Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cantrips can take a hike

I've decided to get rid of cantrips in my 5th edition games. There's no real reason behind the removal other than I don't like cantrips but lets try to divine one anyway.

Let's take a look at all the cantrips:

Acid Splash
Blade Ward
Booming Blade
Chill Touch
Control Flames
Create Bonfire
Dancing Lights
Eldritch Blast
Fire Bolt
Green-Flame Blade
Lightning Lure
Mage Hand
Magic Stone
Minor Illusion
Mold Earth
Poison Spray
Produce Flame
Ray of Frost
Sacred Flame
Shape Water
Shocking Grasp
Spare the Dying
Sword Burst
Thorn Whip
True Strike
Vicious Mockery

The cantrips marked with red text are purely meant to do combat damage. (Notably they also have some form of combat trick.) Those in blue text are combat tricks, i.e. their purpose is to impose advantage/disadvantage or manipulate combat to some degree. In other words wargamey stuff. Finally green text stands for cantrips that permiss an otherwise out of control ability that must be bogged down with clauses in order to maintain "balance".

If we eliminate these three types of cantrips from the list we're only left with:

Mage Hand
Minor Illusion
Spare the Dying

Admittedly I actually like these cantrips because I think they are simplistic enough to be taken advantage of by a quick-witted player. However I think the list is too small to keep cantrips as a mechanic alive.

So let's try something different.

Let's say that magic users can perform the miracles outlined in these cantrips at will by right of being magical. A magic user can call forth a ball of light. She can summon an ethereal hand, fix a broken wheel with no tools, implant messages in the minds of others, and create sounds and images that aren't present currently.

Likewise lets say that clerics can spare the dying through touch alone. (Unless they're evil. Then they're touch probably makes things die quickly.)

The cost for these miracles shouldn't be too high. In a spell slot system I imagine they wouldn't cost a slot at all. If spell points are being utilized, 1 point seems sufficient.


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