Playtest: Cantrips

Our mage said: "I have Mage Armor and since it's an at-will cantrip that lasts 14 hours, just consider it always on". 

To me that seems like a class feature rather than a spell. Same goes for mage hand. Effectively, our 1st level mage can always walk around with mage hand holding the torch and mage armor protecting him. It seems out-of-balance and just feels wrong. Thoughts?
-------------------- D&D Player/DM since 1975 - Veteran of Chainmail, AD&D, 2e, v3.5, DnD4e and now Next.
Your mage might want to reread the spell descriptions for these cantrips again  -- Mage Armor lasts for one hour, not 14; Mage Hand lasts for just one minute before the mage needs to recast it.

Granted, they're cantrips that can be cast over and over again, but the mage shouldn't be able to get away with actively casting these spells once per day and having the DM assume they just cast them again automatically thereafter -- they need to use an action to recast them, and should declare in play that this is what they're spending the action on.
ideoultracounterquasicryptopropseudocontraneoantidisestablishmentarianisticalismesque reminiscent of the idea of the highest degree of being against something that is almost but not quite secretly in favor of pretended or spurious opposition to the revival or modification of a movement characterized by relation to the movement or ideology that opposes the ending of the status of an group of individuals regarded as an entity as granted by enacted legislation
I don't see a problem assuming mage armor is always on, it would be more of a pain to track time so the mage can take his action to re-cast it every hour.

If the mage was woken in the middle of the night (or some similar situation) then he would need to spend an action to cast mage armor. 

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I don't see a problem assuming mage armor is always on, it would be more of a pain to track time so the mage can take his action to re-cast it every hour.


I agree. You can't even 'declare what your spending your action on' in play, unless you go through every six seconds of game world time - which no one does.

If the mage was woken in the middle of the night (or some similar situation) then he would need to spend an action to cast mage armor. 


Yes.

Apart from that, it's pretty much a class feature.

"In the game there is magic" - Orethalion

 

Only got words in my copy.

I can see your point about efficiency of time and how much of a pain it would be to track it (though mages are going to have to track durations for some non-cantrip spells as well, so it shouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to ask them to track the cantrips too). 

As long as it's an understood agreement between the DM and the player, it should be fine to assume in-game that the mage recasts these spells when their stated durations expire.

That said, the DM should always reserve the right to create situations (such as the one you suggested about being woken in the middle of the night, etc) where the default asumption could be challenged.
ideoultracounterquasicryptopropseudocontraneoantidisestablishmentarianisticalismesque reminiscent of the idea of the highest degree of being against something that is almost but not quite secretly in favor of pretended or spurious opposition to the revival or modification of a movement characterized by relation to the movement or ideology that opposes the ending of the status of an group of individuals regarded as an entity as granted by enacted legislation
For the record I was just talking about mage armor.  Mage hand should probably be tracked/not allowed to be "persisted" since it has more restrictions.  There's an aesthetic difference to me between casting mage armor once an hour and casting mage hand once a minute.  The DM could of course say,"nope" to all this of course.

But to each his own and all that.

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I would think Mage Hand should require concentration to maintain.
I would think Mage Hand should require concentration to maintain.



It does take an action to have it do anything, so there is that at least.

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I suppose it depends on how much magic you want in your campaign, but (effectively) always on Mage Armor and a perpetual magical torch carrier seem very, well, magical to me. It makes the wizard feel more wizardly and doesn't really create a balance issue. In fact, since cantrips can be used an unlimited number of times, they effectively are class features (technically, spell casting itself is a class feature.) When choosing cantrips, the wizard is deciding which class feature to have, whether it be increased AC, or a ranged attack, or whatever.

I could see the argument for making Mage Hand a concentration spell, that way if the wizard wanted to use another concentration spell in combat the torch would fall to the ground.
It only takes one case of standing on a floor of pitch and then having to use your mage hand on a second target to progress to keep that torch-toting mage from working that angle. If you want them to stop doing it I mean. :-)

That being said... It's about timing, its always been about timing. You make sure the troll breaks down the door on the round his mage armor runs out if you want to mess with him else you deal with it and give the troll a +2 hammer of mage smashing to make sure its equalized.

The rules are there to provide a framework for the DM; not provide a rigid set of laws by which all encounters are governed. IMO. So I guess for me, it doesn't bother me either way.