D&D 5E Selecting the Simplest Sorcerer Solution

Bupp

Adventurer
So no one has tried playing a wizard alongside your upgraded sorcerer? Heck, even your three primary spellcasters (cleric, druid and bard) all wanted something with a more melee combat bent, rather than a more traditional "cast-first". Maybe its just coincidence, but I find that interesting. Don't you?

The same player plays the sorcerers in two different games. None of the other players are really interested in being a primary spellcaster. I would like to see it beside a wizard, though.

The 8th level sorcerer did start off as a wizard, but at 3rd level I let him convert to a sorcerer. This was before I changed the sorcerer to spell points. The change was more for play style reasons. He was a new player, and liked playing a blasty mage. The variety of spells and utility spells of a wizard didn't do anything for him, so he went sorcerer. Obviously, he really likes the class, even before my changes.
 

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Following up on the free metamagic, I have some thoughts.

I'm liking the idea that at 3rd level they get to choose one of their metamagic options to not cost sorcery points. As I think through it, while some might be more appealing than others, I can image characters that might pick just about any of them as their free one. For instance, a lightning or poison sorcerer could take Distant Spell and now have a ranged (or better ranged for poison) attack cantrip, in addition to being able to project all their touch spells, which makes for some interesting options. Some people would take Subtle Spell just to better represent a character (one of my friends expressed that he would with a concept he has). Careful and Extended may not be as appealing...but then again, they aren't now. Heightened, Empowered, Quickened, and Twinned would be still be your go to power options. So I don't think the actual cost of the metamagic you get to choose to automatically apply would matter.

I also think that would add the element of fun and meaningful choice, like most classes have. You can't have all of the cool free bonuses, but whichever you take is going to have a huge affect on your character. It would also extend your sorcery points as you wouldn't be using them nearly as often on metamagic.

I do think the ability should upgrade at, say, 14th level, but I haven't figured out how it should upgrade to get the really simple satisfying feeling I'm aiming for.
 

Horwath

Hero
Sorcerer does not need more spells known. It has enough for that class design.

That is wizards domain.

Sorcerer needs more spell slots and more powerfull spells.

Easiest thing to do to make sorcerer on par with wizard is more sorcery points, cheaper slot buying for sorcery points, faster regaining of sorcery points.

Double the sorcery points, make spells cost equal to spell level(5th level max).
 

ScuroNotte

Explorer
Sorcerer does not need more spells known. It has enough for that class design.

That is wizards domain.

Sorcerer needs more spell slots and more powerfull spells.

Easiest thing to do to make sorcerer on par with wizard is more sorcery points, cheaper slot buying for sorcery points, faster regaining of sorcery points.

Double the sorcery points, make spells cost equal to spell level(5th level max).

Disagree with enough spells known. And it is not a Wizard trait. Clerics and Druids have more spells prepared than Wizards when you account for Domain spells
Sorcerers have the fewest known of all full casters, know less than 1 1/2 caster, and know 2 more than 1/4 casters.
The half and third casters have other core features to rely on. The Sorcerer had spells and Metamagic. More spells are a necessity. I for one find it frustrating and I am disappointed in the way the class is handled.

I unfortunately believe WoTC will never changed the class. Thus relegating me to homebrew versions and never participating in the league (obviously my choice)
 

ScuroNotte

Explorer
Sorcerer does not need more spells known. It has enough for that class design.

That is wizards domain.

Sorcerer needs more spell slots and more powerfull spells.

Easiest thing to do to make sorcerer on par with wizard is more sorcery points, cheaper slot buying for sorcery points, faster regaining of sorcery points.

Double the sorcery points, make spells cost equal to spell level(5th level max).

i forgot, Paladins could also know the same number of spells as a Wizard considering Domain spells . (A half caster)

i think allowing a Sorcerer to know 22 spells as a Bard is fine. Especially when you consider they can't change the spells known until they level up
 

Raddra

First Post
One issue I have with sorcerers is the lack of short rest bonuses. Most other classes benefit from a short rest, but all a sorcerer gets is their hit dice.

So as opposed to giving the sorcerer more sorcery points to a total, why not the ability to recover some on a short rest? Perhaps equal to their proficiency?
 

Rynic

First Post
The Sorcerer is built similarly to the Barbarian. A Barbarian's Rages are very few in number, lasting only a minute. However, it has plenty of baked-in stuff.

The Wild Mage has the ability to potentially regain sorcery points and even spell slots with Wild Magic surges (Theoretically you could regain a 6-9th level slot back if you only used them first). The Sorcerer is all about preventing waste (twin/extended/empowered).

I'm currently compiling a spreadsheet of every spell, cross-referenced against meta-magic. I'm finished the Sorcerer spells, moving onto the other classes.

One secret meta-magic + spell combo I discovered is Wall of Stone plus Careful Spell. It allows you to trap enemies while allowing allies to escape automatically.

'If a creature would be surrounded on all
sides by the wall (or the wall and another solid surface),
that creature can make a Dexterity saving throw. On a
success, it can use its reaction to move up to its speed so
that it is no longer enclosed by the wall.
'
 


famousringo

First Post
The Sorcerer is built similarly to the Barbarian. A Barbarian's Rages are very few in number, lasting only a minute. However, it has plenty of baked-in stuff.

Sorcerers have very little "baked-in stuff." In fact, they have the most restrictive set of at-will abilities of any class. Minimum HP, minimum armour and weapon proficiency, minimum skill proficiency. They have one more cantrip than the average caster, and that's it.

Some sorcerer subclasses have a lot of at-will abilities, but don't confuse a subclass with the class. The only wild sorcerer ability that doesn't key off long-rest resources is Spell Bombardment.
The Wild Mage has the ability to potentially regain sorcery points and even spell slots with Wild Magic surges (Theoretically you could regain a 6-9th level slot back if you only used them first).
Unless your DM is generous enough to allow a surge on pretty much every spellcast, the chances of this are so remote as to be inconsequential. The only reliable outcome of wild surges is getting to use Tides of Chaos more.
The Sorcerer is all about preventing waste (twin/extended/empowered).
On the contrary, the sorcerer is about output, not efficiency. It can expend long rest resources faster than any other class. For example, if you Twin a Haste spell. While it's up, it's twice as effective as a wizard's Haste spell. That's nice. But if the fight ends next round or if you lose concentration, you've paid the equivalent of two 3rd level slots and suffer twice the Haste dump for very little gain. Powerful when it works, especially wasteful when it doesn't.

The wizard (also the land druid) is the one who prevents waste, through one of the best ritual magic features in the game and by being better able to tailor his spells to the situation thanks to a broader spell selection. A wizard is more likely able to target the precise weak save, or area, or damage type while the sorcerer has to go with the best fit (if any of his spells fit) and decide whether or not to turn his spell up to 11.
I'm currently compiling a spreadsheet of every spell, cross-referenced against meta-magic. I'm finished the Sorcerer spells, moving onto the other classes.
Smart move. Metamagic shapes a sorcerer's theme and how it plays more than the subclass, IMO.
 

I'm still working on revising the free meta-magic concept to get it to feel right. Here are some current thoughts.

At 3rd level, you choose one of your meta-magics, and it costs 1 less sorcery point to use it. Then at 14th level, you choose another known meta-magic, and that one costs 3 less sorcery points to use it.

The benefit of this is that, while you can pick any meta-magic from the start, this is going to encourage you to start with one of the 1 point ones, because it will be free. Then it will encourage you to get one of the more expensive ones later. It also doesn't completely eliminate the cost of higher level Twinned Spells.

It feels a little messier than I'd like, which is why I'm still working on it.

I'm currently compiling a spreadsheet of every spell, cross-referenced against meta-magic. I'm finished the Sorcerer spells, moving onto the other classes.

Cool, let us know when you get it.
 

famousringo

First Post
I'm still working on revising the free meta-magic concept to get it to feel right. Here are some current thoughts.

At 3rd level, you choose one of your meta-magics, and it costs 1 less sorcery point to use it. Then at 14th level, you choose another known meta-magic, and that one costs 3 less sorcery points to use it.

The benefit of this is that, while you can pick any meta-magic from the start, this is going to encourage you to start with one of the 1 point ones, because it will be free. Then it will encourage you to get one of the more expensive ones later. It also doesn't completely eliminate the cost of higher level Twinned Spells.

I'd still be tempted to apply it to the powerful ones. Nevermind being able to Twin full spells a little cheaper, just being able to Twin cantrips for free would be almost on par with Agonizing Blast. The sorcerer would still be a little behind without being able to double up on the same target, scale DPR higher with Hex, or stack on extra range and pushback bonuses, but it's still strong DPR at no resource cost.

Then again, always-on Subtle Spell for an enchanter or Empowered Spell for a blaster would be pretty compelling, too.

Another observation is how nice your change would be to sorcerer dippers. Three levels in and you get to apply a metamagic to all your main class spells for free? Sorcerer is already a popular dip for metamagic, so maybe this feature should kick in later in the class to reward deep sorcerer.
 

ScuroNotte

Explorer
What about giving them Arcane Recovery at 2nd level.

Pros:
1. Can convert spell slots to SP before short rest
2. Avoids players abuse by preventing them from creating spell slots above the
listed amount for their level to regain more SP. Thereby preventing them
from regaing both spell slots & SP.
3. Allows player the option to either keep spell slots or convert them to SP

Cons:
1. Only able to do once before needing a long rest
 

Rynic

First Post
Sorcerers have very little "baked-in stuff."

I mean the constitution proficiency for helping with Concentration checks, the Wild Mage's Tides of Chaos, Bend Luck, the Dragon Sorcerer's extra hit point per level, mage armour, damage increase, elemental resistance. All of these are geared towards helping them survive combat and keeping their spells working.

The Barbarian has bonuses built into it's rage.

As cool as a spell like Imprisonment is, it still requires the enemy to fail their saving throw. Very few spells allow you to influence mental saves. Bane is one.

On the contrary, the sorcerer is about output, not efficiency. It can expend long rest resources faster than any other class. For example, if you Twin a Haste spell. While it's up, it's twice as effective as a wizard's Haste spell. That's nice. But if the fight ends next round or if you lose concentration, you've paid the equivalent of two 3rd level slots and suffer twice the Haste dump for very little gain. Powerful when it works, especially wasteful when it doesn't.

It's an extra third level slot for the price of a second level. Casting haste on a single fighter, then casting it again when it runs out is pretty wasteful. Two hasted fighters can turn a monster to mince meat. It's better to just kill a monster as fast as possible.

Or cast it on yourself +2 AC, Dex, Take the dodge action for while still casting other spells. Or hide out sight.

Twinning is basically casting two spells for less. It has a specific context. You can't cast them at different times but it's still very good at saving energy.

Extended spell is probably one of the weakest metamagics, but it can allow more exploration. Extended mage armour means you can take a long rest and not have to worry about it after 8 hours. Extended Invisibility means you can take a short rest, while also invisible.

As for Empowered. If you roll :):):):) dice on a high level spell (several 1s or 2s on a fireball). Re-roll. Otherwise it's wasting a spell slot.

Quickened Cantrips. Cantrips are free. At high levels they increase in power. A single Cantrip isn't very strong but two of them, adding modifiers (Dragon Elemental Affinity/ Spell Bombardment -ready the action to go off on another turn)

That's 8d8 +10 for the cost of a level 1 slot.
 

famousringo

First Post
Sorcerers have very little "baked-in stuff."

I mean the constitution proficiency for helping with Concentration checks, the Wild Mage's Tides of Chaos, Bend Luck, the Dragon Sorcerer's extra hit point per level, mage armour, damage increase, elemental resistance. All of these are geared towards helping them survive combat and keeping their spells working.

The Barbarian has bonuses built into it's rage.
I guess I misunderstood what you meant by "baked-in." You seem to be mixing up at-will and long rest abilities, class and subclass features, and I hope this doesn't come off as rude, but I really don't know what your point is? All classes get features that help them survive and be effective.
As cool as a spell like Imprisonment is, it still requires the enemy to fail their saving throw. Very few spells allow you to influence mental saves. Bane is one.
Sorcerers don't get Bane, so I assume you're referring to Bend Luck here? Yeah, it's cool. At least at tables with open DM rolls.
It's an extra third level slot for the price of a second level. Casting haste on a single fighter, then casting it again when it runs out is pretty wasteful. Two hasted fighters can turn a monster to mince meat. It's better to just kill a monster as fast as possible.

Twinning is basically casting two spells for less. It has a specific context. You can't cast them at different times but it's still very good at saving energy.
You only see efficiency gains from Twin as long as your initial sorcery point pool holds up, which typically means two top level spell slots at most. After that, you're melting 3 levels worth of slots to get that second Haste. So in efficiency terms, if spending all your initial sorcery pool on Twin, it's perhaps equivalent to getting +2 levels worth of spell slots from Arcane Recovery?

Fair point that things dying faster means less resource cost to the party, though. That's actually my regret for picking Haste. Even Twinned, it only increases my party's DPR by about 20%, with a similar reduction in incoming damage in ideal circumstances. A well-placed Fireball or Hypnotic Pattern would be more effective, sooner, and at less cost. The only good thing about Haste, IMO, is that you don't need to worry about placement or resistances. It's always (marginally) effective. Well, as long as you can maintain concentration.
That's 8d8 +10 for the cost of a level 1 slot.
I view it as 4d8 + 5 for the cost of a level 1 slot. The first cantrip you get for free.

And at the tier where a dragon sorcerer is spending long rest resources to boost Firebolt damage from ~27 to ~54, warlocks do ~42 damage without Hex and evokers can throw around ~18.5 damage Shatters at will that won't hurt friends. How's that for efficiency?
 

Rynic

First Post
I regret using baked in because I thought it was self-explanatory.

The Wizard's proficiency in Wisdom is nice. It's very thematic of the strong, disciplined wizard. The Sorcerer's Constitution proficiency is very practical. 'We want him to hold on longer with his spells and against things that try to break him'

I figured 'baked-in' meant straight up bonuses.

Regarding the Wild Surge, 'potentially getting a once per day slot back' it's impossible for other classes to do this. It's not as unlikely as you may think. Controlled chaos allows re-rolls and rolling a 1/2 on the Wild Surge table increases the chances by ten.

Unless of course, there is Simulacrum. Which makes the Wild Magic concept seem more reasonable.

Funny enough my DM allows tides of chaos to be used as much as possible. Sometimes I use it to gain advantage on knowledge checks! At level 2 my Wild Magic Sorcerer triggered a fireball, which didn't kill him, or the party's Rogue.

That's 8d8 +10 for the cost of a level 1 slot.
I view it as 4d8 + 5 for the cost of a level 1 slot. The first cantrip you get for free.

And at the tier where a dragon sorcerer is spending long rest resources to boost Firebolt damage from ~27 to ~54, warlocks do ~42 damage without Hex and evokers can throw around ~18.5 damage Shatters at will that won't hurt friends. How's that for efficiency?


In one round it's two attacks.

Hitting with both gives 8d8 (Chill Touch, Freezing Ray, Shocking Grasp Poison Spray,or any combination of the two) or 8d10 (Firebolt) You could go Acid Splash for 8d6 against two targets, or 4d6 against four targets.

Shatter is 3d8 + 5 (Max 29 damage, rolling all 8s and them failing the save) it's a fine choice of spell because it's AoE.

The Warlock Eldritch blast is perfectly fine with me. The Sorcerer could multiclass pretty easily into it for just two levels. And benefit from the world's biggest cheese Quickened Eldritch Blasts! Not even losing a spell restoration feature.
 

I've got it. The solution to the second issue (lack of oomph due to insufficient points).

Reduce the costs of all metamagic expenditures by 1 point. That's it.

This does mean that most metamagic options become free (as does activating the temporary damage resistance from Elemental Affinity) ...and that's fine. It really is.

It also means that the exchange rate for 1st and 2nd level spell slots is the same either direction, so you can freely move those points and slots around.

If you don't want to review the OP, the other fix to go along with this is adding Charisma modifier to spells known. Those two, along with the extra sorcerer spells WotC will eventually come up with, are all it really needs to work as it should.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
So, any other thoughts? Suggestions? Critique of my own thoughts, as well as alternatives that fit those criteria (or even that fit your own criteria for what you consider a simple fix) are greatly appreciated.

My first thought would be adding some new feats that are applicable to Sorcerers only.

Not sure if you'd say they match your criteria:

1) Fulcrum point tweaks. Those feats would provide bonus spells known, additional metamagic*, and bonus spell points.

2) Authentic feel. Feats pretty much work like "patches", and those are such no-brainers that they could have definitely been in the PHB.

3) 5e Precedent. My idea is weakest on this one... essentially 5e feats do not include basic boosts to class features (like 3e feats did very often), they rather focus on giving something new, or someone else's class features (in tiny bits).

4) Lack of invalidation. Feats being purely additive, there is absolutely no change to anything already written in the books.

5) Feels right. Well what do you feel about it? :)

IMHO the only problem with such solution is that it carries a high risk of being received as "tax feats" i.e. something that every Sorcerer should take or otherwise they'll lag behind. But at the same time, this was pretty much your premise!

*Edit: some care needs to be taken to make sure only Sorcerers can take these feats, especially the metamagic ones otherwise the feats would actually damage the Sorcerer by making its unique feature available to every other caster. So the feats should actually require that the character already has spell points. A bonus spells known feats could also be available to others, it would probably be also a very good feat for Rangers and Warlocks.
 
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Erik Westmarch

First Post
I single new metamagic may address both problems:
Spontaneous Casting. You may expend a spell slot to cast any spell from the sorcerer list of the slot's spell level or lower, even if it's not one of your spells known. This costs 1 sorcery point per level of the spell slot you are expending.

That would allow people who are dissatisfied with the sorcerer's limited number of known spells to burn sorcery points to whip out some really flexible spellcasting, without impacting the balance of the game much at all.

I wouldn't give this to Sorcerer. The whole idea of Sorcerer is a fixed and limited number of spells, IMO. Maybe a little less limited than the PHB provides, but still limited.

But man oh man, you just wrote the basis for a Sha'ir.
 

Erik Westmarch

First Post
ANALYSIS

So just to make sure I wasn't imagining things, I made an Excel spreadsheet comparing the Sorcerer and Wizard from levels 1 to 20. They're close enough in build you can do a simple arithmetic comparison.

Here's how it plays out-

The have the same number of Saving Throw proficiencies. (duh)
They have the same base number of spell slots.
Wizard has Base AC 10, Sorcerers AC 13. But with Mage Armor, meh.

What do Sorcerers get that's "more"?
1. +1 HP/level
2. 1 extra Cantrip (until 17th level, when Spell Mastery puts the Wizard ahead of you here too)

What do Wizards get that's "more"?

1. Wizards have way more spells known just using the base rate of 4 + 2/level. And that's the minimum, given that you can capture enemy spellbooks and such. It starts out with a 4 spells known advantage at 1st level and goes up to 29 extra spells at 20th level.

2. Wizards have more spells prepared at all times. So they can recreate any given Sorcerers' spell list and then have even more spells in addition to that. The advantage is 2 spells prepared at 1st level and goes up to an additional 12 spells prepared at 20th level.

3. The Wizard sub-class abilities are very similar to Metamagic and come in at the same rate and Level. But the sub-class abilities are free to use, and Metamagic uses SP which reduces spells/day.

4. Wizards get more Spell Slots/day under almost all circumstances.

If you convert all Sorcerery Points into Spell Slots, this works out to equal Arcane Recovery from levels 1 to 5 and then is better than Arcane Recovery from 6th on up. But only a little. You effectively get only 1 extra spell over what a Wizard gets per day, but it's not your highest level (i.e., at 17th level you get one extra 4th level spell over a Wizard) and it's at the cost of all of your Metamagic.

If you use your SP for Metamagic, the Wizard's Arcane Recovery means that he always has more spell slots per day. The Wizard basically end up with 1 additional spell of their second-highest level per day relative to the Sorcerer, at every level.

And that doesn't even account for Ritual Casting, which adds even more Spell Slots/day to the Wizard by letting him cast utility spells "for free" in many situations.

SUMMARY

So wizards get more Spells Known, more Spells Prepared, more Spell Slots/Day, free Metamagic, and Ritual Casting, which Sorcerers get +1 HP/level and 1 Cantrip (until 17th level).

This doesn't seem very balanced between the two classes.

SUGGESTIONS

There's two ways you can go here:
1. Modify for parity
2. Emphasize the differences

If you want to Modify for Parity, wizards only have more spell slots/day when Sorcerers spend their SP on Metamagic. If you make some of the (less powerful) Metamagic free to use, then spell slots/day should balance out just fine.

The main disadvantages are Spells Known/Prepared and Ritual Casting.

1. Let all Sorcerers have a Book of Shadows just like a Tome Pact Warlock.
2. Create Origin Spells for each Sorcerous Origin which are free to know. You would need at least 2 spells per spell level to maintain parity with the Wizard.

However if you want to Emphasize the Differences, I think you need a lot more spells per day to make up for the lack of spells known/prepared. The easiest way to do that would be to tinker with Sorcerery Points available and also Sorcerery Point costs.

1. Give them some Metamagic for free, and "all the Metamagic" at SP cost.
2. Buy spell slots at cost of 1 SP/Spell Level.
3. Add Charisma Bonus to your pool of Sorcerery points.

If you do all three of those you end up with 2 more spells/day of your highest level, or an equivalent number of lower level spells.
 
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cooperjer

Explorer
[MENTION=6815948]Erik Westmarch[/MENTION] I'm glad you and I came to the same results for the wizard vs. the sorc. I'm surprised you didn't mention the spell mastery that wizards get which allows an extra casting of a few lower level spells.

In my game we tested giving proficiency bonus SP to the sorc with full SP recovery on a short rest. The cost to buy a spell slot is spell level +1. The player felt pretty good with that for some time, but after about a year of playing and then playing a rogue assassin she felt that the sorcerer was still limited in spell casting capability. So, we're now testing the following changes:

1. Sorcerer available spells slots is 1.5 X that of the wizard spell slots. I think we rounded down, but I can't remember for sure.
2. SP total is equal to that given in the PH, but is recovered on a short rest.
3. The cost to buy a spell is spell level +1.

The players elect for a short rest once per day at maximum. Typically they get/take zero short rests per day. Combat encounters typically run from 5 rounds to 10 rounds. The characters are level 11. We have completed one encounter with combat thus far. We'll probably complete a second or third encounter next game session. At that point I'll have enough data to determine if the changes were successful in meeting the players need for fun and challenge.
 

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