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Concept - Recharge Cantrips

Michael Morris

First Post
So I'm toying around with the following idea - cantrips that don't scale with level but instead recharge like certain monster abilities. You get to use the cantrip, then on each following round you roll a d6 and on a 6 the cantrip is recovered for reuse. At 5th level the cantrip is recovered on 5 & 6, at 11th on 4-6 and at 17th the cantrip recovers on 3-6.

What effects can be balanced by this mechanic, if any?
 

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Michael Morris

First Post
Well yeah, but that only goes so far. D&D is prone to 'alpha striking' - if the fight ends in 3 rounds the fact you may only be allowed to use the cantrip once might not matter. So I have a feeling the balance line will be treacherous.
 



trentonjoe

Explorer
Well then there is nothing wrong with the recharge mechanic. If the damage doesn't scale the cantrips will be virtually useless in combat though.
 

the Jester

Legend
Well, to be honest, I think this is a terrible idea because it totally screws over spellcasters.

Cantrips are the bread and butter of (most) full casters in 5e. Without an at-will cantrip, you are forced to expend your spell slots very quickly. This means a shorter adventuring day.

At will spells are one of the very best things that 5e kept from 4e. In my opinion, moving cantrips to a recharge mechanic really de-powers casters, puts them back in the "I'm a wizard but sometimes I have to use a crossbow" box and really discourages pcs from taking non-combat cantrips. If you might run out of spell slots too quickly- and they go fast in 5e by default- and you might not be able to use fire bolt round after round, you might need another offensive cantrip instead of prestidigitation or mending.

The problem with 'balancing' a recharge mechanic for cantrips with anything at all is that it means you can't use them at will.
 


CapnZapp

Legend
No, he's putting them on recharge. Making you use different cantrips instead of spamming the same over and over.

Probably okay. Definitely not a severe nerf; all knee-jerk reactions to that nature are way out of line (or reading comprehension fail)
 

Michael Morris

First Post
No, I'm mulling over using recharge as a way to balance five new cantrips. Players can choose to use them or not. It's not an attempt at nerfing since if they are markedly weaker than the standard cantrips they won't be used.
 

the Jester

Legend
No, I'm mulling over using recharge as a way to balance five new cantrips. Players can choose to use them or not. It's not an attempt at nerfing since if they are markedly weaker than the standard cantrips they won't be used.

Ah! Sorry, I misunderstood.

Sounds to me like recharge cantrips that will probably never get taken. Alternatively, if they are not combat cantrips and they are buffed up to have lasting effects better than other cantrips', they may become must-haves because the recharge time doesn't matter. Good luck with your experiment- it's hard to evaluate without seeing a couple examples.
 

Michael Morris

First Post
Here's the five I'm doing. Note that most of them also have some scaling with level, but the recharge mechanic is there because allowing them to be used every single turn would be broken.

Reckless Dweomer
Shunran Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Special
Components: V, S
Duration: Special

You tap into pure chaos to bring about a magic surge. Roll on the Wild Magic Surge table to see what happens. This cantrip must recharge after use.

At 5th level you may choose between the entry you roll or the one immediately before or after. At 11th level you may choose between the nearest two entries, and at 17th level you may choose between the nearest three before or after.

Bloodlace
Sodran Evocation Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Personal
Components: V, S, M
Duration: Instantaneous

You channel a portion of your lifeforce into the next spell you cast causing it to be cast at one level higher than normal. You lose 1d6 hit points. You may exceed your normal casting level by one, but if you do so you lose an extra d6 hit points.

This cantrip must be recharged after use.

Loss of life – The hit point loss is a reduction of your maximum hit points and cannot be recovered until you take a long rest.

At 5th level you may increase spells by two levels at a cost of 2d6 hit points, at 11th level by 3 levels at a cost of 3d6 hit points, and by four levels at a cost of 4d6 hit points.

Freezing Pulse
Balcran Transmutation Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30’
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 or 2 rounds

You propel an icy projectile at a foe. Make a spell attack roll and if you hit the foe suffers an effect that scales with level. At 1st level the foe is incapacitated and can’t move. At 5th level they are stunned. At 11th level they are paralyzed. The effect lasts 1 round until 17th level when the duration increases to 2 rounds. This cantrip must recharge when used.


Reflect
Valran Abjuration Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 reaction
Range: Personal
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You attempt to redirect a spell that requires a ranged attack roll back at it’s caster. You forgo the requirement that the caster hit you with his spell attack (attempting to reflect implies you step directly into the spell’s path) and instead make a saving throw with your casting ability against the spell. You must beat the spell DC by four and have a character level sufficient to cast the spell to redirect it back at the caster, otherwise you just deflect it harmlessly to all if you succeed. Once you reflect a spell the cantrip must recharge.


Vine Tendrils
Aboran Conjuration Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Up to 100’
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 action or Concentration.

You conjure vine tendrils which reach out to grapple foes and objects. The shorter the range selected the more powerful the grasping effect. At the longest range, 100’, the vine acts as a rope sufficient to support up to twice your weight and you can climb up it with advantage on the checks. It persists while you concentrate. The vines can also be used to grapple at ranges of 50’ or less. Against foes you make an attack roll to hit them and if it succeeds they are grappled until your next turn. At ranges of 25’ or less you can choose to reel in foes that you successfully hit if they fail a strength saving throw. You may also grapple immobile objects at ranges up to 50’ and swing with the vines to another point up to 100’ away, depending on the location of the anchor point and the swing arc. If you do this in combat it replaces your movement for the round When you grapple with the vines they must recharge.

Recharging – After using a recharging cantrip during a combat you roll a d6 at the start of each of your turns. If you roll a 6 the spell recharges and can be used again. At 5th level the spell recharges on a roll of 5 or 6. At 11th it recharges on a roll of 4-6. At 17th level it recharges on a roll of 3-6.
 

MoutonRustique

Explorer
These look very fun!

To reduce "nova" (who's greatest power is in the early rounds), you can change the "recharge" idea to a "charge-up". The "charge-up" shouldn't really take an action, it's just there to delay their use by a round or two. You could even tie them to specific cantrips or some other available option.

I'm not going to comment on balance as I have yet to get a pertinent grasp of 5e in this regard.
 

Quartz

Adventurer
The Reflect cantrip looks to be better than Counterspell. To balance it you should make it drain a two spell slots of at least the same level as the reflected spell.

I'm also uncomfortable about the recharge rate getting better. Look at Freezing Pulse: at high levels it lasts 2 rounds and recharges every other round (on average), so it could be permanently in effect.

5e already has a standard ability recharge mechanic for PCs: it's called taking a Short or Long Rest. Which brings me onto...

I think Bloodlace would be better as a class ability for Necromancers and not a cantrip. Similarly the Reflect cantrip might be better as a class ability for Abjurers ('When you attempt to counterspell, you may also attempt to reflect... You must expend a second spell slot of at least the same level as the spell you are counterspelling.")

Vine Tendrils is also ridiculously good for a cantrip. It combines major elements of Entangle, Hold Person, and Dimension Door.
 



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