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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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MGibster

Legend
Why not just let the player choose what primary attribute to use as the basis for their spell casting abilities? Maybe a wizard specializing in elemental magic grows in strength as their connection to the earth deepens. Perhaps a sorcerer is able to tap into the power of the universe via a series of complex gesticulations and movement in a sort of cosmic dance which can be based on dexterity. Maybe a bard's magic is based off his keen insight into the foibles of mortals which grants him the ability to deliver spells in conjunction with his wry humorous observation (Dave Chappelle the bard!).

This would allow players and DMs more freedom to create the kind of characters, campaigns, and settings that they prefer. Why not a fighter who uses her intelligence to figure out the opponent's weakest point and strike at the right time? Just because we've always connected intelligence to wizards and charisma to sorcerers doesn't mean we're stuck doing that forever.
 

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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Why not just let the player choose what primary attribute to use as the basis for their spell casting abilities? Maybe a wizard specializing in elemental magic grows in strength as their connection to the earth deepens. Perhaps a sorcerer is able to tap into the power of the universe via a series of complex gesticulations and movement in a sort of cosmic dance which can be based on dexterity. Maybe a bard's magic is based off his keen insight into the foibles of mortals which grants him the ability to deliver spells in conjunction with his wry humorous observation (Dave Chappelle the bard!).

This would allow players and DMs more freedom to create the kind of characters, campaigns, and settings that they prefer. Why not a fighter who uses her intelligence to figure out the opponent's weakest point and strike at the right time? Just because we've always connected intelligence to wizards and charisma to sorcerers doesn't mean we're stuck doing that forever.
Why would anyone choose anything other than con or dex?
 



Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
People say that, but I’ve never seen anyone play one and not love it. 🤷‍♂️
It was for the challenge, not because there was an easy prize for the taking.
In my case, a PC with permanently-low AC and no way to qualify for the better armor feats - so even if I had played into Paragon or above, peasants bearing pitchforks could always be my doom. On the other hand, once I resigned myself to being low-AC no DPR King nor an RBA spammer, I found out that I could swamp my foes in molasses via a wave of status conditions.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It was for the challenge, not because there was an easy prize for the taking.
In my case, a PC with permanently-low AC and no way to qualify for the better armor feats - so even if I had played into Paragon or above, peasants bearing pitchforks could always be my doom. On the other hand, once I resigned myself to being low-AC no DPR King nor an RBA spammer, I found out that I could swamp my foes in molasses via a wave of status conditions.
Which is...very effective. 🤷‍♂️
And magic clothe armor keeps up just fine IME, for non-frontliners.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
So, what do you all think? Should Sorcerers use Constitution instead of Charisma?
I don't have a particular preference.

I think that using Constitution would probably make them more single-ability-score-dependent, therefore "cheaper" to build, since Charisma would become a potentially dump stat for them. But since Sorcerer already get slightly less than other classes, I wouldn't mind too much.

Rather, the main downside of having a class whose abilities depend on Charisma, is that every character of that class automatically becomes socially awesome. That's not exactly equivalent to other classes depending for example on Intelligence (automatically a genius) or Wisdom (automatically very attentive/aware) or a physical ability. The difference is that high Charisma impacts the whole group... if you have a top-Charisma character in the party, many groups will be tempted to have everyone else dump their own Charisma, and let the charismatic PC handle all social interactions. Other stats have a more individual nature, but Charisma works in a more "shared" fashion compared to others.

In addition, while it makes total sense for a Bard to always necessarily have high Charisma, because by definition a Bard is a master of social interaction, be it storytelling or performance or whatever, there's no particular reason why some Sorcerers could instead be shy or socially inept.

There is no real bad thing that would happen from having a Constitution-based spellcaster by the way, unless someone has a very conservative thinking that spellcasting stat must be one of the 3 mental stats (I digress, but since Constitution affects concentration, it means it's not ONLY a physical stat, but represents something both physical and mental). In fact, in the 3e Rokugan fantasy setting where all playable spellcasters are of the Shugenja class, the spellcasting stat depends on your chosen natural element, and Earth-based Shugenja use Constitution without causing problems to the game.
 

Stalker0

Legend
My personal list.

Wizard - Int
Warlock - Wis (you are drawing power from extraplanar powers. The closest other class that does that is the Cleric. There's nothing in the class about bargaining other than first getting the powers, otherwise it works very much like clerical magic)
Bard - Cha
Sorc - Con (yep I like your idea)

Now you couldn't do it in a vaccuum, you probably would need to change the class abilities to adjust for the new stat. But conceptually, this would work to me.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
My personal list.

Wizard - Int
Warlock - Wis (you are drawing power from extraplanar powers. The closest other class that does that is the Cleric. There's nothing in the class about bargaining other than first getting the powers, otherwise it works very much like clerical magic)
Bard - Cha
Sorc - Con (yep I like your idea)

Now you couldn't do it in a vaccuum, you probably would need to change the class abilities to adjust for the new stat. But conceptually, this would work to me.
I'm more a fan of keeping sorcerer as a Charisma caster, but then move Bard further into the jack of all trades box and have each Bard choose one stat and casting style. (Wis because they prepare and cast as a Druid, Int when they keep a spellbook and Cha when they go all inner magic)
 

Sithlord

Explorer
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.
I feel the same way about Charisma based casting.
 

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