Cantrips: For Magic Users in Basic/Expert D&D


The Cantrip is a tiny spell created by practicing students of the magical arts during their apprenticeship and while a minor dweomer they still have some uses to the adventuring Magic-User. Elves do not obtain cantrips at first level as they don’t learn such in their youth, though a friendly Magic User may teach them at a later date.

Cantrips are cast like normal spells, only the number that a Magic User may keep in their mind at one time is equal to their Magic User level plus their Intelligence bonus. Therefore, a 1st level MU with a 16 Intelligence (+2) would start with 3 cantrips, while a 6th level MU with a 13 Intelligence (+1) would be capable of casting up to 7. As with other spells, cantrips may be memorized multiple times as desired. If a caster wished, 4 cantrips could be memorized in lieu of a 1st level spell.

A 1st level Magic User starts out with 1d4 + Intelligence modifier of cantrips known and written in their spell book. Others may be obtained during adventures just as any other spell.

CANTRIPS LIST

1. Anatomics
2. Bug
3. Clean
4. Enrich
5. Exterminate
6. Firefinger
7. Hairy
8. Haunting
9. Legerdemain
10. Repair
11. Temperature
12. Transmogrify
13. Unseen Hand

Anatomics (Evocation)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: One person
Duration: 1 action
Saving Throw?: None

When this cantrip is cast, the subject will involuntarily emit a body noise or reaction of the casters choosing. Such simple reactions can be a belch, blink, nod, yawn, etc; but nothing sophisticated

Bug (Summoning)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: 10 feet
Duration: Permanent
Saving Throw?: None

When this cantrip is used, the caster summons an insect from someplace — where is of no importance, for the creature appears in seconds. The bug will appear in whatever spot the caster is gazing at, up to a 10 foot distance from him or her. The bug is, of course, annoyed, and it is 90% likely to sting or bite (if possible) any living creature it finds itself upon. (This will certainly cause the subject to react violently if it would otherwise be so affected by such).

Clean (Abjuration)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: 4 sq. yards
Duration: Permanent
Saving Throw?: None

This cantrip enables the caster to remove heavy soil, dirt, and like foreign objects from floors, walls, dishes, windows, clothing, etc. The subject surfaces are then spotless, but care must be taken in removal of pigments and the like, so usually only one type of material will be treated in a single application. The reverse of this cantrip dirties and befouls any surface equal to the area of effect.

Enrich (Enchantment)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: One object
Duration: up to 6 turns
Saving Throw?: None

This cantrip enables the caster to give the subject a superior or better or different aspect of its to the senses; be they sight, smell, sound, touch or taste. Thus, mush can be made to taste as if it were lobster bisque, but the dweomer will not actually affect quality or wholesomeness. It can also be used to restore faded hues or to tinge those already colored with a different hue. A rough canvas garment can be made to feel like silk or velvet. A rotten egg can smell like fresh daisies, and a irritating sound can be made to sound like a canary’s song. However, the cantrip may only effect one sense per casting.

Exterminate (Abjuration)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: One small creature
Duration: Permanent
Saving Throw?: See below

When this cantrip is used, the caster may kill a small pest such as a fly, mouse, (non-giant) rat, beetle, or the like. It is useful for indoor and outdoor applications. If the subject is very small, an area of up to 1/2 cubic foot can be rid of pests. This cantrip is effective against magical creations and normal-sized creatures magically shrunk to insect-size, with a saving throw applicable to negate. The dweomer however has no effect on polymorphed creatures and similarly enchanted beings.

Firefinger (Alteration)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: 1/3′ line
Duration: 1 round
Saving Throw?: None

The firefinger cantrip enables the caster to cause a jet of flame up to one-half foot in length to shoot forth from his or her finger. The flame is very hot and will ignite combustible materials such as parchment, twigs, kindling, and the like without difficulty, providing the materials are relatively dry. The flame persists for up to 1 round.
The reverse of this Cantrip extinguishes a small flame such as used in a lantern or candle. A torch is too large a flame to be effected with this cantrip.

Hairy (Alteration)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: One object
Duration: permanent
Saving Throw?: none

While this cantrip is not actually one of the standard useful ones which apprentices reverse for mischievousness, it is one which is generally used for no good purpose. It causes hair, fur, or hairlike growth to thicken and lengthen. Thus, a head of hair, a peach, a beard, a cat, or whatever could be affected. The growth will cause the subject material to increase from 2-12 inches in length. The subject material must be trimmed or cut to remove the cantrip’s effect. This cantrip can be reversed to shorten growth or effectively shave, but since the effect on short material (growth under 1 inch in length) is complete absence of growth for 2-12 days, it is not often used.

Haunting (Illusion)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: Special
Duration: See below
Saving Throw?: yes

This cantrip creates the illusion of any number of ghostly sounds such as a faint groan, creak, footfalls, etc. Naturally, those creatures within hearing distance are allowed a saving throw versus spell, and if it succeeds, the individual will hear no such noise. The sound only lasts from 1-20+ Magic User’s level in seconds.
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Legerdemain (Illusion)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: One small item
Duration: 1 round
Saving Throw?: nil

This cantrip enables the caster to secret or cause to appear a small object in his hand without seeming to do so. The item created to appear from nowhere is illusory, and will disappear in 1 round.

Repair (Alteration)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: One object
Duration: Permanent
Saving Throw?: None

This cantrip repairs small breaks in objects. It will weld a broken ring, chain link, medallion or ripped material, providing but one break exists. Ceramic or wooden objects with multiple breaks can be invisibly rejoined to be as strong as new. A hole in a leather sack or wineskin is completely healed over by a Repair cantrip. This cantrip will not repair magic items of any kind.

Temperature (Evocation)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: 1′ cube
Duration: special
Saving Throw?: none

A cantrip of this nature allows the caster to cause non-living liquid or solid material to become about 40°F. warmer or cooler than it was, subject to a minimum temperature of freezing. The warming or chilling effect lasts for but an instant, after which the subject returns slowly back to ambient temperature as normal for the current climate.

Transmogrify (Alteration)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: One creature/item
Duration:
Saving Throw?: See below

By means of a transmogrify cantrip, the caster alters one small object to another, although the change must be within the same kingdom, and only animal and vegetable objects are affected. Thus, a piece of parchment can be changed to a brightly colored cloth square, then the cloth can be changed to a rose by another use of the cantrip. Likewise, a bird can be changed into a bat, the bat to a flying squirrel by another use of the same type of cantrip, and so forth. Each alteration requires a transmogrify cantrip. The cantrip will not cause more than a 50% increase or decrease in size/volume, and the effect will last for a base time of 1 turn. If the change is radical, then the time will be reduced accordingly; i.e., changing a dead object to a live one is a radical change and will last only 1 round. On the other hand, a very slight alteration such as color change or the like will last for 1 or more days. A saving throw against this magic does not apply as long as small, animal-intelligence, non-magical creatures of normal sort are concerned.

Unseen Hand (Conjuration)

Level: 0
Area of Effect: One creature/item
Duration: 1 action
Saving Throw?: Save vs. Magic to avoid a 1 round distraction.

By means of this cantrip, the caster causes an unseen hand to perform simple actions such as open/close a door, lift a small object and carry it (1 lb limit) within 10 feet radius of the caster, and poke or pinch a target as desired.
If this cantrip is used on a spellcaster, the target must make a saving throw vs. magic, with success meaning that the target is not distracted. Failure causes a 1 round distraction and may interrupt spell casting at DM’s discretion.

3 comments on “Cantrips: For Magic Users in Basic/Expert D&D”

  1. barrataria

    Mike, these are pretty cool, and IMO better balanced than those in UA and lower-powered than 0 level spells as they should be.

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