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Sorcerers Should Be Constitution-Based Casters, Not Charisma

The title is pretty self-explanatory, but I'll explain what I mean and why I think it works better than the current Sorcerer class.

Before I start explaining, let me explain that I am not saying that this should be immediately implemented into 5e as is. Constitution has its own balance issues, which I've gone into detail on in this thread. This change would likely require a 5.5e/6e in order to implement without major balance issues.

Sorcerous magic is inherent/innate. The PHB says, "Magic is a part of every sorcerer, suffusing body, mind, and spirit with a latent power that waits to be tapped". The Draconic Sorcerer subclass is even called the "Draconic Bloodline". Sorcerers get magic from being born with it or having their body/mind/soul warped by a magical power source (like the Shadowfell or Limbo). They are suffused with arcane magic, it being a part of them. Additionally, there is a basis for this. The magic item the Bloodwell Vial requires a sorcerer to put their blood in the magic item before they can attune to it. The Aberrant Dragonmark feat lets you use Constitution to cast sorcerer spells. Genasi can cast their innate elemental spells using Constitution. It just makes sense and should be the base.

So, what do you all think? Should Sorcerers use Constitution instead of Charisma?
 

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I hate constitution based casting. I hate it from a lore perspective. I hate it from a mechanical perspective.

Fundamentally "constitution" just has the wrong connotations for me in D&D. I get the appeal of somehow casting at the cost to ones own vital essence, if Sorcerers got an ability to do X extra special magical thing but had to make a con save to avoid necrotic damage from it, I'm fine by that. I also like that Sorcerers are proficient in con saves, since that indicates some sort of advanced control over their health rather than more health.

But D&D constitution is very much about one's mundane health. Lore-wise, someone with a high constitution is someone who exercises regularly and takes their fantasy vitamins. That should not increase their spell save DC. Nor do I like the mechanical incentive to emphasize stats that go cross-purpose to being given a d6 hit die, nor do I like the game balance implications making an already fairly SAD class more so.

If there was an ability score for "innate magical energy" I'd say Sorcerers should use that. In lieu of that, however, I'd say "Charisma", the pure force of personality, is the best match available.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Charisma is also your sense of self. To me that sense of self is what allows the Sorcerer to tap into that innate magical power in his body. The Sorcerer's brother who doesn't have that high charisma still has the blood, but isn't able to use it. I wouldn't change Sorcerer out of charisma.
 




Aldarc

Legend
I actually think that clerics being WIS is weird for me. Do we think of priests as people with supernatural hearing and eyesight? Seems weird that the "blinded by the light" archetype is actually pretty impossible in D&D.
If the cleric is framed as a "divine mystic" that actually meditated, relied on intuition, and had extrasensory perception? Sure. But the crusader-based cleric of D&D? Nah.

That's just the result of Wisdom being the least coherent of the ability scores (and thus the one they threw out in DCC).
I like a base four: (1) Strength/Might/Brawn; (2) Dexterity/Agility; (3) Intellect/Wits/Smarts; (4) Spirit/Willpower.

IMHO, Constitution/Stamina doesn't really do anything apart from bonus HP and Con saves. It's too passive, and it doesn't really tell a player how the character would approach or interact with the world like other attributes. The Con saves part could be added to Strength, and why do we even need bonus HP when HP bloat is a problem and classes determine HD?
 

TheSword

Legend
I would actually have a sorcerer key off both abilities.

Spell casting: Charisma
Arcana Points: Level + Con bonus.

I think making Sorcerers all about Con would make them too good for multiclassing into fighting classes - when they’re already good at that.

I definitely agree that too much keys of Charisma. Make Paladins Wisdom again and Warlocks Intelligence.
 
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I want to make the case for Sorcerers using Strength!

I don't think it's supported by any of the lore, but I love the idea of Sorcerers expressing their magic through martial will. Pinching out fireballs, kicking lightning bolts... Turning sorcerers into little Avatars could be a lot of fun.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
In addition to the arguments held so far, Sorcerers are the original Charisma caster! Changing them away from Charisma would be like making them prepared casters. Sorcerers are enigmatic and mysterious, that is part of their charm. Shifting them away from it would mean a huge loss. A constitution based sorcerer would feel less magical -IMO, I could be biased because in 3.x monsters derived mundane effects like poison DC from Constitution. -.

Now, I love the idea of mechanics to represent the connection of magic with life force. It could be something as simple as having the ability to convert hit dice to sorcery points, and to take damage if we are put of hit dice.
 

Scribe

Hero
Now, I love the idea of mechanics to represent the connection of magic with life force. It could be something as simple as having the ability to convert hit dice to sorcery points, and to take damage if we are put of hit dice.

I've written up a few classes/sub-classes on this mechanism since this topic started, but I'm focusing on the Warlock instead, HP for Sorcery Points for Spell Slots, could just be HP for Spell Slots, or even HP for Spells. Lots of ways to play around with it. I'm surprised we dont already have this mechanic in 5e actually its quite common when I start looking around.

I believe there's maybe a 3rd Party class for it in Mercer's world but I dont own his stuff.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I've written up a few classes/sub-classes on this mechanism since this topic started, but I'm focusing on the Warlock instead, HP for Sorcery Points for Spell Slots, could just be HP for Spell Slots, or even HP for Spells. Lots of ways to play around with it. I'm surprised we dont already have this mechanic in 5e actually its quite common when I start looking around.

I believe there's maybe a 3rd Party class for it in Mercer's world but I dont own his stuff.
I made a cantrip back when the database existed that did this.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Wow, con based unbalanced?
Yes its!!
But, The spellcasting costs HP instead Spell slot!
It should work!
Only when the whole game is designed around that paradigm. Spells can heal far more hp than you could ever have them cost. As such allowing such would allow spell slots to never run dry. Such a thing doesn't work, it breaks the game.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
The title is pretty self-explanatory, but I'll explain what I mean and why I think it works better than the current Sorcerer class.

Before I start explaining, let me explain that I am not saying that this should be immediately implemented into 5e as is. Constitution has its own balance issues, which I've gone into detail on in this thread. This change would likely require a 5.5e/6e in order to implement without major balance issues.

Sorcerous magic is inherent/innate. The PHB says, "Magic is a part of every sorcerer, suffusing body, mind, and spirit with a latent power that waits to be tapped". The Draconic Sorcerer subclass is even called the "Draconic Bloodline". Sorcerers get magic from being born with it or having their body/mind/soul warped by a magical power source (like the Shadowfell or Limbo). They are suffused with arcane magic, it being a part of them. Additionally, there is a basis for this. The magic item the Bloodwell Vial requires a sorcerer to put their blood in the magic item before they can attune to it. The Aberrant Dragonmark feat lets you use Constitution to cast sorcerer spells. Genasi can cast their innate elemental spells using Constitution. It just makes sense and should be the base.

So, what do you all think? Should Sorcerers use Constitution instead of Charisma?

It doesn't make sense lore wise. Dragons and other monsters don't typically cast spells via Constitution.

It doesn't make sense balance wise for 1 single caster class to couple survivability and offense together - especially when martials don't get that benefit.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
This topic reminds me of an old house-rule we used for 3.5 Edition, back in the day. One of the players wanted to home-brew a special kind of sorcerer that could sacrifice her hit points to power her spells...effectively letting her use her hit points as spell slots. So I allowed it on a trial basis, and it turned out to be pretty fun.

Basically, to cast a spell she would have to reduce her max HP by the spell level. Want to cast Fireball, reduce your max hp by 3. Magic missile, max hp goes down by 1. And so on. To help prevent the worst abuses, we ruled that those hit points stayed gone until dawn of the next day; it couldn't be cure light wounds'd or lesser restoration'd away.

It worked fine; the player was satisfied and the character was fun to play. I think she especially liked that she only had to track her hit points...no fiddly spell slots, no separate piles of resources. I'm not sure how well it would translate to 5E, or to non-sorcerer characters, or high-level characters, or multiclassed characters, or with powergamey min/max players, or etc. etc. etc. But we enjoyed it well enough.
 

Hohige

Explorer
This topic reminds me of an old house-rule we used for 3.5 Edition, back in the day. One of the players wanted to home-brew a special kind of sorcerer that could sacrifice her hit points to power her spells...effectively letting her use her hit points as spell slots. So I allowed it on a trial basis, and it turned out to be pretty fun.

Basically, to cast a spell she would have to reduce her max HP by the spell level. Want to cast Fireball, reduce your max hp by 3. Magic missile, max hp goes down by 1. And so on. To help prevent the worst abuses, we ruled that those hit points stayed gone until dawn of the next day; it couldn't be cure light wounds'd or lesser restoration'd away.

It worked fine; the player was satisfied and the character was fun to play. I think she especially liked that she only had to track her hit points...no fiddly spell slots, no separate piles of resources. I'm not sure how well it would translate to 5E, or to non-sorcerer characters, or high-level characters, or multiclassed characters, or with powergamey min/max players, or etc. etc. etc. But we enjoyed it well enough.
Con based that uses HP instead Spell slot makes a lot of sense.
Magic in your blood....
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
This topic reminds me of an old house-rule we used for 3.5 Edition, back in the day. One of the players wanted to home-brew a special kind of sorcerer that could sacrifice her hit points to power her spells...effectively letting her use her hit points as spell slots. So I allowed it on a trial basis, and it turned out to be pretty fun.

Basically, to cast a spell she would have to reduce her max HP by the spell level. Want to cast Fireball, reduce your max hp by 3. Magic missile, max hp goes down by 1. And so on. To help prevent the worst abuses, we ruled that those hit points stayed gone until dawn of the next day; it couldn't be cure light wounds'd or lesser restoration'd away.

It worked fine; the player was satisfied and the character was fun to play. I think she especially liked that she only had to track her hit points...no fiddly spell slots, no separate piles of resources. I'm not sure how well it would translate to 5E, or to non-sorcerer characters, or high-level characters, or multiclassed characters, or with powergamey min/max players, or etc. etc. etc. But we enjoyed it well enough.
Well lowering max go isn’t quite the same as lowering hp ;). I could more easily get on board with the max hp part.
 

It doesn't make sense lore wise. Dragons and other monsters don't typically cast spells via Constitution.

It doesn't make sense balance wise for 1 single caster class to couple survivability and offense together - especially when martials don't get that benefit.
Then change the lore. It's happened before. Or, explain why True Dragons cast using CHA and why their descendants cast using CON. Lore is a non-issue.

Then make other classes focus more on CON, too. If the Blood Hunter ever becomes official, it could use CON for its abilities.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Then change the lore. It's happened before. Or, explain why True Dragons cast using CHA and why their descendants cast using CON. Lore is a non-issue.

How about no?

Then make other classes focus more on CON, too. If the Blood Hunter ever becomes official, it could use CON for its abilities.

Doesn't sound much like D&D to me...
 


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