, up to a maximum number equal to the level of the spell. For example, you may reroll up to three damage dice from a fireball spell, because it is a 3rd level spell. The new result must be taken, even if it is lower than the original roll. A lucky spell uses a spell slot of the same level as the spellís actual level.
Seeking Spell [Metamagic]
Your ray and energy missile spells are capable of guiding themselves to the target.
Benefit: You may alter any spell that requires a ranged attack roll or ranged touch attack roll so that you take no penalty to your attack roll when firing at a target engaged in melee. If your seeking spell misses due to concealment (but not due to incorporeality), you can reroll your miss chance percentile roll one time to see if you actually hit. A seeking spell uses a spell slot of the same level as the spellís actual level.
Suppressible Spell [Metamagic]
You may temporarily dismiss the effects of your spells, restoring them as needed at a later point.
Benefit: You may make any spell that is dismissible by the caster into a suppressible spell. When you would dismiss the spell, you may choose to have the spell be suppressed instead; while all effects of a suppressed spell cease as if it had been dismissed, the spellís duration continues to be counted. While suppressed, the spell is not ended by any action you or the target creature takes that would normally do so. For example, a character under the effects of a suppressed invisibility spell can attack without ending the spell. At any time before the spellís duration fully expires, you may reinstate the spell. Doing so requires the same type of action as casting the spell in the first place, including any verbal or somatic components needed.
----You must be within the spellís range from the area, object, or creature that was the original target of the spell in order to suppress or reinstate the spell effect. If the spell affected multiple creatures or objects, you may selectively suppress or reinstate the spellís effects on each of the targets currently within range. There is no limit to the number of times a spell may be suppressed or reinstated during the spellís duration, even if the duration has been made permanent with the permanency spell.
----A suppressible spell uses a spell slot of the same level as the spellís actual level.
Normal: Dismissing a spell requires a standard action and ends the spellís effects.
Vicious Spell [Metamagic]
Your spells are particularly devastating, but at a cost to your own health.
Benefit: You may make any spell that heals or inflicts one or more dice of damage with an instantaneous duration into a vicious spell. The total damage caused or healed by the spell is increased by one-quarter; apply this multiplier after all other metamagic effects. However, when you cast the spell, you suffer backlash damage equal to the amount by which the spellís damage is increased. This damage cannot be avoided, prevented, mitigated, or redirected by any means. You suffer the full amount of damage regardless of whether or not the spellís targets make or fail their saving throw (or take any damage whatsoever) or whether the spell is blocked by spell resistance. A vicious spell uses a spell slot one level higher than the spellís actual level.
As I read these feats, I feel like I was all over the map here. Bane Spell and Vicious Spell are both fine, because there are penalties involved. Casting a Bane Spell at the wrong target reduces the spellís normal effectiveness, and a Vicious Spell has an obvious cost. But what possible reason would a preparation caster have to not make every spell a Lucky Spell, or a Seeking Spell (or both)? If I were rewriting Lucky Spell today, I would require the player to reroll one damage die of their choice per spell level of the spell Ė even if they were happy with the original results! That would introduce just enough of a downside that I think most wizards wouldnít just apply it to every spell they prepared (or if they did, at least they would get screwed by it once in a while). As far as Seeking Spell, I think that effect is probably better served by a General feat rather than a Metamagic one.
----Suppressible Spell is acceptable, if maybe a little underpowered; how often does the situation come up where you want to be able to resume a spell? The invisibility example given is the only everyday usage I can really think of. I see no reason why this couldnít be simply a regular feat that allowed you to suppress any of your dismissible spells. It seems to me that the only reason this is a metamagic feat is that I had decided to write an article with metamagic feats.