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Author Topic: What is your opinion of Cantrips?  (Read 3328 times)

Razor 007

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What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« on: January 08, 2021, 12:41:27 AM »
The unlimited use, level 0 spells in D&D / PF.

Your caster is never out of spells, now.

Weak in 3.0 / 3.5 / PF 1E.

More powerful in 5E / PF 2E.

In 5E; Cantrips became almost like 1st level spells, but with unlimited castings.

I need you to roll a perception check.....

Two Crows

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2021, 01:30:24 AM »
When they debuted back in  the Unearthed Arcana, I liked them a lot.

Spell limits were pretty strict back then, and cantrips gave the Magic-Users the opportunity to be a little more free with their magic.  (The cantrips in UA were extremely weak, BTW).
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Ratman_tf

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2021, 02:06:20 AM »
As someone who regularly put wands of Magic Missile in adventures for the wizards so they had something to plink with when their one spell slot was expended, I'm fine with more powerful cantrips.
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Mishihari

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2021, 02:12:25 AM »
I like them as little flavorful, magics to make the magic-use a bit more useful.  I dislike them as almost-first-level-spells because they greatly increase the power of low level magic users.

Philotomy Jurament

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2021, 02:21:29 AM »
Can't say I ever found them worth worrying about. (Original D&D/1e AD&D.)
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Innocent Smith

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2021, 03:22:25 AM »
Damaging ones don't really need to exist, but otherwise they're good. If very small utility effects had a cost, no one would ever use them when you could use your resources to survive encounters.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2021, 03:25:10 AM by Innocent Smith »

jhkim

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2021, 03:49:39 AM »
Damaging ones don't really need to exist, but otherwise they're good. If very small utility effects had a cost, no one would ever use them when you could use your resources to survive encounters.

I have quibbles about some of the damaging ones, but in general, I think they're fine. Having played through lots of magic users just constantly throwing darts and daggers, it's nice to try out having more colorful attacks.

I'd be interested in seeing some alternate classes where magic works in different ways - like where all their magic is usable at will like cantrips. The various flavors of D&D have a lot of variety in some fashions, but magic is still very tied to the Vancian model. There are a lot of different ways that magic can be implemented, and some variety would be interesting.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2021, 06:30:17 AM »
In 5E, I'm OK with the way they are.  Not entirely satisfied, but OK.  I'd prefer that the cantrips had a burnout process as the default, with an optional rule to ignore it, getting back to the current 5E rules in the process.  I don't mind that cantrips get used a lot.  I do mind that the only cost is the opportunity cost of not casting another spell.  Of if you hate burnout, then give cantrips a slot count but make it generous--maybe equal to the casting stat.  A wizard with 16 cantrip slots is going to still use them a lot but there will at least be a little hesitation at times in favor of letting the martial characters handle things.

From a game design perspective, I dislike the way that D&D cantrips (over multiple editions) are shoehorned into the front of the spell level system as a special thing.  Sure, in AD&D, keeping compatibility, there is a good reason for it.  By the time the WotC editions came along, if we are going to have some weaker spells at the front of the progression, then monkey with the spell level chart to smooth it out.  (There's some work to be done at higher level spells, too, but that's neither here nor there for cantrip discussion.)  There's a lot of sharp edges in the design in the pursuit of putting more and more elements into the game while keeping burning hands and magic missile and sleep as 1st level spells.

Godfather Punk

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2021, 07:31:44 AM »
I like it because, like a fighter never runs out of Attack slots, Cantrips allow a MU to participate in an encounter, albeit in a lesser way, a bit longer than with just the available +Level Spells.
And as long as they keep casting Acid Splash, the DM has a good excuse for them drawing Agro from monsters that would otherwise concentrate on the Melee guys.

OTOH, what are people's opinions on Rituals, where you can cast a +Level Spell (outside of Combat) without spending a Spell Slot, just take 10 minutes to perform the ritual? Do you feel like these cause an imbalance to the Spell Slot economy?
« Last Edit: January 08, 2021, 07:33:24 AM by Godfather Punk »

Ghostmaker

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2021, 08:08:29 AM »
I like it because, like a fighter never runs out of Attack slots, Cantrips allow a MU to participate in an encounter, albeit in a lesser way, a bit longer than with just the available +Level Spells.
And as long as they keep casting Acid Splash, the DM has a good excuse for them drawing Agro from monsters that would otherwise concentrate on the Melee guys.

OTOH, what are people's opinions on Rituals, where you can cast a +Level Spell (outside of Combat) without spending a Spell Slot, just take 10 minutes to perform the ritual? Do you feel like these cause an imbalance to the Spell Slot economy?
Depends on the spell. Some spells frankly don't need to use spell slots -- they're usually magics that are 'out of combat' effects anyways.

I have a love/hate relationship with unlimited cantrips and orisons. On one hand, it allows casters to contribute after their spell slots are expended. On the other, if their power isn't strictly monitored they can screw things up. A classic example was create water for priests; when it became a 0-level spell, suddenly supply restrictions became a lot less effective.

Chris24601

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2021, 08:17:45 AM »
Regarding Rituals; first I hate the whole Vancian approach to magic in the first place (a mix of at-will and “power points” is my preferred magic system), so I find it a bit hard to judge.

My preference for rituals would be more akin to 4E rituals (or more accurately its martial practices where you spent daily healing surges to power them).

As to at-will cantrips; 4E is my preferred D&D edition (though not my overall favorite game) which is where At-Will “cantrips” really came into their own (3.5e Reserve Feats were the first, flawed, implementation).

In general, cantrips underperform bows and other ranged attacks (unless you’re a warlock with the right invocation... but that’s been the point of the warlock all the way back to 3e) so the idea that they can be used at least as often as a bow doesn’t strike me as unfair; particularly with the much smaller number of high level spells per day are available in 5e (the non-casters just need a few more bigger daily tricks at high levels to compete).

moonsweeper

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2021, 09:31:51 AM »
I liked the old 1e cantrips.

For later editions, I dislike the 'at-will' that actually has a specified 'mechanical' effect on the rules..(create water, etc)
No problems with things like prestidigitation.

In 5e, I limit the number of castings between rest periods for the damage causing ones.

I like the 5e rituals, but make them ritual-only

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estar

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2021, 09:43:46 AM »
The unlimited use, level 0 spells in D&D / PF.

Your caster is never out of spells, now.

In 5E; Cantrips became almost like 1st level spells, but with unlimited castings.
Well does your conception of how magic works in your setting include the above regardless of system?

If it does, then congrats 5e saved some work for you. If it doesn't then kick it out the door and don't use it in your campaigns. And luckily since d20 had cantrips as open content in a text editable format then some work has been done. Just take the d20 list and tweak the effect until cantrip work how you conceive cantrip working in your setting.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2021, 09:46:20 AM by estar »

Rhedyn

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2021, 11:47:42 AM »
Cantrips expended spell slots in 3e. In Pathfinder they were made into unlimited use.

Razor 007

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2021, 01:38:02 PM »
The unlimited use, level 0 spells in D&D / PF.

Your caster is never out of spells, now.

In 5E; Cantrips became almost like 1st level spells, but with unlimited castings.
Well does your conception of how magic works in your setting include the above regardless of system?

If it does, then congrats 5e saved some work for you. If it doesn't then kick it out the door and don't use it in your campaigns. And luckily since d20 had cantrips as open content in a text editable format then some work has been done. Just take the d20 list and tweak the effect until cantrip work how you conceive cantrip working in your setting.


Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't.
I need you to roll a perception check.....