D&D 5E What are your thoughts on the DnD Next playtest sorcerer compared to the final 5e sorcerer?

Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
Lots of things were different in the DnD Next playtest, with things like martials getting a variety of manoeuvres, to casting in armour still not being allowed as a holdout from earlier editions. However one of the biggest differences was the sorcerer, which was an entirely different class concept altogether.

We only saw the draconic sorcerer, and only up to level 5, but it has almost nothing in common with the final sorcerer which we got later on, appearing for only a single playtest packet and then vanishing again until the final release of 5e.

The class was an arcane half caster, with a d8 hit die, and proficiency in all weapons and armour. Rather than spell slots it used 'will points' similar to the variant rule in the DMG. What really set it apart was that it would gain the abilities of its subclass as it spent those will points, becoming more like its power source as the adventuring day progressed. So for draconic you would gain claws and scales after spending 3 and 10 willpower respectively, turning you more melee orientated over time.

Sadly we never got to see what the other subclasses would be, or what would happen past level 5. But I found the class concept fascinating, and not really alike to anything we have in game currently.
 

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The sorcerer was great. It was a martial/spellcaster hybrid getting more powerful the more spells they cast.
I was really fond of the concept, but it was not well received, because people wanted a more traditional sorcerer.

Maybe a different name and half casting would bring us the arcane paladin/ranger so many people would like.

So what name could they get?
 

Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
The sorcerer was great. It was a martial/spellcaster hybrid getting more powerful the more spells they cast.
I was really fond of the concept, but it was not well received, because people wanted a more traditional sorcerer.

Maybe a different name and half casting would bring us the arcane paladin/ranger so many people would like.

So what name could they get?
Thing is I don't think this thematic concept would even have to be tied to a half caster technically. Using up your willpower and transforming over the day could easily be pushed down a pure martial route too. Might be perfect for werewolf/vampire PC's which so many people ask for.
 

Thing is I don't think this thematic concept would even have to be tied to a half caster technically. Using up your willpower and transforming over the day could easily be pushed down a pure martial route too. Might be perfect for werewolf/vampire PC's which so many people ask for.

Could be called something like "Inheritor".

The subclass could define if you inherit werewolf, vampire or draconcic abilities.
It could either be fueld by spell slots (maybe only for certain subclasses) or prof bonus per long rest abilities.
 
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Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
Could be called something like "Inheritor".

The subclass could define if your inherit werewolf, vampire or draconcic abilities.
It could either be fueld by spell slots (maybe only for certain subclasses) or prof bonus per long rest abilities.
Was thinking something like bloodcursed. But I'm no good at thinking of names.

But yeah some subclasses having spells but not others could work. Will points to fuel both spells and class abilities, and as you spend them you gain features which change your playstyle.
 


Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
The playtest sorcerer almost sounds like the gish class a lot of people are looking for?
It's the reason we don't have an arcane gish class. In older editions the 'sorcerer thing' was spontaneous casting, while everyone else used vancian casting. When 5e came along all casters got spontaneous casting and so the sorcerer suddenly had no unique thing (metamagic being a feat for all caster back then).

So the playtest sorcerer was a half casting will point powered arcane gish, which gradually transformed into their bloodline as their will was exhausted. Giving it a completely unique set of themes and mechanics.

At the last minute it got switched to the sorcerer we have now (discount wizard with the metamagic feat duct taped to the side), and the arcane gish role got left empty.
 


I didn't play the Next version, but the idea is cool as heck.

I'm not sure how well it works as a "sorcerer," per se, but frankly replacing the sorcerer class with whatever you'd call that concept and moving wild magic (and maybe a couple other subclasses) to another class could work.
 

The playtest fiddled around with a lot of ideas, some were good and others not. The Sorcerer lacked a solid identity, so they were looking to see what other ideas might work. I thought I was really interesting, and far better than the version we got, but I also liked wizards having vancian casting and clerics having the current neo-vancian. YMMV.
 

South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
It's the reason we don't have an arcane gish class. In older editions the 'sorcerer thing' was spontaneous casting, while everyone else used vancian casting. When 5e came along all casters got spontaneous casting and so the sorcerer suddenly had no unique thing (metamagic being a feat for all caster back then).

So the playtest sorcerer was a half casting will point powered arcane gish, which gradually transformed into their bloodline as their will was exhausted. Giving it a completely unique set of themes and mechanics.

At the last minute it got switched to the sorcerer we have now (discount wizard with the metamagic feat duct taped to the side), and the arcane gish role got left empty.
I seriously never knew this was how it came about. The things you can learn on EN World...
 



Li Shenron

Legend
The idea was neat, I haven't playetested it back then but I remember thinking it was perhaps a bit too dramatic and difficult to balance. What if a player figured out that it was convenient to just blow all your spells at the wall when you wake up in the morning and stay permanently transformed? Still, with careful design they could have made it work.

About the will points, there was an early phase during Next where every available spellcaster class (probably not many yet) had a different casting rules system, even if slightly so. I really liked the idea because it differentiated the experience of playing each class more, and it emphasized that Wizardry, Sorcery, Clerical magic and Druidic magic were different (probably the Druid class wasn't public yet at that time but still). As a small bonus, it would have helped with the occasional "why do we have nature Clerics AND Druids?" complaint. But then they decided it was more important to have easy multiclassing rules.
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
There was a lot of stuff from the NEXT playtest that was dropped for the final publications, and some of it was a damn shame.

The Sorcerer concept was one of those, as was having the Magic Initiate feat as part of a chain that would eventually net you 6th level spells.

These were ideas that fundamentally changed the nature of D&D, and they were awesome. They also pointed at the much touted "modularity" of 5e that ended up a little too half-baked for many of us.

But changing the fundamentals of D&D wasn't the design goal, so the interesting stuff got dropped. I've been hoping to see it in a book of rule and play options, but that book seems less and less likely as time goes on.
 


Frozen_Heart

Adventurer
I am saddened every time I think of the Next Sorcerer as the idea was just so great. Heck at this rate, I'd take a revival of the idea as its own separate class instead of it being the Sorcerer. That's how bad I wish it would comeback.
Yep same. I'd love to see it as its own unique class as it's different enough in mechanics and theme compared to anything else available.
 



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