D&D (2024) Sorcerer (Playtest 7)

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Feel free to argue for different valuations.
It's always interesting to see how other players value things. This does not seem wildly out of synch; certainly when I see this sort of point-counting, I get suspicious.

Your values are reasonable. However, trying to accept your basic premise and budget allocations:

For Draconic Sorcerer:
  • Draconic Resilience: +1 HP/level, AC of Dex+Cha. [2 SP]
I would rank this higher. The hit points by themselves are additive with Tough, and give the greatest benefit of +2 con; both of those are a feat, so (for me) would be worth at least half-a-feat.

The AC calculation gives a real benefit to any charisma build (Sorc, Warlock, some paladins, most Bards, some Rogues), and would allow for a charismatic fighter. I'd rank that as a full feat at level 1 (as in 2014 PHB); at level 3 it's a more substantial investment, but you're also getting spell slots. Again, half a feat minimum.

My guess is that's 3 or 4 points there.

  • Dragon Speech: [0 SP]
  • Elemental Affinity: [5 SP] (3 for resistance, 2 for +Cha dmg)
I'd put this lower -- 1 or 2 for resistance, 2 for +Cha dmg.

  • Dragon Wings: [5 SP] (variant on Fly; permanent, but slower)
Sure, but coming online at level 14 means it's irrelevant to most. At level 14, it might only be worth 3 points.
  • Draconic Presence: Budget neutral.
Total: 12
I'd say 10.

For the Wild Magic Sorcerer:
  • Wild Magic Surge: [3 SP?]
  • Tides of Chaos: [3 SP]
  • Bend Luck: Budget neutral.
I accept your argument that it uses another resource, but it does allow you to change the outcome of a roll by a meaningful amount. At least 1 SP.
  • Controlled Chaos: [2 SP?]
Fair.
  • Wild Bombardment: [5 SP] (high value, but long cooldown)
Again, coming online at a high level. Compared with other spellcaster peaks, maybe only 3sp.
Total: 13?
I'm at 12.
Aberrant Mind:
  • Psionic Spells: ribbon
Nah. It gives you choice, throughout your career, and the choices keep adding throughout the levels most games are at. Plus, the spells come easily at your best level. I'd say 4.
  • Telepathic Speech: [3 SP]
This only adds to the RP -- 1 sp.
  • Psionic Sorcery: [3 SP] (~3 uses of Subtle Spell and slot cost reduction)
possibly 4, but okay.
  • Psychic Defenses: [3 SP]
ok.
  • Revelation in Flesh: Budget neutral
Again, no. Yes, it costs a resource, but it gives a better benefit than Dragon Wings. Even if those balance out, that's 3sp.
  • Warping Implosion: [5 SP] with budget-neutral re-use.
Again, at level 18, I'd put this at 3.
Total: 14
I'm at 17.

Clockwork Soul:
  • Clockwork Magic: ribbon
4 for me.
  • Restore Balance: [3 SP]
  • Bastion of Law: Budget neutral
Almost -- as an additional option (and an expensive one), let's say 1sp.
  • Trance of Order: [5 SP] with budget-neutral re-use
  • Clockwork Cavalcade: [7 SP] with budget-neutral re-use
I agree it's powerful, but I'll give it 3 sp for the high level coming online.
Total: 15
I'm at 16.


All of these are subjective differences, with different starting assumptions.
To my eye, however, the two in PT7 are at 10 and 12; the two in Tasha's are at 16 and 17. There's a big difference, and the difference could be covered by the bonus spells (though that wouldn't be the only way to cover the gaps).
 

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I'd be interested in seeing you break down the other sorcerer subs (shadow, storm, divine and lunar) to see how well they fit into the 15sp budget .
I'll try.

Shadow Sorcerer
  • Eyes of the Dark: [3-4 SP]
  • Strength of the Grave: [1-2 SP]
  • Hound of Ill Omen: Budget neutral
  • Shadow Walk: [3 SP]
  • Umbral Form: Budget neutral
Total: 7-9. Low SP value. I would probably set Hound of Ill Omen and Umbral Form to have one use each before spending sorcery points for re-use. That would bump the total to 16-18.

Storm Sorcerer
  • Wind Speaker: Ribbon
  • Tempestuous Magic: [2 SP]
  • Heart of the Storm: [4 SP] (3 for resistance, 1 for damage)
  • Storm Guide: Ribbon
  • Storm's Fury: [3 SP]
  • Wind Soul: [6 SP] (damage immunity replaces resistance, so net 0, and improved flight at late level)
Total: 15.

Divine Sorcerer
  • Divine Magic: No cost
  • Favored by the Gods: [2 SP] (Bend Luck costs 1 SP for 1d4, vs this 2d4)
  • Empowered Healing: New metamagic option. Use is budget neutral. [1 SP?]
  • Otherworldly Wings: [5 SP]
  • Unearthly Recovery: (~ 50 HP of healing at level 18, which is about 10 SP; limit: only usable on self at below half health) [8 SP]
Total: 15-16 (heavily weighted towards Unearthly Recovery)

Access to divine magic spells does not increase the power budget, but it does introduce options that are not available to other sorcerers, which is why people are likely to value this subclass more highly. In terms of actual power, it's actually fairly weak for most levels.

Lunar Sorcerer
  • Lunar Embodiment: [2 SP] (free 1st level spell slot)
  • Moon Fire: [1 SP] (barely above ribbon)
  • Lunar Boons: [3 SP] (3+ free sorcery points, limited magic schools)
  • Waxing and Waning: [2 SP] (budget neutral phase change, extra 1st level spell casts)
  • Lunar Empowerment: [3 SP]
  • Lunar Phenomenon: [5 SP] with budget-neutral re-use
Total: 16


So these are budgeted at about 16. I'm fine with a fuzzy 15-16 range.

Lunar has a number of modest options spread through the levels. It seems well-balanced. Divine leans on its unique access to cleric spells to hold it through, but dumps most of its actual power in a late-game feature. Shadow needs a tweak for its two most defining features, at which point I'd consider it good. And Storm is... OK.. but its early levels are more strongly ribbon than power, and it doesn't have unique spells to compensate like Divine Soul does.
 

I would rank this higher. The hit points by themselves are additive with Tough, and give the greatest benefit of +2 con; both of those are a feat, so (for me) would be worth at least half-a-feat.

The AC calculation gives a real benefit to any charisma build (Sorc, Warlock, some paladins, most Bards, some Rogues), and would allow for a charismatic fighter. I'd rank that as a full feat at level 1 (as in 2014 PHB); at level 3 it's a more substantial investment, but you're also getting spell slots. Again, half a feat minimum.

My guess is that's 3 or 4 points there.
For Draconic Resilience, I could see it being a 3. I don't think I'd give it a 4.

I'd put this lower -- 1 or 2 for resistance, 2 for +Cha dmg.
I was inclined towards that at first, but adjusted after seeing Protection From Energy as a 3rd level spell. PFE does let you pick an element, though, while this is chosen once and can't be changed, so I dropped it from 3rd level equivalent to 2nd level equivalent (3 SP). 2 SP would be 1st level equivalent, which felt a little low for a permanent resistance effect.

I can see the argument that it's unlikely to be very useful, but I did try to keep to those rules.

Sure, but coming online at level 14 means it's irrelevant to most. At level 14, it might only be worth 3 points.
This is where setting the budget becomes tricky. I expect flight to be 5 points no matter what level; it's just that that 5 points is part of a smaller pool as your level goes up. But that's hard to judge when I'm just doing a global budget across 18 levels, and that large pool doesn't come into play.

Ultimately, I decided not to try to level-adjust pricing. That's a subjective choice, though.

Nah. It gives you choice, throughout your career, and the choices keep adding throughout the levels most games are at. Plus, the spells come easily at your best level. I'd say 4.
For Psionic Spells — I agree that I shouldn't have marked it as "ribbon"; it should have been "no cost". They have value, but they do not contribute to the budget (at least as far as I'm using it).

This only adds to the RP -- 1 sp.
Telepathic Speech — I judged it being between Message (a cantrip) and Sending (3rd level spell). It certainly has uses for coordinating a split party, and not just RP. It could be a 1st or 2nd level spell, for 2-3 SP. Maybe drop it from 3 to 2.


I do need to give more thought to the budget-neutral features. While I still feel that if you have to spend part of your class budget on a feature, it doesn't make sense to consider it an increase in the power budget of the class, I can see the argument that simply having the feature as an option has value.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
This is where setting the budget becomes tricky. I expect flight to be 5 points no matter what level; it's just that that 5 points is part of a smaller pool as your level goes up. But that's hard to judge when I'm just doing a global budget across 18 levels, and that large pool doesn't come into play.

Ultimately, I decided not to try to level-adjust pricing. That's a subjective choice, though.
I understand where you're coming from. I still feel flight-at-first (as with some races) seems much more valuable get than flight-at-14th.

I do need to give more thought to the budget-neutral features. While I still feel that if you have to spend part of your class budget on a feature, it doesn't make sense to consider it an increase in the power budget of the class, I can see the argument that simply having the feature as an option has value.
Everyone will feel differently on this; but yeah.
 
Last edited:

Chaosmancer

Legend
So, power budget.

Mike Mearls' YouTube videos had some explanation about how they budgeted power for classes when he was describing how much he could do with any given subclass. He didn't get into deep detail, but I recall him using the Eldritch Knight as an example, where he used the spell progression chart to define his budget for another experimental subclass. I don't remember exactly how he figured things, but I do know we can use the DMG's rules for spell creation for the same thing.

The DMG damage budget for a spell at a given level has an interesting correlation with the sorcerer's Font of Magic. The DMG lists a number of d10s for damage against a single target in the order of 2, 3, 5, 6, and 8 dice for levels 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, respectively. Font of Magic allows you to create a spell slot of a particular level for a cost of 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 sorcery points, matching the number of d10s for a given spell level for all except 5th level, where it's off by 1.

If we take the number of d10s for a spell slot as a budget metric, we can calculate the total power budget a spell table provides. We can then put the sorcery points available at a given level to gauge how much budget is being attributed to them. I'll also include Arcane Recovery to see how that compares.

I know we all understand that this is a very poor measurement, but I want to point it out explicitly. Because it really has a heavy bearing on your assumptions.

d10's are for single target. Picking a level at random, let's say a 5th level spell. That is supposed to do 8d10 damage, or an average of 44 damage. Now, let us look at an equivalent spell of 5th level, but this is an AOE. That spell does 8d6 damage, or 28... except, that is false. You'd never cast an AOE on only one target. You'd at least hit two targets. And with two targets, that 5th level spell is doing 56 damage, the equivalent of a SIXTH level spell. And what do you do about a spell like Bigby's Hand? It can deal 4d8 a turn, for a full minute. Even if we just assume half that time, that is a potential of 20d8 or 90 damage. Or something like Dominate Person, which can effectively "kill" an enemy with an arbitrarily high number of hp.

We don't really have a good way to measure spell power, I admit this, but it is certainly more complex than "all spells of the same level are the same strength and sorcery points to create those spells are the same cost as that strength"

After all, the new Twin Spell allows you to turn a spell like Banishment from a 4th level spell to a 5th level spell, for a single point. By your math, they have spent 1/2 of a 1st level spell slot in power, but I would argue turning a 4th level single target spell into a 5th level multi-target spell is worth more than a 1st level slot, let alone half of one.

And if that assumption is punctured, if a metamagic can actually be more valuable than the spell slot you could create with it... then your entire argument begins to collapse.

Level
Spells PowerSorcery PtsSP GainArcane RcvyAR Gain
1​
4​
0​
0%​
2​
50%​
2​
6​
2​
33%​
2​
33%​
3​
14​
3​
21%​
3​
21%​
4​
17​
4​
24%​
4​
24%​
5​
27​
5​
19%​
5​
19%​
6​
32​
6​
19%​
5​
16%​
7​
38​
7​
18%​
7​
18%​
8​
44​
8​
18%​
7​
16%​
9​
58​
9​
16%​
8​
14%​
10​
66​
10​
15%​
8​
12%​
11​
76​
11​
14%​
10​
13%​
12​
76​
12​
16%​
10​
13%​
13​
87​
13​
15%​
12​
14%​
14​
87​
14​
16%​
12​
14%​
15​
99​
15​
15%​
13​
13%​
16​
99​
16​
16%​
13​
13%​
17​
114​
17​
15%​
15​
13%​
18​
122​
18​
15%​
15​
12%​
19​
132​
19​
14%​
16​
12%​
20​
143​
20​
14%​
16​
11%​

Here we can see that, other than the first few levels where rounding bumps things up a bit, sorcery points essentially acts as a 15% increase to the budget of the class relative to the baseline of just being a full caster. Put another way, if you do nothing but spend sorcery points on creating new spell slots, you should get about 15% more total damage generated.

I've also included the calculated benefit budget of Arcane Recovery from the wizard class. This isn't the maximum possible effective value (which would involve taking nothing but 1st level spell slots), but it takes what seems to be reasonable high-level spell slots for best effect. As you can see, it's only slightly below the budget value of Font of Magic.

Interestingly, there is a hidden effect here. Why is Arcane Recovery worth 50% of the Wizard's power when it can only make a single 1st level slot, but only worth 11% when it can make two 5th level slots. After all, 5th level spells are orders of magnitude stronger than 1st level spells.

And the reason for that is because you have more spells. Making new spells has a bigger impact when you have fewer spells because the POWER of the class is in the number of spells they can cast. The more spells you can cast, and of the greater variety, the stronger it is.

So what about metamagic? Well, metamagic isn't actually a budget item. It's merely a way to spend your budget. You could spend 2 sorcery points on a 1st level spell slot, or on Quickened Spell. You can do different things, but (assuming the metamagic costs are appropriate) you haven't actually increased your power per day.

We can thus conclude that the power budget for the wizard and the sorcerer at the class level is basically the same, though I won't try to compare the capstones.

And your conclusion is VASTLY flawed. And for a much simpler reason than you might think.

Look at the sorcerer abilities, sans metamagic and sorcery points.

- Innate Sorcery: Increase the DC of your spells by 1

Now look at the Wizard's abilities, sans arcane recovery

- Expanding the Spellbook (spend gold and time to learn new spells), Ritual Casting (Cast spells without spell slots and without preparing them, grows more powerful the more spells you have), Scholar (Expertise in a skill), Memorize Spell (always be able to have the perfect spell within 1 minute, grows more powerful the more spells you have), At-Will 1st and 2nd spells (increasing the value, since it is essentially an infinite pool of those spells to add points on the pile)


If you are correct that Metamagic isn't a "cost item" and Sorcerers are sitting at roughly 2% - 3% stronger than Wizard Arcane recovery... well, I don't think that list really accurately could be called a mere 3% increase in power. And remember when I talked earlier about the spells of the same level often being of very different power? Wizards are explicitly stated by the designers to have the best spell list in the game. Their options at each level are superior. They are starting at an advantage over the Sorcerer in pure spell power, by having the best spells bar none.


Bonus Spells

So this now gets to the idea of bonus spells, and indeed spell preparation in general. Aside from being able to select a spell of appropriate level, you do not actually gain more power with a greater number of spells. From a pure budgetary standpoint, 9 spells (one for each spell level) and 90 spells are the same thing, because all spells of a given level "should" have the same effective power. Since your main limitation is how many spells you can cast per day, any variation within that selection is purely arbitrary.

A wizard with the bare minimum number of spells known (44 at level 20 in the PHB version) has the same "power" as one who knows every possible spell.

Your conclusion is blatantly false. We know, absolutely, that spells of the same level do not have the same power. You could declare this a problem of spell design, not of class design, but again, the designers EXPLICITLY stated they have given Wizard's the "best spell list". This is intentional in the class design.

And a wizard with every single spell known and the ability to swap into them with a minutes notice is vastly more powerful than a wizard who cannot. Because the correct spell at the correct time achieves more than a poor spell of the same level.

The number of spells available to a caster is not built on its budget, but on the intended flexibility of the class, which is an entirely separate metric. Although in the case of the sorcerer, it's generally considered less about flexibility and more about matching the theme of the class. An ice sorcerer with only two ice spells doesn't "feel" like an ice sorcerer. You want additional ice spells, not directly for power, but to fill out the flavor you're aiming for.

Overall, I'd assess bonus spells as a "ribbon" tier feature, as far as class budget is concerned.

Flexibility is absolutely power.

UA7

UA7 added a few features which actually affect the power budget.

Innate Sorcery: This increases the strength of spells for one minute. I can only estimate its expected budget value indirectly, via Sorcery Incarnate. If SI judges 2 sorcery points sufficient for an extra use of this ability, I have to consider that it's assumed value per use. Two uses is 4 sorcery points. That's a high budget increase at low levels, and a low budget increase at high levels.

Sorcerous Recovery: This is about a 2.5% bonus to the power budget every time it's used. I don't expect it to be typically used more than twice per day, and more likely only once per day.

Sorcery Incarnate: The ability to gain more uses of Innate Sorcery via sorcery points should be net neutral on the budget. Likewise, being able to use more metamagic on a single spell simply redirects how the budget is being spent. Despite being useful, this does not actually change the power budget of the class.


Overall, we have a very small increase in power, as defined by the class budget, but also some additional flexibility due to Sorcery Incarnate.

I find it strange you have compared the sorcerer and wizard here at every step, yet fail to mention the Wizard's abilities. Infinite 1st and 2nd level castings. Even if they only use four castings of a 1st and four castings of a 2nd level spell, that is increasing the wizard budget by +14%, and their capstone being two free castings of a 3rd level would increase it by an additional 7%

I find your methodology flawed, but I find it striking that you point out a mere 6.5% increase in the sorcerer budget, and ignore at least a 21% increase in the wizard budget

Subclasses

We can evaluate the subclasses based on how their features impact the budget.

For Draconic Sorcerer:
  • Draconic Resilience: Small budget increase, though it's hard to say how much, exactly.
  • Dragon Speech: Flavorful, but ultimately ribbon-tier.
  • Elemental Affinity: A budget item.
  • Dragon Wings: A budget item.
  • Draconic Presence: Budget neutral. It costs an existing resource to use.
For the Wild Magic Sorcerer:
  • Wild Magic Surge: A budget item of indeterminate value.
  • Tides of Chaos: A budget item.
  • Bend Luck: Budget neutral. You have to spend a sorcery point to use it.
  • Controlled Chaos: An improvement for rolling on the Wild Magic table, though I'm not sure I'd say it adds to the budget.
  • Wild Bombardment: A high budget item with a long cooldown.
Aberrant Mind:
  • Psionic Spells: ribbon
  • Telepathic Speech: Budget item
  • Psionic Sorcery: (Low?) Budget item
  • Psychic Defenses: Budget item
  • Revelation in Flesh: Budget neutral
  • Warping Implosion: Budget item with budget-neutral re-use.
Clockwork Soul:
  • Clockwork Magic: ribbon
  • Restore Balance: Budget item
  • Bastion of Law: Budget neutral
  • Trance of Order: Budget item with budget-neutral re-use
  • Clockwork Cavalcade: Budget item with budget-neutral re-use

While it varies per subclass, you can kind of get a feel for how much budget is being allowed for across the subclasses. If we recognize that the bonus spells are basically ribbon items, there's not much difference in the budgets of each.

This may also give a better idea of how to approach subclass design.

I mean, I'm glad you think more spells known is a mere ribbon, because that means you will support adding them to the class, because in your mind it won't actually change anything. But I think your entire argument is built upon faulty assumptions, and fundamentally misunderstands the actual way these abilities are utilized and measured.
 


I want to address this first, since it's central to your entire post:
Flexibility is absolutely power.
But it's not budgeted power. It's not something you can assess with a metric, because flexibility involves every possible action you could perform (say, how many spells you could select) combined with every possible thing you might possibly need to do.

Flexibility is useful, but is there any meaningful way of measuring a given "amount" of flexibility against a level 1 spell slot? What even is an "amount" of flexibility?

I based my analysis on spells considered solely in the abstract, that are assumed to be balanced against their spell level (we know that that is not true, but that's an issue for spell balance, not class budgets), and with a completely unknown selection criteria (ie: player choice), and thus must be considered entirely fungible.

I will grant that one might trade power for flexibility, or vice versa, and thus the amount of flexibility is relevant to the overall class design. However without a means of defining what flexibility is, how to measure it, and how much it is worth, there is no value in focusing on it until you can at least provide a measure of the power side of the design.

Once you have a way of comparing power budgets, then you can go back and ask whether one class being less powerful than another (for example) is compensated by a certain degree of flexibility. You build and expand on the basics.

d10's are for single target. Picking a level at random, let's say a 5th level spell. That is supposed to do 8d10 damage, or an average of 44 damage. Now, let us look at an equivalent spell of 5th level, but this is an AOE. That spell does 8d6 damage, or 28... except, that is false. You'd never cast an AOE on only one target. You'd at least hit two targets. And with two targets, that 5th level spell is doing 56 damage, the equivalent of a SIXTH level spell.
WotC have decided that a 5th level spell/spell slot should be able to do an average of 44 damage (or healing) to a single target, or 28 damage to each of multiple targets. They have not said that the spell slot is determined by the total damage done across all targets. And it's not the same, because 44 damage will push a target closer to dead than 28 damage will. 56 damage across two targets is not a 6th level spell.

After all, the new Twin Spell allows you to turn a spell like Banishment from a 4th level spell to a 5th level spell, for a single point. By your math, they have spent 1/2 of a 1st level spell slot in power, but I would argue turning a 4th level single target spell into a 5th level multi-target spell is worth more than a 1st level slot, let alone half of one.
Well, the difference between a 4th level spell slot and a 5th level spell slot is, at most, 2 SP. By Font of Magic, it would cost 6 SP to create a 4th level slot, and 7 SP to create a 5th level slot, meaning moving from 4th to 5th level is an extra 1 SP. If you use the DMG damage dice instead, it would move from 6 to 8, for a net cost of 2 SP.

Now, it would cost you more to get the SP you need by deconstructing the 4th level slot, but that inefficiency isn't what's being measured here.

And if that assumption is punctured, if a metamagic can actually be more valuable than the spell slot you could create with it... then your entire argument begins to collapse.
I don't think my argument is falling apart yet, but let's try another example. Careful Spell on Fireball. Careful Spell costs 1 SP. It's negating 8d6 damage on up to 5 targets, so could conceivably be viewed as a healing effect exactly countering the damage of the Fireball. 8d6 AOE is 5th level. Thus it could be mathematically described as a 7 SP effect.

This is a bit contrived, of course. Spells aren't constructed or budgeted that way. How about Empowered Spell instead?

Suppose we had a non-overtuned Fireball that did the recommended 6d6 damage. Empowered Spell raises the average of each die from 3.5 to 4.25 if you reroll all values 1-3. That gives the overall spell a damage rating of about 7.2 d6s, or slightly better than a level 4 version of the spell.

So again, 1 SP was spent to raise the effective level of a spell by 1. And going from a 3rd level slot to a 4th level slot costs 1 more SP (6 vs 5), so we're still fine in that regard.

Interestingly, there is a hidden effect here. Why is Arcane Recovery worth 50% of the Wizard's power when it can only make a single 1st level slot, but only worth 11% when it can make two 5th level slots. After all, 5th level spells are orders of magnitude stronger than 1st level spells.

And the reason for that is because you have more spells. Making new spells has a bigger impact when you have fewer spells because the POWER of the class is in the number of spells they can cast. The more spells you can cast, and of the greater variety, the stronger it is.
This is correct. I didn't write that out because I didn't want to belabor the point when that wasn't really a major focus.

And your conclusion is VASTLY flawed. And for a much simpler reason than you might think.

Look at the sorcerer abilities, sans metamagic and sorcery points.

- Innate Sorcery: Increase the DC of your spells by 1

Now look at the Wizard's abilities, sans arcane recovery

- Expanding the Spellbook (spend gold and time to learn new spells), Ritual Casting (Cast spells without spell slots and without preparing them, grows more powerful the more spells you have), Scholar (Expertise in a skill), Memorize Spell (always be able to have the perfect spell within 1 minute, grows more powerful the more spells you have), At-Will 1st and 2nd spells (increasing the value, since it is essentially an infinite pool of those spells to add points on the pile)


If you are correct that Metamagic isn't a "cost item" and Sorcerers are sitting at roughly 2% - 3% stronger than Wizard Arcane recovery... well, I don't think that list really accurately could be called a mere 3% increase in power. And remember when I talked earlier about the spells of the same level often being of very different power? Wizards are explicitly stated by the designers to have the best spell list in the game. Their options at each level are superior. They are starting at an advantage over the Sorcerer in pure spell power, by having the best spells bar none.
This I will agree with, mostly. You did leave out a few things for the new sorcerer abilities in the UA, while comparing against the full list of wizard abilities. Of the wizard abilities:
  • Spellbook: Not a budget item
  • Ritual Casting: Is a budget item because it bypasses an established resource, but ritual spells are heavily curated, so I don't think the actual power is that large. Has more value for flexibility.
  • Scholar: Budget item, but low value. Vaguely equivalent to Guidance, but for a single skill.
  • Memorize Spell: Not a budget item, but I feel is unbalanced on the flexibility side due to how frequently it can be used.
  • Spell Mastery: Budget item, though it did get nerfed. Difficult to judge value.
Meanwhile, while I did give a ~3% boost from Sorcerous Recovery, I didn't give a percent increase from Innate Sorcery because it varies by level, being a relatively high boost at low levels (maybe doubling power at 1st level?), down to just a few percent at 20th level. I didn't want to try to figure out what percent it counted as, so just left it as 'somewhat of a boost'.

Wizard still has more power, in my opinion, but it's almost entirely wrapped up in Spell Mastery. (And of course Memorize Spell on the flexibility side.) Otherwise I don't feel they are out of line with each other on the budget scale.

I find it strange you have compared the sorcerer and wizard here at every step, yet fail to mention the Wizard's abilities.
I don't think I have? I pulled in Arcane Recovery for the chart because its function is very similar to the spell slot-granting aspect of sorcery points, and wanted to have a comparison. I also focused on it more at the PHB level. I didn't start getting into playtest features until the UA7 section, and by that point the wizard was not being considered at all.

I mean, this is the sorcerer thread. That's what I'm focused on. The wizard comparison was merely tangential.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I want to address this first, since it's central to your entire post:

But it's not budgeted power. It's not something you can assess with a metric, because flexibility involves every possible action you could perform (say, how many spells you could select) combined with every possible thing you might possibly need to do.

Flexibility is useful, but is there any meaningful way of measuring a given "amount" of flexibility against a level 1 spell slot? What even is an "amount" of flexibility?

.....

I will grant that one might trade power for flexibility, or vice versa, and thus the amount of flexibility is relevant to the overall class design. However without a means of defining what flexibility is, how to measure it, and how much it is worth, there is no value in focusing on it until you can at least provide a measure of the power side of the design.

Once you have a way of comparing power budgets, then you can go back and ask whether one class being less powerful than another (for example) is compensated by a certain degree of flexibility. You build and expand on the basics.

I don't disagree with you that it is incredibly difficult, maybe impossible to "accurately" measure flexibility, but ignoring it is a problem. If you were just proposing an initial way to begin addressing the issue, maybe that would be fine, but you aren't. You are using your method to come to conclusions, and those methods have an obvious, gaping hole in them.

I'd actually argue that a bad way of measuring the power of flexibility in this discussion is better than ignoring it, because by ignoring it, you are encouraging people to dismiss it, and it cannot be dismissed.

I based my analysis on spells considered solely in the abstract, that are assumed to be balanced against their spell level (we know that that is not true, but that's an issue for spell balance, not class budgets), and with a completely unknown selection criteria (ie: player choice), and thus must be considered entirely fungible.

I pulled this part out, because I want to say this again. You are wrong that spells are balanced against their spell level, and we know this because the Designers have explicitly stated that the spell list is part of the class power budget. They said, on camera, explicitly, that the power of the Wizard Class is based around having the best spell list. If it was fungible to state that class budget has no consideration for spell selection, then their statement would be nonsense.

We know, from the designers own words, that part of the Power Budget of the Wizard class is found within their ability to select the most powerful and useful spells for a given level. Any methods that do not take this into account, will lead to flawed conclusions.

WotC have decided that a 5th level spell/spell slot should be able to do an average of 44 damage (or healing) to a single target, or 28 damage to each of multiple targets. They have not said that the spell slot is determined by the total damage done across all targets. And it's not the same, because 44 damage will push a target closer to dead than 28 damage will. 56 damage across two targets is not a 6th level spell.

That depends on how you divide up the hitpoints on the battlefield.

You must consider that hit points can not only be considered on an individual monster level, but on a team level. This is why Mass Cure Wounds is a more powerful spell than a cure wounds cast at the same level, because affecting the team is more impactful than affecting the individual in most circumstances. So, while yes, dealing 28 damage to two or three or even four enemies is not brining the individual enemies closer to death, it is greatly affecting the health of the opposing side.

This affect is SO noticeable in the community, that you often get optimizers talking about how single target damage spells are not worth the spell slot. Because hitting a single enemy hard has a lesser affect on the entire battle than hitting mutliple enemies medium.

Additionally, not to get too in the weeds with the distinction between AOE and Single Target damage, control spells can end up doing effectively far more damage than what a single spell can do. Take Dominate Person, an example I already gave. In a situation where a powerful character like a barbarian fails that wisdom check (or is it charisma?) multiple things happen. 1) You have stopped incoming damage to your team by taking the enemy off the board 2) You have turned that enemy against their allies, dealing damage to the enemies 3) The enemies are know fighting their ally, taking even more damage off of your team and forcing them to spend resources hurting each other instead of hurting you. It is a DEVASTATING effect in the correct situation, and far more impactful than single target damage. In fact, it is so powerful that if you gave me an option between killing a target, or dominating it for two rounds of combat... I'd take the domination hands down every time. Because the stronger and more dangerous that target is, the more I want them pointed at my enemies.

And so, I think your method of using the damage dice and the spell points and converting things directly in terms of that is lacking. A single mid-level spell can devastate a situation far more than five or six low level spells. And your math doesn't show that.

Well, the difference between a 4th level spell slot and a 5th level spell slot is, at most, 2 SP. By Font of Magic, it would cost 6 SP to create a 4th level slot, and 7 SP to create a 5th level slot, meaning moving from 4th to 5th level is an extra 1 SP. If you use the DMG damage dice instead, it would move from 6 to 8, for a net cost of 2 SP.

Now, it would cost you more to get the SP you need by deconstructing the 4th level slot, but that inefficiency isn't what's being measured here.

But that clearly doesn't make sense. Like, sure, your math leads you to that conclusion, but if you could cast a 5th level spell, or a 4th and a 1st level spell then you would be kind of insane to take the 4th level slot. We all know, intuitively, that the increase of value is more than your math is trying to show. The nature of the things you are able to accomplish fundamentally changes between spell levels. Sure they all offer damage options, that never changes, but the most powerful and impactful effects always have a transformational value. For example, you go from being able to teleport yourself and one ally 500 ft to being able to construct a circle that can teleport upwards of twelve people where ever you want. That isn't an increase in power equivalent to 1d10 damage on a 1st level spell.

I don't think my argument is falling apart yet, but let's try another example. Careful Spell on Fireball. Careful Spell costs 1 SP. It's negating 8d6 damage on up to 5 targets, so could conceivably be viewed as a healing effect exactly countering the damage of the Fireball. 8d6 AOE is 5th level. Thus it could be mathematically described as a 7 SP effect.

This is a bit contrived, of course. Spells aren't constructed or budgeted that way.

But, importantly, Careful Spell isn't a spell. You can't dismiss the effect by claiming that spells aren't constructed or budgeted this way, because what you are describing is not a spell in the first place. And additionally, we absolutely know from testing these things out, that 1 Sorcery point is absolutely the correct value for Careful spell, while the effect it is producing is far and away more than what could be accomplished with half a 1st level spell.

And, let us not forget as well, Careful Spells value is VARIABLE. You say it is worth 7 SP because it prevents 8d6 damage on AOE targets? Well what if we cast Sunburst instead? Now it is preventing 10d6 damage on AOE targets and would be worth 10 SP. I've increased the value of the metamagic in your calculations by simply changing the spell. And so, does it make sense to measure Sorcery points as being equal to spell level cost, when a single sorcery point spent on Careful spell can have a "spell value" between 2 and 10 points, depending on the spell you cast?

How about Empowered Spell instead?

Suppose we had a non-overtuned Fireball that did the recommended 6d6 damage. Empowered Spell raises the average of each die from 3.5 to 4.25 if you reroll all values 1-3. That gives the overall spell a damage rating of about 7.2 d6s, or slightly better than a level 4 version of the spell.

So again, 1 SP was spent to raise the effective level of a spell by 1. And going from a 3rd level slot to a 4th level slot costs 1 more SP (6 vs 5), so we're still fine in that regard.

Sure, but we run into another problem here. That sorcerery point on Empowered spell is still a single sorcery point. Take Sunburst again, using that same Empower spell you can raise it from 12d6 to 14.6d6. That takes it from a 7th level spell value to a 9th level spell value according your math. That is 3 points of value.

And if we take this a step further, look at Meteor Swarm. It is doing 40d6 normally. And Empower could raise that to 48.6d6, which if we assume the chart continues upward, that starts getting into the 12 or 14 point values.

So, again I ask, with the value of a Sorcerery point being so highly variable in your math, can we really and honestly say that your system is working? You've assumed a very clear connection in value between a sorcery point and a spell point used to create a spell slot, but Sorcerery points often have effects far outside of that 1 to 1 conversion.

And what about sorcery points that are used in ways that seem to have no spell equivalent value? Elemental spell swaps damage types, but there is no spell level value here. A cold spell doing 6d6 damage is worth the exact same as a lightning spell doing 6d6 damage. Are you therefore losing value, creating an effect that is worth 0 points?

This is correct. I didn't write that out because I didn't want to belabor the point when that wasn't really a major focus.

I am curious why you made an entire chart trying to show case the comparability between wizard and sorcerer values then, and calling out your results, if comparing the sorcerer and wizard wasn't a major focus of your point? It was your entire first act, setting the stage for your position. It seems rather important.

This I will agree with, mostly. You did leave out a few things for the new sorcerer abilities in the UA, while comparing against the full list of wizard abilities. Of the wizard abilities:
  • Spellbook: Not a budget item
  • Ritual Casting: Is a budget item because it bypasses an established resource, but ritual spells are heavily curated, so I don't think the actual power is that large. Has more value for flexibility.
  • Scholar: Budget item, but low value. Vaguely equivalent to Guidance, but for a single skill.
  • Memorize Spell: Not a budget item, but I feel is unbalanced on the flexibility side due to how frequently it can be used.
  • Spell Mastery: Budget item, though it did get nerfed. Difficult to judge value.
Meanwhile, while I did give a ~3% boost from Sorcerous Recovery, I didn't give a percent increase from Innate Sorcery because it varies by level, being a relatively high boost at low levels (maybe doubling power at 1st level?), down to just a few percent at 20th level. I didn't want to try to figure out what percent it counted as, so just left it as 'somewhat of a boost'.

Wizard still has more power, in my opinion, but it's almost entirely wrapped up in Spell Mastery. (And of course Memorize Spell on the flexibility side.) Otherwise I don't feel they are out of line with each other on the budget scale.

As someone who has seen the power of rituals first hand? You are vastly underestimating how impactful it is.

And, again, your call that flexibility can be mostly ignored is blinding you. The Spellbook is absolutely a "budget item" because it directly ties into the sheer amount of power a wizard can bring to bear over a campaign. Again, optimizers and people who study the classes for their power often comment that it makes a large difference if your DM provides access to spells and gold for a wizard. To the point that in a video I watched some months ago, it was a notable strategy to have two wizards in the party, who would copy each others books, because that meant that instead of gaining 2 spells per level, they gained 4 spells per level.

And once more, it is a stated "budget item" that the wizard has the best spell list, with the best spells on it. Therefore, gaining more of those best spells is more power.

I don't think I have? I pulled in Arcane Recovery for the chart because its function is very similar to the spell slot-granting aspect of sorcery points, and wanted to have a comparison. I also focused on it more at the PHB level. I didn't start getting into playtest features until the UA7 section, and by that point the wizard was not being considered at all.

I mean, this is the sorcerer thread. That's what I'm focused on. The wizard comparison was merely tangential.

I didn't feel like it was. After all, you concluded "We can thus conclude that the power budget for the wizard and the sorcerer at the class level is basically the same, though I won't try to compare the capstones."

In a discussion about whether or not the sorcerer needs more power in its class budget, stating it has the same, or basically the same, power budget of one of the most powerful classes in the game is a statement which shuts down the conversation. How could someone argue that the sorcerer isn't quite reaching their full potential if we "agree" that they are similiar in strength to the wizard? Any boosts at that point would be egregious and overtuning.

This is why I'm pushing back against your work here. It leads to conclusions, or assumes positions, that will end with the Sorcerer in a much poorer state than I think they deserve. For example, while innate Sorcerery may seem very powerful... it is actually probably a pretty minor effect. Increasing your spell DC by +1 sounds dramatic, but in practice, it is a 5% increase in accuracy. For 2 minutes a day. Compare to the Devotion Paladin using a Channel Divinity and a bonus action to increase their accuracy between 10% and 20%, for 3 to 5 minutes per day, with tertiary benefits. Spells are more valuable to land, but you can see the disconnect here. That is an awfully small boost for the sorcerer in comparison, and we can deduce from a full class comparison, that they are already falling behind.
 

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