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"Cantrip" was the common name for the weakest spells an arcane spellcaster could cast.[1][2][3][4][5] The divine magic equivalents were known as orisons, but "cantrip" was often used to describe all beginner apprentice/acolyte spells. Cantrips were the first spells that a wizard learned during their apprenticeship.[1][2][3][6]

The effects that could be created were very minor, very brief, and mostly harmless, intended to entertain children or impress commoners,[2][3] although some newer cantrips could cause damage.[7]

ExamplesEdit

Post-SunderingEdit

Examples of post-Sundering cantrips:[8]

Bard
blade warddancing lightsfriendslightmage handmendingmessageminor illusionprestidigitationtrue strikevicious mockery
Cleric
guidancelightmendingresistancesacred flamespare the dyingthaumaturgy
Druid
druidcraftguidancemendingpoison sprayproduce flameresistanceshillelaghthorn whip
Sorcerer
acid splashblade wardchill touchdancing lightsfire boltfriendslightmage handmendingmessageminor illusionpoison sprayprestidigitationray of frostshocking grasptrue strike
Warlock
blade wardchill toucheldritch blastfriendsmage handminor illusionpoison sprayprestidigitationtrue strike
Wizard
acid splashblade wardchill touchdancing lightsfire boltfriendslightmage handmendingmessageminor illusionpoison sprayprestidigitationray of frostshocking grasptrue strike

Post-SpellplagueEdit

Examples of post-Spellplague wizard cantrips:[9]

ghost soundlightmage handprestidigitation

Pre-SpellplagueEdit

Examples of standard pre-Spellplague wizard cantrips:[7]

acid splasharcane markdancing lightsdazedetect magicdetect poisondisrupt undeadflareghost soundlightmage handmendingmessageopen/closeprestidigitationray of frostread magicresistancetouch of fatigue

Pre-Time of TroublesEdit

Examples of Pre-Time of Troubles "Magic-user" cantrips:[10][11][12]

Useful
chillcleancolordampendrydustexterminateflavorfreshengatherpolishsaltshinespicesproutstitchsweetentiewarmwrap
Reversed
curdledirtydustyhairyknotravelsourspilltangletarnishuntiewilt
Legerdemain
changedistracthidemutepalmpresent
Person-Affecting
belchblinkcoughgigglenodscratchsneezetwitchwinkyawn
Personal
beebluelightbugfirefingergnatsmousesmokepuffspidertweakunlock
Haunting
creakfootfallgroanmoanrattletapthumpwhistle

Illusionist cantrips:[13][14]

colored lightsdimhazemaskmiragenoiserainbowtwo-d'lusion

RealmsloreEdit

The mage Sabirine was well known to have had a special interest in cantrips, and was an enthusiastic advocate of the continued use and refinement of them. Sabirine created several unique cantrips.[15]

AppendixEdit

BackgroundEdit

The word "cantrip" has been used both as common slang for minor arcane spells or effects of level 0 or its equivalent, though the particular definition has varied with the actual ruleset edition being used.

Cantrips first appeared in print in Dragon magazine and were then reprinted in the First Edition Unearthed Arcana. They were well supported in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting through articles written by Ed Greenwood for Dragon and later in official AD&D Forgotten Realms supplements. In this edition, each cantrip was a distinct spell with its own specific attributes. A magic-user of 1st level or higher could replace a single first-level spell slot for the ability to memorize four cantrips. These cantrips were almost universally very minor things, with extremely limited ranges and areas of effect, though some did stand out as actually useful; bluelight (a light equivalent to a candle that lasts for as long as it is concentrated upon), color (an instant change in hue of hair, skin, and clothes), unlock (worked on simple locks), spider (summons a spider; actually quite useful when combined with spells like spidereyes), hide (essentially a 2D curtain that renders one object behind it invisible), gather (great for sorting platinum pieces from a pile of silver) and both salt and spice (which actually conjure goods that can be collected and sold).

With AD&D 2nd Edition, the concept of 0-level spells was abandoned, but the cantrip still remained in the form of the 1st-level spell cantrip, which had a duration of one hour per caster level and allowed the caster to essentially use weaker versions of the previous edition's cantrips once per round for the duration of the spell; if the caster attempted to do anything actually lasting, the spell effect would end. The abortive Player's Option: Spells & Magic book (one of the books of what is commonly known as 2.5 Edition) did away with the 1st-level cantrip spell and again made use of 0-level spell slots for the individual effects of cantrips, but tied the mechanic to the optional rules presented therein, so they were not very popular.

Cantrips in 3rd edition and 3.5 edition are very different from their predecessors; they are significantly more powerful than 1st or 2nd edition cantrips. In fact, several (read magic, detect magic, light, arcane mark, dancing lights) are full-power 1st-level spells in previous editions. The minor aspect of earlier edition cantrips comes from the 0-level spell prestidigitation, which closely mimics the 2nd-edition cantrip spell with a flat duration of one hour. In 3.x, cantrips have their own spell-slot progression column on the appropriate table, so 1st-level spells need not be sacrificed in order to be able to cast them.

Ever since their first appearance in the Realms, cantrips have been considered individual spells, with new ones appearing in legendary spellbooks penned by great wizards.[citation needed]

Divine (clerical and druidic) cantrips were known as orisons,[16] although the word "cantrip" is sometimes used for all 0-level spells regardless of type.[17]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Gary Gygax (August, 1985). Unearthed Arcana (1st edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 45. ISBN 0880380845.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 David "Zeb" Cook (August 1989). Player's Handbook (2nd edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 131. ISBN 0-88038-716-5.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 David "Zeb" Cook (April 1995). Player's Handbook 2nd edition (revised). (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 0-7869-0329-5.
  4. Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook 3.5 edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 305. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
  5. Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 158. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
  6. Ed Greenwood (February 2005). Spellfire. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 115. ISBN 0-7869-3599-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook 3.5 edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 192. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
  8. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
  9. Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 158–159. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
  10. Gary Gygax (August, 1985). Unearthed Arcana (1st edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 30. ISBN 0880380845.
  11. Gary Gygax (March 1982). “Cantrips: Minor magics for would-be wizards”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #59 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 6–10.
  12. Gary Gygax (April 1982). “More Cantrips: Mini-spells for apprentice magic-users”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #60 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 16–21.
  13. Gary Gygax (August, 1985). Unearthed Arcana (1st edition). (TSR, Inc.), p. 31. ISBN 0880380845.
  14. Gary Gygax (May 1982). “Now you see them: Cantrips for the aspiring illusionist”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #61 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 6–8.
  15. Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (DM's Sourcebook of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 78. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  16. Richard Baker (1996). Player's Option: Spells & Magic. (TSR, Inc), p. 162. ISBN 0-7869-0394-5.
  17. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 201. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.

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