• NOW LIVE! -- One-Page Adventures for D&D 5th Edition on Kickstarter! A booklet of colourful one-page adventures for D&D 5th Edition ranging from levels 1-9 and designed for a single session of play.
log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Homebrew cantrip help

I've got a player who's running a Lvl 1 5E wizard with a pretty non-traditional build & backstory. He's looking for a cantrip that will buff his strength stat and/or bonuses. We've gone back and forth iterating on what it might look like to knock a 3.5E-style Bull's Strength spell down to a cantrip power level, but I'm not sure that anything really useful can be shoehorned into an appropriately balanced cantrip. Here's the spell/effects under discussion:

Casting time: 1 action
Range: self only
Duration: 1 min, Concentration
Effect: For the duration of the spell, the caster gains +2 to her Strength ability modifier as long as she is unarmored. (Donning any armor immediately ends the spell.)

Even with the range reduction to SELF and the unarmored restriction, I think this still packs too much punch for a cantrip. I'm also not sure how to squeeze it down further without making it uninteresting. For example, knocking the bonus down to +1 and changing the duration to 1 round might qualify, but who would give up an action this round for a +1 to-hit/damage next round only? Ditto for limiting the bonus to unarmed attacks only - maybe a cool cantrip, but not what he's looking to do.

I'd love to encourage the RP concept of the buff guy who's kind of a wizard under protest, but I'm not sure how to find a good compromise on this one. Any thoughts?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I would just reword Guidance to allow it to add to STR checks (including grapples). If the character wants to be just a strong wizards, let them switch around some stat points to be a strong wizard all the time.

As far as the cantrip posted goes, its a little too strong, as most of the "buff a roll" cantrips last for 1 minute UNTIL USED, not the whole time.
 

ART!

Adventurer
Off the top of my head I can't think of any spells that add a bonus to an ability modifier. Take a look at Enhance Ability, which basically gives you advantage on ability score checks, which of course includes related skills. The only spells I can think of that do this are shapechanging type spells like Polymorph, but they raise ability scores, not just the modfiers. If you want a temporarily stronger wizard so that they can do more damage with a weapon (that either doesn't have the finesse feature or the character has a not-great DEX)...there's really no precedent for that in 5E other than spells that add a damage type to the damage done by a weapon.

That said, I think the concentration requirement you have is a good call. I'd say the cantrip can raise STR by 2, thus granting a +1, and then at a higher level it raises STR by 4. giving you a +2, with the usual cap at 20. Look at other cantrips with damage that goes up with levels, to see at what levels the damage usually goes up.

Or something.
 


Its effectively a +1 to hit and damage that requires you to maintain concentration and takes full action to cast. Given that Strength bonuses are generally best in melee, which is not the place that a wizard really wants to be, I have no problem with it. I'd probably say no to the equivalent Dexterity boost however.

It is considerably less powerful than a melee cantrip. Burning an action to cast is also a big downside provided the DM does not allow the player to get away with "I'm always casting X every thirty seconds while I'm awake" shenanigans.

Noting the armour restriction, but is it the intent to allow the wizard to make full use of Mage Armour and Shield spells without interfering with the spell?
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
I've got a player who's running a Lvl 1 5E wizard with a pretty non-traditional build & backstory. He's looking for a cantrip that will buff his strength stat and/or bonuses. We've gone back and forth iterating on what it might look like to knock a 3.5E-style Bull's Strength spell down to a cantrip power level, but I'm not sure that anything really useful can be shoehorned into an appropriately balanced cantrip. Here's the spell/effects under discussion:

Casting time: 1 action
Range: self only
Duration: 1 min, Concentration
Effect: For the duration of the spell, the caster gains +2 to her Strength ability modifier as long as she is unarmored. (Donning any armor immediately ends the spell.)

Even with the range reduction to SELF and the unarmored restriction, I think this still packs too much punch for a cantrip. I'm also not sure how to squeeze it down further without making it uninteresting. For example, knocking the bonus down to +1 and changing the duration to 1 round might qualify, but who would give up an action this round for a +1 to-hit/damage next round only? Ditto for limiting the bonus to unarmed attacks only - maybe a cool cantrip, but not what he's looking to do.

I'd love to encourage the RP concept of the buff guy who's kind of a wizard under protest, but I'm not sure how to find a good compromise on this one. Any thoughts?
How about something like this -

Casting time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (chalk dust)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
Effect: Until the spell ends, you gain +2 to your Strength ability score

Adding components reduces the power of the cantrip. Adding to Strength ability score instead of modifier does a couple of things. It increases most of what you might expect with strength: carrying capacity, jump distance, raising portcullises (in published adventures, usually just a strength total needed, rather than a check). The benefit to Athletics, attack and damage is still there, but halved.

Another possibility might be to use the casting time to control it, like this

Casting time: 1 hour
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (chalk dust)
Duration: 10 minutes
Effect: Until the spell ends, you gain +2 to your Strength ability score

Or this

Casting time: 10 minutes
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (chalk dust)
Duration: 1 minute
Effect: Until the spell ends, you gain +2 to your Strength ability score
 


Rune

Once A Fool
I’d do a version of Enlarge without the physical growth (or with – it would be fine) that only lasts for a turn. Specifically, 1 action to cast, lasts until end of next turn, requiring concentration.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I've got a player who's running a Lvl 1 5E wizard with a pretty non-traditional build & backstory. He's looking for a cantrip that will buff his strength stat and/or bonuses. We've gone back and forth iterating on what it might look like to knock a 3.5E-style Bull's Strength spell down to a cantrip power level, but I'm not sure that anything really useful can be shoehorned into an appropriately balanced cantrip. Here's the spell/effects under discussion:

Casting time: 1 action
Range: self only
Duration: 1 min, Concentration
Effect: For the duration of the spell, the caster gains +2 to her Strength ability modifier as long as she is unarmored. (Donning any armor immediately ends the spell.)

Even with the range reduction to SELF and the unarmored restriction, I think this still packs too much punch for a cantrip. I'm also not sure how to squeeze it down further without making it uninteresting. For example, knocking the bonus down to +1 and changing the duration to 1 round might qualify, but who would give up an action this round for a +1 to-hit/damage next round only? Ditto for limiting the bonus to unarmed attacks only - maybe a cool cantrip, but not what he's looking to do.

I'd love to encourage the RP concept of the buff guy who's kind of a wizard under protest, but I'm not sure how to find a good compromise on this one. Any thoughts?
What about a Shillelaghs type effect?
 

delph

Explorer
I'v rather see:

Casting time: Bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (chalk dust)
Duration: 1 turn
Effect: Until the spell ends, you gain +2 to your Strength ability score?

Because bonus action left you action to atack, but it's not so long duration, as every cantrip. Buff cantrip with duration 1 minute ann repeated effect is too strong.
And it work with action economi. Imediatly I saw how human melee fighters (and most monks) take magic initiate to get this cantrip. Because bonus to STR for attack and bonus action attack give much more. With BA it give you dilemma if attack with higher attack and dmg once or twice without.

Magic weapon spell +1 doing mechanicaly same and itď 2nd spell level.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
What if you just let everyone start with one uncommon magic item? Gauntlets of Ogre Power are uncommon and will raise his strength to 19. This way he's happy, you don't need to fiddle with a new spell, and the other players can get a nice minor bump as well to keep things even.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
I'v rather see:

Casting time: Bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (chalk dust)
Duration: 1 turn
Effect: Until the spell ends, you gain +2 to your Strength ability score?

Because bonus action left you action to atack, but it's not so long duration, as every cantrip. Buff cantrip with duration 1 minute ann repeated effect is too strong.
And it work with action economi. Imediatly I saw how human melee fighters (and most monks) take magic initiate to get this cantrip. Because bonus to STR for attack and bonus action attack give much more. With BA it give you dilemma if attack with higher attack and dmg once or twice without.

Magic weapon spell +1 doing mechanicaly same and itď 2nd spell level.
For a wizard, a bonus action works well as they tend not to be using theirs for anything other than some spell that consumes it.

Transmutation cantrip
Casting time
: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (chalk dust)
Duration: 1 turn
Effect: Until the spell ends, you gain +2 to your Strength ability score

I think one question the OP should answer is whether they also see Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters using this spell? Both have some other uses for their bonus action, but it will likely be more restrictive on the Trickster. At 7th the Knight could spam it with war magic perhaps, but that seems pretty much worse than other options in most situations.

I feel convinced increasing ability score is better than just increasing the modifier, so another question would be whether +4 to the ability score instead would be too strong?
 

delph

Explorer
For a wizard, a bonus action works well as they tend not to be using theirs for anything other than some spell that consumes it.

Transmutation cantrip
Casting time
: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (chalk dust)
Duration: 1 turn
Effect: Until the spell ends, you gain +2 to your Strength ability score

I think one question the OP should answer is whether they also see Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters using this spell? Both have some other uses for their bonus action, but it will likely be more restrictive on the Trickster. At 7th the Knight could spam it with war magic perhaps, but that seems pretty much worse than other options in most situations.

I feel convinced increasing ability score is better than just increasing the modifier, so another question would be whether +4 to the ability score instead would be too strong?
Yeah that's what I mean. For wizards it could work, but not for bladesingers which are dex based... And for others it's just another resource of buff, but exchange with another. Use it or be dual wielder? Use anything else?
And very good question is "how uprise it" on higher levles? +3/+4/+5 or +4/+6/+8? firebolt gives +5,5 dmg per boost. Is +1 attack + 1 dmg equal (mean +2 to str ability with every step up)

and what about us it for every ability? with dex and con could work well too.
 

I've got a player who's running a Lvl 1 5E wizard with a pretty non-traditional build & backstory. He's looking for a cantrip that will buff his strength stat and/or bonuses. We've gone back and forth iterating on what it might look like to knock a 3.5E-style Bull's Strength spell down to a cantrip power level, but I'm not sure that anything really useful can be shoehorned into an appropriately balanced cantrip. Here's the spell/effects under discussion:

Casting time: 1 action
Range: self only
Duration: 1 min, Concentration
Effect: For the duration of the spell, the caster gains +2 to her Strength ability modifier as long as she is unarmored. (Donning any armor immediately ends the spell.)

Even with the range reduction to SELF and the unarmored restriction, I think this still packs too much punch for a cantrip. I'm also not sure how to squeeze it down further without making it uninteresting. For example, knocking the bonus down to +1 and changing the duration to 1 round might qualify, but who would give up an action this round for a +1 to-hit/damage next round only? Ditto for limiting the bonus to unarmed attacks only - maybe a cool cantrip, but not what he's looking to do.

I'd love to encourage the RP concept of the buff guy who's kind of a wizard under protest, but I'm not sure how to find a good compromise on this one. Any thoughts?

Casting time: 1 bonus action
Range: self only
Duration: 1 minute, Concentration
Effect: For the duration of the spell, the caster gains advantage on Strength ability checks.

Seems a bit more like it. Useful to break grapples etc.
 

delph

Explorer
Casting time: 1 bonus action
Range: self only
Duration: 1 minute, Concentration
Effect: For the duration of the spell, the caster gains advantage on Strength ability checks.

Seems a bit more like it. Useful to break grapples etc.
or be grappler and again - almost every fighter/monk/melee ranger want it because they get advantage on attacks from STR.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
Casting time: 1 bonus action
Range: self only
Duration: 1 minute, Concentration
Effect: For the duration of the spell, the caster gains advantage on Strength ability checks.

Seems a bit more like it. Useful to break grapples etc.
For me, the shortfall with making it checks is that it doesn't make the wizard buff. Their carrying capacity is unchanged. They just get better at grappling. Maybe -

Transmutation cantrip
Casting time
: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (chalk dust)
Duration: 1 minute, Concentration
Effect: Until the spell ends, you gain +4 to your Strength ability score

"Until the spell ends, " is wording I see in other similar spells.
 

delph

Explorer
For me, the shortfall with making it checks is that it doesn't make the wizard buff. Their carrying capacity is unchanged. They just get better at grappling. Maybe -

Transmutation cantrip
Casting time
: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (chalk dust)
Duration: 1 minute, Concentration
Effect: Until the spell ends, you gain +4 to your Strength ability score

"Until the spell ends, " is wording I see in other similar spells.
+4 from cantrip and 1 minute duration is too strong for cantrip. It has to be as guidance "up to 1 minute" but for first action with strength check
 

Even with the range reduction to SELF and the unarmored restriction, I think this still packs too much punch for a cantrip. I'm also not sure how to squeeze it down further without making it uninteresting. For example, knocking the bonus down to +1 and changing the duration to 1 round might qualify, but who would give up an action this round for a +1 to-hit/damage next round only? Ditto for limiting the bonus to unarmed attacks only - maybe a cool cantrip, but not what he's looking to do.
Seems fine to me. Concentration is a pretty big limitation if the Char either 1) plans on continuing as a wizard, and or 2) intends to use said cantrip in melee. Looking at some similar spells: Guidance, by comparison, applies to a much wider variety of rolls even if it only applies once; and includes initiative checks, which most characters cannot increase easily. Enlarge/Reduce, while not only a levelled spell but a level 2 spell, can serve both offensive and defensive purposes; affects multiple characteristics; and can be cast on others.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I think a +2 to an attribute in exchange for a cantrip is too strong.

In my campaign I introduced, "Personal Enchantments". They are an alternative to spells like Mage Armor. They are learned in the same way that spells are, but rather than being cast, they reduce the number of spell slots you possess and are always active (no duration), but can be suppressed with a dispel magic (they'll return upon your next long rest).

Example:
Armor Enchantment
Level 1
Abjuration - Personal Enchantment

A protective magical force surrounds you. Your base AC becomes 13 + your Dexterity modifier. This magical force emits dim light in a 5' radius. As an action, you may suppress the force around you and extinguish the light. You may then use an action to restore the force and the light.


I bring these up because I have personal enchantments that raise attributes to 19. They are second level personal enchantments, and each can raise the ability score, but they also have drawbacks.

Strength - You have disadvantage on Dexterity ability checks.
Dexterity - You have disadvantage on Strength ability checks and your carrying capacity is reduced by 20%.
Constitution - You have disadvantage on Wisdom ability checks.
Wisdom - Your speed is reduced by 10'.
Intelligence - You can either take a bonus action or an action on your turn, not both.
Charisma - You have disadvantage on all intelligence ability checks, and cannot gain advantage on intelligence ability checks (meaning all intelligence ability checks are rolled at disadvantage).

You give a superior benefit to your PCs for a cantrip cost with your proposal - while these have proven to be amongst the more powerful personal enchantments I have released.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top