A Cantrip is the faerie magic primarily used in Changeling the Dreaming. Powered by Glamour and imagination cantrips are spells that manifest the Dreaming in many ways. They are organized into arts, the type of the power used, and realms, which defines what will be affected by the cantrip.

In the second edition of Changeling the Dreaming, there are six defined arts. They are the arts most commonly used, although Changeling players are encouraged to create unique arts.

  • Chicanery: the art of deception and manipulation of a mind, at lower levels it can play tricks on one's senses, while it can also be powerful enough to control emotions at higher levels.
  • Legerdemain: is the art of illusion and physical manipulation, it can be simple card tricks, grabbing someone's keys from across the room, or creating seemingly real illusions.
  • Primal: is the art of the elements and nature, a begnniner in Primal could talk to inanimate objects and cast a rainstorm of rock, whereas a master could transform himself or others to whatever he pleased, trees, animals, dragons, or whatever he could imagine.
  • Soothsay: is the art of fortune-telling and prediction, one could see into the fate of another being, or if he had enough power, totally change it.
  • Sovereign: is the art of a noble's power, generally used by one of nobility to enforce law upon the commoner, it could also inspire awe in another or ban another fae from doing something.
  • Wayfare: is the art of travel, abilities range from allowing one to move faster, leap farther, flight, or even teleport to another place.
Realms in Changeling the Dreaming are divided into six. The realm possesed allows the fae to cast the cantrip that would affect this area.
  • Actor: the realm of morals and supernatural beings.
  • Nature: the realm of nature; animals, elements and plants.
  • Fae: the realm of faeries.
  • Prop: the realm of inanimate objects crafted by a human hand.
  • Scene: the realm that determines the size of the area that one could cast a cantrip over.
  • Time: the realm that allows a time delay to be put on a cantrip.

In standard fantasy and magical a terms a cantrip is any spell of very low power (or minor effect). They may look cool, but they accomplish very little.

Cantrips are usually the first spells that a young fledgling wizard will learn. Little things like making a flame dance over your hand, or blowing all the dust out of a room. A cantrip can clean your toilet, cook an egg, or fill your mug with ale, but it certainly can't hold off the marauding hordes of Troglodytes.

Cantrips are mostly a tool of education, you don't want to teach your apprentice how to toss a fireball right off the bat, thats a good way to get your house burned down. Instead you teach them how to refill the cat's food dish with magic. An apprentice wizard will probably learn hundreds of cantrips before they ever conjure up their first magic missile.

Different game systems deal with the cantrip in different ways. They are non existant in the original Dungeons & Dragons game. The first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons had a hundred or so of them listed (in the Unearthed Arcana rulebook), where you could memorize four cantrips in lieu of a first level spell. Second edition AD&D reduced the cantrip to a single first level spell that can have akmost any minor effect (I have no idea what the third edition rules did to cantrips). Other games may allow wizards to use as many cantrips as they like, as is often the case in fantasy fiction (those archmages seem to be able to toss little spells around all day long, with no signs of tiring). Other games (like Changeling the Dreaming), have changed the meaning of the word, and have a whole different idea of what the cantrip is.

When you get right down to it, the cantrip is a magic trick, done with real magic, instead of just sleight of hand. This is one of the reasons that so many failed wizards apprentices become street magicians. Their magic has no other use than minor amusement or trickery (not to mention that a magic card trick always works).


Tiefling says 3rd Edition D&D is back to the '0-level cantrip list' system, but they're not quite as inane as the Unearthed Arcana system. There's a heal-one-point spell (actually a cleric cantrip, or orison), there's 'Ray of Frost' - roll to hit, 1d3 points of damage
In Magic: the Gathering, a spell that has, in addition to its main effect 'Draw a card'. A cantrip can be a modification of an existing card (generally costing 1-2 more colourless mana), for instance stone rain (2R) vs implode (4R), or have an effect that on its own is not worth even one mana, for example leap (U) Target creature gains flying until end of turn. ; Draw a card.

If the spell fizzles or is countered, you don't get to draw the card.

Can"trap (?), Can"trip (?), n. [Cf. Icel. gandar, ODan. & OSw. gan, witchcraft, and E. trap a snare, tramp.]

A charm; an incantation; a shell; a trick; adroit mischief.

[Written also cantraip.] [Scot.]

 

© Webster 1913.

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