Prestidigitation Cantrip in 5e: Impactful and Creative Uses of the Spell

Casting Time

1 action

School

Transmutation

Damage/Effect

Utility

Range

10 feet

Class

Artificer, Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Attack/Save

None

Duration

1 hour

Level

0

Components

Verbal, Somatic

Spell Description:

This spell is a minor magical trick that novice spellcasters use for practice. You create one of the following magical effects within range:

You create an instantaneous, harmless sensory effect, such as a shower of sparks, a puff of wind, faint musical notes, or an odd odor.

You instantaneously light or snuff out a candle, a torch, or a small campfire.

You instantaneously clean or soil an object no larger than 1 cubic foot.

You chill, warm, or flavor up to 1 cubic foot of nonliving material for 1 hour.

You make a color, a small mark, or a symbol appear on an object or a surface for 1 hour.

You create a nonmagical trinket or an illusory image that can fit in your hand and that lasts until the end of your next turn.

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.

Cantrip, Transmutation, Utility

Level: Artificer (1), Bard (1), Sorcerer (1), Warlock (1), Wizard (1), Eldritch Knight (8), Arcane Trickster (8)

Materials Required: None

Number of Targets: Up to 3

Die Type: N/A

Number of Dice: N/A

Damage Type: N/A

Save: N/A

Damage On Successful Save: N/A

Statuses Inflicted: Harmless sensory effect, light or snuff a small flame. Clean or dirty an object up to 1 cubic foot. Chill, warm, or flavor up to 1 cubic foot of non-living material. Make a colour, small mark, or symbol appear on a surface. Create a non-magical trinket or illusory image in your hand.

Status Duration: Instantaneous. Instantaneous. 1 hour. 1 hour. Until the end of the next turn.

Affected By Cover: No

Advantage: None

Disadvantage: None

What is Prestidigitation?

Prestidigitation is a Cantrip level Transmutation skill that creates a minor alteration to the caster’s surroundings. There are several different options for how the spell can be used.

The caster can use it to make a small, harmless sensory effect — like a shower of sparkles — light or snuff a small flame. They can clean or dirty an object that is no more than 1 cubic foot in volume. They can chill, warm, or flavour up to 1 cubic foot of non-living material.

They can make a colour, small mark, or symbol appear on a surface. Lastly, they create a non-magical trinket or illusory image in their hand.

Who can cast Prestidigitation?

Following along with the flavour that this spell is something that “novice spellcasters use to practice”, Prestidigitation is present on many spellcasters’ spell lists.

Artificers, Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards can begin casting Prestidigitation starting at the 1st level. Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters will have to wait until the 8th level when they get the ability to take spells from the Transmutation school of magic.

When and Where should I cast Prestidigitation?

Prestidigitation’s uses are primarily in roleplay, puzzle, and problem-solving. It doesn’t have many benefits within the combat space because it doesn’t benefit combatants.

Prestidigitation can be used for misdirection, prove one’s magical powers, or impress an audience with a mere party trick.

Why should I take Prestidigitation?

Prestidigitation is a fun and entertaining cantrip that can be used in roleplay and puzzle-solving scenarios. Few campaigns are all combat, and most will have some roleplay elements for scenarios like reconnaissance, information gathering, and puzzle-solving.

How to Use Prestidigitation

For players:

Prestidigitation is a powerful tool for players to use in roleplay, puzzle, and problem-solving, but it requires them to be creative in their combinations. There are some immediately practical uses like lighting a small campfire so that the party doesn’t freeze to death, lighting a candle for light, or heating or chilling food or drink to make it more palatable.

Keeping your clothes clean — or at DM’s discretion, your party member’s entire selves clean — is also a compelling reason to have Prestidigitation as one of your cantrips.

For more creative uses, players can use Prestidigitation to leave magical, non-permanent graffiti around if they need to leave signals for other players or NPCs. It could be used to draw enemies into a location using a familiar — or unfamiliar — sound or smell.

It could be used to entertain enemies as a diversion by performing David Blaine-esque street magic. Take the spell on an Arcane Trickster so they can use their lockpicking knowledge to make keys.

Since Prestidigitation is a Transmutation spell, the implication is that the properties of the item do actually change for the duration. Therefore, players may be able to trick an unscrupulous merchant by changing their silver or bronze coins to appear as gold.

Though a scrupulous merchant may be able to tell the difference, a man running a road cart probably wouldn’t be have the means to find out whether the coins were actually gold or just shiny and yellow.

For Dungeon Masters:

Including unique uses for cantrips is an often-overlooked skill for Dungeon Masters. We all know how to get players using Fireball (just put any enemy at all in front of them, really), but providing satisfying uses for cantrips — control and utility cantrips especially — is a bit harder.

Provide puzzles and social interactions for your players to manipulate with Prestidigitation. Perhaps place some critical information in the hands of a group of children to entertain in exchange for the information.

Make a labyrinth that they can navigate by putting symbols on the wall to show where they’ve been. Lock a door with a magical puzzle that involves drawing characters on the door or filling in the symbols with the correct color.

Allow them to start a fight between two goblins by making one goblin think the other has farted. The possibilities are endless!

Common Questions About Prestidigitation