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D&D 5E The curious case of the double-dragon sorcerer


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I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Versatility can be shown to be direct power.

If you take two participants in rock/paper/scissors and one can only throw rock & paper, while the other can throw rock, paper, and scissors one is obviously more powerful than the other.

In r/p/s, there are only ever three possible options, and you're going to need one of the three.

In D&D, there are limitless options and you're not necessarily going to need any of them. One of the key things about the box analogy is that it is impossible to predict which box is going to be useful. Red, blue, green. Heck, it could turn out purple boxes or yellow boxes are the best to use. And it could change tomorrow. You cannot know when you're paying for the box which one is going to be better, if any. The value of any particular color is not known.

Fralex said:
Yes, an extra option doesn't add to a character's power if they still have to choose one or the other to use. But wouldn't you agree that if someone is better-prepared, they benefit from the versatality in a way that someone with one less option does not match?

Only in a situation where the possible situations they could be in had some sort of limit. In D&D, there is no such limit. Being prepared for more possible situations doesn't actually make you more able to contribute than someone prepared for the given situation in play.

This problem is exemplified in the 3e bard. The 3e bard is versatile as heck, able to do almost anything. But it is (debatably) the weakest class in the game, because all of those options doesn't actually give them more actions or more damage or more healing or more power than others. Yeah, they're going to be awesome in a niche situation where, say, the cleric is dead and the party needs a "backup." But because the situations are infinite, that versatility has trouble coming into play in a way that makes a bard feel useful.

It's also one of the reasons that wizards, despite their versatility in memorizing different spells each day, are not more powerful than other classes simply because of that. They can contribute in more circumstances, but the game never runs out of circumstances, so that doesn't actually make them more able to contribute than a class that isn't as versatile. A random encounter out of an infinite set of possible encounters is still going to be something that the party can solve without the one specific spell or ability that only the wizard has access to.
 

Derren

Hero
In D&D, there are limitless options and you're not necessarily going to need any of them. One of the key things about the box analogy is that it is impossible to predict which box is going to be useful. Red, blue, green. Heck, it could turn out purple boxes or yellow boxes are the best to use. And it could change tomorrow. You cannot know when you're paying for the box which one is going to be better, if any. The value of any particular color is not known.

And that is why your analogy is flawed. Sorcerers do not predict in what situation they will get when spending sorcery points, they know the situation as they are right in it.
 

PnPgamer

Explorer
Sorcerer may have spent his sorcerer points beforehand on something else, and may be missing points to get his bloodline resistance going.
 

Fralex

Explorer
In r/p/s, there are only ever three possible options, and you're going to need one of the three.

In D&D, there are limitless options and you're not necessarily going to need any of them.
Overall, yes, there are virtually limitless options. But all we're talking about is the options for spending sorcery points. There is a quite-finite number of things they can do, and you're going to want to use some of them. But unless you're the DM or a real-life Telepath or Seer, you have no way of knowing, at character creation, which of those options you're going to end up wanting later. If you choose to take one option away, either you'll go through the whole game without ever ending up wanting to use it, or at at least one point in the game you will wish you had it. If you choose to keep that option, either you'll go through the whole game without ever wanting to use it, or at at least one point in the game you will want to use it and be fortunate enough to have it. At best, the first choice will be irrelevent and at worst it will cost you your life. If you choose the second one, the worst that could happen is you will never need to use it, and at best it will save your life. I don't like any battle plan containing the underlined phrase, "and hope they miss a lot."

Being prepared for more possible situations doesn't actually make you more able to contribute than someone prepared for the given situation in play.

Ah, but does it make you more able to contribute than someone unprepared for the situation in play, if it was one of the situations you had prepared for? And does being unprepared for more possible situations make you more able to contribute than someone prepared for the situation in play? Is arbitrarily reducing your capabilities just in case it turns out not to matter a better decision than maximizing your capabilities just in case it does turn out to matter? Power is not single-dimensional. There's how much you can contribute in a given situation, and then there's how many given situations your power can contribute in. That sideways growth does count for something! To use the Rock-Paper-Scissors analogy, there's no guarantee you'll need to use all three options, but preemptively deciding to only use rock regardless of what it looks like your opponent is about to throw (for this analogy to work, we're assuming you're one of those RPC champions that can usually tell what their opponent is going to use next after a few rounds) puts you at a clear disadvantage.

Wizards, despite their versatility in memorizing different spells each day, are not more powerful than other classes simply because of that. They can contribute in more circumstances, but the game never runs out of circumstances, so that doesn't actually make them more able to contribute than a class that isn't as versatile. A random encounter out of an infinite set of possible encounters is still going to be something that the party can solve without the one specific spell or ability that only the wizard has access to.

The reason wizards are balanced against less-versatile classes is that the spell versatility comes at a price. They are the only class that both does not automatically know every spell on its spell list and has to choose a limited number of spells to be available each day. In our case though, it's much simpler; we're comparing two identical classes with one class having one additional option. All else being equal, that one additional option makes the class slightly more capable.
 

Derren

Hero
Sorcerer may have spent his sorcerer points beforehand on something else, and may be missing points to get his bloodline resistance going.

And how is this a disadvantage compared to the sorcerer who can't even use his resistance and is also out of points?
 


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