Unearthed Arcana Light, Dark, Underdark - November's Unearthed Arcana


kore

First Post
The Shadow Sorcerer is a sloppy design. Only one person in this thread made note of its major defect, using sorcery points at level 1, a level 2 feature of the sorcerer. But beyond that it can cast Darkness, a L2 spell, at level 1 for only 1SP? Font of Magic requires 3SPs to create a L2 slot and L2 slots convert to 2SPs; it's too cheap as designed. Secondly, Shadow Walk was just poached from Way of the Shadow. There's nothing that can't be fixed, but it's obvious no one vetted this article before it was published.

Another theme seems to be recurring in this article also, poaching portions of feats and making them into features. I'm not particularly against this but it demonstrates this simplicity of homebrewing such features.
 

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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
The Shadow Sorcerer is a sloppy design. Only one person in this thread made note of its major defect, using sorcery points at level 1, a level 2 feature of the sorcerer. But beyond that it can cast Darkness, a L2 spell, at level 1 for only 1SP? Font of Magic requires 3SPs to create a L2 slot and L2 slots convert to 2SPs; it's too cheap as designed. Secondly, Shadow Walk was just poached from Way of the Shadow. There's nothing that can't be fixed, but it's obvious no one vetted this article before it was published.

Another theme seems to be recurring in this article also, poaching portions of feats and making them into features. I'm not particularly against this but it demonstrates this simplicity of homebrewing such features.
I'm confused by the statement "too cheap" for a sorcery point feature. Quite simply, we don't have any examples of how much casting a spell directly via sorcery points should cost. If it cost as much as a 2nd level spell, it isn't really much of a class feature! It basically lets you use your sorcery points to cast darkness as a 1st level spell, which seems pretty OK to me.
cost.
 

kore

First Post
I'm confused by the statement "too cheap" for a sorcery point feature. Quite simply, we don't have any examples of how much casting a spell directly via sorcery points should cost. If it cost as much as a 2nd level spell, it isn't really much of a class feature! It basically lets you use your sorcery points to cast darkness as a 1st level spell, which seems pretty OK to me.
cost.

We do have examples, the whole class feature of Font of Magic defines conversion rates to and from sorcery points. The table of which balances converting lower spell slots to higher spell slots and vice versa. Granting a L2 spell, which is obtained at level 3 for full-casters, goes against the mechanic norm built into the design of magic in 5e. Way of the Shadow, achieved at class-level 3, provides a Shadow Monk with all sorts of L2 spells at the cost of ki, which is a mechanic with its own design paradigm.

But this is all academic given that sorcery points are a mechanic not available to the class until level 2. The premise of my post wasn't that these were bad ideas, just bad design that was not vetted by anyone familiar with the system and if it was someone familiar with the system then they were lazy; this article should not have been published as it is.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
But this is all academic given that sorcery points are a mechanic not available to the class until level 2. The premise of my post wasn't that these were bad ideas, just bad design that was not vetted by anyone familiar with the system and if it was someone familiar with the system then they were lazy; this article should not have been published as it is.
If anything, I'd consider it future-proofing. What if there's a feat in the future that grants, say, a metamagic and a small pool of sorcery points, much like the maneuver feature? Or what if there's another class or subclass that also receives sorcery points? As you said yourself, they have no problem re-using previously introduced abilities into different containers. I have no problem with a shadow sorcerer 1 with this hypothetical feat or class using darkness with their previously earned sorcery points.
 

Kalshane

First Post
We do have examples, the whole class feature of Font of Magic defines conversion rates to and from sorcery points. The table of which balances converting lower spell slots to higher spell slots and vice versa. Granting a L2 spell, which is obtained at level 3 for full-casters, goes against the mechanic norm built into the design of magic in 5e. Way of the Shadow, achieved at class-level 3, provides a Shadow Monk with all sorts of L2 spells at the cost of ki, which is a mechanic with its own design paradigm.

But this is all academic given that sorcery points are a mechanic not available to the class until level 2. The premise of my post wasn't that these were bad ideas, just bad design that was not vetted by anyone familiar with the system and if it was someone familiar with the system then they were lazy; this article should not have been published as it is.

The difference is you can use those 3 Sorcery points to cast any 2nd level (or 1st, for that matter) spell you know, whereas you're spending 2 points to specifically cast Darkness. You're basically getting a discount because it only works for one specific spell. As TwoSix points out, if it costs the same, it's not really a special class feature and just the designer pointing out that it's something you could do if you wanted to.

I do agree granting an ability a level 1 that you can't actually use until level 2 seems poorly thought-out, though.

Then again, Font of Magic at level 2 is pretty lame in the base sorcerer, since you don't actually get metamagic until level 3. Sure you can burn them for slots, but that's not exactly exciting. At least the Shadow Sorcerer gets an extra option when they get access to the points.
 

kore

First Post
The difference is you can use those 3 Sorcery points to cast any 2nd level (or 1st, for that matter) spell you know, whereas you're spending 2 points to specifically cast Darkness. You're basically getting a discount because it only works for one specific spell. As TwoSix points out, if it costs the same, it's not really a special class feature and just the designer pointing out that it's something you could do if you wanted to.

It's not just darkness but also silence, pass without trace, and darkvision all of which are excellent spells and require no components; it's a very robust feature. And I'm not stating that ki points equate to sorcery points, they don't (i.e. "own design paradigm"), just that the Way of the Shadow feature is acquired at class level 3, the same level at which full-casters acquire level 2 spells.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
If anything, I'd consider it future-proofing. What if there's a feat in the future that grants, say, a metamagic and a small pool of sorcery points, much like the maneuver feature? Or what if there's another class or subclass that also receives sorcery points? As you said yourself, they have no problem re-using previously introduced abilities into different containers. I have no problem with a shadow sorcerer 1 with this hypothetical feat or class using darkness with their previously earned sorcery points.
I would love such a feat.

Not only is the game in need of more feats for spellcasters, but restricting metamagic to Sorcerers only is a dull decision.

(as in allowing metamagic for all is more important to me than giving the sorcerer class a reason to exist)

In fact, such a feat would be great. It would allow me some metamagics without having to bother with the weirdly restrictive and woefully undercooked sorcerer class!
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
I would love such a feat.

Not only is the game in need of more feats for spellcasters, but restricting metamagic to Sorcerers only is a dull decision.

(as in allowing metamagic for all is more important to me than giving the sorcerer class a reason to exist)

In fact, such a feat would be great. It would allow me some metamagics without having to bother with the weirdly restrictive and woefully undercooked sorcerer class!

Hopefully they'll write a feat like the one that gives other classes superiority dice to give other casters access to metamagic on occasion.
 

backwoodsmutant

First Post
Sorry to necro this thread, but stay strong Orlax. I've been running table top RPGs for the last 30 years (D&D, White Wolf, Shadowrun ... hell, even Gamma World). I've also played most of those games with a variety of GMs. Sacrosanct's GM style reminds me of the very worst of the bunch and I'm afraid no amount of reason/logic is going to get through to him.
 

Orlax

First Post
Sorry to necro this thread, but stay strong Orlax. I've been running table top RPGs for the last 30 years (D&D, White Wolf, Shadowrun ... hell, even Gamma World). I've also played most of those games with a variety of GMs. Sacrosanct's GM style reminds me of the very worst of the bunch and I'm afraid no amount of reason/logic is going to get through to him.

Truth is I actually really enjoy debates like that. I'm actually relatively new to table top RPGs. I only started playing D&D within the past 8 or 9 years (though i have a list of games played similar to your own) and I like learning how different people handle things like player death. I'm not going to change my stance on it (I'll always believe that player death cab almost always be tracked back to the DM screwing something up weather willfully or accidentally), or the fact that the PCs are the main characters of the game, and that "living worlds" are just an excuse to not put actual hard prep work in, but to me hearing other styles offers me ways to alter my current styles should I run into players that don't like my style or seem bored with my style.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
The difference is you can use those 3 Sorcery points to cast any 2nd level (or 1st, for that matter) spell you know, whereas you're spending 2 points to specifically cast Darkness. You're basically getting a discount because it only works for one specific spell. As TwoSix points out, if it costs the same, it's not really a special class feature and just the designer pointing out that it's something you could do if you wanted to.

I do agree granting an ability a level 1 that you can't actually use until level 2 seems poorly thought-out, though.

Then again, Font of Magic at level 2 is pretty lame in the base sorcerer, since you don't actually get metamagic until level 3. Sure you can burn them for slots, but that's not exactly exciting. At least the Shadow Sorcerer gets an extra option when they get access to the points.

The other half of the 1st-level feature is actually available at level 1, though. At 1st level, you gain darkvision. Once you have sorcery points, you can use 1 point to cast darkness, which you can see through using your darkvision. It was poorly worded, but the feature is still useful at 1st level and is an example of a scaling feature, much like the Tiefling's racial spells.

UA is the place for ideas like these before they get worded better.
 

...or the fact that the PCs are the main characters of the game, and that "living worlds" are just an excuse to not put actual hard prep work in...

Of course, from the other side, one might say that creating campaign content as a direct reaction to the players is just an excuse to not put actual hard prep work in designing a believable game world ahead of time. ;)
 

Serpine

Explorer
Of course, from the other side, one might say that creating campaign content as a direct reaction to the players is just an excuse to not put actual hard prep work in designing a believable game world ahead of time. ;)
Heh. I see it as kind of a false premise, like comparing the amount of work that goes into a campaign guide vs module path. They both take a whole lot of work but are just approaching things from a different perspective.
 

Heh. I see it as kind of a false premise, like comparing the amount of work that goes into a campaign guide vs module path. They both take a whole lot of work but are just approaching things from a different perspective.

Yep. It's pretty much about what sort of campaign appeals to one, and has almost nothing to do with how much work a DM is putting into it.
 




Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Has anyone played the Shadow Sorcerer or the Undying Light Warlock? If so what did you think of it?

I'm DMing a Shadow Sorcerer right now. My assessment:

1. Darkvision a nice ability for a human or non-darkvision race.

2. Ability to cast darkness and see through it: Nice at lower levels, but becomes less useful at higher levels when creatures have truesight or blindsight. Not quite as good as devilsight, but very similar in power and effect at lower levels.

3. Hound of Ill Omen: Looks a lot better on paper. Battles don't last long enough for it to provide much of an effect. Highly mobile, especially flying creatures, shrug the hound off easily. It can't fly. It doesn't do much damage. It's not as useful as it looks on paper.

We haven't reached level 14 yet. That ability looks powerful, especially in the Underdark where the party is adventuring. I think the Shadow Sorcerer is well balanced with some interesting and useful abilities.
 


pkt77242

Explorer
I'm DMing a Shadow Sorcerer right now. My assessment:

1. Darkvision a nice ability for a human or non-darkvision race.

2. Ability to cast darkness and see through it: Nice at lower levels, but becomes less useful at higher levels when creatures have truesight or blindsight. Not quite as good as devilsight, but very similar in power and effect at lower levels.

3. Hound of Ill Omen: Looks a lot better on paper. Battles don't last long enough for it to provide much of an effect. Highly mobile, especially flying creatures, shrug the hound off easily. It can't fly. It doesn't do much damage. It's not as useful as it looks on paper.

We haven't reached level 14 yet. That ability looks powerful, especially in the Underdark where the party is adventuring. I think the Shadow Sorcerer is well balanced with some interesting and useful abilities.

Thank you.
 

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