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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?

Caustic Cleave

Conjuration cantrip

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

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 acid sprays from your weapon arc to a different creature of your choice that you can see within 5 feet of you. Make an attack roll against the second creature with the same attack bonus. On a hit, it takes 1d6 + your spellcasting ability modifier acid damage.

At 5th level, the melee attack deals an extra 1d6 acid damage to the target, and the acid damage to the second creature increases to 2d6 + your spellcasting ability modifier. Both damage rolls increase by 1d6 at 11th level and 17th level.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like all of these spells you are creating are a way to fill a perceived gap in available damage types for a specific type of spell. Older versions of dnd basically did that by having a feat or ability that allowed casters to change the damage type of the spells as they saw fit. Perhaps that will fit your needs better than creating a dozen new nearly identical cantrips. \$\endgroup\$
    – Duck
    May 14, 2019 at 3:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Duck Actually I've written about that here, I'm not a fan. rpg.stackexchange.com/a/124979/36002 \$\endgroup\$
    – Richard
    May 14, 2019 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Richard I was referring to something along the lines of [Elemental Spell][d20pfsrd.com/feats/metamagic-feats/elemental-spell-metamagic] Metamagic Feat from Pathfinder rather than a simple reskinning \$\endgroup\$
    – Duck
    May 18, 2019 at 2:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ When you say "Make an attack roll against the second creature with the same attack bonus." what does this mean? How many d20's are rolled in total? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 10 at 14:19

1 Answer 1

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Reasonably balanced

The similarities to green flame blade make this a good comparison spell to look at balance.

In your spell, you've traded the automatic fire damage that GFB provides for an additional attack roll for acid damage. Fire is commonly resisted and I think asking for an attack roll for an non-fire type is a reasonable trade off. The attack rolls presents a chance to miss, but also a chance to crit!

You've altered the damage a bit, too. GFB starts with d8 for the first target and 2nd target only gets the modifier. With yours, it's now a d6, but the second target starts off with the d6.

In all, you've traded your autohit from GFB for a less resisted damage type, an attack roll, and an additional damage die. That's a good trade in my book if you don't want to deal with fire resistance.

If you wanted a second look at damage, you could drop it to a d4 to keep the extra die, or keep the d6 and drop the extra die.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The secondary damage needs 2 succes full attack rolls. Its damage is not too high, it is too low. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Mar 10 at 9:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András I understand where you're coming from - made some edits. What do you think? \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Mar 10 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Isn't it also more damage, and not just type changed? GFB doesn't have a base d6 fire damage, just spellcasting mod. I still think that falls into reasonable balance (scaling on a smaller die helps that), but it's probably worth mentioning. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Mar 10 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Someone_Evil Another good point! \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Mar 10 at 14:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ In the last paragraph you still recommended weakening, while it needs the opposite. On 1st level, needing an attack roll compensates for the higher damage. The additional damage at higher levels should still be about double of GFB to compensate for the attack roll. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Mar 11 at 13:04

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