5E Obvious Attack Cantrips That Should Exist

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
For Acid Splash, I feel it could be either a 5' radius or 1 additional target type effect that does d4s in damage, to make it relevant now that spell resistance isn't as important.

For cantrips themselves in some ways I'd prefer it if they changed the name to invocations, since it seems that warlock invocations might not be a separate thing from spells anymore

I also think it's also perfectly acceptable that some "cantrips" have either an enhanced effect on a crit, or an improved crit range, but not both as that would be too powerful.

As for wands, yes they should definitely not be assumed items for mages. While all wands allow the proficiency bonus to be added to all spells, I feel that some wands should allow uses of new cantrips at will.
 

Salamandyr

Adventurer
I would personally prefer something like a bolt of "pure magic" for the base attack cantrip, and have the elemental type stuff with side effects be leveled spells. But that's just me, wanting magic to be more like Dr. Strange.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
I don't have a problem with there not being acid, fire, force, necrotic keyword cantrip attacks, simply because I don't think it's the energy keyword to Shocking Grasp and Ray of Frost that is the main point of those spells.

The point of Ray of Frost is to have a cantrip that slows an enemy that's far away so that it will take longer to reach the party. Sure, they've fluffed it as a cold spell... but they could easily have fluffed it however they wanted-- a cantrip that conjures a bola-like thorn rope that wraps itself around the legs of the target. Does a little bit of damage and slows the target down. That's the important part of the spell... not the cold keyword.

Likewise... Shocking Grasp is the Mage's "get the hell out of Dodge" spell-- an enemy is in the Mage's face, the Mage touches the enemy to do a bit of damage but also remove its possibility of taking a reaction... and the Mage can then bolt away without being targeted with an opportunity attack. You could fluff this spell again in whatever manner you wanted. The fact that the spell adds the lightning keyword is really just extra fluff.

In both cases... sure, there will be the occasionally rare creature that will be vulnerable to these two keywords... but those are few and far enough between that we can't honestly say that they are the focus for these spell's existences. They're nice but rare extras to the spells, but that is all. So to feel the need to then fill out the Mage's cantrip lists with all the other energy keywords I just think is really missing the point.
 
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the Jester

Legend
firing missiles into melee ain't too smart, either.
One of the things I most hate about these "cantrips" on steroids is - thats what wands and the like are for.
For some playstyles, this is true. In others, wands are rarely found. In still others- and in 4e- a wand's main purpose is to give a wizard +1 to hit and damage.

So, while it's fine for you to apply this approach to your game, why should everyone else have to adopt your playstyle?

If a player feels they have nothing to do without super-powerful cantrips, they're just not very imaginative.
But, perhaps another thread would be best for debating the very existence of these namby-pambyisms of modern rules that call themselves D&D.
Are you trolling here? This is very much an edition-war callout. FYI edition warring is highly frowned upon on ENWorld.
 
I would personally prefer something like a bolt of "pure magic" for the base attack cantrip, and have the elemental type stuff with side effects be leveled spells. But that's just me, wanting magic to be more like Dr. Strange.
I like having a wide variety of cantrips with different energy types and side effects. It helps mages diversify rather than every mage just having some generic "arcane bolt." It also gives mages a reason to learn more than one attack cantrip, since they might run into an energy resistant enemy or need a different cantrip's side effect.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Personally, I like energy types- including Sonic and Force- AND the generic arcane/mana bolt.

Which also (to me, at least) implies the necessity for the development of other spells that use raw mana.
 

Mistwell

Legend
It also gives mages a reason to learn more than one attack cantrip, since they might run into an energy resistant enemy or need a different cantrip's side effect.
Funny enough, I think this is the best argument against having multiple attack cantrips each with a different energy type. I think the incentive should be to choose a non-attack option, rather than yet-another almost-identical attack. Then add the multiple ones back in for the tactical and/or high-customization modules.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Part of me thinks the whole attack cantrip issue could be side-stepped by taking a que from 4e's impelment-focused wizard and just give starting wizards a wand/orb/tome/staff/whatever that has a ranged attack power that's about as effective as a sling or crossbow or dart or whatever.

So you'd have a Wand that shot bolts of lightning, and a Staff that let you throw balls of fire, and someone who didn't want those things in their game could easily edit the item list without worrying about editing the spell list....

Anyway, my favorite cantrip has always been "Crossbow," which is when you take a crossbow and shoot it at the enemy, but I get that for some people, the fact that it doesn't have magic sparkles on it makes it no fun. ;)

For others...I don't think we need an official list of 12 different spells that deal slightly different elemental damage. One ranged attack. One melee attack. Maybe one area attack. Maybe a weakened-damage-with-an-effect. It shouldn't be a problem in 5e for players to look at something that deals ranged lightning damage and go up to their DM and say, " Can I make it cold damage instead?" and the DM can say "Yup."

If the choice of dealing psychic damage or thunder damage or fire damage breaks the game, then 5e is already on track to be too much of a special unique little fragile princess snowflake for it to be really very flexible...
 
Funny enough, I think this is the best argument against having multiple attack cantrips each with a different energy type. I think the incentive should be to choose a non-attack option, rather than yet-another almost-identical attack. Then add the multiple ones back in for the tactical and/or high-customization modules.
Not everyone has to take more than one attack cantrip, or any at all. It just gives people yet another option. After all, resistance just means you're doing half damage. It's not the end of the world, and in Next, immunities seem to (thankfully) be rare.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Suffice it to say, I feel/desire the complete opposite of what the OP proposes and others seem to support. I am firmly in the defenders of...the other position. Summed up in [hopefully] a non-antagonistic way as, "completely unnecessary and/or not what cantrips are."

I think that says all I need to without unnecessary risk to my presence on ENworld.
 
Cantrip ideas:

True strike: Make a melee or Ranged attack adding Int mod to hit and damage instead of str or dex

Dark magic attack: short ranged necrotic and psychic attack


Combust: target is lit on fire (no roll) amnd takes ongoing damage (save ends)

Cloud of daggers: conjur a small zone that deals 1d4 damage to anyone in or passing through it
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
I don't think any character made with the play test materials has had insufficient choice for available cantrips, and only the druid lacks a great regular offensive spell. With the very limited number of spells available already, adding choice here is not going to effectively increase diversity of casting options for any individual caster.

There are two fundamental changes I would make, however.

1. As I have argued elsewhere on these boards, I do think that attack cantrips shouldn't use the caster ability, but should require a ranged attack roll (so +DEX rather than spell casting ability to hit). That means that not all casters will be effective with attack cantrips. For me, that makes the choice to use attack cantrips a build choice (the player has to want it and invest character resources in order to do it effectively), and not something that all casters do equally well.

2. I would have a cleric attack cantrip that required a roll to hit (rather than a save to avoid, as with Burning Hands). I think a roll to hit (again, my preference would be using DEX) is more fun for players -- it may not be so for all, but I do't see why it's excluded. Let's allow laser clerics in the game (even if only for selected domains -- again, requiring a specific build choice).

Finally, for those wanting a fire-based cantrip, there is one that exists already -- Fire Seeds for druids. It feels underwhelming, though, and I've not seen it chosen in play. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has actual experience with the spell in play.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
I do think that attack cantrips shouldn't use the caster ability, but should require a ranged attack roll (so +DEX rather than spell casting ability to hit).
I could get behind that.
Finally, for those wanting a fire-based cantrip, there is one that exists already -- Fire Seeds for druids.
Arcanists need a fire cantrip, too, IMHO. It's iconic. It isn't an accident that every arcanist in the Once Upon A Time TV shows flings around little (like Lesser Orb of Fire size), non-explosive fireballs, for instance.
 

tuxgeo

Visitor
Re: use of "Fire Seeds" in play: to my frustration, no.
I did build my 5E 12th-level Druid with the "Fire Seeds" and "Shillelagh" cantrips, but we only played one encounter with those characters at that level; and all of the combat in that one encounter took place underwater, so Yardon ended up never getting a chance to cast "Fire Seeds." (On the other hand, it might also have been that he was 12th-level: a Druid at that level wouldn't need to rely on attack cantrips very often.)

Re: Obvious attack cantrips that should exist:
Not all cantrips that should exist need to be obvious. If the Bard class were to have access to a "Misdirected Mark" attack cantrip that did limited damage on a hit, but that also caused the target to believe the real danger came from someone else, that would be very flavorful -- but hardly obvious.
 
It isn't an accident that every arcanist in the Once Upon A Time TV shows flings around little (like Lesser Orb of Fire size), non-explosive fireballs, for instance.
I think Once upon a time should be a great resource for new spells for D&D... the ability to rip out someone's heart and dominate them with it, then kill them is so awesome. I especially love how non fatal it can be...

Dark one is the Lich to end all liches, and he can cut his shadow off and send it on missions...
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
Arcanists need a fire cantrip, too, IMHO. It's iconic. It isn't an accident that every arcanist in the Once Upon A Time TV shows flings around little (like Lesser Orb of Fire size), non-explosive fireballs, for instance.
Sorry -- I might not have been clear. Would a spell with the exact mechanics of Fire Seeds meet your requirement (regardless of the fluff -- little non-explosive fireballs is cool)?

If yes -- do it! The spell doesn't seem to be proprietary in any special way.
If no -- is it because it's too weak? If so, then I'd suggest it needs to be fixed (or other spells brought down in power, e.g. to 1d6).
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Sorry -- I might not have been clear. Would a spell with the exact mechanics of Fire Seeds meet your requirement (regardless of the fluff -- little non-explosive fireballs is cool)?

If yes -- do it! The spell doesn't seem to be proprietary in any special way.
If no -- is it because it's too weak? If so, then I'd suggest it needs to be fixed (or other spells brought down in power, e.g. to 1d6).
Don't know- haven't seen much of the 5Ed stuff, and none of it in context. I'm just saying arcanists flinging tiny balls of fire is a good thing...something missing from most incarnations of the game, IMHO.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
Finally, for those wanting a fire-based cantrip, there is one that exists already -- Fire Seeds for druids. It feels underwhelming, though, and I've not seen it chosen in play. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has actual experience with the spell in play.
In our campaign, the Druid uses Fire Seeds all the time, and everyone laughs at him. It is kind of pathetic.
 

Kobold Stew

Adventurer
Thanks, Neechen -- that was exactly my sense. I didnt take either combat spell for the druid I'm playing at the moment.
 

Blackwarder

Adventurer
I don't like attack cantrips, I have no problem with Spellcasters not needing to restore to crossbows but having spellcasters being able to shoot killing spells at will seems a bit much for me.

My preferable attack cantrip is actually not an attack cantrip at all, I'd rather have the Mage being able to conjure a magical elemental effect, a small flame in the palm of the hand, a shard of ice, an eruption of earth etc, those effects should be as potent as a short sword or a dagger but not a bow, or a long sword.

My two cents

Warder
 

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