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D&D 5E Boosting Sorcerers, Focus: Fun (+thread)

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, firstly, I don’t care at all about anything resembling a “your premise is bad” responses. Don’t thread crap. This is a +thread for the purpose of delving into how to make the Sorcerer more fun, and thus isn’t especially a thread for people who don’t think the sorcerer needs a boost.

That said, I don’t think the sorcerer needs a power boost, as such. If it gets one along the way, that’s fine, but I think the issue with the sorcerer is more about the feel of play than about numerical balance.

So, what can be done that isn’t an overhaul? I’m not interested in rewriting classes or using big invasive changes, but rather in simple clean fixes.

What about more metamagics known?

Are any of the metamagics way more restrictive than they need to be?

Would partial SP recovery on a short rest help?

Your thoughts?
 

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Li Shenron

Legend
I do agree with the premise.

I do not dislike the Sorcerer class. I don't even think it's technically underpowered, if I look at the numbers and compare for example a Sorcerer and a Wizard on a given day I don't see an advantage to the latter. That's why I am not so sure about boosting the Sorcerer's numbers for example refreshing spell points more often.

But I can't shrug off the background feeling that the Sorcerer is too constrained on the longer term, because of the very short known spells list. Thematically it's ok, that the Sorcerer has only a few innate powers, while the Wizard can expand her knowledge. Still, the feeling remains that a Wizard with enough spells can more or less "copy" a Sorcerer known list after a long rest and make the party Sorcerer feel like she's not so unique for the group.

But then, more spells known to the Sorcerer might only encourage the player to take spells outside the specific character theme, and become too general (as in, pick a divination here, a flight spell there, a teleport, a summon... then you tend too much towards swiss army knife spellcaster).

So I don't see much how rules could help without taking away the sorcerer uniqueness or something else. I vaguely think that a Sorcerer might better be based on a narrow theme such as "fire", "summoning fiends", "shadows", "divination" but then not be bound to specific spells like all other casters. The idea would be, "you have the magic of "fire" in you, effects limited by level of course, but you can shape it the way you want. The old 3ed "Elementalism" book by Mongoose could be of inspiration, but this would certainly be a MAJOR overhaul so it's way too much to call it a house rule. Perhaps LevelUp is onto something...
 

I saw a sorcerer hack that wasn't balanced, but was incredibly interesting. Essentially there were no metamagic points, but you spend 2 actions in a row (concentration) to apply any one metamagic you know to a spell you cast.

So, you start casting heightened fireball. You maintain concentration until next round, and use your second action to finish casting the spell.

You can cast normally if you want, just no metamagic. But you can metamagic as many spells as you can cast, if you take the time.
 

Vael

Hero
I've advocated leaning into what makes Sorcerers unique (in 5e), metamagic. I think they should get more metamagic options, and some more niche/weird ones that what's currently on offer. I don't mind a slight buff to spells known, because Sorcerer progression is ... tight, but I don't agree with giving them lots of bonus spells.

So, on the Metamagic front, 2 ideas for boosting progression:
1. Give a bonus metamagic at each level the Sorcerer gets more metamagic, so 2 at 3rd level, plus 2 at 10th and 2 more at 17th, for a total of 6.
2. OR, additional metamagics at levels 7 and 13, boosting the class to 6.

As for other metamagics, some ideas:
Echo Spell - When casting a spell with a casting time of 1 action, spend Sorcery Points equal to its level + 2. Cast the same spell again at the start of your next turn without expending a spell slot or an action. You may choose different targets or area of effect.
Admixture Spell - Choose 2 different damage types when you learn this metamagic. Whenever you cast a spell that deals either type of damage, you can spend a Sorcery Point to have it deal both types of damage. A target damaged by this spell is immune to the damage only if it is immune to both, resistent to the damage if it resists one and is either resistent or immune to the other and it is vulnerable if it is vulnerable to either damage type. Otherwise, the target takes normal damage.

The other major thing Sorcerers need is spells unique to their spell list. They, to my knowledge, still have no unique spells.
 

Horwath

Hero
SP recharge on short rest.

in 3.5e sorcerers had more spell slots than wizard in exchange for less spells known.

Now all spellcasters are semi-spontaneous casters, but rangers end up with fewest spells known(of full casters).
I Know that they will not get more spell slots directly as all casters are put on same spell slot advancement.

But sorceres should get more chance/more resources to recharge those slots.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
There was a time where I wished the Sorcerer's gimmick were called Sorceries and getting a Metamagic was a type of sorcery.

This was you can lean on the "sorcerer has magic blood, runes in their DNA, or marks on their soul" and do more than alter spells.

Stuff like pushing their sorcerous energy into a weapon and muscles to convert sorcery points straight to damage. Or pumping it into the brain to get a chance to temporarily know a skill or a spell. Or dumping into the soul to keep a dying or dead one from moving on to the next life
 


tetrasodium

Hero
Supporter
The problem is in the 5e spells themselves. Damage is too tightly tuned to an absurd white room no feats no magic items average almost nobody uses while concentration is massively overused. The magic items in tasha's help but are about five years too late so arcane casters like sorcerer still face the problem of few if any meaningful or interesting feat choices alongside adventure design from wotc that is relatively hostile to their needs and wants during a campaign. Fixing any of those is a largely nontrivial change.
 
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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
But then, more spells known to the Sorcerer might only encourage the player to take spells outside the specific character theme, and become too general (as in, pick a divination here, a flight spell there, a teleport, a summon... then you tend too much towards swiss army knife spellcaster).
I'd cautiously disagree with that. I think the overall concept of the sorcerer pushes you to pick a themed package of spells, but the limitation in the number of spells known means that you generally want to make sure you have all the major power bases covered first, and there isn't a ton of room to make frivolous picks. Most sorcerers I see have some blend of magic missile, shield, mirror image, fireball, counterspell, and haste right off the bat, possibly swapping some for some of the stronger cleric spells if the sorcerer is a divine soul.

In my ideal world, each sorcerer subclass would have a dedicated small spell list they could cast from freely, much like the 3.5 beguiler, and then get a few extra picks like bardic Magical Secrets. Barring that, I think the class needs some incentivization to gain thematic but not top-tier spells to generate more variety.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
My thoughts on the sorcerer class in 5E has always come down to just a couple things:

1) Every sorcerer PC should have their own specific spell list crafted by the DM based upon the Origin or theme. Spells should come from across all the class lists to craft the most applicable spell list for the sorcerer, but only maybe 8-12 spells per spell level. The reason for this of course being that you remove from all sorcerers the exact same spells that appear on every list and invariably get chosen and cast all the time regardless of Origin or theme. It does not good to have a "Storm Sorcerer" that throws fireball after fireball because fireball is the best 3rd level spell in the game.

2) Every single metamagic is available to the sorcerer. None of this "choose two" crap. The whole point of having a sorcerer (and metamagic) is that because they are infused with magic and can create it spontaneously, they can change it in ways other spellcasters can't. So for my money, that means they should be changing it almost every round, and changing it in all kinds of different ways depending on the circumstance they find themselves in.

There's nothing I find stupider than a sorcerer and their party finding themselves in a situation where having (for instance) Distant Spell would be the most perfect thing to have at this moment in time (perhaps to nail a fleeing foe or something)... but of course not actually having that available because no one ever takes Distant Spell as one of their extremely small amount of options. Because of course it normally just isn't worth it to have (as there are other metamagics that are much more useful in more situations.) If we ever want to see these metamagics that are really useful in very narrow situations get used... let sorcerers use them. Give them the whole list to choose from. It's the Sorcery Points that are going to be constraining them anyway, not the number of metamagics.

3) As I do believe sorcerers should pretty much be using metamagic on almost every spell they cast (since that is what defines them as a sorcerous spellcaster rather than any other spellcaster)... I also believe sorcery points should refresh on a short rest. Now if this seems like it could become overkill at higher levels when the sorcerer does in fact have a lot of points... let us not forget that this point should be going hand-in-hand with Point 1... where the sorcerer should have a constrained thematic spell list. So it is up to the DM to curate said spell list such that its not the exact same three spells buffed with the exact same metamagic each and every round over and over and over because those three options are the best of the best of the best.

If the DM does their job, they will make sure that a sorcerer with a large sorcery pool, every metamagic available at their fingertips, and a smaller, select group of available spells will still be able to be kept in check. Is it asking a lot of a particular DM? Sure. Perhaps. But if that DM is really annoyed with how the sorcerer plays currently, they should be able to specify that annoyance and be able articulate the proper way to ameliorate it. Or at least should be willing to learn HOW to ameliorate it and put their attempts into practice.

There's very few things more irritating than someone constantly complaining about rules they don't like or don't think works... but do absolutely nothing to try and fix it for themselves at their table. Instead they just come here onto ENWorld making the exact same complaints that WotC isn't "fixing things" for years on end.
 

neogod22

Explorer
First of all, if you want to be able to post your opinion and to be taken seriously, then you need to take the criticism too. Don't come here or anywhere and say "don't post if you don't agree with me" because it makes you sound like a whiner.

That being said, have to ask you, did you read XGtE, and TCoE? I think what they did with the subclasses in those books were proletty good. So, I'm going to suggest they have seen the problem stems from the lack of spells and lack of things to do with Metamagic. I think the Warlock also suffers with the lack of spells. The fix for warlock is a little easier where you can have them gain the bonus spells automatically instead of them being options. The sorcerer however, the newer subclasses are fine. But to truly fix them, they need more things to do with their metamagic points, whether it's get a short list of spells they can cast with them, or just subclass abilities that allow to use metamagic unique to the subclass. The newer subclasses does these things, and i think it works.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
My hot take:

To make the sorcerers really distinct, I'd take the old UA mystic class, refluff it a bit, plug the sorcerers archetypes of the class chassis and voilà! With a few mechanical tweaks (d6 HD, no armors, a little less disciplines etc), it would make for a fun, distinct and powerful sorcerer class. Let metamagics be spellcasters' feats for those who want them.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
3) As I do believe sorcerers should pretty much be using metamagic on almost every spell they cast (since that is what defines them as a sorcerous spellcaster rather than any other spellcaster)... I also believe sorcery points should refresh on a short rest. Now if this seems like it could become overkill at higher levels when the sorcerer does in fact have a lot of points... let us not forget that this point should be going hand-in-hand with Point 1... where the sorcerer should have a constrained thematic spell list. So it is up to the DM to curate said spell list such that its not the exact same three spells buffed with the exact same metamagic each and every round over and over and over because those three options are the best of the best of the best.
I like pretty much everything here; my only change would be that if SP refresh on a short rest, they shouldn't be allowed to be traded in for more slots. The focus should be on casting potent, metamagic enhanced spells, not on being a high-volume spellcaster. (Let's leave that in 3e where it belongs.)

I'd also favor giving them an even more tightly themed spell list (like 5-7 spells per level), but letting them swap every long rest (like cleric/druid).
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
oh, one thing I do in my games:

- I give the sorcerer more spell slots per day, meaning that they can A) use the supplemental slots to generate more spell points aka more metamagics or B) just cast more spells in a day.

I dont like the idea that a sorcerer wanting to use its class' main features more than a few time needs to cast less spells in a day than a wizard, or if they want to cast as many spells, they need to forgo the use of their features.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
First of all, if you want to be able to post your opinion and to be taken seriously, then you need to take the criticism too. Don't come here or anywhere and say "don't post if you don't agree with me" because it makes you sound like a whiner.
Except that this thread isn't asking for opinions... it is asking for specific help.

And it is bad form to purposefully come into a thread NOT to help when its been asked for but instead TELL the person that the help is unnecessary. What exactly are you trying to do by doing that? Be a threadcrapping jerk if you ask me.

People do not need to post in every thread that they disagree with. And this is especially true with these (+) threads, that are created specifically NOT to argue the point, but to accept that the point is true for the sake of this exercise, and how can it be built upon.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Every sorcerer PC should have their own specific spell list crafted by the DM based upon the Origin or theme. Spells should come from across all the class lists to craft the most applicable spell list for the sorcerer, but only maybe 8-12 spells per spell level. The reason for this of course being that you remove from all sorcerers the exact same spells that appear on every list and invariably get chosen and cast all the time regardless of Origin or theme. It does not good to have a "Storm Sorcerer" that throws fireball after fireball because fireball is the best 3rd level spell in the game.
I like that.

I think what would work is to have the sorcerer, when gaining access to a new spell level, automatically knows 2 spells (18 spells known at 17th level) taken from any list, but there's no ''sorcerer spell list''.

Sure the table's munchkin gonna create a sorcerer with all the best spells taken from all the spell list without regard for theme and esthetic, but I think that even a caster that has access to the 18 best spells in the game would not be game breaking...it is already called a wizard :p
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I like pretty much everything here; my only change would be that if SP refresh on a short rest, they shouldn't be allowed to be traded in for more slots. The focus should be on casting potent, metamagic enhanced spells, not on being a high-volume spellcaster. (Let's leave that in 3e where it belongs.)

I'd also favor giving them an even more tightly themed spell list (like 5-7 spells per level), but letting them swap every long rest (like cleric/druid).
That is a very good point. In truth, my point #3 would really be to swap the Sorcerer over from Spell Slots to Spell Points and add the Sorcery Points into that pool. Then keep the refresh on its normal Long Rest. That way there is just a single pool of points used to cast spells enhanced by metamagic. It makes it easier for the player to see exactly how their pool of points is shaping up throughout the day, and how they can best use it-- less spells with more metamatic, more low-level spells without metamagic to conserve points, etc.

And really... using Spell Points would go hand-in-hand with my belief of how the Sorcerer should be distinct from other casters. The Warlock shouldn't be the only "full caster" with a different mechanical spell paradigm, the Sorcerer should be that way too. And having just a large pool of Spell Points to spend however they see fit would be my ideal way of doing things.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
That is a very good point. In truth, my point #3 would really be to swap the Sorcerer over from Spell Slots to Spell Points and add the Sorcery Points into that pool. Then keep the refresh on its normal Long Rest. That way there is just a single pool of points used to cast spells enhanced by metamagic. It makes it easier for the player to see exactly how their pool of points is shaping up throughout the day, and how they can best use it-- less spells with more metamatic, more low-level spells without metamagic to conserve points, etc.

And really... using Spell Points would go hand-in-hand with my belief of how the Sorcerer should be distinct from other casters. The Warlock shouldn't be the only "full caster" with a different mechanical spell paradigm, the Sorcerer should be that way too. And having just a large pool of Spell Points to spend however they see fit would be my ideal way of doing things.
Spell points can work when they go along with a tightly constrained spell list; I'm somewhat wary of them otherwise. Some low level spells are problematic if they can be spammed (i.e. shield).
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Spell points can work when they go along with a tightly constrained spell list; I'm somewhat wary of them otherwise. Some low level spells are problematic if they can be spammed (i.e. shield).
Yep. Fluff and story-wise especially... not every Origin should give a sorcerer the use of shield, or fireball, or polymorph, etc. There is absolutely no reason a Shadow Sorcerer should be casting lightning bolts or a Divine Soul sorcerer using Evard's Black Tentacles (not that I think most Divine Soul sorcerers would actually cast Black Tentacles, but you get the point.)

In my last Eberron game I had a player who selected an Aberrant dragonmark who wanted it to be about time magic (this was before Wildemount came out with all its time-related magic stuff). We decided to enhance it by making him a chronomantic sorcerer and I did in fact curate a specific spell list that only had spells on it that were space-time specific or whose mechanics could be refluffed to be time-related (renaming a lot of the spells in the process). And then the player picked the spells they wanted Known from the list like normal.

So for instance, ray of frost (which slows a target down) became ray of dilation, (refluffed such that rather than slowing down from being frozen, the target gets caught in a small time dilation that slows them down). And augury became precognition, where the PC could look slightly into future timelines and discover if certain upcoming actions would be weal or woe. And this is what I mean when I say the sorcerer spell list can be curated across all the spells in the game-- there's no reason why the mechanics of augury have to remain cleric-specific. Especially considering there are many clerics whose domains make it such they probably shouldn't have access to augury themselves either.

(And now that I've mentioned it... I'm also a proponent of making domain-specific spell lists for clerics too. While the bonus spells are an okay way to give a bit of theme to a cleric... there are so many spells in the cleric list that are "off-theme" to whatever their domain is that it often feels like every cleric is the same regardless of the domain they are. Because again... there are certain spells that are just better than others that always seem to be prepared, even if it makes little sense for the domain.)
 
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Bitbrain

Black Lives Matter
My opinion, after some months of thinking about this:

1st
Font of Magic
At 2nd level, you tap into a deep wellspring of magic within yourself. This wellspring is represented by metamagic, which allows you to twist your spells to suit your needs.
You gain access to a number of metamagic options equal to your Constitution modifier (a minimum of 1).
You can use only one metamagic option on your turn, unless otherwise noted (empowered spell).
This feature replaces both the original font of magic and metamagic features.


2nd
Each sub-class should gain a once-per-short-rest feature at 3rd level, which increases to 2x short rest at 6th level, and 3x short rest at 18th level.
In the case of the Draconic bloodline sorcerer, it should be a bonus action breath weapon that deals damage equal to 3d6 + your Sorcerer level.
 

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