Alternate Cantrips in 5th edition (Guest post by William C. Pfaff)

My man Brian Fitzpatrick is seeking some balance between 5E (and 4E’s) at-will damaging cantrips and the poor wizard of yesteryear who would cast sleep and then beg the party to do the same so he could get his lone spell back.

I gave this some serious thought and then realized the answer may be rooted more in fantasy fiction than fantasy gaming. Often times, wizards in novels tap as much into physical reserves as they do mental reserves. Hmmmm….. where can we go with this?

A wizard is lucky in that they do not suffer from needing multiple good abilities. Get your Intelligence high and you’re ready to roll otherwise. Strength is almost always a dump stat and if you’re not the party’s “face” Charisma follows suit. Dexterity (improved AC) and Constitution (Improved HPs) seem the best way to go for a secondary high ability score.

So let’s use the physical one (Constitution) and the mental one (Intelligence) to determine our daily Cantrip ability.

Under this system Wizards still learn cantrips at the same rate. However Intelligence Modifier and Constitution Modifier control the number of castings per day. And the good thing? It’s pretty simple.

The Modified Cantrip Rule

  • You may cast a number of cantrips per day equal to your Intelligence modifier without penalty.
  • You may cast an additional number of cantrips per day equal to your Constitution modifier each time taking one point of damage.

This gives the wizard a chance to pop off a few shots, and then decide if he or she really needs to use the others.

What do you think? Balanced or rubbish….let Brian and I know!

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

4 thoughts on “Alternate Cantrips in 5th edition (Guest post by William C. Pfaff)”

  1. Taking HP loss does not scale well with damage. Why not use an established 5e mechanic – lose a hit dice for each extra spell beyond Int mod?

    Then how about a save (Con) to avoid the loss.

      1. Dominic, I like the way you’re thinking but the key here is these are cantrips. The hit point loss is significant at lower levels (when casting extra cantrips matter) and becomes little more than an annoyance at higher levels (when cantrips no longer matter). That was the idea behind the scaling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.