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If an Artificer who knows the cantrip "Mage Hand" takes the "Telekinetic" feat, and then later exchanges "Mage Hand" for another cantrip after they level up, do they keep the extended range that comes with knowing "Mage Hand" when you take the "Telekinetic" feat?

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4 Answers 4

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By RAW you get mage hand and the range

The question is when you should evaluate the text of the feat. We know from the feat rules that: "If you ever lose a feat’s prerequisite, you can’t use that feat until you regain the prerequisite." However no explanation is given for if you should re-evaluate the rest of the text.

The two options are:

Evaluate only when you acquire the feat

  1. PC with mage hand gets Telekinetic
  2. PC now has mage hand on their list twice.
  3. Since the PC already had mage hand, the range of mage hand "increases by 30 feet when you cast it".
  4. If the PC loses their original mage hand, nothing else changes, they still have mage hand on their list from the feat, and it still has its range increased by 30 feet when cast.

Evaluate when anything changes

  1. PC with mage hand gets Telekinetic
  2. PC now has mage hand on their list twice.
  3. Since the PC already had mage hand, the range of mage hand "increases by 30 feet when you cast it".
  4. If the PC loses their original mage hand, they no longer "already know this spell" and so lose access to the increased range.

The most logical explanation: read the feat when you learn it

I believe the second answer is probably supposed to be the intended interpretation. However strictly by RAW there is no reason to believe that. Additionally, the wording "If you already know this spell" only makes grammatical sense if the former interpretation is correct, otherwise it would be worded as "if you know Mage Hand from another source" or something to that effect.

To illustrate why the second interpretation is impossible, imagine if someone who did not know Mage Hand took the feat. Then, later, they take a level in Wizard and learn Mage Hand. It would not be grammatically correct to say that they "already knew" Mage Hand. Because this interpretation makes little grammatical sense, I think we have to agree that it's invalid.

Additionally, even if we assume that WotC simply made a grammatical error when writing this feat then at best that would make the situation ambiguous. There would still be no rule saying that we need to re-check feats for internal conditions in the same way that we re-check them for prerequisite changes.

So, despite the former seemingly like a bit of an exploit, it is the only valid interpretation.

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No. You have to have both the feat and the cantrip to get the extended range.

The Telekininesis feat says, emphasis added:

You learn the mage hand cantrip. You can cast it without verbal or somatic components, and you can make the spectral hand invisible. If you already know this spell, its range increases by 30 feet when you cast it.

The plain English interpretation is that, having taken the Telekinesis feat, if you also know the Mage Hand cantrip, then your Mage Hand has a range of 60 feat. It doesn't matter when you learned the Mage Hand cantrip, or when you got the feat.

Three conditions are possible:

  • You have the feat - you get invisible Mage Hand with 30 ft range
  • You have the cantrip - you get visible Mage Hand with 30 ft range
  • You have both - you get invisible Mage Hand with 60 ft range

The opposite, that once you give up the cantrip, you still get the range, is to argue that "if you already know this spell" means "if at the time of gaining the feat, you already know this spell, then its range for you is forever after extended to 60 ft." That is a convoluted interpretation of the language.

However, the most important person to ask is your DM. If there is in fact any ambiguity here, your DM will resolve it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought rules did what they say and nothing more. Isn't the actual plain English interpretation of the conditions of the feat are that if you have the cantrip before you take the feat then when you cast mage hand the range is extended. You are adding an additional condition wherein you have to maintain the redundant mage hand granted to you originally. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cellheim
    Nov 15, 2021 at 0:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cellheim It's often tossed around in this forum that spells do what they say and nothing more, but even that's not exactly in the rules. The rules themselves very often require interpretation by the DM using common sense. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2021 at 2:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ My problem with this argument is that it appears to not be grammatically correct. If a character doesn't have mage hand, and takes the feat, then later acquires mage hand, then it would not be grammatically correct to say they "already know" mage hand. Clearly they acquired mage hand after the feat. I understand this seems like an exploit, but the natural way to read "if you already know this spell" is "if you already know this spell [when learning the spell from this feat]" not "if you already know this spell [when casting the spell]" - and even so, the later would always be true... \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2021 at 6:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think "if you already know this spell" is referring to when you cast it, not when you learned it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Nov 15, 2021 at 21:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jack But if the condition is evaluated when you cast it then you'll always have the extended range because you'll always have known "Mage Hand" prior to casting it because the feat itself grants it to you. It would seem that logically that "If you already know" must mean before you take the feat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cellheim
    Nov 16, 2021 at 4:20
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Learning Telekinesis grants you Mage Hand if you don’t know it (adding to your cantrip list) or adds range if you do. Because it’s an inherent property of Telekinesis you can’t remove it from your list of known cantrips, and the feat doesn’t offer you an alternative cantrip if you already know it. So I’d say that you only get the additional range if you already knew Mage Hand when you take the feat, and you can’t now lose the feat. If you want Mage Hand as an additional cantrip by taking Telekinesis, don’t have it (swap it out) prior to taking Telekinesis, and accept standard range. Consider telekinesis as adding “proficiency” to your Mage Hand skill. If you didn’t have Mage Hand when taking Telekinesis, uniquely I’d suggest that if you wanted to, then when next you gain a new cantrip you could “add” the additional range to Mage Hand instead of taking an additional cantrip.

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    \$\begingroup\$ With the rules about swapping cantrips in Tasha's why can't you drop mage hand? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Nov 14, 2021 at 9:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's not about losing the feat it's about changing one of the cantrips granted to you by the Artificer class (i.e. Mage Hand) and switching that cantrip out for another Artificer cantrip (which Artificers are allowed to do on level up) after it becomes redundant due to you also knowing Mage Hand from the telekinetic feat, and what the range becomes after you do so \$\endgroup\$
    – Cellheim
    Nov 14, 2021 at 10:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri - well yes, you could, but then imo you wouldn't have mage hand and you would have rendered your Telekinesis feat useless. Telekinesis says "you learn the Mage Hand cantrip" not "you gain the ability to generate a Mage Hand as if you knew the cantrip", which would be different. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2021 at 11:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cellheim other classes can switch out cantrips as well using the Cantrip Formulas option. So I think you need to imagine gaining two 'levels' of the Cantrip and if you don't have Mage Hand from another source and maintain it, you only have 30' range. Which is why I sugested allowing someone with the Telekinesis feat to add Mage Hand cantrip, even though they now know it from Telekinesis, in order to benefit from the additional range if they so desire. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2021 at 11:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your answer asserts that you can't drop it, I was just saying that you can, or maybe you can't, but if so you need to explain why. Also you can learn things from multiple sources, so unlearning from one source to rely on learning from the other makes sense to me. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Nov 15, 2021 at 13:48
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The actual question here is whether the range benefit is permanently snapshotted upon learning the feat, or whether it get re-evaluated when its precondition changes. Or every time you cast the spell, since the feat's wording is:

If you already know this spell, its range increases by 30 feet when you cast it.

"If you already know this spell" makes sense in this context as "If you already know this spell from a source other than this feat".


I don't think your hoped-for state is possible, of having Mage Hand with 60 ft range, but having it not count as one of your known cantrips for a class. That's very much a having your cake and eating it too situation, and the rules don't specifically allow for that. (e.g. it could say "if you already knew this cantrip [when you gained this feat]", but it doesn't.)

Assuming you have both cantrip and feat to start with, then upon "unlearning" Mage Hand from the other source, one of two situations are possible:

  • You re-evaluate Telekinetic's benefits in light of your new spell list, and get invisible Mage Hand with 30 ft range.
  • You don't know Mage Hand at all, because you chose to unlearn it. (And the benefits of Telekinetic were snapshotted once, at the moment you gained it.)

I think feats are normally written with the assumption that their conditions re-evaluate when other (semi-)permanent changes happen to your character. It seems most sensible to me that you'd be left with 30 ft Mage Hand if you dropped it from your cantrips-known in a spellcasting class.

This feat appears in TCE, which also introduced the cantrip versatility optional rule, so it could have been written to be 100% unambiguous, but I think the more sensible ruling is that it recalculates, instead of mattering what order you gained things in.

Note that a snapshot ruling would mean you couldn't gain 60 ft Mage Hand if you took Telekinetic first, and then at a later level learned Mage Hand through a class or Magic Initiate. But if the condition re-evaluates when you cast it, then narratively learning the Mage Hand cantrip lets you learn to use magic to enhance and combine with your psionic abilities, giving you the ability to do stuff at 60 ft range.


I tried to look at existing feats to see if they provided any guidance, but for example XGE's Prodigy feat has the same potential ambiguity once you factor in TCE's Skill Versatility. The "you gain expertise" language looks pretty clearly written with the assumption that you can't lose basic proficiency, because it just doesn't make sense to keep expertise in a skill that isn't counting against your proficiency limit.

Choose one skill in which you have proficiency. You gain expertise with that skill, which means your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make with it. The skill you choose must be one that isn't already benefiting from a feature, such as Expertise, that doubles your proficiency bonus.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If the order doesn't matter than you could take mage hand as a cantrip after you get telekinetic and still benefit from the increased range, but the plain text of the feat would seem to preclude that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cellheim
    Nov 15, 2021 at 3:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ -1, answer very confusingly written, order of operations is defined very simply in the 5e phb - whoever controls the character picks. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Nov 15, 2021 at 3:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cellheim: If you already know this spell, its range increases by 30 feet when you cast it. The "when you cast it" wording seems to indicate that that condition is re-evaluated every time you cast. And "If you already know this spell" is fairly obviously intended to be read as "If you already know this spell from a source other than this feat". \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2021 at 3:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user2754: The only time I mentioned "order" in this answer was for order of gaining features on level-up. If you gain this feat at a different level than you change cantrips, the order is fixed. Can you add more detail about in this answer is contradicted or made obvious by that rule? Are you saying it's the player's choice whether to lose Mage Hand entirely, or whether to have it with 30 ft range? That still doesn't allow 60 ft range Mage Hand without having it from a source other than this feat, which was the question. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2021 at 4:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ your entire answer is talking about potential order of operations and whether things 'check' for X at Y time or whatever, at least as far as I can tell. It is not written in way that is easy to read. DnD is not code, it is written in english, but people persist in trying to decipher it as if it is code and thus there are a few general rules aimed at curbing that - 'whenever there is an order of operations regarding a character, the player controlling that character chooses which order they resolve in' is one of them. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Nov 15, 2021 at 5:21

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