D&D 5E Aberrant Mind or Chronurgy Wiz? (CoS Campaign)

WASDHammer

Explorer
Hey everyone,

I am relatively new to D&D so am hoping to get some tips and pointers that my help me make a good choice for my upcoming campaign. For background, I am starting a revised CoS/Homebrew campaign that will go through level 20 (for context, I don't even think Strahd is the only BBEG vampire). I have never played CoS so aside from the horror theme, I have very little experience in the campaign, and none in the classes I am debating. I am joining the campaign at level 6 with a pre-existing team, so there's that too.

The party consists of a Rogue, Moon Druid/Barb, Cleric, and a Samurai. Seems to me that we have the frontline melee covered, as well as healing. So, I am looking to fill the remaining holes. With that in mind, I narrowed down to two options which I would be grateful to receive feedback around their playstyles, what they excel in, and what I can expect during a long campaign.

Chronurgy Wizard: The obvious choice might have been Necromancy, but feel this works just as well. To me, this class looks like it would be a strong addition to the party. The ritual casting feels like it could allow me to fill the utility role well (Identify, Comprehend Languages), the spell quantity is amazing, and the class progression feels pretty steady throughout. That said, does having absolutely no charisma in the party create a really difficult dynamic in social/RP settings?

Aberrant Mind Sorcerer: Aside from the obvious Lovecraftian connection of this class in this setting (tentacles), the mind control seems like a fun dynamic as a blaster/controller build. Additionally, feels like the Charisma casting would fill a gaping hole in the social skills of the party. This class seems to keep pace with the Wiz for quite a while. That said, after level 14, it looks like the class progression grinds to a halt, falling well behind the Wizard in advancement. Feels so pronounced that I wasn't sure if it is even worthwhile to take the Sorcerer past level 18. But at that stage, why even MC that late in the game. Since I am starting the campaign at level 6, have I cut off a large chunk of the enjoyable time of this class, while feeling a huge plateau later in the game?

In any case, would greatly appreciate any guidance that this group could provide. If I am committing this much time to a campaign (months and months), I would like the payoff late game to be worth it! Thanks so much in advance for the guidance.
 

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Quick question. Will your DM alow you to pick dunamancy spells as you level up? Will they place dunamancy scrolls in select locations for you to read and copy? Are the dunamancy spells important to you personally?
 

WASDHammer

Explorer
Great question. I believe that he will, although I admittedly should probably confirm. So for the sake of this discussion, lets say yes. Also, as a side note, he is allowing all of us to start with a feat. So that made taking Half-Elf very appealing, or perhaps still take Variant Human and start with an ungodly two feats at level 6 plus an ASI.
 

jgsugden

Legend
There are no wrong choices here.

If you like the mechanics of the Chronurgy Wizard, but don't want to play one because you want diplomacy skills - get diplomacy skills. Half-elven chronurgy wizard can have 6 skills, which is more than enough to add in persuasion and insight. You can augment these with magic to make yourself very effective in discussion and negotiation.

If you like the Aberrant Mind Sorcerer mechanics, it is a great option - especially if your DM and you work the dark elements of it into the game. I am playing one right now in an adventure path where the DM is ignoring the fluff of the class, and I'm still having fun.

The differences you'll note between an aberrant mind sorcerer and a wizard are:

1.) No ritual casting. This is something that adds up over time. In my opinion, selecting ritual caster (wizard) as a feat is a decent choice for a sorcerer, especially for a human variant or other class that gets a feat at level 1.

2.) You'd think that the limited spells known would be a limitation, but you're actually amongst the most versatile classes. At 1st level a wizard will generally prepare 4, and you'll know 4. At 5th you'll know 12, while the wizard may prepare 9. At 9th you'll know 20, while the wizard will have 14 prepared. It won't generally be until 20th level that they catch up and can prepare as many spells as you know. Yes, they can swap out spells, but you can swap spells too - just not as easily or quickly.

My aberrant mind sorcerer has been the most versatile spellcaster I've played. (My psionic spells are: Mind Sliver, Silvery Barbs (used to be sleep), Dissonant Whispers, Suggestion, Detect Thoughts, Enemies Abount, Sending, Charm Monster, Summon Aberration, Hold Monster and Modify Memory) - My non-psionic spells are: Absorb Elements, Shield, Silent Image*, Invisibility*, Misty Step, Phantasmal Force, Vortex Warp, Counterspell, Fireball, Raulothim's Psychic Lance, Polymorph, Bigby's Hand, Disintegrate, Plane Shift, Teleport, Dominate Monster, Wish [* = Shadow Touched Feat - not necessary, but it fit a thematic storyline when I selected it)]. I also have a Staff of Thunder and Lightning.

3.) Sorcerers tend to not have a lot of knowledge of arcana, history, etc... I feel the absence of great knowledge skills in our party in that game.

4.) Sorcerers get a lot of cantrips - which gives you a lot of versatility if you want it.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Chronurgy Wizard: The obvious choice might have been Necromancy, but feel this works just as well. To me, this class looks like it would be a strong addition to the party. The ritual casting feels like it could allow me to fill the utility role well (Identify, Comprehend Languages), the spell quantity is amazing, and the class progression feels pretty steady throughout. That said, does having absolutely no charisma in the party create a really difficult dynamic in social/RP settings?
Make sure your DM is good with this. It's from a WotC-published book, but just like Acquisitions Inc. it's an outside book. Some may not allow it, and that makes this an easy choice.

Aberrant Mind Sorcerer: Aside from the obvious Lovecraftian connection of this class in this setting (tentacles), the mind control seems like a fun dynamic as a blaster/controller build. Additionally, feels like the Charisma casting would fill a gaping hole in the social skills of the party. This class seems to keep pace with the Wiz for quite a while. That said, after level 14, it looks like the class progression grinds to a halt, falling well behind the Wizard in advancement. Feels so pronounced that I wasn't sure if it is even worthwhile to take the Sorcerer past level 18. But at that stage, why even MC that late in the game. Since I am starting the campaign at level 6, have I cut off a large chunk of the enjoyable time of this class, while feeling a huge plateau later in the game?
CoS will never get near 14th level, so you don't have to worry about that. You will probably top off in the 9-11 range.

One of the advantages AM sorcerers get at 6th is that they can cast any of their psionic spells using cheap sorcery points without V, S and most M components. This makes a lot of spells undetectable to cast; it's close to a free subtle spell on all of them. When you factor in that they can adjust what their are Psionic spells a bit every level it gets very interesting. So adjusting this list to be spells that they want to cast in, for instance social settings, is very useful. Also good for spells that you don't want to be counterspelled. You can literally spend your bonus action to break down a slot to SP, and then spend the exact same amount of SP casting a psionic spell like this.

On top of that, you pointed out the benefits of having a high CHR character. One with telepathy with party members and the ability to undetectably cast spells in social situations. As bonus on top of all your normal casting.
 

WASDHammer

Explorer
Super helpful, jgsudgen!

I think if I'm being honest with myself, the Aberrant Mind just sounds cool and is where I am leaning, but perhaps am overthinking and talking myself out of it.

Assuming I go with AM Sorc., I like your spell list, although I wonder if I should keep Calm Emotions. In combat, wouldn't that act as a really good Charm/Frightened nullifier on my whole party? Also, was there a reason you got rid of the "tentaclely" spells (I know thats not a word ;) )?

Lastly, did you dump Int then (like an 8)? I was thinking starting, STR 8, DEX 16, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 20 (assuming level 6 entry with either custom lineage + Fey Touched/Telekinetic, or Half-Elf with Fey Touched (we all get a free feat at start).

Blue, thanks for the feedback. The CoS will actually be a homebrewed version that will extend well past the normal 9-11 levels, with the intention of actually reaching level 20. That was why I feared a Sorc. plateau so much.
 

This class seems to keep pace with the Wiz for quite a while. That said, after level 14, it looks like the class progression grinds to a halt, falling well behind the Wizard in advancement. Feels so pronounced that I wasn't sure if it is even worthwhile to take the Sorcerer past level 18. But at that stage, why even MC that late in the game. Since I am starting the campaign at level 6, have I cut off a large chunk of the enjoyable time of this class, while feeling a huge plateau later in the game?
I mean, I'm a hardcore "Wizard is better than Sorcerer" guy, but I think you're underestimating how transformative metamagic is at the very high levels where sorcery points are actually plentiful. I'd take getting to skip the lame first tier as a Sorcerer as the golden opportunity to play one.

I would also say that, even if we accept the premise that it is inferior after level 14 or some such, I would never trust any campaign to actually get up to level 20 unless I was playing with a group with a strong history of actually getting up to level 20.

That said, does having absolutely no charisma in the party create a really difficult dynamic in social/RP settings?
So I'm near the end of a Curse of Strahd campaign with no proper charisma character. But my half-elf Barbarian/Fighter has like a 14 Charisma and is proficient in persuasion and intimidation, there's a couple other charisma skill proficiencies in the group, there is a Druid who can give Guidance, and we can often help one another for advantage in diplomacy situations. It has never felt like a huge handicap.
 
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2.) You'd think that the limited spells known would be a limitation, but you're actually amongst the most versatile classes. At 1st level a wizard will generally prepare 4, and you'll know 4. At 5th you'll know 12, while the wizard may prepare 9. At 9th you'll know 20, while the wizard will have 14 prepared. It won't generally be until 20th level that they catch up and can prepare as many spells as you know. Yes, they can swap out spells, but you can swap spells too - just not as easily or quickly.

My aberrant mind sorcerer has been the most versatile spellcaster I've played. (My psionic spells are: Mind Sliver, Silvery Barbs (used to be sleep), Dissonant Whispers, Suggestion, Detect Thoughts, Enemies Abount, Sending, Charm Monster, Summon Aberration, Hold Monster and Modify Memory) - My non-psionic spells are: Absorb Elements, Shield, Silent Image*, Invisibility*, Misty Step, Phantasmal Force, Vortex Warp, Counterspell, Fireball, Raulothim's Psychic Lance, Polymorph, Bigby's Hand, Disintegrate, Plane Shift, Teleport, Dominate Monster, Wish [* = Shadow Touched Feat - not necessary, but it fit a thematic storyline when I selected it)]. I also have a Staff of Thunder and Lightning.

Yes, I guess the new sorcerer design helps them A LOT. 10 extra spells know are no joke. And 3 schools of magic to chose from are no joke either.

I hope tgis design make it into the aniversary phb.
 

jgsugden

Legend
... Also, was there a reason you got rid of the "tentaclely" spells (I know thats not a word ;) )?
They didn't match the campaign theme, and they're not efficienct spells, especially the thrd level Hunger of Hadar. It is not a good use of my concentration.
Lastly, did you dump Int then (like an 8)? I was thinking starting, STR 8, DEX 16, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 20 (assuming level 6 entry with either custom lineage + Fey Touched/Telekinetic, or Half-Elf with Fey Touched (we all get a free feat at start).
It is low, but it was a rolled stat situation.
 

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