View Full Version : Yet another Sorcerer power change.

2006-08-20, 03:31 AM
I am one of the opinion that sorcerer's are slightly underpowered. The sorcerer class, while still often taken, fails in it's role as a spontaneous generalist. As the Warmage, Beguiler, and Dread Necromancer have taken most of the specializations, the Sorcerer is left either specializing in buffs (a role better suited to the Cleric), or conjurations. Now, I was just reading someones sorcerer modifications, and decided to write down my own:
Class skills: add Diplomacy, Intimidate, Gather Information, and Use Magic Device. Sorcerers are charismatic, and should have more than one skill that actually benifits from that.
Bonus feats: A sorcerer gains a bonus feat at first level, and at every fifth level (as a wizard). The sorcerer may choose from a metamagic, heritage, or extra spell known feat (and any other similar feats the DM approves).
Spellcasting: as normal, but the sorcerer does not use inexpensive material components or focuses. When a sorcerer must use an expensive material component or focus, the spell takes a full round action to cast, as the sorcerer is unfamiliar with using them (I stole this from the other guy's).
Spells Known: as normal, but add bonus spells known based on the bonus spells per day table for the charisma score (you get bonus spells known equal to your bonus spells per day, in other words). Unlike bonus spells per day, you may not gain bonus spells known from magic exept for inherent bonuses.
Familiar: as normal, but many other variants allow you to gain other abilities in place of a familiar.

So baisically I took some houserules I've heard people use, and threw in some bonus feats. Normally a sorcerer has no reason to not take a PrC, and will be weaker if he does not, and now they have the same incentive as wizards. Allowing heritage feats gives even more flavory goodness (I also ripped this off the other guy).

I know there's about a gazillion opinions. I'm looking for feedback, not arguments or debates. I actually had been brought into the belief that sorcerers can hold their own, but I still think they deserve some high level benefits, and bonus feats seemed just right, as the main sorcerer customization (IMO) is through feats.
Here goes....

2006-08-20, 10:10 AM
First of all, I do not think sorcerer is underpowered. I do admit that it is undepowered compared to any other caster but all the other casters seem overpowered compared to warriors and thus I think that sorcerer is balanced class, maybe the only really balanced full-caster.

Then, were we to balance it with other casters.

Class skills: I agree with these ones, especially UMD...

The rest:
Limit some of it. Either modifier to spells known or the bonus feats, but not all! A sorcerer only taking extra spells known and having good charisma score would have a huge amount of spells known and to cast those spells spontaneously... Seems overpowered. So my suggestion is to either choose one or another.
About the material components... You are practically giving them eschew materials and it would be simplier to just say that. Spells with expensive material components, like identify, animate dead, etc. are not normally used in combats anyway so increased time does not really matter...

2006-08-20, 12:42 PM
Perhaps it would be better to remove familiar as a given, and add it as an available feat with the bonus feats. Familiars are a wizard's - or witch's thing, I believe. Why would a sorcerer have a familiar? His magic is, if nothing else, unconventional.

Second: on the topic of extra spells known, maybe it should be tied to a form of specialization. Since sorcerers have a talent for spells, whether a bloodline or something else, they ought to have a corresponding limitation as well. On the WotC boards, a guy called Szatany or something (he's the one with the ultimate classes) developed a system of bloodline-related spells and limitations; I recommend you take a look at it (his version is quite powerful - but so are the other ultimate classes he designs). The thing is, whatever the raw magical force within a sorcerer is, it ought to be somewhat limited - maybe he's a master of enchantments but can't cast necromantic spells, has a knack for fire spells but not cold spells, etc. Dragons (the usual suspects) work this way too - they are vulnerable to a power opposite to their own.

As it is, I don't consider the class especially powerful, whether compared to non-casters or not. Bonus feats... Well, the sorcerer - and the cleric - are the only two classes where more levels bring no new features to the table. The cleric, at least, has domains - a serious power, especially given the bonus spells they represent. A sorcerer has a familiar - useful, but potentially dangerous as well. So why not add in something every few levels to discourage dipping in the first PrC that you find? A good job, overall, but some more flavor could be helpful. Actually, I have an idea - but it's a little radical: just consider the warlock a form of sorcerer, and adapt their skills. Practically all of them fit the sorcerer's concept.

Merlin the Tuna
2006-08-20, 01:02 PM
I love the Sorcerer and agree that it should get probably a little more than it currently has, but one should be careful -- a lot of people who want to "fix" the Sorc add far too much. If you really want to increase the spells known, I'd use the bonus spells mechanic, but base it off of INT, not CHA. Using CHA is far too easy and will result in an intense power boost. INT, on the other hand, creates a little bit of MAD (which I like to see in more classes, particularly casters) and also has the precendence of being used in the PHB 2 to determine the number of times per day a (variant) sorcerer can use accelerated metamagic. And because INT isn't likely to see as many boosts as CHA, the Sorcerer ends up knowing an extra 1st, 2nd, maybe 3rd level spell, which adds versatility, but not a tremendous amount of power

2006-08-20, 01:11 PM
Another possibility is to broaden their spell list. A sorcerer is not a wizard; their magic does not come from the same thing, and quite a bunch of dragons can cast cleric spells. The wizard is kept from having Cures because that's not their niche, and they can learn their entire list. Sorcerers have no such versatility, and if they want to spend a spell on a Cure, good for them.

In fact, I'd probably go all the way and replace it with the Generic Spellcaster (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/genericClasses.htm#spellcaster); just make them always charisma-based casters with good Will saves. I'd rather have spells known off the divine caster lists than proficiency in all simple weapons and a familiar.

2006-08-20, 04:59 PM
Okay, response time:
@ Pegasos: The thing is, the bonus spells for charisma aren't really that many. If you can manage to get 28 non-magic charisma, you'll have a bonus spell known at each level, with two at 5th and below, and 3 at 1st. At the level you'd have that much charisma, those are down to utility spells. As for the spell known feat: I think you might have misinterpereted. I meant it to be the one in CA. The spell can't be of your higest spell known, which limits it's power somewhat. The funky materials eschewing is because it normally is a feat, and I figured a balance would let it slide without notice.
@The_Shaman: the Ultimate Sorcerer was one of the things that helped get me riled into writing this, as it was inspiration for the other guy I half ripped these ideas off of. The problem with making it bloodline related is that it can be interpereted to many ways. Giving bonus spells known would turn it into a domain-fest like jumble, which I don't want.
@MerlintheTuna: I considered int once, but I wanted something more dramatic and less MAD like.
@I_Got_This_Name: yes, the generic spellcaster, I like it as well. The problem is that those are balanced off each other and are not meant for play with normal classes. Now, designating the class skills and a will save makes it into a nice sorc, but then it's like adding a whole new class and I'm just going for a happy + variant. The generic caster does pretty much everything I want though, I think I'd like playing in a generic game with prestige classes. The Demented One recently made a thread with aproxxamately an american ton of feats, one of which was: Expanded Knowledge (or something): add one spell from any spell list to your list of spells known. It must be two levels lower than the highest you can cast, and it is a spell one level higher than normal for you. I like this feat, but I could see munchkins finding spells at a crazy low level (like the bard/assasin and other short lists with thematic spells), and getting them sooner than they should.

Thanks for the responses, now what would you say if it ditched the cha bonus spells, and kept the rest? Something like:
Skills: add Diplomacy, Intimidate, Gather Information, and Use Magic Device.
Bonus Feats: at 1st level, and every 5th level. Bonus feats may be metamagic, heritage, extra spell known, arcane familiar, or eschew materials.

This is just bonus feats and a few extra skill choices. I had meant for the familiar to be on the list the first time, and I changed eschew materials into a bonus feat option.

2006-08-20, 08:38 PM
Well, I am partial to choices that increase somewhat their spells knownl per level, but I guess it's just me ;) Otherwise, looks ok - not strong, but a bit stronger. By the way, I assume you keep the original hit die and skill points per level?

2006-08-20, 11:07 PM
Of course.

2006-08-22, 07:29 AM
After being shown what a well made (the only type of character worth making) sorcerer can do, I am now of the opinion that the sorcerer and wizard are balanced. The biggest issue now is just how much specialized stuff there is for the wizard (PrC's, items, feats), but there is now a competitive amount for the sorcerer (if you allow races of the dragon).
Woot for wishwashing.

2006-08-22, 05:56 PM
My opinion is that what Wizards needs to do is make sorcerers fundamentally different then wizards. The problem is that wizards are just *better* at casting the *exact same spells*. What they need is different spell lists, after all, a Sorcerer is closer to a psion than a wizard. (In some ways.)

2006-08-22, 06:20 PM
Aren't there somewhere elemental sorcerers? Sorcerers rock the best when they have all the fire spells at their disposal, but can't cast Tiny hut or Crushing hand. It's not so strong, but looks real good :)

If it was me, I'd even add more spells/day but limit the spells avaible, making themed sorcerer sets. It would be slightly more warlock-ish that way.

Fax Celestis
2006-08-22, 06:39 PM
One could always remove the sorceror class and replace it with the psion, like others have done.

2006-08-22, 07:28 PM
Themed sorcerors are my favourite. Right now I'm making a hellspawn themed one. With Black Tentacles, Acid Fog, Confusion, and some powerful summon monster. Altough I have to admit, altough it's cooler than a wizard, are weaker too.

2006-08-22, 08:24 PM
Skipping out on expensive material components is overdoing it. A free stoneskin as a full-round action? No, seriously.

I agree that the Sorcerer could use a bit of help. Cha-based skills in particular sound like a good idea, and UMD could actually be a good, fluffy match.

I'd also go with removing a Sorcerer's familiar; it sounds like something that belongs to the Wizard anyway. There's already the Obtain Familiar feat in case a Sorcerer wants one. In exchange, I'd give them the PHB2 variant that lets them use Metamagic without incurring in the full-round penalty, and I'd give them Eschew Materials for free (as the Wizard gains Scribe Scroll).
Since metamagic and item creation seem to be thought as a "wizard thing", you could give the Sorcerer bonus heritage feats every 5 levels, so that all sorcerers have to choose specific themes and origins.

IMHO, that's already enough to make the Sorcerer on par with the Wizard.

2006-08-22, 08:51 PM
Did I word that poorly?
What I meant is you effectivly get eschew materials, but with the minor flaw that when you do have to a use a material component/focus, it takes a full round action. So stoneskin not only costs a lot, but it takes longer to cast in a combat situation. It's a bit more flavorful but you could do without.
The boards over at wizards had a nice debate a few months back that I just read (someone threadomancied it). The sorcerer advoacates had some great examples of how getting creative and knowing what spells to pick make a sorcerer just as viable as a wizard.
As it stands, a wizard can get a PrC easily, but gives up some bonus feats and overall may not gain as much benifit as a sorcerer would. Whereas a sorcerer "pays now" with the difficulties in qualifying, but gains more and pays less later on. I can't paraphrase very well, but it made sense in a backwards sort of "well, lets treat sorcerers different from everyone else" sort of way.

As much as I like the heritage feats idea, the problem is the ones that are actually for the sorcerer are limited. You have the draconic ones, which are most useful with races of the dragon, and the PrC for them. And there's the celestial/fiendish ones in the PHBII, of which there are only 4 each, and they arent as good (celestial sorcerer lance is weak, infernal sorcerer heritage only benifits your evil summons). There are the bloodline feats from that back issue of Dragon (thank you realmshelps), but that depends even more on the DM. Now, it was suggested in the thread at Wizards that the sorc be given a bonus feat at 2nd. There's another idea there.

So yea, I'm done taking up thread space, but as always feel free to continue.

2006-08-24, 08:45 PM
Eschew materials doesn't help with costly components. No trapping souls for free, unfortunately. Additional ideas about sorcerers may include getting an UA version of a bloodline for free (they are a bit weak, I believe, so maybe even an intermediate could work out), or just setting a few of the wizard bonus feats as possible options for sorcerer bonus feats as well. Scribe scroll is generally a poor option (though a dwarf sorcerer using gemstones instead of scrolls is good enough for me), but why not metamagic or spell focus feats?

2006-08-27, 12:00 PM
The bonus feats seem alright. I would remove Scribe Scroll at lvl. 1 and replace it with Eschew Materials. I don't have a problem with changing the class abilities, but I wouldn't change their skill points.

The changes seem good, but I agree that the familiar should go. I always thought it was annoying when I multiclass to an arcane class and end up taking some dumb animal that dosn't really go with my character, just because I wanted to cast a little arcane magic. I generally just don't take one, but then I do lose a bretty nice benifit. Perhaps it could be replaced?

2006-08-27, 07:09 PM
I really like themed sorcerers, which was why I was so impressed by the entire "ultimate" thing - although something like it seemed to appear in Dragon 311 as well. For me, even if not explicitly stated, a sorcerer ought to have at least 1/3 of their spells relating to some common theme, best related to her heritage.

2006-08-27, 07:43 PM
Eschew materials doesn't help with costly components. No trapping souls for free, unfortunately.
Actually, as a Sor/Wiz 8 Conjouration(Summoning) spell, Trap the Soul is a perfectly valid spell to emulate via Shades... which neither has a material component, nor requires you to have the material component of the duplicated spell.

Where does someone end up when you do that?

2006-08-27, 07:45 PM
Couple things...

Sorcerers and Wizards seem fairly balanced on the spells issue. One has a large supply, the other a large selection. But then wizards go ahead and get extra bonus feats for item creation or metamagic use. A problem for sure.

Sorcerers suffer from a lack of special flavor, something to keep you even interested in advancing the class the full 20 levels. Wizards get those bonus feats but Sorcerers get zilch.

What about sorcererous undertakings in the form of improvised magic? Sorcerers are beings imbued of magic stuff, so it could be assumed that they can emulate more than just what they know. Special rules for using multiple or higher spell slots to emulate another spell they don't know can be used. The sorcerer looks at the current situation, decides he needs a certain type of effect, and tries to mold his magic to create an improvised spell on the fly that mimics the effect he needs. This is similar to Limited Wish or Wish spells, but should carry a chance of failure and a heavier cost than a single spell's preparation.

As the masters of spontaneous casting, this variant allows sorcerers to spontaneously INVENT spells, assuming their sorcerous power is sufficient to the task (and some related spellcraft + caster level checks).

Another option is bonus feats, however from a different pool than metamagics. Sorcerers make the most use of Still Spell, Silent Spell, and Eschew Materials because they can pop them on the fly where a Wizard would waste spell slots preparing them. So, extending this, Sorcerers can receive bonus feats toward on the fly casting. Feats such as Cast on the Run. Creating a more fluid, spontaneous caster is what I believe to be the solution. Wizards have their place in preplanned strikes and expected situations. Sorcerers should therefore be masters of the unexpected.

A bound and gagged Wizard cannot cast spells, but a Sorcerer can apply his metamagics to cast even while stunned. A wizard must plan ahead of time which spells he must bring. Sorcerer might decide he desperately needs a dispelling effect and sacrifice a number of spell slots and make a few checks to EMULATE one.

I wish WotC had done a better job in establishing this.

Wizards = Able to do anything if prepared ahead
Sorcerers = Spontaneous masters of the unexpected

2006-08-27, 09:33 PM
Well, I recently read a feat on the wizard's boards: metamagic feat that lets you cast any spell, takes up a slot 4 levels higher.
There's also a malhavoc splatbook with a caster that makes spell on the fly with a somewhat spell seed like system. But if you adventrued enough to gain a level you'd probly kill yourself with the drawbacks and penalties they put in.
As for use of metamagic:
That's one of the things you have to do to create an effective sorcerer. Find all the metamagic feats that let you manipulate your spells, learn varied spells that when metamagiced will let you do most effects you could need.
The infinitly versatile sorcerer is possible with enough splatbooks, and is really the only way to play one effectively. Though it would be nice if they had made it easier, with the number of spell effects there are and not forcing people to jump through hoops, it's easier to just use the spells they already have instead of making up a whole new mechanic. Lazy.

2006-08-27, 09:48 PM
You can actually make an extremely versitile Sorcerer with just what's in the core rules, after about 10th level or so, by use of the Planar Binding line; the Wizard can prepare the perfect spell, the Sorcerer can Call the perfect outsider. The Wizard can make use of the spells too, but has a harder time of it due to non-overlap between his primary casting stat and the Charisma needed for bargaining. At 14th, if Magic-Psionics Transparency is in effect, and the XPH is a permitted source, a Sorcerer can use Limited Wish to duplicate Psychic Reformation and re-select his spells to suit the situation (although it's a costly tactic, it takes about 46 castings to actually put him a full level behind on XP at 14th; wizards have similar issues when Scribing Scrolls anyway, so.....).

With a good spell selection, a Sorcerer will basically always have something useful to do.

2006-08-28, 12:29 AM
What about giving them the choice between a familiar, Metamagic Specialist from PHB2, a free heritage feat, or Eschew Materials on levels 1 and 4, along with a spell known equal to one-half your Sorceror level minus two on level 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20? That gives them some more versatility, a huge incentive for staying in the class, along with a bit more power early on. It also seems pretty balanced. To compare, Wizards get a familiar and Scribe Scroll on level 1, Sorcerers would get a feat from a limited list on levels 1 and 4. Wizards get another 4 bonus feats, Sorcerors would get 8 bonus spells that are two levels lower than the highest level of spells they can cast. There's a feat that allows a Sorceror to learn an additional spell one level lower than the highest level they can cast, so it seems roughly fair to count the class ability bonus spells as half a feat. Hopefully, that'll even things out.

2006-08-28, 01:22 AM
I think the DM has a lot to do with it.

If a certain DM plays negotiation on a reliable basis, a caster adjusts accordingly. How much is the buster. If Mr. DM plays one negotiation per preparation time, the wizard prepares charm person (at low levels) and the sorc learns it. This plays to the wizard advantage. He gives up one spell slot and wins a encounter. The sorc loses a 'spell known' slot, which costs him dearly. If the negotiation increases past once per prep, Things swing the the sorc way. He just takes a few Enchantments and relaxes. The wizard on the other hand, has to prepare more spells, which costs him combat effectiveness.

This model works with other situations, sometimes with the positions switched, such as with feats. If the caster 'needs' a given feat off the wizard bonus list, then the wizard will be less reluctant to get said feat.

2006-08-28, 01:48 AM
I originally misread the ^ post, but I'll say this anyway:
A lot of the difference between sorc and wiz becomes apparent with the pace of the game. If PC's have lots of time to prepare, and know what they're up against, wiz wins. If they have little time and no idea what's going on, sorc wins.
The hidden factor is the preference of the other players. If your group likes to take it slow, wiz is the way to go. If when you suggest resting they groan and argue, sorc is the best choice. The DM doesn't always control the flow of the game, the players can set some of the pace too, for better or worse.

Also at Jack_Smith:
Yea, I read that the sor vs wiz thread a while ago. I also praised you highly on the awesomeness of it. I'd like to hope you're not ignoring people without big shiny post counts, are you?

2006-08-28, 08:38 PM
Also at Jack_Smith:
Yea, I read that the sor vs wiz thread a while ago. I also praised you highly on the awesomeness of it. I'd like to hope you're not ignoring people without big shiny post counts, are you?More like I'm really, really bad with names. In some ways it helps - makes it really hard to carry a grudge - in other ways it hurts - don't remember praise well, or who to remember fondly.