Alternative Melee Cantrips (5e Variant Rule)

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Author: Ghostwheel (talk)
Date Created: November 12 2020
Status: Complete
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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Alternative Melee Cantrips[edit]

Melee cantrips such as booming blade and green-flame blade often have a number of problems; they vie with the Attack action in power, and often outweigh Extra attack in terms of damage when a character doesn't have feats to support them, especially at higher levels, causing the Extra Attack feature to become redundant for some characters. In addition, they're often used to just do more damage to an enemy rather than as a way to increase the versatility of a character, to be used in specific situations. In order to fix these problems, below are alternatives to the cantrips presented in the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide which aim to replace the cantrips, as well as a few more that follow the same paradigm.

Examples[edit]

Booming Blade, Variant
Evocation cantrip
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, M (a weapon)
Duration: 1 round
Casters: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

After casting this spell your weapon becomes wreathed in booming energy until the start of your next turn. On your next successful melee weapon attack with that weapon, the target hit is sheathed in booming energy and the effect on your weapon ends. If the target willingly moves before the start of your next turn, it immediately takes 1d8 thunder damage, and the spell ends upon it.

The spell's damage increases by 1d8 when you reach 5th level (2d8), 11th level (3d8), and 17th level (4d8).


Green-flame Blade, Variant
Evocation cantrip
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, M (a weapon)
Duration: 1 round
Casters: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

After casting this spell your weapon becomes wreathed in green-tinted flames until the start of your next turn. On your next successful melee weapon attack with that weapon, you may cause the flames to dance and fly to a different creature of your choice that you can see within 5 feet of it. The second creature takes fire damage equal to your spellcasting ability modifier.

The spell's damage increases by 1d8 when you reach 5th level (1d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier), 11th level (2d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier), and 17th level (3d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier).


Golden Disc Blade
Conjuration cantrip
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, M (a weapon)
Duration: 1 round
Casters: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

After casting this spell your weapon becomes surrounded by a number of golden discs until the start of your next turn. On your next successful melee weapon attack with that weapon, you telekinetically control the the discs in a way that interferes with the enemy you hit, causing them to gain the marked condition as long as they are within 5 feet of you.

Your control over the discs increases when you reach higher levels, increasing the distance at which they remain marked by an additional 5 feet at 5th level (10 feet), 11th level (15 feet), and 17th level (20 feet).


Obelisk Blade
Conjuration cantrip
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, M (a weapon)
Duration: 1 round
Casters: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

After casting this spell your weapon becomes wreathed in motes of earth until the start of your next turn. On your next successful melee weapon attack with that weapon, you may force the target to make a Strength saving throw or be forced to move 5 feet in a cardinal direction of your choice as a pillar of stone appears and pushes them aside.

The forced movement caused by this spell increases when you reach higher levels, increasing by an additional 5 feet at 5th level (10 feet), 11th level (15 feet) and 17th level (20 feet).


Rimefrost Blade
Evocation cantrip
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, M (a weapon)
Duration: 1 round
Casters: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

After casting this spell your weapon becomes wreathed in snowflaes until the start of your next turn. On your next successful melee weapon attack with that weapon, you may force the target to make a Constitution saving throw or have its speed lowered by 5 feet until the start of your next turn.

The lowered speed caused by this spell increases when you reach higher levels, lowering by an additional 5 feet at 5th level (10 feet), 11th level (15 feet) and 17th level (20 feet). A creature's speed cannot be reduced to less than 10 feet by this spell.


Wind Blade
Transmutation cantrip
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, M (a weapon)
Duration: 1 round
Casters: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

After casting this spell your weapon becomes wreathed in barely-visible gusts of wind until the start of your next turn. On your next successful melee weapon attack with that weapon, you use the recoil to launch yourself, increasing your speed by 5 feet until the start of your next turn.

The increased movement caused by this spell increases when you reach higher levels, increasing by an additional 5 feet at 5th level (10 feet), 11th level (15 feet) and 17th level (20 feet).




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Ghostwheel's Homebrew (392 Articles)
Ghostwheelv
Action TypeBonus Action +
AuthorGhostwheel +
CasterSorcerer +, Warlock + and Wizard +
ComponentV + and M +
Consumable Componentstrue +
Identifier5e Variant Rule +
LevelCantrip +
RangeSelf +
RatingUndiscussed +
SchoolEvocation +, Conjuration + and Transmutation +
SummaryAn alternative to melee cantrips that increases versatility without a pure increase in damage. +
TitleAlternative Melee Cantrips +
Valuable Componentstrue +