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I have created some new cantrips which include making a weapon attack as there are only two official ones to choose from. I've tried to follow these principles based on Booming Blade and Green-Flame Blade:

  • Melee weapon attack only, 5 foot range
  • No unavoidable extra damage to the primary target at level 1
  • Damage no more than 2 targets
  • Spellcasting ability modifier doesn't have to affect the spell at all
  • Only available on the Warlock, Sorcerer and Wizard spell lists

But with such a small amount of official content to compare them against, it's hard to say if they're balanced.

Is this spell balanced with Booming Blade and Green-Flame Blade?

Battery

Evocation cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 5 feet
Components: V, M (a weapon)
Duration: 1 round

As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a weapon against one creature within the spell's range, otherwise the spell fails.

On a hit, the target suffers the attack's normal effects, and you become charged until the end of your next turn. While charged, you deal an extra 1d8 lightning damage when making a melee attack with a weapon. If you become charged while you are already charged, the charged damage increases by 1d8, up to a maximum of 2d8.

At 5th level, the attack deals an extra 1d8 lightning damage to the target and the maximum charged damage increases by 1d8. The damage roll and maximum charged damage increase by 1d8 at 11th level and 17th level.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the caster get the extra damage immediately for their current turn? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 10 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch The attack in the first casting wouldn't get the benefit of being charged, the caster becomes charged after the attack. If the caster attacks again in the same turn, they would get the charged damage on that attack. \$\endgroup\$ – Richard May 10 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical It ends and the end of your next turn, unless you've become charged again before that. If you keep becoming charged, you could remain charged the duration of a combat. \$\endgroup\$ – Richard May 10 at 18:50
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This spell is overpowered. Someone just attacking will have more consistent damage, but there are enough ways to abuse this that you should be able to regularly deal more damage.

If you compare a caster of this spell using a rapier to a fighter using a greatsword you see that this spell allows the user to deal too much damage.

As a base for damage the rapier user is doing an average of 4.5 damage and the greatsword wielder deals 7 damage. However, if the rapier user hits their damage goes up to 9 on their next attack, and 13.5 on any subsequent attacks (assuming they keep hitting).

At 5th level, this gets even worse, with 2 attacks the greatsword fighter gets up to 14 damage per turn. The rapier user takes a little longer to charge this time, going from 9 on the first turn, to 13.5, to 18, and finally maxing out at 22.5 on turn four.

11th and 17th levels are similar, the fighter does more damage on the first turn or two, but the Battery user quickly surpasses them.


The above example is for if you are using this spell in a relatively 'fair' manner. however, with the right build, this spell is easy to abuse. The first obvious build I thought of was an Eldritch Knight, at 7th level, they gain the ability to make a weapon attack as a bonus action on the same turn that they cast a cantrip. This allows you to take advantage of your charged damage the same turn that you cast the spell, significantly increasing your damage output. And once they are charged up, and they see that the fight is starting to wind down they can just go for normal attacks if they are level 11+.

The other build that can easily abuse this is a sorcerer with the metamagic twin spell and/or quicken spell. These allow you to potentially hit multiple targets in a single turn and thus charge your damage faster.

One thing that might make it more balanced is to give the option to spend an amount of the built-up charge on an attack rather than applying it to every attack (though that would be more of a capacitor than a battery). Another would be to drop the static bonus to damage at 5/11/17 and only increase the charge amount.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The Eldritch Knight will also be able to use Action Surge to get a full set of attacks in after getting the charge, without losing the charge as a result. They could get a lot of extra d8 out of this. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik May 11 at 7:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik 20th lvl Eldrich Knight can have 4 attacks with Action Surge on turn he cast this spell, + 1 attack as a bonus action + 4 attacks on his next turn + 4 attacks with second use of Action Surge = 13×4d8 = 52d8. Potentially add another 4d8 if Great Weapon Master activated during second turn. 234-252 expected additional damage. Not bad for a cantrip. \$\endgroup\$ – Revolver_Ocelot Sep 9 at 20:45
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It is okay, counting that you are making only one attack each round. But I can see it going out of control on classes that can multiattack.

As it is, I would veto this cantrip. To avoid arguing with the players. But you can also talk to them about how they intend to use this cantrip in their builds.

But you can fix that adding to the "until the end of your next turn" the clause "the next melee attack that you hit". Makes a little worse but avoid problems.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! You should elaborate on why you think making multiple attacks per turn might unbalance the spell. You are also starting with 'It is okay', but later saying 'I would veto this cantrip'. This seems like a contradiction which you should address better. What kind of arguing would you expect with your players? Take the tour if you haven't already and see the help center if you need more guidance. Good Luck and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil May 10 at 21:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Multiattack has no bearing in this situation. Your action is used to cast a spell, and the Extra Attack feature says you must take the attack action. Even monsters cannot multiattack spells. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 May 10 at 23:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @daze413 I assume from the context that Sergio made a terminology error and meant Extra Attack when they said multiattack. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 11 at 5:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @linksassin yeah, my mistake. But the point still valid I guess. As the spell says "become charged until the end of your next turn. While charged, you deal an extra 1d8 lightning damage when making a melee attack with a weapon." so you can cast on the first turn and on the next do a attack action to get the extra attack with the lightning damage, or you can make both on the same turn with a Eldritch Knight of 7th level ou Quickening this cantrip as a Sorcerer/Fighter Multiclass \$\endgroup\$ – Sergio Ramos May 14 at 19:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SergioRamos I don't disagree. But it usually helps to get terminology correct to avoid confusion and make better answers. You can edit your answer to fix it. Adding the part about eldritch Knight would also be good. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 14 at 22:14

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