5E Merging the Sorcerer and Warlock

Kurotowa

Adventurer
It's been so long... what did you like about the playtest version so much?
The early playtest Sorcerer not only used a Spell Point mechanic, but had Heritage abilities that could either be activated by spending points or activated automatically after you had spent a certain number of points that day. It was more complex and unusual, but certainly give the Sorcerer a much more distinct identity in relation to the Wizard.

I didn't participate in the playtest but I have looked over some of the materials after the fact. A lot of classes got pulled back to less complex or more traditional formats from the early wild experimentation. In some cases that was definitely the right call; restricting Superiority Dice to an optional mechanic for Fighters is for the best, and the first Warlock mechanics were kind of wacky. But having tried a Sorcerer in a recent campaign and finding it deeply unsatisfying, I can totally understand some people feeling like that class in particular shouldn't have been designed so conservatively.
 

Aebir-Toril

Is lukewarm on the Forgotten Realms
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.
That's um... One way to describe the base themes.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
I honestly would have preferred if classes and spell lists were on a mix-and-match system. So you would have your power sources (spell list) and your power method (class chassis). So as a brainstorming hypothetical...

Power Methods: Learned, Pact, Innate
Power Sources: Arcane, Divine, Primal

Arcane:
  • Learned Arcane = Wizard
  • Pact Arcane = Warlock
  • Innate Arcane = Sorcerer

Divine:
  • Learned Divine = Cloistered Priest / White Mage
  • Pact Divine = Cleric / War Priest
  • Innate Divine = Favored Soul / Oracle

Primal:
  • Learned Primal= Druid
  • Pact Primal = Shaman
  • Innate Primal = Shifter
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
D&D is an RPG - a role playing game. Characters play roles in stories.

The Warlock and Sorcerer are separate classes because they are designed to be separate types of stories. The mechanics support those stories. If they shared mechanics, they would not feel distinct from each other if both were in the same party.

The sorcerer is the 'Jack of Few Trades, Master of those'. He knows few spells but can do more with them than any other class due to metamagic. His power comes from using the same few tools better than anyone else could use them. A 7th level sorcerer could trade in all of his lower level slots to get 26 sorcerery points for 4 more 4th level spells (leaving 2 sorcerery points for metamagic), but those 5 4th level slots would be all he gets for the adventuring day as they do not have invocations to fall back upon.

The warlock comes to the table with only top shelf magics. Assuming 2 SR per LR, you get 6 high level spells per LR (or 7 with a Rod of the Pact Keeper). They supplement these high level spells with invocations rather than low level spells. Those invocations are themed to the concepts that support the warlock rather than those that support the sorcerer.

The design of these classes supports the concept. It is best that they remain separate, although I do wish they'd put a bit more flare into a sorcerer.
 

Giltonio_Santos

Adventurer
It's been so long... what did you like about the playtest version so much?
Mainly the fact that it was trying something different. Core sorcerer is just a wizard in other colors. Even to make it distinct in the PHB they had to steal classic wizard tools, like wild magic and metamagic.

The playtest version used spell points and manifested stronger traits of the bloodline as their use of magic and sorcerous powers increased. It was really cool that your character would get more dragon-like as the sorcery of its blood manifested through the use of magic and sorcerous powers.

We may never know how much design space there really was on it. It only went to the 5th level and didn't have a lot of sorcerous powers described, but I think what they're doing was an improvement. It may have some bias on my part, though. Definitely not a fan of the traditional sorcerer.
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
In reading all this I don't find fault so much in the classes as in the spell lists. Although the spell lists are exclusive in that each class has one, there is way too much overlap IMO between the different classes.

From the sources I have (I know this isn't exhaustive, but good enough I suppose, and I included subclass augmented spells), here is the breakdown of % overlap spells:

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Notice the classic casters, Cleric, Druid, and Wizard have some of the lowest amount of overlap. Only Ranger is among their ranks for being "low" in overlap. The newer classes, Bard, Sorcerer, and Warlock all have the worst amount of overlap. This hardly helps make them feel unique.

So, for myself, what should differentiate spell casters isn't so much how they cast spells or where they get their power from, but what their spells should be able to do.

Maybe it is just me, but that's my two cents. :)
 

oreofox

Explorer
Mainly the fact that it was trying something different. Core sorcerer is just a wizard in other colors. Even to make it distinct in the PHB they had to steal classic wizard tools, like wild magic and metamagic.

The playtest version used spell points and manifested stronger traits of the bloodline as their use of magic and sorcerous powers increased. It was really cool that your character would get more dragon-like as the sorcery of its blood manifested through the use of magic and sorcerous powers.

We may never know how much design space there really was on it. It only went to the 5th level and didn't have a lot of sorcerous powers described, but I think what they're doing was an improvement. It may have some bias on my part, though. Definitely not a fan of the traditional sorcerer.
Their hit dice also changed depending on their subclass, or at least that's what it seemed like in the write up. The sorcerer's hit dice was listed in the sorcerous origin section, and not the actual class section like the other couple classes that were in the 1st or 2nd playtest packet (whichever one contained the sorcerer). They just had the dragon (because for some reason WotC always seems to think innate spellcasting is the result of dragons), and it gave the sorcerer a d8 for HD, and seemed to be a melee subclass. Gained proficiency with all armor, shields, and martial weapons. Suggested equipment included chainmail and a greatsword. Would have been nice if they kept going with it, instead of giving us what we got. They had to spend willpower (early version of spell points) to cast a spell, and even though it only went up to 2nd level spells, it looked like they were going to be a 1-1 basis (1 willpower per level of spell).

As for the topic at hand: I basically did exactly what the OP was talking about. I merged the warlock into the sorcerer, giving it all the warlock spells. I've got the idea of changing the warlock patrons into sorcerer subclasses, but I haven't done much as no one has really wanted to be a sorcerer. It's the class that seems to get the least amount of play in all the games I have participated.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
The newer classes, Bard, Sorcerer, and Warlock all have the worst amount of overlap. This hardly helps make them feel unique.

So, for myself, what should differentiate spell casters isn't so much how they cast spells or where they get their power from, but what their spells should be able to do.
Well, for one thing, Bard isn't a new class. It's been around since 1e.

It has always been billed as a dabbler in spells (like everything else) though still full powered caster (i.e. CL) and that it was in actuality casting either Druid or Wizard spells depending on the edition, so overlap is expected there.

For me, it's the complete opposite. I could care less about the spell list overlap. For me, it's about the fluff of the classes and the source of their powers and their mechanical differentiation that matters.

While it's nice to have a few spells here and there that are different, it's probably the least important aspect.
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Well, for one thing, Bard isn't a new class. It's been around since 1e.

It has always been billed as a dabbler in spells (like everything else) though still full powered caster (i.e. CL) and that it was in actuality casting either Druid or Wizard spells depending on the edition, so overlap is expected there.

For me, it's the complete opposite. I could care less about the spell list overlap. For me, it's about the fluff of the classes and the source of their powers and their mechanical differentiation that matters.

While it's nice to have a few spells here and there that are different, it's probably the least important aspect.
Oh, stop being so nit-picky. :)

Sure, "Bard" was in 1E, at the back, and most groups IME never used it. In the decades I played 1E, I saw only ONE bard played the 1E way.

So, we saw a more mainstream into in 2E, and as I said, I label it among the "newer" classes. ;)

Regardless of how you do it, if everyone does the same thing, why bother? It is why many people argue against other classes gaining more attacks for DPR. Fighter: more attacks, Paladin: smite, Barbarian: rage, Rogue: sneak attack, Ranger: umm... hunter's mark???, Monk: flurry and such I suppose.

I know a similar idea was applied to spells in 5E. Spontaneous casting, prepared casting, warlock short rests, but it still doesn't feel like enough when the vast majority of spells can be cast by more than one caster. At least, for me...

If people are discussing trying to merge two casters classes, I don't blame them.

I do agree in many ways the eldritch invocations seem more appropriate to sorcerers and metamagic for warlocks. Without something unique, why bother?
 

Giltonio_Santos

Adventurer
While it's nice to have a few spells here and there that are different, it's probably the least important aspect.
I believe it would be great to have a clearer design on spell lists, and I’d opt for a kind of three-layered division, in the following way:

First layer are the “universal” spells. All casting classes should be able to access them somehow. Detect magic is the best example of a spell on this layer.

Second layer are the role-filling spells. If a class is supposed to fill a given role within the party, it should get it. That’s where healing should be, together with stuff like hunter’s mark/hex. Different classes could get different role-filling spells. The sorcerer could get a fire breath while the wizard gets fireball, for example, both intended to fill the role of area damage.

Third layer are the class-defining spells. This is where the warlock gets to bestow curses while the bard sings magic into existence. Ranger shots and paladin smites should also dwell here. Polymorph is a good example of a spell that the rules give to a lot of classes, but that I believe should be class-defining (though I admit to have no opinion about where it should be), and only wizards should be able to cast magic missile.

I think this approach would help make the lines between the different casting classes less blurred.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Sure, "Bard" was in 1E, at the back, and most groups IME never used it. In the decades I played 1E, I saw only ONE bard played the 1E way.
That was more to do with how hard it was to become a Bard more than anything else I bet.

If people are discussing trying to merge two casters classes, I don't blame them.
Me either. And these are the two that are best to merge IMO if you're going to do it.

I'm torn because I feel like thematically merging warlock into sorcerer makes more sense. I.e. a patron effectively turns you into a sorcerer by empowering you with magic from the Pact.

But mechanically merging the sorcerer into warlock makes more sense because I love the unique structure of the warlock class.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I think there's also the idea that more class specific spells might help the distinction between class.
Give more chaos (aka random), breath, transformation spells to the sorcerer.
Give more creepy/weird-a** spells to the warlock.

and dont you go giving'em to the wizard!
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
and dont you go giving'em to the wizard!
The problem there is the wizard is the classic archetype of arcane magic.

Not giving the wizard spells just to help differentiate the other classes is a pretty weak way of making those classes unique. Sorcerer/warlock are the new kids on the arcane block and need to set themselves apart.

How they access and manipulate those magics should be what differentiates the sorcerer/warlock.

I honestly think they do a good job of doing that actually with Warlocks. Different Pact Magic/Mystic Arcanum, short rest refresh, fixed level slots are great at setting them apart.

Sorcerer's metamagic are good but I think to really make them different they could use more options at more levels and more points to use them.
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
The problem there is the wizard is the classic archetype of arcane magic.

Not giving the wizard spells just to help differentiate the other classes is a pretty weak way of making those classes unique. sorcerer/warlock are the new kids on the arcane block and need to set themselves apart.

How they access and manipulate those magics should be what differentiates the sorcerer/warlock. I honestly think they do a good job of doing that actually with Warlocks different Pact Magic/Mystic Arcanum, short rest refresh, fixed level slots are great at this. Sorcerer's metamagic are good but I think to really make them different they could use more options at more levels and more points to use them.
Indeed, class features should be the thing that differentiate classes the most. That's one of the reason I give my sorcerers spell points (merged with sorcery points) instead. It helps a lot.

And with more metamagic/sorcery point features coming our way (if they make it trough playtest), I think sorcerer will finally be the thing it should have been (in my mind, that is)
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
Being of an evil mind, I think all the sorcerers should be like the wild magic sorcerer, but with a dragon table, a storm table, a celestial table, a fiend table, a shadow table, etc. to use instead of the wild magic table, and add that using your highest level spell slot automatically triggers a role on the table.

Edit: it should be straightforward but for spell points, any time you use the number of spell points equal to the level of the highest level spell you know, you trigger the table.
 
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TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Yea, I've though the same thing for a while. Use the sorcerer as a base, add a 10th level subclass feature. Add a new 18th level feature to warlock patrons, and a 10th level feature to sorcerer bloodlines. Gain invocations as a warlock, make the different metamagics an invocation choice, and have sorcery points recharge on a short rest. Take out EB and its associated invocations.
 
The early playtest Sorcerer not only used a Spell Point mechanic, but had Heritage abilities that could either be activated by spending points or activated automatically after you had spent a certain number of points that day. It was more complex and unusual, but certainly give the Sorcerer a much more distinct identity in relation to the Wizard.

I didn't participate in the playtest but I have looked over some of the materials after the fact.
The crowd (it was like 40 or 60 players) at the FLGS at the time was not very into the playtest, but before it got down to me struggling to keep one Encounters-legal playtest table going, we did get to test out the Sorcerer, and I recall getting some very positive feedback.
I also recall asking if they'd filled out a survey, and, as usual, being disappointed with the answer. ;(
 

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