Could we get some one action attack Cantrips?


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


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There's been some complaints that caster damage is bad and that Cantrips don't really feel all that impactful, even for a fallback option. Playing a Wizard myself, I tend to agree with this sentiment.

So I thought "It would be nice to have one action attack cantrips". Now I'm not suggesting adding new cantrips to the game, mind you. I could see two methods to do this.

1. The "lazy" way: Just add a feat to the classes that are reliant on Cantrips, i.e. primarily Wizards, Sorcerers, maybe Bards and Druids as well. I feel kinda bad to leave Clerics out, but they have only one attack cantrip if I recall correctly, so it's probably not worth it.

2. The "correct" way: Or at last the way I'd prefer. Make it a heighten ability of the spells. Turn the level 3 or level 5 heighten into "This spell loses its verbal casting action" instead of this level's damage increase. I personally would prefer to see this as the level 3 heighten effect, but that's just me.

Basically, instead of casting one 2d8+x Ray of Frost at level 9, you'd cast two 1d8+x Rays of Frost. More damage potential but you are affected by multi attack penalty. The spell would also cap at 3d8+x when heightened to level 9. I'm way too lazy to do any math but I think this should increase the overall damage of a "cantrip only" round but not by an outrageous amount.

Note that I'm talking exclusively about cantrips that require an attack roll here. This won't work for Electric Arc, obviously.

This has the following effects:
- Casters using cantrips don't roll only one lame attack per round while the martial characters get 3 awesome actions.
- Casters can use an attack cantrip in addition to a regular two-action spell (or cantrip), tweaking their damage upwards ever so slightly.
- It won't break hybrid characters because their weapon will probably still deal more damage even if the cantrip targets TAC.

The only downside I can think of right now would be the ability to hit an enemy with his elemental weakness multiple times. But I don't think that's happening often enough to be of much concern.

Thoughts?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I honestly think cantrip damage is alright if more effects are added to them instead. Cantrips roughly approximate a magical crossbow in terms of damage potential (which isn't great but isn't unreasonable), but all of their fun stuff is locked up behind crits, if they even have anything fun to them.

Giving cantrips more potent, interesting secondary effects on-hit would be much better than a raw damage increase.


I'd be pretty happy if cantrips got +x to their damage by default (or gained it at Heightened (2nd)) and everything else shifted to accommodate (works out to an extra die at each heighten level, which makes it feel cloesr to on-par with a Fighter or Barbarian's attack).


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Personally, I would love 1 action cantrips that are debuffs or buffs rather than damage.


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I shifted cantrip damage scaling from odd levels up one to even levels and added a 10th level option.

Liberty's Edge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Blave wrote:

There's been some complaints that caster damage is bad and that Cantrips don't really feel all that impactful, even for a fallback option. Playing a Wizard myself, I tend to agree with this sentiment.

So I thought "It would be nice to have one action attack cantrips". Now I'm not suggesting adding new cantrips to the game, mind you. I could see two methods to do this.

1. The "lazy" way: Just add a feat to the classes that are reliant on Cantrips, i.e. primarily Wizards, Sorcerers, maybe Bards and Druids as well. I feel kinda bad to leave Clerics out, but they have only one attack cantrip if I recall correctly, so it's probably not worth it.

2. The "correct" way: Or at last the way I'd prefer. Make it a heighten ability of the spells. Turn the level 3 or level 5 heighten into "This spell loses its verbal casting action" instead of this level's damage increase. I personally would prefer to see this as the level 3 heighten effect, but that's just me.

Basically, instead of casting one 2d8+x Ray of Frost at level 9, you'd cast two 1d8+x Rays of Frost. More damage potential but you are affected by multi attack penalty. The spell would also cap at 3d8+x when heightened to level 9. I'm way too lazy to do any math but I think this should increase the overall damage of a "cantrip only" round but not by an outrageous amount.

Note that I'm talking exclusively about cantrips that require an attack roll here. This won't work for Electric Arc, obviously.

This has the following effects:
- Casters using cantrips don't roll only one lame attack per round while the martial characters get 3 awesome actions.
- Casters can use an attack cantrip in addition to a regular two-action spell (or cantrip), tweaking their damage upwards ever so slightly.
- It won't break hybrid characters because their weapon will probably still deal more damage even if the cantrip targets TAC.

The only downside I can think of right now would be the ability to hit an enemy with his elemental weakness multiple times. But I don't...

I agree it doesn't feel good as a caster to cast a cantrip with 2 actions. In the Paizo playtest streams, whenever the wizard used his third action to shoot or reload his crossbow, I died a little inside. A magic user should NEVER need to tote around a mundane weapon to fill in attacks on their 3rd action.

Some other options are:

1.) All/most cantrips have variable action uses or metagmagic enhancements that allow you to cast them using 1-3 actions.
2.) Add specific 1 action cantrips (like the awesome Dirge of Doom)


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Archimedes Mavranos wrote:

1.) All/most cantrips have variable action uses or metagmagic enhancements that allow you to cast them using 1-3 actions.

2.) Add specific 1 action cantrips (like the awesome Dirge of Doom)

1. This would be great but I think it's very hard to design. There's like 4(?) spells in the game right now that have variable actions and only Heal and Harm actually "feel" good with it because the uses are different and useful enough to matter. The other two spells are Magic Missile which simply feels wasted if you cast it with less than 3 actions. And Cone of Cold has a build-in widen effect which is a very strange choice on a cone spell, because not moving when you cast a cone spell will very likely endanger your allies.

2. This could work on a by-clas basis but doesn't really help with the cantrips in the spell lists. You can't put stuff like Dirge of Doom on a spell list that everyone can access with a single dedication feat.


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I don't think it's really needed, since casters can still use their third action for movement/item interaction or the existing 1-action spells like Shield or True Strike.

Not to mention that martial's "3 awesome actions" usually include either a movement to get into position or an attack at -10, which are typically less than awesome.

And if casters really did get a one-action attack cantrip, it'd say it should be something melee-only akin to a dagger attack or staff hit. There is no need to upgrade ranged attack cantrips from crossbow level to shortbow level in terms of action economy.


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I would like to see a few more quick-casting cantrips. Some one-action attack cantrips which cause a minor combat penalty or a very small amount of damage would be nice for a lot of characters.


I feel like an alternate route can be taken, and you could tac on a third action to a cantrip to make it more comparable to a higher level effect, a "stand your ground and FIGHT!" type of thing, since you'd loe your Stride action to run away should you draw aggro from the baddies. Like "(action symbol) Material Focus: Treat this casting as one Heightening higher" or something along those lines, as that would make it feel a bit more like you're literally just spending your whole turn focusing on this little ball of magical death you're about to throw at the other guy's face, trying extra hard to murderize him. I don't disagree with making them use 1 action after a certain point, and adding a few small utility/buff/debuff ones does sound nice, but then you kinda get this whole "spam spam (we don't have buttons, but I'M BUTTON MASHING DAMNIT)" kinda feel, which in my opinion sounds tedious and monotonous.


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I like the idea of variable action cantrips, but there just needs to be a few and if you want it you can take it.
I also like the idea of changing the casting rules to allow casting across turns. Such as spending 1 action this turn for the first action of a spell and then finishing the casting on the next turn. Normal casting and concentration mechanics would still have to apply. Such as if your hit between turns you must maintain concentration and you must use your action to finish the spell or the spell would be lost.


nick1wasd wrote:
I don't disagree with making them use 1 action after a certain point, and adding a few small utility/buff/debuff ones does sound nice, but then you kinda get this whole "spam spam (we don't have buttons, but I'M BUTTON MASHING DAMNIT)" kinda feel, which in my opinion sounds tedious and monotonous.

I don't see a difference to a fighter spamming attacks.


Blave wrote:
1. The "lazy" way: Just add a feat to the classes that are reliant on Cantrips, i.e. primarily Wizards, Sorcerers, maybe Bards and Druids as well. I feel kinda bad to leave Clerics out, but they have only one attack cantrip if I recall correctly, so it's probably not worth it.

Clerics have two: the one that only works on Undead, and the two action melee one (so if you happen to be carrying your deity's favored weapon, you should probably just use that instead).

For the record, I view this as a feat tax and wouldn't go this way.

Quote:
2. The "correct" way: Or at last the way I'd prefer. Make it a heighten ability of the spells. Turn the level 3 or level 5 heighten into "This spell loses its verbal casting action" instead of this level's damage increase. I personally would prefer to see this as the level 3 heighten effect, but that's just me.

But then lower level players still not having anything and dealing with the two action comically low damage versions they have now.

It seems to me like the best way to do this is to simply add 1 action options to some of the existing cantrips.


Don't some Powers allow casters to already cast 2 spells per turn? For example:

Sorcerer Imperial: Metamagicians Shortcut (Power 3)

It's a bloodline power so will use Focus Points.

"When you cast this spell, choose a metamagic feat you have.
The next time you trigger that feat, you don’t need to add a
Somatic Casting action to the spell you cast."

(Note Metamagicians shortcut can be pre-cast up to an hour before you need it.)

So I pick heighten spell Metamagic Feat. The spell I choose to lose it's somatic component is Flaming Sphere.

My flaming spear now only takes 1 action to cast. This means I can now cast a *second* flaming sphere in the same round. In following rounds I now have 2 sphere's I can concentrate on and still shoot my bow. If I take the viscious concentration feat I can even boost the sphere's damage by more each time I concentrate on them.

This is just one combo I found, I think Wizards can do something similar.


Quote:
heighten spell Metamagic Feat

Where?

And Metamagicians shortcut doesn't subtract a somatic casting action from a spell. It lets you add metamagic (eg widen spell) without costing an extra somatic action.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bruntfca wrote:

Don't some Powers allow casters to already cast 2 spells per turn? For example:

Sorcerer Imperial: Metamagicians Shortcut (Power 3)

It's a bloodline power so will use Focus Points.

"When you cast this spell, choose a metamagic feat you have.
The next time you trigger that feat, you don’t need to add a
Somatic Casting action to the spell you cast."

(Note Metamagicians shortcut can be pre-cast up to an hour before you need it.)

So I pick heighten spell Metamagic Feat. The spell I choose to lose it's somatic component is Flaming Sphere.

My flaming spear now only takes 1 action to cast. This means I can now cast a *second* flaming sphere in the same round. In following rounds I now have 2 sphere's I can concentrate on and still shoot my bow. If I take the viscious concentration feat I can even boost the sphere's damage by more each time I concentrate on them.

This is just one combo I found, I think Wizards can do something similar.

That's not quite correct. What this does is it removes the component from the meta-feat. It doesn't remove the component from the spell. So a spell that requires two actions, still takes two actions. It just no longer takes 'three' actions to add the meta-feat, instead it remains at two.

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