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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    This is a guide to using the Magic Initiate feat correctly; in my sessions, I've noticed that players don't fully realize all the crazy ways they can change their character, both in terms of roleplay and game mechanics, with it.


    So without further ado...


    Why go for Magic Initiate?

    - Versatility
    Two cantrips to be used at will and a 1st level spell once for long rest can solve many problems in specific builds, or help characters do what they already do even better (like Fighters with Hex). Many times, simple spells like these can also unburden the main caster(s) of the group, allowing them to be more focused.

    - Self-sufficiency
    In groups/campaigns where magic is scarce, cantrips and 1st level spells make up for "holes" in the group. If your character usually scouts ahead of the group or does solo assignments, this is doubly true. Communication, illumination, reach... you choose.

    - Flavor
    Let's face it, to some people spell-less classes just feel... plain. Wouldn't it be great if 'Malakai, the Fighter' could be 'Malakai, Defender of the Enduring Flame', with Control Flames, Fire Bolt and Burning Hands? What about 'Nalia, the Monk" becoming "Nalia, the Feyblessed" with Druidcraft, Shillelagh and Faerie Fire? These are not the optimal choices, sure, but who cares - these guys are now cool!
    __________________________________________

    When is Magic Initiate a good option?

    - If you're a Variant Human and/or have a feat to spare;
    - If you're not MAD (relying on too many attributes to be decent);
    - If you want a little more versatility and fun from a spell-less class;
    - If you want a specific spell or cantrip from another class without multiclassing;
    - For specific builds who need a spell for their 'combos';
    ___________________________________________

    Rules of the game:

    - You pick two cantrips and a 1st level spell, which must all be from the same class. That limits your options a bit, but it's not that big of a problem.
    - You get to use the cantrips whenever you like, and they scale with your CHARACTER level, which means they won't suck later on.
    - You get to cast the 1st level spell once per long rest.
    - If you happen to have spell slots from the class you chose for the feat, you may cast your learned spell with your own slots.
    ___________________________________________

    Color chart:

    Blue - A solid choice, guaranteed to be good at what it does.
    Purple - Mild, or too situational.
    Red - Don't even.

    Spells according to class:
    Ba - Bard; Cl - CLeric; Dr - Druid; So - Sorcerer; Wa - Warlock; Wi - Wizard.
    Ranger and Paladin spells are not included, but if you really want one you could always talk to your DM.

    General tips:

    - Avoid spells that have saves associated with them; you usually won't have a decent attribute score for them.
    - When picking first level spells, try to focus on those who won't go obsolete after a few levels.
    - And most importantly, be cool.
    ___________________________________________

    Cantrips analyzed:

    Acid Splash (So, Wi) - Dex save for d6 damage? No.
    Blade Ward (Ba, So, Wa, Wi) - There are niche situations where this can be good, but usually the Dodge action (or getting the hell out of the way) are better.
    Booming Blade (So, Wa, Wi) - If you're playing a defender-style combatant this is great, since it damages foes who move. For rogues this is almost mandatory for the damage being better than that of a regular attack. If you have extra attacks, this is not that good. From SCAG.
    Chill Touch (So, Wa, Wi) - d8 damage, good range, and no healing for the target for 1 round. It gets better when used against undead, too.
    Control Flames (Dr, So, Wi) - The first thematical cantrip of many. Useful mostly to show your badass side, or give ominous messages through fire.
    Create Bonfire (Dr, So, Wa, Wi) - Minor battlefield control paired with convenience.
    Dancing Lights (Ba, So, Wi) - A bit fancier than Light, but requiring concentration. I'll take Light over this any day.
    Druidcraft (Dr) - Another thematical cantrip, this time to show nature's got your back. If you went for druid and can't find anything better, be my guest.
    Eldritch Blast (Wa) - I find this better than Fire Bolt because force damage is less resisted than fire. Good range and, later on, versatility for multiple opponents, too.
    Fire Bolt (So, Wi)- A staple for the pyromaniac in all of us. A bit better than Produce Flame.
    Friends (Ba, So, Wa, Wi)- Many have pointed out that the benefit of this pales in comparison to the hostility it brings, but the true mischief maker knows that with effective disguise (such as Disguise Self *hint*) or deception (saying you belong to a rival organization of the NPC) this goes a long way. Also, it means free advantage on Intimidation checks, which usually make the target hostile anyway. Tavern tough guys, what are you waiting for?
    Frostbite (Dr, So, Wa, Wi) - A CON save for d6 damage, but disadvantage is the bonus here. Note that sometimes your attacks will have disadvantage (such as drow in the sun), so use saves to get around that.
    Green-Flame Blade (So, Wa, Wi): Basically you attack as part of casting the cantrip, and another foe close to the target gets some damage (equal to your spellcasting modifier). Gets blue at higher levels if you don't have Extra Attack and have a high spellcasting stat. From SCAG.
    Guidance (Cl, Dr) - The main reason to go Cleric or Druid for the selection of the feat, this is an amazing cantrip which will never go out of style. 1d4 to an ability check is a 1d4 boost to all your skills and initiative when you have time to cast it beforehand. Need to remember the functions of a magic item? Cast it. Going to jump over a chasm? Cast it. About to open a lock? Cast it. I can keep going all day, and these bonuses can apply to any creature you touch, not just you.
    Gust (Dr, So, Wi) - Minor pushing, object-throwing and fluff. Unless you have been blessed by the wind or something, pass.
    Light (Ba, Cl, So, Wi) - The utility of this over a torch is that a torch needs a free hand, while this can be cast at anything, anywhere. If you have a cantrip to spare, feel free.
    Lightning Lure (So, Wa, Wi)- Very similar to Thorn Whip, minor damage and pulling the enemy closer. I'm not feeling it. From SCAG.
    Mage Hand (Ba, So, Wa, Wi) - 30 feet of distance between yourself and what you're handling is the difference between life and death, sometimes.
    Magic Stone (Dr, Wa) - Seems totally lame to me, but could give you okay ranged attacks. Note that if you have commoners and noncombatants with you, they can attack decently with your stat.
    Mending (Ba, Cl, Dr, So, Wi) - Has its uses in breaking and entering, or if the DM insists on tearing the party's equipment. Definitely not vital, though.
    Message (Ba, So, Wi) - Silent, precise and tactical communication, with good range. Becomes fundamental if you're the guy leading the group in a dungeon.
    Minor Illusion (Ba, So, Wa, Wi) - It seems 5e is really about rewarding creative players, since free illusions forever is probably as good as a cantrip gets. There are many threads with uses of this, with alley screams and a pile of gold being my favorites.
    Mold Earth (Dr, So, Wi) - Some uses of this include hiding treasure, destroying walls, creating foxholes and the like. Solid utility.
    Poison Spray (Dr, So, Wa, Wi) - The d12 damage looks pretty neat, until you realize it targets Constitution, those who succeed on it take no damage, and poison is the most resisted/ignored damage type in the game.
    Prestidigitation (Ba, So, Wa, Wi) - This has so many uses (besides flavor) that sooner or later you will be glad you have it. Cleaning bloody clothes after a fight can be especially helpful.
    Produce Flame (Dr) - There are better Druid cantrips out there, but I find this a bit better than Light.
    Ray of Frost (So, Wi) - If you prefer to attack from range, this is better than Fire Bolt because it slows the enemy, but chances are you're already a spellcaster if you prefer to work from range.
    Resistance (Cl, Dr) - +1d4 for saves? Amazing! But... due to the casting time, you need to know you're gonna need a save beforehand, which makes it worse than Guidance. The most evident use of this to me is using it before facing/trying to disarm a trap.
    Sacred Flame (Cl) - God no (pun intended). Dex save, d8 damage, no damage if the target succeeds. Run.
    Shape Water (Dr, So, Wi) - Mostly a thematical cantrip, which has the same flavor of Control Flames and a bit more utility. Iced drinks!
    Shillelagh (Dr) - A good Druid cantrip, this time for spellcasters. With this, you can dump ST or DX (especially ST, since DX gives initiative and AC) and still join melee eventually. The fact that this makes the weapon magical is also aces. If you're a cleric, put this in your shopping list.
    Shocking Grasp - I'm really not into damage cantrips if there's no utility involved, and this one is a bit better because of that. Hit 'em and run.
    Spare the Dying (Cl) - You don't need to be a cleric to play the combat medic if that's your thing. Consider it a free proficiency in Medicine. Note, however, that a healer's kit will do pretty much the same.
    Sword Burst (So, Wa, Wi) - I can't decide what is worse, Thunderclap or this. But it could be nice if you can't deal with many enemies up close. From SCAG.
    Thaumaturgy (Cl) - Another thematical cantrip, this time to show the powers of hell (or heaven, who knows) are strong in you. Probably my favorite one of those.
    Thorn Whip (Dr) - On a hit, you pull the target 10 feet closer. Good for chases, mainly.
    Thunderclap (Ba, Dr, So, Wa, Wi) - For this to be optimal, you need to be surrounded, and if you're interested in this feat then a) you have better ways to deal with such a situation or b) you should get the hell out of there.
    True Strike (Ba, So, Wa, Wi) - Like Blade Ward, there may be some builds that use this well, but 99% of people won't.
    Vicious Mockery (Ba) - The damage and disadvantage on one attack are good, but they pale in comparison to the pleasure of insulting your foe creatively.
    ______________________________________

    1st-level spells analyzed:

    Absorb Elements (Dr, Wi): Awesome for characters worried about AoE spells. Cut the damage of an energy attack in half (cumulative with succeeding on the save) and get 1d6 of said energy in your next attack. If this weren't just once per day, it would be broken.
    Alarm (Wi): For a sound night of sleep? Unless you're in a solo campaign, there should be a nightwatch going on.
    Animal Friendship (Ba, Dr): Thematically nice and can turn enemies into friends, but should be getting obsolete after a few levels.
    Armor of Agathys (Wa): If you read this spell backwards, it spells 'obsolete fast'.
    Arms of Hadar (Wa): This has the same problem as thunderwave, but at least the range is wider and it helps you get away if they fail the save.
    Bane (Ba, Cl): -1d4 on attacks and saves of enemies makes for one of my favorite spells. So what's wrong? It requires concentration AND a save. The save is Charisma, which is a bit unusual. But hey, at least it won't become obsolete soon.
    Bless (Cl): THE level 1 buff. +1d4 to all attacks and saving throws of 3 guys is like Christmas, and any Cleric spells you plan to take must be measured against this one. Take care of that concentration.
    Burning Hands (So, Wi): If damage is your deal, go for Magic Missile, or even Chromatic Orb.
    Catapult (So, Wi): The only reason this is not red is because of its fantastic range of 240ft. for attacks, but I find it very meh.
    Charm Person (Ba, Dr, So, Wa, Wi): A lot better than Friends, but you can only use it once per day, requiring a save. Up to you.
    Chromatic Orb (So, Wi): Unlike the other damage spells, you can choose the kind of energy it deals, which makes it good for exploiting vulnerabilities.
    Color Spray (So, Wi): Lasts for 1 round, and will get obsolete.
    Command (Cl): I like this spell because it helps a 'badass' character concept. There's a Wisdom save, though, so pick your targets carefully.
    Comprehend Languages (Ba, So, Wa, Wi): If your campaign involves a lot of spying on different groups, this might be worth taking a look.
    Create or Destroy Water (cl, Dr): Meh.
    Cure Wounds (Ba, Cl, Dr): Goodberry/Healing Word are better.
    Detect Evil and Good (Cl): Non-magic character who hunts these creatures? Cool. Others? No.
    Detect Magic (Ba, Cl, Dr, So, Wi): Leave it to the caster.
    Detect Poison and Disease (Cl, Dr): Haha.
    Disguise Self (Ba, So, Wi): Yes. Looking like another person has infinite uses for a social character, but even a brooding monk can look like the king's son to kick some ass and create havoc.
    Dissonant Whispers (Ba): The damage will be obsolete eventually, but the battlefield control it brings is pretty good.
    Earth Tremor (Ba, Dr, So, Wi): Good against mobs and not much else.
    Entangle (Dr): Better than the one above in my opinion, especially because it restrains spellcasters nicely (they tend to dump Strenght completely). Couple this with Mage Slayer and watch the wizards cry.
    Expeditious Retreat (So, Wa, Wi): A good option for Lore Bards (to get away from melee) and non-spellcasters (to get closer to enemies). Rogues don't need this.
    Faerie Fire (Ba, Dr): Requires a save, but the advantage it gives is gold, and against invisible foes this is a lifesaver.
    False Life (So, Wi): Worse than Armor of Agathys.
    Feather Fall (Ba, So, Wi): This is a tricky one; extremely situational, but when you need it there's no substitute. I wouldn't take it, though; I trust the DM not to kill me in a stupid fall.
    Find Familiar (Wi): One of the best choices for any class. Scouting? Yep. Free advantage on attacks for you or your companions? Yep. Cool factor? Yep. If the enemy wants to target the familiar in combat, fine with me - one less attack for him.
    Fog Cloud (Dr, So, Wi): Useful to shut down ranged attacks and to create a choke point in corridors, especially. If they can't see you, they can like it.
    Goodberry (Dr): Free food for ten people that comes with healing? Alright. Gets blue if there's no one with Survival in the group. If you're a Life Cleric, this is almost mandatory, since each berry will heal 4 hp instead of 1.
    Grease (Wi): Not worth it, and it's not even cool.
    Guiding Bolt (Cl): Advantage is always good. Can't complain about the damage and range, either.
    Healing Word (Ba, Cl, Dr): Better than Cure Wounds; bonus action, greater range, only a verbal component. If a companion falls in battle and your bonus action is just sitting there, you know what to do.
    Hellish Rebuke (Wa): Hell no (see what I did?). Requires a save, gets obsolete... you know the drill.
    Heroism (Ba): Requires a high spellcasting attribute to be efficient. If you have it, whatever. Bonus points for cool speeches in battle.
    Hex (Wa): Oh yeah. The main reason to go for Warlock; 1d6 damage with a bonus action is totally worth it, especially low-mid game. You also give disadvantage to ability checks tied to an attribute, which should screw rogues trying to hide, Shield Masters... simply great.
    Ice Knife (Dr, So, Wi): If you don't feel like choosing between an attack spell or a save spell for damage, this gives you a limited use of both. Don't expect greatness from it, though.
    Illusory Script (Ba, Wa, Wi): Too situational to be your choice.
    Identify (Ba, Wi): Useful for the Indiana Jones in you, and also unburdens the main caster of the group.
    Inflict Wounds (Cl): You're only going to consider using this if you have no equipment at all.
    Jump (Dr, So, Wi): Cool? Yes. Good? No.
    Longstrider (Ba, Dr, Wi): I prefer Expeditious Retreat.
    Mage Armor (So, Wi): If you're not a caster, you either have proficiency in armor or Unarmored Defense. It could give a DEX-based character a +1 to AC, but it lasts for 8 hours.
    Magic Missile (So, Wi): They hit automatically and have good range, so it could be good if you don't have the Dexterity for a bow.
    Protection from Evil and Good (Cl, Wa, Wi): See Detect Evil and Good, above.
    Purify Food and Drink (Cl, Dr): No.
    Ray of Sickness (So, Wi): Too many variables, and you probably won't be good at them.
    Sanctuary (Cl): Good to protect civilians, and eventually even yourself, but the save should be a piece of cake if you have a low Wisdom.
    Shield (So, Wi): Can turn a hit into a miss, and the AC lasts for a round. Better used right after your turn, and against a gamebreaker blow. Solid choice.
    Shield of Faith (Cl): So which one is better, Shield or this? In my opinion, this: +2AC goes a long way with Bounded Accuracy, and you don't have to worry about saving the best for last. Both are good, though.
    Silent Image (Ba, So, Wi): An improvement to Minor Illusion, but that is a cantrip.
    Sleep (Ba, So, Wi): At low levels this can change a battle; at higher levels, it'll only be useful if someone can't sleep.
    Speak with Animals (Ba, Dr): I like this one; surprisingly good when it comes to gathering information. Thematically nice, too.
    Tasha's Hideous Laughter (Ba, Wi): Well, there's a repeated save every turn. Need I say more? If you have a decent casting stat, this goes to purple.
    Tenser's Floating Disk (Wi): Pure convenience, too situational.
    Thunderwave (Ba, Dr, So, Wi): Is it just me or does everything starting with 'Thunder' stinks?
    Unseen Servant (Ba, Wa, Wi): Manipedi, anyone? A bit cooler than Tenser's, but still mild.
    Witch Bolt (So, Wa, Wi): The damage is lame and it will get lamer in the future.
    _________

    A CLASS BY CLASS ANALYSIS
    Coming soon!
    _________

    SAMPLE PACKS

    I. The Pact Warrior
    Spells Class: Warlock
    Cantrips: Eldritch Blast/Chill Touch, Minor Illusion/Mage Hand
    Spell: Hex
    Good for: Fighters, Monks, Assassins, non-Vengeance Paladins

    It's simple: 1d6 = 3.5 average extra damage per attack. The more attacks, the merrier. The cantrips should fit your group's needs.
    *
    II. The Mischief Maker
    Spells' class: Wizard (if Intelligence is higher) or Bard (if Charisma is higher)
    Cantrips: Friends, Minor Illusion
    Spell: Disguise Self
    Good for: Rogues, mainly

    Intrigue, framing, deception, entrance in parties, you name it. Many will say that a one-level dip in wizard or bard or even the Arcane Trickster is better, and it could be, but in the long run I'd much rather get a capstone or another archetype than that.
    *
    III: The Believer
    Spells' class: Cleric
    Cantrips: Guidance, Spare the Dying/Thaumaturgy
    Spell: Bless
    Good for: Any non-cleric

    Who said gods only reward their temple acolytes? As a believer, your role depends on the situation. If an ally is about to attempt a skill check, say 'God be with you'. If you're about to attempt a skill check, say 'God be with me'. If an ally is dying, say 'God spare this life'. If everybody's in combat, say 'God be with us'.
    *

    That's it, I guess. Feedback is always welcome. Thank you for your time.
    Last edited by Specter; 2016-12-25 at 10:41 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Nice list, but being this is such a subjective list there's so much to disagree with.

    For instance, how can you rate Spare the Dying blue, when you can buy a medical kit for 10gp in an edition short on uses for gold? And then you rated Mending as red when it's literally the only spell in the game which can repair an object. To get the same effect you'd need a boat-load of tool proficiencies, and to carry all said tools and the necessary raw materials around with you.
    Last edited by GWJ_DanyBoy; 2015-12-11 at 02:31 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by GWJ_DanyBoy View Post
    how can you rate Spare the Dying blue, when you can buy a medical kit for 10gp
    That's actually a pet peeve of mine. Spare the Dying is one of those cases when a spell is amazingly flavorful, yet so neutered by mechanics that only a masochist will actually spend a slot (or in this case, cantrip known) on it.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    I've taken Magic Initiate with my War Cleric. Booming Blade, Green Flame blade, and Absorb Elements. Sure I only have one attack, but with the Cantrips and Divine Strike, I hit hard. AE is great for when you run into AoE, or breath weapons.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    and yet another person who thinks that mold earth is no different from having a shovel. hey, it's not like you get an hour worth of digging out of 6 seconds worth of casting a cantrip or anything like that, right? not like tunneling and creating defensive fortifications are useful for people who regularly get into fights or anything after all.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    If nothing else, you can use Mold Earth to write "TAGARIUS*, DESTROYER OF WORLDS, WAS HERE" on the ground in 20' letters whenever the party stops to rest.


    * your character name doesn't have to be Tagarius. But even if it isn't, I suggest you still write "Tagarius, Destroyer of Worlds, was here", because it probably sounds cooler than your actual character's name.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by GWJ_DanyBoy View Post
    Nice list, but being this is such a subjective list there's so much to disagree with.

    For instance, how can you rate Spare the Dying blue, when you can buy a medical kit for 10gp in an edition short on uses for gold? And then you rated Mending as red when it's literally the only spell in the game which can repair an object. To get the same effect you'd need a boat-load of tool proficiencies, and to carry all said tools and the necessary raw materials around with you.
    There is that. I'll probably update it to purple.

    When it comes to Magic Initiate, you can't really rely on anything extremely situational like Mending. After all, it is a feat you're using. I would leave things like that to a full caster, if anybody.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    and yet another person who thinks that mold earth is no different from having a shovel. hey, it's not like you get an hour worth of digging out of 6 seconds worth of casting a cantrip or anything like that, right? not like tunneling and creating defensive fortifications are useful for people who regularly get into fights or anything after all.
    It's important to note that these spell reviews are oriented toward the feat, not spellcasting in general. Does it suck absolutely? No. But would you waste 1/3 of a feat to do that? Probably not.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Good job there mate. I don't agree with everything you said but the coolness factor tends to get more and more underestimated while most players seek optimization before everything else. Thankfully this edition offers lots of options to create a unique character without feeling useless and the magic initiate feat is one of them. I think of the same for the ritual caster too even though i find the one-class-only restriction a bit harsh.
    As for your guide, i think you made a mistake when you mentioned the barbarian and a concentration spell (hex) in the same sentence. There should be a disclaimer somewhere warning barbarians to take only out of combat spells as they are supposed to be raging when battle occurs.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by Felvion View Post
    As for your guide, i think you made a mistake when you mentioned the barbarian and a concentration spell (hex) in the same sentence. There should be a disclaimer somewhere warning barbarians to take only out of combat spells as they are supposed to be raging when battle occurs.
    Totally escaped my mind. Thanks, man.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Excellent and thought provoking.

    Quick thoughts:

    - You may want to add the clarification that the level 1 spell cannot be cast at a higher level through a caster class.
    - Eldrich Blast should probably be higher, as it scales really well.
    - You may want to talk briefly about Ritual Caster feat; I noticed in your find familiar spell that it is great...but that can be accomplished another way. Also Magical Initiate provides a spell once a day, and Find Familiar will be cast far less than that. I can still see it being a solid choice, though.

    I have previously rolled my eyes at the feat as the honorary Warlock Eldrich Blast feat...now I think I'm going to take another look at it for upcoming builds.
    My Philosophies:
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    Please leave feedback or PM with thoughts. I'm always trying to refine my approach.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by Specter View Post
    It's important to note that these spell reviews are oriented toward the feat, not spellcasting in general. Does it suck absolutely? No. But would you waste 1/3 of a feat to do that? Probably not.
    i absolutely would spend 1/3 of a feat for the ability to rapidly dig, create difficult terrain, move earth around whenever i feel like it, etc. instant fortifications any time i'm camping the wilderness? the ability to rapidly undermine an enemy's walls and towers unless they have exceptionally deep foundations? the ability to chase burrowing monsters into their burrows without having to squishy myself down to something tiny? the ability to rapidly create hiding places for things i don't want found, the ability to go right through dirt walls. heck, if multiple people in a group take it you can really slow down a group of enemies trying to get through a narrow space (like a dungeon hallway).

    mold earth is an excellent cantrip, and does not require a high casting attribute. it has all the hallmarks of being a great candidate for magic initiate. if you think it isn't good, that's probably because you haven't spent much time asking yourself "if i could dig out a 5' cube of ground right now, would it be useful?"

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by gfishfunk View Post
    Excellent and thought provoking.

    Quick thoughts:

    - You may want to add the clarification that the level 1 spell cannot be cast at a higher level through a caster class.
    - Eldrich Blast should probably be higher, as it scales really well.
    - You may want to talk briefly about Ritual Caster feat; I noticed in your find familiar spell that it is great...but that can be accomplished another way. Also Magical Initiate provides a spell once a day, and Find Familiar will be cast far less than that. I can still see it being a solid choice, though.

    I have previously rolled my eyes at the feat as the honorary Warlock Eldrich Blast feat...now I think I'm going to take another look at it for upcoming builds.
    1) Will do.
    2) Attack cantrips are not rated higher because of the attacking stat. Unless the character is already in a spellcasting class, chances are they're not gonna be as accurate with them.
    3) That would take another thread entirely, but it's a valid option.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    if you think it isn't good, that's probably because you haven't spent much time asking yourself "if i could dig out a 5' cube of ground right now, would it be useful?"
    In the small fishing village from which I hail, it is the sole topic of conversation.
    My Philosophies:
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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    i absolutely would spend 1/3 of a feat for the ability to rapidly dig, create difficult terrain, move earth around whenever i feel like it, etc. instant fortifications any time i'm camping the wilderness? the ability to rapidly undermine an enemy's walls and towers unless they have exceptionally deep foundations? the ability to chase burrowing monsters into their burrows without having to squishy myself down to something tiny? the ability to rapidly create hiding places for things i don't want found, the ability to go right through dirt walls. heck, if multiple people in a group take it you can really slow down a group of enemies trying to get through a narrow space (like a dungeon hallway).

    mold earth is an excellent cantrip, and does not require a high casting attribute. it has all the hallmarks of being a great candidate for magic initiate. if you think it isn't good, that's probably because you haven't spent much time asking yourself "if i could dig out a 5' cube of ground right now, would it be useful?"
    Well, you've convinced me, especially for the 'hiding treasure' and 'destroying walls' bit.
    Following burrowing monsters is asking too much, since they will move a lot and you would waste an action to move 5' of earth.

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by Specter View Post
    3) That would take another thread entirely, but it's a valid option.
    I wouldn't go too in depth, but you might just want to note that there is a second (maybe better, in some cases) way of getting that ritual - along with other potentially higher level rituals as the game goes on.
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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by Specter View Post
    Well, you've convinced me, especially for the 'hiding treasure' and 'destroying walls' bit.
    Following burrowing monsters is asking too much, since they will move a lot and you would waste an action to move 5' of earth.
    not following burrowing monsters. following a monster into a burrow. don't think bugs bunny burrowing, think "oh, that regular mundane rabbit went into a hole that it dug out over the course of hours, or that it took from another animal that did that". plenty of animals live in holes in dirt but don't dig nearly fast enough to have a burrowing speed, i wouldn't be surprised if you occasionally run into small enemies that do the same.

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    It's not important enough to warrant mentioning in the guide, but Produce Flame on a Cleric rocks. It's generally considered a pretty sub-par cantrip, but just having an attack roll cantrip that still uses wisdom adds an astonishing amount of combat flexibility.
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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    I don't agree with many of the options:

    -Booming Blade: This is one of the best options, even more cause it uses the normal weapon modifier, so this is one of the less MAD cantrip you can get

    -Create Bonfire: Does a good amount of damage, scale well and gives you some control in the Battlefield

    -Magic Stone: Its not as bad as you could think, it makes your attack CHA based (or WIS based), its basically the ranged Shillelagh, it can help you make a less MAD CHA based character (so your attacks and your spells will scale together)

    -Shocking Grasp: Not many cantrips can be used with the Find Familiar spell, this one can be use in that way, and you could also get advantage in some cases... (If you have the Find Familiar spell, take this)

    -Thorn Whip: This is really good, you can pull an enemy caster from the backline to the frontline, or you can pull an enemy away from an ally, so they can move without provoking OA

    -Thunderclap: It could be good for tanky characters (if you plan to be in the frontline and all that, but it may make you a little MAD)

    -Dancing Lights: It does require concentration, that makes it worse than light BUT... most characters that will take Magic Initiate aren't going to use their concentration on anything else, and... it can be used in many Roleplay situations (something that Light doesn't provide)

    Note: Most attack cantrip are better in classes that don't have Extra attack or Eldritch Knights

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    lol I was recently thinking to write something about this feat too. Anyway, you could use more than 3 levels of rating, you could go the standard Red/Violet/Black/Blue/Sky Blue/Gold (yes, even gold can be used here).

    I still disagree to some of ratings, many are dependant of which class are you playing, for cantrips Booming and Greenflame blade are at least Blue for weapon users (although extra attack then is not uses, but if you are not high level fighter, it is okay). Magic stone is compatible with extra attack, so it is decent choice for Paladins, Valor bards, Rangers and maybe War clerics. Thunderclap and Sword burst are good if you are swarmed with low level mob, but usually DMs prefer use less monsters because it is easier to handle. Spare the dying is always at hand, because Healer's kit must be purchased and not lost, it is not always the case. Finally, Lightning lure is designed for a defender, like Paladin. Definitely I would choose at least one combat cantrip, especially for a martial class.

    As for spells, because they are limited once per day, damaging ones are not the best choice, unless they do something special. This is why I would rate Burning hands and Thunderwave a little higher (although black at max or violet in your case), they can do a little difference. Definitely Mage armor is higher, because of 8 hours no concentration, every Dex based class could take it. Hex I would rate gold if possible, pretty much the main reason to get feat from Warlock's side, especially if you are fighter with so many attacks, also you do not requires to have good Cha stats. Shield can be rather obsolete if you play by the rules to announce before the roll outcome is known, unlike Absorb elements when you get resistance in any case. As ritual spells, including Find familiar, are better suited for Ritual casting, although for Cha based classes it is not always possible.

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Would taking MI:Wizard on an EK allow you to use as many spell slots on the MI choice as you have? I'm thinking about Absorb Elements specifically.

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Very nice guide. I quite like how you went into the trouble of providing some thematic packages. Here is one, it is not the most optimal, or optimal at all, but I enjoeyd going through the cantrips and spells and trying to combine them in a way that would make sense as a theme that could be added to a character.

    Here is what I would give to a fighter to give him a slight paladin feel. Maybe this fighter dropped out from the ''paladin academy'' so he never got to become one, but at least some of all he was taught sank in.

    Chivalrous Warrior

    Spell class: Bard
    Cantrips: Light, Blade ward
    Spell: Heroism
    Good for: No one really, but I find it cool.

    As I said, not an optimal choice, but heroism does a good job trying to immitate aura of courage (one of the most important trademarks of the paladin class), light (if cast on your sword) can do a good job immitating the iconic sacred weapon channel divinity of the devotion paly, and blade ward can simply allows you stand longer alive so makes you want to take all the hits and draw the attention of the enemies from your allies (so in a way, it allows you to better protect your allies if you are ok with spending your action not attacking). So charge against the monster no one dares approach (heroism), lead the way into the dark dungeon with your glowing sword in hand (light), and stand against that goblin force long enough so that the villagers can escape with their lives (well, ok, dodge will be better in almost every case if you have a decent AC, but it blade ward fits the concept more than any other bard cantrip, and it can situationaly be useful).
    Last edited by Corran; 2015-12-11 at 06:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenBear View Post
    Would taking MI:Wizard on an EK allow you to use as many spell slots on the MI choice as you have? I'm thinking about Absorb Elements specifically.
    officially yes, so long as you are gaining magic initiate in a class that you actually cast spells as.

    but isn't absorb elements abjuration anyways? i'd look for one of the nicer spells that isn't either abjuration or evocation personally.

    i've also found some DMs are more tolerant of multiclasses if you use magic initiate to get some minor spellcasting in the class you're multiclassing into before you're able to actually take the class itself, which is another use for the feat.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    It is a good thread and good feat. It is good to know that cantrips scale with character level, and the 1st level spell stays the same.

    Shield is good, +5 once a day after a hit as a reaction especially for a warrior who does not qualify for defensive duelist
    SoF is +2 but for time period and that is cool its not just one strike
    Bless for three guys or gals, save or attack
    Identify is nice
    Detect Magic, yes. Think it do it. Is that deep gnome you just saved something else, and is going around the corner to change and come back and kick your *ss as you doff your armor. No one has this memorized or prepared because it is a ritual. So many times I wish I could cast this.
    Protection from E/G, disadvantage from level 1 on. Always good. Demons and undead and abberations and etc abound, and your cleric and wizard may have to buff themselves up first. You could take resilient wisdom
    Absorb Energy, is good same as above with resilient dex and shield master

    This is a great post, because even a healing spell is nice. It is easy to stand back and say when you level up you should do this or that. But during play, there are times I wish I had some abilities to do other things. Not every party is constructed the same and this could fill in gaps for people who like adventure over optimization

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    You should add that by choosing this feat you're considered to be a member of the class who's spells you select for purpose of magic item attunement: http://www.sageadvice.eu/2015/05/21/...eat-and-races/

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Control Flame should be rated higher as one of its (No Concentration!) effects is that a non-magical fire source (torch, lantern, etc.) has a x2/4/8 benefit to the radius of its light & dim light effect, with no additional fuel expenditure.

    Elemental Evil Player's Companion, p. 16:
    "You double or halve the area of bright light and dim light cast by the flame, change its color, or both. The change lasts for 1 hour." + "If you cast this spell multiple times, you can have up to three of its non-instantaneous effects active at a time, and you can dismiss such an effect as an action."

    Each increase does require an Action (Cast a Spell), but out of combat this is a really nice effect.
    Last edited by E’Tallitnics; 2015-12-11 at 11:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Quote Originally Posted by E’Tallitnics View Post
    Control Flame should be rated higher as one of its (No Concentration!) effects is that a non-magical fire source (torch, lantern, etc.) has a x2/4/8 benefit to the radius of its light & dim light effect, with no additional fuel expenditure.

    Elemental Evil Player's Companion, p. 16:
    "You double or halve the area of bright light and dim light cast by the flame, change its color, or both. The change lasts for 1 hour." + "If you cast this spell multiple times, you can have up to three of its non-instantaneous effects active at a time, and you can dismiss such an effect as an action."

    Each increase does require an Action (Cast a Spell), but out of combat this is a really nice effect.
    it doesn't stack on itself. if nothing else, the flame is no longer non-magical after you've enhanced it once, even if spells did work like that.

    it is also useful iirc for putting fires out reliably, but it still generally isn't particularly amazing unless you want a fire-themed character pretty much.

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    Guidance requires concentration to use. That's not a deal breaker for many classes, but it is for a few. Especially Warlocks, who want to maintain their Hex from combat to combat. I've even run into problems with it Clerics.

    I think you're overrating Prestidigiation. It's good if you're a con-man, but not for much else other than flavor, solid purple cantrip.

    Minor Illusion is definitely blue. But it does potentially allow a skill check against your casting DC. I don't think that reduces its awesome, just pointing it out.

    I keep trying to think of good uses for True Strike given its S only component, but since striking from hiding gives you advantage anyway, it's difficult. Maybe in a social setting when you don't expect to get surprise (ie win a Deception vs their Intuition) when you launch your assassination attempt? Or need to exit hiding and cross significant ground in plain view before making a melee attack?

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    I haven't rated anything sky blue because a character usually has a better choice than Magic Initiate. If a Paladin has to choose between a little more versatility from this feat or something like Resilient (Constitution) or Great Weapon Master, going with the latter two usually means better optimization. More colors would also mean more discussion about moving their ratings up or down, which is kinda counterproductive in my opinion.

    I'll add the spellcasting attunement part to the guide, which is very important, and analyse the comments on the spells soon. Thanks for making a guy feel at home.
    Last edited by Specter; 2015-12-12 at 10:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Magic Initiate: A guide to an underestimated (and cool) feat

    So, I am planning on playing a Lore Bard in a campaign starting in January. Either Half-Elf or Variant Human, probably the former. This feat really tickles me the right way since I am a sucker for minor magical effects. Would you say that taking this with Warlock as the basis, probably taking Eldritch Blast, Hex, and some utility which the amount of Bard cantrips does not cover would be worth it? There seems to be no reason to consider Variant Human over Half-Elf, though, just to gain access to these faster. Perhaps there are better combinations? I do not have a build yet but as a Lore Bard, the character will likely focus on debuffing and being a skill monkey. Hex would support this while Eldritch Blast gives a decent alternative combat action in addition to Vicious Mockery.
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