I noticed attack cantrips evolve, other cantrips don’t, why?

6 thoughts on “I noticed attack cantrips evolve, other cantrips don’t, why?

  1. D. Walker says:

    “The damage increase isn’t meant to make the damaging cantrips more impressive. It keeps them relevant. Maintaining relevance is the design goal for cantrips. Want to lift more than mage hand can lift? Use telekinesis.”

    I’m sorry, but this is bullshit.

    That’s like saying, “Want to deal more damage than Fire Bolt can deal? Use Fireball.”

    No! You can’t have it both ways! You can’t justify one cantrip getting more powerful to keep it relevant as an option that doesn’t require you to use up a spell slot, and then turn around and try to justify a different cantrip NOT getting more powerful by saying you could just spend a spell slot instead of use the cantrip!

    If a “Damage Cantrip” needs extra damage to remain relevant compared to higher level “Damage Spells”, then a “Utility Cantrip” also needs extra utility to remain revelant compared to higher level “Utility Spells”!

    That doesn’t mean that Mage Hand should end up being better than Telekinesis, anymore than it should mean that Fire Bolt should end up being better than Fireball. But it should at least have reasonable improvements.

    It really doesn’t make any sense for a master wizard’s Firebolt to be 4x as powerful as that of a total novice, but for the same master wizard’s Mage Hand to not be able to lift 4x as much weight as the novice’s spell can. And changing the spells to work that way wouldn’t hurt the game balance in any meaningful way.

  2. Derek Pounds says:

    Remember though that HP are abstract, and the greater damage doesn’t necessarily translate to a more powerful spell. That the fire bolt does 4x the damage doesn’t mean it’s 4x as hot. Rationalize it as the wizard has learned to better shape the spell to maximize it’s effect, is better at timing and placing the spell to increase the injury, or perhaps has learned to modify the spell to overcome as nearly undetectable amount of magic resistance that everyone possesses therefor increasing it’s effect. And if none of those answers work for you, then just house rule it and say that the effect of any cantrip is multiplied every 5 levels. I promise, the D&D Rules Squad isn’t going to kick in your door and tell you you’re doing it wrong.

  3. J Z says:

    Remember that not all spells get more powerful either. Some spells (like a lot of combat spells) gain more dice of damage when cast from a higher level spell slot. This is designed to make certain spells remain viable and useful later into the game, while still placing a limit on them (requiring more powerful spell slots). There really aren’t that many support or utility spells that get more powerful by up-casting.
    In this instance, it is a matter of “the spell is designed in such a way as to exert X amount of power”, regardless of the power of the mage himself. Combat spells are designed in such a way as to be an expression of power where Mage Hand was designed to be able to grasp small items from across the room. It is just as useful at level 20 as it is at level 1, and there isn’t much reason for it to be much more powerful at level 20.

  4. Dave says:

    DnD is a combat based RPG. Spell casters in previous editions faced the dilemma of using their spell slots or using some kind of weapon. Running out of spells really sucked and you don’t feel like a wizard if you are shooting a crossbow or swinging an axe all the time. The at will powers of DnD 4th Edition fixed this but people don’t like 4th so when 5th came along cantrips became at will powers. However it is pointless hurling a pathetic d10 damage at a creature with hit points in the hundreds, so they need to get stronger to do their job. If you want other/all spells to get better the more powerful the spell caster then house rule it. Personally I think it makes sense. If a wizard has increased the damage from his cantrip through cleaver use or the like he surly can do the same with his other spell.

  5. Lore says:

    I’ve always reasoned that the cantrip was a spell casters standard attack like swinging a sword for a fighter. So like a fighter you get to attack with it more times as you level.

  6. Panagiotis says:

    I agree with mr D. Walker for sure. Wizards of the Coast never admit that they are making mistakes and aren’t really interested in improving the balance of the game and the players enjoyment…

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