It can be hard to choose cantrips for your spellcaster. You have precious few at early levels but lots of things you’ll be wanting to throw spells at. Most characters pick one or two combat cantrips (because you’re in serious trouble without them) and then grab one “utility” cantrip to round themselves out. There’s a lot to be said about all the available options (except for maybe Blade Ward which overall sucks) but today let’s focus on Mending, the little cantrip that could, and its various esoteric uses.
Here’s 10 cool ways to use Mending that might have you picking it for your next Wizard.
To begin with, the mending cantrip is pretty cut and dry: you join two things that were previously broken. You need both parts for it to work and it can’t be more than a square foot of material. A few of the following tricks also hinge on a specific ruling on the spell. By my interpretation, if you have two pieces of a broken item in range of the spell and cast it, the spell assembles and restores them. (i.e. You don’t HAVE to know where one piece starts and the other ends.) If you or your DM feel this doesn’t work, well… take these tips as you will.
#10 – Mend Broken Arrows (AKA never buy arrows again)
For those playing under DMs that make you keep track of ammunition, this is a spell you’ll want to take. My more “ammo conscious” dungeon masters often had me roll to see if arrows I fired had broken or not. But imagine if you could take that issue out of the equation by just bringing a friend along who has the mending cantrip. It truly comes in handy for Rangers and other archery classes. (Note: with the “Magical Adept” feat you could also just learn it yourself.)
#9 – The Rope Trick
In my times playing Dungeons and Dragons I’ve played more than a few “faux” magicians. It’s odd that in a world of magic it still makes sense for con men to put on street magic acts, but it still somehow works. Often these characters are thieves or bards. If you can get your hands on a mending cantrip, you can always supplement your fake magic act with some real magic and do the famous rope trick by cutting a rope and restoring it. (Fun fact: The best real world magician that does this is named Mac King, depicted above.)
The cantrip takes a minute to perform so you’ll need to know when to weave the spell into your act. I do have to say it’s a shame the spell doesn’t also bring dead things to life or your could do the old tearing the head off a dove and putting it back on routine… which is literally the oldest trick in the book.
#8 – Cover your Tracks
If you have time to spare, you can clean up after yourself when you break into that Baron’s room to see if he stole the golden chalice. Just use mending on the window you broke, and the vase you knocked over, and the lock you busted… you get the idea.
In some cases you can literally cover your tracks (or at least remove tracks) by mending sticks and leaves you’ve trod on as you traveled. Considering each leaf is a minute of your time you’d have to be the world’s most finicky wizard to do so, but in this world there are worse things to be.
#7 – Infinite Bar Fight
One of my favorite characters ever used to dual-wield with a sword in one hand and a wine bottle in the other. (Don’t ask.) Imagine how much easier and less expensive it would be if I could have simply mended the bottle back together after each bash of it against an enemies cranium. So why not invest in a bar-brawler character and use your (or a friend’s) mending to rebreak the same bottle over multiple heads? I see a movie in this!
#6 – Use a Coin as Identification
If you’re suspicious of someone’s identity, send them off with half a coin. Bust a regular coin in half (have the Orc do it) and give one to the person you need to later identify. Nobody will think much of a half-coin, and if they try and fake it with a different half-coin the spell won’t mend them together.
Giving two halves of the same object to separate people and mending them back together is a good plot point, if nothing else.
#5 – “Randomize” a Map or Document
If you need to send information and are afraid of it getting into the wrong hands, tear the document into a lot of tiny pieces. Upon arrival at your destination, use mending to reassemble (over the course of several minutes) and recover the information.
#4 – Hide Information Inside Hollow Objects
In the same spirit of tip #3, you can use mending to send secret messages. Bust open a hollow statue or piece of pottery, write the message inside, and then mend it back together. It’s a seamless repair, and who checks for writing inside the statuary anyway?
This works with any object that is a foot or smaller and would be tricky or impossible to write inside without breaking. A bowling ball would work too, if you could find one.
#3 – Hobble Your Wagon When You Park It
How about a 5e equivalent to taking your bike tire with you after you lock it up? When you park the party’s wagon in enemy territory, spend a second taking an axe to the wheels. Now the goblins can’t ride off with it while you’re stuck in the castle. When you get back you can cast mending on the wheels to restore them.
If you’re afraid your enemies might have their own mending spells, take a key piece of the wagons wheels with you. Remember, without all the parts they can’t mend it back.
#2 – Hide Your Weapons in an Item
If you have the time to hit up a specialty craftsman, you can have some items built that are designed to break away and be restored. For example, how about crafting your twin fighting sticks into a walking staff? Once you get past the guards you can break the connection and fight to your hearts content. Then mend it back together and make your escape.
You can stitch or otherwise affix items to your armor or clothing too. How about building your darts into a necklace or decorative armor piece? Snap them off when you get into the party and you have weapons in a pinch. Even after you pull off your assassination, you can mend them back onto your armor.
#1 – The Inescapable Cuffs
Speaking of building items for later mending trickery, how about some cuffs even the most cunning of thieves can’t pick their way out of? Have a blacksmith make cuffs without openings or locks. Then bust them open before you leave. When you finally throw them on the thief’s wrists you can mend them back together. Seamless, lockless, pick-proof cuffs.
You’ll have to cut them back off the guy in the end, but I think preventing his escape is way more of a priority. If they sentence him to death you don’t even need to bother.
Mending is just one of many spells that is useful when it is and never at any other time. There’s not much call for mending outside of specific situations but that makes the smart uses even more amazing. Or you could just use it to fix your tabard after battle. Enjoy!
Image credits D&D / Wizards of the Coast
Maltese Falcon image credit: Warner Bros.