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How do we fix the Sorcerer?

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I think the Sorcerer's problem is trying to force it's square peg (I'm different than a wizard!) into the round hole (casting spells is my shtick).

A couple of angles/ways they could have gone to make the Sorcerer truly distinctive...though I admit the subclassing break up by "Origins" was a good idea, they were a bit too narrow and ultimately uninteresting.

So, the Sorcerer's mechanical "thing" that other people don't get, they are the "Points" caster, well "wizard/mage" guy. Like the Monk is the "points" fighter (or possibly cleric). The Bard is, arguably, the "points" rogue. In PF parlance, a "points" cleric/divine caster would be the "Oracle."

Sorcerer's are the "Points" arcane caster. Fine. Metamagic should have been made a bit more prominent as a "secondary" shtick, "magic tricks" other arcane casters don't get. Which they are...but the dial could have been set at, say 6 or 7 instead of 2 or 3.

So re-write of the Sorcerer, regardless of fluff should have Meta-magic as a more prominent piece of their identity.

One thing, that I am not sure I would have endorsed, but would have helped, would have been modeling the Sorcerer after the Paladin and Ranger to be the "Arcane Half-Caster" class. I, personally, think the Bard would have been better as this, but a Sorcerer could have worked -leaving the [default] Bards to its more Roguey flavor. A little armor, probably no shields, few more than just Simple weapons. That sort of stuff.

The other thing would have been to make the "Origins" not really so defining...or not defining in the way they did. Saying Draconic and Wild (and then Storm, Shadow, etc. etc...) basically tries to "point" at a direction without really granting the goods. It doesn't matter if your grandfather was a sivler dragon or if you mother gave brith during a big storm or you fell into a magic pit of Shadow energy as a child...Your backstory is yours to make. The bottom line, at the root of the 'Origins" is that they are "Ancestral": someone in your ancestry was magic or had magic or found magic, none of that matters. It matters that it's somewhere in your lineage; OR "Circumstantial" or perhaps "Situational" would be a better phrase. You were in the right place at the right time (born during a magical storm; bit by a magically radioactive spider)...or wrong place at the wrong time (bathed in a fountain of Abyssal water, bit by a magically radioactive spider) and the result of that circumstance/situation is "I GOTS MAGIC POWERS?!" which you then practice/work/figure out and develop/expand.

The theme of your magic is what matters. What is your "source"? What type of magics do you access/relate to (fire, ice, storm, shadow, mind, plants, etc... etc...) is what really defines and flavors your backstory and current character. THAT is where the PHB sorcerer with a single Sorcerer spell list kind of falls apart.

The designers began leaning in the thematic direction, first with the UA sorcerer subclasses that began piling on "Origin Bonus Spells" (a la a cleri or paladin domain/oath extra spells). That really wasn't a bad patch/fix for what they had already done.

The latter subclasses, (storm, shadow, et al) as I said, seem to point further in the "theme" direction but also then -due to the PHB framework/chassis- amount to a few minor powers on top of the blah sorcerer spell list and limited metamagics.

SO, rework the base class with more meta's. Make the subclass options a Thematic option that allows for a thematic spell list/selection. Backstory is up to the player. Are you a Shadow sorcerer because you took a bath during a shadow-plane hurricane encursion into the material world or because great-great-gran'pappy Necrosus did the nasty with a Shadow Demon and the family-in-exile has been trying to pull itself out from under his reputation of a mad evil shadow-wizard that almost destroyed the kingdom ever since?

Does it matter to what your character can/should be able to do? No. What matters as a sorcerer is you accumulate Sorcery Points, gain more Metamagics, and have spells and abilities that are "Shadow plane" related...That probably means some illusions, some conjurations (of shadow monsters), maybe "misty-stepping" only in-out of/through shadows, making shadow-stuff weapons/shields/armor/items, transforming yourself into a Shadow or planeshifting into the Shadow plane at high levels...I'd probably throw in some resistance -developing to immunity at higher levels- from necrotic and/or cold damage...possibly with a built in sensitivity/susceptibility to radiant damage.

So, yeah...what was this thread about?...Oh yeah...a rewrite of the Sorcerer needs to be more "Theme" based than "Origin" based.

I feel like it was what they were shooting for and just missed the mark there.
Your post made me realize how to explain the problem I had with the sorcerer's theme in a simple example:
Its like if Peter Parker got bit by a radioactive spider, but when every kid reading the comic expected to see him develop spider-like powers, he would instead grow wings, shoot lasers from his eyes and be able to control storm, which are all cool powers, but none of them is related to being bit by a damn spider.
 

Krachek

Explorer
Your post made me realize how to explain the problem I had with the sorcerer's theme in a simple example:
Its like if Peter Parker got bit by a radioactive spider, but when every kid reading the comic expected to see him develop spider-like powers, he would instead grow wings, shoot lasers from his eyes and be able to control storm, which are all cool powers, but none of them is related to being bit by a damn spider.

You got right. The Sorcerer have more a problem of identity than efficiency.
Making specific spell list for each Sorcerer theme would probably take too much printing space and or time to play test. But it could help to feel the theme.
So the sorcerer major identity is the Meta Magic, which is more a technical identity than a role play identity.

We got the same problem with the Warlord.
If we define the Warlord by 'Make others attack' it is an identity based on technical gaming aspect, rather than a true role play identity.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
You got right. The Sorcerer have more a problem of identity than efficiency.
Making specific spell list for each Sorcerer theme would probably take too much printing space and or time to play test. But it could help to feel the theme.
So the sorcerer major identity is the Meta Magic, which is more a technical identity than a role play identity.

We got the same problem with the Warlord.
If we define the Warlord by 'Make others attack' it is an identity based on technical gaming aspect, rather than a true role play identity.
One thing I made for one campaign and the player who use it found very amusing is a simple homebrew which requires only a few switches: take the origins from the sorcerer, put it on the UA mystic chassis. In such ways, you receive:
- The feeling of innate magic: no focus, no material
- Thematic build-your-own super powers: Dragon origin? (take an element, the one that make you grow scales, claws and wings, a the one to enlarge yourself) Storm Origin (Wind mastery, Lignthing mastery, Water mastery) etc
- Power over magic: you can focus some passive magic effects, at level 11 you even decide what magic effect you create by mix-matching power.

The character did not go too far in the adventure, but she was a lot of fun.
 
You know, for such a popular game, there sure are a lot of "broken" parts to fix.
"Popular?" Not exactly. D&D isn't a popular game, it's the most popular RPG, RPGs being a tremendously unpopular class of games to begin with.

And, yeah, D&D is prettymuch a collection of broken parts, that you fix up and re-assemble to suit your taste.


We got the same problem with the Warlord.
If we define the Warlord by 'Make others attack' it is an identity based on technical gaming aspect, rather than a true role play identity.
It's also like defining the fighter as "uses a Bohemian Ear-Spoon" or a wizard as "Casts Haste."

Why is it that 4e fans didn't keep on playing 4e, like us 3rd edition fans kept on playing 3rd edition?
Couple of reasons:

4e fans were the ones who actually gave the new edition a chance, and just went ahead and did the same thing with 5e.

4e can't be legally cloned the way 3.5 was, so there's no ongoing support for it, unlike 3.5 fans who could play PF, have an active 3.5/PF community to spark off of, or just carry on using PF adventures for 3.5, if they didn't like the small "3.75" changes it made.

But, on topic, it's also worth nothing that the perceived deficiencies of the 5e Sorcerer aren't relative to the 4e Sorcerer, which was also initially locked into Dragon & Wild flavors, and cast spells like everyone else, just like the 5e Sorcerer, but relative to the original 3.x Sorcerer, that got significantly more slots/day, and for whom spontaneous casting was a relatively unique feature.
 

Ganymede81

Villager
The Sorcerer just doesn't get enough sorcery points to play with, and they don't regenerate anywhere near quickly enough - the freaking wizard has better stamina then that, courtesy of its Arcane Recovery feature.
This simply isn't true.

Sorcery Points, even if used in the most inefficient manner possible, recover the exact same number of spell slots as Arcane Recovery. Sorcery Points are even better than Arcane Recovery when making higher level slots; a level 20 sorcerer can create two 5s and a 4 with her points while a level 20 wizard can only make two 5s with her Arcane Recovery.

And all of that ignores the fact that a sorcerer does not even need a rest to get these benefits.
 

Thurmas

Explorer
This simply isn't true.

Sorcery Points, even if used in the most inefficient manner possible, recover the exact same number of spell slots as Arcane Recovery. Sorcery Points are even better than Arcane Recovery when making higher level slots; a level 20 sorcerer can create two 5s and a 4 with her points while a level 20 wizard can only make two 5s with her Arcane Recovery.

And all of that ignores the fact that a sorcerer does not even need a rest to get these benefits.
While true, the problem is that in order to do that, the sorcerer sacrifices all their spell points to do it, meaning they lose the ability to use metamagic, the thing that makes them different and powerful. Without metamagic, they are just a crappier wizard.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
While true, the problem is that in order to do that, the sorcerer sacrifices all their spell points to do it, meaning they lose the ability to use metamagic, the thing that makes them different and powerful. Without metamagic, they are just a crappier wizard.
I think the problem here is more with the Wizard having a short-rest spell recovery which makes little sense in-game. ''You have learned to regain some of your magical energy by studying your spellbook.'' what does that mean? What does it look like when used in game?

To avoid toes-stepping, I'd suggest to party who PERCEIVES a power-level imbalance between a sorcerer and a wizard in the same party to modify this wizard feature, making the ''magic recovery'' of the sorcerer more unique. Maybe with something like;
Choose your arcane school at level 1. Gain the X Savant at level 1 instead of 2, add: ''you gain +1/2 Prof. on Spell DC from your chosen school. Voilà! Your Wizard now feels like a real specialist from his school, slots recovery and mutation is now the real niche of the Sorcerer.
 

Kinematics

Explorer
So yes, Sorcerer has problems, and there have been many attempts to fix it. I've written up numerous ways to handle it, and gotten involved in the discussion on spell chains and the like, but reviewing the UA Mystic, I have to admit that that is basically everything the sorcerer should be (aside from psionic).

It confines your powers to "disciplines", which provides a generalized focus that you can independently opt into, and a series of related powers of varying complexity. That's basically spell chains without having to be hobbled by the spell lists. They're innate powers, not spells. You gain more disciplines as you level.

The different orders provide many of the variations that I considered relevant to different ways of focusing the Sorcerer's theme. Combine that with the mix and match of disciplines, and it's very easy to get the type of character you want.

It's a :):):):)ing d8 hit die class with light armor proficiency, despite purely mental powers. Making Sorcerer a d6 with no armor while limiting its spell selection so much still chaps me, because there's no thematic justification for it, and it creates a huge amount of pressure to require certain sets of spells no matter what, out of your very tiny spell list.

The only thing it doesn't have is metamagic. On the one hand, that's one of only two things that define the Sorcerer (and the Mystic basically mimics the other). On the other hand, having a class being defined purely in a mechanical way is always going to make it problematic as a class.

I'm going to go build a few Mystic characters to see how they feel, to compare with ideas I've had for Sorcerers.
 

Krachek

Explorer
My dream Sorcerer would be:

"You do magic in another way. For you magic has no limits and it is act of art".

Spell points based on the DMG.
Meta magic that use the pool of spell points.
Access to all spells but a limited number of spell know.
You cant MC with a class or take a subclass that give standard spell slot.
No subclass for the sorcerer, if you want more flavor you MC into rogue, fighter, barbarian, monk.
 

Gradine

Archivist
So, here's what I would do, were I to have a PC Sorcerer;

1) Get rid of the Sorcerer spell list. Sorcerers don't learn Sorcerer spells. Sorcerers learn spells. Sorcerers are now your catch-all "inherent spellcasters". Got a theme, but there's a spell outside the nonsensically restricted Sorc-list? Not a problem anymore. Worried about building "themed" spell lists for every Bloodline you can imagine? Not a problem anymore!
2) The following as either a Metamagic choice or as a class feature:
Energy Admixture
Choose a damage type which you gain this option. Anytime you cast a spell that deals damage, you can spend 1 sorcery point to change any or all the spell's damage sources to the type you selected when you gained this feature. If the spell is a cantrip, you do not need to spend any sorcery points to use this option.

You may change the damage type you selected when you gain a level in Sorcerer. You may also choose this option more than once; if you do, you can choose an additional damage type.

You can use Energy Admixture even if you have already used a different Metamagic option during the casting of the spell.

3): This metamagic feature:
Schism
You have learned how to split your psyche in order to produce effects no practiced spellcaster has ever managed. When you cast a spell with a duration that includes concentration, you may continue to maintain concentration on another spell you have already cast by spending a number of sorcery points equal to the level of the original spell you were maintaining concentration on. You may now maintain concentration on both spells. You remain subject to all other rules governing concentration, and any time you are forced to make a check to maintain concentration, you must make the check separately for each spell. While maintaining concentration on more than one spell, you have disadvantage on all d20 rolls made to maintain concentration.

You may not use Schism to concentrate on more than two spells.

4) I like the idea up-thread of Sorcerers being able to spend HD on a short rest to recover Sorcery Points. I'm not fully certain of how necessary it is, but it certainly strikes me as thematically appropriate.
 
If only Morrus had a dollar for every "let's fix the sorcerer" thread...he wouldn't need Patreon.

I am pretty sure WotC is not going to give out any more sorcery points, but Mike Mearls seems good with the notion of adding level 1-2 origin spells.

For myself, I think changing the name "mystic" to "sorcerer" and "intelligence" to "charisma" in the mystic write up is probably the easiest and best solution.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
If only Morrus had a dollar for every "let's fix the sorcerer" thread...he wouldn't need Patreon.

I am pretty sure WotC is not going to give out any more sorcery points, but Mike Mearls seems good with the notion of adding level 1-2 origin spells.

For myself, I think changing the name "mystic" to "sorcerer" and "intelligence" to "charisma" in the mystic write up is probably the easiest and best solution.
I think people use the terms ''fix'' and ''broken'' at little too loosely on this forum. There's nothing wrong with wanting to modify a class for personal preferences, dont need to convince the rest of the forum that something isnt working. I also admit it would be made easier if people did not jump on class modification's posts like someone's trying to steal something from them.

EDIT: Forgot what I came to say. I would like if there was a template/rules for ''lets fix..'' or ''class design'' posts to make them something more useful for brainstorming and less a fighting ground. Something like: To create a ''lets fix'' post, please tell 2 things that you think doesnt work as you would like, 2 things on how yourself would ''fix'' the class/feature and briefly explain your design points.
 
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I think people use the terms ''fix'' and ''broken'' at little too loosely on this forum.
We could say, 'work on,' 'enhance,' or 'customize?'

"Broken" is kinda redundant, this is a D&D forum, afterall. ;P


Oh, we could say 'desecrate' instead of 'fix' and 'classic' instead of 'broken.'
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
We could say, 'work on,' 'enhance,' or 'customize?'

"Broken" is kinda redundant, this is a D&D forum, afterall. ;P


Oh, we could say 'desecrate' instead of 'fix' and 'classic' instead of 'broken.'
I'd pay to see that.

''Mearls clearly an imcompetent idiot with an agenda. GIVE ME MY REVISED RANGER already, the one from the PHB is clearly classic and needs to be desecrated.''

From my french perspective, it sound sooo elegant.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Yeah, but I highly doubt anyone has ever said LEGO was "broken" and needed to be "fixed". Big difference between tinkering with a system and claiming it faulty as we see so many times on boards like this.
As an aside -- people actually do say this constantly. Usually it's phrased along the lines of, "LEGO nowadays has been dumbed-down with too many special pieces! They make it easy to follow the instructions, bun inhibit creativity! These kids today got no creativity! #getoffmylawn". There are also raging debates about the merits and failures of specific pieces or subsystems of LEGO, if you know where to look.

Passionate criticism is still passion.
 
''Mearls clearly an imcompetent idiot with an agenda. GIVE ME MY REVISED RANGER already, the one from the PHB is clearly classic and needs to be desecrated.''
And, as a bonus, you wouldn't be able to tell the h4ters from the 4vengers, they'd both be saying: "4e desecrated classic D&D!"
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I don't think you need to change much for a sorcerer. All I do is allow a sorcerer to expand their spell list with spells that match their origin.

For Dragon sorcerers, this is anything that deals the same damage as their draconic origin. It would also include an "dragon" type spell if they don't, for some reason, appear on the sorcerer list.
For Wild magic sorcerers, I'm not really sure which spells would need to be added to their list. Anything that has variable effects would be perfect.
Storm sorcerers, clearly anything storm related such as call lightning easily fits.
Divine soul doesn't need anything extra since they already get all of the cleric spells added.
I can't remember the rest.

I don't think anything needs to change for their sorcery points.

For number of spells known, I don't like the thought of a list of bonus spells known. This might be okay if the DM is ready to swap spells in and out of that list but I'd rather that the sorcerer is able to choose from an expanded list as I mentioned above and then I might just include more spells known. Whether that is more spells known at lower levels, perhaps they start with 3 or 4 spells at 1st level which allows them to swap in and out as they level up and open up higher spell levels, or keeping the progression to 1 spell/level after level 11.
 
I think people use the terms ''fix'' and ''broken'' at little too loosely on this forum. There's nothing wrong with wanting to modify a class for personal preferences, dont need to convince the rest of the forum that something isnt working. I also admit it would be made easier if people did not jump on class modification's posts like someone's trying to steal something from them.

EDIT: Forgot what I came to say. I would like if there was a template/rules for ''lets fix..'' or ''class design'' posts to make them something more useful for brainstorming and less a fighting ground. Something like: To create a ''lets fix'' post, please tell 2 things that you think doesnt work as you would like, 2 things on how yourself would ''fix'' the class/feature and briefly explain your design points.
In the spirit of your request (which is a good one), I have a two-pronged fix:

1) Replace Attunement with Resonance from PF2 (once we get the rules), remembering that the number of points you get to use magic items is equal to level+cha modifier, so the sorcerer will be in good shape.
2) Let the sorcerer change sorcery points into resonance points.

That means the sorcerer's identity is now "magic guy, and you can tell, because he is the best at using magic items." Bards, warlocks, and paladins come out pretty good too. Throw in a bone for clerics, rangers, and druids (for nonconsumable magic items that take more than one point to use, if you stick your god's symbol or druid/ranger totem on it, it takes one less point to use). Artificers will have their own system (that wizards will quickly steal) and mystics don't want magic anyway (if the Enworld forums can be believed).
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
In the spirit of your request (which is a good one), I have a two-pronged fix:

1) Replace Attunement with Resonance from PF2 (once we get the rules), remembering that the number of points you get to use magic items is equal to level+cha modifier, so the sorcerer will be in good shape.
2) Let the sorcerer change sorcery points into resonance points.

That means the sorcerer's identity is now "magic guy, and you can tell, because he is the best at using magic items." Bards, warlocks, and paladins come out pretty good too. Throw in a bone for clerics, rangers, and druids (for nonconsumable magic items that take more than one point to use, if you stick your god's symbol or druid/ranger totem on it, it takes one less point to use). Artificers will have their own system (that wizards will quickly steal) and mystics don't want magic anyway (if the Enworld forums can be believed).
I love that idea, that's a good niche for class.

For a month or so I've been in a big JRPG-as-D&D phase, buying all the Legend of Zelda encyclopedias and using old Final Fantasy gamer guide as adventure path. We all know that games such as Final Fantasy take the concept of ''class'' and go wild with it and that makes for niche yet funny new class. One concept I find lacking for classic D&D(I want a blue mage!) is the Item User, which is more or less a class that is an expert at using expendable items. 5e's thief rogue comes close, but your idea of a mix between sorcerer and artificer, something like a character who contains so much magical energy that it permeates its item. Love it.

I see a class that can expend magic item charge to heal itself or spend HD to recharge item. A class that could attune more magic items and benefit from having more item ''attuned''. Maybe even a class that could infuse homonculus with spell a detonate them. I'll think about it :p
 

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