8 Cantrips to Enhance Fall Festival Celebrations

Festivals, holidays, and celebrations are great ways to add verisimilitude to your game. Plus, everyone likes a party. With Halloween and its associated celebrations (All Saints Day, Samhain, Harvest tide, Día de los Muertos, etc) there is frequently a lean into those themes within our gaming. That can be as simple as skeletons, headless horse riders, ghosts, or more complexity. Or it can just mean the presence of cornucopias, jack-o’-lanterns, and candles as the party walks through a village.

Copying real world makes sense. Twisting and adapting it a bit makes even more sense. You can advance your game world even more by leaning into the Dungeons & Dragons of it all (or your game of preference) by leaning into what makes D&D unique and special — the presence of various kinds of magic.

Photo by David Gomes on Pexels.com

Over the next month I’ll be following the prompts from Magic: The Gathering to share the lore and rules within my campaign world. Some will be short hits, others expansions on previous lore. These prompts may just inspire regular rather than irregular blogging.

This entry grew when thinking about pumpkins. And then the mind drifted. Pumpkin > Jack ‘o Lantern > Will o’ Wisp > Dancing Lights. These 8 utility cantrips in the Basic Rules can add a bit of flavor to your world’s Fall festivals.

  • Dancing Lights – A spell almost certainly inspired by the Will o’ Wisp, the four tiny lights can be any color, a pale silver would be best for this usage. Place them behind a cloth used for ghostly apparitions inside windows and trees making those fake ghosts look even more spectral.
  • Druidcraft – There are so many ways to use Druidcraft that it almost needs its own post, but what if your fake cemetery started to reek, or you cause a group of tree leaves to fall all at once?
  • Light – The image attached to the post almost perfectly demonstrates a use for this tiny spell. Lighting up a carving for the hour after sunset is magic I can get behind.
  • Mage Hand – What haunted house doesn’t have a torch floating by in a spectral hand?
  • Message – Within worlds of lighter magic Message can be used as a friendly spook as people walk about the town.
  • Minor Illusion – A couple of the descriptions of possible illusions read as if they were designed for Halloween… “its volume can range from a whisper to a scream” and “muddy footprints” are ideal haunts.
  • Prestidigitation – Create small marks on doorways that ‘ward’ off evil spirits or welcome visiting neighbors.
  • Thaumaturgy – The ability to dim all lights along a street creates an unwelcome space where spirits can hide and fear can thrive.

How do you incorporate the mystical, fantastic, and magical into your Fall festivals?

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