[RPG] Prestidigitation and Druidcraft “harmless sensory effect?”


I'm DMing for our first ever D&D campaign. I've already got some great help from this website.

My sorcerer and druid like their Prestidigitation and Druidcraft spells, but we aren't exactly clear on their limitations. The druid wants to use a shower of sparks to blind enemies. He argues that it's "a shower of god damn sparks, how are you going to see and attack accurately while you're inside that?" I'm all about realism, but I can't ignore the spells' limitation of being a "harmless sensory effect."

I found that in 4e the rules say "nothing you create with this cantrip can deal damage, serve as a weapon or a tool, or hinder another creature's actions," but this line seems to have been dropped for 5e.

So, does the "harmless sensory effect" of a shower of sparks affect monsters' rolls or conditions? OR do I interpret the shower of sparks to be more of an illusion, and maybe the monster is temporarily taken aback or something. Any other interpretations appreciated. Thanks.

Best Answer

Your players are using spells creatively, with hope that this application will translate to game benefit. That is exactly what D&D 5 encourages. The only question you should have is "how can you fairly reflect that in the rules", not "can they do that." You have three options.

  1. Treat the druid's use of their cantrip as the standard help action, granting advantage to one ally's attack.

  2. Rule that the sparks cause momentary blindness, allowing multiple allies to gain advantage on any readied attack triggered by the spell.

  3. Stretch the rules just a bit, and let the cantrip blind the target until the end of their next action. A saving throw would be appropriate in this case, as would giving the target advantage on that save.

Whatever you do, be consistent in your ruling. If the PCs can use Druidcraft to blind an opponent, then so can an NPC's minion acolyte.