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Background: One of my players is a Cleric who knows Mending. They've used it in various inventive ways, which is good. But it also gets used to easily circumvent various problems I've tried to throw at the players.

I'm having trouble working out where the intended limits for Mending are. The specific circumstances that have come up are:

  1. Should the spell be able to repair a Warhammer that has been rusted (e.g. by a Rust Monster) after scratching off all the rust?
  2. Should the spell be able to repair a cloak with tears all over it? The RAW say a single break or tear, so the cleric cast it multiple times, each on a separate part of the cloak.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah for the rust traditionally there's the slightly higher level spell "make whole," but that's not in 5e yet. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Oct 9 '14 at 21:15
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The only limitations mentioned in the spell description are:

  • that the damage must be a break or tear
  • the damage cannot be any larger than 1 foot in any dimension
  • the spell cannot restore lost magical properties

Other than these explicit limits what the spell works on is decided by you as the DM. If you think some damage is too extensive for the spell to function then it won't work. You can also talk to your players about setting reasonable limits for issues the rules are not clear on.

As for your examples I would rule the spell doesn't in the rust monster case and can work in the cloak case. The spell mentions breaks or tears and I wouldn't consider rust damage either of those things. For the cloak I would rule that multiple castings of the spell can be used to repair multiple tears.

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While I mostly agree on MonkeezOnFire's answer, I would argue that the first scenario would work if the rust was scratched off (which you say has been done), and if the length or width of the hammer is below 1 ft. This allows the spell to be flexible if you're creative, but it wouldn't work on all situations. In general, most weapons are longer than a foot in at least one dimension. If you're afraid it's still OP, it's worth noting the spell is transmutation, not conjuration, so it does not summon any new materials, (flesh related transmutation spells are complicated though, let's ignore those for now) so scratching off rust reduces the volume of the hammer, making it smaller and slightly deformed. If it did summon materials, it would be possible to rip off pieces of an item to sell, before mending them again. These kinds of tricks are fine only if the amount of times it can be done is limited (i.e. Not a cantrip or orison)

Or you can go the traditional jerk-but-fair-and-honest DM answer and say a scratched hammer has hundreds breaks or tears, requiring a whole hour or two of casting the same orison until the cleric's eyes fall off. Or a scratch is not considered a tear or break, for some odd English-related reason.

TLDR; Doesn't work on most weapons, of the rust covers the whole thing, but be creative! Or you can say a thousand scratches cover the hammer, requiring a thousand casts.

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There are limits, by design, to the Mending cantrip. By RAW, it wouldn't work on the rusted warhammer because it's not a tear or break. As for the cloak, that's permissible, but not by a single casting. Each tear would require it's own casting. That said, in 5e, the DM has the prerogative to approve or disapprove skills, abilities and spell effects, even outside the bounds of RAW. If your players give you some stellar roleplaying that convinces you that the Mending cantrip worked, then allow it, but you'll also want tell them "just this once" or something to that effect. You could have them roll for it with a natural 20 (or 00) being the only way to succeed. Maybe I'm too kind to my players, but I like to give them a chance at some things.

That said, I think that the Mending spell is for things like fixing broken thieves tools, repairing clothes, making a manuscript whole or even fixing a broken dagger. If your players had earned Inspiration points, I'd be inclined to to let them spend a point on this.

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I tend to allow things or not based on the character description. So, if the player is willing to take the time to describe his character sitting around the fire that night and using the mending cantrip on various parts of the weapon or cloak to repair it, then sure. It adds flavor to the campaign, and that's what it's all about.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi and welcome! You've given 4 answers, and 3/4 so far have been quite a bit shorter than what we usually like to see. Make sure if you're going to answer a question you answer the whole question. It's also important to answer the question first and then talk about what you'd do. In this case you need to handle the RAW of the spell first and then get into how you'd change it. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Oct 16 '14 at 19:02
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I give a LOT of leeway to Mending. It is magic equal in scope to Firebolt or Sacred Flame, it deserves some respect. It annoys me that Firebolt scales and Mending doesn't.

The spell states that it can repair DAMAGE up to 1 ft. The whole object can be larger. This indicates to me that it should be viable to repair more with multiple castings.

Specific to the Rust Monster, I would say no to this one. The rust is left when it EATS the original metal. I would go so far as to say that the rust that is left is not even in the shape of a hammer any longer.

The cloak should be fixable but I would require some skill checking based on the severity of the damage to fix it CORRECTLY. If you put fabric back together wrong it might not be ripped but it might also not be considered a cloak any longer. Like when your sister was taking Home Economics and then tried to fix your jeans and sewed the leg hole shut.

That being said, I would totally agree with rampant overcasting leading to exhaustion levels. This could kick in after level+casting stat bonus castings or trigger CON saves, whatever you can imagine really. It's your story after all...

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site @Happyman! Please take our tour when you get a chance to learn more about the site. If you have any questions or confusion please check out this post for how and where you can go to seek help/answers. For starters, you can ping me in a comment below this question by typing "@rubiksmoose [message]" and I'll do my best to help out. Just remember, we are here to help! We hope to see you around. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jun 21 at 15:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you used Mending in these ways at your table? It's an interesting homebrew system to account for more usage, but we do expect answers here to be supported. Without support, this is just idea generation which we try and stay away from here. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 21 at 16:17
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I would tend to agree with the last comment that so long as it isn't being exploited, rather creating atmosphere for that player, it really does allow the player to feel better about himself/herself, and also have fun, i would think for the rust monster and the warhammer, i would think rust is a type of damage, in fact i would go as far as to allow small parts of a larger object to be repaired over time providing it was assisted for example, so long as the damage is consistent within the 1-foot cube, such as, if there was a wall that was 1-foot wide along with manual effort into reconstructing the wall by hand and then mending the 1 foot cube would not be out of the question for me. instead of taking 3 hours to rebuild the wall, it may only take 1 hour. at that stage the cleric would feel that his abilities have been well put to use, and it didn't really destroy the game in anyway. so to that avail i would say the cloak if unmagical, could be repaired through multiple uses, the campfire example, Perfect.. the game really is to have fun. just my opinion.

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