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Level Up (A5E) Sorcerer Playtest: My Nitty Gritty Feedback

Stalker0

Legend
In this thread, I am going to do a nitty gritty review of the new Sorceror Playtest packet. We are going to get detailed and nuanced, so buckle in!

For ease of reference, I'm going to use a quick rating system.

A - Perfect, solid, I love it.
B - A bit more niche than I would like, but probably in the right campaign it will be fine.
C - Needs some work, its on the weak side.
O - Overpowered, just too strong, needs a tone down.

Further, I do want to dig in to Flavor at bit as well, as that is an important part of the analysis, so I will also include a Flavor rating for certain abilities. If I don’t mention anything, I assume a base “good” rating, aka I think it’s perfectly fine and serviceable flavor.

F+ I love this flavor, I immediately thought of playing a character with X.
F- Something is lacking here, this idea is not jiving with me.

Sorcerer "Feel" (F-): Sorcerer's has been consistently one of the lowest ranked classes since 5e came out. From feedback I've seen on forums and the like, its not so much power per say as it is "feel". There is just something in the base sorceror class that seems off, that doesn't translate the notion of an "innate magic in my blood caster" well into game. My impression of the Level up Sorc is similar. Ultimately what we have is a base sorc with "more stuff". Now stuff is fun, I like stuff....so its likely the level up sorc would be an improvement overall. But...I think its also a missed opportunity. This is a class that could be well served with some true out of the box thinking, something really different from what we have now. So there is a feeling of disappointment with this class that I have not yet felt with any of the other playtests to come out yet.

I actually think the best thing for flavor in this new packet are the knacks. Some of those knacks are so simple, and yet they "Feel" very magical, like hot air or magnetic step. I would like more things like, subtle ways in which its clear you are not normal, your entire self is born of magic, and as such it effects you in numerous ways.

Overall Balance (O): So how it compare to the base Sorc?

Ultimately this is a simple comparison, as the base sorc gets nothing that this sorc doesn't get more of (unless you count the new variant in Tashas). The one exception is the base sorc can choose certain metamagic combos at 5th level that the level up cannot, such as quicked spell + heighten spell. Now since you can't use most of them together you aren't missing out on any power combos, but it does limit some of the old builds.

But in every other way...the new sorc is flat out superior. I cannot imagine many vanilla sorcs would feel good sitting at the same table as a level up sorc.

Manifestation

Cold (A): A nice little debuff, nothing crazy but nice. Combines with ray of frost for a really strong movement debuff.

Acid (O, F-): We have two problems here. One is that the debuff can be exceptionally strong, even a -3 or -4 is really good (and there's nothing that says multiple hits with different spells don't stack). The second is that it works against a 5e truism, which really tries to prevent players for redoing stats in combat. The effects that do it are very rare.

Lightning / Thunder (B): If this was a fly movement or a teleport or something it would be really cool, but a simple 10 foot move for a caster is not all that great. Give me a 10 foot teleport (ride the lightning style), and I'm in!

Fire (O): This is hilariously overpowered. I can launch a fireball and have one target take an extra 15 (6d4) every round. If the target puts it out, I've removed an action for no cost to me which is crazy amazing, or the creature takes a strong amount of damage. This is 100% too good.

Venom (A): I think this is the best one of the bunch. Its reasonable in effect and helps a poison theme user overcome their biggest weakness, the fact that so many things in the game are resistant / immune to poison.


Latent Power

All Eyes (B, STI): Could be useful in the hands of a creative player. My main issue with it is the implication that characters need actions to make charisma checks normally, and I bet a lot of DMs allow their players to speak words freely at least to a point, so I'm worried this infringes on that a bit.

Daunting Energy (A): This one has the weird side effect of allowing you to discern magic in another through intimidation....but weird works when it comes to the sorc imo. Otherwise, just nice.

Unsuspecting (A): This one is my favorite so far, though with the new Tasha's variant you may want to reconsider this effect, as Tasha's can do it any ability check.


Metamagic: My only two notes here, I appreciate the extra metamagic known, its a very nice solid help to the sorc....who were over limited before imo. I also think that careful spell should be a minor metamagic, its no where near the power level of a heightened or quicken.


Arcane Refinement

Deep Conduit (A, F-): So I like the concept of draining yourself for power. That said, I don't like both hitdie and damage taken, that seems somewhat unintuitive, and similar to the fighter maneuvers I fear its abuse, getting lots of sorc points but then having no recovery and "expecting" the party healer to top you off. I think I would rather see a simple "X times per day, you can gain 1 sorc point and take Y damage".

Patient Aptitude (A, F+): Though I don't like the name, I like this ability a lot...adds a lot of potential flexibility to the class.

Prodigious Innovator (A): I'm a sorc with guidance and eldritch blast now, pretty darn solid.


Rapturous Presence

Larger than Life (A, F+): I don't like the "now you have to show up" mechanic, I feel like that forces the flavor here. I could see some DMs already doing that at their discretion. Without that, its a cool mechanic, I think a lot of players would enjoy the player of scaring really powerful NPCs who just assume they are crazy strong.

Nobody's Fool (A, F+): This is hands down my favorite ability in the whole packet. Its strong, wickedly fun flavor, and downright intimidating when you think of the roleplay implications.

Otherworldly (B): In some campaigns, changing your type could be really good, but I think generally this is going to see use only once in a while.


Evolving Manifestations

Evolving Blizzard (A, F+): With the combination of the sorceror point cost, I think this one is strong but still reasonable. Makes me think of ice man continuously replenishing ice armor around himself.

Evolving Caustic (B): This one creates some fun terrain options, I like it, its just a bit weaker than a lot of the others, but it has its place.

Evolving Hurricane (A): Now this is nice, strong defensive protection and difficulty getting to you, this one feels really nice.

Evolving Inferno (C): Hehe making up for the crazy strong early fire one, you are only doing more damage with it then the firebolt cantrip if you cast a 4th level spell or higher. But then add on the sorcery point cost, and I would never use this.

Evolving Venom (A): This is how you do ongoing damage. It doesn't scale, so its just a nice little addon, but its free damage for no action cost. Honestly considering that poison spells aren't normally that strong, I think you could just allow this for every person that gets hit.


Exploration Knacks

Hot Air (A, F+): This is fun and the float on water can actually be really good. This has a nice magical vibe without being overtly magical.

Magnetic Step (A): Very nice.

Strange Traces (B): This one is going to come up less than others, and with a sorc cost I think its a bit weak. I say just make it an ability straight up, its rare that this ability would make a difference I say let it ride.

Weird Insight (A, F+): This one is cool and has a neat flavor, effectively consulting your own self for knowledge which can be fun to roleplay.

Wode Sense (C): Just too specific to be that good, it would have to be a campaign that is non stop travel.
 

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