5E Merging the Sorcerer and Warlock

Xeviat

Explorer
I had a wild idea recently (while discussing what the Psion is and generally trying to find a role and identity for each class). I ran into the idea that, barring mechanical differences, the theme of the sorcerer and warlock are close enough that the classes could be merged and little to nothing would be lost.

The sorcerer is a naturally born Spellcaster who has connection to supernatural brings, or sometimes just primal elemental forces or aspects of magic. The warlock is one who makes a pact with an otherworldly being for power. How could I say these are the same thing?

Well, it would be a simple "where does your power come from" section. What differentiates a theoretical fey sorcerer bloodline from a Fey pact warlock? Or a celestial warlock from a favored soul sorcerer? The flavor differentiation between pact or blood could just be background for the class, like the difference between a philosophy cleric and a divine worshiping cleric.

I feel like the sorcerer and warlock are only separate because of the warlock's separate mechanics. I feel that since the warlock doesn't rely upon a curse/boon mechanic like they did in 4E, the line between these two classes could be removed and the sorcerer could take on the warlock casting mechanics. Metamagic could return as a feat option for all casters, an alternate way to upcast spells.

Thoughts?
 

Kurotowa

Adventurer
I had the same thought just today too, and I agree entirely. The Sorcerer is very lacking in purpose with spontaneous casting now the standard and the Warlock toolkit feels just a little short. Though my idea was to fold metamagic into the Warlock kit, to give those limited spell slots the extra flexibility they need. Then to fill the Sorcerer's narrative role you could introduce Bloodline Inheritance as either a Patron, where the player would be able to customize it to some degree, or as a Pact, modifying an existing Patron so that you're your own master thanks to the power in your blood.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
So sorcerer + Warlock as a class (In my language both terms are the same, so I'd keep the name Sorcerer)

Sorcerer
lvl 1: Spellcasting (short rest), Sorcerous Origin
lvl 2: Invocations (Metamagics are now 1/short rest Invocations) 2 Invocations
lvl 3: Eldrtich Boon (Ritual, bonded weapon, talisman or familiar)
lvl 4: ASI
lvl 5: 3 Invocations
lvl 6: Origin feature
lvl 7: 4 Invocations
lvl 8: ASI
lvl 9: 5 Invocations
lvl 10: Origin feature
lvl 11: Mystical Arcanum ( lvl 6)
lvl 12: ASI, 6 Invocations
lvl 13: Arcanum lvl 7
lvl 14: Origin Feature
lvl 15: Arcanum lvl 8, 7 Invocations
lvl 16: ASI
lvl 17: Arcanum lvl 9
lvl 18: Origin Feature, 8 invocations
lvl 19: ASI
lvl 20: Master of Sorcery

Origin:
Fiendish, Celestial, Fey, Dragon, Chaos, Undying, Shadow
 
Well, alternatively, why is a mage who was taught magic by a fairy queen or whatever (warlock) mechanically any different than one who learned the same magic through self-directed study (wizard)? If anything it feels like the Sorcerer, the only character class whose magic comes to them innately rather than through some sort of learning, should be the one with a fundamentally different style of magic than other full casters and the Warlock should mechanically be some mix of wizard and cleric.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Well, alternatively, why is a mage who was taught magic by a fairy queen or whatever (warlock) mechanically any different than one who learned the same magic through self-directed study (wizard)? If anything it feels like the Sorcerer, the only character class whose magic comes to them innately rather than through some sort of learning, should be the one with a fundamentally different style of magic than other full casters and the Warlock should mechanically be some mix of wizard and cleric.
I agree. I think that if you gave the dark-n-creepy-black magic spells of the warlock to the wizard and gave option for death, chaos and evil domain for clerics in the PHB, you could remove the warlock class altogether. It lets some design space for a Demonologist and Fey-magic (witch or hedge magic) wizard to go beyond the classic ''8 schools of magic''.

Then you give the short rest spell slots and invocations to the sorcerer to make it distinct.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Well, alternatively, why is a mage who was taught magic by a fairy queen or whatever (warlock) mechanically any different than one who learned the same magic through self-directed study (wizard)? If anything it feels like the Sorcerer, the only character class whose magic comes to them innately rather than through some sort of learning, should be the one with a fundamentally different style of magic than other full casters and the Warlock should mechanically be some mix of wizard and cleric.
Perhaps this is because the Warlock ended up being a Charisma class rather than an Intelligence class. I personally don't see the current Warlock being "taught" magic by a fairy queen, I see them being bestowed magic. And if making pacts with devils turns you into Tieflings, and if a Fiend blooded Sorcerer subclass feels like a possible and valid subclass, then I don't see why the Sorcerer and Warlock should be separated. Either your grandpappy was a dragon, or you made a pact with a dragon, now you have dragon magic.

We have 6 full casters: 1 Int, 2 Wis, and 3 Cha. There's a big part of me that wishes it was 2/2/2. (We also have 3 half-casters now, Artificer as Int, Ranger as Wis, Paladin as Cha; COINCIDENCE?)

There is definitely potential to link the Warlock and Wizard, perhaps more so than the Sorcerer. Sorcerers often take on physical attributes of their bloodline, and leaning harder into that could create a stronger identity for the Sorcerer. Warlocks don't generally have that physicality. As it stands, for the most part, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards just do magic. The Bard, Cleric, and Druid feel like they have more things going on for them other than magic. I do like the short rest magic recovery and invocations for sorcerers; "eff you, I'm a dragon" just screams having more at-will power to me.

Having Arcane Pacts as "shortcuts" to Wizardry would open up the design space for more Wizard subclasses. But I think some settings get a lot of mileage out of Warlocks being the "black magic" devil types, and letting Wizards be more neutral.

I've been stuck thinking about this with all the talk of people wanting a full Psion class, rather than doing Psionics fully with subclasses. And while Psion as a type of Wizard doesn't work for me for a lot of reason, "person who does 'magic'" feels kinda like a wizard by another name (especially if they're both Int classes).

But, I do want a Psion and Psion feels like it should be an Int class. So, Psion and Wizard as Int, Cleric and Druid as Wis, and Bard and Sorcerer as Cha.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
So sorcerer + Warlock as a class (In my language both terms are the same, so I'd keep the name Sorcerer)

Sorcerer
lvl 1: Spellcasting (short rest), Sorcerous Origin
lvl 2: Invocations (Metamagics are now 1/short rest Invocations) 2 Invocations
lvl 3: Eldrtich Boon (Ritual, bonded weapon, talisman or familiar)
lvl 4: ASI
lvl 5: 3 Invocations
lvl 6: Origin feature
lvl 7: 4 Invocations
lvl 8: ASI
lvl 9: 5 Invocations
lvl 10: Origin feature
lvl 11: Mystical Arcanum ( lvl 6)
lvl 12: ASI, 6 Invocations
lvl 13: Arcanum lvl 7
lvl 14: Origin Feature
lvl 15: Arcanum lvl 8, 7 Invocations
lvl 16: ASI
lvl 17: Arcanum lvl 9
lvl 18: Origin Feature, 8 invocations
lvl 19: ASI
lvl 20: Master of Sorcery

Origin:
Fiendish, Celestial, Fey, Dragon, Chaos, Undying, Shadow
I'd also keep Sorcerer, partially because Warlock feels aggressively gendered (Yes, Sorcerer/Sorceress, but that's a suffix ending, where as Warlock/Witch are completely different words that just share W and C in common).
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
Well, alternatively, why is a mage who was taught magic by a fairy queen or whatever (warlock) mechanically any different than one who learned the same magic through self-directed study (wizard)? If anything it feels like the Sorcerer, the only character class whose magic comes to them innately rather than through some sort of learning, should be the one with a fundamentally different style of magic than other full casters and the Warlock should mechanically be some mix of wizard and cleric.
Not really and the Cha v Int is fundamental to the different approaches here.
Wizards are first and foremost scholars, natural philosphers who have studied the mechanics of the multiverse to the extent that they have learn the formulas and rituals that allow them to manipulate Magic in the world, the spell book is fundamental - the Wizard is about calculation and mechanics

Warlock and Scorcerer arent about learning formula and ritual, they are all about the intuitive feel for magic, be it the natural flow of the magical world around them or illiciting the favour of hidden powers. They dont need to understand Magic and how it works, they just need to feel the flow and do it
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Not really and the Cha v Int is fundamental to the different approaches here.
Wizards are first and foremost scholars, natural philosphers who have studied the mechanics of the multiverse to the extent that they have learn the formulas and rituals that allow them to manipulate Magic in the world, the spell book is fundamental - the Wizard is about calculation and mechanics

Warlock and Scorcerer arent about learning formula and ritual, they are all about the intuitive feel for magic, be it the natural flow of the magical world around them or illiciting the favour of hidden powers. They dont need to understand Magic and how it works, they just need to feel the flow and do it
As they are currently described, yes. And this is why I suggest merging the Warlock and Sorcerer; their themes can be blended and the only thing lost are "unique" mechanics (and I say give the new class the Warlock structure).
 
I feel like the sorcerer and warlock are only separate because of the warlock's separate mechanics.
Partly, but the main reason is more "social" i.e. the Warlock is a separate class because a lot of gamers liked it in 3.5e and 4e, and WotC wanted them to be happy in 5e too.

The narrative distinction between Warlock and Sorcerer is very clear: as a Warlock, you get your powers from a powerful fey/celestial/whatever, as a Sorcerer, you ARE the powerful fey/celestial/whatever.

If anything, there is a slightly less distinction between Cleric and Warlock: how powerful does the fey/celestial/whatever need to be in order to be called a deity?

But you can of course merge Warlock and Sorcerer, or Warlock and Cleric, or Wizard and Sorcerer or all spellcasters classes for what matters, if you like the narrative better in your fantasy setting, nothing wrong with that...
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Are you me? I have been saying this for years now.

Flavor Wise, every Sorcerer Origin could easily be made into a Warlock Patron and vice versa.

Mechanically speaking, they solve each other's problems. Invocations would work swimmingly as a sorcerer's "mutations", making them feel more innately magical, and alleviating the problem of not knowing enough spells to begin with. While the Warlock would gain vercitility and long-rest staying power from using Sorcery points to augment their spells or get more slots should the need arise.
 
Not really and the Cha v Int is fundamental to the different approaches here.
Wizards are first and foremost scholars, natural philosphers who have studied the mechanics of the multiverse to the extent that they have learn the formulas and rituals that allow them to manipulate Magic in the world, the spell book is fundamental - the Wizard is about calculation and mechanics

Warlock and Scorcerer arent about learning formula and ritual, they are all about the intuitive feel for magic, be it the natural flow of the magical world around them or illiciting the favour of hidden powers. They dont need to understand Magic and how it works, they just need to feel the flow and do it

Per the PHB description: "Drawing on the ancient knowledge of beings such as fey nobles, demons, devils, hags, and alien entities of the Far Realm, warlocks piece together arcane secrets to bolster their own power."

To me they are Wizard school drop-outs. They took the easy way, but it is knowledge that generates their power, even if they could only gain and decipher it by selling their soul.
 
You might find it interesting to look at the Pathfinder Kineticist class. This has most of the mechanics of the original 3.5 warlock, but with totally different fluff.
 
I feel that since the warlock doesn't rely upon a curse/boon mechanic like they did in 4E, the line between these two classes could be removed and the sorcerer could take on the warlock casting mechanics. Metamagic could return as a feat option for all casters, an alternate way to upcast spells.

Thoughts?
Wouldn't much hurt anything, IDT.

If you did open Metamagic back up, would it be handled by up-casting, like in 3e? Would it be feats, or some sort of spellcraft check (Tool Use: Focus?) or what?
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
If you did open Metamagic back up, would it be handled by up-casting, like in 3e? Would it be feats, or some sort of spellcraft check (Tool Use: Focus?) or what?
Metamagic could easily be Invocation(s).

I don't mean each one as a separate invocation. I mean a list of Metamagic just as we have it now with top-level Invocations like this:
  • Metamagic:
    • When you take this invocation, you gain Sorcery points equal to your Warlock level used to power your metamagic. You regain all spent sorcery points when you finish a long rest.
    • When you take this invocation, you can select two metamagic from the list of available metamagic options.
    • You can use only one Metamagic option on a spell when you cast it unless otherwise noted.
    • You can select additional Metamagic choices at 10th and 17th level
I'd take out the Font of Magic portion where you can create slots or create spell points by burning slots as it's too complicated with the Pact Magic mechanics.

I thought about splitting out the additional metamagic options from 10th/17th as other invocations, but since there are no other invocations that hinge upon others it doesn't really make sense to do it here.

If you wanted to do that, I'd add "if you don't already have sorcery points," to the first sentence of the Invocation. "You can take this invocation up to two times." to the bullet points. I'd also add Prerequisite: "15th level if you already possess this Invocation".

I'd also probably add "Prerequisite: Pact of the Tome" since that is the caster focused Pact. Though that Pct doesn't need any help really. I could go either way on this one.
 

Weiley31

Explorer
If Oberon banged your mom, your a feyblooded sorcerer. If you learned the secret magic techniques of the Seelie Courts, because Oberon got into a drunken stupor, during one hell of a Fey Banger, and you overheard him, your a warlock.

I see em as two whole separate branches. Reflavoring Bloodline Origins as Patron Options (a Dragon for Dragon-Blooded, a Storm Lord for Giant Bloodline, a Ithillid for Abbarant Mind, etc, etc.) Seems legit.
 
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Xeviat

Explorer
Wouldn't much hurt anything, IDT.

If you did open Metamagic back up, would it be handled by up-casting, like in 3e? Would it be feats, or some sort of spellcraft check (Tool Use: Focus?) or what?
I'd do it with upcasting. We already have that as a basic mechanic. Probably wouldn't have it for raw damage things, but upcasting a level to change an elemental type, or to play with targets or shapes or things could work nicely and give casters more feats to play with.
 

Giltonio_Santos

Adventurer
It could be interesting. I don't think the sorcerer is different enough from a wizard to justify it existing in the core rules. It would be easy to move metamagic somewhere else, move the origin story to the warlock, and leave the "you convince an otherworldly entity to give you powers" origin story where it has always been: with clerics and paladins.

Then we could bring back the playtest sorcerer. That was an innovative design that could have found its way to the finished version of the game.
 

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