D&D 5th Edition: Magic Initiate and Cantrips in General.

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I love 5th Edition D&D. I especially love that its appearance delivered the deathblow to that abomination called 4th Ed. D&D.

But mostly I love the Cantrips. With 5th Ed Cantrips can be cast at will and as many times as you please. This has changed the magic using classes' tactics enormously: No longer must a Wizard sweat in fear during battle as their precious few magic missile spells run out. Now a magic user can lob fire, acid, or rays of frost endlessly.

But it is the Magic Initiate feat that really makes me giddy. This feat permits anyone to select two cantrips and one 1st level spell from any class spell list (must be the same list). This means a barbarian choosing spells from the Warlock list can pick Eldritch Blast, Shocking Grasp, and, yes, Magic Missile and wield said spells throughout their career.

Best of all combat cantrips scale with character--not class--levels. Our good barbarian will be zapping buggaboos with increasingly powerful spells throughout his career. You bad, barbarian, you bad!

Do you think the new application of cantrips makes the game better or worse?

What do you think of this feat and cantrips in general? Do you have memorable character designs with which you incorporated this feat?

A Barbarian with cantrips will have a shit spell attack bonus and a shit spell save DC. Still, it's a nice ace up the sleeve.

But I like cantrips. It means casters aren't bored to tears in combat once they run out of the meagre spellslots they have. Especially on lower levels. I think they're pretty okay balanced too. Except Eldritch Blast. Goddamn Warlocks, goddamn.

Cowabungaa:
A Barbarian with cantrips will have a shit spell attack bonus and a shit spell save DC. Still, it's a nice ace up the sleeve.

Just for fun here's our barbarian.

Note: I'm making our developing barbarian female because Conan clones are boring.

So, whoever comments throw in a suggestion for building our She-Conan. Perhaps beginning with a decent name. :D

Blade ward would be really good on a barbarian. You'd get resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing without raging.
I think not picking any ranged cantrips would be sensible only because of the disadvantage if an enemy is within 5 feet and that's a barbarian's favorite place.

Would you allow spell casting during a rage? It may be hard to do any verbal or hand gestures when foaming at the mouth with anger.
(That's only meta-game thinking though.)

Basement Cat:
Note: I'm making our developing barbarian female because Conan clones are boring.

As boring as the side-shave haircut, heejooo. There's more ways to go about barbarians though. Mine is a big, burly black man with cornrows, a smile on his face, 12 Intelligence, 5 languages under his belt and is a total geek about herbalism. Writes a monthly letter to his apothecary parents detailing his travels, including sketches of interesting herbs he found. He's a good lad, helping villages with minor medical problems and all that. And because he hates to get angry he usually uses some of that herb knowledge for an extra er, kick in battle, so to speak. Good stuff man. Even the pictures of those ladies just depict angry, primitive warriors. That's dull regardless of gender if you ask me.

Dr.Susse:

Would you allow spell casting during a rage? It may be hard to do any verbal or hand gestures when foaming at the mouth with anger.
(That's only meta-game thinking though.)

Not that meta if you're the GM though, which I usually am. That's actually something I never thought of before.

Dr.Susse:
Blade ward would be really good on a barbarian. You'd get resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing without raging.
I think not picking any ranged cantrips would be sensible only because of the disadvantage if an enemy is within 5 feet and that's a barbarian's favorite place.

Would you allow spell casting during a rage? It may be hard to do any verbal or hand gestures when foaming at the mouth with anger.
(That's only meta-game thinking though.)

Definitely no cantrips during a rage. I ran across that very question and its definitely against the rules for someone Raging to be able to cast spells.

Blade Ward is a practical spell for a hand to hand combatant. And though she can't cast it while Raging she'll be fighting without raging (which only lasts 1 minute--which is ridiculous) more often than not.

Cowabungaa:

Basement Cat:
Note: I'm making our developing barbarian female because Conan clones are boring.

As boring as the side-shave haircut, heejooo. There's more ways to go about barbarians though. Mine is a big, burly black man with cornrows, a smile on his face, 12 Intelligence, 5 languages under his belt and is a total geek about herbalism. Writes a monthly letter to his apothecary parents detailing his travels, including sketches of interesting herbs he found. He's a good lad, helping villages with minor medical problems and all that. And because he hates to get angry he usually uses some of that herb knowledge for an extra er, kick in battle, so to speak. Good stuff man. Even the pictures of those ladies just depict angry, primitive warriors. That's dull regardless of gender if you ask me.

One thought I've had since reading 8 Bit Theater was having a character who was a berserker in battle but an eloquent bardic type outside of battle--a skald, I believe they're called.

Cantrip wise then our Barbarian would want the Prestidigitation Cantrip for performance use.

While she's a barbarian by class she's less the Conan type and more...something else?

So all we lack is her 1st Level Spell:

Barbarian

Race: Human
Sex: Female

Cantrips: Blade Ward, Prestidigitation.

Future Plans: Multiclass to Bard in order to become a Skald.

It is easily in my top 3 improvements of 5e.

Basement Cat:
I especially love that its appearance delivered the deathblow to that abomination called 4th Ed. D&D.

4E was good at what it was: Tactical and balanced.
4E was a huuuuuuuuuuuuuu(There aren't enough Us in the world, but assume I put a bunch more)ge improvement over 3X.
3X is MunchkinLand.
3X is soooo bad that it took 3 tries, and two companies to even make it come close to resembling a functional game.
Cantrips are just a re-visitation of one of the many great things about 4E: At Will abilities.
I like them, and I'm glad 4E added them.

I was fine with the Magic Initiate Feat until the Sword Coast Adventure Guide came around. Those cantrips are fine for a bladesinger wizard.
The problem is that asshole munchkin who doesn't want to stay in his 3X corner.
He'll come in with some weird combo of paladin (only 2 levels to get the power to smite, and better starting proficiencies, but before any of the teamwork boosting stuff or roleplay requirements) and cleric. (for the flat boost to attacks and the increased spell progression to smite harder and longer) Then he'll be stacking SCAG cantrips so his single hits are obscene, and I presume deliberately misreading some rules here and there about things like multiclass spellcasting.

Let's look at the rogue as another example: They get one attack per turn, so the SCAG cantrips are a straight damage boost, and stack with sneak-attack. (ignoring the silly flavor of it.) There is no reason for a rogue not to.

Here's the thing about Munchkins: They dominate everything they do to an obscene degree. This leaves everyone else feeling useless, and leaves the encounters as an insufficient challenge. At that point the GM...
A: Carries on. It continues to be a one man show and life is worse for everyone.
B: Scales things up so they're on par with the Munchkin. That can go one of two ways:
B1: Everyone else in the party becomes more useless than ever, and suffer for the munchkin's fun.
B2: Everyone has to become a Munchkin themselves to keep up. Everyone suffers for the Munchkin's fun.

Munchkins: Not even once. Send them back to 3X where they belong.

The solution to this is that feats and multiclassing are not in the base game; they are variant rules that the DM must first allow.

Dr.Susse:
Would you allow spell casting during a rage? It may be hard to do any verbal or hand gestures when foaming at the mouth with anger.

I don't think I've seen any system that allows a Raging Barbarian to cast spells without the use of class features or other feats/items. Pathfinder has the Hybrid Class Bloodrager, which could cast spells while raging once it hit 4th level. Most online resources I can find for 5e state that a Barbarian cannot cast spells or concentrate while raging.

Reading up on Barbarian, I'm not too sure I like the limitations on how many times per day you can rage. While it was a little tedious to keep track of how many rounds per day I raged, I didn't get fucked out of one of my daily uses of rage if a battle only lasted for ~4 rounds instead of 10, I still had my other ~16 or so rounds per day I could use throughout the day in as short or long an interval I wanted/needed. Perhaps it becomes less of an issue once you've hit the first couple milestones, I guess I'll see if I decide to roll up a Barbarian in an upcoming 5e game.

Souplex:
(SNIP)

Munchkins: Not even once. Send them back to 3X where they belong.

Well thankfully there is a simple solution to this problem, the GM can just not allow the feats and that way the rogue/paladin munchkin can't use the cantrips.

Shdwrnr:

The solution to this is that feats and multiclassing are not in the base game; they are variant rules that the DM must first allow.

Eh? Multi-classing is in the 5e Player's Handbook alright, and it's legal in the Adventurer's League as well. I mean sure the DM has to allow them, but the DM has to allow everything.

Basement Cat:
snip

Skald-style hm? That's more like it. You'll better make sure you have enough Charisma though. 13 Might be the lower limit, but you need at least 16 if you ask me to be effective. Given, I've multiclassed before into Cleric with only 13 Wisdom and it worked alright, especially if you go down the buffing route.

Souplex:
snip

I'm so glad to hear this. I'm not a huge fan of 4e, but way too many people forget how it compares to 3X and what the 3X editions really entail.

Cowabungaa:

Basement Cat:
snip

Skald-style hm? That's more like it. You'll better make sure you have enough Charisma though. 13 Might be the lower limit, but you need at least 16 if you ask me to be effective. Given, I've multiclassed before into Cleric with only 13 Wisdom and it worked alright, especially if you go down the buffing route.

Barbarian first or second, though. First would be true role playing and be in keeping with OotS's non-maximized approach. Meta-thinking would oblige the Bard class first to get all of the Bard toys. But then she wouldn't get all of the Barbarian toys.

Decisions...decisions...

Souplex:

I was fine with the Magic Initiate Feat until the Sword Coast Adventure Guide came around. Those cantrips are fine for a bladesinger wizard.
The problem is that asshole munchkin who doesn't want to stay in his 3X corner.
He'll come in with some weird combo of paladin (only 2 levels to get the power to smite, and better starting proficiencies, but before any of the teamwork boosting stuff or roleplay requirements) and cleric. (for the flat boost to attacks and the increased spell progression to smite harder and longer) Then he'll be stacking SCAG cantrips so his single hits are obscene, and I presume deliberately misreading some rules here and there about things like multiclass spellcasting.

Let's look at the rogue as another example: They get one attack per turn, so the SCAG cantrips are a straight damage boost, and stack with sneak-attack. (ignoring the silly flavor of it.) There is no reason for a rogue not to.

Here's the thing about Munchkins: They dominate everything they do to an obscene degree. This leaves everyone else feeling useless, and leaves the encounters as an insufficient challenge. At that point the GM...
A: Carries on. It continues to be a one man show and life is worse for everyone.
B: Scales things up so they're on par with the Munchkin. That can go one of two ways:
B1: Everyone else in the party becomes more useless than ever, and suffer for the munchkin's fun.
B2: Everyone has to become a Munchkin themselves to keep up. Everyone suffers for the Munchkin's fun.

Munchkins: Not even once. Send them back to 3X where they belong.

I don't have the SCAG and don't play with any munchkins, thank goodness. My group is all about flavor. We don't obsess over maxing out combat talents, etc.

My Paladin (Green Knight) took the hermit background and the Magic Initiate feat.

He's an animist so he doesn't worship gods. He chose the Druid spell list and selected cantrips in keeping with his background:
1. Druidcraft: He communes with nature.
2. Produce Flame: He'll never be without a source of light (no small thing when you don't have electricity and light bulbs) and he'll always have a potential weapon.

For his 1st level spell he selected Goodberry: "I'll never be hungry again!"

Just how bad/O.P. are cantrips from the non-core rule books?

Cowabungaa:

Eh? Multi-classing is in the 5e Player's Handbook alright, and it's legal in the Adventurer's League as well. I mean sure the DM has to allow them, but the DM has to allow everything.

PHB page 163, Chapter 6: Customization Options - "This chapter defines two optional sets of rules for customizing your character: multiclassing and feats... Your DM decides whether these options are available in a campaign."

Multiclassing and feats are variant rules and not a part of vanilla 5e, just like the variant human race and all the other sidebars that describe variants rules.

Shdwrnr:
PHB page 163, Chapter 6: Customization Options - "This chapter defines two optional sets of rules for customizing your character: multiclassing and feats... Your DM decides whether these options are available in a campaign."

Multiclassing and feats are variant rules and not a part of vanilla 5e, just like the variant human race and all the other sidebars that describe variants rules.

And this matters how, exactly? Multiclassing is pretty much universally excepted. I mean, even the fun-killers in the Adventurer's League allow it, which is as close as a 'legal authority' you'll get in D&D to mirror a GM's decisions to, so I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.

Basement Cat:
Barbarian first or second, though. First would be true role playing and be in keeping with OotS's non-maximized approach. Meta-thinking would oblige the Bard class first to get all of the Bard toys. But then she wouldn't get all of the Barbarian toys.

Decisions...decisions...

Barbarian second, I feel. A Valor Bard is pretty martial as is so it's not like you can't fight with it. You could play it like a Bard who went into battle to fight alongside her society's warriors, or simply to fight with the party, to gather their stories as close to the source as possible and found out she has an inner battle rage she didn't know she had before.

Basement Cat:

Souplex:

I was fine with the Magic Initiate Feat until the Sword Coast Adventure Guide came around. Those cantrips are fine for a bladesinger wizard.
The problem is that asshole munchkin who doesn't want to stay in his 3X corner.
He'll come in with some weird combo of paladin (only 2 levels to get the power to smite, and better starting proficiencies, but before any of the teamwork boosting stuff or roleplay requirements) and cleric. (for the flat boost to attacks and the increased spell progression to smite harder and longer) Then he'll be stacking SCAG cantrips so his single hits are obscene, and I presume deliberately misreading some rules here and there about things like multiclass spellcasting.

Let's look at the rogue as another example: They get one attack per turn, so the SCAG cantrips are a straight damage boost, and stack with sneak-attack. (ignoring the silly flavor of it.) There is no reason for a rogue not to.

Here's the thing about Munchkins: They dominate everything they do to an obscene degree. This leaves everyone else feeling useless, and leaves the encounters as an insufficient challenge. At that point the GM...
A: Carries on. It continues to be a one man show and life is worse for everyone.
B: Scales things up so they're on par with the Munchkin. That can go one of two ways:
B1: Everyone else in the party becomes more useless than ever, and suffer for the munchkin's fun.
B2: Everyone has to become a Munchkin themselves to keep up. Everyone suffers for the Munchkin's fun.

Munchkins: Not even once. Send them back to 3X where they belong.

I don't have the SCAG and don't play with any munchkins, thank goodness. My group is all about flavor. We don't obsess over maxing out combat talents, etc.

My Paladin (Green Knight) took the hermit background and the Magic Initiate feat.

He's an animist so he doesn't worship gods. He chose the Druid spell list and selected cantrips in keeping with his background:
1. Druidcraft: He communes with nature.
2. Produce Flame: He'll never be without a source of light (no small thing when you don't have electricity and light bulbs) and he'll always have a potential weapon.

For his 1st level spell he selected Goodberry: "I'll never be hungry again!"

Well that all sounds wonderfully fluffy. Nothing is bad when it's done sub-optimally for flavor. The problem is the Munchkins.

Just how bad/O.P. are cantrips from the non-core rule books?

Honestly, on their own they're fine. It's when they get stacked with sneak-attack, Divine Smites, divine strike, or any other form of multiclass munchkinry that they become obnoxious.
https://www.dnd-spells.com/spell/green-flame-blade
https://www.dnd-spells.com/spell/booming-blade
By default they're only available to Sorcerers, Warlocks and Wizards. In the hands of those classes they're fine.
Although that munchkin I mentioned before decided to go completely overboard when we did a character switch-up before starting our high-level spelljammer campaign. He created a Paladin 2 (For equipment proficiencies and smites)/Weird UA Warlock 1 (For the first level ability that lets you add your charisma to fire/radiant damage. (Side-note, Unearthed Arcana straight-up says it's not balanced with multi-classing in mind yet. If someone multi-classes a UA at your table, they are a Munchkin. Stab them.)) and then 11 levels of Dragon Sorcerer (for spellcasting progression, and the dragon bloodline's ability to add your charisma to fire spells.)
The character also had rolled stats at a table where everyone else had arrays/point-buy. He swears he just happened to roll 2 18s and a 16. Our GM at the time was overworked and coming in late, so he didn't have time to police our sheets.
To top it all off this character was an Aasimar (Half-angels introduced in the Volo's splatbook, (The other races in that book are functional, balanced and not munchkin-bait, but fuck Aasimars) who have the daily ability to power up so they can add their level to one attack or spell a turn) bringing the character up to 2 splats, a UA, 3 classes, and 2 feats.
So basically whenever he Green Flame Blade'd he'd add double his charisma, + his dex, plus his level, plus the smite.
Then we went into a battle where there was a wild-magic field and he couldn't immediately dominate everything. (It was super-fun. Whenever we cast a spell it had a chance of failing and being replaced with a roll on the wild magic table. There were flumphs and potted plants everywhere)
He quit in a huff after that.

Cowabungaa:

And this matters how, exactly? Multiclassing is pretty much universally excepted. I mean, even the fun-killers in the Adventurer's League allow it, which is as close as a 'legal authority' you'll get in D&D to mirror a GM's decisions to, so I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.

I'm saying that, while a DM has fiat to nix anything they want, in this particular case, they can point to the book and say, "This isn't part of the base game and we're not using it." and come at it from a position that is harder to argue against.

I've had a half-serious vendetta against cantrips in 5e ever since I put together a fun dungeon run and one of the players made a character for it we now affectionately call the Eldrich machine-gunner. Motherfucker blew up a boss with rapid-fire Eldrich blasts after having engineered a character specifically all around that one goddamn cantrip.

All above-board, hilarious at the time, but my god did it make balancing what followed a pain in the ass. See it's easy enough to negate cantrips when planning an encounter, but then that wouldn't have been any fun for the player since, well, eldrich blast is all they had so instead I had to try and find some balance between the two.

My half-assed solution was to tweak the fights so that while certain enemies had resistances and immunities to his rapid-fire-cantrip, there were others that didn't who could sometimes threaten to overwhelm the group, or there would be some task that the cantrip could be put to use doing. Luckily this was just for a two or three session dungeon run and not a full campaign or it would have gotten tired super quick.

Infinite cantrips were a thing in 4E, just to provide a minor correction. Or at least, most of what are considered cantrips in 3E and 5E were at-will powers for wizards in 4E, so they were functionally infinite cantrips.
Not to say I particularly like 4E, because I don't, but it's technically incorrect to state that this is a new thing for 5E. I just wanted to bring this up.

Kotaro:
Infinite cantrips were a thing in 4E, just to provide a minor correction. Or at least, most of what are considered cantrips in 3E and 5E were at-will powers for wizards in 4E, so they were functionally infinite cantrips.
Not to say I particularly like 4E, because I don't, but it's technically incorrect to state that this is a new thing for 5E. I just wanted to bring this up.

The thing I've realized is that almost none of the 4E haters have actually played 4E, it's just a massive hate-train.

Souplex:

Basement Cat:
I especially love that its appearance delivered the deathblow to that abomination called 4th Ed. D&D.

4E was good at what it was: Tactical and balanced.
4E was a huuuuuuuuuuuuuu(There aren't enough Us in the world, but assume I put a bunch more)ge improvement over 3X.
3X is MunchkinLand.
3X is soooo bad that it took 3 tries, and two companies to even make it come close to resembling a functional game.
Cantrips are just a re-visitation of one of the many great things about 4E: At Will abilities.
I like them, and I'm glad 4E added them.

I was fine with the Magic Initiate Feat until the Sword Coast Adventure Guide came around. Those cantrips are fine for a bladesinger wizard.
The problem is that asshole munchkin who doesn't want to stay in his 3X corner.
He'll come in with some weird combo of paladin (only 2 levels to get the power to smite, and better starting proficiencies, but before any of the teamwork boosting stuff or roleplay requirements) and cleric. (for the flat boost to attacks and the increased spell progression to smite harder and longer) Then he'll be stacking SCAG cantrips so his single hits are obscene, and I presume deliberately misreading some rules here and there about things like multiclass spellcasting.

Let's look at the rogue as another example: They get one attack per turn, so the SCAG cantrips are a straight damage boost, and stack with sneak-attack. (ignoring the silly flavor of it.) There is no reason for a rogue not to.

Here's the thing about Munchkins: They dominate everything they do to an obscene degree. This leaves everyone else feeling useless, and leaves the encounters as an insufficient challenge. At that point the GM...
A: Carries on. It continues to be a one man show and life is worse for everyone.
B: Scales things up so they're on par with the Munchkin. That can go one of two ways:
B1: Everyone else in the party becomes more useless than ever, and suffer for the munchkin's fun.
B2: Everyone has to become a Munchkin themselves to keep up. Everyone suffers for the Munchkin's fun.

Munchkins: Not even once. Send them back to 3X where they belong.

Y'know, I'm glad you said this. I knew that 4th edition had its detractors at launch, but I was surprised by the longevity of the hate, to the point where I'm not sure if the haters are really persistent, or if former fans turned against it.

I for one remember the problems associated with 3rd and 3.5 eds and how 4th ed fixed them. The empty levels, the rolling a 1 for hp on second level, easily abused stat tricks, the fact that beyond level 6 fighter's attacks are so useless that the player might as well 'wank' as their standard action instead of fighting.

Haven't played 5th yet, though, so maybe it fixed this.

R Man:

Souplex:

Basement Cat:
I especially love that its appearance delivered the deathblow to that abomination called 4th Ed. D&D.

4E was good at what it was: Tactical and balanced.
4E was a huuuuuuuuuuuuuu(There aren't enough Us in the world, but assume I put a bunch more)ge improvement over 3X.
3X is MunchkinLand.
3X is soooo bad that it took 3 tries, and two companies to even make it come close to resembling a functional game.
Cantrips are just a re-visitation of one of the many great things about 4E: At Will abilities.
I like them, and I'm glad 4E added them.

I was fine with the Magic Initiate Feat until the Sword Coast Adventure Guide came around. Those cantrips are fine for a bladesinger wizard.
The problem is that asshole munchkin who doesn't want to stay in his 3X corner.
He'll come in with some weird combo of paladin (only 2 levels to get the power to smite, and better starting proficiencies, but before any of the teamwork boosting stuff or roleplay requirements) and cleric. (for the flat boost to attacks and the increased spell progression to smite harder and longer) Then he'll be stacking SCAG cantrips so his single hits are obscene, and I presume deliberately misreading some rules here and there about things like multiclass spellcasting.

Let's look at the rogue as another example: They get one attack per turn, so the SCAG cantrips are a straight damage boost, and stack with sneak-attack. (ignoring the silly flavor of it.) There is no reason for a rogue not to.

Here's the thing about Munchkins: They dominate everything they do to an obscene degree. This leaves everyone else feeling useless, and leaves the encounters as an insufficient challenge. At that point the GM...
A: Carries on. It continues to be a one man show and life is worse for everyone.
B: Scales things up so they're on par with the Munchkin. That can go one of two ways:
B1: Everyone else in the party becomes more useless than ever, and suffer for the munchkin's fun.
B2: Everyone has to become a Munchkin themselves to keep up. Everyone suffers for the Munchkin's fun.

Munchkins: Not even once. Send them back to 3X where they belong.

Y'know, I'm glad you said this. I knew that 4th edition had its detractors at launch, but I was surprised by the longevity of the hate, to the point where I'm not sure if the haters are really persistent, or if former fans turned against it.

I for one remember the problems associated with 3rd and 3.5 eds and how 4th ed fixed them. The empty levels, the rolling a 1 for hp on second level, easily abused stat tricks, the fact that beyond level 6 fighter's attacks are so useless that the player might as well 'wank' as their standard action instead of fighting.

Haven't played 5th yet, though, so maybe it fixed this.

Cowabungaa:
But I like cantrips. It means casters aren't bored to tears in combat once they run out of the meagre spellslots they have. Especially on lower levels. I think they're pretty okay balanced too. Except Eldritch Blast. Goddamn Warlocks, goddamn.

I agree that the 5e cantrips are a big boon to casters at lower levels, but at higher levels, do people really regularly run out of useful spells in an average adventuring day?

We run a low-optimization (3.5, not 5e) campaign and my Lv11 Wizard has yet to use up all his slots in one day, unless I purposefully nova to ensure whatever we fight goes down as fast as possible.

Also, what's wrong with Eldritch Blast? From what I can tell, there's nothing particularly OP about it.

The Madman:
I've had a half-serious vendetta against cantrips in 5e ever since I put together a fun dungeon run and one of the players made a character for it we now affectionately call the Eldrich machine-gunner. Motherfucker blew up a boss with rapid-fire Eldrich blasts after having engineered a character specifically all around that one goddamn cantrip.

All above-board, hilarious at the time, but my god did it make balancing what followed a pain in the ass. See it's easy enough to negate cantrips when planning an encounter, but then that wouldn't have been any fun for the player since, well, eldrich blast is all they had so instead I had to try and find some balance between the two.

My half-assed solution was to tweak the fights so that while certain enemies had resistances and immunities to his rapid-fire-cantrip, there were others that didn't who could sometimes threaten to overwhelm the group, or there would be some task that the cantrip could be put to use doing. Luckily this was just for a two or three session dungeon run and not a full campaign or it would have gotten tired super quick.

Eldritch Blast isn't that bad. Its damage is identical to a heavy crossbow, (EB requires an invocation to add ability to the damage though, but this is balanced by the other invocation adding things like knockback) and the Warlock has the same number of shots a turn as a fighter of equivalent level. (2 at L5, 3 at 11 etc.)
Warlocks are an interesting case of design. They're really a throwback to 4E's At Will, Encounter, Daily ability structuring.
Until level 11 they only have 2 castings, but those recover on a short rest. Without Eldritch Blast they wouldn't have much to do from turn to turn in combat.

Chimpzy:

Cowabungaa:
But I like cantrips. It means casters aren't bored to tears in combat once they run out of the meagre spellslots they have. Especially on lower levels. I think they're pretty okay balanced too. Except Eldritch Blast. Goddamn Warlocks, goddamn.

I agree that the 5e cantrips are a big boon to casters at lower levels, but at higher levels, do people really regularly run out of useful spells in an average adventuring day?

We run a low-optimization (3.5, not 5e) campaign and my Lv11 Wizard has yet to use up all his slots in one day, unless I purposefully nova to ensure whatever we fight goes down as fast as possible.

5E treats spell slots differently than 3X. (For the sake of simplicity we'll ignore the Warlock, because the Warlock is different) Every caster has the 3X Sorcerer's flexible casting.
Spell slot progression goes as follows: 1st level: 4 slots per day, 2nd-4th level: 3 Slots, 5th level: 2 slots, 6th+ level: 1 slot.
If you're running a properly structured adventuring day, even at high level, running out of spell slots if feasible.

Souplex:
5E treats spell slots differently than 3X. (For the sake of simplicity we'll ignore the Warlock, because the Warlock is different) Every caster has the 3X Sorcerer's flexible casting.
Spell slot progression goes as follows: 1st level: 4 slots per day, 2nd-4th level: 3 Slots, 5th level: 2 slots, 6th+ level: 1 slot.
If you're running a properly structured adventuring day, even at high level, running out of spell slots if feasible.

I see. Had a quick look at 5e casters since, and they indeed have significantly less slots/day overall than their 3.X incarnations (interestingly, they all also seem to get the same basic amount, not taking into account class features). I can see how you could run out of higher level casting in 5e, where you wouldn't in 3.X.

It's probably for the best, most likely to mitigate the 'Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards' trope that plagued D&D 3.X. Speaking of, seems like they've finally took steps to make archery a viable option compared to melee/casting. Any experience with how that worked out in practice?

Never much had a worry about running out of spells in older editions, I had my light crossbow to fall back on. A kind of Ranger, sometimes Mage.

One of the things I like about 5th edition cantrips is the Fluff they can provide. Cantrip fluff is golden for actual role playing.

Prestidigitation is one of the most useful spells in D&D. My characters use it for everything from cooking--warm/cool foods/liquids plus providing flavor (spices? we don't need no stinking spices!) to cleaning (cooking pot and utensils, clothes, self (you use your left hand when you shit in the woods while my cantrip cast uses Prestidigitation in lieu of toilet paper) as well as getting the mud and blood off my weapons and armor) and for entertainment purposes, signaling (sparks, anyone), etc etc...

Light provides 1 hour of uninterrupted light--priceless in any pre-lightbulb world. Even characters who have Darkvision find light to be handy. Heck, in a pinch you can cast it on an opponent's face to blind them.

Mage Hand? Message? Daily uses for each.

Mending? Well, one of my characters knits, but it's useful for low tech crafting purposes as well. With the Mending cantrip an individual could logically corner the market in clothes making.

Saelune:
It is easily in my top 3 improvements of 5e.

What're the other two?, and what're the three in order from best to slightly less best?

DarklordKyo:

Saelune:
It is easily in my top 3 improvements of 5e.

What're the other two?, and what're the three in order from best to slightly less best?

I did not make a formal list. I just know I like having firebolt to rely on as a magic character. I made too many useless mages in 3.5 that were defenseless in any fight.

Generally, I like alot of the streamlining that makes alot of things simpler without removing depth like 4e did. Like xp. Ugh, determining xp in 3.5 was a mess, now it is simple, so simple that I actually follow it. In 3.5 I just made up xp rewards, usually by way too much. But its simple, each challenge rating has a set xp, and you just divide it up by number of participants. No adhoc, no adjusting if a player is too many levels above or below.

No level adjustment for different races is nice too.

I also like that alot of things limited to feats is now not. Things like dodge and finesse are available to all now.

Oh, and backgrounds, I LOVE backgrounds, as a DM. I always struggled to get my players to integrate their characters into my world and develop their characters beyond their race and class. Backgrounds now make it a game mechanic and it is wonderful for getting even uncreative players to actually put thought into -who- their character is and their place in the world.

Basement Cat:
One of the things I like about 5th edition cantrips is the Fluff they can provide. Cantrip fluff is golden for actual role playing.

Prestidigitation is one of the most useful spells in D&D. My characters use it for everything from cooking--warm/cool foods/liquids plus providing flavor (spices? we don't need no stinking spices!) to cleaning (cooking pot and utensils, clothes, self (you use your left hand when you shit in the woods while my cantrip cast uses Prestidigitation in lieu of toilet paper) as well as getting the mud and blood off my weapons and armor) and for entertainment purposes, signaling (sparks, anyone), etc etc...

Light provides 1 hour of uninterrupted light--priceless in any pre-lightbulb world. Even characters who have Darkvision find light to be handy. Heck, in a pinch you can cast it on an opponent's face to blind them.

Mage Hand? Message? Daily uses for each.

Mending? Well, one of my characters knits, but it's useful for low tech crafting purposes as well. With the Mending cantrip an individual could logically corner the market in clothes making.

Your DM is too lenient with that spell.

Saelune:
Your DM is too lenient with that spell.

Nonsense and other comments: It's Rules as Written. ;)

The thing is that that stuff is almost pure fluff. Most PC's focus entirely upon combat.

And then there are the Munchkins... *sighs*

Chimpzy:

Souplex:
5E treats spell slots differently than 3X. (For the sake of simplicity we'll ignore the Warlock, because the Warlock is different) Every caster has the 3X Sorcerer's flexible casting.
Spell slot progression goes as follows: 1st level: 4 slots per day, 2nd-4th level: 3 Slots, 5th level: 2 slots, 6th+ level: 1 slot.
If you're running a properly structured adventuring day, even at high level, running out of spell slots if feasible.

I see. Had a quick look at 5e casters since, and they indeed have significantly less slots/day overall than their 3.X incarnations (interestingly, they all also seem to get the same basic amount, not taking into account class features). I can see how you could run out of higher level casting in 5e, where you wouldn't in 3.X.

It's probably for the best, most likely to mitigate the 'Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards' trope that plagued D&D 3.X. Speaking of, seems like they've finally took steps to make archery a viable option compared to melee/casting. Any experience with how that worked out in practice?

Archery is viable in 5th. It's the best way to go for a rogue, and for fighters it's comparable to using a weapon.
What made it unworkable in the past?

Basement Cat:
One of the things I like about 5th edition cantrips is the Fluff they can provide. Cantrip fluff is golden for actual role playing.

Prestidigitation is one of the most useful spells in D&D. My characters use it for everything from cooking--warm/cool foods/liquids plus providing flavor (spices? we don't need no stinking spices!) to cleaning (cooking pot and utensils, clothes, self (you use your left hand when you shit in the woods while my cantrip cast uses Prestidigitation in lieu of toilet paper) as well as getting the mud and blood off my weapons and armor) and for entertainment purposes, signaling (sparks, anyone), etc etc...

Light provides 1 hour of uninterrupted light--priceless in any pre-lightbulb world. Even characters who have Darkvision find light to be handy. Heck, in a pinch you can cast it on an opponent's face to blind them.

Mage Hand? Message? Daily uses for each.

Mending? Well, one of my characters knits, but it's useful for low tech crafting purposes as well. With the Mending cantrip an individual could logically corner the market in clothes making.

I love Prestidigitation. It has so many practical day-to-day uses.

Souplex:
Archery is viable in 5th. It's the best way to go for a rogue, and for fighters it's comparable to using a weapon.
What made it unworkable in the past?

Not so much unworkable in 3.5, but rather harder and more costly compared to melee martial options, in particular two-handed melee. Especially if you want to stay purely martial.

This is not comprehensive summation. If the above sounds rather munchkiny and focused on combat, then that's because 3.5 archery pretty much requires some degree of it to not be dead weight in combat. Of course, combat is not everything.

But unless you're a Rogue/Scout/Ranger (infiltration/scouting, gathering intelligence, maybe some diplomancy, and other skillmonkey utility), a pure martial won't have much to do outside of combat. So making sure you're really good at the few things you can do well (i.e. combat) is a sound idea. But again, archery generally requires a larger investment compared to melee martials. You're likely going to have to put pretty much everything into your archery, leaving you little to spend on non-combat stuff (or even combat stuff for when ranged is not an option).

Now, I'm not saying you can't make an archer that is both effective, fun to play and flavorful.

PS: it should be noted Pathfinder made archery better, largely by making martials better in general. For example, the Pathfinder Fighter doesn't suck balls and actually has class features. It's perfectly possible to go straight lv20 Fighter and end up with a real terror in combat. As opposed to the 3.5 Fighter, whose main use is as a 1-2 lv dip for the extra feats.

Chimpzy:

Souplex:
Archery is viable in 5th. It's the best way to go for a rogue, and for fighters it's comparable to using a weapon.
What made it unworkable in the past?

Not so much unworkable in 3.5, but rather harder and more costly compared to melee martial options, in particular two-handed melee. Especially if you want to stay purely martial.

This is not comprehensive summation. If the above sounds rather munchkiny and focused on combat, then that's because 3.5 archery pretty much requires some degree of it to not be dead weight in combat. Of course, combat is not everything.

But unless you're a Rogue/Scout/Ranger (infiltration/scouting, gathering intelligence, maybe some diplomancy, and other skillmonkey utility), a pure martial won't have much to do outside of combat. So making sure you're really good at the few things you can do well (i.e. combat) is a sound idea. But again, archery generally requires a larger investment compared to melee martials. You're likely going to have to put pretty much everything into your archery, leaving you little to spend on non-combat stuff (or even combat stuff for when ranged is not an option).

Now, I'm not saying you can't make an archer that is both effective, fun to play and flavorful.

PS: it should be noted Pathfinder made archery better, largely by making martials better in general. For example, the Pathfinder Fighter doesn't suck balls and actually has class features. It's perfectly possible to go straight lv20 Fighter and end up with a real terror in combat. As opposed to the 3.5 Fighter, whose main use is as a 1-2 lv dip for the extra feats.

Ah, see in 5 ranged weapons all add your Dex to damage automatically. Most of the feats in 5 are 2-3 3X feats condensed into 1.
For example, Sharpshooter:
1. Attack at long range without suffering disadvantage.
2. Ignore 1/2 and 3/4 cover. (A +2 and +5 to AC respectively)
3. You can power-attack for -5 to hit, +10 to damage. (There's only 1 feat for two-handers as well. It lets you power-attack, and cleave. So archers get the better deal)
Martials get "Fighting styles" at 1st for the fighter, and 2nd for the rest. They're pretty subtle but helpful effects. Archery gives a +2 to hit with ranged weapons. Bear in mind that in 5E the highest AC in the MM is 30. (Other fighting styles include +1 to AC, re-rolling any 1s you roll for damage with a two-handed melee weapon, a +2 to damage with a one-hander when you have no off-hand, and adding the relevant ability score to damage with an off-hand.)
Your number of attacks is purely a product of your class level. There's none of this manyshotrapidshot bullshit. Fighters get a ton, other martials get 2, rogues get 1)
rogues trigger sneak attack (+ half your level (rounded up) in D6s. Nothing is immune to it unlike in 3X) if...
1. There is an ally in 5 feet of the target and you don't have disadvantage, or...
2. You have advantage.
This means archer rogues use their cunning action to hide, pop out and take a pot-shot with advantage triggering sneak attack.
Melee rogues run into the fray, attack an enemy engaged in combat, then use their cunning action to escape.
The melee option requires more team-support and has greater risk. Plus the highest damage finesse-melee is a rapier which does the same damage as a longbow. rogues aren't naturally proficient in longbow, but elves are, and shortbows are D6 which isn't that much difference. In short, archery is the way to go for rogues.
So while doing slightly less damage, overall archery (D8 for a longbow compared to a greatsword's 2d6) is comparable to melee.
You should play 5E. It's the best edition since the greatness of 4th.

How are clerics faring in this new world of 5th edition? can I be a proper evil necromancer cleric leading my undead legion? Possible progression into Lich?
are evil PCS in general back in support again? because that disappointed me looking at 4th edition

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