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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    That's a good point. I guess it just seems like a waste at the moment - since my attacks are pretty crap even when they do hit (hence, Advantage doesn't mean a whole lot).

    Also, you say that it should be my go-to approach for combats, but how? I have 3 sorcery points and it takes 2 of them just to cast Darkness. So if I want to use it more than once per day, I have to start burning spell slots to get more spell points. Is that really a good idea? Especially when I need to use those spells to inflict any meaningful damage.
    For trivial combats I wouldn't bother casting Darkness. For major combats, casting Darkness to get advantage is worth it. It will give you advantage for every single round of combat, thereby increasing your chances of hitting and increasing your chances of landing a critical hit. It will also make you much harder to hit, thereby taking pressure off the healers in the party. Your cantrips don't look like much now, but Chill Touch will double its damage, from 1d8 to 2d8, when you hit level 5, which means a crit will be 4d8.

    As a caster, you can't compare your round-by-round damage to the martial classes. If you compare your cantrips to their weapon attacks, you're always going to be disappointed. Yes, your cantrips look weak compared to that rogue's sneak attack damage or that barbarian's two-handed weapon with strength bonus damage, but comparing your cantrips to their weapon attacks isn't an apples to apples comparison. Your spells, especially as you go up in levels, will do much more damage than their weapon attacks, especially against groups of opponents, but those spells are a limited resource. In other words, your damage output is relatively spiky, going way up when you burn spell slots, then subsiding when you fall back on cantrips, whereas the damage output of the martial classes is relatively even. The sorcerer (like the wizard) is designed to save spell slots for when they're necessary, and rely on cantrips the rest of the time.

    What separates a sorcerer from a wizard is metamagic. Without metamagic, you're basically just a wizard with far fewer spells. Put another way, being a sorcerer instead of a wizard is all about strategic use of metamagic to make your spells hit harder than the equivalent spell coming from a wizard.

    You point out that Darkness costs two sorcery points so you can only do it once at level 3 unless you burn spell slots to get more sorcery points. That's true, and I'd say two things about that. First, I know there are many, many fans of the Twin spell metamagic, who urge sorcerers to get it as one of their first metamagics. I'm not a fan of that approach because it is so expensive, you just don't have the sorcery points to sustain use of it. I'd suggest instead starting with cheaper metamagics with guaranteed effects, such as empowered and subtle. As for Darkness specifically, suppose you cast it in a major fight, thinking you'll have a chance for a long rest afterwards, but it turns out there's another major fight after that, with no chance of a long rest. Then you have a choice - do without Darkness or burn a spell slot for the sorcery points so you can cast Darkness again. Sometimes the right approach will be the first choice, sometimes it will be the second depending on the fight. Part of being a sorcerer is making that kind of tactical decision.

    Finally, I don't recall you mentioning a lot of details about your character in your original post, so I'm not sure what race you are, or what your DEX store is. If you have a DEX score of 14, and certainly if you have a DEX score of 16, then I'd suggest using a light crossbow until you get to level 5. Because you get to add your DEX bonus to the crossbow's damage, the crossbow will out perform your cantrips until your cantrips start doing two damage dice per hit at level 5. This isn't anything specific to a sorcerer. Wizards are in the same situation, though Xanathar's partially alleviated that with the new Toll the Dead cantrip. If you're an Elf, you can do even better and use a longbow instead of a light crossbow for the best range in the game. Also, if you're an elf, hopefully you have a 17 charisma so that you can get Elven Accuracy for your feat at level 4. That will bring your CHA to 18 and let you re-roll one of your d20 attack rolls whenever you attack with advantage, essentially being able to roll 3d20s to hit instead of 2. As a shadow sorcerer, you're going to be spending a lot of time casting from Darkness with advantage so Elven Accuracy will significantly increase your number of hits and number of crits.

    I know that sorcerer can seem a bit weak at level 3. Wizards can feel the same way. But getting to level 5 makes a huge difference, and getting your Hound of Ill Omen at level 6 makes a big difference too.

    I'd also suggest looking around for good sorcerer guides, especially on the critical subject of spell selection. Because sorcerers get very few spells, it's critically important to choose a good mix of flexible spells that will let you target the weak points of your opponents. For example, you don't want to rely entirely on attack roll spells (as opposed to saving throw spells) only to inevitably run into that opponent with 26 AC but a -2 WIS save.

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    I'd also suggest looking around for good sorcerer guides, especially on the critical subject of spell selection. Because sorcerers get very few spells, it's critically important to choose a good mix of flexible spells that will let you target the weak points of your opponents. For example, you don't want to rely entirely on attack roll spells (as opposed to saving throw spells) only to inevitably run into that opponent with 26 AC but a -2 WIS save.
    again, this is the wrong way to go about it.

    as you noted, sorcerer is about getting the most out of your metamagic. that means no, you don't go to a guide, pick whatever is rated highest, and move on. the character he currently has very likely came from that exactly. as a sorcerer, you don't pick spells or metamagic separately if you want to be effective. you pick spells and metamagics together, otherwise you wind up with web and twin spell, neither of them workswith the other, and now you're a crappier wizard.

    as a sorcerer, you choose what "tricks" you want to be able to do, and unfortunately, there isn't really a good guide on that. you need to figure out what combination of spell and metamagic is going to let you do something cool so that you can at least have something that other people can't do just as well. choosing "the best" spells is what wizards do, because their thing is having the right spell for the job. as a sorcerer, that isn't going to cut it. you can't change your spells daily, you can't have every spell in your spellbook, you can't ritual cast every ritual spell you know, so you need to figure out not just that you want web or suggestion, but that you want careful web or subtle suggestion.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    as you noted, sorcerer is about getting the most out of your metamagic. that means no, you don't go to a guide, pick whatever is rated highest, and move on.
    I don't suggest that the OP mindlessly follow a guide. I suggest that he read multiple guides, think about why they make the recommendations that they do, then select his spells and metamagic in accordance with his priorities.

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    As a newish player myself who started with Sorcerers because of flavor - I feel you so much.

    I started a game about a year ago and we started from level 1 and I felt pretty useless till level 5. Sat there doing piddly damage while the ranger right next to me is doing much more damage, the bard providing insane control (also had an instrument of the bards at level 3 so there's that...). I started off with Quicken and Twin as well.

    I did in fact go and read guides. I had to sit and think about what it is I wanted from my character. Did I want a blaster? A controller? A buffer/debuffer? I looked at a few guides to see what they said about spells, to see combos and such (the guide here on gaintip by Evil Anagram helped a lot). Once I settled on damage & buff/debuff I knew how to build my character.

    I ended up multiclassing for 2 levels into warlock (yes, I read you don't want to) and redoing my spell selection to include things like Haste, Banishment, Polymorph, Hold Person due to having Twin Spell. I then took Counterspell, Dispel Magic, Detect Magic because we needed it so the bard could use their control spells more often and not focus on counterspelling (I didn't take Hypnotic Pattern or Fear because the bard has those). I took that role because I wanted to and there's never such a thing as too many counterspells.

    The EB/AB combo gave me the consistent DPR I wished to keep up with the martial characters and let my spell choices be buffs/debuffs. Even now, I re-read all spells to see if there is anything I can change to add more buffs/debuffs.

    Low level for sorcerers suck so much, it is enough to turn anyone away from the class if you don't know what you're doing while walking in and have a very clear idea of the spells and what role you want from your PC.

    For damage at those levels till I MC'd to warlock I would use Chromatic Orb as my damage and twinned it as often as possible. It wasn't till level 5 that my cantrips let me do any decent damage beyond the Spell Slot usage.

    So first step is always - what do you want from your PC? What role do you want to fulfill? From there, we can help. From what I see, you're spell list is clashing with what you want to do.

    Choose a primary role and a secondary role:
    - Blaster
    - Buffer/debuffer
    - Controller

    Once you got that picked (choose what you want to play, not necessarily what your party asks you to do), lets review your spell list in lieu of your ice/necrotic theme.
    Last edited by Raif; 2017-12-31 at 02:13 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    What about choices for lv2+ spells?
    I'd say flaming sphere is your best damage option; 2d6 damage as a bonus action, a little area control and the ability to blast away with your cantrips as an action Scorching Ray is good too I guess

    "Being good at combat" doesn't just mean damage though. You're not supposed to beat the fighter or rogue at single target DPR, you're strengths are AOE damage and CC. Honestly a spell like Web or Phantasmal Force can be devastating at low levels for taking critical targets out of a tough fight. Just save your spell slots for the tougher fights and let the martial classes handle "grunt work" of clearing mobs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    So the way to not suck with a sorcerer is to play a different class? Fantastic.
    No. Sorcs get stronger and stronger as levels go up. While I do admit that I wish they had +2 spells known compared to what they actually get (how I homebrew them) you can still be a force in your party. When you hit level 5 (fireball is insane at this level) and level 6 (CR 1 summon for 3 sorc points) you'll find that your life gets a lot easier.

    Also, if you can get your hands on something as simple as a wand of magic missiles you can see your damage between long rests go up by a lot. You are the natural user of action activated items, since your base damage without expending spell slots is the lowest.
    Last edited by ProseBeforeHos; 2017-12-31 at 05:49 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProseBeforeHos View Post
    I'd say flaming sphere is your best damage option; 2d6 damage as a bonus action, a little area control and the ability to blast away with your cantrips as an action.

    "Being good at combat" doesn't just mean damage though. You're not supposed to beat the fighter or rogue at single target DPR, you're strengths are AOE damage and CC. Honestly a spell like Web or Phantasmal Force can be devastating at low levels for taking critical targets out of a tough fight. Just save your spell slots for the tougher fights and let the martial classes handle "grunt work" of clearing mobs.
    flaming sphere is not on the sorcerer spell list. i have no idea why it isn't, but hey, it isn't like it's the only good spell that is missing from the sorcerer spell list for no discernable reason.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Devil

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    At 1st and 2nd level you can not suck by spamming sleep, which is pretty much God mode at that level.
    From 3rd level you can not suck by doing things like twinned suggestion (or hold person/phantasmal force if your DM nerfs that spell), which is, again, pretty much god-mode at that level.
    From 5th level you have stuff like fireball/hypnoitic pattern/twinned haste etc. You won't need much help from there.

    The problem with sorcerers is that they have to pick their spells very carefully. If you pick the right spells at the appropriative levels, they are not at all weak in combat (not even at low levels)

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Asmotherion's Avatar

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    I'm currently playing in a campaign as a Shadow sorcerer. I'm really enjoying my character in terms of personality/roleplaying. However, whenever it comes to combat, they're about as effective as a dead gerbil. Arguably less so as at least the other characters wouldn't have to worry about protecting a dead gerbil.

    We're currently Lv3, and I've got the following spell list:

    Chill Touch
    Frostbite
    Prestigitation
    Minor Illusion

    Shield
    Chromatic Orb
    Sleep

    Maximilian's Earthen Grasp

    (For the most part, I was aiming for a cold/shadow/necrotic theme.)

    Anyway, it just seems like I just don't do anything meaningful in combat. My cantrips either do pitiful damage or nothing at all. Sleep gets maybe 1 weak enemy at most. Maximilian's Earthen Grasp has so far failed to do anything.

    Have I just chosen bad spells? If so, what should I pick instead?

    Otherwise, can anyone give me any advice on playing a (shadow) sorcerer and doing something meaningful with them in combat?

    The most direct thing to do, is Warlock dip. I love what you're doing with this character, and this is why I love Sorlocks so much; Invest a couple levels of Warlock for Eldritch Blast to have an excelent weapon/combat option, and the rest of your character is completelly Role Playing Customisable, with no optimisation (at-least, no Combat Optimisation) in mind, instead focusing on the Character Concept/RP of the Character completelly.

    Thankfully, Hexblade is very Vanilla/Concept Correct for your Character, so you need not worry about breaking your Character. You'll also be able to Gish a bit with this.

    I suppose there will be other answears to your problem, and perhaps this is not what you're looking for; I still suggest it as a great alternative to consider, as I firmly believe it will help you.
    Last edited by Asmotherion; 2017-12-31 at 08:11 AM.

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  9. - Top - End - #69
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    For trivial combats I wouldn't bother casting Darkness. For major combats, casting Darkness to get advantage is worth it. It will give you advantage for every single round of combat, thereby increasing your chances of hitting and increasing your chances of landing a critical hit. It will also make you much harder to hit, thereby taking pressure off the healers in the party. Your cantrips don't look like much now, but Chill Touch will double its damage, from 1d8 to 2d8, when you hit level 5, which means a crit will be 4d8.
    I look forward to eventually doing worthwhile damage when I'm lucky enough to crit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    As a caster, you can't compare your round-by-round damage to the martial classes. If you compare your cantrips to their weapon attacks, you're always going to be disappointed. Yes, your cantrips look weak compared to that rogue's sneak attack damage or that barbarian's two-handed weapon with strength bonus damage, but comparing your cantrips to their weapon attacks isn't an apples to apples comparison. Your spells, especially as you go up in levels, will do much more damage than their weapon attacks, especially against groups of opponents, but those spells are a limited resource. In other words, your damage output is relatively spiky, going way up when you burn spell slots, then subsiding when you fall back on cantrips, whereas the damage output of the martial classes is relatively even. The sorcerer (like the wizard) is designed to save spell slots for when they're necessary, and rely on cantrips the rest of the time.
    You say that, but even my non-Cantrip spells rarely even match their damage, let alone exceed it. Currently, it seems like I have to spend resources to be almost as good as they are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    What separates a sorcerer from a wizard is metamagic. Without metamagic, you're basically just a wizard with far fewer spells. Put another way, being a sorcerer instead of a wizard is all about strategic use of metamagic to make your spells hit harder than the equivalent spell coming from a wizard.
    I see. Well, given that I already hate metamagic, I guess I'm in for a bad time with this class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    You point out that Darkness costs two sorcery points so you can only do it once at level 3 unless you burn spell slots to get more sorcery points. That's true, and I'd say two things about that. First, I know there are many, many fans of the Twin spell metamagic, who urge sorcerers to get it as one of their first metamagics. I'm not a fan of that approach because it is so expensive, you just don't have the sorcery points to sustain use of it. I'd suggest instead starting with cheaper metamagics with guaranteed effects, such as empowered and subtle. As for Darkness specifically, suppose you cast it in a major fight, thinking you'll have a chance for a long rest afterwards, but it turns out there's another major fight after that, with no chance of a long rest. Then you have a choice - do without Darkness or burn a spell slot for the sorcery points so you can cast Darkness again. Sometimes the right approach will be the first choice, sometimes it will be the second depending on the fight. Part of being a sorcerer is making that kind of tactical decision.
    The thing is, it seems like I don't have enough spell points for any metamagic. Especially if I'm also planning to use Darkness or the Shadow Wolf thing at lv6. If I use Darkness even once then I'm left with a single spell point to use on a metamagic ability. That doesn't seem like enough to want to build around. And if I want to use the lv6 Shadow Wolf ability more then once per day, that'll consume my entire daily allotment of spell points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    Finally, I don't recall you mentioning a lot of details about your character in your original post, so I'm not sure what race you are, or what your DEX store is. If you have a DEX score of 14, and certainly if you have a DEX score of 16, then I'd suggest using a light crossbow until you get to level 5. Because you get to add your DEX bonus to the crossbow's damage, the crossbow will out perform your cantrips until your cantrips start doing two damage dice per hit at level 5. This isn't anything specific to a sorcerer. Wizards are in the same situation, though Xanathar's partially alleviated that with the new Toll the Dead cantrip. If you're an Elf, you can do even better and use a longbow instead of a light crossbow for the best range in the game. Also, if you're an elf, hopefully you have a 17 charisma so that you can get Elven Accuracy for your feat at level 4. That will bring your CHA to 18 and let you re-roll one of your d20 attack rolls whenever you attack with advantage, essentially being able to roll 3d20s to hit instead of 2. As a shadow sorcerer, you're going to be spending a lot of time casting from Darkness with advantage so Elven Accuracy will significantly increase your number of hits and number of crits.
    She's a half-elf with 14 Dex and 18 Cha. I can give the crossbow a go, but having a significantly worse to-hit bonus makes me wary of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    I know that sorcerer can seem a bit weak at level 3. Wizards can feel the same way. But getting to level 5 makes a huge difference, and getting your Hound of Ill Omen at level 6 makes a big difference too.
    Yeah, I get it. Sorcerers get better eventually. But that knowledge doesn't make the intervening levels and less tedious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    I'd also suggest looking around for good sorcerer guides, especially on the critical subject of spell selection.
    Having never played a sorcerer before, I did exactly that.

    That was de facto precisely how I came to end up with this sodding mess of a character.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    as you noted, sorcerer is about getting the most out of your metamagic. that means no, you don't go to a guide, pick whatever is rated highest, and move on. the character he currently has very likely came from that exactly. as a sorcerer, you don't pick spells or metamagic separately if you want to be effective. you pick spells and metamagics together, otherwise you wind up with web and twin spell, neither of them workswith the other, and now you're a crappier wizard.
    Pretty much.

    To be honest, when I picked metamagic, I thought it was something that would only matter in later levels anyway. I mean, I've currently got barely any spell points to begin with (and casting Darkness uses up 2/3 of them), and from lv6 onwards I'd thought that most of them would be used to summon the Shadow Wolf (which would also stand in for Heighten Spell). I do regret not picking Subtle Spell, but all the guides I read basically marked it as pointless (making it seem like a rather bad choice for my first Sorcerer).

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    as a sorcerer, you choose what "tricks" you want to be able to do, and unfortunately, there isn't really a good guide on that. you need to figure out what combination of spell and metamagic is going to let you do something cool so that you can at least have something that other people can't do just as well. choosing "the best" spells is what wizards do, because their thing is having the right spell for the job. as a sorcerer, that isn't going to cut it. you can't change your spells daily, you can't have every spell in your spellbook, you can't ritual cast every ritual spell you know, so you need to figure out not just that you want web or suggestion, but that you want careful web or subtle suggestion.
    That's good to know. I wish I'd read it before I made my character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raif View Post
    As a newish player myself who started with Sorcerers because of flavor - I feel you so much.

    I started a game about a year ago and we started from level 1 and I felt pretty useless till level 5. Sat there doing piddly damage while the ranger right next to me is doing much more damage, the bard providing insane control (also had an instrument of the bards at level 3 so there's that...). I started off with Quicken and Twin as well.

    I did in fact go and read guides. I had to sit and think about what it is I wanted from my character. Did I want a blaster? A controller? A buffer/debuffer? I looked at a few guides to see what they said about spells, to see combos and such (the guide here on gaintip by Evil Anagram helped a lot). Once I settled on damage & buff/debuff I knew how to build my character.

    I ended up multiclassing for 2 levels into warlock (yes, I read you don't want to) and redoing my spell selection to include things like Haste, Banishment, Polymorph, Hold Person due to having Twin Spell. I then took Counterspell, Dispel Magic, Detect Magic because we needed it so the bard could use their control spells more often and not focus on counterspelling (I didn't take Hypnotic Pattern or Fear because the bard has those). I took that role because I wanted to and there's never such a thing as too many counterspells.

    The EB/AB combo gave me the consistent DPR I wished to keep up with the martial characters and let my spell choices be buffs/debuffs. Even now, I re-read all spells to see if there is anything I can change to add more buffs/debuffs.

    Low level for sorcerers suck so much, it is enough to turn anyone away from the class if you don't know what you're doing while walking in and have a very clear idea of the spells and what role you want from your PC.

    For damage at those levels till I MC'd to warlock I would use Chromatic Orb as my damage and twinned it as often as possible. It wasn't till level 5 that my cantrips let me do any decent damage beyond the Spell Slot usage.
    Thanks for the input. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who experienced this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raif View Post
    So first step is always - what do you want from your PC? What role do you want to fulfill? From there, we can help. From what I see, you're spell list is clashing with what you want to do.

    Choose a primary role and a secondary role:
    - Blaster
    - Buffer/debuffer
    - Controller

    Once you got that picked (choose what you want to play, not necessarily what your party asks you to do), lets review your spell list in lieu of your ice/necrotic theme.
    Thinking about it, I think Debuffer and Controller would be the best fit for my character. Not sure which I'd want as my primary role - it might depend on their respective spell lists.

    Regarding my theme, Necrotic/vampire-y would be more accurate. I only went with ice because necrotic seemed rather underrepresented on the sorcerer spell list.

    Quote Originally Posted by ProseBeforeHos View Post
    "Being good at combat" doesn't just mean damage though. You're not supposed to beat the fighter or rogue at single target DPR, you're strengths are AOE damage and CC. Honestly a spell like Web or Phantasmal Force can be devastating at low levels for taking critical targets out of a tough fight. Just save your spell slots for the tougher fights and let the martial classes handle "grunt work" of clearing mobs.
    I have a couple of questions:
    1) Is there a winner between Phantasmal Force and Suggestion, or should I aim to have both?
    2) Regarding Phantasmal Force, do you have any suggestions (hah!) for illusions that should keep enemies occupied?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asmotherion View Post
    The most direct thing to do, is Warlock dip. I love what you're doing with this character, and this is why I love Sorlocks so much; Invest a couple levels of Warlock for Eldritch Blast to have an excelent weapon/combat option, and the rest of your character is completelly Role Playing Customisable, with no optimisation (at-least, no Combat Optimisation) in mind, instead focusing on the Character Concept/RP of the Character completelly.

    Thankfully, Hexblade is very Vanilla/Concept Correct for your Character, so you need not worry about breaking your Character. You'll also be able to Gish a bit with this.
    I'm afraid I don't follow you on this. Surely my character pledging their soul/servitude to a dark power or sentient weapon is far from a trivial decision?

    Anyway, I get it - Warlock would be a great addition to a sorcerer. If I'd known this earlier, I probably could have tweaked her backstory to have her start as one. However, as it stands, there's just no way she'd go through with something like this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Surely there is no other reason why they would hire a charismatic and intelligent if scandalous infernal-blooded pretty boy to steal an high-ranking woman's clothes.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    I'd ask the DM to swap Quicken Spell to Empowered Spell, Quicken costs too much and you already have Twinned that also costs a lot.

    For 1st level spells, Magic Missile (always hits, so you never waste slots) and Thunderwave/Burning Hands (pick just one AoE spell) are useful. For 2nd level I suggest Enlarge Person, you can twin it and it's a very powerful buff for its level. Scorching Ray might be useful, as you can reroll all 6d6 with Empowered Metamagic but maybe you want Mage Armor for AC or an utility spell.
    Last edited by Daphne; 2017-12-31 at 10:27 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Keep in mind that you can cannibalize your spell slots for spell points. Depending on how many fights you go through in a day, you may find more mileage out of doing this.

    For example, at level 3 you have 4 1st level slots, 2 second level slots, and 3 spell points. You could turn those 3 spell points into an other second level a lot, and consume your first level slots, and be left with three 2nd slots and 4 points, enough to cast web once and twinned suggestion twice. However, that's only three spells in the entire day--leaving you with cantrips for the rest of it. So you do have to pick your moments carefully.

    On the flip side, you could turn one second level slot into 2 extra spell points and cast twinned chromatic orb three times at 1st level and once at 2nd level, and then finish with a single chromatic orb. There's damage potential there--5 spells for a total of 29d8--but once again, your power is consumed quickly.

    Finally as an example, you could consume all your spell points and just twin cantrips and you would be able to do that 11 times.

    So if you have a general sense of how many encounters you go through in between long rests, you can try and budget your spells to use for big flashy moments (because twinned hold person or suggestion or even enlarge/reduce is game-changing at level 3), or you can create more spell slots and spread your resources out. Figure out what works for your game.

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Bitters View Post
    Keep in mind that you can cannibalize your spell slots for spell points.
    True, but I don't have many of those, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Bitters View Post
    For example, at level 3 you have 4 1st level slots, 2 second level slots, and 3 spell points. You could turn those 3 spell points into an other second level a lot, and consume your first level slots, and be left with three 2nd slots and 4 points, enough to cast web once and twinned suggestion twice. However, that's only three spells in the entire day--leaving you with cantrips for the rest of it. So you do have to pick your moments carefully.

    On the flip side, you could turn one second level slot into 2 extra spell points and cast twinned chromatic orb three times at 1st level and once at 2nd level, and then finish with a single chromatic orb. There's damage potential there--5 spells for a total of 29d8--but once again, your power is consumed quickly.

    Finally as an example, you could consume all your spell points and just twin cantrips and you would be able to do that 11 times.

    So if you have a general sense of how many encounters you go through in between long rests, you can try and budget your spells to use for big flashy moments (because twinned hold person or suggestion or even enlarge/reduce is game-changing at level 3), or you can create more spell slots and spread your resources out. Figure out what works for your game.
    Honestly, I'm always kinda uncomfortable using up a lot of resources in a single encounter (outside of boss battles and such). I get that it's what a sorcerer wants to do, but it's hard to get out of the mindset of being conservative with limited resources.
    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Surely there is no other reason why they would hire a charismatic and intelligent if scandalous infernal-blooded pretty boy to steal an high-ranking woman's clothes.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    What race are you? If you're a tiefling or drow, you would have some racial spells you can cast when you don't want to use your sorcerer spells. Maybe when you hit level 4 you can take a racial feat that gives you more options in combat (dragon fear, orcish fury) or a regular feat--taking magic initiate as a sorcerer effectively gives you one more 1st level spell.

    I'm assuming you're using Xanathar's because you're playing a shadow sorcerer.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    I wouldn't dip warlock. 3 through 5 are quick levels, and if you get to drop haste you'll feel super OP.

    Fireball is actually only great for you when compared with other options, instead of being utterly overpowered.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Bitters View Post
    What race are you? If you're a tiefling or drow, you would have some racial spells you can cast when you don't want to use your sorcerer spells. Maybe when you hit level 4 you can take a racial feat that gives you more options in combat (dragon fear, orcish fury) or a regular feat--taking magic initiate as a sorcerer effectively gives you one more 1st level spell.

    I'm assuming you're using Xanathar's because you're playing a shadow sorcerer.
    I'm a half-elf. And yeah, I'm using Xanthar's guide.
    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Surely there is no other reason why they would hire a charismatic and intelligent if scandalous infernal-blooded pretty boy to steal an high-ranking woman's clothes.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    True, but I don't have many of those, either.
    Honestly, I'm always kinda uncomfortable using up a lot of resources in a single encounter (outside of boss battles and such). I get that it's what a sorcerer wants to do, but it's hard to get out of the mindset of being conservative with limited resources.
    Personally, when I play sorcerers (and wizards) I don't like to spend level 1 spell slots on damage spells either. They don't do that much more damage than cantrips and I'd rather save the slots for Shield and Absorb Elements.

    Your single target damage isn't going to match the single target damage output of a rogue or fighter. That's not the strength of a sorcerer. But when you toss a fireball into a group of 10 orcs, you're going to do more damage in that instant than the rogue or fighter will do in the entire combat. Spend your spell slots where they count 1) keeping you alive (e.g. Shield and Absorb Elements, 2) spells that damage multiple opponents, and 3) control and buffing/debuffing spells.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    You say that, but even my non-Cantrip spells rarely even match their damage, let alone exceed it. Currently, it seems like I have to spend resources to be almost as good as they are.

    I see. Well, given that I already hate metamagic, I guess I'm in for a bad time with this class.

    The thing is, it seems like I don't have enough spell points for any metamagic. Especially if I'm also planning to use Darkness or the Shadow Wolf thing at lv6. If I use Darkness even once then I'm left with a single spell point to use on a metamagic ability. That doesn't seem like enough to want to build around. And if I want to use the lv6 Shadow Wolf ability more then once per day, that'll consume my entire daily allotment of spell points.

    She's a half-elf with 14 Dex and 18 Cha. I can give the crossbow a go, but having a significantly worse to-hit bonus makes me wary of it.

    Yeah, I get it. Sorcerers get better eventually. But that knowledge doesn't make the intervening levels and less tedious.

    Having never played a sorcerer before, I did exactly that.

    That was de facto precisely how I came to end up with this sodding mess of a character.

    Pretty much.

    To be honest, when I picked metamagic, I thought it was something that would only matter in later levels anyway. I mean, I've currently got barely any spell points to begin with (and casting Darkness uses up 2/3 of them), and from lv6 onwards I'd thought that most of them would be used to summon the Shadow Wolf (which would also stand in for Heighten Spell). I do regret not picking Subtle Spell, but all the guides I read basically marked it as pointless (making it seem like a rather bad choice for my first Sorcerer).

    That's good to know. I wish I'd read it before I made my character.

    Thanks for the input. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who experienced this.

    Thinking about it, I think Debuffer and Controller would be the best fit for my character. Not sure which I'd want as my primary role - it might depend on their respective spell lists.

    Regarding my theme, Necrotic/vampire-y would be more accurate. I only went with ice because necrotic seemed rather underrepresented on the sorcerer spell list.

    I have a couple of questions:
    1) Is there a winner between Phantasmal Force and Suggestion, or should I aim to have both?
    2) Regarding Phantasmal Force, do you have any suggestions (hah!) for illusions that should keep enemies occupied?

    I'm afraid I don't follow you on this. Surely my character pledging their soul/servitude to a dark power or sentient weapon is far from a trivial decision?

    Anyway, I get it - Warlock would be a great addition to a sorcerer. If I'd known this earlier, I probably could have tweaked her backstory to have her start as one. However, as it stands, there's just no way she'd go through with something like this.
    Right now, you're level 3, and have only level 1 spells and one level 2 spell. You don't really start getting Area of Effect spells until level 5, when you start getting level 3 spells, including the big hammer of Fireball. Note that Fireball does 8d6 fire damage to everyone in a large radius and, if you have a lousy damage roll (let's say 4 of the dice are 1s or 2s), then just a single point spent on empowered metamagic will let you reroll all those 1s and 2s.

    There are a couple of AoE options in level 2 spells, e.g. Shatter is a reasonable option, but with only 1 level 2 spell slot to spend, I'd rather save it for Mirror Image and stay alive.

    You don't have a lot of sorcery points at level 3 so your metamagic options are limited. Monks face a similar situation with Ki points in that they also get 1 point per level, leaving them feeling very Ki-starved at low levels (though at least they recovery Ki points on a long rest). This will improve as you go up in levels and get a better sense of when it's worthwhile to burn spell slots to gain more sorcery points.

    Regarding the light crossbow, if you have a 14 DEX you will have a +4 to hit with the crossbow (+2 DEX and +2 for proficiency). This is only one lower than the +5 you'd have with attack cantrips (+3 CHA and +2 proficiency) whereas the crossbow will do an extra 2 points of damage (from DEX) if it hits compared with a cantrip. If you're up against a low AC target you're likely to hit anyway, you have the crossbow option until cantrips double their damage at level 5. Against high AC targets, it's generally better to target their (likely) weak saving throws than to try to hit them with attack rolls.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    Personally, when I play sorcerers (and wizards) I don't like to spend level 1 spell slots on damage spells either. They don't do that much more damage than cantrips and I'd rather save the slots for Shield and Absorb Elements.
    Fair enough, but it doesn't make it any less disheartening when I spend resources on a spell and still do less damage than a fighter or such.

    Also, for some reason I thought Absorb Elements wasn't on the sorcerer spell list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    Your single target damage isn't going to match the single target damage output of a rogue or fighter. That's not the strength of a sorcerer. But when you toss a fireball into a group of 10 orcs, you're going to do more damage in that instant than the rogue or fighter will do in the entire combat. Spend your spell slots where they count 1) keeping you alive (e.g. Shield and Absorb Elements, 2) spells that damage multiple opponents, and 3) control and buffing/debuffing spells.
    Do you have any recommendations for good debuffing or control spells?


    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    Right now, you're level 3, and have only level 1 spells and one level 2 spell. You don't really start getting Area of Effect spells until level 5, when you start getting level 3 spells, including the big hammer of Fireball. Note that Fireball does 8d6 fire damage to everyone in a large radius and, if you have a lousy damage roll (let's say 4 of the dice are 1s or 2s), then just a single point spent on empowered metamagic will let you reroll all those 1s and 2s.
    Is Empower not a bit niche though? I mean, if I'm going to be focusing more on debuffing/control spells, then it seems like it will only work about 1/3 of the time (and then only on a bad roll).

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    Regarding the light crossbow, if you have a 14 DEX you will have a +4 to hit with the crossbow (+2 DEX and +2 for proficiency). This is only one lower than the +5 you'd have with attack cantrips (+3 CHA and +2 proficiency) whereas the crossbow will do an extra 2 points of damage (from DEX) if it hits compared with a cantrip. If you're up against a low AC target you're likely to hit anyway, you have the crossbow option until cantrips double their damage at level 5. Against high AC targets, it's generally better to target their (likely) weak saving throws than to try to hit them with attack rolls.
    I have 18 Cha though, so my spell attack is currently +6.
    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Surely there is no other reason why they would hire a charismatic and intelligent if scandalous infernal-blooded pretty boy to steal an high-ranking woman's clothes.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    If you end up with people in melee range, two dagger attacks ends up better than cantrip damage until level 5 as well

    For low level attack spells, the only that generally appeals to me is Magic Missile
    Last edited by Naanomi; 2017-12-31 at 11:45 AM.

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Is anyone playing a grappler in your group? You could cast cloud of daggers and let your friends push enemies to a dicey death in your spell.

    Edit: debuffing spells for first level include spells like color spray, charm person, earth tremor, and ray of sickness. Most of those are close-range spells, and generally operate with some kind of saving throw. They certainly aren't super powerful, being level one spells.

    For level two, you've got blindness/deafness, crown of madness, darkness, enlarge/reduce, hold person, levitate, phantasmal force, pyrotechnics, suggestion, and web. Most of these are single target and work well with twin, or cover an area, like darkness and web.

    Control spells I guess would be spells like create bonfire (cantrip), fog cloud (1st), cloud of daggers, and dust devil (2nd).
    Last edited by Jack Bitters; 2017-12-31 at 12:19 PM.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    Also, for some reason I thought Absorb Elements wasn't on the sorcerer spell list.

    you have any recommendations for good debuffing or control spells?

    Is Empower not a bit niche though? I mean, if I'm going to be focusing more on debuffing/control spells, then it seems like it will only work about 1/3 of the time (and then only on a bad roll).

    I have 18 Cha though, so my spell attack is currently +6.
    Absorb elements wasn't a sorcerer spell in EE, but it is on the list in XGtE. You will want it eventually but for now it's a little niche.

    Hold person, blindness/deafness, and phantasmal force are all very thematic for you and work well with twin spell. Your high charisma means that low WIS enemies will often fail.

    Empower is bad for you, especially at this level. In general, it works better with lots of large damage dice. Using it on, say chromatic orb is pointless, especially when compared with twin, which doubles the damage.

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    MonkGirl

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    In the longer term, spells that use saves instead of attack rolls are going to be better synergy with your puppy; including cantrips (one that targets DEX and one that targets CON maybe... very few monsters are good at both)

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    Fair enough, but it doesn't make it any less disheartening when I spend resources on a spell and still do less damage than a fighter or such.

    Also, for some reason I thought Absorb Elements wasn't on the sorcerer spell list.

    Do you have any recommendations for good debuffing or control spells?


    Is Empower not a bit niche though? I mean, if I'm going to be focusing more on debuffing/control spells, then it seems like it will only work about 1/3 of the time (and then only on a bad roll).


    I have 18 Cha though, so my spell attack is currently +6.
    I'm a bit hesitant to recommend this cantrip, and you'll want to dump it eventually, but if you're willing to take the risk of getting into 10' range, you can cast Poison Spray and at least do a d12 for damage (2d12 at level 5). That can feel like a big damage boost over a d8 and will tide you over until you start getting the big AoE damage spells at level 5.

    In a grievous injustice, Absorb Elements was not originally a sorcerer spell. But Xanathar's added it to the sorcerer spell list. It's the spell that will let you survive a fireball, lightning bolt, cone of cold etc. You don't typically face those spells at low level so you can do without it initially, but you'll want it eventually.

    Empower of course is only useful if you're blasting, but you're going to have at least Fireball, and maybe 1 or 2 other blasting spells. So Empower is worth it just for them even if you're going to focus more on buffing and debuffing. Also, it costs only 1 spell point and you don't have to use it at all if your initial damage roll is good. In other words, it's one of the most efficient metamagics you can get, a big plus if you're concerned about your limited sorcery point supply.

    For buffing, Dragon's Breath is a great option. You can pick the damage type, so you don't have to worry about targets that are resistant to one particular type of damage. For the next 10 rounds (longer than most combats), instead of cantrip damage, you'll be breathing fire/acid/lightning etc on groups of opponents for 3d6 damage. If you're concerned about getting close enough to use it, you can cast it on a better-armored party member and let them use it. For a Debuff, Hold Person will effectively end a fight against anyone who fails the saving throw. You and your allies will auto-crit at melee range against a paralyzed opponent, so few targets survive long enough to roll their next saving throw. This spell is going to become really deadly for you when you get the Hound of Ill Omen at level 6 and use it to force disadvantage on your target's saving throw. As a further advantage, you can upcast Hold Person to hit multiple targets. Of course, this spell doesn't help unless you've got humanoid targets, which may not be the case depending on your campaign.
    Last edited by Strangways; 2017-12-31 at 12:59 PM.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    I'm a bit hesitant to recommend this cantrip, and you'll want to dump it eventually
    Sorry but could I just ask you to elaborate on this?

    I was under the impression that Sorcerers couldn't swap out their cantrips at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Surely there is no other reason why they would hire a charismatic and intelligent if scandalous infernal-blooded pretty boy to steal an high-ranking woman's clothes.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    Sorry but could I just ask you to elaborate on this?

    I was under the impression that Sorcerers couldn't swap out their cantrips at all.
    Well, you will want to drop it. :P

    It isn't actually bad though, if you have a couple melee guys to hide behind. Remember, it's perfectly practical to run in, spray, and run out. The range is ten feet so you won't be risking a reaction attack usually.

    But everything else he said is true, pretty much. I would recommend subtle or careful over empowered though, since they work better with buff/debuff and control spells.

    Careful is obvious. You don't have to worry about friendly fire when casting stinking cloud or the like.

    Subtle is just awesome. You can cast spells in social situations with no one really noticing. Need to get past a guardpost? Subtly Suggest to the guard that he should let you through. Hiding from a dragon? Subtly cast an illusion over your hidey hole. Talking with someone you're about to fight? Sneakily upcast a debuff on an enemy. (Readying a spell to cast as a reaction requires that you fulfill v&s components as an action, but you use a reaction to make the spell take effect. So normally there is no way to do this without starting combat. But if you subtly cast it...)

    Quicken is ok if used with dragon breath, but it's pretty resource intensive.
    Last edited by strangebloke; 2017-12-31 at 01:42 PM.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    Sorry but could I just ask you to elaborate on this?

    I was under the impression that Sorcerers couldn't swap out their cantrips at all.
    Theoretically, there's no rule that lets you swap out cantrips when you level up, but most DMs will allow it, since you can do so with spells.

    Poison Spray does d12 damage, the best cantrip damage die in the game, but it has a very short range (just 10'), poison resistance is fairly common, and monsters often have pretty good CON saves.

    It can be worth using at low levels but you'll want to get rid of it eventually. By the time you're up around 7th or 8th level, the last thing you're going to want to do is to get close to any enemies Wizards are the most fragile class in the game, but sorcerers are not that much more robust, so staying at range does a lot to help keep you alive.

    There's one other cantrip, Toll the Dead, which also does d12 damage (if the target is already damaged), has a much better range, does necrotic damage and targets WIS - a much softer target. It's a new cantrip, introduced in Xanathar's and, IMO, the best saving-throw based damaging cantrip in the game. Sadly, only clerics and wizards get it, not warlocks.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    There's one other cantrip, Toll the Dead, which also does d12 damage (if the target is already damaged), has a much better range, does necrotic damage and targets WIS - a much softer target. It's a new cantrip, introduced in Xanathar's and, IMO, the best saving-throw based damaging cantrip in the game. Sadly, only clerics and wizards get it, not warlocks.
    Actually, Warlocks do get Toll the Dead.

    The issue is that I'm a sorcerer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Surely there is no other reason why they would hire a charismatic and intelligent if scandalous infernal-blooded pretty boy to steal an high-ranking woman's clothes.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    Actually, Warlocks do get Toll the Dead.

    The issue is that I'm a sorcerer.
    Oops, I mean that sorcerers don't get Toll the Dead. Warlocks do.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Dr.Cliche: What are your options to either 1) remake your character, or 2) discard your character and make a new one at the same level?

    tbh those seems like your only options. You are clearly very disatisfiesd with your character and you either have to do one of the other or you just won't be having fun. If you want to (and are allowed to) remake the character, it should be obvious in this thread you can make a sorcerer that won't suck even at your current level. For what it's worth, reading it have made me want to play one...

    You asked what is the strongest option of phantasmal force and suggestion. The answer depends on how your DM interprets the spells, as both are very reliable on DM interpretation, so you should talk with your DM about the spells on how he/she will handle them. As written, suggestion is especially insanely strong. The spell seems to allow pretty much everything to be a reasonable suggestion except causing harm to themselves. If asking a knight to give up his horse to the first beggar he meets, is reasonable (as the PHB uses as an example), then certainly "Your boss have controled you with a charm spell, help us fight him so we can set you free" or "Help us clear this dungeon, and I will reward you 50.000 gold" certainly also would be. Then consider the duration is 8 hours. It is so strong for a 2nd level spell I reckon most DMS would and should impose more limiltations.

    Phantasmal force is also very strong, but can also be completely nerfed to the ground if the DM isn't playing along. You asked for good options with it: If your DM is playing a long I don't see why conjuring the illusion of a scary big ass demon or something wouldn't be enough to lock out most opponents (either causing them to run away or to fight it). (Again) If your DM is playing along, they won't allow them a second save unless they have a reason to do so (such as an ally asking them wtf they are doing fighting a mirage or similar).

    Also consider both spells have incredible social use. If you have to pick one I'd go with suggestion, but if you get twinned spell and your DM is playing a long with your tricks I don't think you will regret picking both. Hold person is also very strong and has the upside that it can be upcast and is a very good option if your DM won't play along with S or PH.

    One last important factor. Is your DM playing with open rolls? If not - do you trust him? Some DMs will hate loosing their monsters to save or loose spells as this (especially at critical moments), and the fact that you mentioned that the enemies always seems to save against your spells made me wonder. If you have reason to believe your DM might be fudging rolls, you are probably better of going with other options.
    Last edited by Snivlem; 2017-12-31 at 05:18 PM.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    have you talked to your DM yet about retooling your spells and metamagic? i really think that magic initiate warlock would be the best low level fix barring a retool you could get toll the dead, EB and a first level spell no real roll play is required just flavor it as some sort of magic boost due to your sorcerous powers and that would fix your steady output damage issues

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