24 Best Cantrips 5E [Select Spells To Enhance Your DnD Character]
Embarking on a grand adventure often requires having the right equipment. If you’re a spellcaster in Dungeons and Dragons 5E, one of your essential tools is the right set of cantrips.
From minor utility spells to combat charms, cantrips define your magical style. They can make all the difference between being trapped in a tight spot or confidently managing any situation that comes your way.
The beauty of D&D lies in its diversity and customization, which involves picking the best cantrips 5e. In the exhilarating world of Dungeons and Dragons, many games come down to strategy and knowing how to wield your magical abilities.
Cantrips are an excellent part of building that toolbox, as they’re spells that you can use at will without using up any slots.
They provide versatility and utility, and there are so many spectacular ones to choose from in 5E. We’ve compiled a list of 25 exceptional cantrips for you to consider for your next campaign.
Best Cantrips 5E
Cantrips are the foundational spells that every magic user in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition leans on. These small but mighty spells require no spell slots and can be used at will, offering endless creative and strategic possibilities.
From battlefield control to utility, healing, and harm, cantrips provide essential options that shape the magical journey of characters throughout their adventures.
Toll the Dead
Toll the Dead is a favorite among spellcasters who prefer a more sinister approach. This necromancy cantrip targets a creature within range, ringing a dolorous bell of doom that deals necrotic damage, particularly more potent if the target is already wounded.
Its power lies in its ability to scale with the caster’s level, becoming a relentless whisper of mortality that erodes the vitality of foes.
The sound of the bell is not just a harbinger of damage but a psychological tool, often instilling fear and uncertainty in enemies even before the spell takes its toll.
Spare the Dying
Spare the Dying is a vital cantrip for any party wishing to stave off the harshness of death. This spell is a beacon of hope in desperate times, instantly stabilizing dying companions with a touch.
It does not restore hit points but rather arrests the looming threat of death, giving allies the crucial moments needed for further healing or retreat.
As characters face increasingly dangerous encounters, the ability to prevent death becomes invaluable, making Spare the Dying a staple in the repertoire of any conscientious caster.
Eldritch Blast is synonymous with the raw power and versatility that warlocks wield. This cantrip fires a beam of crackling energy towards a target, potentially scaling to multiple beams as the caster grows in power.
Its damage and range make it one of the most formidable offensive cantrips. When augmented with warlock invocations, Eldritch Blast transcends a mere magical attack into a highly customizable weapon, adaptable to various tactical needs.
Its reputation is well earned, as few cantrips can claim to be as iconic or as feared in battle.
Resistance offers a subtle yet potent form of protection, allowing casters to bestow a blessing that can turn a dire situation into a manageable one.
This cantrip grants extra resilience to one creature, giving them an added chance to resist adverse effects that could turn the tide of battle.
It’s a preemptive measure, often overlooked in favor of more immediate solutions. Still, in the hands of a strategic thinker, Resistance can be the difference between victory and defeat, making it a wise choice for any prepared spellcaster.
Minor Illusion is the trickster’s tool, a cantrip that creates an image or sound capable of distracting, deceiving, and entertaining. Its applications are limited only by the caster’s imagination, from creating ghostly whispers to illusory walls.
Whether it’s used to aid in stealth, create an advantage in combat, or simply for theatrical effect, Minor Illusion offers an endless array of creative solutions to problems both mundane and deadly.
It’s a testament to the idea that sometimes, the mightiest power is the ability to shape perception.
Vicious Mockery is a cantrip that weaponizes wit, allowing casters to unleash a string of insults imbued with arcane spite. This spell does more than merely offend; it psychically disturbs the target, causing psychic damage and disadvantaging their next attack.
The power of Vicious Mockery lies in its ability to both harm and hinder, making it a favorite among bards who prefer their battles laced with sarcasm and disdain.
The spell’s true strength isn’t just the immediate damage but the potential to disrupt enemies, making them falter at critical moments. As a tool of both combat and comedy, Vicious Mockery exemplifies how words can indeed be mightier than the sword.
Chill Touch is a misleading name for a spell that neither chills nor touches. Instead, it summons a spectral hand that reaches out to assault the life force of its target.
This necromantic cantrip does necrotic damage and prevents the target from regaining hit points until your next turn. Particularly devastating against creatures reliant on vitality and healing, it also offers a tactical advantage by invoking a spectral fear, especially against the undead, who are particularly vulnerable to its grasp.
The chill it refers to is the eerie absorption of life’s warmth, making it a feared spell in the arsenal of those who walk the darker paths of magic.
Thaumaturgy is a cantrip that exemplifies the theatrics of divine magic, granting clerics a range of minor miracles to awe, intimidate, or communicate.
This spell can manifest as booming voices, flickering lights, or sudden tremors, among other effects, each serving as a tool for creativity and expression.
Its versatility makes it beloved by clerics who use it to emphasize their divine messages or unsettle foes.
Thaumaturgy doesn’t directly alter the course of battle but rather sets the stage, influencing moods and expectations, making it an invaluable resource in both diplomatic and intimidating encounters.
Shocking Grasp is a cantrip that delivers a jolt of electric energy directly into an opponent through a simple touch.
Beyond its immediate electrical damage, it has the tactical advantage of preventing the target from taking reactions, offering a precious moment for retreat or further attack.
This spell is especially useful when casters find themselves too close to enemies, providing a potent defense mechanism. As the caster’s knowledge deepens, the power surges more intensely, reflecting their growing mastery over the raw forces of nature.
The Light cantrip is a fundamental spell that conjures a bright light from an object, banishing darkness and revealing hidden truths. Its applications are as varied as they are vital, providing visibility in the deepest dungeons or signaling companions across distances.
While not directly combative, its ability to illuminate the unseen makes it a staple in any adventurer’s repertoire.
Beyond its practical uses, Light also serves as a beacon of hope, symbolizing the enduring presence of safety and knowledge in a world brimming with unknown perils.
True Strike is a cantrip that grants the caster momentary insight into the target’s defenses, offering an advantage on the next attack against it.
This foresight is invaluable, turning a potential miss into a likely hit. While it requires foresight and planning, as it takes a moment to cast, the payoff is the increased precision and effectiveness of a well-landed blow.
True Strike embodies the strategic aspect of combat, emphasizing the importance of patience and observation over brute force.
Fire Bolt is a quintessential spell for many aspiring wizards, hurling a mote of fire that explodes upon impact. The spell combines the primal allure of fire with the precision of arcane aim.
Its damage escalates with the caster’s prowess, symbolizing their growing control over this volatile element. In addition to its destructive capability, Fire Bolt can ignite unattended objects, adding a layer of utility in various situations.
Whether used to dispatch foes, signal allies, or light a campfire, Fire Bolt’s blend of utility and power makes it a perennial favorite among spellcasters.
Booming Blade weaves together the martial and magical, delivering an attack that resounds with thunderous might.
When a caster uses this cantrip, their weapon’s strike becomes imbued with sonorous energy that erupts if the target dares to move, dealing additional thunder damage.
Ideal for melee spellcasters, it not only enhances direct attacks but also serves as a tactical tool, controlling enemy movement with the threat of explosive repercussions.
The spell’s potency increases with the caster’s prowess, ensuring that it remains a relevant and feared component of the arsenal as adventures lead to ever-greater challenges.
Its blend of offense and control makes Booming Blade a unique and valued cantrip for those who walk the line between warrior and wizard.
Acid Splash is a cantrip that conjures a bubble of corrosive acid aimed at one or two creatures. This spell’s true horror is not just the immediate sizzling damage it inflicts but also the potential to catch multiple targets in its splash.
The acid leaps from one foe to another, making it ideal for situations where enemies are clustered together. As the spellcaster grows in power, so too does the potency of the acid, making it a consistently relevant choice throughout their journey.
Its ability to erode even the toughest defenses and spread damage among foes makes Acid Splash a staple in the destructive repertoire of those who prefer a blend of precision and widespread havoc.
Sleight of Hand
Sleight of Hand, while not a cantrip in the traditional D&D sense, is an essential skill for characters relying on talent and deception.
It’s the art of thievery, trickery, and subtle magic, allowing for feats like pickpocketing, concealing objects, and performing magical tricks.
Characters proficient in this skill can escape bonds, steal keys, or even subtly plant items on others. As they advance, their fingers become more deft, their movements more imperceptible, turning their hands into tools as versatile and dangerous as any spell.
In the hands of a creative player, Sleight of Hand opens up a world of possibilities, turning seemingly innocuous interactions into opportunities for cunning, fraud, and, sometimes, unexpected comedy.
Sacred Flame calls down a radiant fire from the heavens, smiting foes with divine light. This cantrip is more than just an attack; it’s a declaration of faith, channeling the caster’s deity’s power to defeat evil.
Unlike other spells, it requires a target to succeed on a dexterity save rather than an attack roll, bypassing armor to sear the soul directly.
As the caster’s connection to the divine strengthens, so too does the flame’s intensity, ensuring that this heavenly fire remains a powerful tool against darkness.
Sacred Flame is a testament to the gods’ might and a constant companion to those who serve them, illuminating the path to righteousness with every holy blaze.
Ray of Frost
Ray of Frost is a chilling beam of icy energy that not only damages but also hampers the target’s speed, crystallizing the air around them with biting cold.
It’s a favored cantrip among spellcasters who prefer to keep their enemies at bay, slowing their advance while whittling down their vitality with relentless cold.
The frostbite inflicted is both a weapon and a ward, protecting the caster by creating distance between them and their foes.
As the spellcaster’s knowledge and power grow, so too does the intensity of the chill, ensuring that even as enemies become more formidable, they can never escape the cold grip of this wintry spell.
Friends is a unique cantrip that enhances the caster’s ability to influence others through charisma. With a subtle manipulation of magical energies, the caster gains a momentary advantage in all manner of social interactions, making their words more persuasive and their demeanor more captivating.
The spell’s effects are fleeting and often leave the target aware of the enchantment once it fades, potentially turning temporary allies into long-term adversaries.
Despite this risk, the ability to sway negotiations, glean information, or make a memorable impression makes Friends an invaluable tool in the repertoire of any spellcaster who values wit and diplomacy as much as power.
Guidance is a divine cantrip that channels a touch of providence into its recipient, bolstering their ability to perform a task at hand.
By touching a willing creature, the caster imbues it with a mystical enhancement, granting an extra die to roll and add to one ability check of its choice.
This subtle but versatile spell can be the deciding factor between failure and success in a multitude of scenarios, from negotiating with a stubborn gatekeeper to deciphering ancient runes.
The true strength of Guidance lies in its ability to be cast frequently, offering continuous support throughout the day’s endeavors.
It exemplifies the nurturing aspect of divine magic, a small but powerful blessing that encourages and empowers allies to overcome challenges.
Mind Sliver is a devious spell, slipping a disorienting spike of psychic energy into the mind of an adversary. This insidious cantrip not only deals psychic damage but also embeds a nagging doubt that undermines the target’s next saving throw, making it more susceptible to subsequent spells and attacks.
The invasive nature of Mind Sliver makes it a feared tool among psionicists and tricksters alike. It is not just the immediate pain that worries enemies but the lingering effects that can unravel even the most disciplined foe’s defenses.
As the target’s mind reels from the attack, allies can capitalize on this weakness, making Mind Sliver a strategic first strike in any magical assault.
Mending is a simple yet profoundly useful cantrip that repairs breaks and tears in objects, restoring them to their original state.
This spell is a boon to adventurers and common folk alike, saving valuable equipment from ruin and prolonging the life of treasured possessions.
Whether it’s patching up a torn cloak or fixing a shattered pot, Mending weaves the material back together, erasing signs of damage.
Its utility extends beyond mere economic savings, often preserving items of sentimental value or historical importance.
While not flashy or fearsome in battle, Mending is a testament to the vital and creative aspects of magic, a humble reminder of the everyday miracles that spellcasters can produce.
Poison Spray conjures a puff of toxic gas from the caster’s palm, targeting a creature within a short range. This potent cantrip unleashes a toxic assault that overwhelms the senses and ravages the body of its victim.
The corrosive nature of the spell makes it especially dangerous in close quarters, where escape is difficult. Its power lies in its ability to inflict considerable damage with a mere gesture, a fearsome display of control over deadly substances.
While some might shy away from its brutal and sometimes gruesome effects, those who embrace the darker aspects of magic find Poison Spray a reliable and effective weapon in their arsenal.
The message is the whispering wind of the cantrip world, allowing casters to send a secret murmur directly into the ear of a distant recipient.
This spell transcends barriers, enabling quiet communication even in the midst of chaos. Whether coordinating tactics in battle, conveying a warning without alerting enemies, or simply conversing discreetly, Message ensures that words reach their intended target and no one else.
Its utility is only limited by the caster’s creativity and need for silent dialogue. In situations where silence is golden or secrecy is paramount, Message proves that sometimes the softest words carry the greatest impact.
Mage Hand creates a spectral, floating hand that can manipulate and interact with objects at a distance. This ethereal assistant is capable of carrying out tasks that might be too dangerous, delicate, or distant for the caster to perform physically.
From retrieving an item across a trapped floor to delivering a potion in the heat of battle, Mage Hand is as versatile as the imagination of its user.
Its ability to manifest and manipulate without direct contact makes it invaluable for exploratory, thieving, or simply inconvenient tasks.
As an extension of the caster’s will, Mage Hand embodies the ingenuity and adaptability of arcane magic, making the impossible tantalizingly within reach.
FAQs About Cantrips 5E
What is a Cantrip in D&D 5E?
Cantrip in D&D 5E is a spell that a character can cast at will without using up any spell slots. Essentially, they are minor spells that spellcasters can use for various effects and utilities.
How often can you use Cantrips in D&D 5e?
You can use Cantrips as often as you like. Unlike higher-level spells in D&D, Cantrips don’t consume any spell slots, meaning they are always at your disposal throughout the game.
Do Cantrips increase in power?
Yes. As your character levels up, many of your Cantrips will also increase in power. The level at which this happens varies depending on the specific Cantrip but is generally at levels 5,11, and 17.
Are there class-specific Cantrips in D&D 5e?
Yes, Each class has a specific set of cantrips available to them. Clerics have access to spells such as Guidance, while Warlocks might employ Eldritch Blast.
How many Cantrips can I learn?
The number of cantrips you learn depends on your character’s class and level. For example, a level one wizard starts with three cantrips from the wizard’s spell list.