Cantrips - Missing Mage Hand?

I think the Axioms article on cantrips is great! But why is there no Mage Hand? I will be importing that cantrip from D&D.

I felt Mage Hand was more-or-less covered by the separate Prestidigitation proficiency. I think you could certainly import Mage Hand in, though!

Thanks for pointing that out! The proficiency doesn’t quite state that you can move a ten pound object within 20 foot range, etc. so I will probably import it anyway.

I notice that one of the 5e cantrips deals 1d10 fire damage and scales up with level. In Axioms, the damage-dealing cantrips all deal 1d6. Which do you like better? And if you are using the Axioms cantrips, should they do more damage as the Mage levels up like in 5e? And if so, at what levels should the cantrip do an extra d6 damage?

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There are rules for spell creation in the player’s companion. Scaling damage with level is one of the modifiers and is almost certainly too expensive to ever use on a cantrip (I am not able to look at the values right this second).

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Those 1d6 cantrips are pretty solid as-is. I see some interesting upsides and downsides to them.

They compare nicely with archery. 1d6 that doesn’t grow with character level unless you benefit from the fighter’s damage bonus. Arbalests are 1d8, but that’s as good as it gets.

150’ range is better than the short range of any missile weapon, and the medium of most. Long/composite bows are 70/140/210 for short/medium/long, crossbows are 80/160/240. Arbalests are 90/180/270.

Downsides are the same as any spell. Can’t move and cast in the same round like an archer. Can be interrupted by taking damage. Attacking to hit mage THAC0 is unimpressive.

Might work better on hybrid casters like nightblade if they want to save on encumbrance by leaving a ranged weapon out of their kit. Spellswords could do the same, but miss out on their fighter damage.

The only other interaction I can think of is elementalism to get to d6+1.

Overall, the attack cantrips seem like a nice way to get filler ranged attacks from low level mages while gathering utility spells that will last into later levels.

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Would a mage get Dex bonus to hit with the cantrip? What about damage?

I would not give mages a Dex bonus to hit with projectile spells. Dex applies to missile weapon attacks, and I think magical projectiles are more about mastery of magic. The rules aren’t cut and dry, so you could rule it differently. I’d apply the same ruling to things like passing a fireball through an arrow slit, though, whatever you chose.

As for damage, stats don’t give bonuses to other spells, so I’d leave it limited to Elementalism and magical buffs like Bless.

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Thanks. I think Dex bonus to hit should apply, at least in my world. You are probably right about the damage aspect as well, but if I want my mages to feel heroic, I might give them that too.

It’s worth mentioning that spells in ACKS almost never require to-hit rolls, so the concept of applying the caster’s dexterity modifer to them is kind of alien. Usually, if a spell has a chance of not affecting a target, it allows a saving throw; otherwise, It Just Works.

The idea of cantrips doing 1d10 damage at level one and scaling with level is also very much something that’s specific to D&D 5e, in which cantrips are intended to be the bread-and-butter abilities of spellcasters; in ACKs, by contrast, cantrips are mostly for flavour, an optional rule introduced in a specific supplement that only some groups use, while the bread-and-butter spells are all first level or higher.

Oh, and it’s also worth mentioning that a point of damage is much less in D&D 5e than it is in ACKS, so the comparison of 1d10 damage to 1d6 damage isn’t exactly clearcut. In 5e, a level one fighter has 10 HP, while a level one fighter in ACKS has only 1d8 HP; in both 5e and ACKS they’d add their constitution modifier to this total, but 5e characters tend to have higher ability modifiers, too.


Thanks for the insights. I see why there is no need for a 1d10 cantrip in ACKS.

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I actually hate cantrips, Even in 2E I think you traded a first level spell to be able to cast two cantrips, making them unlimited hurts the game in my opinion.

Also the amount of shenanigans people get up to with magehand is out of control. PCs who weigh less than 10 lb are using it to fly themselves around.

I’m playing a gnome trickster right now.

I like the way prestidigitation works as a feat. You can’t do anything you normally couldn’t do with your own hands. So in other words it has a range of your reach, and it won’t let you do anything that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do with your hands, So no instantly clean, no changing clothes, And if you did do either of those it would take just as long had you not used the ability. And if you try to steal something or move something without somebody noticing you roll as a thief at half your level. It puts that spell way more under control, and stops it be it from being in some ways even more powerful than telekinesis