July 28, 2017

New Cantrips

Spells
Notes from the Nails: cantrips are interesting spells. Given that there's no limit to how often they can be cast, there must be a limit to what they can do... but at the same time, many of them are quite powerful. At higher levels, damage cantrips outpace 1st and 2nd level spell slots, and utility cantrips like light and minor illusion never lose their shine. This is because most characters can only learn a small number of cantrips compared to regular spells, which means that there is a very high opportunity cost to each cantrip selection. With that in mind, here are a few more to make that choice even more difficult!

Bloody Lancet
Necromancy cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, M (a weapon)
Duration: Instantaneous

As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a weapon against one creature within the spell's range, otherwise the spell fails. On a hit, the target suffers the attack's normal effects and you drain life energy from them, gaining 1d4 temporary hit points.
     This spell deals additional damage when you reach higher levels. At 5th level, the melee attack deals an extra 1d6 necrotic damage to the target, and you gain 2d4 temporary hit points. The damage roll increases by a further 1d6 and the hit points by 1d4 at 11th level and 17th level.


Diamond Edge
Transmutation cantrip

Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a tiny diamond worth at least 1gp)
Duration: 1 minute

The edge of a slashing or piercing weapon you are holding is magically sharpened. For the duration, you can use your spellcasting ability instead of Strength or Dexterity for the attack and damage rolls of melee attacks using that weapon, and the weapon deals double damage to objects and structures. The weapon also becomes magical, if it isn’t already. The spell ends if you cast it again or if you let go of the weapon.


Flurry of Steel
Transmutation cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, M (a dagger)
Duration: Instantaneous

As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a dagger against one creature, otherwise the spell fails. If the attack hits, you can make another attack with the dagger against the same target. You cannot have advantage on any attacks made as part of this spell.
     This spell allows you to make more attacks when you reach higher levels. At 5th level you can make up to three attacks, up to four at 11th level and up to five at 17th level. You must hit with each attack in succession before you can roll the next one.


Legendary Libation
Conjuration cantrip

Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, M (a container for liquids, such as a mug, tankard, or flask, which is filled by the spell)
Duration: Instantaneous

You speak a word of power and your container fills with a drink of your choosing, which can be imbibed as an action. The drink is delicious and satisfies the drinker's thirst for the next 24 hours. Furthermore, the drinker has advantage on saving throws against becoming frightened for one hour after consuming this libation. If the drink is not consumed within one hour of being conjured, it loses its magic and turns into mundane, flavorless water.
     A creature cannot benefit from more than one legendary libation in any given 24-hour period.


Relaxing Meditation
Enchantment cantrip

Casting Time: 10 minutes
Range: Touch
Components: S
Duration: 1 hour

You perform a calming ritual that clears the head and makes it easier to focus on what you're doing. For the duration, whenever you are forced to make a saving throw to maintain your concentration, you have advantage on the save.


Soft Focus
Illusion cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

When you cast this spell, everything you see becomes slightly hazy and out-of-focus, which makes the world seem comforting and safe. You have advantage on Wisdom and Charisma saving throws for the duration.




Changelog: 28/07/17: Flurry of Steel: no advantage on attacks

36 comments:

  1. Hmm. I have a hard time deciding my opinion on some of these, as they definitely break the mold of the traditional cantrips.

    Combining Diamond Edge with Flurry of Steel creates a very powerful melee wizard... But I don't think it outshines other melee attackers, so it's probably ok.
    Legendary liberation is very useful to spam, but loses it's edge at higher levels, so that seems fine too. Also, I think it's quite a stretch to call a cantrip "Legendary", especially considering that word has very specific connotations in 5e.

    Relaxing meditation and Soft focus is where I'm more concerned. Concentration is a very important balancing tool for powerful spells, and it's not usually easy to get advantage on it (requiring either a feat or a specific class feature). I'm very reluctant to allow this as a DM.
    Soft focus reminds me of a 2nd level spell that I built, except it's better. Cantrips traditionally give either +1d4 or advantage on the NEXT roll, which seems much more fair.

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    1. Well, the balancing factor for Soft Focus is that it uses concentration and only protects one important save. I see it as quite a weak effect; it certainly wouldn't be the first cantrip on my shopping list as a player.

      Relaxing Meditation, on the other hand, takes 10 minutes to cast (or, you know, sit and meditate). You often won't have that luxury.

      The reason I chose 'legendary' is for the alliteration. And, to be fair, the core rules don't contain any drinks that are *better* than this one...

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    2. The core rules contain some pretty good potions. How about Luxurious Libation? Or Bolstering Beverage? Reinforcing Refreshment?

      Anyway, I guess both soft focus and relaxing meditation are situational -one for when you have time to prepare for combat and one for when you know you're fighting something frightening or mind-controlling- but both are still very powerful when they are relevant. I think both should apply only for the next save you make (with the duration of soft focus increased and concentration removed), but since the DM could just decide whether to allow them or not it's not really that much of an issue.

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    3. Potions aren't booze, though. I still think legendary and libation are the best words for what I want to express.

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    4. I think flurry of steel becomes a problem when taken by the right martial class like a ranger or paladin. Giving a paladin up to 5 attacks each with an extra 1d8 at level 11 becomes a problem. But to mention the sheer Nova potential it opens up for them.

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    5. Flurry of Steel is the one that worries me most, honestly. Clearly half-casters have the most abuse potential, as they have extra damage on each attack. There's some consolation in that they don't get cantrips as standard and therefore have to multiclasses or spend a feat, but is that enough?

      I'm open to suggestions for nerfing half-caster/Flurry of Steel combos.

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    6. Adam: It's 4 attacks at 11th level. You can't use the extra attack since the cantrip requires an action.

      I think only the paladin's (improved) smite is really a problem, but it's quite a big one (imagine a paladin 11/eldritch knight 3. My math says with action surge, all hits and all smites he can get to about 200 damage).

      I think the requirements of using a dagger + hitting all attacks + all attacking the same target should be enough. Another option is to limit it to once every 2 turns, or to give the last attack in the chain disadvantage.

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    7. Paladin 11/Fighter 3/Sorcerer 3/Warlock 3 has the potentual for 15 attacks. Ignoring the damage from the attacks themselves, Hex+Improved Divine Smite is doing 15d6+15d8, or 121 damage on average. Adding in Divine Smite, Eldritch Smite, Maneuvers, etc makes it pretty ridiculous. Without expending any resources beyond Hex, it is still 5d4+5d6+5d8 at will. It has the potential to be very problematic. I think the prerequisite of actually landing those attacks is a probably good enough though. Unless you're a Vengeance Pally and have advantage on all...

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    8. I'd be okay with adding something like 'disadvantage on any additional attacks', but I fear that'd make the spell pointless for non-paladins.

      What about 'you cannot have advantage on any attacks made with this spell'?

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    9. Can't have advantage seems fine enough. Specific powerbuilds will still be ridiculous, but this is nothing new, nor caused by this specific spell.

      btw Firblogger, you can do better with warlock 1 and ranger 2 (that takes another turn of preparation, but you need the preparation anyway since you mean to hex and also use the sorcerer's quicken).

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    10. So must i use a dagger or be holding one.because as a sword singer these spells make me not wabt to mc anymore

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    11. Even a tiny bit i might go full wizard instead of wizard 17 bard 3

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    12. It very definitely has to be daggers only. Not only would the DPR be crazy without that restriction, but the two things that inspired it are both related to daggers. Sorry.

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    13. Thats fine o.o but i only use teh rapier as a weak elf with strengt 12 and teh decks of 18 i am teh stonk elf i guess

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    14. Daggers are finesse weapons, you can use them with dexterity.

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  2. I can't say I'm super fond of the list. Legendary Libation in particular goes past utility to "danger negation".

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    1. That's kind of the point... they're not supposed to be a utility spells. These are more in the vein of the SCAG cantrips.

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    2. That being the case, I disagree with the point - giving a character a way to bypass environmental dangers from level 1 doesn't sit right with me.

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    3. Eh, Create or Destroy Water is available at 1st level, and much more powerful. If you really wanted thirst to be a threat to your players, you could always take away their fluid-containers...

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    4. Create and Destroy Water is also a 1st level spell and consumes your limited spell slots, unlike this spell. Same story with other spells like Goodberry. This spell on the other hand is a free handout that makes one of the most common hurdles of survival pointless, and can easily make you a god among men in certain settings.

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    5. Specifically, a desert setting, but I get your point. That being said, I don't think thirst is really an important concern in most D&D settings -- hence why create and destroy water is so easy to access. I feel like this cantrip is doing what a moderate Survival check could manage, and that doesn't strike me as particularly broken.

      That being said, the flip side of this is that, in spite of what "libation" might imply about its contents, the party will exclusively be drinking this liquid, and never filling their canteens with anything else.

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    6. To be fair, I've rarely played in game where things like those really come into any sort of real use, but I think the issue is more within the bounds of design philosophy more than actual use.

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    7. As somebody who's currently running a desert campaign with a degree of focus on survival I have to say that this isn't an imminent concern considering how many 1st level spells break survival.
      I've had to be very liberal with the nerf/ban hammer.

      Goodberry for instance states: "Eating a berry restores 1 hit point, and the berry provides enough nourishment to sustain a creature for one day."
      What does "nourishment to sustain" mean in this context? Does it also hydrate you?
      "Creature" is a term used to refer to anything, meaning that, RAW, this can feed vampires, zombies or a whale.

      This is dumb.
      The berries ain't that good.
      Even if you assume 'creature' to mean humanoid, it still allows a lvl-1 caster to sustain a party of 10 indefinitely.

      End rant.

      This cantrip isn't gamebreaking.
      DMs need to intervene with player spell selection when doing a non-generic campaign.

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    8. Goodberry is kind of crazy. I interpret 'nourish' as meaning 'satisfies food and drink requirement' - i.e. you can live off nothing but goodberries without becoming malnourished. That would mean that creatures that don't need to eat or drink (like most undead) would gain no benefit; it wouldn't satisfy a vampire's need for blood, for example.

      It should really have a size restriction though, because a whale clearly needs more food in a day than a human. How can the same berry be suitable for both?!

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  3. The majority of these are just busted beyond belief. Don't get me wrong, the design is interesting and I quite like these. But as actual spells, not Cantrips.

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    1. How so? (I know others have aired complaints, but they've not persuaded me that anything's broken, let alone "beyond belief".) I mean, would you take any of these over Booming Blade, Guidance or Minor Illusion?

      In every case here, there were specific reasons I didn't or couldn't make them full spells. Bloody Lancet and Flurry of Steel are balanced against the SCAG cantrips (except for the paladin-based exploit). Diamond edge is like a slashing/piercing version of Shillelagh. Legendary Libation, Soft Focus and Relaxing Meditation would all be completely irrelevant as spells, because you'd use Bless instead.

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  4. The only two I'd really permit are Diamond Edge and Bloody Lancet, although even Bloody Lancet is still a tad strong in my opinion.

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    1. Bloody Lancet mimics Greenflame Blade's design, along with a few others, and Diamonds Edge is just a more general use Shillelagh

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  5. Id take them in addition or to replace my non optimized flavor cantrips im a blade singer all these help out quite a bit

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  6. Bloody Lancet
    - A great option I can imagine my players taking to help flesh out a (mildly vampiric) character concept. De-linking damage and lifedrain works well on this scale.

    Flurry of Steel
    - Fun! Fine, power-wise, the no-advantage is a good call. I might keep this out of the Wizard class at my tables, but all in all a neat unique way to attack.

    Legendary Libation
    - Another interesting cantrip to pick from a player's standpoint. How could this influence the type of character your build? Could you be a folk hero barman who goes off to defend the land? The mechanical influence is nice when it comes up, but not something I think would be bothersome.
    Could scale to 2/mugs at a time at 5th, 3/11th etc., mostly as a ribbon.

    Relaxing Meditation
    - A ten minute casting time is neat, and a great way to call for a calm moment. I'd like it if you could cast it on yourself and up to one willing creature nearby. Maybe also something like advantage to checks made to keep your balance?

    Soft Focus
    - Sure! Works fine for me, and a savvy DM will know how/when to reward the player for picking this over a more general ability. Self-illusion protection is a great call.

    Diamond Edge
    - This is the one that I don't think I'd let run at my tables, or make available to a fairly restricted list. I'm not a fan of spellcasting-ability-towards-attack-and-damage for free, but I think I probably just have a personal bias against it. Of course next to Shillelagh it's fine enough, so these are quibbles. I'd be curious about restricting the weapon type? Probably unnecessary to have three separate cantrips for slashing/bludgeon/piercing, but that's the direction I would lean towards to encourage specialization.

    Really happy to see these, overall. Good to have additions alongside the SCAG ones to help players define their characters.

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  7. Is Flurry of Steel intended to make sneak attack not work? It would still work if flanking with an ally.

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    1. The 'no advantage' clause was added in as a post-hoc nerf to reduce the spell's power with vengeance paladins; I have nothing against sneak attack specifically but I'm okay with making you work a bit harder to get it.

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    2. You can only sneak attack once per turn, so it would only apply to the first attack, and only if you were flanking

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  8. How would Bloody Lancet sync with a Bladelock that has the Thirsting Blade invocation? Would it apply to just the first attack or both attacks?

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    1. Bloody Lancet is incompatible with Thirsting Blade, because Thirsting Blade only triggers when you take the 'Attack' action. Using Bloody Lancet requires the 'Cast a Spell' action. Sorry.

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    2. okay good! i was wondering about that but thought i was missing some technicality of the sort.

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