Creative and smart uses of cantrips: Thaumaturgy 5e DnD

Do a very strict spelling and grammar check: Finding great uses for underused and underrated cantrips is one of my favorite things to do. While there is already a lot of use for Thaumaturgy and the spell is by no means unpopular, I do think a lot of players are not using it to its full potential.

My fellow expert DM and I put our heads together and thought about the best and smartest uses for Thaumaturgy for creative players. We also sought input from our growing community and reviewed our notes from past campaigns.

What is Thaumaturgy in 5e?

When you cast the spell, you invoke a minor wonder within 30 feet. You can choose one of the following options for your wonder.

  1. Your voice is up to three times as loud as normal for the duration of 1 minute.
  1. You make existing flames flicker, brighten, go dim, or change color for the duration of 1 minute.
  1. You cause harmless tremors in the ground for the duration of 1 minute.
  1. You create an instantaneous sound that originates from a point within 30 feet.
  1. You cause an unlocked door or window to open or shut.
  1. You alter how your eyes look like for the duration of 1 minute.

You can cast the spell multiple times and have up to 3 different effects up. Dismissing an effect costs an action.

Yes, these effects aren’t going to win you massive battles by themselves or change the course of history. However, there are a couple of great creative uses for Thaumaturgy in 5e that will make it a valuable tool to have at your disposal.

uses thaumaturgy 5e

Smart and creative uses of thaumaturgy in dnd

1. Distractions

Being able to distract your enemies or a certain target can give you a major advantage both in combat and outside of it. A distracted enemy might not notice an javelin flying towards them or see the tripwire on the ground and walk straight into your trap.

You can also use Thaumaturgy to sneak past guards by luring them away from their post or create a diversion so you can quickly run past them. The caster has quite a few options regarding the distraction he can create, so there is a pretty high chance you will be successful.

You can use the effect of shutting or opening windows to distract guards very effectively if you do this multiple times in a row.

2. Intimidate monsters, NPCs, and animals

When you want to avoid a fight or get an advantage when striking first, intimidating your foes goes a long way. You can use it to scare away a large wild animal by using the deafening sound of your voice and make a ton of noise. You can also use the magical effect of causing a tremor. Most – if not all – animals go into hiding when they think an earthquake is about to occur.

The same goes for more intelligent foes like bandits. If they hear a scream, see a ghostly apparition, and the flickering of flames, they are sure to be intimidated and might even flee.

3. Investigating areas

One of my favorite ways to use Thaumaturgy is to investigate a room or a hallway. Thanks to the sensory effects like the puff of wind, you can discover hidden passages and traps that might go unnoticed otherwise.

The spell can also be used to check if a door or window is open or closed. You can try to open it from a distance, so you don’t trigger any warnings or risk being discovered when it is closed after all.

4. Communicate more effectively

Large battles are noisy, very noisy. A lot of DMs underestimate just how hard it is to communicate when multiple creatures are clashing. Being able to communicate with allies and party members is extremely difficult if you are more than 10 feet apart.

However, if you use thaumaturgy in 5e, you can make your voice three times as loud. This is loud enough to effectively communicate commands over a respectable distance.

5. Deceive a target

You might be able to fool someone that you are not the droid that they are looking for. Since you can change the appearance of your eyes, you can disguise yourself much more convincingly.

You can also change the tone of your voice and the sound of your footsteps to further improve your disguise.

6. More fun roleplaying

If you like to roleplay and create an atmosphere, then this cantrip gives you a ton of possibilities. There are a lot of ways to make roleplaying more fun using thaumaturgy. My favorite way to use it is to make flames flicker or dim, to make the atmosphere more gloomy. If you want, you can also add stuff like tremors or noises to increase the immersion.

7. Survival

Another great use for thaumaturgy is to increase your survival chances. The environmental effects can be used for quite a few useful feats. For example, you can use the wind to clear away smoke to avoid choking or burning your eyes. You can also get rid of fog pretty easily so you can spot danger more easily.

The cantrip can also be used to increase the potency of your campfire, which will help you survive in colder areas. Make sure you have decent cold weather gear too as a warmer fire is often not enough.

You can combine this with the first one on the list, distracting your enemies. Making sure you are not spotted by stronger foes will keep your party healthy for battles.

Some other uses

  • Better performances thanks to the auditory effects of thunder and a louder voice. Great for Bards! 
  • Ghostbusting services: convince nobles their manors are haunted by flickering candles and opening and slamming doors and windows.
  • Get pity or deceive others by pretending you are blind or have damaged eyes. You might get lower prices at the inn. 
  • Escape or catch targets. Being able to open doors in front of you while closing them behind you (or reverse) is perfect to catch a target or escape from someone or something. 
  • Use whispers to make people scared and paranoid! 
  • Make guard torches less effective by dimming the flames or making the flames dark. I prefer to dim them as it is less suspicious. 
  • Make your spells that rely on the auditory range – like divine word or vicious mockery – a lot more effective with the increased noise of your voice.

Conclusion and last words

There are so many innovative and smart uses for Thaumaturgy. Thanks to the large amount of options you have, you will almost always have a chance to use the cantrip.

While none of these uses deal direct damage, they do help you gain an edge in certain scenarios. For example, a distracted foe will have a much harder time defending against your attacks.

If you have any more interesting ideas for using the cantrip to its full potential, definitely let us know!