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

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It also takes a specially trained baker to bake a cake,
No, it doesnt
said training can often be summarized as reading the recipe on the box & basic familiarity with kitchen tools.
No rational person would classify that as special training, or even just training.
That level of familiarity with the arcane equivalent of kitchen tools is common in Eberron, Sigil, possibly pre-cleansing war Athas, parts of Thay, much of silverymoon based entirely on the high % of elves, & many others
No, it isn’t. It isn’t as rare as it is in a more low magic setting, but it isn’t common. The majority of people aren’t spellcasters o
making it perfectly reasonable that a period as long as "a couple weeks" could train someone up to metaphorically push the button.
Even if the previous was correct, this would not follow from it.
At your table you are welcome to declare that the level of "specially trained" needed is more like grandmaster cakewars champion,
Again, you misrepresent. At this point, I must conclude it is intentional.
but the setting & RAW for the artillery weapons themselves do not require that
Yes, they do.
Your arguments depend on conflating two wildly different levels of training with the weapon as being equivalent.
Nope.
You also seem to be confusing the section on players activating them
View attachment 135235

with the section about npcs doing so immediately before that
View attachment 135236
Casting cantrips as an action or ritually including the racial cantrips makes one "a spellcaster". Adding "specially trained" from there only requires some amount of special training not X level artificer. Despite your claims otherwise nothing about the level of training or the required time investment is detailed. When talking about a setting where a lamplighter, seamstress, launderer, chef, & possibly even the farmer
You really seem to underestimate the difficulty and knowledge learning curve of farming. Anyway Keith himself has said that magewrights spend years mastering simple rituals and the like.
you talked up earlier are spellcasters
So, one culture has farmers knowing a few simple Druidic rituals to help crops grow. Very like minor effects that wouldn’t even be useful enough to an adventurer to ever be made into actual spells in a D&D book. That’s on par with the specialized techniques of farming specialized crops. Every older farmer I know has some knowledge that seems simple and obvious to them because they grew up with it (and no real knowledge in their formative years of how other folks grew up), that is actually very specialized and equivalent to specialized trade training.

The fact there are ten year olds on farms who can fully rebuild a tractor engine (a more complex task than rebuilding a Honda Civic engine), doesn’t mean that engine repair and diagnosis is simple, low-skilled work that can be taught in a few weeks.
there is not a very high barrier in place by needing a "spellcaster" to operate a siege staff with the same "couple of weeks" you put forward as good for operating a gunpowder cannon for the "specially trained" part to be met.
You’re stretching the meanings of words to the breaking point, here. Why are you so hell-bent on this? It’s Eberron, you’re meant to play it your way. Why do you desperately need to “prove” that guns couldn’t reasonably develop in Eberron?
Hell, I’ve discussed this with Keith several times, and even he admits that it’s not at all impossible, it just doesn’t fit the themes of the world to have guns when you can instead have magical gun-like things. I disagree, in that you could just have magically manufactured and propelled guns, but hey I can just do that in my Eberron, just like you can magewrights be unskilled laborers with only a few weeks training in your Eberron, in spite of that not being the official take or Keith’s take.
 

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The only cantrip that I think is, maybe, problematic is eldritch blast. It makes many people playing a warlock feel shoe-horned into taking it. I can't recall if I mentioned this on ENworld or Reddit, but I'm thinking of making it scale like other cantrips, and therefore remove the extra attacks, and allow the warlock invocations that formerly affected only eldritch blast to instead affect all warlock cantrips.

Taking away Eldritch Blast from the Warlock is like taking smites away from the Paladin. The point of the Warlock is to fill largely the same functional role as a martial class, i.e. as a heavy damage dealer with both ranged and melee options, but with an overall more magical bent. If people feel shoehorned into EB (although you can be quite effective Pact of the Blade instead), the problem isn't EB is too powerful, the problem is that Warlock is not the class for them.

The only problem with EB is that it's a cantrip, which makes it exploitable via multiclassing, not a class feature.
 

The only cantrip that I think is, maybe, problematic is eldritch blast. It makes many people playing a warlock feel shoe-horned into taking it. I can't recall if I mentioned this on ENworld or Reddit, but I'm thinking of making it scale like other cantrips, and therefore remove the extra attacks, and allow the warlock invocations that formerly affected only eldritch blast to instead affect all warlock cantrips.
agonizing eldritch blast as a cantrip scaling by pc level not class with equal or better scaling than fighter extra attack is absolutely a thousand percent a huge problem but removing it is a huge problem without rebuildiing the entire warlock class, Unsurprisingly IME it does not go over well with "warlock" players when during/before character creation you declare that EB is a warlock class feature that scales with warlock level & as a class feature does not consume one of their two starting cantrip slots like it did when a cantrip. Once you make it a class feature instead of cantrip you are a lot more free as a gm to do things to address problems with other cantrips like giving out illusionist wands & staffs with a less flexible version of ggtr's illusionist bracers without getting double agonizing EB
 

You can fix 99% of 5e munchkinism by doing the following:

1. Black out the EB description in Spells with a Sharpie.
2. Tape a copy of it in the Warlock section and write "class feature."
3. pencil in "Warlock" between "higher" and "levels."

Taaaaddaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Taking away Eldritch Blast from the Warlock is like taking smites away from the Paladin. The point of the Warlock is to fill largely the same functional role as a martial class, i.e. as a heavy damage dealer with both ranged and melee options, but with an overall more magical bent. If people feel shoehorned into EB (although you can be quite effective Pact of the Blade instead), the problem isn't EB is too powerful, the problem is that Warlock is not the class for them.

The only problem with EB is that it's a cantrip, which makes it exploitable via multiclassing, not a class feature.
Well, I wouldn't say the only problem. I think @cbwjm has a point that the warlock's dependence on EB is a bug. It's overly limiting. I'd love it if warlocks had more options for their bread-and-butter attacks.

But the proposed solution of "remove the extra attacks from EB" is a heavy nerf to a class that is already on the lower end of the power scale*, and allowing EB invocations to work on other cantrips does not remotely compensate.

*Yes, yes, I know, warlock levels are a component in all kinds of broken builds. But none of those builds does more than dip warlock--they grab the low-level warlock features that lend themselves to multiclass exploits, and put the rest of their levels in some other class to benefit from those exploits. Single-classed warlocks are at the lower end.
 

Well, I wouldn't say the only problem. I think @cbwjm has a point that the warlock's dependence on EB is a bug. It's overly limiting.
It is quite literally a feature, not a bug. If you look at the original design of the warlock in 3.5 it is pretty much all about eldritch blast. It has abilities that customise the effect of eldritch blast, but it doesn't do much else. A warlock without eldritch blast is like a rogue without sneak attack.
 

It is quite literally a feature, not a bug. If you look at the original design of the warlock in 3.5 it is pretty much all about eldritch blast. It has abilities that customise the effect of eldritch blast, but it doesn't do much else. A warlock without eldritch blast is like a rogue without sneak attack.
And therein lies the problem. - Eldritch Blast is such a central feature of Warlocks that it is limiting to their design possibilities.

For example Celestial pact warlocks get an ability to add Charisma to radiant and Fire cantrips/spells - It is almost completely useless.
It sounds good thematically, but the warlock is still better just using eldritch blast and ignoring their subclass feature.
Likewise blade pact warlocks are almost forced into the hexblade subclass simply because that is the only way to optimise beyond the point where they would be better off eldritch blasting rather than hitting stuff with their pact blade.

It is so powerful and dominant that it is automatically the best option for any warlock. But you can't design any ability that might be a better option for a warlock to do, because anything more powerful then EB + its assorted invocations would just be too powerful.
 


A bug doesn't become not a bug just because it's been around a long time.
I think the argument is: if a class is based around feature X, being based around feature X isn't a bug. It's just what the class is. If anything, the bugs are when the class tries to be something other than based around EB (ie bladelocks)

Analogy: Excel isn't a good word processor - but I wouldn't call it's lack of word processing features a weakness or failure of the program.

I'm going to guess that your counter will be "you shouldn't design classes around features" - which is a valid point of view. But it is a statement about what classes are supposed to be, which is a whole other thread at least.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I'm going to guess that your counter will be "you shouldn't design classes around features"...
No, I would not counter with that at all. There is absolutely nothing wrong with designing a class around 1-2 features. What I would counter with is, "You shouldn't design a class around this feature."

Some examples of "feature classes" done well:
  • Barbarians. Barbarian rage provides benefits (damage resistance, bonus damage) which can be applied to any Strength-based weapons and combat tactics you like. Barbarian subclasses then provide additional "rage boosts" on top of this core.
  • Rogues. Again, Sneak Attack is a simple boost that can be used with the finesse or ranged weapons and tactics of your choice. Rogues then get a variety of bonus-action tricks, and Sneak Attack is designed to be compatible with all of them.
  • Sorcerers. The sorcerer's defining features are Font of Magic and Metamagic--technically two features, but joined at the hip. These allow you to dramatically boost the power of individual spells, but you still have an array of spell options to use them on.
What makes these classes work is that the "single feature" builds on the general mechanics available to all martial PCs (barbarians, rogues) or all spellcasters (sorcerers). It can piggyback off the options built into those general mechanics--it isn't trying to replace the entire Combat chapter.

A less successful "single-feature" class in 5E is the monk with Stunning Strike. Monks are more restricted in their choice of equipment than either barbarians or rogues--a handful of weapons, no armor at all--and Stunning Strike dictates very repetitive tactics: Pick a big threatening creature, blitz it with stuns until it stops moving, then watch your allies whale on it. And because few other uses of ki can compare to SS, a lot of secondary monk features are a waste of space.

And then we have the warlock and EB. EB is even more restrictive than Stunning Strike: No choice of weapons, no choice of spells, not even an option to switch between ranged and melee. You make X ranged attacks for 1d10+Cha force damage each, end of story. It combines with nothing (except hex and multiclass cheese), layers over nothing, it stands completely alone in the system. You can't customize it except with invocations, and your options there are very narrow.

That is why I consider the reliance on EB to be a bug. It doesn't make the class unplayable, but it limits the options available more than it should.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It's just what the class is. If anything, the bugs are when the class tries to be something other than based around EB (ie bladelocks)
This is why I say that Pact of The Blade should have leveraged EB rather than try to replace it with martial attacks. "You can cast EB and make melee spell attacks with the same reach as your pact blade, instead of ranged spell attacks. If you have bound a magical weapon, these attacks benefit from any feature that would beenefit a melee weapon attack with the weapon." would have solved a lot of problems, saved players some Invocations, etc.
Likewise, Celestial Pact should have let you turn EB into Radiant damage, and given the bonus to radiant damage.
Stunning Strike dictates very repetitive tactics: Pick a big threatening creature, blitz it with stuns until it stops moving, then watch your allies whale on it. And because few other uses of ki can compare to SS, a lot of secondary monk features are a waste of space.
So, quite correctly, wotc did not build 5e around the concerns and habits of optimization. The Monk is an excellently built class from any perspective other than optimization. I have a monk who is level 10 and has used Stunning Strike maybe a dozen times, ever. In another more optimised game I have used MC and feats to create a mostly-monk crit fisher that puts out very high damage, and in another we have a the only Monk I've seen IRL who "spams" Stunning Strike.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
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...

Here is my solution to the cantrip problem.

1. Is it a cantrip?

2. NUKE IT! NUKE IT FROM ORBIT!!! NUKE IT TWICE TO MAKE SURE IT DOESN'T COME BACK!!!!!!!!!

3. Continue playing without those pesky 0th level spells.

4. You're welcome!
 

Nefermandias

Villager
I am frequently tempted to simply get rid of all damage dealing cantrips. Or just replace the whole idea of cantrips with the 2E notion of the spell Cantrip.
The damage dealing cantrips are really just weapons that cannot be easily removed from you. I wouldn't fret about those.
What really drives me mad are the utility cantrips that trivialize a lot of aspects of gameplay and downplays the importance of resource management.
 



el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
The damage dealing cantrips are really just weapons that cannot be easily removed from you. I wouldn't fret about those.
What really drives me mad are the utility cantrips that trivialize a lot of aspects of gameplay and downplays the importance of resource management.

I get the argument but I just don't buy it. 🤷‍♂️
 


Simplicity isn't a bug. It's a preference. An automatic transmission is not broken because you would rather drive a manual, or vice versa. One of the features of 5e is that players with different complexity preferences can play side-by-side without those who prefer having a big spell list completely overshadowing those who just want to play "point at orc, shoot a blast."
 

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