log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Cantrip nerf (house rule brainstorm)

Esbee

Dungeon Master at large.
Hello all,

A bugbear about 5e (for me at least) was the idea of unlimited spammable cantrips for casters. To us 'get off my lawn' grognards, this seems a touch excessive.

I had an idea for a nerf I wanted to brainstorm - Each cantrip can only be cast a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. Recover all uses upon short rest.

And discuss...
 

log in or register to remove this ad

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
Hello all,

A bugbear about 5e (for me at least) was the idea of unlimited spammable cantrips for casters. To us 'get off my lawn' grognards, this seems a touch excessive.

I had an idea for a nerf I wanted to brainstorm - Each cantrip can only be cast a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. Recover all uses upon short rest.

And discuss...
If you allow/require a short rest to refresh your cantrips, every encounter will be followed by a short rest.
 


not-so-newguy

Explorer
How about # of cantrips known + Proficiency bonus; recoup on a long rest?
A 1st level wizard could cast 5 cantrips

Arcane recovery: recoup # of cantrips divided by 2 rounded down
A 1st level wizard can recoup 2 cantrips
 

Esbee

Dungeon Master at large.
If you allow/require a short rest to refresh your cantrips, every encounter will be followed by a short rest.

That's already a thing, so nothing really changes. But prolonged encounters, and prolonged periods between resting opportunities will make those casters think about resource management.

If you want to nerf cantrips, I would just remove the improved damage with improved caster level. A spamable at-will cantrip with basic damage is roughly equivalent to stop to cast spells and attack with a weapon, but more thematic to a caster.

I'm okay with the scaling, it's the spamming that I have issue with. Running out of uses necessitates variety, as well as non-magic backup options.
 


Esbee

Dungeon Master at large.
How about # of cantrips known + Proficiency bonus; recoup on a long rest?
A 1st level wizard could cast 5 cantrips

Arcane recovery: recoup # of cantrips divided by 2 rounded down
A 1st level wizard can recoup 2 cantrips

Also an interesting idea... more aligned with the normal spell slot system. :unsure:
 


Casters can cast a number of cantrips equal to their Int score per short rest, or suffer a level of exhaustion

Weapon users can make a number of weapon attacks equal to their Con score per short rest, or suffer a level of exhaustion.

What? If you want to limit at will abilities, limit at will abilities.
 

D1Tremere

Explorer
So casters can attack each round just like any other class, and that's bad?
The whole point is not to have A: Let the Wizard rest, or B: I'll just be setting here the next hour or so while you guys play, scenarios. A caster casting is no different than an arrow or sword swing in this regard.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
In my low-powered sidekick game, I do this:

Cantrips cannot be cast by the spellcaster. Rather, knowledge of a cantrip allows the ability to craft a special wand that can cast that cantrip. Cantrip wands have 7 charges, and regain 2d4 charges on each short rest (6 hours).
If a wand is lost, a new one can be crafted for 5 gp of materials over a long rest. The spellcaster is the only person than can use their crafted wand.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I really like the approach to cantrips taken in Beyond the Wall, a d20/OSR indie role-playing game.

Basically, you make a check whenever you cast a cantrip. Success means you cast it as desired. However, if you fail the check, then you have a choice: either you exhaust your spellcasting (no more magic until getting a full night's sleep) or your cantrip backfires as determined by the GM.

You could definitely tweak that idea to suit your views on D&D magic. For example, you might decide that instead of exhausting all spellcasting, you simply exhaust your uses of that one cantrip.
 

Less flippant observations.

1) I have never actually considered cantrips "unlimited". I have always considered them to take the same amount of energy out of the caster as swinging a sword (or using a shovel) would out of someone acting physically. So "unlimited" really means "as long as you can sustain activity, which is more than enough for adventuring but not enough to level a mountain".

2) Because I like the idea of physical spell focuses (perhaps the Harry Potter fan in me?) I think cantrips should be at-will as long as you have your focus. If you don't, they cost a 1st level spell slot. "Oh look, NOW the wizard cares that we were all strip searched before being tossed in the cell."
 
Last edited:

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Hello all,

A bugbear about 5e (for me at least) was the idea of unlimited spammable cantrips for casters. To us 'get off my lawn' grognards, this seems a touch excessive.

I had an idea for a nerf I wanted to brainstorm - Each cantrip can only be cast a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus. Recover all uses upon short rest.

And discuss...
I can't see anything wrong with that. It doesn't go far enough for me, but I don't think it would break the game. When you test it out, be sure to let us know how it goes...lots of other folks around here don't like spammable magic.

I'm toying around with the idea of assigning spell slots to cantrips. Something like,

Cantrip Slots = (Number of 1st level spell slots) + (Spellcasting modifier). Cantrips are considered 1/2 level for the purpose of certain class features and abilities, like Arcane Recovery.

But we'll see.
 

Less flippant observations.

1) I have never actually considered cantrips "unlimited". I have always considered them to take the same amount of energy out of the caster as swinging a sword (or using a shovel) would out of someone acting physically. So "unlimited" really means "as long as you can sustain activity, which is more than enough for adventuring but not enough to level a mountain".

2) Because I like the idea of physical spell focuses (perhaps the Harry Potter fan in me?) I think cantrips should be at-will as long as you have your focus. If you don't, they cost a 1st level spell slot. "Oh look, NOW the wizard cares that you were all strip searched before being tossed in the cell."
I love the second idea, it solves the issue of "throwing the pc's in jail" being a tremendously stupid thing for npcs to do, but sometimes it's the best consequence for the pc's actions.
 






An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top