5E This is a directory of posters who think the sorcerer needs fixing
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  1. #1
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    This is a directory of posters who think the sorcerer needs fixing

    I know, yet another sorcerer thread right? Well not exactly. I was thinking of making a thread where all enworlders who think the sorcerer could use a little fixing here and there could congregate, network, share play experiences, homebrews and coping strategies, review third party archetypes and spells or just talk about what do we like about the class, what are opportunity areas we find, and what things from previous editions we would like to see next.

    But most importantly a place where we can congregate and keep track of each other. I used to be alone like a mad Cassandra way back during the open playtest when I predicted that Neo-Vancian would mean balance problems for sorcerers, but over time I've noticed there is more and more posters who think the class could use a little help and recently that number has exploded.

    Just a beg, please, please pretty please with sugar on top, if you think the sorcerer class is not underpowered, or doesn't lack options, or overall doesn't need adjustment. (Or worse you don't want a sorcerer class at all), please refrain from posting here or being confrontational if you can't help it. This thread doesn't seek to prove a point or disprove yours. It just wants to be a hub for like-minded players and DMs to make acquaintance of each other. Double so for newcomers to the forum.

    The Directory so far.
    If you want to be included (or removed), edit this post to add or remove your name (and only your name, no vandalism plz).
    @Tony Vargas, @Hawk Diesel, @RangerWickett, @dco @Gwarok, @LapBandit @Sword of Spirit, @Gradine, @gyor, @Xeviat, @Yunru, @Jago, @flametitan, @Ketser, @cbwjm, @Immoralkickass @ScuroNotte , @Irda Ranger @dropbear8mybaby, @Ilbranteloth

    Gradine's treatise on the sorcerer
    Spoiler:
    Quote Originally Posted by Gradine View Post
    A brief(?) treatise on the plight of Sorcerer

    The fundamental problem with the Sorcerer in 5e is that the reason the class was created in the first place was to create a mechanical distinction that no longer exists in 5e. 4e solved the problem by creating a new mechanical distinction, but that no longer exists in 5e either.

    See, the 3rd edition Sorcerer was basically worse than the Wizard in all but a handful of ways (more spells per day being the big one, also they had slightly better weapon proficiencies and were more fun at parties). In exchange they had slower spell progression and no bonus feats, because WotC overestimated the power of spontaneous casting Monte Cooke hated sorcerers reasons. Pretty much everyone agreed that simply on the basis of the slower spell progression (something which was then saddled onto all future spontaneous full-casters), spontaneous casters were not as good as preparation casters. Optimizers basically gave them their own tier. But people still played them, because six magic missiles are better than four, and spontaneous casters were simply easier to play. There were some off-hand mentions of flavor differences between Sorcerers and Wizards (owing mostly to the Int vs. Cha divide) but they could easily be ignored. 4e made Wizards controllers and Sorcerers strikers, and so had entirely different spell selections with entirely different functions. Wizards were the battle nerds, employing tactics and conditions to manage the battlefield; Sorcerers were spell jocks, blasting foes with panache. 4e also solidified the core flavor of the big three arcanes: wizards studied and warlocks bargained (3.5: "Warlocks are born, not made"), but sorcerers simply were magic.

    Cue 5e, which brings us neo-Vancian magic. The changes to spell preparation have turned prep casters into essentially spontaneous casters who change their spells known every day. Spontaneous casting loses its luster. What's worse, the Sorcerer lost every advantage it had in 3.X; the Wizard and Sorcerer have identical spell slots, and the Wizard gets to memorize more spells than the Sorcerer can know at basically any level. Sorcerers don't even have better weapon proficiencies anymore (not that it matters anymore). Sorcery points are supposed to make up the difference, but these are a split resource and probably better spent on metamagic. The final nail in the coffin is the Sorcerer's spell list, which is a heavily trimmed down version of the Wizard's spell list because WotC overestimated the power of Sorcery points Mike Mearls hates Sorcerers reasons. Once again, Sorcerers are, mechanically, objectively worse than Wizards.

    And that's just the mechanical issues. I'll chop this up it's getting two long; in part two I'll discuss the flavor problems.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gradine View Post
    We also need to address the flavor problem. See, I actually think 5e's Sorcerer is the best the class has ever been, flavor-wise. WotC just sucked at selling it. 5e has the same origin for the big three arcane classes as 4e: wizards are book nerds, warlocks take the quick and easy route to power, and sorcerers are born magical. I like the bloodline origin idea, the story behind it, the fact that it doesn't need to be actually literal heredity, but it's a solid idea for natural born magical talent. The actual archetype class features they created are either dull or interesting but hard to track. The UA archetypes are interesting in some ways and much closer in line to the type of bloodlines I wish they would have added in the first place. Bloodline-specific spells to add to your spells known for every archetype would go a long way towards fixing the spells known vs. spells prepared imbalance.

    I'm going to both defend metamagic as a Sorcerer function, despite the fact that WotC didn't sell it well. The problem isn't the effects of metamagic; these should absolutely be the domain of the Sorcerer, for reasons I'll explain shortly. The problem is the historical baggage associated with metamagic. See, metamagic started life in 3rd edition as feats, which were a thing Wizards got more of than Sorcerers. Metamagic feats weren't necessarily written to be more scientific than normal spell-casting, but they were easier to use for preparation casters than spontaneous casting (who had to spend a full round to use the feat), because remember that WotC Monte reasons. Because of this metamagic feats were mostly associated with preparation casters (clerics probably moreso than wizards, mostly because of the supreme cheesiness that was divine metamagic).

    But here's why metamagic belongs with the Sorcerer. Let's talk about artists and architects. Both of these professions are capable of drawing pictures of buildings. Architecture has rules, and specific tools to use. Ask fifty architects to draw up a specific building, and provided they are all similarly competent you will get fifty nearly identical floorplans. Get fifty artists together and ask them the same thing, and you'll get fifty completely different drawings. What's more, pick just one architect and one artist and ask them to draw fifty drawings of the house, one drawing each day for fifty days. The architect will again draft fifty nearly-identical (if not entirely identical) floorplans. The artist's drawings will probably all be similar, but you'll see a lot more variation drawing to drawing.

    The obvious metaphor here is that wizards are architects and sorcerers are artists, and that's a metaphor that I don't think WotC leans on enough. They're too focused on the origin piece (Sorcs and their bloodlines; Wizards and their spellbooks) that they haven't created a strong enough picture regarding the different ways these two classes do magic. Yet this is entirely the crux of why Sorcerers have metamagic. So you've got something like Sculpt Spell, which seems like this precise application of spell power that seems suited to the Wizard, but the point is that the Wizard is meant to be this rigid, by-the-book caster, while the Sorcerer is always tweaking, experimenting, casting from insight and instinct. Their Fireball is always going to look a little different; maybe they make it a little bigger, fly a little farther, burn a little hotter. Maybe they try casting it without speaking, or moving. And yeah, maybe they try reshaping it so it has a few blind-spots here or there. I love that meta-magic is the domain of the Sorcerer in this edition. That, and the way that Sorcery points interact with Spell Slots, sells me as the Sorcerer as the magical artist of 5th edition.

    Of course, that takes away the "meta-magic is scientific" aspect from 3.5 that other folks might have preferred. But it was the one mechanical concession made to the Sorcerer that strengthens it as a class without, I feel, weakening Wizards conceptually much at all.

    Overall, then, the flavor problem with the Sorcerer is that it suffers from twin concepts: spell-casting as bloodline and spell-casting as artistry, and that what we delivered leaned too heavily on the former at the expense of the latter, creating mechanics that fit the spell-casting as artistry mold perfectly but, lacking that strong flavor, feels only like more book-keeping, from a mechanical perspective, then the class that casts spells from a freaking book.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gradine View Post
    Part Three: Fixing the Sorcerer

    Before I talk about how I would fix the Sorcerer, there's one other concept I want to discuss regarding Sorcerers. We've talked about Sorcerer as bloodline and Sorcerer as artist, which are the two concepts that the Sorcerer's archetype and sorcery point (metamagic & spell slots) mechanics lend themselves to quite well, for the most part. The archetypes have been mostly underwhelming but do a good enough job, I think at this point, that they aren't worth tweaking. And I think once one understands the Sorcerer as artist flavor, the mechanics associated with sorcery points make a great deal of sense, so that concept is fine. But there's a third concept too, one supported by the limited spells known mechanic. This is what has been called the "Sorcerers as X-Men" concept. This is the idea that because Sorcerers have so few spells known, they should be learning spells that stick to a specific theme, like a mutant from the X-men comics. I've actually kicked around the idea of building an "Aberrant Dragonmark" Sorcerer archetype for 5e Eberron for exactly that reason. The problem here isn't even the extremely small number of spells the Sorcerer gets to learn over their career.

    The problem is their spell list.

    For any given "theme" you might want to assign to your Sorcerer, there's going to at least be a handful of spells that would perfectly fit your theme that you don't have access to, because WotC Mearls reasons. There's seriously no rhyme or reason to the spells the Wizard gets that the Sorcerer doesn't. Sorcs get plenty of utility spells, just not all of them. And while they're supposed to be "blasters" there's some attack spells Sorcs don't get either.

    So here's how I would fix the Sorcerer, as a base class:

    • Increase spell slots per day by 1 across the board. Let Sorcerers benefit from extra spells AND metamagic, rather than having to choose one or the other.
    • Broaden the spell list to include all Wizard spells AT THE LEAST.
    • A mechanic to learn spells from other lists. This makes more sense for the Sorcerer than for the Bard, to be honest. If the Sorcerer is going to be relegated to sticking to a theme, let them at least stick to it.
    • More metamagic. More interesting and more WEIRD. Change damage types. Cast Self-only spells on others. Transfer concentration. I don't know; but this is the Sorcerer's true defining trait and niche, it should be extremely creative.


    I wouldn't want to tweak specific archetypes, but if I were to build a specific archetype around a signature ability, it would be the ability to cast spells to mimic the effects of other spells not on your spells known list. I wouldn't know how to build it seriously without hilariously breaking the game, but I have this image in my head of a Sorcerer using a Burning Hands spell as a limited short-range jetpack (an instantaneous Jump) and I want to make that a reality.
    Last edited by Ilbranteloth; Tuesday, 1st August, 2017 at 03:30 AM.

  2. #2
    Give it more fluid ability to tweak spells, and either bring down point cost of things or give it more points, and it would be fine, imo. It's 80-90% there.
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  3. #3
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    I don't personally think that the sorcerer needs to be fixed, the 4 levels that I played one seemed fine, but I'm not against hearing suggestions on higher levels. So I would love to hear why the sorcerer needs changes, and would love to discuss those changes.
    I hope this thread gets some traction and I will give it a boost when needed.

  4. #4
    I don't have enough experience with the sorcerer at my table to say what exactly needs to be fixed, but I'm willing to hear what suggestions people have in order to make a sorcerer subclass/feat/variant that can enable it to satisfy as wide as possible an audience.

    My opinion is mostly based on getting a subclass or two that are more capable of being of an unknown bloodline/"generic" sorcerer, which would help a lot with people who feel it's currently too concept locked. For such a subclass I feel a concept based around "borrowing" spells that allies and enemies have casted would be a neat fit.

  5. #5
    I want it to have more spells known and maybe not count their metamagic as a "class ability" since it costs the sorcery points that they also use to make more spell slots. They're more like invocations or more spells known in function; increasing options.

    But, I'll freely admit that it's mostly theory crafting, as I haven't seen a Sorcerer in play to know how they really work out. But some spiffy class abilities would make them cooler, and bonus spells known for their bloodlines would let them feel thematic without having to embrace suboptimal choices.


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  6. #6
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    Something I think would be good are some dragon sorcerer versions of spells which alter to match the energy of the dragon type. Something which are analogues of familiar spells.

    Dragon Breath (burning hands), Dragon Burst (fireball), etc.
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  7. #7
    The house rules I use are:

    SPELLS KNOWN OF 1ST LEVEL AND HIGHER
    You know a number of additional spells from the sorcerer spell list equal to your Charisma modifier.

    SORCERY POINTS
    Reduce all sorcery point costs by 1.

    In addition, I would like to see a few spells to make it easier for non-fire draconic sorcerers to keep up in damage output and flexibility. For instance, we need a ranged lightning cantrip. 1 or 2 per elemental type would be sufficient.

    Those few changes would do it for me. If they keep the current playtest celestial origin type favored soul, it would also be nice to have a fiendish origin type. Then, together with the four elemental types, you have a companion class concept for the aasimar, tiefling, and genasi.

    I wouldn't mind some sort of arcane origin--something where your family was just so saturated with magic (crazy wizarding families) that it caused you to be born with an instinctive spark for it, but not wild magic. It could feel a bit more like a wizard (just a little). This would work as another option for a more flexible type of origin.

  8. #8
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    Free the Metamagic!
    Lewd the Dragon lolis!

    Seriously though, make the lesser metamagics free/cheaper and give the Sorcerer some unique spells dammit!

  9. #9

  10. #10
    More than four metamagic options known and bonus spells tied to the subclass, would be a good start. Additionally, a greater variety of metamagic options, more sorcerer specific spells and an adjustment to the cost of creating spell slots and of certain metamagic options, wouldn’t hurt either. The capstone ability would have been great if it became available between levels 11-15. This is a bit more general, but spells representing a greater variety of energy types would be nice as well.

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