D&D General Lunar sorcerer discussions


Warning; this is purely about the subclass, not with Dragonlance lore. If it helps, pretend it's from Tasha's or the upcoming Book of Many Things.

The Lunar Sorcerer is an odd sub. It kinda exists as two archetypes; to represent Krynn's unique take on moon-based arcane magic and to be a celestial based magic class. It was made generic to fit in any world, but the fingerprints of the Krynn magic gods are still there. It also seems to have borrowed from 4e's cosmic sorcerer (compare the capstone powers to the cosmic sun/moon/stars powers in 4e for a good example).

Unfortunately, I think that shotgun marriage of Krynn magic and cosmic magic leaves it very disjointed thematically. Let's look at it and see what's going on with it.

Moon fire feels very good from the cosmic side of things. Sacred flame isn't the world's best cantrip, but it's thematic and the extra rider of targeting adjacent creatures is nice. Free cantrip is free cantrip.

lunar embodiment is the meat and potatoes of this sub. Seriously, you gotta wait till level 14 to get anything else that doesn't involve spellcasting. The spells range from A+ to some solid stinkers, made worse by the sorcerer's (current) lack of ritual casting. We'll look at them in depth in a second. 15 spells seems powerful, but the list is fixed (unlike AM and CS) and they aren't exactly optimal choices.

The list highlights the divide perfectly though. The lists make sense if you are representing Lunatari, Solitari, and Nulatari, but less sense representing the full, new, and partial/crescent moon. If you asked me what spells feel lunar, I'd say things like fear, moonbeam, darkness, polymorph, sleep, faerie fire. I don't think color spray, ray of sickness or shield feels all that moonish. The original UA list, while not perfect, felt like it fit the lunar aspect. The list ties in nicely with the schools of the lunar boons feature and High Sorcery feats, but being pulled from only two schools of magic per phase really stifled what they could do with it.

So as to what we got...

Full moon (abj/div) is probably the strongest phase, if only for shield 1/day. It also grants a few situational defense and restoration spells, which really helps the sorcerer's small list. But a full cleric will have most of that magic covered already. Shield and dispel magic are the standouts, while telepathic bond is fine, but let the wizard use the ritual version instead, its a waste for a 5th level spell slot.

New moon (enc/nec) had so much potential. Ray of sickness is the worst first level attack spell in the game, and the fact false life and sleep got passed over tells you WotC knew they were gimping this list. Blindness/deafness is solid, vampiric touch is okay/iffy, confusion is a gamble, and hold monster is solid. It wants to be control/debuff, but it feels it missed adding far better choices.

Crescent moon (ill/tran) is such a poor showing for such great schools. Color spray is hot garbage. Alter self is inferior to disguise self except in corner case situations. Phantom steed is a waste of a spell slot. Hallucinatory Terrain if situational, as is mislead. Four illusions, none of which are image spells, and the worst transmute spell of that level. Son, I am disappoint. They apparently wanted utility magic/deception as the theme, but again missed the obvious choices: fly, invisibility, haste, polymorph, silent image, etc.

15 bonus spells are great for a class that is so starved for options, but I think 10 better curated spells would have been better.

Next, we get to lunar boons, which saves you a spell point on metamagic for certain schools, as determined by phase above. Looking at the school choices, you see certain metamagic choices look better than others. Most of full moon spells aren't exactly metamagic candidates, but a few work with twin or quicken. New moon seems the most useful to heighten, and crescent can be extended, twinned or quicked effectively. Notice that evocation isn't on that list, so the biggest thing you want to metamagic (attack spells) don't get a cost reduction. All in all, it is fine if you line up your phase to get a bunch of metamagic in the same school off, but it's really not worth it to change phase. (See below).

Waxing and wanting wants to be useful, but at this stage it's not. 1 sorcery point to change phases isn't worth what you have at this level. You negate the savings on metamagic for the first spell you cast after switching, and while a free shield 1/day is nice, free ray of sickness or color spray at 6th level isn't.

And that's all you get. Well, until 14th level (a level not all campaigns reach, and increasingly WotC doesn't support).

If you do reach 14, you get lunar empowerment which returns the class back to it's celestial based benefits. A Free light effect at 14th isn't earthshaking, but giving advantage to sight skills is nice. Advantage on stealth and disadvantage on attacks against you in darkness is fine, but doesn't really fit the control/attack vibe. Resistance to radiant and necrotic damage is situational, but welcome unless you're an aasimar. Honestly, these feel like you should have them at 6th or 10th level at the latest, but that's a flaw of the base sorcerer, not the sub.

If you get to 18, you get the final ability alluded to earlier, lunar phenomenon. Each is again useful but two late in coming. The healing of full moon is ok to bring a downed ally up, but paltry for anything else. New moon has control abilities but again weak damage. Crescent teleport is a good get-out-jail-free card, but teleporting at 18th level isn't exactly groundbreaking. It's nice you can use these each one as part of waxing and waning, but they aren't really worth 5 sp to use again.

All of this ends up with a sorcerer that if good, but certainly not op. I think clockwork soul is still better mechanically, but this might hold hidden potential. Anyone see anything I missed or some interesting combos? Let's hear it.

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