What is a Cantrip in D&D 5e?

D&D5e’s magic system has numerous tiers, the lowest of which is the cantrip.

Using a cantrip is like lighting a match instead of conjuring small suns to burn through your foes.

They are the most often used spells in your class because they are the simplest to cast, the simplest to understand, and the simplest to master.

It is likely that your character has spent many hours honing the art of cantrips.

It’s easy to do this type of minor magic with only a little bit of concentration (and even better, without spell slots).

Small effects like a puff of smoke, an orb of light, or a puddle of acid are common.

Do not, however, undervalue their significance.

Cantrips can be a game-changer if you’re creative and roll a good one.

To begin, though, how can you obtain one?

How To Get Your First Cantrip?

It’s all good!

It’s a simple process, and one of the initial steps in the process of developing a character.

There are a number of classes that are able to cast from level one that has cantrip access (such as Artificers; Bards; Cleric; Druid; Ranger; Sorcerer; Warlock; Wizard).

Some cantrips, like Thaumaturgy, are class-specific (a Cleric cantrip).

In addition, the way in which cantrips are handled varies per class.

However, the fundamental notion remains the same: it is the tiniest, most often use of your magic.

Three cantrips are available to wizards at the beginning of their training.

If you’re a caster, search for a table like this in your player’s handbook

Using this table, you may quickly see your spell slots, class features, and other useful information as you gain experience.

In a nutshell, your spell slots are a storehouse of magical power.

You can only use them to cast spells of a certain level (for example, the first-level spell slot can only be used to cast spells of the level 1 spell).

Cantrips let you cast them as many times as you’d like because they don’t take up any spell slots.

In the same way that magic is learned via practice, cantrips can be learned.

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Cantrips, on the other hand, are learned automatically when you level up.

Which Cantrips Should I Take?

Depending on the type of game your DM wants to play, this may or may not be necessary.

Cantrips that focus on combat have a terrible reputation, yet they come in handy when you least expect them.

For wizards who have no other means of dealing d10 damage.

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Combat cantrips are generally not recommended by me.

A destructive cantrip is probably your only choice if things go bad enough to require it.

On the other hand, don’t underestimate your ability to start a fire.

Note that it will not set items on fire that are in motion (i.e, clothes, bags, etc.)

Mage Hand

Even if I try, I doubt I could get my hands on all the items I have to reach or connect with anything that was out of my grasp.

It’s time for you to grab a ghostly third hand the size of a dog!

Even though it can only carry ten pounds, this is still a very useful talent.


In the world of cantrips, this is the pinnacle.

It’s your go-to magic trick to get out of trouble.

Anything that can be explained by “well, magic” is considered a modest sensory alteration.

Changing the color, warmth, relative moisture, taste, and smell of a non-magical item is possible.

Or, if you choose, anything else.

When used by a skilled wizard, cantrips have the power to derail whole campaigns in their wake.

In this hypothetical scenario, your group is aiming to get entry into a royal ball.

To do so, they must construct an invitation that features an image of King George VI and pass a deception check.

Bypass a security guard’s key check and make your own.

Medieval locks aren’t that difficult.

Bricks can be colored to leave messages, or the taste of poison can be entirely disguised in mead.

In your tiny, weak little magician’s hands, the world is at your feet.

How Do I Cast A Cantrip?

Casting has a lot of moving parts, and for a newbie, this is the most perplexing component.

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As an example, let’s have a look at the Dancing Lights cantrip.

Evocation cantrip Dancing Lights.

Time spent in the casting chair.

A 100-foot radius.

Three parts: V, S, M (a bit of phosphorus or wychwood, or a glowworm).

For up to a minute of concentrated attention

Torches, lanterns, or luminous orbs emerge in the air for the remainder of the duration of the game when you make up to four torch-sized lights within range.

To create a more human-like shape, you can unite all four lights into one.

Each light emits a faint beam of light that covers a 10-foot radius.

You can move the lights up to 60 feet on your turn as a bonus action.

In order for a light made by this spell to be visible, it must be within 20 feet of another light already in existence.

If light is outside of this distance, it will blink out.

Dancing Lights is a cantrip that appears in the Players Handbook (PHB).

Everything you need to know about casting the spell is laid out clearly for you.

Casting the time first.

Casting Time

D&D5e’s combat system is crucial to fully grasp this concept, which can only be done in the context of conflict.

Simply said, you have three fighting phases: your action, your extra action, and your movement.

Swinging a sword, convincing someone, or performing a spell are all examples of powerful actions.

For example, certain cantrips and lever pulls count as bonus actions, whereas some sheathings and lever pulls don’t.

As long as you stick to the thirty-foot per turn rule for your character’s race, their movement will be OK.


For the sake of brevity, the components are frequently shortened.

To cast a spell, you must use the letter V, which stands for “verbal,” which suggests that you must be making sounds in order to be heard.

Again, the word “choreographed movement” is a fancy way of stating “somatic,” and it implies something miraculous.

The letter M denotes a unique type of substance.

You don’t have to worry about materials unless they have a gold price attached to them if you have an arcane concentration or a materials bag from your classes (which would appear next to M).

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Then, maybe your mage has an orb-shaped arcane focus and is able to cast Dancing Lights with no problems.

Even if they had a diamond worth twenty-five thousand gold pieces and a ninth level spell slot, they would still be unable to cast True Resurrection.


The length of time is typically straightforward.

A spell’s duration is displayed here.

It’s different if it mentions concentration.

Only one concentration spell can be active at any given moment.

You can move and converse while casting non-concentration spells with Dancing Lights; it doesn’t require a lot of focus.

Multiple concentration spells need too much effort to be used simultaneously.

To get a sense of what concentration is like, consider continually repeating the spell’s name in your mind to keep the spell alive.

If you’re hit, you’ll have to make a concentration saving (d20 plus your constitution modifier) if your concentration is affected.

You can cast a spell with a rune in the air if you have an arcane focus, materials bag, or a glowworm, and you have a half-second to say the incantation and dash a rune.

As a result, four glowing orbs would appear all around you.

Why Would I Use Cantrips?

There are several reasons, but roleplaying is the most important.

It’s easy to overlook the fact that most spellcasters have grown up around magic, so make the most of it!

Because Control Flames and Fire Bolts are available, why utilize a tinderbox?

In addition, many-tiered spells have weaker cantrip versions that can (and should) be used more frequently than the original.

The cantrip Friends is available to bards, which effectively doubles their success rate on charisma tests.

It is only after a few seconds that the recipient realizes they’ve been enthralled.

Show what your character is all about, and that they don’t care, how much the shopkeeper knows about their manipulations if it means a better bargain for them.

Maybe they’re just being sarcastic.

Cantrips, on the other hand, may provide a means of initiating such discussions.

All the magic in D&D is jammed into the system.

Using cantrips is a simple and effective technique to engage with magic at any level.