Previously, Variant Rory wrote about the many uses of his favorite cantrip,
Minor Illusion . Feeling inspired, I have opted to take a deep dive into my own favorite cantrip- Druidcraft! Please keep in mind that all opinions are based off of my own experience and may not be entirely objective. Webster’s Berry’s Dictionary defines Druidcraft as the greatest catnip to ever exist inside of Dungeons and Dragons. Full stop. Rules as written, Druidcraft can perform the following: You create a tiny, harmless sensory effect that predicts what the weather will be at your location for the next 24 hours. The effect might manifest as a golden orb for clear skies, a cloud for rain, falling snowflakes for snow, and so on. This effect persists for 1 round. You instantly make a flower blossom, a seed pod open, or a leaf bud bloom. You create an instantaneous, harmless sensory effect, such as falling leaves, a puff of wind, the sound of a small animal, or the faint odor of skunk. The effect must fit in a 5-foot cube. You instantly light or snuff out a candle, a torch, or a small campfire. So, aside from feeling like Crysta from Ferngully , why is this cantrip so powerful? Like most cantrips, its strength lies in the hands and creativity of the player. Let’s break it down…
Weather prediction. In a truly immersive world, your weather is going to have an effect on your players. It doesn’t matter if you roll on a random table or have weather patterns drawn up a la the Farmer’s Almanac, your players are going to have their environment changed by the weather. Do you check your weather app in the morning before deciding to go to the beach or hit the slopes? Druidcraft is the fantasy equivalent of checking weather.com for the area you are in. Not only can this help you role play stylish outfits and modes of transportation, it can also help you choose your spells for the day. I’m looking at you Artificers, Clerics, Druids and Paladins!
Ferngully inspired magic. Why is something as simple as making flowers blossom or seed pods open helpful? Let me tell you! If you are about to encounter some bees, Druidcraft can be easily used to help you set the stage. Do you need to help some farmers so they’ll fill you in on their local knowledge? Help them seed! Need to (potentially) affect the sight of your foes? Some creative work with pollen can help distract them. While items like ball bearings are super helpful to cause distractions, it can be traced back to the players, while playing with the environment can be harder to pinpoint on any specific person.
Harmless sensory effects. No, Druidcraft doesn’t allow you to damage your adversaries, but you can use it to distract them! The sound of a twig snapping can send a herd of deer off into the opposite direction. A puff of wind can change the direction of an insect. Even falling leaves can obscure an adversary’s vision! Harmless sensory can also mean potentially menacing sounds of wildlife or running water where there is none. Alternatively, you can cover up the sound of something as well. Not all spells have to deal damage to be effective in the battlefield. You have the opportunity to use the environment for your party or against the others. Lights out! Sometimes your items for survival, like candles for sight or campfires for warmth, can alert others to your location. Obviously, this is an issue if your aim is to remain undetected. Now you can turn off your fantasy lights in an instant.
As you can see, Druidcraft has more to it that one might pick up on their first glance. I encourage players to work with their Game Masters to go even further! In J and Rory’s shared setting , I play Caelynn Starflower- Wood Elf Druid from a swampy area known for its earth magic. The community often first recognizes magic within the little ones through their first use of Druidcraft, playing with flowers or with light. We have also scaled it based on the Druid’s power level. Caelynn’s home is known for its healing magic and (free) health care! Higher level practitioners can use their Druidcraft to help create prosthetics, use small fibers for stitches, and other incredible and life saving uses. Caelynn has used it to help create vines to use for sewing patches into battle worn clothes, leaves for bandages and inedible seed pods built into bracelets for musical instruments. Get your creativity flowing and explore how you can use the natural environment with this seemingly simple cantrip! How have you used Druidcraft in your game? Please let me know in the comments below!