Buffing Pathfinder 1st ed Cantrips

I’m thinking of running an E6-style Pathfinder 1st edition game in the not-too-distant future, and I want to make cantrips a more important and impactful element of that campaign. So, I have come up with scaling power increases to every official cantrip for Pathfinder 1st edition.

To be clear, these are a pure power-up, and using these rules makes all characters able to cast cantrips at least slightly more powerful. I plan on using these rules only in campaigns where noncasters gain a similar boost to effectiveness.

Those affects that use half your caster level always round down. Those that allow you to make a skill check only allow a single check for each thing you wish to attempt, and you can never take 10 or take 20. Such checks are often made by the GM in secret.

Acid Splash: Add half your caster level to the damage done by this spell.

Arcane Mark: You cast use Spellcraft to attempt to find or follow the most recent arcane mark spell you cast, as if using Survival to track.

Bleed: This spell can be cast on creatures not below 0 hp, in which case if they fail a save they bleed 1 hp/round for a number of rounds equal to half your caster level.

Brand: This spell can deal acid, electricity, or fire damage, as you prefer. Add half you caster level to the damage done by this spell.

Breeze: During the duration of this spell, each round as a standard action you can select one creature within range to gain a deflection bonus to AC against ranged missile attacks equal to half your caster level. Only ranged attacks that could be affected by the Deflect Arrows feat are affected by this spell.

Chameleon Scales: When you cast this spell while you have cover or concealment, you can make a Spellcraft check to hide as if using Stealth. You cannot use it for Stealth while moving, and if your cover or concealment ends, so does your Stealth.

Create Water: Casting this spell allows you to attempt to trip a foe, with a CMB of 1/2 your caster level + your spellcasting ability score. It also does 1 point of damage per 2 caster levels to fire elementals (and, at the GM’s discretion, other creatures actually made of fire).

Dancing Lights: Casting this spells allows you to attempt to feint a single foe using Spellcraft, as if making a Bluff check, by using the lights to confuse and distract your opponent. If your check is successful, the feint applies to the next attack made against the target before the end of your next turn.

Daze: This spell affects targets with a max HD equal to your caster level +3.

Detect Fiendish Presence: Casting this spell allows you to use Spellcraft in place of a Perception check to spot outsiders with the evil subtype, as well as the lingering effects caused by their gifts, presence, and spells and divine spellcasters who worship fiendish deities or creatures with fiendish patrons. If you have time to also make a Perception check, you can use this spell in an attempt to aid another with your own Perception check.

Detect Magic: Casting this spell allows you to use Spellcraft in place of a Perception check to spot magical creatures, items, and traps. If you have time to also make a Perception check, you can use this spell in an attempt to aid another with your own Perception check.

Detect Poison: Casting this spell allows you to use Spellcraft in place of a Perception check to spot poisonous creatures, items, and traps. If you have time to also make a Perception check, you can use this spell in an attempt to aid another with your own Perception check.

Detect Psychic Significance: Casting this spell allows you to use Spellcraft in place of a Perception check to spot items of psychic significance. If you have time to also make a Perception check, you can use this spell in an attempt to aid another with your own Perception check.

Disrupt Undead: Add your caster level to damage done with this spell.

Drench: Drenched creatures gain a bonus equal to half your caster level on their next saving throws against fire effects within 1 round per caster level. This spell also does 1 point of damage per caster level to fire elementals (and, at the GM’s discretion, other creatures actually made of fire).

Flare: The duration is 10 rounds, +1 round/2 caster levels.

Ghost Sound: Casting this spell allows you to attempt to demoralize a single foe using Spellcraft, as if making an Intimidate check, by making sudden, distracting, disturbing noises. This use does not allow a Will save, and is not language-dependent. If the target is already shaken, this extends the duration of their shaken effect, rather than increase their degree of fear.

Grasp: This spell gains a target of 1 creature, and a range of 1/2 your caster level x 5 feet.

Grave Words: The chance of the words being of some use is 9+caster level %.

Guidance: Guidance has a duration of 1 minute/caster level, and is not discharged when the target uses it. instead, the target can use its bonus again one minute after a previous use.

Haunted Fey Aspect: The DR is increased by +1 per 3 caster levels.

Jolt: Add half your caster level to the damage done by this spell.

Know Direction: This spell allows you to use Spellcraft in place of Survival for all Survival tasks except tracking.

Light: Casting this spells allows you to attempt to pass a secret message to a single creature using Spellcraft, as if making a Bluff check, by using the lights to send clandestine signals.

Lullaby: You can make a Perform check to conceal casting a lullaby, with observers having to exceed your Perform result with an opposed Perception check to realize you are using this spell.

Mage Hand: The spell’s weight limit is 4 + your caster level in pounds.

Mending: Add half your caster level to the hp restored with each casting of this spell. If a magic item is destroyed by damage, and you mend it back to full hp within one minute, its magic properties are retained.

Message: The DC for those not targeted by your spell to overhear the message is 24 + your caster level.

Oath of Anonymity: Add half your caster level to the bonus granted by this spell.

Open/Close: The casting time for this spell is 1 move action. The weight limit is (5 + your caster level) x 5 lbs.

Penumbra: The target of this spell gains a bonus to Stealth checks (equal to half your caster level) against creatures unable to see in total darkness, when in dim and no light.

Prestidigitation: Prestidigitation allows you to use Spellcraft as wide number of Craft and Professional skill checks (subject to GM approval), including as an aid another option for yourself and others making any Craft or Profession check.

Purify Food and Drink: You can use this spell to make a Spellcraft check to attempt to treat disease or treat poison, as if making a Healing check. If you have time to also make a Healing check, you can use this spell in an attempt to aid another with your own Healing check.

Ray of Frost: Add half your caster level to the damage done by this spell.

Read Magic: You can use this spell to make a Spellcraft check to attempt to decipher written language as if making a Linguistics check. If you have time to also make a Linguistics check, you can use this spell in an attempt to aid another with your own Linguistics check.

Resistance: This becomes an untyped bonus that does not stack with itself (regardless of source), with a duration of 1 minute per caster level.

Root: This spell gains a range of 1/2 your caster level x 5 feet, and a duration of 1 minute/caster level.

Scoop: As part of the standard action to concentrate on this spell, you can use it to deliver a liquid in your possession to a creature within range. This can apply potions and oils to willing targets, or to make a thrown attack against unwilling targets using your spellcasting ability bonus in place of your Dexterity bonus for the attack.

Scrivener’s Chant: This spell allows you to scribe spells into a spellbook in half the normal time and at half the normal cost, and to make scrolls (if you have the Scribe Scroll feat) while travelling (but not engaging in more strenuous activities, such as fighting, research, or crafting).

Sift: This spell uses your Spellcraft check if that is superior to your Perception -5. All other limitations of the spell apply. You can make a Perform check to conceal casting a sift, with observers having to exceed your Perform result with an opposed Perception check to realize you are using this spell.

Sotto Voce: This spell affects targets with a max HD equal to your caster level +3.

Spark: This spell can deal one point of fire damage per 2 caster levels to a creature or object within range. Targets soaked or covered in easily flammable substances (such as being soaked in oil) must make a Reflex save each time they take damage, or catch on fire.

Stabilize: The first time each day a creature has stabilize cast on them, they also recover hit points equal to half the caster’s level.

Summon Instrument: This spell can also summon a typical tool (weighing no more than 5 lbs and worth no more than 1 p, and it is obviously conjured), which will function only for you. Instruments summoned by it grant a +1 circumstance bonus to related Perform checks per 5 caster levels.

Telekinetic Projectile: Add half your caster level to damage dealt by this spell.

Touch of Fatigue: This spell gains a range of 1/2 your caster level x 5 feet.

Unwitting Ally: The spell’s duration becomes 1 round/caster level.

Vacuous Vessel: The duration increases to 10minutes/level, and you can have one vacuous vessel spell active per 2 caster levels.

Vigor: Add half your caster level to the damage bonus provided by this spell.

Virtue: Add half your caster level to the temporary hit points granted by this spell.

Expanded Post:

While I likely won’t use the 2 pre-Pathfinder spells published in official sources (enhanced diplomacy and sign of the dawnflower), I went ahead and included them in the expanded version of this article available to backers of my Patreon.
If you enjoy any of my articles, please sign up at my Patreon, for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month! Of, if you prefer, you can drop me a single cup of appreciation at my Ko-Fi.

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on January 12, 2022, in Game Design, Pathfinder Development and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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