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Author Topic: What is your opinion of Cantrips?  (Read 2633 times)

Jaeger

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2021, 04:06:31 PM »
Personally, I don't like them, but players of spellcasters really seem to.

I don't like the way they break the way magic works otherwise.
...

D&D has been slowly moving away from pure vancian magic to something that is not thought through. "This seems more fun!" seems to be the extent of the current design philosophy.

IMHO, it high time the magic system had a true re-design, I would go to a spell/mana/magic point system. No free cantrips!

Gandalf carried around a sword for a reason.

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Mishihari

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2021, 09:55:31 PM »
Personally, I don't like them, but players of spellcasters really seem to.

I don't like the way they break the way magic works otherwise.
...

D&D has been slowly moving away from pure vancian magic to something that is not thought through. "This seems more fun!" seems to be the extent of the current design philosophy.

IMHO, it high time the magic system had a true re-design, I would go to a spell/mana/magic point system. No free cantrips!

Gandalf carried around a sword for a reason.

.

I'm not a fan of Vancian magic either, but it works okay for D&D.  And I don't think it's ever going to change.  A lot of folks, myself included, think of Vancian magic as one of the defining characteristics of D&D.  Take that away, and you might have a good RPG, but it's not D&D anymore.  I don't think WotC will take a chance on doing that after 4E ran into trouble for the same reason.

Eric Diaz

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2021, 09:59:55 PM »
Well... I'm kinda neutral on this one.

Do you want your wizards to shoot enemies with a crossbow or magic missile? The difference is fluff, mostly, unless you're keeping track of encumbrance/arrows, and even then, not that big.

So it depends on the setting, I'd say.

Bad in Middle-earth or Westeros, good in Ravnica or maybe Planescape.
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Chris24601

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2021, 12:33:22 AM »
Bad in Middle-earth or Westeros, good in Ravnica or maybe Planescape.
And mandatory in Thundarr the Barbarian or He-Man (though simultaneously not much stronger than a warrior's sword either).

Personally, I like at-will magic as an equalizer. If attack spells were objectively better than weapons, then the best warriors would be spellcasters, which means all the rulers would be spellcasters. But if the best combat magic is only on par with weapon attacks, it becomes a path for those who want to fight but lack the physical stats for weapons without overshadowing weapon skill.

Yeah, spellcasting is often considered rare in many settings, but then so are warriors with skill on par with a fighter (about 1-in-100 for professional, 1-in-1000 or less for A starting fighter).

Jaeger

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2021, 05:42:55 PM »

I'm not a fan of Vancian magic either, but it works okay for D&D.  And I don't think it's ever going to change.  A lot of folks, myself included, think of Vancian magic as one of the defining characteristics of D&D.  Take that away, and you might have a good RPG, but it's not D&D anymore.  I don't think WotC will take a chance on doing that after 4E ran into trouble for the same reason.

Well, IMHO it's not really vancian magic anymore though as you no longer have to select your spells ahead of time...

The "spell Slot" is just a 1:1 spell point system under another name. With the 'cantrip' as a patch so casters can feel magical and special all the time.
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tenbones

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2021, 02:57:16 PM »
As Rob mentioned...

My setting dictates the degree of both the necessity and power of magic. Not the rules in the book, they just describe how we're gonna do those magical things if they exist.

As for cantrips in how I like my "D&D fantasy" - I preferred the original UA. But that's because I want my magic to be rare and powerful. Just being a spellcaster in my games has some intrinsic meaning (like all classes) rather than just being a "magic-user level <X>". As such I don't mind my spellcasters doing neat little utilitarian effects to give them some flavor and role-playing fodder. Just like I don't mind even a 1-point damage spell they could fire off to zerk a pest without necessarily killing it. or whatever.

One of the greatest issues I have with the D&D is the sliding or non-existent context of these things we're engaging with. I find it's usually at the root of a lot of these questions. And to the OP I'm not taking a shot at you or anything, I'm merely posting my opinion based on the game. I perfectly understand why you'd ask that question. My aim is to bring you to our side and get you to answer it for yourself. (there is no right answer). ;)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 02:59:27 PM by tenbones »

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2021, 08:17:45 AM »

Quote
Personally, I like at-will magic as an equalizer. If attack spells were objectively better than weapons, then the best warriors would be spellcasters, which means all the rulers would be spellcasters.

I don't see a reason for such result necessary. Especially since sure maybe attack spell is better than weapon, but how about overall survivalibity of wizard, and fact that its way harder to become wizard than warrior?

Slambo

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2021, 10:44:09 AM »

Quote
Personally, I like at-will magic as an equalizer. If attack spells were objectively better than weapons, then the best warriors would be spellcasters, which means all the rulers would be spellcasters.

I don't see a reason for such result necessary. Especially since sure maybe attack spell is better than weapon, but how about overall survivalibity of wizard, and fact that its way harder to become wizard than warrior?

I dont think thats actually true. Fighters are supposed to be the best of the best not your average run of the mill warrior, and people with the aptitude to be the best of the best at anything are rare. I think the real issue in this is most of the time the fighter won't feel like they're really the best of the best because imo Fighter dont really feel like they're that good at fighting in many systems.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 10:46:56 AM by Slambo »

Razor 007

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2021, 10:47:24 AM »
As Rob mentioned...

My setting dictates the degree of both the necessity and power of magic. Not the rules in the book, they just describe how we're gonna do those magical things if they exist.

As for cantrips in how I like my "D&D fantasy" - I preferred the original UA. But that's because I want my magic to be rare and powerful. Just being a spellcaster in my games has some intrinsic meaning (like all classes) rather than just being a "magic-user level <X>". As such I don't mind my spellcasters doing neat little utilitarian effects to give them some flavor and role-playing fodder. Just like I don't mind even a 1-point damage spell they could fire off to zerk a pest without necessarily killing it. or whatever.

One of the greatest issues I have with the D&D is the sliding or non-existent context of these things we're engaging with. I find it's usually at the root of a lot of these questions. And to the OP I'm not taking a shot at you or anything, I'm merely posting my opinion based on the game. I perfectly understand why you'd ask that question. My aim is to bring you to our side and get you to answer it for yourself. (there is no right answer). ;)


A 1 point damage spell could dispatch a weak minion, or perhaps end the suffering of a dying comrade, or set off the trigger of a trap from a safe distance.  It's still very useful.
I need you to roll a perception check.....

Razor 007

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2021, 10:50:11 AM »

Quote
Personally, I like at-will magic as an equalizer. If attack spells were objectively better than weapons, then the best warriors would be spellcasters, which means all the rulers would be spellcasters.

I don't see a reason for such result necessary. Especially since sure maybe attack spell is better than weapon, but how about overall survivalibity of wizard, and fact that its way harder to become wizard than warrior?

I dont think thats actually true. Fighters are supposed to be the best of the best not your average run of the mill warrior, and people with the aptitude to be the best of the best at anything are rare. I think the real issue in this is most of the time the fighter won't feel like they're really the best of the best because imo Fighter dont really feel like they're that good at fighting in many systems.


Then perhaps Fighters should always do double damage in Melee?
I need you to roll a perception check.....

Chris24601

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2021, 11:41:10 AM »
Then perhaps Fighters should always do double damage in Melee?
Or mooks need to be appropriately scaled. 0-level and sub-1HD creatures existed in AD&D for a reason. A 1st level fighter was already superior to a 0-level warrior and got significantly better from there (a 4th level fighter probably had 5x the hit points, a much better THACO, 4 attacks per round against <1HD opponents, etc.).

By contrast, WotC editions all make a default NPCs equal or better than a 1st level fighter.

Consider that in 1e a Fighter began with the title of veteran. You have seen some action, and fight better than a default soldier. In 5e a default guard has the same hp as a starting fighter with a +1 Con, about the same AC and only slightly behind on hitting and damage. Meanwhile a veteran in 5e is defined as a 9HD (58 hp) opponent who can attack up to three times per round (CR 3, so a challenge for a whole party of third level PCs by himself).

PCs by default aren't much better than mooks to start in 5e... a 1d10 damage cantrip can't even drop a single average guard in one hit outside of a critical hit and +5 vs. AC 16 means it'll miss half the time. Needing probably 3-4 attacks to drop a single default guard isn't earth-shaking by any means. Against a 5e veteran they'd be virtually useless.

By contrast, an at-will attack cantrip that did 1d6 on a hit with a range of 3" in 1e would be quite useful to borderline overpowered depending on the hit mechanics (ex. if it used THACO and Dex mod as a ranged attack, it'd be slightly better than a dart or hurled dagger for a wizard... using a fighter's THACO for the attack or treating Int as a mod to hit and damage could be near broken in 1e).

Basically, we can't really judge at-will cantrips without the larger context of the edition they're found in.

Slambo

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2021, 12:43:06 PM »

Quote
Personally, I like at-will magic as an equalizer. If attack spells were objectively better than weapons, then the best warriors would be spellcasters, which means all the rulers would be spellcasters.

I don't see a reason for such result necessary. Especially since sure maybe attack spell is better than weapon, but how about overall survivalibity of wizard, and fact that its way harder to become wizard than warrior?

I dont think thats actually true. Fighters are supposed to be the best of the best not your average run of the mill warrior, and people with the aptitude to be the best of the best at anything are rare. I think the real issue in this is most of the time the fighter won't feel like they're really the best of the best because imo Fighter dont really feel like they're that good at fighting in many systems.


Then perhaps Fighters should always do double damage in Melee?

It doesnt need to double...but for me the Deed die in DCC really makes fighters stand out.

Razor 007

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #42 on: January 13, 2021, 03:58:11 PM »

Quote
Personally, I like at-will magic as an equalizer. If attack spells were objectively better than weapons, then the best warriors would be spellcasters, which means all the rulers would be spellcasters.

I don't see a reason for such result necessary. Especially since sure maybe attack spell is better than weapon, but how about overall survivalibity of wizard, and fact that its way harder to become wizard than warrior?

I dont think thats actually true. Fighters are supposed to be the best of the best not your average run of the mill warrior, and people with the aptitude to be the best of the best at anything are rare. I think the real issue in this is most of the time the fighter won't feel like they're really the best of the best because imo Fighter dont really feel like they're that good at fighting in many systems.


Then perhaps Fighters should always do double damage in Melee?

It doesnt need to double...but for me the Deed die in DCC really makes fighters stand out.


Yes, DCC is a good source of inspiration.  Bonuses to Hit, and to cause Damage for Fighters of levels 1 through 10, per round could be:

d3, d4, d5, d6, d7, d8, d10, d10+1, d10+2, d10+3
I need you to roll a perception check.....

deadDMwalking

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #43 on: January 13, 2021, 07:55:15 PM »
d3, d4, d5, d6, d7, d8, d10, d10+1, d10+2, d10+3

Damage is only a part of the equation.  Accuracy (percent hit) and durability (opponent hit points) matter, too. 

Obviously, increasing the damage for the Fighter (and not other characters) means they're doing more damage, but it is not clear to what effect. Getting an extra d6 per round (3.5 damage on a hit) doesn't necessarily change how long it takes to drop a 10 hp creature or a 20 hp creature, depending on the rest of the damage. 

Ie, a Fighter doing 1d10+10 is going to drop a 10-hp opponent with one hit without another +1d6 damage.  The odds of dropping a 20 hp foe in a single hit increase from 10% (rolling a 10 on damage) to 45% (rolling a combination of d10+d6 that totals 10 or better or 27/60).  But against an opponent that had 30 hit points, the extra d6 wouldn't matter unless the fighter had poor damage rolls. 

A lot of game design is like that - someone thinks giving someone a benefit is going to solve some perceived problem, but once you dig in, it might not be the solution that you expected it to be.  It's my take that a lot of people try to fix something like the fighters by giving them a damage bonus, but the that becomes the excuse for why they can't provide something else.  Ie, if we 'already fixed the fighter', then you don't need to do another fix.  But a little extra damage probably doesn't solve the problem. 

Take a fighter (any edition) and a troll (any edition) and you'll see that adding more damage is probably not going to give the fighter anything resembling a fighting chance.  Unfortunately, D&D (and clones) don't typically give fighters tactical options like impaling a troll on a boar spear and holding them at bay.  Ultimately, there's a disconnect between the fiction and the game mechanics - fighters fight with intelligent using terrain, tools and tactics against monsters who are stronger, tougher and have bigger weapons.  You can make a Fighter who has an AC, hit points, and damage equal to a dragon, but most people don't REALLY think that's the right level of balance. 
When I say objectively, I mean 'subjectively'.  When I say literally, I mean 'figuratively'.  
And when I say that you are a horse's ass, I mean that the objective truth is that you are a literal horse's ass.

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. - Peter Drucker

Slambo

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Re: What is your opinion of Cantrips?
« Reply #44 on: January 13, 2021, 10:06:13 PM »

Quote
Personally, I like at-will magic as an equalizer. If attack spells were objectively better than weapons, then the best warriors would be spellcasters, which means all the rulers would be spellcasters.

I don't see a reason for such result necessary. Especially since sure maybe attack spell is better than weapon, but how about overall survivalibity of wizard, and fact that its way harder to become wizard than warrior?

I dont think thats actually true. Fighters are supposed to be the best of the best not your average run of the mill warrior, and people with the aptitude to be the best of the best at anything are rare. I think the real issue in this is most of the time the fighter won't feel like they're really the best of the best because imo Fighter dont really feel like they're that good at fighting in many systems.


Then perhaps Fighters should always do double damage in Melee?

It doesnt need to double...but for me the Deed die in DCC really makes fighters stand out.


Yes, DCC is a good source of inspiration.  Bonuses to Hit, and to cause Damage for Fighters of levels 1 through 10, per round could be:

d3, d4, d5, d6, d7, d8, d10, d10+1, d10+2, d10+3

Yeah, and the mighty deeds of arms too.