For PCs, cantrip damage increases with their total character level and not their class level (see this question for reference: Do Cantrips use your character level or class level?).
However, NPCs do not normally have class levels, and their stat blocks don't state a total character level.
How can I determine the number of damage dice to roll for an NPC's cantrip?
- Should I use their number of hit dice as their total character level?
- Should I use their stated Spellcaster level? (What if they don't have one?)
- Some other method?
A couple of examples to illustrate my concern:
An Archmage (SRD p. 395) has 18d8 + 18 hit dice and is an 18th-level spellcaster, so methods 1 & 2 here would produce the same result.
Nezznar the Black Spider (LMOP p.59) has 6d8 hit dice and is a 4th-level spellcaster, so methods 1 & 2 would produce different results.
The fact that Nezznar has more hit dice than spellcasting levels implies to me that Nezznar has, in some unspecified way, multiclassed - and that 6 would be his total character level - and the number I should use for cantrips, not 4 (his spellcasting level).
A good answer would also cover NPCs with Innate Spellcasting and no spellcasting level. See, for instance:
- A Green Hag (SRD. p 319) has 11d8 + 33 hit dice but no spellcasting level listed.