So you’ve sold a piece of yourself to gain some magical prowess? Let’s see if we can’t help turn the tides in your favor.
At level three, a warlock gains access to a pact boon. The Pact of the Tome will grant you access to three additional cantrips out of any class’s spell list.
Combat cantrips for a Tome Warlock
1. Eldritch Blast
Eldricht Blast is the warlock’s bread and butter. With a 120 foot reach, the user makes an attack roll against a target and does 1d10 force damage. Pair it up with a hex spell and add on 1d6 necrotic damage.
Higher levels create more beams with each beam having its own spell attack; two at level 5, three at level 11, four at level 17. Each beam can trigger hex and scale the max damage even higher at 16, 32, 48, and 64 respectively.
Invocations can also be taken to add effects to Eldritch Blast. Agonizing Blast allows the user to add his Charisma modifier to damage dealt on hit. Eldritch Spear gives it a range of 300 feet. Repelling Blast pushes the hit target 10 feet away from the user.
Use this to knock the opponents in and out of position. That bandit at the edge of cliff might need a little help off the ledge. Opponents giving chase can also be held at bay, reducing their approach by 10 feet for each hit. Eldritch Blast is not just the best cantrip for a Tome Warlock but the best damaging cantrip overall.
2. Poison Spray
Poison spray has the highest damage potential on its own at 1d12 poison damage on a failed constitution saving throw. However, it has a very short range at 10 feet.
Keep in mind that poison damage is ineffective things that do not breathe such as buildings and constructs like iron golems. Also note that as far as saving throws go, constitution tends to be a statistic that enemies tend to have plenty of.
3. Acid Splash
Acid splash is one of the few cantrips to be able to do an area of effect / splash damage to surrounding foes. As an action, the user hurls a bubble of acid that hits one foe and splashes another within 5 feet, on a failed dexterity saving throw the target(s) suffering1d6 acid damage. With a 60 foot reach, the caster can still keep a fairly good distance. These elements make it a great cantrip for a Tome Warlock.
4. Ray of Frost
Ray of Frost is a ranged spell attack that causes 1d8 cold damage. Additionally, the target suffers a slow effect that reduces its movement speed by 10 feet. The typical movement distance of a turn is roughly 30 feet, so it would be reduced by a third.
5. Chill Touch
Chill touch is a ranged spell attack that causes 1d8 necrotic damage. On a successful hit, a bony spectral hand holds onto the target, keeping it from regaining hit points until the user’s next turn. Very useful against enemy healers or monsters that have regenerative abilities.
As a bonus, undead creatures hit with this spell have disadvantage on the attack rolls against the caster until the caster’s next turn. The spell has a range equal to Eldricht Blast at 120 feet, making it a great cantrip for a Tome Warlock
6. Fire Bolt
Fire Bolt is a ranged spell that causes 1d10 fire damage on hit. The spell has a long range at 120 feet and can cause flammable material to ignite and combust that is not worn by the target. This a great spell for triggering traps and explosives.
7. Thorn Whip
Thorn Whip triggers a melee spell attack against a target that deals 1d6 piercing damage. It is one of the few spells that has a non-elemental damage type. On hit, it also pulls the target 10 feet towards the caster, as long as the target’s size is considered large or smaller.
This cantrip has fair range at 30 feet and great utility for triggering traps, pulling objects to you (if it can survive the damage), or for bracing someone in case of slipping.
8. Vicious Mockery
Vicious Mockery is a weak spell onto itself in damage, but amazing in utility and a decent cantrip for a Tome Warlock. A failed wisdom saving throw will result in the target taking 1d4 psychic damage. The saving grace of the spell is that the failed save also causes the target’s next attack role to be at disadvantage.
The disadvantage applies to all attack rolls to any target which can mean the difference between a hit and a miss or better yet a critical hit and a regular hit.
Adventuring cantrips for a tome Warlock
1. Spare the Dying
Spare the Dying is a great cantrip to have as a secondary life saving mechanism. Though not able to give back hit points, Spare the Dying will stabilize a character that has become unconscious and started their death saving throw countdown.
A stable character will remain unconscious but not be dying. This necromancy spell is especially helpful if the healers have no more healing spells or if the healer herself has been taken out of commission. Spare the Dying costs one action (roughly 6 seconds), is instant, and requires no ability check.
Message has great utility in communicating information between party members. It has a nearly psychic property to it. Message allows the caster to send a whispered message to her target that only the target can hear. The target is then able to reply in kind.
The cantrip has a range of 120 feet and does not have to take a linear path, meaning it can take a path through openings and around corners. Works great for letting the rogue know that the guards are just now switching shifts. Major walls can block the spell and so can magical silence.
Mending is helpful to restore broken objects to the original state. The repair is limited to smaller objects as the damaged area can be no larger than one foot in any dimension. However, most common items can easily fit within that one foot diameter, such as keys, chains, backpacks.
Mending can be handy for repairing ropes, reins, and certain parts of the traveling vehicle. One could easily curry favor in a small village by doing some cursory repairs around the kitchen, tool shed, even the house itself. Mending can repair the physical damage to a magic object, but the cantrip cannot restore the magic property of the object.
4. Dancing Lights
Dancing lights is a handy cantrip to have in lieu of torch light or lamp light. The cantrip summons up to four orbs of light that each shed a dim light that reaches about 10 feet outward. This can be quite useful for the party members that do not have dark vision.
The orbs of light can be moved around by the user to provide a lighted path. Additionally, the orbs can be combined into one shape that is roughly humanoid in shape and limited to a medium size. Great to put ahead of the group in case of a surprise attack, let the amorphous being of light take the first hit.
Guidance is a divination cantrip typically left to the holy followers, but you as a warlock will be borrowing your own favor of the Gods. Guidance bestows a bit of luck to the target by giving them the ability to add 1d4 to their next ability check. Although the boost is small, it could mean the difference between the difference between successfully picking the lock or triggering the trap inside.
The true benefit of this is that this tome warlock cantrip has no cost. It can be used on the caster or another willing creature that she can touch. The caster can guide herself through the difficult terrain, provide some assistance to the bard’s performance, or give the barbarian a little boost in the drinking contest. The target has the choice of when to use the d4 die, before or after the ability check, as long as the results have not been announced.
Resistance is a cantrip helpful for trekking through the dangers of the dungeon. It offers the target a d4 to be used for some saving throw of its choice. Though is it more of a defensive spell, the d4 could mean the difference between a failed saving throw or a successful one.
Which can mean the difference of taking 100% of the damage to 50% or luckily no damage at all. The target has the choice of when to use the d4 die, before or after the ability check, as long as the results have not been announced.
Friends is a double-edged sword of a cantrip. One on hand, it grants the caster advantage on all charisma checks against the target, nearly guaranteeing a successful social interaction. On the other hand, targets knows he has been magically influenced by the caster and becomes hostile to the caster after the spell has ended. A character prone to attack could initiate combat with the caster.
2. Prestidigitation / Thaumaturgy / Druidcraft
I file all of these cantrips as a minor magical. Each one is flavored to certain magical sources; general magic, holy magic, and earth magic respectively. For one hour a caster can create up to three minor magical effects.
The effects can take on many shapes such as a minor sensory effect, like a smell or noise, or snuffing or lighting a candle. Think of it as the Swiss army knife of a caster.
Dirty from the adventure? Clean off instantly with prestidigitation. Need to be heard over the crowd? Enhance the volume of your voice with thaumaturgy. Need the weather report? Consult nature with druidcraft. I would take one of these but not three, with prestidigitation being the one warlocks naturally have access to.
Your Arsenal of great Tome Warlock cantrips
As a warlock with the Pact of the Tome, you would gain access to three cantrips outside of the warlock’s typical cantrip list. Your choice of cantrips would be determined by your purpose.
I would recommend selecting spells that are typically specific to other classes. Vicious Mockery, which is particular to the bard, is a great support cantrip, especially when facing off against a single enemy.
Thorn Whip, which is specific to the druid, can be handy in a fight to prevent others from escaping. Clerical cantrips like Spare the Dying can keep a team member from dying, and Guidance is essentially a reusable Bless spell.
Message is normally limited to wizards and can provide a warlock with long-distance communication. If my warlock did not have dark vision from their race or their otherworldly patron, I might take Dancing Lights or Light cantrip for pure convenience. Although it is always a tough choice, my final loadout would be Vicious Mockery, Guidance, and Message.