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5E removing cantrips: what to give instead?

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Man everybody has a strange hard-on for no Cantrips.
It came up & got some discussion in a recent thread (is 5e the least challengig version? should sorcerer be merged?... I;m not sure) Much like getting rid of crit range/multiplier asf acp & so on, they are a symptom of the oversimplification of too many things in 5e and cause problems in other areas. For example, they automatically scale & pretty much anything that enhances them tends to enhance everything else or needs to be very powerful like wand of the warmage/pact keeper.

A+1 sword applies to class features yes, but a paladin 1 fighter 19 wouldn't expect to have it apply to a 5d8 (max for divine smite) improved divine smite.

Yes cantrips as written remove the old don't ever ever MC caster thing, but that leads to awkward problems in the classes themselves like magic being toned down a notch or three to compensate for the cantrip scaling.

Removing the cradle till grave cantrips would free up a lot of interesting design space room within the classeses & archtypes themselves while allowing a lot more room for specialized magic equipment depending on how things are changed. For example, I've given out cantrip wands that let the players cast the associated cantrip... chill touch, any caster can use it was one... times used was zero because everyone already had fire/radiant cantrips if not chilltouch & felt there wan't a need to switch just because
 

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OB1

Jedi Master
But really, instead you could have implements let you cast cantrips.

A spellcaster could be proficient in up to (# of cantrips known) such implements.
Gonna steall and simplify this.

All damage cantrips require an implement to cast as their material component.

May consider requiring them to be charged with a 1 hour ritual using 1gp of silver dust for 20 charges.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Gonna steall and simplify this.

All damage cantrips require an implement to cast as their material component.

May consider requiring them to be charged with a 1 hour ritual using 1gp of silver dust for 20 charges.
I've thought about it & would probably have scaling tied to the implement too. Also this post on crossbows in eberron might be useful fodder too.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Gonna steall and simplify this.

All damage cantrips require an implement to cast as their material component.

May consider requiring them to be charged with a 1 hour ritual using 1gp of silver dust for 20 charges.
Requiring money and items to be magical is fine for wizards, but kills all of the flavor in sorcerers.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Lets say I wanted to remove cantrip because reasons. What would be a fair trade in term of power for the classes that get them?

  • Light armor prof?
  • Simple weapon/ short selection of martial weapons?
  • More skills?
  • extra attacks (at level 6, 7 or 8 or 11?)?
  • Extra slots (+1 for spell level 1 to 4 ?)
  • Something else
  • Mish mash of all of the above?

Its not a poll, its not a discussion about the reasons why someone like or not cantrips: its just a whiteroom design for now :)
Various ideas depending on your goals.
  • Give each caster a basic spell Attack, and casting focuses determine what it does. Holy symbols are short range bursts and cones, staves and wands are long range and higher damage, tomes are mid range and hit multiple creatures, etc. Idk, basically workshop a weapon table for implements/focuses.
  • Only remove damage cantrips, and don’t give them anything in return.
  • Maybe an extra skill proficiency?
  • For warlocks, make Eldritch Blast a 1st level spell that does 2d10 damage per beam, and gets an extra beam w a 3rd level slot, and a 5th level slot. Then, have it start with 2 slots, gain a 3rd at 5, and 1 more at the same progression as RAW.
  • Make the cantrips limited, at a rate of like 6/day for a normal full caster.
  • Give recovery of some 1st level slots to all casters, 1/short rest, as a 10 minute ritual. (Combine with warlock suggestion)
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I just recalled an idea I had if I ever ran a 2e or basic game of DnD again: Basic wands and staves that allowed a ranged magical attack.

For 5e it might look something like the following:
Implement​
Range​
Damage​
Wand120 feet1d6 + spellcasting modifier force damage
Staff60 feet1d10 + spellcasting modifier force damage
This could also lead to granting extra attack to a magic-user allowing two attacks at level 5 when using an implement only. More powerful implements might have additional effects like a push or slow effect.
Oops, ninja’d lol

yeah basically, make the implements work like weapons, and consider giving extra attack to casters. Simplifies Melee warlocks and other full caster gish builds.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If you're looking to reduce the amount of "significant" at-will magic... another way to accomplish it is to get rid of the number of cantrips each class gets, and instead they only just get their one single standard minor magic cantrip.

Bards, Wizards, Warlocks and Sorcerers only have Prestidigitation, Clerics only have Thaumaturgy, Druids only have Druidcraft. Then you can add in some of the other minor non-combat cantrip effects into those three that are more narrative in nature. So Prestidigitation can produce minor telekinesis and can generate small motes of light... Thaumaturgy can generate light and can stabilize dying creatures, Druidcraft can mend small breaks and enlarge small flames, etc.

So you remove all the larger combat cantrips and the cantrips that have much larger effects like Guidance, Minor Illusion, Vicious Mockery and Shillelagh. But all casters can still do all the minor little effects that really never come up except during roleplaying segments when the player narrates cleaning their dirty clothing after a fight and lighting candles without getting out their flint and timber. Basically any small effect that doesn't involve dice rolling (either by the caster themself or modifying someone else) can still be done at-will.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Bards, Wizards, Warlocks and Sorcerers only have Prestidigitation, Clerics only have Thaumaturgy, Druids only have Druidcraft. Then you can add in some of the other minor non-combat cantrip effects into those three that are more narrative in nature. So Prestidigitation can produce minor telekinesis and can generate small motes of light... Thaumaturgy can generate light and can stabilize dying creatures, Druidcraft can mend small breaks and enlarge small flames, etc.
Take into account that this significatively hurts sorcerers. Unlike all other casters, sorcerers derive most of their utility from cantrips. They don't have ritual casting -if you the ritual caster feat, you might as well be a wizard or warlock- and that is coupled with a very limited amount of spells known from an equally limited spell list.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Requiring money and items to be magical is fine for wizards, but kills all of the flavor in sorcerers.
Take into account that this significatively hurts sorcerers. Unlike all other casters, sorcerers derive most of their utility from cantrips. They don't have ritual casting -if you the ritual caster feat, you might as well be a wizard or warlock- and that is coupled with a very limited amount of spells known from an equally limited spell list.
People are discussing ideas to remove offensive cantrips both mechanically & to keep the classes balanced. after removing them at least one person has said things like making eldritch blast a warlock class feature hat scales with warlock level because so much of the class is tied up around it. Are you suggesting sorcerers progress as half casters for the default selection of unlimited uses of their self scaling cantrip damage output or something else?.. (If so, do tell). or are you not even considering the purpose of the discussion or meaningless things like balance?...
and if you aren't suggesting it, I am...
If sorcerer's keep their default cantrip options progress them as half casters.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
People are discussing ideas to remove offensive cantrips both mechanically & to keep the classes balanced. after removing them at least one person has said things like making eldritch blast a warlock class feature hat scales with warlock level because so much of the class is tied up around it. Are you suggesting sorcerers progress as half casters for the default selection of unlimited uses of their self scaling cantrip damage output or something else?.. (If so, do tell). or are you not even considering the purpose of the discussion or meaningless things like balance?...
and if you aren't suggesting it, I am...
If sorcerer's keep their default cantrip options progress them as half casters.
I'm not proposing things, just pointing out that you -collective undefinite you, not "you" you- can't just blindly apply the same changes to classes that are fundamentally different. My first objection was on thematic grounds, yes it is kind of balanced, but it is a huge thematic violation of sorcerers. One that makes them less like sorcerers and more like wizards -I thought that you out of all people would appreciate that not happening-, because the more of these changes are done, the less sense it makes to have it as a class. If you are not going to respect the thematic boundaries of the class, you might as well just plain get rid of that class -and the character concepts that class reflects, and the players that play those concepts-.

The second one is done on balance grounds. Just like warlocks derive their damage output from eldritch blast, sorcerers derive most of their utility from cantrips, as evidenced by them having more than anybody else. If you take cantrips away and replace them with just prestidigitation like @DEFCON 1 proposes, then you are breaking balance and need to compensate them somewhere else.

Your suggestion on the other hand is a nerf for a nerf sake
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
I'm not proposing things, just pointing out that you -collective undefinite you, not "you" you- can't just blindly apply the same changes to classes that are fundamentally different. My first objection was on thematic grounds, yes it is kind of balanced, but it is a huge thematic violation of sorcerers. One that makes them less like sorcerers and more like wizards -I thought that you out of all people would appreciate that not happening-, because the more of these changes are done, the less sense it makes to have it as a class. If you are not going to respect the thematic boundaries of the class, you might as well just plain get rid of that class -and the character concepts that class reflects, and the players that play those concepts-.

The second one is done on balance grounds. Just like warlocks derive their damage output from eldritch blast, sorcerers derive most of their utility from cantrips, as evidenced by them having more than anybody else. If you take cantrips away and replace them with just prestidigitation like @DEFCON 1 proposes, then you are breaking balance and need to compensate them somewhere else.

Your suggestion on the other hand is a nerf for a nerf sake
I removed your needless eyesearing pink.

It's not a nerf unless offensve cantrips are not actually removed from everyone else. You yourself in this post I quoted said "sorcerers derive most of their utility from cantrips, as evidenced by them having more than anybody else" & I agree, which is why I suggested leaning into that class identity by letting them keep those 4-6 cantrips while progressing as halfcasters while everyone else is left using regular weapons or cantrip wands that may require attunement & may not scale.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I removed your needless eyesearing pink.

It's not a nerf unless offensve cantrips are not actually removed from everyone else. You yourself in this post I quoted said "sorcerers derive most of their utility from cantrips, as evidenced by them having more than anybody else" & I agree, which is why I suggested leaning into that class identity by letting them keep those 4-6 cantrips while progressing as halfcasters while everyone else is left using regular weapons or cantrip wands that may require attunement & may not scale.
Forgive me if I misunderstand you. But it is a nerf if you turn them into halfcasters.
Edit: Sorry about the color, but posting in color cheers me up when I feel down.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Forgive me if I misunderstand you. But it is a nerf if you turn them into halfcasters.
Edit: Sorry about the color, but posting in color cheers me up when I feel down.
Then obviously you are reversing course and suggesting sorcerers don't need an exception to keep offensive cantrips & can lose them with everyone else rather than wearing some munchkin mantle right?
 

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