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Thread: Creative Cantips - Druidcraft
- Join Date
- Oct 2014
Creative Cantips - Druidcraft
“You may judge any spellcaster by their biggest spell, but you should judge a master by their cantrips.”
-Olaf Junier, Magic Instructor
5th edition embraces your group’s interpretation and rulings, allowing players to come up with new ideas for old things all the time. This needs to be balanced against dangerous, game-breaking precedents. This is part of a series ofpostings around Cantrips to help balance the player desire for cool ideas with the DM’s need to know what is possible before they are problems for their game.
Tips for the everyone at the table:
- Be clear and consistent in advance – Whenever possible, make rulings based on clear language and interpretations, not on the specific tricks. Also do it early so nobody has to discuss laws of physics in a critical battle.
- It is a game, but not just a game – The Rule of Cool balances the Rule of Reason. Or yet another way, players need to have fun but might want to ‘forget’ a good idea if it would disrupt an important plot point they know the DM is relying on.
- The DM can always change a ruling, but be fair about it – If an interpretation turns out to be too abusable, it can be changed. But the players may need to compensate accordingly so don’t do it in combat and/or disallow them to switch out cantrips they will no longer use.
I am hoping for even more ideas, and stories are welcome.
This posting has three main sections: Cantrip Details, Pros and Cons, and Rulings that Apply. The interpretations will be lettered so they can be referenced in the next section.
A trio of instantaneous effects:
- Predict the weather with a visual cue (ex. Snowflakes)
- Make a seed sprout or one plant bloom
- Harmless ‘natural’ sensory effect in a 5’ cube
Presdigitation for druids.
Pros and Cons
- Pro – In a campaign where weather matters, this is the only spell that does it.
- Pro – somatic only at range. This is a stealthy cantrip.
- Both – the effects are very vague. This leaves room for interpretation which is good (I’m smart!) and bad (DM negotiations - ick)
- Con – Not many effects to choose from
- Con – All effects are instantaneous which limits their usefulness
- Con – You can add, but not remove. Be careful making too many plants sprout in the wrong locations or leaving a trail of markers for others.
Rulings that Apply:
- Gaps in casting – If you are willing on spending your action every round for one effect, is the result a continuous effect or are there gaps between the castings?
- Affect fungus? – Better in games without a scientist at the table. But it makes sense that a druids could affect any natural ‘non-creature’ living thing this way.
- How many blooms can you get? – Can I keep casting and get more and more blooms or just once and get a random few? Realistically, there should be an upper limit.
- What is a ‘harmless natural sensory effect’ – This one bothers me the more I think about it, but this isn’t an illusion – you really are creating or changing the environment. Unlike presdigitation, a DM may argue that it must be thematic for your environment though. (bubbling in a swamp or shifting stonework in a castle, but not reversed) This could make or break a lot of effects, so be sure to talk it over first.
- Lingering effects – If I cool a pitcher of water like the frozen pond at home, would that last through the next round too? This is no more powerful than presdigitation, but might be considered out of bounds by some DMs.
- Know (and agree on) multiple effects from at least one environment. For Land druids, it is hard to argue against something from your chosen environment (e.g. gusts of wind for a mountain druid). This makes it both thematic and gives you a starting place for creativity.
- Know your current environment. I may want something to make noise, but moving rocks makes more sense in a cave than cracking twigs.
- Carry seeds around with you. Many plants have value immediately, and seeds travel well. If you can access plant growth, this may have other opportunities too.
Leave a trail
A series of a very specific species of plant leaves a subtle trail to follow. Even more subtle when it is a typically non-flowering plant. This gets less subtle when you get out of a forest, but could work for cacti and maybe even fungus (see below). Inside a castle, consider plant pots or masonry cracks.
Quicker Horticulture (how many blooms?)
On the lighter side, this can save you easily a week or two growing time per plant. If you are growing things like corn or mellons, this is significant time saved for a small population, and extremely thematic for a druid or nature priest.
On the serious side, let’s start by saying ‘be careful‘. It is a trope that rare flowers or plants are used for Evil Poison X or Very Rare Tonic Y which only grows at location Z which is farther away than you want to go. Getting a seed normally wouldn’t help since there are too many growth factors to manage, but this cantrip can get them to grow and bloom in environments they otherwise wouldn’t.
Duration limits you, but this is just as stealthy a use as Minor Illusion. Actually, for communication, it’s better since it incorporates any of the senses and uses natural occurrences that would be overlooked by others. Use sight (summon a bee), sound (rustling leaves), scent (skunk), touch (minor local tremor, moist rocks) etc.
Alternately, you could leave a lingering effect. Wind can create patterns in leaves or dust, for instance. Or sprouting a specific plant can have a certain meaning.
Grow Fungus or Moss (affect fungus)
This is a special section because many fungi don’t have a ‘growing’ stage between ‘sprouting’ and ‘ready to bloom’. Also, many fungi are more dangerous than they look or are directly usable for alchemal purposes.
Dry rot is caused by slow-growing fungus, so take down a house quickly. Or just take it far enough with ‘black mold’ to make it uninhabitable. Note this use doesn’t require much water, if any.
Another variation – carry around some moss and ‘grow’ a long carpet of soft ground to walk on. Visually conspicuous, sure, but can make a contingent of infantry very quiet with enough time.
Warm/Freeze Water (lingering effect)
Make water as warm as a thermal vent or cold as the arctic. It will revert back to ‘normal’ but not necessarily immediately. So, make some iced tea or warm that bath up for yourself.
Targeted gust of wind
Light breezes should be easy with the cantrip. They can be a distraction, disrupt anything involving paper on a table (cards, war planning), and speed/slow small sailed vessels for one round. Note powering small vessels could be made easier through extra winds, but you can’t change the pre-existing winds through the cantrip so it isn’t perfect. Some DMs would complain that there is a different cantrip for this, but your counter should be ‘would you ever pick up that cantrip?’
Harmless and short-lived doesn’t have to mean ‘not dramatic’. Some ideas of natural occurrences:
- Fog, bush, rain, or steam vent – just limited to 5’ and probably not the thickest cover
- Dust Devil – just make a lot of wind and let the leaves/dust obscure a much larger area. Probably not ideal, but could give disadvantage to ranged attacks.
- Creaking trees – could mean a treant attack (esp. if they know you are a druid)
- Static shocks – all natural, but you can’t do damage with it
- St. Elmo’s fire – look just like will-o-wisp
Light (Gaps in casting)
Create a bunch of St Elmo’s Fire or fireflies. Short duration, not much light, but you can do it from 30’ away without giving away your position or concentrating unlike most lighting spells. More than enough for the humans to attack an enemy they couldn’t locate before.
A downpour (Extent of natural events)
Put out small fires or totally ruin a researcher’s day. Also useful as a lubricant (slides) or just torture someone via thirst and periodically raining on him since it goes away in one round.
Warp or swell wood (gaps in casting)
No, not the spell. This one takes time, but spend a long time summoning intense humidity. The water goes away after 1 round, but if you keep it up long enough you can damage structures or weaken joints. Rock can be broken by putting wooden wedges into a crack and making the wood swell, too.
Eathquake detection (Extent of natural events)
This is the closest thing the underdark has to ‘weather’, and would make sense that a druid can detect any natural occurrences. Related, this spell may warn you of natural disasters in other areas. Landslides, for instance. These would all be ‘natural events’.
Note your DM may not like this use if they play a lot of things ‘off the cuff’. If they decide to add in a mudslide later that day for dramatic effect, you could claim that ‘something unnatural’ caused it which may not be true.
Direct nature’s chaos (Extent of natural events)
If you are in a situation with a lot of natural energy the cantrip should be able to trigger or time these events to your benefit. Your mileage may vary, but the Rule of Cool says it should be possible:
- On unstable ground (eroding soft earth, thin ice, recently solidified stone in a lava field) have it give way suddenly. Alternately, keep it from giving way
- On a small boat, have a rogue wave crash next to the enemy or a swirl in the river help direct the boat suddenly (or not)
- Time a very strong gust of wind in a storm or control such gusts
- Cause deadfall to drop on an enemy (bonus points for orcish loggers)
- Join Date
- Feb 2018
Re: Creative Cantips - Druidcraft
You read my mind, I was just composing a post asking about creative ways to use druidcraft (in my case, I wanted the PC to be kind of absentmindedly druidcrafting while chatting to a nice old man).
- Join Date
- Jun 2014
Re: Creative Cantips - Druidcraft
Insect Repellent: Use Druidcraft as a bug repellent. Mosquitoes and gnats don't swarm you and you can sleep on the ground without ants, chiggers, ticks, and other biters chewing on you.
I've been using Druidcraft for this for some time. It was funny when my party made it's way through a swamp and the mosquitoes were so bad the DM had us take penalties for maintaining concentration, etc because we were being swarmed constantly for days.
- Join Date
- May 2015
Re: Creative Cantips - Druidcraft
Balancing out with Prestidigitation and Thaumaturgy;
As a DM, I allow Druidcraft to function by manipulating the forces of nature; If an effect is not listed, it can be done (if justified RP wise), but it affects a maximum of an inch cube as an instantaneus effect. Examples:
-You Foccus sunlight on one spot, as if done through a magnifying glass; the spot catches fire (can light a candle, or a campfire, but doesn't work starting evening time).
-You May alter the temperature of an object by 1d4 points. Every turn, the object's temperature goes back to climat conditions by 1 point of temperature. You may not exceed 25 temperature points per inch by this use of Druidcraft.
-You can make the humidity on a tree or plant gather on one spot.
-You can make the wind blow ominusly as an intimidation attempt.
I am generally oppen to suggestions, as long as a player can justyfy them Role Playing wise, and interpreat them correctly.