Folk Magic: Cantrips

Folk Magic: Cantrips

In a world suffused with magic, what kind of magic do the “common folk” use in their day-to-day lives? What so-called hedge magic is used by the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker—all to make their lives a little more manageable, productive, and safe?

Arcane Trail (Mountain Druid Magic)

Enchantment cantrip
Casting time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: S
Duration: 24 hours

This simple cantrip allows druids and rangers to mark a trail, leading compatriots to them or identifying a trail for themselves. After casting the cantrip, the spellcaster can make up to twelve 1-inch arcane marks on any surfaces (including liquids, like a pond or puddle). The marks remain in place for the cantrip’s duration and are clearly visible in any lighting conditions from complete darkness to bright daylight. They do not move, even if the surface they are drawn on is moved or destroyed. Any or all of them can be dismissed as a bonus action by the spellcaster. They can also be dispelled by a dispel magic spell or similar magic.

Blessing of the Child (Angelic Magic)

Abjuration cantrip (ritual)
Casting time: 10 minutes
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (holy water, which the ritual consumes)
Duration: Instantaneous (lasts up to 24 hours)

This theurgic ritual calls upon the power of your deity, or at least their powerful servants, to protect a newborn babe or small child. Within the next 24 hours after it is cast, the child gains advantage on one saving throw to avoid acquiring a condition (blinded, charmed, deafened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, and so on).

Circle of Fumigation (Kobold Magic)

Abjuration cantrip
Casting time: 1 action
Range: Self/5 feet
Components: V, S, M (powdered garlic and lavender, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

The spellcaster scatters the powdered mixture upon the ground in a rough circle, which begins to glow slightly. The spell creates a 5-foot-radius, 10-foot-tall magical cylinder centered on the spellcaster. Any nonmagical insect of CR 0 that enters the area or begins its turn in the area is instantly killed and turned to ash. Any nonmagical insect or insect swarm of up to CR 1 that enters the area or begins its turn in the area must make a Constitution saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage. A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from you as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you. It also can’t take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.

Compel Water (Mountain Druid Magic)

Transmutation cantrip
Casting time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: S
Duration: Instantaneous

You choose a nonmagical body of water (or other nonmagical, nonliving liquid) that you can see within range and that fits in a 5-foot cube. You can create one of the following effects:

  • You can cause the liquid to splash in any one direction, covering an adjacent 5-foot square and becoming soaked and slippery. Treat this area as difficult terrain for 1 minute.
  • You can cause the liquid to evaporate in a brief puff of mist, causing that 5-foot square to become lightly obscured until the beginning of your next round.
  • You can change the color and opacity of the liquid, from completely clear to completely opaque, or any degree in between and in any color you can imagine. The change(s) last for 1 hour.
  • You can cause simple shapes or forms to ripple or reflect on the surface of the liquid: these can be simple images of a creature, a simple object, a caricature of a location known to you, or a short message of up to five words in a language you know. The images last for 1 hour.

Create Rainsquall (Mountain Druid Magic)

Conjuration cantrip
Casting time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

You cause a small but powerful rainstorm to appear, centered on any point on the ground that you can see within range. Until the spell ends, the rainstorm affects a 10-foot cylinder. Any nonmagical fire in the area of effect is immediately extinguished and cannot be reignited for 1 hour. The ground in the spell’s space is slippery or muddy and considered difficult terrain while the spell lasts. While the spell is in effect, a creature must also make a Dexterity saving throw when it moves into, through, or out of the space, or it must end its turn in that area.

Gambler’s Luck (Gambler’s Magic)

Enchantment cantrip
Casting time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

This cantrip, popular with scoundrels, gives you advantage on any ability checks made while playing with a gaming set (such as a playing card set) that you are proficient with.

Protective Glow (Chaos Magic)

Abjuration cantrip
Casting time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

Invented by and for traveling merchants to defend themselves, this ward conjures a faint golden glow around you that bursts in a shower of light when you are hit by an attack. The first 5 damage from the triggering attack is negated and, until the start of your next turn, creatures must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw to attack you. If a creature is blind, it is unaffected by this second effect. The spell then ends.

Static (Chaos Magic)

Evocation cantrip
Casting time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V
Duration: Instantaneous

This cantrip was said to be invented by dust goblin shamans in order to better assist their kin in combat, startling opponents with their mental static. The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or take 1d4 psychic damage and have its speed reduced to 0 until the end of its next turn.

This spell’s damage increases by 1d4 when you reach 5th Level (2d4), 11th level (3d4), and 17th level (4d4).

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5 thoughts on “Folk Magic: Cantrips”

  1. Neat stuff! If a player character should want to take these, how should one determine what class lists they belong to?

    1. In the spirit of the design, that being folk magic, I would consider letting these cantrips be available to any class that can cast cantrips. Perhaps asking the player for a suitable reason why the PC would have it.

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