Saturday, April 4, 2009

Interesting Player Idea

During my last few D&D sessions ( which I need to catch up on), one of the players wanted something to do with her minor action so she was experimenting with her cantrips. She was new to the game, and had tried to randomly use "Ghost Sound" with out any real purpose. I have a tendency to believe that everything done in a battle should have some purpose, so it irked me a little. During our last session she decided to use "Mage Hand" which brought up the concept of stealing arrows and then dropping them on their owner's head.

This, while a fun concept, was something that I was not quite sure how to handle. So here is my idea of how this might go (making this up as I write it):

Assuming the owner of the arrows is distracted (battle or w/e), the hand grabs 1d10 (maybe 1d8?) arrows, and lifts them up a square or two up, then back down ward, for momentum, and releases the arrows back on the victim. For every 4 arrows, roll 1d4, and that is how many hit, for remainders, roll d3 or d2 depending on how many are left, or the arrow just hits when there is 1 remainder. Each arrow that hits does 1 damage.

After the huge discussion, it turned out that it was not in range anyway, and the archer died before it could be attempted.

But, please, comment your opinions on whether this is a good idea, or whatever improvements you can think of. Because, lord knows that that munchkin of a player I have will try this again.


Precocious Apprentice said...

I would say that cantrips do no damage. They can be used to provide mechanical benefits, but only minor ones. I would rule that it is distracting, and gives a -2 penalty to the target for the first time it is tried, and then nothing after than. The target gets wise to it.

anarkeith said...

I'd agree with Precocious Apprentice. Besides the massive amount of extra work involved in treating each arrow as an individual attack, it just isn't realistic. Gotta fire arrows from a bow for damage.

Very creative use of Mage Hand, btw. I'd reward that in a heartbeat.

MacGuffin said...

Well, as much as I want to go with the "cantrips don't do damage" rule, I do want to encourage creativity.

Though, the player in question is CONSTANTLY accusing me of being mean to her, making me WANT to enforce that rule...

Precocious Apprentice said...

Creativity and non-damaging cantrips are not mutually exclusive. Give her a reward that doesn't cause damage, like maybe a +2 to a specific next action. If she feels ripped off, tell her to quit whining and us a spell that is designed to do damage. She has planty of those. Turning a cantrip into an attack that is damaging is elevating cantrips up to be something that is really unpredictable and most likely overpowering. Cantrips are for thematic creativity, not attacking.

If you need cantrips to be damaging, I would definitely limit the damage to lower than is possible with any of her At-Will attacks. Don't make improvised cantrip based attacks better than her At-Wills.

If that isn't satisfying, check out the table on page 42 of the DMG. It gives advice for improvised attacks. I would find that to be way too high for a cantrip attack, but that at least gives you options.

1) Non-damaging advantage.
2) Damage that is much less than any of her At-Wills.
3) Damage that is based on suggested improvised damage in the DMG on page 42.

Those should give you a good range.