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


That is an obvious nail through the very idea that sorcerer is limited by only having most of the wizard spell list rather than all of it. It very much sounds like more of the same with extra steps.
The wizard doesn't have a spell that gives him 18 strength and Wolverine claws.

The Scion has a power that does.

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The wizard doesn't have a spell that gives him 18 strength and Wolverine claws.

The Scion has a power that does.
The. The sorcerer needs better features for those instead of a huge chunk from wizard. It should be explicit about what it's trading away for it


Personally, I'd lean into this even harder. A sorcerer isn't a spellcaster at all; they're a magical being. As they level, they get more and stronger special abilities based around their magical theme. The sorcerer "class" has almost nothing, other than granting saves/skills/hit die/ASIs.

I could also get behind a sorcerer picking one, and only one, domain, sort of like the 3.5 PrC Divine Crusader. A "domain" has exactly one spell of each level, organized around a theme (Fire, Ice, Fear, Nature, etc.). The sorcerer casts these with sorcery points. The sorcerer subclass is what grants the theme of the character (draconic, fey, celestial, etc.), and generally gives the combat scaling, utility, and ribbon powers. The domain and subclass combined gives the overall concept, like a fire domain draconic sorcerer.
So I want to follow the open-closed design principle.

In this case, I want the sorcerer to pick spells from a broad list. They get these spells as spell like abilities that are usable one/long rest.

Some mechanism to use them more often exists. Maybe when you cast them, you make a check - a 50-50 check, and if you succeed, you can use them again. Or maybe on a short rest, you make a check to recover spells you used in the last short rest. Or maybe you can always use a spell twice - but after the 2nd time and further, you have to check to see if you lose it.

The point of this is that whenever D&D adds a new spell, it is easy to add it to the sorcerer's list.

For a Domain, the Domain might include a list of spells plus spells by description. Like, a Fire Domain might include a list of spells, plus any spell that deals fire damage, but restricted so that it only deals fire damage. So you could pick up Elemental Shield, which can be reversed to deal Cold damage; if you take Element Shield under Fire Domain you can only use it to deal Fire damage.

The ability to list specific spells exists, possibly with modifications. Like, Conjure Elemental works as a Fire Domain spell, but you can only Conjure fire elementals.

This also means that a Storm Domain could include lightning and thunder damage spell, plus a selection of cold damage spells.

And because you aren't picking Domains, a given Domain can be as broad as it needs to be without giving a sorcerer who has that domain all of the spells.

I don't want to add a whole pile of balance work on every spell. I want inclusion in a domain to be mostly a flavour thing (does it match the flavour?), not a balance thing. And leveling up your Domain is something you are expected to do.

The replacement of spell slots and points with spell like abilities, meanwhile, means that you aren't going to be spamming one ability. Each of your known spells is a separate spell like ability you get a certain number of uses of. Maybe recovery of said abilities is a common resource, like you can recover (sorc level) total SLA in a short rest once per long rest, so you aren't forced to have all of your spell picks be "use it all the time".


The. The sorcerer needs better features for those instead of a huge chunk from wizard. It should be explicit about what it's trading away for it
In an ideal world, I'd have a Create a Spell system that a Sorcerer can create a customized basic spell of 5-6 templates on the fly.

Barring that sorcerer could pull any spell out the Weave once per long rest.

Aurel Guthrie

I like the idea of using CON instead of CHA. In addition, I would love for sorcerers to be the one class that doesn't need neither a focus nor a component pouch to cast their spells. After all, if their power is innate, why can't they just cast with their bare hands?


I am not keen on moving away from the 2014 version of 5e, so I wouldn't want any major changes to any class, and I would prefer changes to be in the form of additional options (subclasses, feats, spells).

That said, I only think the Sorcerer suffers from two things: (1) too few known spells for a full spellcasting class, (2) not enough differentiations from the Wizard or other casters.

These are things that could have been solved long ago simply by leveraging subclass design, and have each subclass grant bonus known spells (similar to the Cleric's domains) and strong unique abilities, but WotC stubbornly refused to do it in an attempt to defend their original PHB subclasses, which they kept saying the would become less attractive, so they ended up keeping the whole Sorcerer class less attractive as a result. And no, I don't think WotC will get it right in the 2024 version, I think a lot of fans will praise whatever WotC does, and WotC will use the trick of buffing every character a bit, but I also think the Sorcerer will still end up being an underdeveloped class compared to others.

If wanting to touch the base class mechanics, and looking at more dramatic changes, at that point instead of worrying too much about the number of known spells, I would want to seriously build around the idea that a Sorcerer could be a great improviser and manipulator of magic. The seed of this idea already exists in the Sorcerer not having to memorize spell (which in practice is a moot point in 5e since she often knows less spell than a Wizard of the same level can memorize, but was the original concept of the 3e Sorcerer) and in metamagic.

There's a lot of people insisting that Wizards (and maybe others) should be granted metamagic as well, rendering the Sorcerer even less unique and attractive as a character choice. This is only a by-product of the culture of "Wizards are the most awesome thing and should be able to do everything" (perhaps except healing, because tradition). I don't like these very conservative ideas, and I would actually go the opposite direction and frame the Wizard as a spellcaster who cannot deviate from their formulas or change almost anything about the spells they cast. OK to keep all the variables of spellcasting that are already available to every caster (upscaling spells to higher levels for example), but no more flexibility than that, as if a Wizard learns precise formulas but is not allowed to improvise.

If the Wizard class, which is the main contender of the Sorcerer, is kept in check like that, then the Sorcerer could be made the ultimate master of spells flexibility: she knows few, but can change a lot more on the fly. More metamagic effects (either from the core class, from subclasses, or from a Sorcerer-only feat) is an easy addition. Removing the double cost for switching between spell slots and metamagic is also an easy fix. A more dramatic change could be to replace known spells with known spells types, so that for example a Sorcerer at any given level knows a fixed number of spell types or themes ("lightning spells", "speed spells", "undead animation spells") and can cast all spells of that type of available level. This would be a very big design effort because it would have to be done in conjunction with a categorization of existing spells and it would work well only if the whole list of spells in the game is balanced in terms of different spell types, which in general is really not (e.g. there are a lot more fire spells than any other kind).

One thing I did in the pursuit of more metamagic, was to attempt to offer effects based on the spells.

For example, I gave the Shadow sorcerer this ability:

Umbral Spell
When you cast a spell with an area effect, you may pay 2 sorcery points. If you do, the spell’s area is also filled with darkness (as if with a Darkness spell) while the spell is active and up to 1d4+2 rounds after the spell ends.

This opens up tactical options for the Shadow Sorcerer, who can now use their spells to ALSO obscure sight lines.

Or, I did some of these for more general use

Explosive Spell
When you cast a spell that has an area of effect and forces other creatures to make a Strength or Dexterity saving throw to resist its effects, you can spend 2 points to blast the affected creatures off their feet. On a failed saving throw, the spell has the additional effect of pushing a creature in a straight line towards the nearest edge of the spell's area and knocking it prone.

If the creature strikes an object of its size or larger that prevents it from being pushed to the edge of the spell's area it takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 ft thrown.

This metamagic cannot be used on spells that already cause forced movement

Flared Spell
When casting a spell that deals fire, lightning, or radiant damage, if the spell targets one or two creatures you may spend 2 points, if the spell targets more than two creatures you must instead spend 4 points. The targets that failed the save of the spell are blinded until the end of your next turn. If the spell did not have a save, they instead must make a Constitution saving throw, becoming blinded on a failed save.

This metamagic cannot be used on spells that already have blinding effects.

These sort of things allow you to do different things with the spells you are casting, altering them as Metamagic says you should be able to do. You could have a sorcerer who realizes they are in a bad spot, and uses Scorching ray with Flared spell to blind the enemy and attempt an escape. Or you could have a sorcerer combine Careful spell, Explosive Spell, and Fireball to rescue an ally by a targeted air burst.


Dragon Lover
One thing I would do is lean in more heavily on the Innate Sorcery feature from UA 7. I might buff up the base sorcerer’s version a bit, and then have every subclass gain additional benefits from having it activated. Maybe change the name to something like “Sorcerous Incarnation”.

For example, with the Draconic Sorcerer’s Innate Sorcery additions you could buff up their defenses more, maybe give them a bonus to AC and resistance to their Draconic affinity. This could increase to immunity at higher levels when their base form gets resistance, and maybe at 18th level they gain a damage absorption like feature for the damage type that either heals them or empowers them further.

Or you can go with augmenting their spells with their affinity’s damage type, allowing them to freely change spells to their affinity type and adding more damage on top of it. At higher levels you could even give them the ability to bypass resistances, maybe even immunity at 18th if we want to be spicy. You could also give them an ability that allows cantrips to be cast as a mini breath weapon to do more spread damage.

Or you could go with a more physical approach where the sorcerer can summon ethereal dragon parts like claws, tail, and wings that allow them to do additional things as a bonus action. Claws could deal martial damage (and maybe even allowing them to cast smite/like spells with them as if they were weapons), the tail can knock prone, and wings can give the sorcerer a wing attack like the dragon’s legendary action.

I would give the subclasses some other features not keyed to Innate Sorcery as well, but I really like the potential of this feature. These are just off the top of my head at the moment.


A suffusion of yellow
Sorcerer should hyperspecialise becoming essentially a one trick pony, but make that trick increasingly powerful via metamagic.

I actually had the thought of starting all scorcerers with maybe just two base spells and an Arcane Touch attack ability (1d8 damage, rising at higher spell slots plus Condition) based on their themes which then was diversified via metamagic thus
Dragon (Elemental Touch) -
elemental energy (fire, acid, cold, lightning, poison)
Abberation (Mind flay) - psychic energy and stunned condition (Int Save)
Celestial (Radiant Burst) - Radiance (burns) and blinded, auto crit vs undead and demons (Con save)
Fiend (Hex touch) - Necrotic and ability check curse (Cha Save) themed as Disease/Decay
Beast (Beast Claws)- physical damage and bleed (Con Save)
Fey (Fey Push)- Force damage and Dazed condition (Wis Save)
Ghost Ethereal Drain- Cold and HP drain (Cha Save)
Ghoul (Paralysing Touch)- Necrotic damage and Slow (Con Save)

Then use metamagic to diversify as they level up (eg add range, power, duration, scale etc).
Such metamagic would allow the Flaming Touch to become a Flaming bolt (range), a fireball (range + scale) and even a wall of fire (scale + duration). It would need more metamagic traits to be added and a means of stacking them

anyway an idea
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One thing I'm desperate to change is how metamagic interacts with subclasses.

Currently their only interaction is 'using your subclass abilities drains your tiny pool of resources needed to use your class abilities'.

I don't like metamagic even being a sorcerer thing, but as it is, then each subclass should have its own unique metamagics.

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