D&D 5E A Homebrew Cleric Cantrip discussion

DND_Reborn

Legend
Clerics have three attack cantrips, total.

Sacred Flame d8s
Toll of the Dead d8/d12
Word of Radiance AOE d6's

Yes, it is the highest, but "all other cantrips" is literally the only two other choices they have. And when those are your choices, then you are going to pick Toll of the Dead
There are a lot of other damaging cantrips out there, all of which are available through other means, even for clerics.

Oh, you were saying you wanted it like the GFB and BB cantrips, so I assumed the damage boost at 5th, 11th and 17th like those cantrips was included. I definetly don't think taking those out leads to a better solution.
No, I mentioned it because you and others seemed to want it to go that way. 🤷‍♂️

Why would that be a problem? War Priests aren't exactly breaking the game with their signature ability. And we have a lot of subclasses that now allow "Cantrip + attacks" already.
Because it can also be used with others. For example, keeping it as a bonus action without making it an attack as part of the spell, keeps it open to being combined with GBF and BB.

Again, a common issue with homebrewing things and/or normal later publication material is power creep. Allowing "Cantrip + attacks" is an example. Improving this cantrip is another. And, FWIW, Toll the Dead is another example of power creep. ;)

I am not a fan of power creep, because earlier features, etc. end up being pointless or in need of revision to remain competitive.

I found the cantrip. It already shed light and made the weapon magical, I felt that wasn't enough and people seem to have agreed. It is also weird you call out your own suggestion as a problem because it adds too much.
Not really as I felt the original cantrip was fine. It does what it was meant to do, make your attack magical without needing to use a spell slot. Until a cleric gains Divine Strike (8th level), it serves the purpose it was intended to, much like Shillelagh.

"Melee" Clerics already have Divine Strike later to keep their melee damage up to speed if that is your focus.

To give a melee cantrip for Clerics with Divine Strikes.
Why? They already have Divine Strikes, which was the purpose of giving them that feature.

Basically, a STR-based Cleric at 14th level can do 3d8+5+any magical weapon bonus, while the same cleric with Toll the Dead will do 3d12 (against an injured foe), which is roughly the same. Of course, the 3d8 version initially done would be less.

The problem then arises when cantrips scale to the 4th die of damage.

Frankly, you want power creep to prevail so have at it. I would just swap around the 6th and 8th level features for clerics and have Divine Strike scale a third time to mirror the cantrips.

Finally, as I said above, I thought the original cantrip was fine as it was but was trying to help "make it better" since that seemed to be the direction yourself and others wanted, while keeping it balanced at all. Ultimately, 6d8+STR mod will keep it on par with 4d12 since you believe the pinnacle of cantrips should be the baseline.

With that in mind, I would just have it add your WIS mod to damage, then increase that by 1d8 at 5th, 11th, and 17th. That would keep it more in check at lower levels IMO since it would rely on both STR and WIS for initial damage. It might raise the floor a bit, but should encourage melee clerics to wade into the fray.

1659693897632.png


Note, you don't need the clause about making the weapon magical--the cantrip takes care of making the damage magical.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Chaosmancer

Legend
My thought is that Clerics don't get extra attack, and since this is a weapon cantrip rather than a Shillelagh clone, there is less option for abuse through multiclassing or Magic Initiate.

I'm not sure how multi-attack addresses the concerns I have over this. Even if you could mutli-attack with an accuracy buff, that doesn't abuse anything.

This is actually intentional. I don't see a reason that overcoming immunity for a single attack is terribly broken. On most creatures it just does damage. On some creatures, it does "double damage" compared to what it would normally hit, but the difference is still limited to 1-6 points of damage assuming you are using a weapon that doesn't have multiple damage types like a frostbrand or something. I don't see the argument about piercing Temp HP, since that is treated as HP. Temp HP doesn't reduce the damage dealt so much as give you more points to soak damage. There are other effects in 5e with damage that can't be reduced. I would need to look for specific citations, but I'm 95% sure they exist. Just not necessarily as part of a character's suite of abilities/spells/etc.

Personally, I don't mind a Blessed Blade strike slashing through a creature that would be immune to even magical slashing damage. All this cantrip does it ensure that your attack is effective. Especially when you consider alternative cantrips use radiant damage, which VERY few creatures are resistant or immune to.

The only instances of "this damage cannot be reduced in any way" that I can remember ever seeing, are instances of self damage, such as Life Transference. And notably, the Player would be far more likely to accept Temp Hp being treated as just hp in those instances. But, the fact that it immediately occurred to me makes me worry it would occur to others.

And the fact that making the attack magical or dealing radiant covers 90% of the use cases, while not allowing for any confusion on what edge cases there may be, is a point hugely in favor of using those instead of making an attack which cannot be reduced in any way.

I don't mind the accuracy issue, but I can see where others might. But there is precedent for cantrips that affect certain kinds of enemies differently, such as how Shocking Grasp is more accurate against enemies wearing metal armor or how Chill Touch affects undead. I think my reason for the bump in power is specifically because there isn't a flashy mechanic against non-fiends/undead, and my own bias on how I envision clerics functioning in my games. It may be better to limit the riders to the next attack before the end of the caster's turn, but that doesn't resolve the issue of fighting non-fiend/undead creatures.

Where a cantrip like this really comes online is when you get access to your Divine Strikes. At that point, you are ensuring that you are maximizing your opportunities to get the extra damage in.

Right, but you are missing how those cantrips play out compared to this.

Shocking Grasp does 1d8 lightning damage, and prevents reactions. Then you are more likely to hit a target in armor. The effect itself isn't altered in anyway.

Chill touch does 1d8 necrotic, prevents hp recovery. And then if you target an undead (likely to be resistant to necrotic) they have disadvantage against you specifically until your turn.

These are minor riders, with the main power of the cantrip being in the general use case.

Your design of removing immunity or giving them super disadvantage, while the rest of the cantrip is just accuracy, feels to me more like a Shocking Grasp that does 1d4 lightning damage, then if you hit a target in metal armor they are paralyzed until the end of your next turn. The main use case is minor, and not very effective, then the specific case is MASSIVELY powerful.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I play a lot of clerics, and I would take the original proposal as written for any melee build. I wouldn't have it scale with extra damage per level; the only modification of the OP proposal I'd want (want, but not need) would be "does radiant damage". It's flexible, works with any weapon, and does a discrete and useful task.

If it applied to any weapon, that'd be cool, too, since magical crossbows don't appear often.

I'd be reluctant even to swap it out once I had a magical weapon -- it's too useful to have handy.

Great idea @Chaosmancer

To be clear again, because I don't want to take false credit, I found this cantrip in the Opening Post form, by some person named Vin online. I can link their document if people want, but this was not an original idea from me.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
There are a lot of other damaging cantrips out there, all of which are available through other means, even for clerics.

Sure, but once you are talking about feats, then you can do exactly what a friend of mine did. He ended up with a cleric who had Shillelagh and Booming Blade. This allowed him to make a wisdom attack for 4d8+wis mod every turn.

Just getting Booming Blade would be fairly identical to the attack action version of this which would be a strength attack for 4d8+str mod on a martial cleric. If we are going to account for non-cleric attack cantrips, then this is perfectly in-line with those cantrips. The only difference being Booming Blade has the chance to deal even more damage, and this doesn't.

No, I mentioned it because you and others seemed to want it to go that way. 🤷‍♂️

It is the current design paradigm for "cantrip that makes a weapon attack" so it seems good to look at.

Because it can also be used with others. For example, keeping it as a bonus action without making it an attack as part of the spell, keeps it open to being combined with GBF and BB.

Again, a common issue with homebrewing things and/or normal later publication material is power creep. Allowing "Cantrip + attacks" is an example. Improving this cantrip is another. And, FWIW, Toll the Dead is another example of power creep. ;)

I am not a fan of power creep, because earlier features, etc. end up being pointless or in need of revision to remain competitive.

I've agreed with you about making it an action with the attack as part of the spell. That does make sense. But why would doing that but also allowing the War Priest bonus action attack be broken. The War Priest can't use BB or GFB as a bonus action. It would simply be this cantrip as an action, basic attack as a bonus action. I don't see that as particularly broken.

And yes, power creep does sometimes mean that older features need revision. But, I'd contend that many of those features end up needing revised because they were underpowered to begin with.

Not really as I felt the original cantrip was fine. It does what it was meant to do, make your attack magical without needing to use a spell slot. Until a cleric gains Divine Strike (8th level), it serves the purpose it was intended to, much like Shillelagh.

But as I point out in the OP, this is nearly useless. Cleric's don't need magical weapons, when they have cantrips that deal more damage, at range. And, if they are a melee cleric, they are expected to have a magical weapon of some sort by level 6, as shown by the multiple level 6 abilities to make non-weapon attacks magical.

"Melee" Clerics already have Divine Strike later to keep their melee damage up to speed if that is your focus.

Why? They already have Divine Strikes, which was the purpose of giving them that feature.

Basically, a STR-based Cleric at 14th level can do 3d8+5+any magical weapon bonus, while the same cleric with Toll the Dead will do 3d12 (against an injured foe), which is roughly the same. Of course, the 3d8 version initially done would be less.

The problem then arises when cantrips scale to the 4th die of damage.

Why would you count the Divine strikes damage and not the Blessed Strikes or Potent Spellcasting features? Also, no cleric is going to boost their strength to 20. That's insane.

But, even if we assume some 20 strength cleric with a +2 longsword, that is 3d8+7 by 14th level. That is 20.5. Toll of the Dead gets 3d12+5 with potent spellcasting, which is 24.5, or they get Blessed Strikes which is 24.

So, a cleric who has boost strength beyond what any cleric would do, and got a +2 weapon, is still dealing less damage than a cleric who just picked a cantrip and got a boost to that cantrip from their class abilities. Before even accounting for that 4th damage die.

So, your first point is flatly wrong. Divine Strikes does not allow their melee damage to keep up.

Frankly, you want power creep to prevail so have at it. I would just swap around the 6th and 8th level features for clerics and have Divine Strike scale a third time to mirror the cantrips.

Finally, as I said above, I thought the original cantrip was fine as it was but was trying to help "make it better" since that seemed to be the direction yourself and others wanted, while keeping it balanced at all. Ultimately, 6d8+STR mod will keep it on par with 4d12 since you believe the pinnacle of cantrips should be the baseline.

With that in mind, I would just have it add your WIS mod to damage, then increase that by 1d8 at 5th, 11th, and 17th. That would keep it more in check at lower levels IMO since it would rely on both STR and WIS for initial damage. It might raise the floor a bit, but should encourage melee clerics to wade into the fray.

View attachment 256544

Note, you don't need the clause about making the weapon magical--the cantrip takes care of making the damage magical.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
So, your first point is flatly wrong. Divine Strikes does not allow their melee damage to keep up.
You are only hearing what you want to hear. I'm done with this thread. I've posted what I think is a very viable option for you, but since you aren't addressing it, I have no need to continue watching the thread. All you seem to want to do is argue each point again and again.

You do you.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
@Chaosmancer - I agree the cantrip is powerful. But I also said when I originally posted that I was less concerned about the power (I recognized it wasn't refined enough to be considered balanced), but was more concerned about getting my ideas down. I personally don't think the "can't be reduced" part is as complicated or open for alternative interpretations as you think. Also, I really like the additional rider for fiends and undead, but it needs to be tweaked. I like the cantrip and the direction where the design is taking me, and I'm looking forward to refining it further. But as the OP if it doesn't fit your needs or if nothing in what I presented inspires something in you to help you create what you're looking for, that's cool too. You seem more interested in saying why my proposal doesn't work rather than expanding on aspects that might work or could be interesting, so it's clear that nothing in what I offered grabs you. But hopefully what it is doing is firming up your design choices and helping solidify what you want to create. I hope you find something that works for you, and I hope the other readers of this thread find something in it that's useful to them.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
You are only hearing what you want to hear. I'm done with this thread. I've posted what I think is a very viable option for you, but since you aren't addressing it, I have no need to continue watching the thread. All you seem to want to do is argue each point again and again.

You do you.

Dude what?

You made a claim based on a perceived balance. I did the math and showed your claim was wrong, mostly because you ignored what abilities a cantrip focused cleric would use. Yes, I'm not going to ignore the math and actual abilities and just accept your balance without question.

And you rightly pointed out that this should be an action cast with a 1 round duration, and I agreed with you. So, I'm not completely ignoring you, I'm just not taking your advice uncritically. And I don't know why you would want me to not take your advice and critically examine it. That doesn't seem like that would lead to a good design.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
@Chaosmancer - I agree the cantrip is powerful. But I also said when I originally posted that I was less concerned about the power (I recognized it wasn't refined enough to be considered balanced), but was more concerned about getting my ideas down. I personally don't think the "can't be reduced" part is as complicated or open for alternative interpretations as you think. Also, I really like the additional rider for fiends and undead, but it needs to be tweaked. I like the cantrip and the direction where the design is taking me, and I'm looking forward to refining it further. But as the OP if it doesn't fit your needs or if nothing in what I presented inspires something in you to help you create what you're looking for, that's cool too. You seem more interested in saying why my proposal doesn't work rather than expanding on aspects that might work or could be interesting, so it's clear that nothing in what I offered grabs you. But hopefully what it is doing is firming up your design choices and helping solidify what you want to create. I hope you find something that works for you, and I hope the other readers of this thread find something in it that's useful to them.

Yeah, I'm sorry if I'm coming across as too critical, and I do know you started off with the idea that it could be too powerful. The sheer amount of power just caught me off guard when I read it.

I do think the accuracy angle could be interesting, but I'm not sure what that sort of design space looks like. It is an angle I'm mostly unfamiliar with. I also am certain that I don't want this to mainly be used for undead and fiends, I want this to be a generally useful cantrip that can be used in most any fight,
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Yeah, I'm sorry if I'm coming across as too critical, and I do know you started off with the idea that it could be too powerful. The sheer amount of power just caught me off guard when I read it.

I do think the accuracy angle could be interesting, but I'm not sure what that sort of design space looks like. It is an angle I'm mostly unfamiliar with. I also am certain that I don't want this to mainly be used for undead and fiends, I want this to be a generally useful cantrip that can be used in most any fight,

Regarding the accuracy, I figure we can compare it to Bless, a 1st level spell. That spell allows 3 people to gain +1d4 on attack rolls and saving throws and has concentration. So limiting it to a single attack for a single target seems in line with what a cantrip can do. Perhaps an even more apt comparison is True Strike, though that cantrip is notorious for how underpowered it is considered except in the most extreme edge cases. Advantage is roughly equivalent to a +5 to the roll, which is less than the average of 2.5 granted by a d4. But then, this cantrip has an attack baked into the action, while True Strike requires an additional action to deal the damage. In that regard, just assuming the bonus to attack roll, this spell is likely on par with True Strike. But ideally we'd want to add in something to make it slightly more powerful to raise it to the level of a typical attack cantrip.

The mechanic of the damage being unable to be reduced is interesting to me, but by my estimate this is a small ribbon ability at best. Most creatures aren't resistant to weapon damage, most of those that are can have that be overcome by a magical weapon, and even fewer creatures are completely immune to bludgeoning, slashing, or piercing. By the time a typical player encounters such a creature, they are likely to have other ways to avoid these resistances or immunities. If nothing else, a cleric has radiant damage cantrips that they can fall back on. Since the cantrip is limited to melee attacks, those radiant damage attacks are still relevant to provide ranged options, making any typical damage resistances or immunities moot.

Where shenanigans may occur is if the caster uses a magic weapon that deals additional bonus damage and multiple damage types. However, I'm not as concerned with that because magic items are the purview of the DM, and a DM should understand the potential scenarios they are unleashing upon their own game by granting such magic items. Additionally, since the cantrip specifies that the damage cannot be reduced, I don't see things like Temp HP or spells like Shield causing arguments. Per RAW, the relationship between resistance, immunity, temporary hit points, hit points, and damage is well established. Abilities like the Shield spell still function normally, because they deal with the attack side of things and have nothing to do with the damage of the attack.

So if bypassing resistance/immunity for the cantrip's attack is a ribbon ability that doesn't truly affect the power of the cantrip, how can it be raised while remaining thematically consistent and balanced compared to other cantrips? You could add additional damage, but that seems like it would be too powerful and not be consistent with the spell. Other cantrips such as Vicious Mockery may impose advantage or disadvantage to a particular d20 roll before the end/start of the target's/caster's next turn, and cantrips like Mind Sliver can impose a bonus or penalty of 1d4 to a particular kind of d20 roll before the end/start of the target's/caster's next turn.

I don't think any official cantrip currently grants a bonus to the next attack roll made against the target before the start of the caster's next turn. This is similar to the rider for Guiding Bolt, so it is within the cleric's wheelhouse. Granting advantage seems weird, since it is actually would be a better bonus than what the original caster would receive (average of +5 for advantage versus +2.5 for the d4). So maybe keeping it at a d4 bonus to the next attack is more appropriate and in line with Bless, which this cantrip most resembles.

I know @Chaosmancer wasn't interested in the Fiend/Undead angle, but if we think about a cleric trying to exorcise evil, it could make sense to impose disadvantage on the target's next saving throw before the start of the caster's next turn (a bit more powerful than Mind Sliver but perhaps balanced by Mind Sliver being ranged vs Blessed Blade being melee). Alternatively, it could be protective, in granting advantage to one creature on their next saving throw against the target creature's abilities before the end of the target's next turn. That's a bit unwieldy compared to the natural language preference of 5e, but still works within the scope of what 5e offers.

I think any of those could be reasonable options that are general enough to be effective while also providing a unique spin on existing cantrip mechanics.

I don't know how these thing affect DPR and I'm not mathematically inclined enough to do those calculations as some members of the community that I've seen. So I'd be interested how the cantrip compares not just to other cantrips, but to similar attack options available to other classes.
 
Last edited:

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
One additional factor that might affect things is that my version of Blessed Blade does stack with advantage. So if you are attacking a prone target or find other options that grant advantage, this cantrip becomes really accurate. I'm not sure is a static +1 to the d4 bonus is appropriate or helpful given bounded accuracy and stacking with advantage, but I'm not sure what alternative progression may look like.

Maybe if the cantrip grants a d4 to the next attack made against the target, then the number of attacks benefiting from the bonus increases based on level. At base it grants the bonus to the next attack. At level 5 the next 2 attacks. At level 11 the next 3 attacks, and at level 17 the next 4 attacks. So by level 11 this cantrip is about as effective as the Bless spell, which tracks.

If one prefers the the protection aspect with one ally getting advantage on the next saving throw from the target creature, then that could increase to 2 people at level 5, 3 people at level 11, and 4 people at level 17. So at level 1, if the target threw a fireball then one person would have advantage on that spell. But by level 17 nearly the entire party could get advantage. I'd need to figure out the wording, because the intention would be one action / ability / spell made by the target, but if multiple people are targeted by that one effect then multiple people could benefit. It wouldn't affect saves from multiple effects. If that makes sense. I don't know if I'm communicating that thought particularly well.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top