On whether sorcerers and wizards should be merged or not, (they shouldn't)

Ogre Mage

Explorer
I get the flavor difference between the two. For wizards, magic is something which is studied and learned. A conscious decision to acquire magic was made. Sorcerers were born with magic whether they wanted it or not, a la an arcane version of the X-Men. This can be used to represent a very different character with different life experiences. But I don't feel the sorcerer's game mechanics do a very good job of operationalizing its uniqueness.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
There was a brief time to do it. Back in AD%D 2e when kits were being spit out like mad. Wizards could have been given more theme to them than book holding scholars of difficult to use arcane knowledge. But that brief time where it could be introduced, it wasn't. So when nonscholarly magic became popular in the community, wizards were already too hardcoded as book-learned magic scientists.
Even then it was too late. If anything the kits clearly show the thematic limits of the wizards. There are variants of course, but none of them could really break from the "book holding scholar of difficult to use arcane knowledge" mold, they all are just another coat of paint that does nothing to change the core. The designers really trusted in the wizard genericness and blatantly avoided any evidence to the contrary. 30 years ago was still 20 years of inertia. I'd argue that we haven't really broken from the "wizards are generic" mindset yet.
(Though it might be surprising to learn Warlocks actually originated as a wizard kit).
 

Giltonio_Santos

Adventurer
I mean, I think the flavor comes across pretty well, with them basically being savants with the few spells that they actually know.
That works great for a bard or warlock. I don't think inborn magic users who throw fire at enemies while making them sleep before becoming invisible and flying away is a common fantasy trope. Innate fantasy mystics usually have the focus that the sorcerer lacks exactly because it's supposed to work 90% on the wizard's chassis.
 
Even then it was too late. If anything the kits clearly show the thematic limits of the wizards. There are variants of course, but none of them could really break from the "book holding scholar of difficult to use arcane knowledge" mold, they all are just another coat of paint that does nothing to change the core. The designers really trusted in the wizard genericness and blatantly avoided any evidence to the contrary. 30 years ago was still 20 years of inertia. I'd argue that we haven't really broken from the "wizards are generic" mindset yet.
(Though it might be surprising to learn Warlocks actually originated as a wizard kit).
Nah, I think iy still could have been done. But the culture of D&D and fantasy books and gaming wasn't there in AD&D's time. Wizard's "scholarlines" was played up. Even savage, tribal, and peasant wizards were "book nerds". Even warlocks were just generic book wizards who "cheated".

I mean it was a time with intuitive rules and hard restrictions. The time when the concept could have been addedwas a time were new ideas were still very constrained.
 

oreofox

Explorer
Agree on switching sorcerers to constitution, but I like having them distinct from warlocks. Of course, I like to draw a brighter line between how warlock patronage and clerical faith work than how a lot of people seem to want to do.
I merged sorcerer and warlock because I don't like the warlock as a class and the lore behind it. Yes, it's an old cliche (sell your soul to a powerful being in exchange for power), but to me that's more of a villain thing. Just about every warlock I have seen played (unless they went celestial) goes for edgelord-dom (and amps it up more by going tiefling thanks to the cha bonus), edging out (get it?) the rogue (even a drow rogue). So I merged it with sorcerer, gave them warlock spells (because they have some good spells, and they help differentiate it more from the wizard spells). I'm about the only one that doesn't have the celestial patron that has levels of warlock in my one character (story purposes). If only more people would go for the more reluctant warlock, I might have left them separate in my game I DM.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I merged sorcerer and warlock because I don't like the warlock as a class and the lore behind it. Yes, it's an old cliche (sell your soul to a powerful being in exchange for power), but to me that's more of a villain thing. Just about every warlock I have seen played (unless they went celestial) goes for edgelord-dom (and amps it up more by going tiefling thanks to the cha bonus), edging out (get it?) the rogue (even a drow rogue). So I merged it with sorcerer, gave them warlock spells (because they have some good spells, and they help differentiate it more from the wizard spells). I'm about the only one that doesn't have the celestial patron that has levels of warlock in my one character (story purposes). If only more people would go for the more reluctant warlock, I might have left them separate in my game I DM.
It's unfortunate. Maybe the solution is to have more whimsical patrons. In my fiction I have characters that can be thought of as warlocks. Except the patrons are entities like the embodiment of fate, the embodiment of light, the embodiment of darkness -see the kittens in my avatar-, the embodiment of death -as in Death takes no side and thus you shouldn't either, everything you do must follow equivalent exchange you cannot do too much good nor too much evil-, the embodiment of fire, the embodiment of surprise....

I get the flavor difference between the two. For wizards, magic is something which is studied and learned. A conscious decision to acquire magic was made. Sorcerers were born with magic whether they wanted it or not, a la an arcane version of the X-Men. This can be used to represent a very different character with different life experiences. But I don't feel the sorcerer's game mechanics do a very good job of operationalizing its uniqueness.
Part of it is that designers haven't fully grasped that sorcerer isn't a wizard and haven't broken out of that mold yet. For example in our current edition, the sorcerer base is a copypaste of the wizard's. One would expect things like a rogue-like hit dice, some ability to always-on detect magic, no need for a spellcasting focus, full on simple weapons, a diverse spell list that focused more on diversity of effects that can be used to weave a variety of themes, etc. Instead we have wizard minus. Fry everything on sight, etc.
 
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Aldarc

Hero
The only reason I think not to merge wizard, sorcerer, and warlock into a single customisable class that lets you create the spellcasting class you want is complexity. There would be a lot of moving parts in the base class to customise your magic-user that it might be off putting to new players. As is, I have used the wizard to create a "sorcerer" an Oracle with innate divination abilities. I just ignored the spellbook part of a diviner wizard.
Indeed. If you were to merge the Wizard, Sorcerer and Warlock into one class, you might as well merge in the other primary caster classes too, to a single customizable Magic User class. If you're doing that, then the martials classes can also fit on a customizable framework class. Call it the Fighting Man or something.
I have mused about what it would look like if spellcasters in D&D were fundamentally divided into three to four classes based upon how they approach magic (e.g., patron, learned, innate, gish, etc.) and then have separate spell lists they could choose based on their power source (e.g., divine, arcane, primal, etc.).
 
I have mused about what it would look like if spellcasters in D&D were fundamentally divided into three to four classes based upon how they approach magic (e.g., patron, learned, innate, gish, etc.) and then have separate spell lists they could choose based on their power source (e.g., divine, arcane, primal, etc.).
I think many have mused about that.
Reducing the classes to their basic cores (Warrior, Mage, Cleric, Rogue, Whatever the Paladin/Ranger/EK is)
Having a class choose skills, fighting approach (manuevers, rage, ki, spirit), and/or magic approach (learned, innate, patron,)
Then having a subclass choose power source and the associate lists (arcane, divine, elemental, fey, infernal, martial, primal, etc)

So your divine soul sorcerer would be a Mage (Sorcerer) with the divine spell list but your traditional wizard would be a Mage (Wizard) with the Arcane spell list. And your hexblade would be a Mage(Hexblade) with the Arcane spell list and Shadow maneuver list.

But again, the time for D&D proper to do that has passed. It's also a bit too complex for an edition like 5th which is introducing so many for the first time to the game. Maybe 6th or 7th edition though.
 

Aldarc

Hero
I think many have mused about that.
Reducing the classes to their basic cores (Warrior, Mage, Cleric, Rogue, Whatever the Paladin/Ranger/EK is)
Having a class choose skills, fighting approach (manuevers, rage, ki, spirit), and/or magic approach (learned, innate, patron,)
Then having a subclass choose power source and the associate lists (arcane, divine, elemental, fey, infernal, martial, primal, etc)

So your divine soul sorcerer would be a Mage (Sorcerer) with the divine spell list but your traditional wizard would be a Mage (Wizard) with the Arcane spell list. And your hexblade would be a Mage(Hexblade) with the Arcane spell list and Shadow maneuver list.
"Reducing the classes to their basic cores (Warrior, Mage, Cleric, Rogue,...)," particularly the Fab Four, is not quite what I had in mind. It's a difference of em-phah-sis so to speak. The core of the spellcaster would be based on their casting style rather than whether they are a Mage or Cleric.
 
"Reducing the classes to their basic cores (Warrior, Mage, Cleric, Rogue,...)," particularly the Fab Four, is not quite what I had in mind. It's a difference of em-phah-sis so to speak. The core of the spellcaster would be based on their casting style rather than whether they are a Mage or Cleric.
So you mean a learned caster (wizard), an innate caster (sorcerer), a patron caster (warlock), and a deity granted caster (cleric). Then have base class features and casting stat based on the method. Then finally have your bloodlines or domains or whatever choose your power source and associated spell list.

So a draconic sorcerer, spellschool wizard, GOO warlock, and knowledge cleric uses an arcane list.
The divine sorcerer, celestial warlock, and light cleric uses the divine list.
The storm sorcerer, fey warlock, tempest cleric, and the shaman wizard uses the primal spell list.
etc etc
 

Aldarc

Hero
So you mean a learned caster (wizard), an innate caster (sorcerer), a patron caster (warlock), and a deity granted caster (cleric). Then have base class features and casting stat based on the method. Then finally have your bloodlines or domains or whatever choose your power source and associated spell list.
I mean that you would pick a Learned Caster class and then pick your spell list: divine, arcane, primal, etc. If you were the Arcane Bookworm, then you would be a wizard. If you were the Divine Bookworm, you would be a Cloistered Priest (pick the name you want). If you were the Primal Bookworm, you would be a Natural Wizard (however you wanna call it). If you were the Arcane Patron class, you may be a Warlock. If you were the Divine Patron class, you may be an Oracle. And so on...
 
Even then it was too late. If anything the kits clearly show the thematic limits of the wizards. There are variants of course, but none of them could really break from the "book holding scholar of difficult to use arcane knowledge" mold, they all are just another coat of paint that does nothing to change the core. The designers really trusted in the wizard genericness and blatantly avoided any evidence to the contrary. 30 years ago was still 20 years of inertia. I'd argue that we haven't really broken from the "wizards are generic" mindset yet.
(Though it might be surprising to learn Warlocks actually originated as a wizard kit).
As a design exercise, I don't think it'd be that hard to design a wizard kit that said "You don't have a spellbook, you do something else instead." Heck, I've done it. And from a certain point of view, this is exactly what the 3E sorcerer was -- it certainly didn't have much in the way of distinctive features beyond the modification to to spellcasting rules. But we've had the class for three editions now, and it's developed its own mechanical identity. Which brings me to the larger point: who exactly are you arguing against here? "Wizards are generic"? Who's saying that? What implies it? We've got four distinct arcane casters in the PHB now; that's a far more granular breakdown of the theme than any other.
 
I mean that you would pick a Learned Caster class and then pick your spell list: divine, arcane, primal, etc. If you were the Arcane Bookworm, then you would be a wizard. If you were the Divine Bookworm, you would be a Cloistered Priest (pick the name you want). If you were the Primal Bookworm, you would be a Natural Wizard (however you wanna call it). If you were the Arcane Patron class, you may be a Warlock. If you were the Divine Patron class, you may be an Oracle. And so on...
Oh. So you mean instead of 4e's Source Role, classes would be Source Method. I could see that in 6e.

I think D&D's Divine Bookworm is the Archivist. Primal/Natural Wizard, I don't know.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I have mused about what it would look like if spellcasters in D&D were fundamentally divided into three to four classes based upon how they approach magic (e.g., patron, learned, innate, gish, etc.) and then have separate spell lists they could choose based on their power source (e.g., divine, arcane, primal, etc.).
You should check out pathfinder 2e, they've done this. If I recall correctly the spell lists are divided into arcane, divine, primal, and occult. Depending on your class you gain access to one of those spell lists. In the case of the sorcerer their spell list is decided by their bloodline. Draconic might be arcane but an elemental bloodline would be primal. I think it is an interesting way of doing it.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
As a design exercise, I don't think it'd be that hard to design a wizard kit that said "You don't have a spellbook, you do something else instead." Heck, I've done it. And from a certain point of view, this is exactly what the 3E sorcerer was -- it certainly didn't have much in the way of distinctive features beyond the modification to to spellcasting rules. But we've had the class for three editions now, and it's developed its own mechanical identity.
I would like to see you try something like that, within the confines of 2e design that is. No kit ever modified a base class on such a fundamental level -at most the minstrel that opened the bard class to all elves -

Which brings me to the larger point: who exactly are you arguing against here? "Wizards are generic"? Who's saying that? What implies it? We've got four distinct arcane casters in the PHB now; that's a far more granular breakdown of the theme than any other.
Just a sample of opinions from this one forum:

Warlock and Sorcerer I think could just be a subclass of wizard
Bard/Sorcerer/Warlock could be rolled into Wizard.
Sorcerer is a solution in search of a problem
Sorceror is a little too close to Wizard: Remove the spellbook, and you have the sorceror.
Sorcerer and warlocks are just no class wizards.
Sorcerer and Warlock could just be special wizard types
Wizard (subsumes sorcerer: subclasses would grant either additional spells or metamagic, which becomes INT-based)
Sorcerer. This class only exists because 3e didn't go all in on spontaneous casting (granted, partially because the magic system was way better than the martial system). At this point the only thing it really does uniquely is flavor. That could be rolled into a Wizard subclass, including the difference in magic source (learned vs inherent)
Sorcerer is basically Wizard 2.0
I hate that Warlock and Sorcerer are even part of the game. Not only would I remove them, I would remove them with a vengeance.
Sorcerer and Warlocks could both fall under Wizard
I wouldn't necessarily agree that we're at the bloat point already, or that the 5e PHB has entire classes that could be cut. Well, maybe the Sorcerer.
I would never add sorcerer to the game, since wizard already exists.
Every time a "we don't need a sorcerer" comes up, "the wizard is generic enough to cover for it" is implied...
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
I would like to see you try something like that, within the confines of 2e design that is. No kit ever modified a base class on such a fundamental level -at most the minstrel that opened the bard class to all elves -



Just a sample of opinions from this one forum:
















Every time a "we don't need a sorcerer" comes up, "the wizard is generic enough to cover for it" is implied...
I can't speak for anyone else you quoted, but if you're gonna quote me, id appreciate if it was in the right context. I wasn't implying wizards are generic enough. I was saying I prefer fewer classes in general, like the core four. Not just wizards. You quoted only a portion of my post as if it supports your argument when it really doesnt. Not kosher

* Edit. Also, 2e did have a sorcerer option for wizards. It was a spell point option. Which pretty much does what sorcerers do. So it's already been done in 2e
 
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I can't speak for anyone else you quoted, but if you're gonna quote me, id appreciate if it was in the right context. I wasn't implying wizards are generic enough. I was saying I prefer fewer classes in general, like the core four. Not just wizards. You quoted only a portion of my post as if it supports your argument when it really doesnt. Not kosher
Maybe I'm dense but I'm not seeing the nuanced difference in the 2 presentations.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I can't speak for anyone else you quoted, but if you're gonna quote me, id appreciate if it was in the right context. I wasn't implying wizards are generic enough. I was saying I prefer fewer classes in general, like the core four. Not just wizards. You quoted only a portion of my post as if it supports your argument when it really doesnt. Not kosher
That's fair, sorry. Do you want me to remove your quote?

Still what is your stance on this? Do we need a sorcerer or we don't?
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Maybe I'm dense but I'm not seeing the nuanced difference in the 2 presentations.
It means I prefer only the core classes, not that wizards are generic enough to cover what anyone else wants. Just a personal preference. I prefer only the basic ice cream flavors like vanilla and chocolate. That doesn't mean I'm saying chocolate is generic enough that replaces Rocky road.
 

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