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This originally started out as a concept to get a lot of the utility cantrips for an entertainer build: control flames, gust, shape water, mold earth, mage hand, dancing lights, minor illusion, thaumaturgy, and perhaps druidcraft. However, after looking and thinking a bit, I was curious what build would be best for getting the largest number of cantrips possible.

My current concept has a Sorcerer 12, Cleric 4 and Wizard 4, starting out as either High Elf or Tiefling, and taking the Magic Initiate Feat and the Spell Sniper Feat for 3 extra cantrips.

Is there a better build out there to get more cantrips? I would like it to be somewhat viable, but that isn't a necessity.

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  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I originally read this as "What is the maximum number of Catnips you can get by 20th level?". This makes a lot more sense. \$\endgroup\$ – David Starkey Sep 20 '16 at 19:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidStarkey a 18th level mage with True Polymorph can have any amount of Catnip Bush Topiary Guardians he wants. Just polymorph random rocks. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Sep 20 '16 at 19:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin Don't forget the dire wildcats to go with them. \$\endgroup\$ – JAB Sep 20 '16 at 19:53
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36 without items and 20 in a stat

This is an update of my previous answer

The answer given by David Coffron is more thorough with what cantrips to fetch. The answer given by Shank Mugen has a larger number of cantrips but with a sacrifice in other areas.

Using the point buy system and Tiefling as a starting race you can get 36 cantrips, 2 ASI to increase CHA to 20 and 2 feats for Magic Initiate and Spell Sniper. Tiefling is not a required race for the build to reach this amount of cantrips (any race with 1 cantrip in its repertoire works too), but whomever wants to change race have to be mindful of the limitations of multiclassing.

STR 8
DEX 14
CON 12
INT 12 + 1
WIS 13
CHA 14 + 2

Classes

  • Warlock 4 with the pact of the tome and with the Celestial patron: 3 + 3 + 2= 8
  • Sorcerer 1: 4
  • Cleric 1 with the arcana domain: 3 + 2 = 5
  • Bard 6 College of Lore: 4 + 2 = 6
  • Wizard 4 illusion school: 4 + 1 = 5
  • Druid 4 of the Land: 3 + 1 = 4

Feats

  • Magic initiate: 2
  • Spell Sinper: 1

Race

  • Infernal Legacy: 1 (Thaumaturgy)

Total: 36

About optimisation

My answer is not necessarily more optimised than the previous mentioned answers. There could be a debate on if -20 in a stat + Bard 6 + Wizard 4 + Druid 4- vs -18 in a stat + Bard 10 + wizard 2 + druid 2- is more optimised or not. But the central idea of my answer, aside form updating my previous one, is to give a different path to the one established.

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How to get the most, 38, cantrips (on the side of not-viable): (You only miss out on 6 and a blaster doesn't need Shillelagh, Green-Flame Blade, Booming Blade, or Lightning Lure. The other two I didn't include are Spare the Dying and Encode Thoughts, but you can substitute any of these 6 where you like)


The Build

Classes:

You may want to shuffle cantrips with shared lists around to land your attack spells on your primary casting ability or get the cantrips that I didn't choose, for this list I've assume Charisma.

  • Warlock 4 (The Celestial, Pact of the Tome): Light, Sacred Flame, Eldritch Blast, Magic Stone, Toll the Dead, 3 cantrips in your Book of Shadows✝ +8
  • Sorcerer 1: Acid Splash, Chill Touch, Ray of Frost, Shocking Grasp +4
  • Cleric 1 (Arcana Domain): Word of Radiance, Guidance, Resistance, Sword Burst, Poison Spray +5
  • Bard 10 (College of Lore): Thunderclap, Blade Ward, Friends, Mending, Primal Savagery, Thorn Whip, Mage Hand, Message +8
  • Druid 2 (Circle of the Land): Infestation, Control Flames, Druidcraft +3
  • Wizard 2 (School of Illusion): Minor Illusion, Mold Earth, Gust, Create Bonfire +4

✝ See Races for which ones to choose.

Feats:

  • Magic Initate: Two cantrips✝ +2
  • Spell Sniper: One cantrip✝ +1

✝See Races for which ones to choose.

Races:

  • There are multiple races that work for this build and which one you choose determines which options you select for your feats and Book of Shadows. You want to select attack spells so that they coincide with your primary casting ability. Frostbite and Fire Bolt are fully interchangeable in every list. +1

    Elf (High)

High elf gives you one wizard cantrip (choose Fire Bolt) and sets your primary casting ability to Intelligence (this is where your 1 ASI should go to reach 18 Intelligence).

  • Choose Bard for Magic Initiate to get Dancing Lights and Vicious Mockery
  • Choose Wizard for Spell Sniper to get Frostbite
  • Your Book of Shadows should contain Produce Flame, Shape Water, and Thaumaturgy

    Tiefling

Tiefling gives you Thaumaturgy and sets your primary casting ability to Charisma or Intelligence (choose either, this determines whether you choose Wizard or Bard/Sorcerer for your feats).

  • Choose Wizard or Bard for Magic Initiate to get Dancing Lights and Fire Bolt or Vicious Mockery
  • Choose Wizard or Sorcerer for Spell Sniper to get Frostbite
  • Your Book of Shadows should contain Produce Flame, Shape Water, and whichever you didn't get from Magic Initiate

    Half-Elf (Variant)

Half-Elf (Variant) gives you the option to get the High-Elf Cantrip feature (choose Fire Bolt if going Intelligence or Dancing Lights if going Charisma or Wisdom) and sets your primary casting ability to Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma (choose any, this determines your choices for your feats).

  • Choose Bard for Magic Initiate to get Dancing Lights and Vicious Mockery, or choose Druid or Sorcerer to get Produce Flame or Fire Bolt and Shape Water
  • Choose Wizard, Sorcerer, or Druid for Spell Sniper to get Frostbite
  • Your Book of Shadows should contain Thaumaturgy and whichever two you didn't get from Magic Initiate

    Tiefling (Variant)

The Devil's Tongue variant Tiefling gives you Vicious Mockery and sets your primary casting ability to Charisma or Intelligence (choose either, this determines whether you choose Wizard or Sorcerer for your feats).

  • Choose Wizard or Sorcerer for Magic Initiate to get Dancing Lights and Fire Bolt
  • Choose Wizard or Sorcerer for Spell Sniper to get Frostbite
  • Your Book of Shadows should contain Thaumaturgy, Produce Flame, and Shape Water

    Elf (Drow)

Drow gives you Dancing Lights and sets your primary casting ability to Charisma.

  • Choose Sorcerer for Magic Initiate to get Fire Bolt and Shape Water
  • Choose Sorcerer for Spell Sniper to get Frostbite
  • Your Book of Shadows should contain Produce Flame, Thaumaturgy, and Vicious Mockery

    Genasi (Fire)

Fire genasi gives you Produce Flame and sets your primary casting ability to Intelligence.

  • Choose Wizard for Magic Initiate to get Fire Bolt and Shape Water
  • Choose Wizard for Spell Sniper to get Frostbite
  • Your Book of Shadows should contain Dancing Lights, Thaumaturgy, and Vicious Mockery

    Genasi (Water)

Water genasi gives you Shape Water and sets your primary casting ability to Wisdom.

  • Choose Wizard for Magic Initiate to get Fire Bolt and Dancing Lights
  • Choose Druid for Spell Sniper to get Frostbite
  • Your Book of Shadows should contain Produce Flame, Thaumaturgy, and Vicious Mockery

    Yuan-Ti Pureblood

Yuan-Ti Pureblood gives you Poison Spray and sets your primary casting ability to Charisma or Intelligence (choose either, this determines whether you choose Wizard or Bard/Sorcerer for your feats).

  • Choose Wizard or Bard for Magic Initiate to get Dancing Lights and Fire Bolt or Vicious Mockery
  • Choose Wizard or Sorcerer for Spell Sniper to get Frostbite
  • Your Book of Shadows should contain Thaumaturgy, Produce Flame, and whichever you didn't get from Magic Initiate
  • Replace Poison Spray with Shape Water in the Wizard section.

Magic Items:

While you can't know the other two possible cantrips, you can gain access to them through attuning to the following magic items:

  • Staff of the Magi: This gets you Mage Hand so you can choose a different spell for Magical Secrets. Since this also gets you light, you could choose The Undying patron instead of The Celestial for Spare the Dying instead of Sacred Flame. +1
  • Ring of Shooting Stars (for non-Drow): This one is more limited as you can only use Dancing Lights in dim light or darkness with it but its lets you choose Prestidigitation or True Strike instead of Dancing Lights in all the places you would usually choose Dancing Lights under Race. +1 ish

Viability

To make this build semi-viable ,you would have to learn the feats from a special trainer instead of from ASI (DMG 231).

This would allow your primary casting ability to be brought to 20 and 1 secondary ability to be increased once.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you include numbers after each class so I can scan through and find the classes that contribute the most? \$\endgroup\$ – Voromir Kadien Jan 19 '18 at 23:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Voromir added. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Jan 20 '18 at 0:31
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To get the highest amount of Cantrips (40), at the cost of un-viable build, follow what @David Coffron said while changing the following

Classes

  • Warlock 4 (The Celestial, Pact of the Tome): Light+Sacred Flame+6 Cantrips +8

  • Sorcerer 1: 4 Cantrips +4

  • Cleric 1 (Arcana Domain): 5 Cantrips +5

  • Bard(College of Lore) 6: 6 Cantrips +6

  • Druid 2 (Circle of Land): 3 Cantrips +3

  • Wizard 2 (School of Illusion): Minor Illusion+3 Cantrips +4

  • Artificer 1: 2 Cantrips +2

  • Rogue(Arcane Trickster) 3: 2 Cantrips - Mage Hand+2 Cantrips +3

Feats

Use the 2 Ability Score Improvements to get the following Feats

  • Magic Initiate: 2 Cantrips +2

  • Spell Sniper: 1 Attack Roll Cantrip +1

Races

Choose any one of the following for 1 Cantrip +1

  • Elf (High): 1 Wizard Cantrip

  • Half Elf (Variant, High Elf): 1 Wizard Cantrip

  • Tiefling: Thaumaturgy Cantrip

  • Tiefling (Variant, Devil's Tongue): Vicious Mockery Cantrip

  • Genasi (Fire): Produce Flames Cantrip

  • Genasi (Water): Shape Water Cantrip

  • Yuan-Ti Pureblood: Poison Spray Cantrip

Magic Item

  • Ring of Shooting Stars: Dancing Lights Cantrip in dim light +1

This Build, though very weak and un-viable, will give you 40 Cantrips at Level 20 (39 if Magic Items are unavailable),

This build is the Maximum amount of Cantrips (for now), let me know if I missed something or got something wrong

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For maximum possible cantrips, you take 1 level sorcerer, Mage Initiate and Spell Sniper, 4 levels in warlock, 1 cleric (Arcana), 2 druid (circle of the land), 1 wizard, 1 bard, 4 levels in eldritch knight fighter and 4 levels in arcane trickster rogue. Also, you can get one extra cantrip from racial bonuses from genasi, high elves and tieflings.

It's horribly sub-optimal, but it gives you 29 cantrips in total.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And don't forget to take a race that provides a cantrip too, like Tiefling provides Thamalurgy. \$\endgroup\$ – J. A. Streich Sep 20 '16 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why 4 levels in AT and EK? What about racial cantrips? \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Sep 20 '16 at 16:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @J.A.Streich Thaumaturgy and with your point I think the answer would then be 29. Thamalurgy is how you try to explain your snuffles and congestion when the spring pollen is really severe. 8^D \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 20 '16 at 17:32

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