5E UA Spell Versatility: A deeper dive

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
So here is a bunch of spells I could see someone wanting to "swap into" for the Sorcerer.

The categories I got where:
a) NINJA - you know you have to be sneaky tomorrow, and you usually aren't.
b) UTILITY - there is some operation that would be nearly impossible without this spell.
c) ENEMY - you are gonna fight a vampire! Pull out the sun. Or invisible foes, or plants, or similar.


I did this in one pass, so probably some questionable ones or ones I've missed.
So, most of that list doesn't fall where I expected.

Teleportation circle was a great because it was a specific usage, and a usage that almost never is harmed by waiting day, because the entire point is to shorten travel by multiple days.

But things like Dominate Monster, Sunbeam or Blight are just generally useful spells.

Out of your entire list I'd see Comprehend Language (for writing), water breathing and water walk, plane shift and Creation. Those are the ones I could see a wizard not taking if the sorcerer could have it wirgin 24 hours.
 

Ashrym

Hero
What I'm saying is that there is another important element, which is the ability to gain access to a particular spell you don't currently have access to the next day.
Sorcerers aren't going to be changing spells daily. That's part of the inherent flaw in the arguments against spell versatility. They'll only be changing a particular spell maybe if an incentive to do so comes up. This is still arguing the exception instead of the expectation.

I'm not seeing what you are expressing in the games we're testing this in.

Or to go beyond that, let me briefly point out the three levels of spell access:

1) Immediate Spell Access: This is almost purely based on the number of spells you can have currently prepared. Spell Versatility does basically nothing to increase the sorcerer's flexibility compared to wizard in this area, as you rightly point out.

2) Tomorrow Spell Access: Standard 5e gives the wizard flexibility in this based on their personal spellbook. Sorcerer gets nothing here. Spell Versatility changes this dynamic drastically by giving the sorcerer their entire spell list (substantially bigger than a wizard's personal spellbook) to choose from.

3) Extended Time Spell Access: Standard 5e gives wizards the same flexibility in this as in Tomorrow Spell Access, with the additional highly campaign dependent ability (which I believe DMs should make reasonably available as a part of wizard identity, but can not be assumed in 5e) to also add new spells to their spellbook. Sorcerers have nothing here. Spell Versatility skyrockets the sorcerer's ability here, allowing them to acquire and cast any spell on the sorcerer list, as well as completely rewrite their personal spells known.

It is completely true that the wizard has a bigger and pretty much objectively better class spell list than the sorcerer. I do not think that invalidates the concerns, since the wizard's limited access to that spell list is of bigger importance when comparing them.
The UA changes are addressing one of the important levels of spell access that you did not list. Swapping spells out on leveling up. That was a concern and the expectation was that classes that use the spells known mechanic were to be swapping out spells more frequently than some campaigns were allowing.

5e's entire spells known mechanic has always assumed that these classes would be swapping out spells that were less useful to the campaign as it progressed. This always included access to the entire spell list.

I think the actual spell lists themselves give a lot more identity to the classes than how those spells are accessed. Such as the wizard's bigger and better list with many exclusive spells.

Spell Versatility makes the sorcerer better at 3 than the wizard. This is an identity challenge.

Whether Spell Versatility makes the sorcerer better at 2 than the wizard, depends on assumptions.
Item 1 is clearly intact and I think that one is the most defining of the 3 points. Listing 3 points does not give them equal value in the identity of these classes.

For item 2 to be advantageous to the sorcerer requires strong assumptions such as specific need not already covered, specific spells to the situation, ample time to make uses of the single spell swap, not needing the spells swap, and the advantage being limited to only a single spell. It's less of an assumption that it's more advantageous to simply swap out to the dungeon list, town list, or wilderness list in that same rest for any spell prep class.

Item 3 is misleading. If a person picks any point in time they are still limited by item 1 above and the actual spells on the sorcerer (or any other spells known caster) list. The ability is the same regardless of which class uses spells known so it's either a true statement for all spells known classes or it's not a true statement for sorcerers because it's not specifically the ability to swap spells that's creating the concern here. Rangers who share wizard spells that might come in handy and not be in the wizard spell book is the example I was using.

Spell preparation is not a wizard thing. It's one of a choice of two broad mechanics wizards happen to use.

Those spells on the sorcerer list are there because they are meant to be options for the sorcerer to use. There is currently no practical use in having placed those spells on that spell list because the limited spells known prevents sorcerers from using spells meant for sorcerers to use. Sorcerers are meant to be an alternative choice to wizards and in doing so there is some overlap, including the expectation that a sorcerer might teleport the party, open a planar gateway, or scry on enemies.

That 3rd point isn't infringing on the wizard identity. It's enabling the sorcerer to do things sorcerers were meant to do and improving the sorcerer identity.

However, where I'm going with Tomorrow Spell Access is more about benefiting from a specific spell (often outside of combat). If that is never a consideration in your campaign, then this may not matter. But if this is ever a consideration in a campaign (and it definitely is in mine) this is a huge thing, because it is a vital part of a wizard's identity that is being taken away.
See above. The limited spells know makes those spells that sorcerers have and are meant to be used by sorcerers available instead of a superfluous addition to a list that pragmatically cannot be taken.

You want to resolve that by adding to the spells known list. I think giving sorcerers more spells known impacts the wizard identity more than a sorcerer doing arcane things during downtime because adding to spells known impacts your point 1 above. Point 1 is the game play standard.

Changing out the entire list (which is pointless) during downtime still has zero impact on your first point in gameplay. Adding spells like your previous suggestion has more impact relative to wizards than spell versatility does.

Highlighted Point: When nobody has the spell prepared/known and we need it, all eyes should turn towards the wizard. They should always be the one best able to meet the need for Tomorrow Spell Access and Extended Time Spell Access. That is a huge part of what being a wizard is about. With Spell Versatility, all eyes turn towards the sorcerer, because they are better able to meet either of those needs, and the wizard only retains that ability with regards to Immediate Spell Access.
All eyes should turn to the character filling the same role of the wizard in the arcane caster the party has. All eyes are never going to turn to the sorcerer unless we make forced assumptions that a single spell is required and only the sorcerer list has it and the wizard wouldn't have added it to the spell book already.

Those assumptions are too strong, making the highlighted point hyperbole.

I think it is likely that some players just don't care that much about preserving class identity, which is why this isn't a big deal to them.
Or those players have a different opinion on what is creating the class identity for both classes that simply does not match your own.

Accusing player of not caring simply because they have a different opinion is incorrect and insulting, and does not directly respond to any points made. Your posts are usually much better than that. :(

Everything you are saying about rangers is true, but it misses a few points of relevance, which is why people aren't criticizing it as heavily.
The points are true and I used them because the specific objection was that spell versatility stepped on wizard's toes.

The real concern seems to be that people are concerned sorcerers will become the arcane caster of choice over wizards because of spell versatility, which is actually a different statement than what was being argued. ;)

The first is that rangers are weaker than paladins in a way they should be (based on tradition) essentially equal. A ranger's spellcasting is inferior to a paladin's, and they get no other benefit to make up for that. The paladin is just a stronger class. Rangers could be given complete access to their class list as prepared casters--identically to paladins--and it would neither overpower them nor challenge class identity. In fact, it would preserve class identity better than the standard rules do! Rangers already should function that way. So inasmuch as the ranger buffs just make them function more like that, they are good for class identity. I'm not sure I'm happy about how they did it (free casting rather than extra spells prepared--though if they don't become prepared casters, they could actually use some extra oomph of free spell casting to make up for the imbalance with paladins) and that's something I'll bring up in the survey.
I highlighted the point I was making with the sorcerer spell list and spell versatility during downtime activities.

Like I said, sorcerers have spells they are meant to use and never take. Even if those only become relevant during downtime activity they have become relevant and enhance the sorcerer's identity as an arcane caster.

The fact that ranger spell casting is considered weaker than paladin spell casting actually mirrors a common complaint on these forums regarding sorcerers and wizards so I fail to see how that justification would not also apply if we're going there.

Side note: rangers were given skill benefits compared to paladins, much like bards were given skill benefits compared to clerics. The skill benefits just didn't pan out well enough for a lot of people. ;)

The second is the traditional divide between divine and arcane casters, whereas divine casters traditionally have access to their entire class spell list, and arcane casters don't. This makes divine casters very flexible, and useful to the party overall. However, arcane spells generally include things that seem more impactful and less party support on a more regular basis. They have spells that are both more immediately flashy, as well as spells that grant the ability to directly address problems that divine spells generally don't, or to address them in different ways. Illusions, general utility, general use boom-boom. Divine spell lists are highly themed. (In 3e, this actually got quite a bit distorted so that their spell lists stretched quite a bit beyond their traditional core competencies, but wizards had a much easier time accessing just about any spells they wanted to scribe into their spellbooks, and the assumption was that you were allowed to do that (a DM would have to be really heavy-handed or doing something pretty unique to not let you do that).)
Which really means the premise that "spell versatility steps on wizard's toes" really only applies when you decide it applies. So far you are applying it sorcerers and not rangers, and then rationalizing why you are making that distinction even though you already acknowledged it's the same argument. ;)

That's why I asserted the argument is not actually about the mechanic. This is an argument about sorcerers vs wizards because the same mechanic only seems to be an issue (for some people) regarding that class.

Bards, while arcane casters, sort of fall somewhere in between. That's why, even though I'll give feedback against Spell Versatility on the bard (does the 5e bard need any boosts?) I don't feel like it's a major challenge to the identity of wizards or other classes.
The 5e bard needs the option to change spells more frequently than some tables were allowing. Doing something closer to what's intended isn't actually a boost. It's a course correction. It's the same course correction being given to sorcerers, warlocks, and rangers.

Bards are to clerics what rangers are to paladins. Less armor, similar role, some spells are better in areas closer to druids or wizards, skill benefits. The actual term "arcane" is largely nothing more than a flavor term in 5e mechanics. That gets back to applying the same standards to the arguments between various classes. ;)

This isn't about buffing classes. Spell versatility was about addressing a concern regarding the frequency of the current implementation. The current implementation is the ability to swap a single spell regardless of level, and that level exchange is still only something available on leveling up.

I don't like warlocks getting Spell Versatility either. However, their spell list is a lot smaller than sorcerers, which makes this feature "less" objectionable on them. (They also can't apply it to spells above 5th level.)
Swapping out higher level spells is limited to high levels when it becomes even less likely that a solution is required in the sorcerer spell list and no other that has not already become available, the sorcerer list becomes small in comparison to lower level spell levels, and wish just covers everything anyway if we're getting to that level.

It's far easier for a wizard to unprep a 1st level spell to cover a need out of every spell in the book than it is a sorcerer to swap out a single spell of the same level. Assuming only one spell is relevant per the sorcerer scenario. At 13th or 15th or 17th levels the wizard is vastly superior at restructuring the spells available to the situation if the need arises.

It's not like sorcerer can swap a low level spell for a high level spell, or more. A sorcerer gives up a high level spell for a high level spell.

Sorcerer identity is the closest to the wizard, and therefore it is the best comparison. Also, the size of their class spell list is the second biggest in the game and almost entirely taken from the wizard spell list. They are the class for which Spell Versatility most strongly challenges the class identity of the wizard.
Yes, because they are meant to do a lot of the same things. The issue I have is that the sorcerer is meant to do things wizards do and cannot because they cannot afford to learn those spells. Increasing spells known for a sorcerer infringes on the wizard advantage of having more spells at any given time during actual game play while spell versatility allowing the use of spells meant to be used by sorcerers during downtime does not.

Sorcerers are supposed to be an alternative class to playing a wizard. That means certain things that sorcerers never do because of the restrictive spells known that are suitable to the class. Now typically expected spells become better available with spell versatility.

No one is going to suddenly decide sorcerers are the better way to go because they can use more of their spell list and do something one would expect a sorcerer to do. Rituals, traditions, and spell preparation are still going to draw players to wizards.

As an example, teleportation circle.

A sorcerer is unlikely to pick it as a their first always spell of that level in a game with more combat than travel. The wizard in the party would normally pick it up.

But now, the wizard might pick 2 other spells, and rely in the sorcerer being able to swap it in overnight whenever they need to travel.
And?

First, why do we have a wizard and a sorcerer in the party as a standard against which to make such a comparison? Players tend to select one or the other and parties having both would be another example of the exception being portrayed as the standard.

More importantly, there's no point in putting teleportation circle on the sorcerer spell list at all if sorcerers are never going to take it because of spells known. These spells are added to the spell list for sorcerers because they are are expected to be taken and used but the mechanics prevents it from happening.

Spell versatility addresses that particular concern without simply adding more spells to the sorcerer's spells known and dipping into the wizard's more prepped vs known advantage.

There are lots of spells that having the ability is super powerful, even if having it right now is mildly useful. How many are on the sorcerer spell list is a fair bit or work that might be worth doing.
No there aren't. There are some cherry picked spells that make the ability more useful than simply swapping out a spell that turned out to be a dud for the campaign or outgrown due to leveling. The vast majority of spells are completely irrelevant.
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
And?

First, why do we have a wizard and a sorcerer in the party as a standard against which to make such a comparison? Players tend to select one or the other and parties having both would be another example of the exception being portrayed as the standard.
I was simply listing spells which I, personally, would want to swap in. Either because I learn something about our upcoming foes before hand, or we have a problem I'd like to solve that would be harder than 24 hours of mundane work would require.

This turned out to be a substantial list, and almost all of them where things that a wizard used to be better at than a sorcerer. Now the wizard only has "same day" advantage.

This is a significant change in relative power. You might not care, but claiming it doesn't exist seems dishonest to me.
More importantly, there's no point in putting teleportation circle on the sorcerer spell list at all if sorcerers are never going to take it because of spells known. These spells are added to the spell list for sorcerers because they are are expected to be taken and used but the mechanics prevents it from happening.
The sorcerer who wants to be good at teleportation can pick it and dimension door. It is, however, a significant cost; to be "able" to teleport, they give up a known spell.

When making a "limited known spells" caster I feel the pain of burning spell known slots on "sometimes" abilities. And it makes me envy wizards, who don't have that same pain; it is a significant reason why I'm tempted to play a wizard spellcaster.

With this change, much of that pain goes away. A significant reason why I personally would make my next arcane caster character a wizard is removed.
 

Ashrym

Hero
I was simply listing spells which I, personally, would want to swap in. Either because I learn something about our upcoming foes before hand, or we have a problem I'd like to solve that would be harder than 24 hours of mundane work would require.
That requires the assumption of prior specific knowledge and time.

This turned out to be a substantial list, and almost all of them where things that a wizard used to be better at than a sorcerer. Now the wizard only has "same day" advantage.
That's misleading because the actual number of spells a wizard might not take is small, ignores changing multiple spells, ignores swapping lower level spells prepped for higher level spells prepped instead of giving up the higher level spell, and the spells on the wizard list that a sorcerer can never take.

When's the last time you saw a sorcerer take Leomund's Tiny Hut? Are they going to swap that in when it seems like a good idea? Alarm? Identify? Unseen Servant? Arcane Eye? Summoning spells in general? No they aren't, because they cannot.

Most of the sorcerer spells are on the wizard list, yes, but that doesn't give the wizard list to list to sorcerers. It only gives the sorcerer spell list to wizards. There are a lot of spells wizards commonly take that sorcerers will not have and cannot simply swap in.

This is a significant change in relative power. You might not care, but claiming it doesn't exist seems dishonest to me.
I believe I demonstrated my why it does not exist with points that continue to be ignored. Implying that I am being dishonest or not discussing the points in good faith is an insult instead of responding to those points and is not a rebuttal.

The fact that I specifically stated disagreeing is not a sign of not caring and then you repeated that I might not care indicates you are being deliberate making such comments instead of responding to points being made and this does not validate your argument in any way.

If you are interested in discussing the points being made I would be happy to go over them again. Some of them are included in this post.

The sorcerer who wants to be good at teleportation can pick it and dimension door. It is, however, a significant cost; to be "able" to teleport, they give up a known spell.

When making a "limited known spells" caster I feel the pain of burning spell known slots on "sometimes" abilities. And it makes me envy wizards, who don't have that same pain; it is a significant reason why I'm tempted to play a wizard spellcaster.

With this change, much of that pain goes away. A significant reason why I personally would make my next arcane caster character a wizard is removed.
It's a significant cost with some spells never getting selected. As I said, the spells are on the list because they are expected to be used. One of the most common house rules I see on these forums related to the issue is in significantly expanding the sorcerer spells known list and that also makes the pain go away over a few spells. In that case, however, the change is in always having more options all the time, not just in the odd situation where it might come up or during downtime activities.

Spell versatility is more restrictive than increasing spells know, which is a common house rule.
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
Inappropriate language. And, going forward, please treat yoru fellow posters with respect, even if they do things that annoy you.
That requires the assumption of prior specific knowledge and time.
Unimaginative cussing! We are talking about spell preparation for the next day. That is this entire topic. This is what we are talking about. The topic of discussion is about the ability to prepare spells for the next day. We are talking about next day preparation. Why would you "this assumes the topic we are talking about is the topic we are talking about" on the 20th post on the subject?

Saying useless words again and again and again isn't helping the discussion.

Mod Edit: In appropriate language removed. Please treat folks with respect. ~Umbran
 
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Sorcerers aren't going to be changing spells daily. That's part of the inherent flaw in the arguments against spell versatility. They'll only be changing a particular spell maybe if an incentive to do so comes up.
You've been relying pretty heavily on this assumption (or conclusion? assertion?) something about it has been bothering me...

Changing out the entire list (which is pointless) during downtime still has zero impact on your first point in gameplay.
If the choice of a set of spells known has any meaning at all, then, so must a different choice, including an entirely different choice.

So, I think what you're saying is there is no meaningful choice involved in picking known spells (nor wizards' prepped spells), that, in essence, there's one wizard, one sorcerer, etc, period.

Obviously, being able to swap out spells to pick the optimal spell for the coming situation, or customize your list to be optimal for the campaign through a period of downtime would be irrelevant if the only purpose they'd serve would be taking a second shot at a failed optimization attempt - in essence, you're working from the assumption that the spell-selection mini-game is a solved game. So the ability to swap out spells is just a way of correcting mistakes, not an improvement in any real sense, as all casters of a given class & level are already the same, if played correctly.
 
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Chaosmancer

Adventurer
I was simply listing spells which I, personally, would want to swap in. Either because I learn something about our upcoming foes before hand, or we have a problem I'd like to solve that would be harder than 24 hours of mundane work would require.

This turned out to be a substantial list, and almost all of them where things that a wizard used to be better at than a sorcerer. Now the wizard only has "same day" advantage.

This is a significant change in relative power. You might not care, but claiming it doesn't exist seems dishonest to me.
Again, I really don't think your list demonstrates this very well.

I'm going to take Sunbeam, which you put on this list.

Sunbeam is death against certain undead and anything with sunlight sensitivity. 60 ft line with 6d8 damage, half on save and a Blind rider, which can be repeated every single turn.

I likely grab this spell... just in general. For every sorcerer. It is a repeatable action, good damage, can hit multiple targets. And at 6th level what are my competitive spells for damage at 6th level?

Disintergration -> More damage, but if it misses does nothing, and single action

Chain Lighting -> Little more damage, with save for half, but only a single action and hits 4 targets

For potentially nine levels, I get a single 6th level spell. Every time I get to learn a new spell after this is when I get a new spell level to fill.

Why would I not take Sunbeam which can extend that single slot into an entire encounter and define that encounter?

And this is the problem I am trying to explain. You can say the sorcerer will swap this spell in and out (depending on circumstances) but other than being a Storm or Blue Dragon sorcerer that focuses on lightning damage, I can't think of a single reason to not take sunbeam and to take one of these others instead. It is good enough that in terms of "I want a combat spell" there is only one choice, especially because I only get one choice.


The sorcerer who wants to be good at teleportation can pick it and dimension door. It is, however, a significant cost; to be "able" to teleport, they give up a known spell.

When making a "limited known spells" caster I feel the pain of burning spell known slots on "sometimes" abilities. And it makes me envy wizards, who don't have that same pain; it is a significant reason why I'm tempted to play a wizard spellcaster.

With this change, much of that pain goes away. A significant reason why I personally would make my next arcane caster character a wizard is removed.

Spit take

rereads section

Why in the world are we talking about reducing pain as a bad thing?

I would think reading something and thinking "that makes this class less painful to play" would be celebrated. Especially since that pain drives you away from playing the class, and losing that pain makes you more likely to play it. By your own admission.

Why is that bad? I truly have no idea what to say to this.

You've been relying pretty heavily on this assumption (or conclusion? assertion?) something about it has been bothering me...

If the choice of a set of spells known has any meaning at all, then, so must a different choice, including an entirely different choice.

So, I think what you're saying is there is no meaningful choice involved in picking known spells (nor wizards' prepped spells), that, in essence, there's one wizard, one sorcerer, etc, period.

Obviously, being able to swap out spells to pick the optimal spell for the coming situation, or customize your list to be optimal for the campaign through a period of downtime would be irrelevant if the only purpose they'd serve would be taking a second shot at a failed optimization attempt - in essence, you're working from the assumption that the spell-selection mini-game is a solved game. So the ability to swap out spells is just a way of correcting mistakes, not an improvement in any real sense, as all casters of a given class & level are already the same, if played correctly.
I would say, in part, this is somewhat true for Sorcerers. There are lots of guides and discussions revolving around "I am playing X sorcerer, what spells should I take" and it is heavily regimented and discussed. More so that almost any other class, to the point where most people will even say that you should not play a sorcerer to do damage, because sorcerers who focus on control is easier to play well, and you should take these spells and avoid these other spells like the plague.

Yes, every class and build and spell list is analyzed, but I have never seen any other class given as few paths and choices as sorcerers get.
 
I would say, in part, this is somewhat true for Sorcerers. There are lots of guides and discussions revolving around "I am playing X sorcerer, what spells should I take" and it is heavily regimented and discussed. More so that almost any other class, to the point where most people will even say that you should not play a sorcerer to do damage, because sorcerers who focus on control is easier to play well, and you should take these spells and avoid these other spells like the plague.

Yes, every class and build and spell list is analyzed, but I have never seen any other class given as few paths and choices as sorcerers get.
That's interesting. Thanks for the perspective.

And this is the problem I am trying to explain. You can say the sorcerer will swap this spell in and out (depending on circumstances) but other than being a Storm or Blue Dragon sorcerer that focuses on lightning damage, I can't think of a single reason to not take sunbeam and to take one of these others instead. It is good enough that in terms of "I want a combat spell" there is only one choice, especially because I only get one choice.
What about non-combat?

If the campaign shifts for a while into an investigative or an intrigue scenario or an exploration scenario, might you want True Seeing or Mass Suggestion instead, for instance?

And, I mean, what if Sunbeam or Disintegrate or something is just dead-on for my Sorcerer concept, but, then, we have a quite few days leading into a story arc where Mass Suggestion or even, IDK, Move Earth, say, totally inappropriate to concept, would it really be that great to essentially be nagged to break concept on a daily basis?
 
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NotAYakk

Adventurer
Why would I not take Sunbeam which can extend that single slot into an entire encounter and define that encounter?
You have other uses for concentration? Or, as noted, you have large bonuses to other kinds of damage.

Spit take

rereads section

Why in the world are we talking about reducing pain as a bad thing?

I would think reading something and thinking "that makes this class less painful to play" would be celebrated. Especially since that pain drives you away from playing the class, and losing that pain makes you more likely to play it. By your own admission.

Why is that bad? I truly have no idea what to say to this.
Pain means that the choice matters. Pain means a real limitation. The fact that I have to decide "do I burn an entire spell known so I can cast Legend Lore" (on a bard) is a serious, serious consideration I have to make.

A pain-free situation says "cast any spell at any point"; the spells known restriction goes away. There is no cost to a choice -- no alternative that I'm pained by missing -- when there is an excess of resources or some choices that simply dominate others.

The relief from that pain -- having to decide which spells I know and what I don't -- is the main attraction of the wizard class over the other arcane casters. A similar relief is the main attraction of the tome warlock over the others (all the ritual spells!)

Restrictions, if meaningful, are painful. They hurt that you have that restriction.

And yes, I want my classes to have meaningful restrictions. I want there to be a real choice, and picking either option is painful, because I intensely miss what I'd get if I made the other choice.

With Wizards, I miss sorcerer metamagic most of all. I miss bard spell poaching, inspiration, expertise, and weapon skills, and jack of all trades. Those are also painful things to miss.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
Pain means that the choice matters. Pain means a real limitation. The fact that I have to decide "do I burn an entire spell known so I can cast Legend Lore" (on a bard) is a serious, serious consideration I have to make.

A pain-free situation says "cast any spell at any point"; the spells known restriction goes away. There is no cost to a choice -- no alternative that I'm pained by missing -- when there is an excess of resources or some choices that simply dominate others.

The relief from that pain -- having to decide which spells I know and what I don't -- is the main attraction of the wizard class over the other arcane casters. A similar relief is the main attraction of the tome warlock over the others (all the ritual spells!)

Restrictions, if meaningful, are painful. They hurt that you have that restriction.

And yes, I want my classes to have meaningful restrictions. I want there to be a real choice, and picking either option is painful, because I intensely miss what I'd get if I made the other choice.

With Wizards, I miss sorcerer metamagic most of all. I miss bard spell poaching, inspiration, expertise, and weapon skills, and jack of all trades. Those are also painful things to miss.
But you are talking about different things here.

"With Wizards I miss sorcerer metamagic" is the change between classes.

"With sorcerer I miss being able to pick spells without pain" is an indication that the very act of playing the spellcaster is a painful experience.

I've never picked a fighter and felt pain over picking dueling or great weapon styles. I've never felt pain over which battlemaster manuevers to take. Because each choice is meaningful, but each choice is actually a choice.

I don't feel pain when I make a balanced choice in the game. I am gaining something and choosing not to gain something else.

Sorcerers tend to feel like "what am I sacrificing" which doesn't make them interesting or good. It just makes them hard. And leads to people narrowing down their choices drastically. I don't look at the sorcerer spell list and think "what spells might be useful and fun" I think "which spells are niche enough I don't need them" "Which spells can I get away with not having" "When do I drop my 1st level spells so I can get more 3rd level options."

One of the most common pieces of advice I've seen for Sorcerers is that by around mid level you stop having 1st and 2nd level spells. You sacrifice those slots for points so you can use your metamagic and make more mid level slots, because it just isn't worth it to have those spells compared to actually being able to have higher level spells.

That does not sound like a "healthy choice" that sounds more like Saw.
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
But you are talking about different things here.

"With Wizards I miss sorcerer metamagic" is the change between classes.

"With sorcerer I miss being able to pick spells without pain" is an indication that the very act of playing the spellcaster is a painful experience.
No; they are the same to me. I miss metamagic with a wizard; Cantrip or Spell on a turn, no more. One concentration target. These are all hard choices. They hurt. Sorcerers metamagic eases that choice.

Fighting styles are a bit different, in that most of them are non-overlapping. But picking an ASI stat bump or a cool feat at level 4 and 8? Pain, because it s a hard choice.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
No; they are the same to me. I miss metamagic with a wizard; Cantrip or Spell on a turn, no more. One concentration target. These are all hard choices. They hurt. Sorcerers metamagic eases that choice.

Fighting styles are a bit different, in that most of them are non-overlapping. But picking an ASI stat bump or a cool feat at level 4 and 8? Pain, because it s a hard choice.
I honestly have no response. These things are no where close to equivalent to me. I can't understand that mindset.
 

Ashrym

Hero
Saying useless words again and again and again isn't helping the discussion.
I'm not the one doing that. I gave valid points that you avoided.

A person cannot assume there is advanced knowledge as a standard to be used. Applying something that is not standard as if it is becomes a bad argument. Instead of you repeating what you have been saying, please acknowledge and respond to the points I made like I did with your assumption on knowledge predicating spell swapping.

You've been relying pretty heavily on this assumption (or conclusion? assertion?) something about it has been bothering me...
It's not an assumption. It's how play goes. It's the result of playing these classes many times at many levels under different DM's in various campaigns.

There's no assumption in having made the choices the player wanted when he or she built the character. There's no assumption in stating "Crawford said the game can handle this".

There's certainly no assumptions in pointing out the actual mechanics and spells lists, and how that differs from spell preparation. That's stating facts.

So far all that's been given back is speculation that doesn't match my game experience or current testing.

If the choice of a set of spells known has any meaning at all, then, so must a different choice, including an entirely different choice.

So, I think what you're saying is there is no meaningful choice involved in picking known spells (nor wizards' prepped spells), that, in essence, there's one wizard, one sorcerer, etc, period.

Obviously, being able to swap out spells to pick the optimal spell for the coming situation, or customize your list to be optimal for the campaign through a period of downtime would be irrelevant if the only purpose they'd serve would be taking a second shot at a failed optimization attempt - in essence, you're working from the assumption that the spell-selection mini-game is a solved game. So the ability to swap out spells is just a way of correcting mistakes, not an improvement in any real sense, as all casters of a given class are already the same.
How does the sorcerer know the coming situation? That's an assumption.

It's not spells. It's spell. It's spells with wizard, and as I pointed out earlier, it's a spell of equal level. The wizard can swap out expeditious retreat and alter self for invisibility and mass suggestion, and keep soul cage and true seeing when sneaking into a castle the next day. The sorcerer can grab invisibility or mass suggestion even though both would be useful, and mass suggestion means giving up true seeing or whatever 6th level spell.

These aren't even remotely close to equal abilities like they are being portrayed. It's like saying the martial adept feat is equal to the battle master archetype.

Spells match the subclass and meta-magic taken. It doesn't matter if a person thinks (insert spell here) is better in a given situation if it doesn't match up with the other class choices made. Spells are optimized for the character.

There are a lot of spells on the sorcerer list that are not valid choices. It's one of those things where the number of spells known impacts the number of valid choices available. Each spell tends to be very deliberate in it's choice and when you say swapping in something is useful it can be but it's also swapping out something useful.

If I have shield, magic missile, sleep, shatter, and levitate known what do you think I'm going to give up just because I happen to know there's a door with a lock coming up the next day? The sorcerer doesn't have that many situational spells in the spell list in the first place worth swapping in, and it's a challenge picking something to swap out. Eventually I'll have room to swap out magic missile and sleep, but the room isn't available to give those up unless it's really needed, and I would need to give up shatter or levitate for knock. That's downgrading by necessity, not upgrading those spells known.

Out of the first and second level spells, knock might be a forced issue on rare occasion. Comprehend languages is likely to be a more commonly forced issue. Sleep is reasonably swapped out because it's either really good or useless, which has more to do with sleep than the mechanic. Other spells fall into the "hell no", "why bother", and "someday when I have more room to add them" categories. That's how the limited spells known impact swapping. There just isn't enough leeway in spells known for giving up good spells to add situational spells.

With Wizards, I miss sorcerer metamagic most of all. I miss bard spell poaching, inspiration, expertise, and weapon skills, and jack of all trades. Those are also painful things to miss.
The grass is always greener.

I don't miss magical secrets on other casters because they don't need it as much as bards and bards don't get it until 10th level anyway when they often add more bard spells anyway because it's crowded with good spells like greater restoration, raise dead, mass cure, animate objects, and more. I miss having the extra skill benefits and sometimes bardic inspiration when I see someone fail a save. What weapon skills? Bards get some bonus proficiencies. That seems rather pointless to miss on warlock, wizard, or sorcerer.

I also miss meta-magic on a wizard or warlock. On a sorcerer I miss invocations and arcane recovery. I miss subclass features like portent. I don't wish I could swap my spells. I miss having more spells. Swapping one doesn't give more spells. Different classes are different but your analogy of different but not painful for some and painful for others doesn't match up to the point that was raised.
 
Sorcerers tend to feel like "what am I sacrificing" which doesn't make them interesting or good.
Sounds more appropriate to a Cleric or Warlock - do you sacrifice 7 doves at the altar of Aphrodite? I a black bull on the dark of the moon?

How does the sorcerer know the coming situation? That's an assumption.
Hardly an unwarranted one: sometimes you'll have an idea what's coming, some of those times you won't be wrong.

It's not spells. It's spell. It's spells with wizard
But, if swapping even one spell doesn't matter, because you already have all the best spells, swapping multiple spells is even less meaningful.

Right?

So it's literally all the same. Each sorcerer is like every other, and differ from wizards only when one class or the other lacks a best spell.

So wizards only prep different spells and sorcerers only re-train at level up when they made a mistake, which is just making the game too easy.

So there's no need for wizards to prep nor for spell versatility.

Fair 'nuff.

That does not sound like a "healthy choice" that sounds more like Saw.
Saw was a better torture-porn horror movie than D&D is a cooperative TT game, so you may be onto something there.

Of course, Plan 9 from Outer Space was a better....




...OK, no, not really … that may have been out of line... sorry*








* my apologies, of course, are directed to the devout parishioners of the Church of Ed Wood. Because, y'know, I respect their religious freedom.
 

Ashrym

Hero
Hardly an unwarranted one: sometimes you'll have an idea what's coming, some of those times you won't be wrong.
Who's more likely to know what's coming? The wizard with all the spells and rituals or the sorcerer would need to swap those divinations in one day, then swap them out the next for the spells that might be useful?

Some of those times a person will know. It doesn't take divinations either. ;)

Where I disagree is in how often the characters will know and have that knowledge line up with the sorcerer spell list but not the wizard spell book and the day for resting will take place and changing the spell is worth giving up another spell.

It can happen. The example I would use would be swapping out sleep when facing undead. How often the case actually comes up is what's in doubt. The way people are describing it sorcerers swapping spells would be typical when it isn't.

But, if swapping even one spell doesn't matter, because you already have all the best spells, swapping multiple spells is even less meaningful.

Right?
Wizards don't swap spells much either. They do swap out spell sets for town, dungeon, or wilderness when they are high enough level that they can simply set up multiple sets, but a sorcerer isn't doing that.

So it's literally all the same. Each sorcerer is like every other, and differ from wizards only when one class or the other lacks a best spell.
Only if a person glosses over my comment that the spells are selected to match the bloodline abilities and meta-magic choices. ;)

It's pretty hard to call a dragon bloodline with fire affinity the same as a divine soul. That goes for wizards and school traditions too.

I gave examples of spells that might be swapped out and why. The response I'll give you is why do you think everyone has sleep at low levels? Or typically the choice of shield or mage armor? Some people prefer shield for the reactionary benefit and some people prefer the duration of mage armor with the smaller bonus. On a sorcerer, once that choice is made, is there any reason to change one for the other? Rhetorical, of course; the spell is different but the function is the same and defense is important. Defense is always important.

Players take "the best" spells in their opinions for their builds. That doesn't mean all players share the same opinions or all builds use the same spells. If you read back through my posts I quoted "the best" repeatedly because its the best for that build in that player's opinion. Swapping out if they find out the spell does not perform as the player thought it might is a thing and one of the reasons spell swapping exists.

It's not likely to change out the spells the player prefers for defense, offense, or utility. At least not casually. The character needs defense and offense, and those only come in so many flavors. Different spells doing the same thing is preference but swapping to different spells that essentially do the same thing is pointless. Why would I take dominate beast over charm monster, or sickening radiance over confusion?

Once I've picked what I wanted it's because I was trying to cover as much as possible with a few spells as possible. That's something that continues to be necessary because of the limited number of spells known. That does not mean all the builds will be the same but it does mean I've already taking the spells I consider the most useful the most often.

So wizards only prep different spells and sorcerers only re-train at level up when they made a mistake, which is just making the game too easy.

So there's no need for wizards to prep nor for spell versatility.
I'm not sure how you drew that conclusion from what you were saying. Wizards use spell preparation (or often just ignore it) and sorcerers use a better version of spell swapping while leveling up now.

Spell versatility was introduced as an option because WotC had a concern regarding how often sorcerers swapped spells. That has nothing to do with wizards and WotC is telling us after 5 years of data that there is a need for spell versatility, or at least the concern that prompted the that feature.

I don't actually have the need for spell versatility. I'm good at planning out my spells. That's WotC claiming the need for a mechanic based on other tables and this is what they came up with. I'm pointing out that spell versatility is not the doomed plight of the poor wizards, isn't the buff people are claiming, and pointing out that it also reinforces the sorcerer's role as an alternative to wizards by adding functionality the class is missing in downtime utility.
 
Who's more likely to know what's coming? The wizard with all the spells and rituals or the sorcerer would need to swap those divinations in one day, then swap them out the next for the spells that might be useful?
IDK, you seemed to be arguing that swapping out is not a meaningful ability, in either case.

Where I disagree is in how often the characters will know and have that knowledge line up with the sorcerer spell list but not the wizard spell book
I don't see why the second bit would matter to either form of swapping being useful - indeed, extremely so - in itself.

Wizards don't swap spells much either. They do swap out spell sets for town, dungeon, or wilderness when they are high enough level that they can simply set up multiple sets, but a sorcerer isn't doing that.
The Sorcerer couldn't do that. Now, given enough downtime, it can, and can swap out one spell starting the first day that the campaign environment shifts like that...

But, hey, at least you acknowledged the spell-swapping has value. I thought denying that very odd.



Only if a person glosses over my comment that the spells are selected to match the bloodline abilities and meta-magic choices. ;)
Those are considerations - along with character concept - that spell versatility will tend to errode.

It's pretty hard to call a dragon bloodline with fire affinity the same as a divine soul. That goes for wizards and school traditions too.
Yet, thats the logical conclusion of denying the value of swapping out known/prepped spells.

The response I'll give you is why do you think everyone has sleep at low levels? Or typically the choice of shield or mage armor?
Obviously, because the system is broken - or, there'd be more viable alternatives. The more a specific spell worms it's way into everyone's list, the poorer the overall design of spells and spell-casting.

Spell Versatility makes that symptom worse.



Spell versatility was introduced as an option because WotC had a concern regarding how often sorcerers swapped spells. That has nothing to do with wizards and WotC is telling us after 5 years of data that there is a need for spell versatility.
But, your defense of it seems to be that it, and indeed, the existing swap on level up mechanic, and the even more versatile prep of neo-Vancian classes, is already radically under-utilized.

I'm pointing out that spell versatility is not the doomed plight of the poor wizards, isn't the buff people are claiming, and pointing out that it also reinforces the sorcerer's role as an alternative to wizards by adding functionality the class is missing in downtime utility.
Oh, it absolutely is a buff, and it further erodes the Sorcerers already tenuous uniqueness.
But, no, the "poor wizards" thing is laughable.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
It's pretty hard to call a dragon bloodline with fire affinity the same as a divine soul. That goes for wizards and school traditions too.
I have to say, that is one of the most common complaints leveled at both the wizard and sorcerer, that the spell list is the same no matter what your subclass is.

And, to an extent, I think you picked two of the worst sorcerers to demonstrate that idea, because they are the two most unique sorcerers in the game.

Fire Dragons have the easiest time following their concept, as has often been pointed out.

Divine Souls quite often pull from the cleric list, giving them a ton of powerful options that normal sorcerers do not have access to.

But, as someone who played a Storm Sorcerer, even using the UA version with an extra spell list it was incredibly hard to stay on theme. I ended up convincing my DM to let me take spells from other class lists just to fill it out, altering them to be storm themed.

Spells define spellcasters more than their non-spell abilities, so a lot of people end up just taking the same spells regardless of subclass.




Obviously, because the system is broken - or, there'd be more viable alternatives. The more a specific spell worms it's way into everyone's list, the poorer the overall design of spells and spell-casting.

Spell Versatility makes that symptom worse.

-----

Oh, it absolutely is a buff, and it further erodes the Sorcerers already tenuous uniqueness.
But, no, the "poor wizards" thing is laughable.
I'm not sure I agree this is inevitable. It is possible that Spell Versatility will actually end up letting people be more free with their choices.

After all, they do not need to take the most powerful and commonly used option, if they know they are not locked into their choice. They could instead take a more unique option, and find that it suites them just fine to have that spell instead. Safe in the knowledge that if it doesn't work out, they are not "ruining their character" because they can always go back to the safe choice.

I feel it is kind of like the respec options in a lot of video games with skill trees. Since you know you can always pull everything out and start again, you can feel more confident in what you are choosing, because it is easy to go back and fix any mistakes.
 
I have to say, that is one of the most common complaints leveled at both the wizard and sorcerer, that the spell list is the same no matter what your subclass is.
Nod. Doing away with opposition schools in the former case.
With the Sorcerer, though, the known spell list should be a lot more defining than the class list... until you increase access to the whole class list in play, with a variant like Spell Versatility.

I'm not sure I agree this is inevitable. It is possible that Spell Versatility will actually end up letting people be more free with their choices.
After all, they do not need to take the most powerful and commonly used option, if they know they are not locked into their choice.
At that point, I suppose, it's an issue of psychology. If the 'best'/mostpowerful/mostcommonlyused option is wrong for the character concept, it's easier to 'resist' taking it at chargen & level up, when thinking as a player making a build choice to define a character. It's more fraught to stick to that choice in-play, when thinking as the character trying to do what's best for him and his party going into the next day's adventuring.

They could instead take a more unique option, and find that it suites them just fine to have that spell instead. Safe in the knowledge that if it doesn't work out, they are not "ruining their character" because they can always go back to the safe choice.
I feel like that's already adequately available at level-up. In particular, because you do get to try out the more unique option for a while and see what you can do with it, maybe be forced to 'get creative with it' more than once.

I feel it is kind of like the respec options in a lot of video games with skill trees. Since you know you can always pull everything out and start again, you can feel more confident in what you are choosing, because it is easy to go back and fix any mistakes.
I don't disagree. But I think a general table rule, like LA total-rebuilding until 4th, would be a better way to go, if something more radical that just retraining at level up is desired.
The various classes don't need to be differentiated when it comes to how you fix a build when you make a mistake, I guess.
 

Chaosmancer

Adventurer
I don't disagree. But I think a general table rule, like LA total-rebuilding until 4th, would be a better way to go, if something more radical that just retraining at level up is desired.
The various classes don't need to be differentiated when it comes to how you fix a build when you make a mistake, I guess.
Fair point, and a good way to think about it.
 

Ashrym

Hero
Please don't read this in a snarkey tone. It's not being written as such.

IDK, you seemed to be arguing that swapping out is not a meaningful ability, in either case.
Nope. I'm arguing it's not nearly common or as significant for sorcerers as people claim. As demonstrated by the reasons I gave to back up that statement.

You've equated a single spell at a single level using the sorcerer spell list to multiple spells regardless of levels using the wizard spell list. These things are not equal just because they can both be categorized as spell swapping.

It's true that the wizard will be using the spell book but that reinforces his connection to his spell book in the wizard identity, and wizards add a lot of useful spells to that book not available to sorcerers.

I don't see why the second bit would matter to either form of swapping being useful - indeed, extremely so - in itself.
For the same reason people aren't complaining about rangers using spell versatility, which is the exact same ability sorcerers are using. The actual spells are not the same spells.

Tony, accepting the spell versatility is a concern because of how it works is accepting that the argument regarding how it works applies to all classes. People in this thread have stated it is an issue for sorcerers but not rangers, regardless. You seem to be arguing from the premise that there will be a better choice for the situation because the ability to swap seems to somehow automatically creates that better choice.

Are you applying the same logic to rangers, or are you applying a double standard because rangers use a different list, then applying another double standard by ignoring that sorcerers also have a different list? Wizards have the majority of sorcerer spells but the reverse is not true. Sorcerers do not have all those situationally useful wizard spells to make the same use of changing a spell.

The Sorcerer couldn't do that. Now, given enough downtime, it can, and can swap out one spell starting the first day that the campaign environment shifts like that...

But, hey, at least you acknowledged the spell-swapping has value. I thought denying that very odd.
That's moving the goal posts. Sorcerers cannot just swap out large numbers of spells even if we accept the sorcerer has prior knowledge and a better spell worth swapping.

Sure, the sorcerer could change his or her entire spell list during downtime. That's only relevant to downtime activities, which is a minor consideration and still situational based on whatever those downtime activities might be.

There's a huge wrench in that scenario where downtime activity stops because the DM is moving on to the adventure and the sorcerer is stuck with those spells selected for downtime activities. I don't believe in the one week work day any more than I've experienced the 5MWD.

The best case scenario is there might actually be more than one spell that the sorcerer thinks would be better and the sorcerer has knowledge and the sorcerer has the luxury of time. Then play starts and the sorcerer isn't actually any different than if he or she had started play with those spells and the time to swap back is going to take just as much time after the situational benefit is over.

That situational benefit even has to be consistent throughout the day. Adding undead to 2 encounters isn't going to make me swap sleep out if I expect to use it the other 4 encounters.

As for the campaign shifting: Swapping spells because the campaign changed is removing the penalties inflicted in having the campaign change. Removing a penalty that did not exist before and exists now is not a buff. Things like that are the reason sorcerers are given the ability to change spells. It's to remove spells that are no longer useful. Spell versatility addresses the concern that sorcerers could not do that often enough at some tables. WAI.

Those are considerations - along with character concept - that spell versatility will tend to errode.
How? Changing spells doesn't change which bloodline or meta-magic options the sorcerer took. If you are going to make a claim like that please support it.

Yet, thats the logical conclusion of denying the value of swapping out known/prepped spells.
No, that was an obvious example to refute the comment that all sorcerers are the same.

YOU: There will be better spells.
ME: There needs to be a reason to change those spells.
YOU: The reason exists because of the ability to change spells. There will be better spells.
ME: Changing spells isn't that big of a deal because the player already selected what he or she thought was the best spells for the character. There needs to be a reason to change those spells.
YOU: Then all sorcerers and wizards are the same.
ME: No. The spells are also selected based on things like bloodline and meta-magic, or traditions.
YOU: All the best choices are the same because they are the best choices.
ME: No. Here are some examples that are obviously different. Bloodlines and meta-magic are considerations. Here are some examples of spells that are really different flavors to meet the same purpose and the player preference is the consideration.
YOU: You are denying the benefit of swapping out spells even though what you actually wrote included examples of when swapping might happen and you clarified that it's how often this will occur that's in question.

That's my impression of how this conversation is going so far. You seem to be arguing from the presumption that there will be a better spell available just because the ability to swap spells exists. That's not true. It's putting the cart before the horse.

  • The ability to swap spells is only relevant after something else predicates the need or desire to swap spells. That mean the sorcerer needs to know about it. This can be true but it's not going to be true often enough to consider swapping spells a standard expectation.
  • There needs to be time to actually swap spells. Swapping a spell after taking a long rest is not challenging. The party taking a long rest after travel before entering the dungeon or storming the keep is pretty standard. I'm not arguing that ability to swap a spell exists. This point is arguing against multiple spells. If one spell is making a difference then two or three would be making more of a difference based on the arguments you've been giving. It's pretty much a response to "but lots of downtime" when the downtime to swap out the entire list before entering exceeding one rest is not something that we can consider normal. It's normal for a wizard, clearly demonstrating these are not the same ability.
  • There actually has to be a better spell in the spell list. Just because there are over 30 second level sorcerer spells doesn't mean there are over 30 relevant options to swap. GG. The spells are selected to perform a function and spells are often just different flavors of the same basic function. When a character can swap a spell in that character also has to swap a spell out, and sorcerers don't carry spells they can casually swap out because of the limited spells known. This tends to be the case when a spell on the list becomes marginalized and not because there actually is a better spell to take.
The argument is not that sorcerers cannot swap a spell in. They can. The argument is in how often that will actually be relevant to the point it's a minor detail. Crawford expected objections like this in that video when he was addressing the wizard identity and capability of the system to handle the feature.

WoTC: After five years of observation we've found that spells known are not getting swapped as often as originally intended. Here is an optional rule to allow more frequent spell swapping for spells known. We started with the concept of alternate features a couple of years ago and we finally have some material to playtest that we hope to include in a future release. We don't believe spell versatility steps on wizards because the wizard identity is defined by his spell book. We also believe the system can handle sorcerers swapping spells on a long rest.
Detractors: But now sorcerers can swap spells on a long rest.
Me: Well yeah, WotC identified a concern and this is the resolution. Sorcerers were meant to swap spells more often than WotC was seeing at some tables.
Detractors: Well we feel the opposite of what Crawford said even though we don't have the data he does and haven't had as much time to go over the features. Here is some speculation based on constructed scenarios that prove we're right.
Me: Maybe that can happen. Here are some reasons I don't think it will happen regularly based on my own play experience so I don't believe it's significant enough to matter in the bigger picture.
You: You're just denying the value of spell swapping.

No, I'm denying that spell swapping happens daily just because spells can be swapped daily. I'm pointing out that spell swapping for sorcerers was always intended and there was a concern that it was not happening as often as intended. I'm pointing out to you that WotC realized what they were doing when they listed this feature and stated that it would do what they intended in a system that could handle this feature.

I'm also saying that there are a lot of spells on the sorcerer list that have little to no value. The ability to swap them in or out at least once in a while gives value that does not currently exist. That's not a bad thing.

Obviously, because the system is broken - or, there'd be more viable alternatives. The more a specific spell worms it's way into everyone's list, the poorer the overall design of spells and spell-casting.

Spell Versatility makes that symptom worse.
Or there are spells that can be outgrown or situational so the intent of being able to change them is valid. Spell versatility doesn't make anything worse. It makes things better. That example I'm getting back to is the huge list of spells not worth taking without it having some possible value.

If a single spell is "broken" then the ability to swap it out isn't going to make it any more "broken" and the ability to swap it in doesn't exist because it was already taken.

You are making a lot of statements but not actually backing them up. The premise cannot be that there is always a better spell to take just because the ability to swap spells exists.

But, your defense of it seems to be that it, and indeed, the existing swap on level up mechanic, and the even more versatile prep of neo-Vancian classes, is already radically under-utilized.
Go back and read how often people say they don't bother swapping spells on a wizard anyway. It's in this thread and many others. There's no point in swapping spells on a wizard until the spells scribed in the book exceeds the number of standard spells a wizard might prep. They scribe rituals that they don't need to prep, spells they like that suit the archetype, and then add situational spells after that.

At that point they also swap spells after the situation presents itself, and not just because we can assume there is a situation just because they can swap spells. In the wizard's case, they are less likely to need to swap spells because they don't need to prep rituals and have more spells prepped than known spells casters anyway.

Almost any spell a sorcerer knows (other than divine soul) can be prepped by the wizard and/or covered in rituals and the extra spells prepped can be used to cover more weak saving throws or utility. Spell versatility doesn't change that, and it has far more to do with the ritual caster mechanic and number of readily available spells than anything.

Oh, it absolutely is a buff, and it further erodes the Sorcerers already tenuous uniqueness.
But, no, the "poor wizards" thing is laughable.
No it doesn't because sorcerers already have the ability and were expected to swap spells. It just wasn't happening after years of observation did not show that expectation was being met. I disagree that swapping a normally useful spell that becomes less useful has done anything but maintain that level of usefulness instead of creating situations where the sorcerer has become penalized in their spell selection.

The situational benefit isn't significant enough to call it a buff.

And, to an extent, I think you picked two of the worst sorcerers to demonstrate that idea, because they are the two most unique sorcerers in the game.

Fire Dragons have the easiest time following their concept, as has often been pointed out.

Divine Souls quite often pull from the cleric list, giving them a ton of powerful options that normal sorcerers do not have access to.

But, as someone who played a Storm Sorcerer, even using the UA version with an extra spell list it was incredibly hard to stay on theme. I ended up convincing my DM to let me take spells from other class lists just to fill it out, altering them to be storm themed.

Spells define spellcasters more than their non-spell abilities, so a lot of people end up just taking the same spells regardless of subclass.
Those are very different sorcerers but I think the point was demonstrated in that the bloodline does affect the spells chosen. I've done storm sorcerer too and I do take some of the same spells as dragon blooded but I also take different spells too because of that bloodline.

You're probably right and I might have used two more similar options to avoid extremes.

I'm going to state again that I also match spells to meta-magic and these are not always the same either. Staying on theme is almost impossible on a sorcerer, I agree. That doesn't preclude personal preferences and create the same spell lists.

I think the whole thematic sorcerer is a separate issue that isn't really impacted by spell versatility regardless. My point was that not all sorcerers are the same just because the player selected the spells he or she thinks work the best for that build. The premise that sorcerers already have selected their preferred spells so there needs to be a good reason to swap any of them hasn't changed. ;)
 

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