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D&D 5E Brainstorm Sorcerer upgrades. (+)

I'd probably make it run off spell points for a start, and have innate sorcery as its core class mechanic. The innate sorcery then ties into subclasses, doing unique things for each one (leaning into the 'become the monster' theme). They'd still retain their low spells known, which would be made up for in the subclass.

As for subclasses, they'd be one of the most impactful in the game, similar to artificer subclasses. Their features would be big and come early, making every subclass feel completely different from the others. Every subclass then gets their own additional spells, making up for the base classes low spells known.

There would also be a 'powerful magic user/wizard ancestor' subclass for it, as it seems most people want to play sorcerer as 'wizard, but hot'.

Metamagic would not be a sorcerer thing.

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You get dragon powers, dragon magic, dragon elements and dragon fear and scales and claws... maybe do something like the Next playtest where you get some points (not too many) and as you spend them you gain more physical changes, but I'd also want to set it up so that you could avoid those changes and stay a caster-type, or just trigger them early and play as a martial/gish. But any which way you're a dragon-magic-user.
I think this sorcerous origin idea ought to stay as a martial/Gish as it is very reminiscent of 3e's Dragon Disciple PrC.

I think Arcane Surge is a step in the right direction for Sorcerers, but...

Look, I'm sure someone will throw down a bunch of math that says that actually being able to increase your DC by +1 for a few rounds of combat a day is actually incredibly powerful because that 5% increase in spell accuracy is busted if the correct spell lands. But, in practice... it is boring. It is like the oatmeal of class abilities. Because it doesn't feel like it does anything.

I've played plenty of casters and increased my spell save DC via items or level ups before and... it doesn't meaningfully change anything I do. Tactically, this will be used only in hard fights like boss fights, because it doesn't offer you anything new to do, just makes your numbers bigger. Thematically? It is moving in the correct direction, but they certainly need to do a lot more with it to make it pop
The thing is that I don't need the sorcerer class to be interesting. Where I want most of the interest to lie is in the subclasses which should all pop (and some do and some don't right now). The sorcerer class just needs to be a stable foundation to allow the subclasses to be flamboyant off based on how you got your magic. In an ideal world I'd make the wizard a sorcerer subclass - but given we don't live in that world Arcane Surge is sufficient to answer one question: "Given the main thing about both wizard and sorcerer is spellcasting and the wizard gets to cast a significantly wider range of spells why be a sorcerer not a wizard?"


We could move Sorcerers closer to having "spell like abilities".

Ie, a sorcerer doesn't learn spells and spend spell slots. A sorcerer learns spell like abilities, and each time they use them in a day they have a chance to not be able to do so again.

Second, to distinguish a sorcerer from a wizard, what if we added riders to each spell like ability. Like, when a sorcerer gains the fireball spell like ability it comes with a package of other abilities. This is somewhat similar to the "domain" idea, but maybe at a finer grain level.

An easy example would be that every time you learn a fire spell like ability, you get a +1 bonus to damage on fire spells (including cantrips).

To make it a bit less generic, imagine if the Sorcerer class had a set of Domains. Each Domain was associated with a set of spells. As you get more spells in a Domain, you get extra passive abilities.

Domain of Fire might grant an increasing amount of bonus damage with fire spells. If you have N spells, it roughly adds +1dN to your fire spell damage. It will also eventually grant fire resistance (and maybe immunity), plus maybe cold resistance.

If the sorcerer wants higher level domain abilities, the sorcerer is encouraged to pick more fire spells.

Possibly a given spell can belong to more than one domain. When you pick a spell like ability (aka spell), you pick which domain you are going to boost. This lets us come out with new Domains that overlap existing ones without automatic power creep.


Fun ideas!

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: The flavor write-up for the Sorcerer in 5e paints a wondrous picture that, imo, the mechanics fail to really capture. One of my favorites:

"People with magical power seething in their veins soon discover that the power doesn’t like to stay quiet. A sorcerer’s magic wants to be wielded, and it has a tendency to spill out in unpredictable ways if it isn’t called on."


The design behind my theory crafted Incarnate/Scion class is that you Monster Powers use the same space as Spells Known.

So a fire draconic Scion will have 6 at level 5 before freebees.

Detect Magic
Burning Hands
Misty Step


Crow's Feet
Dragon Scales (free, fire only)
Giant's Strength (free, fire only)
Demon Horn
Are you suggesting that bold bit is the class spell list with "powers" being the bulk of the class's focus & power budget or are you suggesting the same matching full caster slot gains/progression choose six spells from almost much the entire wizard spell list plus get these for free? Having so much of spell list the class's spell list. Having so much of the wizard spell list & an identical slot progression/gain doesn't allow enough room in the power budget for the sorcerer to develop meaningful power from it's own stuff

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