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

I think that you are absolutely correct on the point that you make here.

D&D has always done a poor job of accounting for the effects that it's magic system would actually have on the game world.

5e Forgotten Realms certainly does not pass this smell test. Nor does any other setting published for 5e by WOTC.

Caught some similar themed stuff here: http://keith-baker.com/firearms-in-eberron/

Paragraphs of text justifying why 'for reasons' the firearm equivalents in the setting are still not quite good enough to make fighting with bows and swords by PC's obsolete...

If he had just said: "Because D&D" it would have saved him a lot of typing.dd
So, you don't like it when settings seem locked in "medieval stasis" and don't take magic or other advancement into account?

. . . and then you don't like it when you find a setting that doesn't do this and the creator has explained why either? 🤨

What do you actually want?
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I still don't get the point of nerfing/getting rid of Cantrips. They are one of the few great ideas, for Spellcasters, brought forth from 4E into 5E. Then again, I always hated the whole Crossbow Magic User thing once they ran out of spells

But to each their own.
Part of it might be the story/game disconnect.

From a gamist perspective, every character needs an ability that can be used on every turn to deal [(base)(level)+(modifiers)](hit probability) damage every round. Fighters have swords, so mages need spells that act like swords.

From the storyteller perspective, the character is weaving the mysterious and arcane powers beyond mortal understanding--but are doing it so reliably and frequently that nobody even notices anymore.

D&D is a storytelling game, so it needs both perspectives. But while gamists probably love cantrips, storytellers probably don't.
 

Going to take a couple good & valid disparate points I agree with and fork them into a different more interesting tangent than the roughly "x doesn't make sense" point they were arguing against
Firearms took quite a while to obsolete melee weapons and bows.
He also goes into detail on how DMs can use the setting conceit that industry is magical, rather than technological, and specifically how that might mean that the Eberron crossbow is much more advanced with magically crafted reloading mechanism and more powerful arms, or any number of other things, but none of it is necessary to make the setting believable.
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So, you don't like it when settings seem locked in "medieval stasis" and don't take magic or other advancement into account?

. . . and then you don't like it when you find a setting that doesn't do this and the creator has explained why either? 🤨
..
These two combined are a good example of why the equipment for 5e being so simplified down to basically just a die size and a true false tag like isheavy isafocus isfinesse etc is so bad for every setting other than FR. It's great that the entire contents of the three equipment tables (phb145/149/150) fits into the stuff you can buy off the rack almost anywhere in FR... if you run FR as written. That "great" starts falling apart if you are running a campaign in a game world where technology has advanced beyond the level of FRs cultural stasis crossbow because those old things are going to be readily available & just as far from state of the art military technology as whatever a t-16 was wen luke was shooting it at whomprats back home. Not only do those settings have dramatically more advanced tech levels at the high end state controlled military tech level, but we can stay with just the differences in crossbows for this so I'm going to.


You could probably take every individual improvement in that post Keith Baker made & make an equipment list rivaling those of games like shadowrun & rifts no doubt, but that's the extreme left out by the extreme at the other end reprsented by the core book providing for the needs of FR onlyin design that boils down to a die size. Setting like darksun(athas), eberron, spelljammer/planescape(sigil), or some hybridized ecclectic mix & match have some availability level of crossbowsmore technologically advanced than the PHB hand/light/heavy split allows & d6/d8/d10 with ranges of "plenty/more than plenty/way more than plenty" leaves little to no room for mechanically slotting those in between "starting gear" & "very magical +whatever" without a bunch of houserules rebuilding all sorts of simplified things just to make a place for variance. If you don't do that then when someone gets one of those advanced crossbows that is also +1 a "few" levels later in the campaign the only option is to make it +2 or more so those "few levels" need to be more like "many levels".
 

Jaeger

That someone better.
I’m flabbergasted.

I am too that you think such setting implications are anything less than gonzo fantasy. Vesuvius is an apples to oranges comparison.

I mean just one read through: Undermountain

The setting conceit of the undermountain itself is pure gonzo fantasy.


So, you don't like it when settings seem locked in "medieval stasis" and don't take magic or other advancement into account?

. . . and then you don't like it when you find a setting that doesn't do this and the creator has explained why either? 🤨

What do you actually want?

I never said anything about liking or not liking.

( I find most creators "explanations" to be dubious at best. Dudes should just say its gonzo fantasy, that would be just as good.)

Yes I have a preference, but I can play gonzo fantasy and have a good time. Just like I can play a pulp game that has the PC's travel to a hollow earth.

Totally unrealistic, but you can still have a good time playing the game!
 
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Part of it might be the story/game disconnect.

From a gamist perspective, every character needs an ability that can be used on every turn to deal [(base)(level)+(modifiers)](hit probability) damage every round. Fighters have swords, so mages need spells that act like swords.

From the storyteller perspective, the character is weaving the mysterious and arcane powers beyond mortal understanding--but are doing it so reliably and frequently that nobody even notices anymore.

D&D is a storytelling game, so it needs both perspectives. But while gamists probably love cantrips, storytellers probably don't.
That sort-of assumes cantrips are bad for story, or at least neutral.

For a significant number of people, cantrips are just more on-theme than crossbows. Crossbows are a departure form the basic wizard tropes; you're diluting the character and making them less of a wizard.
 



dave2008

Legend
I am too that you think such setting implications are anything less than gonzo fantasy. Vesuvius is an apples to oranges comparison.

I mean just one read through: Undermountain

The setting conceit of the undermountain itself is pure gonzo fantasy.




I never said anything about liking or not liking.

( I find most creators "explanations" to be dubious at best. Dudes should just say its gonzo fantasy, that would be just as good.)

Yes I have a preference, but I can play gonzo fantasy and have a good time. Just like I can play a pulp game that has the PC's travel to a hollow earth.

Totally unrealistic, but you can still have a good time playing the game!
You keep using the term "Gonzo Fantasy" like anyone should know what you mean when we clearly don't. What is your definition of Gonzo Fantasy, and what are the other options? Is it just Historical Fantasy and everything else is Gonzo Fantasy? What is the range here, what are the possibilities?
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
That sort-of assumes cantrips are bad for story, or at least neutral.

For a significant number of people, cantrips are just more on-theme than crossbows. Crossbows are a departure form the basic wizard tropes; you're diluting the character and making them less of a wizard.
Neutral was my intent. They are a device in the game, just like crossbows and climbing kits. How they relate to the story will vary.

If magic in your story is something common and everyday (think Harry Potter, World of Warcraft, or Eberron), cantrips as-written are going to fit right in. It's already a "crossbow," so to speak, so there's no change to the themes of magic in the story.

But for worlds where magic isn't common or ubiquitous, cantrips feel out of place. Sure, you can just roll your eyes and ignore it, like I do with the nature of hit points and overnight healing. But if you're inclined to fix this disconnect, you'll have to either change the themes of magic in your story/setting, or change the mechanics of the game with a house-rule. And that second option is what this thread is about.

So the OP wants to limit the number of cantrips that can be cast per day, effectively making them a limited resource that the player will have to keep track of. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I don't think it's going to ruin the game. But it's hard to say if the limitation of (2 x Proficiency Bonus) goes too far, or not far enough.

I'm going to do an exercise on Friday's game. Our party of adventurers consists of a Bard, a Cleric, and a Wizard, and we're all 9th level adventurers in the World of Eberron. I'm going to keep track of the number of cantrips that each of them casts through the course of our 5-hour gaming session, and report back.
 

Vaalingrade

Adventurer
Part of it might be the story/game disconnect.

From a gamist perspective, every character needs an ability that can be used on every turn to deal [(base)(level)+(modifiers)](hit probability) damage every round. Fighters have swords, so mages need spells that act like swords.

From the storyteller perspective, the character is weaving the mysterious and arcane powers beyond mortal understanding--but are doing it so reliably and frequently that nobody even notices anymore.

D&D is a storytelling game, so it needs both perspectives. But while gamists probably love cantrips, storytellers probably don't.
I mean, this is why I prefer magical worlds where magic is an actual part of the world rather than this weird gunk that got spilt on an otherwise 'real' world.

'Special' and 'mysterious' magic in D&D to me is like letting the players play Cthulu in a Mythos game, then getting mad because the other players aren't playing their characters as going insane speaking to them.
 

Going to take a couple good & valid disparate points I agree with and fork them into a different more interesting tangent than the roughly "x doesn't make sense" point they were arguing against

These two combined are a good example of why the equipment for 5e being so simplified down to basically just a die size and a true false tag like isheavy isafocus isfinesse etc is so bad for every setting other than FR. It's great that the entire contents of the three equipment tables (phb145/149/150) fits into the stuff you can buy off the rack almost anywhere in FR... if you run FR as written. That "great" starts falling apart if you are running a campaign in a game world where technology has advanced beyond the level of FRs cultural stasis crossbow because those old things are going to be readily available & just as far from state of the art military technology as whatever a t-16 was wen luke was shooting it at whomprats back home. Not only do those settings have dramatically more advanced tech levels at the high end state controlled military tech level, but we can stay with just the differences in crossbows for this so I'm going to.


You could probably take every individual improvement in that post Keith Baker made & make an equipment list rivaling those of games like shadowrun & rifts no doubt, but that's the extreme left out by the extreme at the other end reprsented by the core book providing for the needs of FR onlyin design that boils down to a die size. Setting like darksun(athas), eberron, spelljammer/planescape(sigil), or some hybridized ecclectic mix & match have some availability level of crossbowsmore technologically advanced than the PHB hand/light/heavy split allows & d6/d8/d10 with ranges of "plenty/more than plenty/way more than plenty" leaves little to no room for mechanically slotting those in between "starting gear" & "very magical +whatever" without a bunch of houserules rebuilding all sorts of simplified things just to make a place for variance. If you don't do that then when someone gets one of those advanced crossbows that is also +1 a "few" levels later in the campaign the only option is to make it +2 or more so those "few levels" need to be more like "many levels".
The crossbow stats in the PHB work fine I think. Their performance is already far better than an actual medieval weapon: they can be considered the pinnacle of current development. Lower-tech crossbows can simply be represented by reducing damage, range, and rate of fire, but actually having entries for each possible level represented on the weapons table is unnecessary. Players and most of their opponents are assumed to be using the generally best standard weapons.
With the exception of some highly-iconic weapons like the trident and greatclub, the weapons table is designed to be as short as possible, while still representing pretty much all weapons PCs are likely to want to use to some degree. It is designed to not represent distinctions such as whether a longsword was crudely hammered out of bog iron in Droaam, or whether it is the finest Dhakaan steel, forged at the height of the empire.

The DM can always add special properties if they feel the need, but 5e in general seems to stick with unusual capabilities being an aspect of the wielder, not the weapon.
 

The crossbow stats in the PHB work fine I think. Their performance is already far better than an actual medieval weapon: they can be considered the pinnacle of current development. Lower-tech crossbows can simply be represented by reducing damage, range, and rate of fire, but actually having entries for each possible level represented on the weapons table is unnecessary. Players and most of their opponents are assumed to be using the generally best standard weapons.
With the exception of some highly-iconic weapons like the trident and greatclub, the weapons table is designed to be as short as possible, while still representing pretty much all weapons PCs are likely to want to use to some degree. It is designed to not represent distinctions such as whether a longsword was crudely hammered out of bog iron in Droaam, or whether it is the finest Dhakaan steel, forged at the height of the empire.

The DM can always add special properties if they feel the need, but 5e in general seems to stick with unusual capabilities being an aspect of the wielder, not the weapon.
Your kinda going from one extreme of no different levels & only one meaningful mechanic (the die size) to assuming that the next step is hyperdifferentiation shadowrun/rifts style equipment lists. This is trivial to achieve without doing that just by not making the more advanced ones available to start with. For example wotc published these in a setting neutral core rulebook:
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1617657426194.png

1617657395714.png
But it really only represents the needs of a couple settings and because the system itself is so stripped down to a die size it's already cracking under the weight of trying to add those as almost any of them will completely wreck things balance wise
 


Your kinda going from one extreme of no different levels & only one meaningful mechanic (the die size) to assuming that the next step is hyperdifferentiation shadowrun/rifts style equipment lists.
No, I don't think I was. I was pointing out that the current table was fine, and specific variations could be made by the DM on an ad hoc basis.
The post I was quoting was talking about shadowrun/rifts I think. Are you sure you didn't get mine confused with that one?

This is trivial to achieve without doing that just by not making the more advanced ones available to start with. For example wotc published these in a setting neutral core rulebook:
If you really feel the need for introducing weapons more advanced than in the PHB weapon table, you could absolutely do that.

But it really only represents the needs of a couple settings and because the system itself is so stripped down to a die size it's already cracking under the weight of trying to add those as almost any of them will completely wreck things balance wise
If you're throwing in Boot Hill or Barrier Peaks weapons into your settings, the balance is absolutely something that could become an issue, and should be considered. That is why they are optional content.
 

No, I don't think I was. I was pointing out that the current table was fine, and specific variations could be made by the DM on an ad hoc basis.
The post I was quoting was talking about shadowrun/rifts I think. Are you sure you didn't get mine confused with that one?

If you really feel the need for introducing weapons more advanced than in the PHB weapon table, you could absolutely do that.

If you're throwing in Boot Hill or Barrier Peaks weapons into your settings, the balance is absolutely something that could become an issue, and should be considered. That is why they are optional content.
The post you quoted that mentioned shadowrun & rifts was mine... are you really going to ask if I confused your post with my post when you responded to me? By saying that it was "talking about shadowrun/rifts I think" you very much misrepresent this statement to an extreme degree
Going to take a couple good & valid disparate points I agree with and fork them into a different more interesting tangent than the roughly "x doesn't make sense" point they were arguing against

.
.

..
These two combined are a good example of why the equipment for 5e being so simplified down to basically just a die size and a true false tag like isheavy isafocus isfinesse etc is so bad for every setting other than FR. It's great that the entire contents of the three equipment tables (phb145/149/150) fits into the stuff you can buy off the rack almost anywhere in FR... if you run FR as written. That "great" starts falling apart if you are running a campaign in a game world where technology has advanced beyond the level of FRs cultural stasis crossbow because those old things are going to be readily available & just as far from state of the art military technology as whatever a t-16 was wen luke was shooting it at whomprats back home. Not only do those settings have dramatically more advanced tech levels at the high end state controlled military tech level, but we can stay with just the differences in crossbows for this so I'm going to.


You could probably take every individual improvement in that post Keith Baker made & make an equipment list rivaling those of games like shadowrun & rifts no doubt, but that's the extreme left out by the extreme at the other end represented by the core book providing for the needs of FR only in design that boils down to a die size. Setting like darksun(athas), eberron, spelljammer/planescape(sigil), or some hybridized ecclectic mix & match have some availability level of crossbowsmore technologically advanced than the PHB hand/light/heavy split allows & d6/d8/d10 with ranges of "plenty/more than plenty/way more than plenty" leaves little to no room for mechanically slotting those in between "starting gear" & "very magical +whatever" without a bunch of houserules rebuilding all sorts of simplified things just to make a place for variance. If you don't do that then when someone gets one of those advanced crossbows that is also +1 a "few" levels later in the campaign the only option is to make it +2 or more so those "few levels" need to be more like "many levels".
Wotc designed for a setting specific extreme and left out room to mechanically support even the slightest needs of settings with a different tech level. shadowrun & rifts have equipment tables at the other end of 5e's ultra simplified purely objective ones that basically leave no room for even a small amount of differentiation beyond die size
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Cartwright: This wheel I have is perfectly round, does it's job well, and fits my wagon like a glove. We can ride this wheel all day in great comfort! I can be of use!!

Fighter: It needs to be nerfed, you can only be useful a certain number of times per day. I find your usefulness unsatisfying anyway. Plus you have a funny hat.
 

Caught some similar themed stuff here: Dragonmarks: Firearms in Eberron

Paragraphs of text justifying why 'for reasons' the firearm equivalents in the setting are still not quite good enough to make fighting with bows and swords by PC's obsolete...

If he had just said: "Because D&D" it would have saved him a lot of typing.

I don't even understand his reasoning. "Because magic." Well, there's alchemy. And why not make an explosive magic powder that can be used to fling a lead ball out of a tube? I can come up with a better reason: In a world with combat magic, the first firearms would be so ineffective that the tech wouldn't be developed any further. In fact, if you have artillery based on spells like Shatter and Fireball, mass formations of conscripts, which are necessary for early firearms to even be particularly useful, would have been abandoned for similar reasons as Europe abandoned them after WW1.
 

I don't even understand his reasoning. "Because magic." Well, there's alchemy. And why not make an explosive magic powder that can be used to fling a lead ball out of a tube? I can come up with a better reason: In a world with combat magic, the first firearms would be so ineffective that the tech wouldn't be developed any further. In fact, if you have artillery based on spells like Shatter and Fireball, mass formations of conscripts, which are necessary for early firearms to even be particularly useful, would have been abandoned for similar reasons as Europe abandoned them after WW1.
edit: Looks like my memory on the cloudkill siege staff was off a bit with it being mentioned on something else. Siege staff & long staff still nicely show just how silly the idea of those firearms using an explosion to propel a lead ball are though :D
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[/spoiler="Blast disk"]
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Of course not to be forgotten is the godlike npc that can operate these :D
1617697789145.png

kinda wrecks the whole "guns were easy to teach someone to use" line that so often comes up trying to justify them :D
 
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