D&D 5E Would making powerful enemies immune to cantrips make the game more or less fun?

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I was thinking about how, in older editions, demons / devils and other powerful enemies might have immunity to spells of a certain level. If this was ported over to 5e, do you think it would make the game more or less fun?

I imagine implementing this house rule would mean powerful enemies of certain types would have "cantrip immunity." For example, dragons, demons and devils, celestials, and maybe powerful undead would have it. The idea would be that "common magic" no longer effects these powerful beings.

Obviously this would be a big blow to warlocks, who rely most on cantrips out of any spellcasters. For wizards, clerics, and other spellcasters, it would mean having to burn spell slots instead of using cantrips. This could be tough at the end of an "adventuring day" in which they have used a lot of spell slots!

What do you think? Would this house rule make D&D more fun or less fun for you?

(NOTE: I'm not planning on actually implementing this house rule. I'm just having fun thinking of new ideas.)
 

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payn

Legend
I'd have fun with it, but I like these limits on occasion. They make the party fall back on their heels and think outside the box.
 

Nes. Yo. Naybe?

Immunity to cantrips means spellcasters return to the older style "either/or" gameplay. Either they drop full spells, which can do some hefty effects, or they do...basically nothing.

Certainly, it would emphasize the damage coming from classes that use melee attacks. Pretty hefty nerf to Warlock, given its specialization in eldritch blast and being rather weaker in spellcasting other than that. Might be worth giving eldritch blast a special exception.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I was thinking about how, in older editions, demons / devils and other powerful enemies might have immunity to spells of a certain level. If this was ported over to 5e, do you think it would make the game more or less fun?

I imagine implementing this house rule would mean powerful enemies of certain types would have "cantrip immunity." For example, dragons, demons and devils, celestials, and maybe powerful undead would have it. The idea would be that "common magic" no longer effects these powerful beings.

Obviously this would be a big blow to warlocks, who rely most on cantrips out of any spellcasters. For wizards, clerics, and other spellcasters, it would mean having to burn spell slots instead of using cantrips. This could be tough at the end of an "adventuring day" in which they have used a lot of spell slots!

What do you think? Would this house rule make D&D more fun or less fun for you?

(NOTE: I'm not planning on actually implementing this house rule. I'm just having fun thinking of new ideas.)
It's a cool option. Seems like it would be a good toggle to shift the game toward different genres and settings.

Also, resistance to cantrips could be another cool addition. EB probably should bypass immunity or at least treat immunity like resistance.
 

the Jester

Legend
Rakshasa have this already. And I don't actually recall other fiends having anything like this, except maybe 1e/2e daemons/yugoloths where their magic resistance varied with the level of the spell as well as the caster (IIRC).

Is it fun? Once in a great while. But at will cantrips is a massive part of how 5e balances spellcasters vs. martial characters. Take them away, and you've really disadvantaged casters. Is that okay? Again, once in a great while. I'd absolutely hate it if even 1 fiend in 10 had something like this, though.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Rakshasa are fun, so...yes? But I wouldn't say all creatures above CR XX are immune or that all creatures with legendary actions are. I would reserve it for specific monsters, like the Rakshasa. You could have weaker fiends or other magical creatures that are immune to lower level spells. But I would not make it a common occurance. It should be something that makes certain enemies special.
 

Oofta

Legend
I want my player's PCs to be effective even if I've pushed them past the point of having leveled spells. In previous editions the wizard was fairly pointless at lower levels and after a few levels you could fall back on scrolls and wands. It would feel like a step backwards to make cantrips ineffective.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Rakshasa have this already. And I don't actually recall other fiends having anything like this, except maybe 1e/2e daemons/yugoloths where their magic resistance varied with the level of the spell as well as the caster (IIRC).

Is it fun? Once in a great while. But at will cantrips is a massive part of how 5e balances spellcasters vs. martial characters. Take them away, and you've really disadvantaged casters. Is that okay? Again, once in a great while. I'd absolutely hate it if even 1 fiend in 10 had something like this, though.
IMO, flying enemies are already nearly immune to melee weapons and melee weapon users have extremely limited backup options. It's not fun for them in that situation, but it happens and there's a notion that if enemy mechanics can bypass those character mechanics, then casters shouldn't really be exempt from enemy mechanics bypass their abilities either.

Personally, I think balance makes a more enjoyable and fun game overall even if at the moment it's a bit less fun for a particular player. Though I do tend to dislike outright immunities as the default. Resistance would tend to be my preference and seems like it would closer mimic a str fighter swapping to a bow (being less effective but still being able to hurt the flyer/ranged enemy).
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I want my player's PCs to be effective even if I've pushed them past the point of having leveled spells. In previous editions the wizard was fairly pointless at lower levels and after a few levels you could fall back on scrolls and wands. It would feel like a step backwards to make cantrips ineffective.
I think it would be interesting to see how this kind of house rule would impact character choice. If you know that there will be certain enemies that are immune to cantrips, will you still play a Warlock? Will you still choose combat cantrips?

This would definitely be something decided at Session 0.
 


the Jester

Legend
IMO, flying enemies are already nearly immune to melee weapons and melee weapon users have extremely limited backup options. It's not fun for them in that situation, but it happens and there's a notion that if enemy mechanics can bypass those character mechanics, then casters shouldn't really be exempt from enemy mechanics bypass their abilities either.
Any martial character that doesn't have a ranged weapon has chosen to hamstring themselves, and in this case, I have very little sympathy for them, excepting the rare case where their ranged options have been removed (e.g. by being taken captive and stripped of weapons) or something similar. I don't think this analogy holds very well, if at all. A better comparison would be a monster that is just plain immune to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

Personally, I think balance makes a more enjoyable and fun game overall even if at the moment it's a bit less fun for a particular player. Though I do tend to dislike outright immunities as the default. Resistance would tend to be my preference and seems like it would closer mimic a str fighter swapping to a bow (being less effective but still being able to hurt the flyer/ranged enemy).
And I agree with you here.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Personally I’d be more inclined to leave them vulnerable to cantrip damage but immunity to levelled spells of 1st to Xth level (scale as appropriate) meaning the players are either going to have to bring out their limited big guns or chip away with cantrips, preferably trying to fight smart with their effects rather than just trying to fight a battle of attrition
 

I see no value in it, unless you think 15 minute work days are too long and 5 minutes are more your speed.

Of all the effects a caster can bring to bear, 5dx is the least scary one.

I've read this three times now and can't figure out what you're saying.
I think that they're saying that it will exacerbate the 15 minute work day rather than solving it.
Out of all the reasons that spellcasters are problematic in 5e, their cantrip damage is rarely an issue.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I was thinking about how, in older editions, demons / devils and other powerful enemies might have immunity to spells of a certain level. If this was ported over to 5e, do you think it would make the game more or less fun?

I imagine implementing this house rule would mean powerful enemies of certain types would have "cantrip immunity." For example, dragons, demons and devils, celestials, and maybe powerful undead would have it. The idea would be that "common magic" no longer effects these powerful beings.

Obviously this would be a big blow to warlocks, who rely most on cantrips out of any spellcasters. For wizards, clerics, and other spellcasters, it would mean having to burn spell slots instead of using cantrips. This could be tough at the end of an "adventuring day" in which they have used a lot of spell slots!

What do you think? Would this house rule make D&D more fun or less fun for you?

(NOTE: I'm not planning on actually implementing this house rule. I'm just having fun thinking of new ideas.)
I appreciate the spirit of the idea - the devil is in the execution.

However, I think it's just falling into the same trap that 5e does in regards to immunities, vulnerabilities, resistances, Legendary Resistances, and defensive traits in general. They just don't (a) have enough impact (or occur frequently enough in the case of vulnerabilities) & (b) say enough about the monster narratively.

The problem is that there's no fiction here. It's a broad brushstroke to mechanically differentiate a certain power level, I guess. At least that's how you've presented it. "Cantrip" is a power level thing. It's not "cold magic" or "charm magic", for instance. The reason the rakshasa can kinda get away with Limited Magic Immunity is they have a damage vulnerability to "Piercing from Magic Weapons Wielded by Good Creatures"...but even then I would approach the rakshasa differently.

I'd say we want more things that emulate something like the flesh golem's Aversion to Fire and Lightning Absorption. Ideally, something with both a benefit and a strong drawback.

For example, a powerful devil might have this trait, replacing Magic Resistance:

Ward of Souls. The devil has advantage on all saving throws against spells, and spells have disadvantage to hit the devil. Additionally, the devil is immune to all cantrips. However, if one of the souls warding it is freed by speaking the soul's True Name, casting dispel evil and good, or scoring a critical hit using radiant damage against the devil, the devil loses its Ward of Souls until the end of its next turn. While the ward is lowered, the devil is susceptible to cantrips, suffers disadvantage on all saves against spells cast by good-aligned creatures, and spells cast by good-aligned creatures have advantage to hit the devil.
 

Conceptually I like it, as it's similar to forcing a warrior to have a magic weapon. The warlock would suck, however, but it could work if 1D&D moves Eldritch Blast to be a class ability instead of a cantrip. A caster could fall back to a crossbow or other ranged weapon instead of using spell slots, but it would certainly weaken them (like fighting a beholder).
 

ECMO3

Hero
I was thinking about how, in older editions, demons / devils and other powerful enemies might have immunity to spells of a certain level. If this was ported over to 5e, do you think it would make the game more or less fun?

I imagine implementing this house rule would mean powerful enemies of certain types would have "cantrip immunity." For example, dragons, demons and devils, celestials, and maybe powerful undead would have it. The idea would be that "common magic" no longer effects these powerful beings.

Obviously this would be a big blow to warlocks, who rely most on cantrips out of any spellcasters. For wizards, clerics, and other spellcasters, it would mean having to burn spell slots instead of using cantrips. This could be tough at the end of an "adventuring day" in which they have used a lot of spell slots!

What do you think? Would this house rule make D&D more fun or less fun for you?

(NOTE: I'm not planning on actually implementing this house rule. I'm just having fun thinking of new ideas.)
Less fun.

You can make them immune to necrotic and fire and they are going to be immune to a lot of the most popular cantrips.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Personally I’d be more inclined to leave them vulnerable to cantrip damage but immunity to levelled spells of 1st to Xth level (scale as appropriate) meaning the players are either going to have to bring out their limited big guns or chip away with cantrips, preferably trying to fight smart with their effects rather than just trying to fight a battle of attrition

Hmmm... It would be fun to create a new monster called an Asahskar.

Limited magic immunity. It can't be affected or detected by any spell that requires a spell slot to cast, unless it wishes to be.

A Asahskar's true form combines a hyena with a human, easily mistaken for a gnoll, but for the palms of its hands being where the back of the hands would be for a human.

Damage immunities. Immune from bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from magical attacks. For magic weapons, bonuses to attack count, but all bonuses to damage are ignored if the damage is bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing.

Everything else stated at the Rakshasa except in the spell list I would make fly at will, add shield and magic missile to at-will, and add counterspell to 3/day.

It would still be easy for a mid to high-level party to kill, but the first couple rounds could provide for some fun WTF moments.
 


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