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5E On whether sorcerers and wizards should be merged or not, (they shouldn't)

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
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...
There was a 2e fighter kit for savage baronies or red steel (not 100% on the name) that turned them into a type of paladin with spell access, no reason why a 2e kit couldn't have done something for the wizard that removed the spellbook and provided them with sorcerer like spell access.

Also, the wizard can be used as a sorcerer-like class, I've done it and it works fine. I don't even need a replacement for the loss of the spellbook but, if I was going to merge the classes together into a single class with different origins then I would look at ability replacements.
 

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MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
There was a 2e fighter kit for savage baronies or red steel (not 100% on the name) that turned them into a type of paladin with spell access, no reason why a 2e kit couldn't have done something for the wizard that removed the spellbook and provided them with sorcerer like spell access.

Also, the wizard can be used as a sorcerer-like class, I've done it and it works fine. I don't even need a replacement for the loss of the spellbook but, if I was going to merge the classes together into a single class with different origins then I would look at ability replacements.
My problem with deliberately ignoring features, is that it is a passive way to hurt your party. Maybe not a problem for everyone, but I don't optimize -sometimes the complete opposite-, if I were to purposely ignore character abilities I would turn into a real liability for the group.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
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.
A followup question - why do you only prefer the core classes?
 

dave2008

Legend
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.
Obviously a complete redesign, but I'm pretty much on the same page with this idea. One arcane cast class with a lot of options / sub-classes / backgrounds that allow you to make a wizard, sorcerer, warlock, witch, etc.
 

PsyzhranV2

Adventurer
Obviously a complete redesign, but I'm pretty much on the same page with this idea. One arcane cast class with a lot of options / sub-classes / backgrounds that allow you to make a wizard, sorcerer, warlock, witch, etc.
Isn't that just half way to abandoning the class system entirely in favour of a point buy system?
 


Every time a "we don't need a sorcerer" comes up, "the wizard is generic enough to cover for it" is implied...
"the wizard was generic enough to cover for it"
Was
The Warlock and Sorcerer could have been part of the Wizard. Back in 2e.

But the AD&D and 3rd edition designers and community where too afraid, conservative, traditional, or apprehensive to alter wizards to be anything but magic bookworms that had nothing but high Int, a spelbook, and a bunch of spell slots.

Now Warlocks and Sorcerer diverted too much from wizards. They have their own flavors. Wizard's flavor was solidified. And now we have things like artificers, psions, binders, shamans, and truenamers.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Isn't that just half way to abandoning the class system entirely in favour of a point buy system?
Maybe. I see it as choosing options in a way similar to the current warlock which chooses a subclass then a pact at a later level. Just as two fiend pact warlocks could appear different (one summons a weapon, another has an empowered familiar, while a third has greater breadth of magic via a book of shadows). You could have three magic-users one having made a pact with a fiend, another studied infernal magic, while the third was born with the blood of fiends.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
People are debating is sorcerer can fit under wizard. TBH there is so much overlap in spell lists that it basically can

Here is the overlap
  • Cantrip 100% overlap: every single cantrip in the phb on wizard is also on sorcerer list
  • 1st level spells: every spell overlaps except wizard has alarm, grease, Identify, Illusory Script, Longstrider, PfG&E,
  • 2nd level spells: Most spell overlaps except wizard also has access to these while sorc does not... Arcane Lock, Continual Flame, Flaming Sphere, Gentle Repose, Locate Object, Magic Mouth, Magic Weapon, Melfs acid arrow, Nystul's Magic Aura, Ray of enfeeblement, Rope Trick,
  • 2nd level sorcerer has these spells wizard does not: Enhance ability.
  • 3rd Level: Wizard has these spells not on sorcerer list... Animate dead, Bestow Curse, Feign Death, Glyph of Warding, Tiny Hut, Magic Circle, Nondetection, Remove Curse, Sending, Vampyric Touch
  • 3rd Level: Sorcerer has daylight , while wizard does not
  • 4th Level: Wizards also have Arcane Eye, Conjure Minor Elementals, Control Water, Black Tentacles, secret chest, Locate Creature, Faithful Hound, Private Sanctum, Resilient Sphere, Phantasmal Killer,
  • 4th Level: Sorcerer has dominate beast
  • 5th: Wizard has Bigsby's Hand, Conjure Elemental, Contact Other Plane, Dream, Gaes, Legend Lore, Mislead, Modify Memory, Passwall, Planar Binding, Telepathic Bond, Scrying, Wall of Force
  • 5th: Sorcerer has insect plague
So on & so forth but 6th level spells on on is well into the point where campaigns have ended or are ending & wotc's own numbers from ddb support that. No doubt there are a handful of useful spells n wizard list but nt sorc list... problem being is that almost every single one of the "right spells" as people have been labeling them are on both lists & the spells unique to wizard are not enough to build any kind of theme or niche around.... If paladin, ranger, EK, & AT had this kind of overlap in so much of their class features people would wonder why
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
People are debating is sorcerer can fit under wizard. TBH there is so much overlap in spell lists that it basically can

Here is the overlap
  • Cantrip 100% overlap: every single cantrip in the phb on wizard is also on sorcerer list
  • 1st level spells: every spell overlaps except wizard has alarm, grease, Identify, Illusory Script, Longstrider, PfG&E,
  • 2nd level spells: Most spell overlaps except wizard also has access to these while sorc does not... Arcane Lock, Continual Flame, Flaming Sphere, Gentle Repose, Locate Object, Magic Mouth, Magic Weapon, Melfs acid arrow, Nystul's Magic Aura, Ray of enfeeblement, Rope Trick,
  • 2nd level sorcerer has these spells wizard does not: Enhance ability.
  • 3rd Level: Wizard has these spells not on sorcerer list... Animate dead, Bestow Curse, Feign Death, Glyph of Warding, Tiny Hut, Magic Circle, Nondetection, Remove Curse, Sending, Vampyric Touch
  • 3rd Level: Sorcerer has daylight , while wizard does not
  • 4th Level: Wizards also have Arcane Eye, Conjure Minor Elementals, Control Water, Black Tentacles, secret chest, Locate Creature, Faithful Hound, Private Sanctum, Resilient Sphere, Phantasmal Killer,
  • 4th Level: Sorcerer has dominate beast
  • 5th: Wizard has Bigsby's Hand, Conjure Elemental, Contact Other Plane, Dream, Gaes, Legend Lore, Mislead, Modify Memory, Passwall, Planar Binding, Telepathic Bond, Scrying, Wall of Force
  • 5th: Sorcerer has insect plague
So on & so forth but 6th level spells on on is well into the point where campaigns have ended or are ending & wotc's own numbers from ddb support that. No doubt there are a handful of useful spells n wizard list but nt sorc list... problem being is that almost every single one of the "right spells" as people have been labeling them are on both lists & the spells unique to wizard are not enough to build any kind of theme or niche around.... If paladin, ranger, EK, & AT had this kind of overlap in so much of their class features people would wonder why
Overlap doesn't imply that it's able to support it. The wizard has many features that make no sense for a sorcerer. The subclasses make little sense for one either.

Could there exist an Arcane Caster class that supported both sorcerer and wizard concepts. I think everyone agreees that's possible.
 

HarbingerX

Rob Of The North
Interestingly I've never run across a sorcerer in our games. I've played a wizard, and in 4e we had a Tiefling Warlock, but I've yet to see anyone want to play a sorcerer. Now my exposure is pretty limited, but the vast potential power of the wizard
I don't think it needs to be point buy, but I would prefer just three classes : martial, arcane, & divine and every concept branches from those.
OD&D. Fighting-man, Magic-User, Cleric. :)
 


tetrasodium

Adventurer
Overlap doesn't imply that it's able to support it. The wizard has many features that make no sense for a sorcerer. The subclasses make little sense for one either.

Could there exist an Arcane Caster class that supported both sorcerer and wizard concepts. I think everyone agreees that's possible.
my point is more frustration over relying so heavily on 3e spell lists when the two classes were mechanically very different despite both pulling from the arcane list. The result of so much overlap is that the two classes have a very heavy feeling of sameness at the table.

I;m not saying they should be merged, I'm saying they should feel viscerally different
 

People are debating is sorcerer can fit under wizard. TBH there is so much overlap in spell lists that it basically can

Here is the overlap
  • Cantrip 100% overlap: every single cantrip in the phb on wizard is also on sorcerer list
  • 1st level spells: every spell overlaps except wizard has alarm, grease, Identify, Illusory Script, Longstrider, PfG&E,
  • 2nd level spells: Most spell overlaps except wizard also has access to these while sorc does not... Arcane Lock, Continual Flame, Flaming Sphere, Gentle Repose, Locate Object, Magic Mouth, Magic Weapon, Melfs acid arrow, Nystul's Magic Aura, Ray of enfeeblement, Rope Trick,
  • 2nd level sorcerer has these spells wizard does not: Enhance ability.
  • 3rd Level: Wizard has these spells not on sorcerer list... Animate dead, Bestow Curse, Feign Death, Glyph of Warding, Tiny Hut, Magic Circle, Nondetection, Remove Curse, Sending, Vampyric Touch
  • 3rd Level: Sorcerer has daylight , while wizard does not
  • 4th Level: Wizards also have Arcane Eye, Conjure Minor Elementals, Control Water, Black Tentacles, secret chest, Locate Creature, Faithful Hound, Private Sanctum, Resilient Sphere, Phantasmal Killer,
  • 4th Level: Sorcerer has dominate beast
  • 5th: Wizard has Bigsby's Hand, Conjure Elemental, Contact Other Plane, Dream, Gaes, Legend Lore, Mislead, Modify Memory, Passwall, Planar Binding, Telepathic Bond, Scrying, Wall of Force
  • 5th: Sorcerer has insect plague
So on & so forth but 6th level spells on on is well into the point where campaigns have ended or are ending & wotc's own numbers from ddb support that. No doubt there are a handful of useful spells n wizard list but nt sorc list... problem being is that almost every single one of the "right spells" as people have been labeling them are on both lists & the spells unique to wizard are not enough to build any kind of theme or niche around.... If paladin, ranger, EK, & AT had this kind of overlap in so much of their class features people would wonder why
The issue isn't overlay in spell list, it's overlap in theme and archetype we the community gave them.
There isn't anymore. The overlap in image and fluff is practiclly gone outside of multiclassed characters.

Wizards are library bookworms, students of Animalnoun's schools of magic, members of the Color tower, or apprentices of a greyhair master arcanist.
Sorcerers are decedents of magic creatures, born or died at a fateful time, or tapped into a pure magical power source.

It's like Army and Navy at this point.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
"the wizard was generic enough to cover for it"
Was
The Warlock and Sorcerer could have been part of the Wizard. Back in 2e.

But the AD&D and 3rd edition designers and community where too afraid, conservative, traditional, or apprehensive to alter wizards to be anything but magic bookworms that had nothing but high Int, a spelbook, and a bunch of spell slots.

Now Warlocks and Sorcerer diverted too much from wizards. They have their own flavors. Wizard's flavor was solidified. And now we have things like artificers, psions, binders, shamans, and truenamers.
The wizard only could have been generic, but it is just so iconic there's no way that was going to ever happen. It wasn't fear and lack of courage in 3e, the DnD Wizard/Mage/MU is very much iconic and a DnD idiosyncrasy. Change the wizard and you are not DnD anymore. Only heartbreakers and clones can afford to make the wizard generic. -And ironically, all attempts to make it generic fall back into just erasing sorcerer and claim their wizard is generic now without changing a comma of the flavor, out of all clones and DnD derivatives only the microlite mage is actually generic, and I'd argue largely by accident.-

Well, on the other hand the warlock Was a wizard in 2e. From theme to somehow mechanics -see the witch kit-.
 

The wizard only could have been generic, but it is just so iconic there's no way that was going to ever happen. It wasn't fear and lack of courage in 3e, the DnD Wizard/Mage/MU is very much iconic and a DnD idiosyncrasy. Change the wizard and you are not DnD anymore. Only heartbreakers and clones can afford to make the wizard generic. -And ironically, all attempts to make it generic fall back into just erasing sorcerer and claim their wizard is generic now without changing a comma of the flavor, out of all clones and DnD derivatives only the microlite mage is actually generic, and I'd argue largely by accident.-

Well, on the other hand the warlock Was a wizard in 2e. From theme to somehow mechanics -see the witch kit-.
Exactly.

The community wanted the wizard to both be a generic slate and have an iconic archetype. Which is impossible. So almost all attempts to broaden the wizard failed because no one wanted to take both feet out the door officially. Even the witch kit was rather tame. So 3e ended up with the sorcerer.

Once the cat was out of the bag. More nonwizard casters came.
 

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 -
I don't know how you quantify whether a modification is "fundamental" or not. IIRC, there were fighter kits that didn't use armor (kensei) and thief kits without backstab (swashbuckler). So why not a wizard without a spellbook? It could have been done in about three sentences and a table:

Instead of memorizing spells from a spellbook, a sorcerous wizard always knows a number of spells determined by Table X. He or she can cast any spell he knows at any time with a spell slot of that spell's level or higher. He or she uses Charisma for all purposes in spellcasting where another wizard would use Intelligence.

(I'm not saying it necessarily would have been done in three sentences, of course. 2E hadn't quite exorcised the game of Gygax's arbitrary verbosity yet.)

Every time a "we don't need a sorcerer" comes up, "the wizard is generic enough to cover for it" is implied...
Okay. I'm sorry, I thought you were speaking more of the state of affairs as presented in the books, not in the online community. On that note though, it's worth observing that the people who actually write the game are clearly on your side on this one.

On another note -- I don't want to speak for everyone you've quoted, of course, but to me, "making the sorcerer a wizard subclass" implies a modification like above. You seem to believe that such a modification is too "fundamental", whereas an advocate for it presumably doesn't. I'm not sure how to resolve that disagreement because I'm not sure there's a real disagreement there to resolve.
 

Exactly.
The community wanted the wizard to both be a generic slate and have an iconic archetype. ...So 3e ended up with the sorcerer.
My impression was that the Sorcerer was added just as a vehicle for spontaneous casting - that any community opinion that drove that was just the long-standing dissatisfaction with Vancian - and the "blood of dragons" thing was just window dressing...

...that is, it was mechanics-first - that it eventually led to 5e casting(npi) about for designs, concept first is perhaps slightly ironic.
 
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...

My impression was that the Sorcerer was added just as a vehicle for spontaneous casting - that any community opinion that drove that as long-standing dissatisfaction with Vancian - and the "blood of dragons" thong was just window dressing...

...that is, it was mechanics-first - that it eventually led to 5e casting(npi) about for designs, concept first is perhaps slightly ironic.
The spontaneous casting was part of the image or idea that wizards couldn't have. Wizards had spellbooks, copied scrolls to books, prepared spells to mental slots over night. Spontaneous casters did not of this.

Now an option for it could have been made for wizards. But for one reason or another, no one wanted to do it until after the sorcerer was made and started getting flavor. And by then it was too late.
 

Kurotowa

Adventurer
Thematically there's a niche for Sorcerers. They form a trinity with Wizard and Warlock of learned power, borrowed power, and inborn power. The big question is if there's a mechanical niche for Sorcerer that's both distinct from the other two and still robust enough to support an entire class. Evidence for that is scarcer and more conjectural.

I have no objection to the Sorcerer existing. In fact, I rather like the concept of its flavor. But there's very little history of D&D being able to deliver a Sorcerer that's not living in the shadow of the Wizard, and it doesn't have a strong enough legacy to justify keeping it around for that alone. So maybe you kill some sacred cows and reinvent the Sorcerer. Maybe you merge it with the Warlock and include a toggle option between inborn and patron power sources. Or maybe you just cut it. I don't exactly have a horse in that race, besides the mild annoyance of occasionally trying to play a Sorcerer and being disappointed.
 
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