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Sorcerers in D&D Next
Mike Mearls

B ack in August of 2012, we showed off a version of the sorcerer that represented a very different take on that class. That sorcerer design transformed the character into a warrior-mage, combining skill at arms with spellcasting ability. Although that concept was popular, our playtest feedback showed that it strayed too far from the class's basic concept for most players.

In the end, we preserved the concept of a warrior-mage within the fighter class, in addition to the ability to create a fighter/wizard through multiclassing. For the sorcerer, we went back to the class's first appearance and started from scratch.

The sorcerer has always dwelled in the wizard's shadow. When the class was created for 3rd Edition D&D, it was in many ways a mechanical conceit—a wrapper for a new approach to spellcasting. A sorcerer controls innate magical talents that are inherited and developed through practice and experience. Much like an athlete, a sorcerer improves her innate talents through repetition, challenge, and exercise. In contrast, a wizard is like an academic. He improves his abilities by honing his skills, researching new methods, and applying what he has learned to the pursuit of new magic.

In our design process, we chose to embrace this distinction and make it the foundation of the class for D&D Next. Sorcerers have an innate talent for magic, reflected by spells that they simply know. A sorcerer doesn't prepare spells from a lengthy list like a wizard. Instead, the class has a shorter list of spells that can be cast again and again.

A quick glance at the sorcerer's advancement table might seem to undercut our intention to make the class more distinct from the wizard. The sorcerer and wizard both cast an identical number of spells per day at each level. However, lurking on the sorcerer's class table is a column that summarizes the class's unique mechanic: sorcery points.

A sorcerer is a natural conduit for arcane energy. Sorcerers can augment spells, conjure energy from thin air, and produce unique magical effects derived from the source of their innate power. Sorcery points represent this ability to channel arcane magic. Sorcerers expend this resource to cast additional spells; to alter spells to increase range, damage, or other variables; or to invoke the benefits of their arcane origin. For example, sorcerers with a draconic heritage (a staple concept of the class) can create magical wings, shield themselves from harm with dragon scales, and withstand more physical punishment than other arcane spellcasters.

It's true that wizards and sorcerers cast the same number of spells as a baseline. However, by spending sorcery points, a sorcerer can easily surpass the wizard's limits. The wizard's advantage remains flexibility. Even as a party's sorcerer casts a limited number of spells more often or with improved effects, a wizard will always bring a much more diverse range of magical options into every adventure.

In addition to the draconic sorcerer, we've designed another sorcerer option that should be familiar to anyone who used the 2nd Edition Tome of Magic or who played a 4th Edition sorcerer. Here's a hint: if you play this kind of sorcerer, be sure to keep your percentile dice close by. If you're playing another character with this type of sorcerer in your party, you might want to always be ready to take cover. When this sorcerer casts a spell, you never know what might happen.

Mike Mearls
Mike Mearls is the senior manager for the D&D research and design team. He led the design for 5th Edition D&D. His other credits include the Castle Ravenloft board game, Monster Manual 3 for 4th Edition, and Player’s Handbook 2 for 3rd Edition.
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I wrote something similar in QnA section, but I think it suits more to be placed here.

In my DnD history I played almost exclusively Wizards and Psions (Psionicists). I played Sorcerer a few times, because of the fluff, but always found him lacking mechanically.

I think that Wizard is kind of academic scholar in terms of magic, while Sorcerer is more like a savant. They are using the same thing but in complete different way. Wizard learns his powers (some are better students and some are worse) while a Sorcerer just uses his abilities. It's not learned. For him it's like breathing.

Sorcerers may not even understand how they do. It's just their nature. To illustrate this let's take adding two numbers. We can all do this, because we have "academic" (ok, it's not academic level mathematics, but works well as an example. You can think of integrals). It is simple and we KNOW how to do it.

And that is why Sorcerers are not better than Wiz... (see all)
Posted By: Overpain (3/6/2014 9:48:16 AM)


That makes total sense. Perfect! Helped me with the problem I had between sorcerers and wizards.

I hope the official sources use this analogy too.
Posted By: R.A.S (3/7/2014 11:24:48 AM)


I like the sorcerer class, but I think the class disrupts the concept of wizard class. When it says that the sorcerer has innate talent for magic, learning spell in a natural way, and that the wizards need to study, this makes us understand that the wizard is a person who does not have (or need not) natual talent for magic. He has only to study and learn magic ... any person who studies (and has intellect) could be a wizard.

Of course a wizard also has a talent for magic. The sorcerer would be a different gift. Great wizards are people with great innate talent for magic. Some wizards in childhood showed great grift for magic, cast spells as a child.

Rastlin has no talent for magic? More than most people? Karsus? Elminster and many other nor so famous and powerful.
Posted By: R.A.S (3/5/2014 4:55:28 PM)


@TripHipHop You are definitely a thinking person. From my perspective, Shaper would be only one of several meamagic feats a caster should be able to take. What they're really up to with making improvisation in various class features a niche entitlement aside, do you really think when "sorcerers with a draconic heritage (a staple concept of the class) can create magical wings and shield themselves from harm with dragon scales" the sorcerous heritage concept has a less evocative feel than the weird juxtaposition of warlock pact & patron?
Posted By: RadperT (3/4/2014 10:40:03 AM)


Instead of calling it 'metamagic', which carries a load of 3e baggage and doesn't really mean anything, why not call it "shaping"?
Posted By: TripHipHop (3/3/2014 11:46:51 PM)


Awesome! I was actually flipping through the tome of magic the other day and remembering how cool the Wild Mage was. So much fun to play!
Posted By: Victor_Von_Dave (2/28/2014 7:44:21 AM)


I think the Sorcerer, to regain its unique place among the Classes, needs to be reimagined from its basic concept. He needs to be redesigned not only concerning his game mechanics, but also in his flavor. That's the only way to obtain a Class different from the Wizard. As long the Sorcerer will be designed thinking only about the difference between him and the Wizard and not thinking first on HIS unique conceptual identity, obviously he will always be too similar to the Wizard.
I think history is always a good reference to search for ideas useful in this way. I think that, as a starting point, the following solutions would be useful to recreate the identity of the Sorcerer, especially if they are mixed together:

The Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

The Canning Man

If the designer will mix this concept with the Ori... (see all)
Posted By: Silentwind6 (2/27/2014 5:41:00 PM)


Random PC classes always seemed like extremely niche ideas to me. Randomness generally works against players, so you have to be very, very good to play them well. Most people just play them for kicks, and of course there are always the occasional jerks having fun at others' expense. Including random classes in the core rules seems like a waste of precious space. It'd be like having epic rules in the character creation chapter.

Speaking of wastes of space, why isn't the sorcerer just a magic option instead of a class? There's no reason a wizard couldn't use magic in exactly the same way and just call himself a sorcerer. Being a "sorcerer" means whatever you want it to mean. If that's a power source distinction, great - but in the end it's just flavor and doesn't need to force a special mechanic, especially when the entire mechanic should simply be a class option.
Posted By: nukunuku (2/27/2014 2:22:22 PM)


Wizards study magic, they bend the arcane to their will through rigorous study and through it they gain diversity that cannot be matched no matter what spells a sorcerer, druid, cleric, bard, or ranger can keep in their pocket. The primary spellcasters above which harness the energy which they are apart of is the sorcerer, druid, and cleric to a degree.
Posted By: Wicked13 (2/27/2014 10:05:55 AM)


When they harness this energy it should have an effect on them throughout the game. A druid becomes more apart of nature as they progress, granting the shapechanging. The Cleric becomes closer to the gods and attains the ability to destroy undead and reap benefits of the gods as in their overwhelming favor.
Posted By: Wicked13 (2/27/2014 10:06:27 AM)


The sorcerer in this sense is left behind for favor. You guys have a great idea with this sorcerer points and I think that's a fantastic way to distinguish them. Yet you guys I think are missing what makes it not only mechanically different, but roleplaying different. The reason why sorcerers from other systems have been stealing so many players is because of the bloodlines. I have pounded that concept into the next edition in the past because its so critically important.
Posted By: Wicked13 (2/27/2014 10:11:21 AM)


The players should be able to chose the backgrounds of their magical source. They should be able to gain benefits from the backgrounds similar to the Dragon Disciple class or the Major Bloodlines of Unearthed Arcana. Plain and simple, as you wield magic innately it innately wields the body and soul as a conduate for the magic to pass more freely. Much like holding a great dam holding flood waters and as one chips away at the wall for greater power, risk of breaking the dam and fully feeling the effects of the power sweep and consume the sorcerer.
Posted By: Wicked13 (2/27/2014 10:12:49 AM)


Sources of arcane power should not be merely spells to waste to gain effects, that's just the manner in which spells like Mage Armor already manifest. Its a cheap way to sell something that is "different". If the sorcerer is not going to be embraced as the wand in which they are and evolve into the being of arcanic power their birth-rite claims, they need to be permanently altered by the magic they wield. Otherwise you guys honestly might as well save the ink and not print the sorcerer 3.5 reprint and not include it at all, or just say that Pathfinder got you on the storytelling aspect of classes you guys initially created. I hope Next is incredibly successful and thank you guys for keeping people so well informed. I just wish Next would be renamed DnD Evolved so it becomes all it can be out of common sense, instead of hiding behind what's safe to print.
Posted By: Wicked13 (2/27/2014 10:13:22 AM)


Not really enough information to comment. I will say, the articles seem to be getting shorter.
Posted By: Prom (2/26/2014 2:22:12 PM)


From the earliest days of DnD the way I differentiated between Sorcerers and Wizards was flexibility.

Wizard - fixed list of spells known which would almost always be more spells than the wizard could prepare in a day. A Wizard might know 6 1st level spells, but only be able to prepare 3 per day. But the variety of spells was not limited. The Wizard could learn any 1st level spell he found or was given regardless of spell type or domain.
Fixed list of daily spells prepared. If the Wizard had 3 1st level spell slots, he could prepare 3 1st level spells. 1 Charm Person, 1 Magic Missile, 1 Detect Magic. Those were the spells available for that day - no trades.

A Sorcerer on the other hand had a more limited number of spells known, and all spells known had to be of a similar type. So if your natural domain was Fire - all your spells had to be fire type. So you could cast Burning Hands and at a higher level Fireball but you could never learn Charm Person.
T... (see all)
Posted By: Kazadvorn (2/26/2014 10:21:15 AM)


Man I hope ya'all give wizards more spells or bring back higher scores gives bonus spells.

But I digress. I see some mentioned what I was thinking, that this sounds a lot like how they make psionics in previous editions.

I look forward to seeing how it all comes together when the actual game comes out. Summer can't get here fast enough! :)
Posted By: awogaman (2/26/2014 9:32:26 AM)


Ignore the haters! Love what you're doing. Love the wild magic option too!!
Posted By: Sands666 (2/26/2014 7:02:54 AM)


Someone may have said this, this reminds me of how the made psionics before.
Posted By: benensky (2/25/2014 9:13:28 PM)


I liked the playtest sorceror too, Kwizzy, but you didn't read the article carefully. I'm not going to rate your comment because you have good ideas, but all your conclusions were polluted by your misunderstanding of what "sorcery points" are supposed to be. Spontaneous casting is not a spell allocation method–wizards do it with the addition of a larger spell list & memorization–but that assumption highlights the question of just what Wizards is going to provide as optional alternatives to spells-per-level casting. Could a daily/encounter structure be tied to spell level? Must point systems be the purview of psionics? Along with a menagerie of thematic mutations, Mearls proposes metamagic as the customization method by which sorcery compensates for its supposed lack of flexibility, but that seriously undervalues metamagic. A point system isn't necessarily the best structure for those other augmentations, which are typically going to be used for round after round, so... (see all)
Posted By: RadperT (2/25/2014 5:46:46 PM)


I'm trying to parse out your comment and what does or doesn't pertain to me. What is a Sorcerer if you take out their spellcasting mechanic of Sorcery Points? Well, they're a bloodline -- and that is only as distinct as the class makes it, and it might only be what spells and what metamagic or spell shaping they gain access to. Which I'd categorize as part of the spellcasting system. I see the class as a wrapper for a spellcasting system instead of having a distinct mechanic that is necessarily exclusive to their class. What I had specifically in mind as problematic was the Oracle from Pathfinder which is essentially a Sorcerer for Clerics.

You see something different, yes? What is it that is so distinct about the Sorcerer that it doesn't make sense to allow other classes to cast like they do for the same tradeoffs they do? I haven't played a lot of spellcasters, so that isn't rhetorical. I honestly see Wizards, Clerics and Druids, Paladins, and Rangers (to an extent) as us... (see all)
Posted By: Kwizzy (3/4/2014 8:56:02 PM)


@Kwizzy sorry I missed your reply. While I was looking for that previous article on Warlocks in regard to our conversation last night, I went all the way back to their initial playtest introduction and came across an article I believe is relevant to where I'm coming from. Mike wrote in "Magic Systems in D & D Next" ( that all alternative casting systems were going to be optional, rather than niche features. I assume that means they're going to be in the Dungeon Master's Guide. By "augmentations" above, I mean the bloodline features which are supposed to be controlled by the same resource pool as metamagic effects. So growing wings, a staple of both draconic and fey forms for instance, has to be balanced with the ability to extend the range or duration of a spell which is already controlled by another mechanic. You're standing so close you can't see that the Sorceror has the same default Spells per Day ... (see all)
Posted By: RadperT (3/7/2014 10:37:17 AM)


So, I'm keen to know how they plan on reconciling a magic system that can be fully modular and still have a class for all the different variations. (Pick me Rule-of-Threes! Pick meeeee!)

I had the impression that they were going to have a Mage that easily fit into a handful of wizard archetypes (war mage, generalist, illusionist, what-have-you) that could then be modified with alternate casting systems to replicate the many classes, themes, and flavors of casting people want to see. A War Mage with the Sorcery Points module would replace her spell point progression and such with the offering from the module and effectively be a Sorceror.

Hell, any class with spellcasting could just trade their casting system for another. Why let only Arcanes have the Spell Point system? Making spontaneous caster versions for each class seems very inefficient when a conversion of spell slots/spells known/spells per day to spell points/spells known would open up the doors to all so... (see all)
Posted By: Kwizzy (2/25/2014 12:12:49 PM)


I think the big issue, here, is the shorter Spell list. How the designer will decide which spell can ben assigned to the Sorcerer Spell List and which can not? Different Players could think that different spells are pertinent to the Sorcerer List. How the designer will decide? How can they be sure that their decision will satisfy all players?
I think the only solution is to tie a different short spell List to every Sorcerer Origins. A different Origin allows access to a different short spell list.
So, for example, a Dragonborn Sorcerer maybe could access to a energy type Spell list, while a Sorcerer with a Witch Origin could access to spells like Bestow Curse, and a Feyborn Sorcerer could access to illusion and fate spells.
Posted By: Silentwind6 (2/25/2014 9:58:52 AM)


But for invoking an arcane origin, this sounds like a wonderful alternative magic system! I suppose if barbarian, paladin, and ranger are their own classes, an in-born talent mage could be its own class, but I need more convincing (in-born/academic/pact sounds like a sub-class distinction, frankly). In any case, I'm still looking forward to that wild mage!

Lastly, if you used the universally recognized game parlance MP (magic points), then we could tell sp (sorcery points) apart from sp (silver pieces) when abbreviating. I assume you've considered this, but I feel it deserves mention.
Posted By: Dreamstryder (2/25/2014 7:46:09 AM)


As always, thanks for the article, Mearls! :)
Posted By: Dreamstryder (2/25/2014 7:50:37 AM)


Could people be a little more constructive in their criticisms of the hybrid sorceror? I allowed the sorceror & warlock concepts when I started my new DnDNext game, and decided on pretty much the same changes Mike is describing. (However, all spellcasters in this game have flexible metamagic options similar to the sorcery points he mentions.) I gave dragon sorcerors the choice of dragon scales, flight or a breath weapon at fourth level. The power level of that last had to be cut about in half, as does the warlock's Eldritch Blast, to balance them with what other characters can do, but these classes are not their Third Edition equivalents. There's a lot more flavor to the sorcerous origin and pact, and I can tell you the warlock is a lot more entertaining thanks to innovations introduced in 4E!
Posted By: RadperT (2/24/2014 10:28:00 PM)


"Have to say I'm disappointed. While the Dragon blooded sorcerer from the early pack did feel more like a fighter. The Willpower mechanic was one of the most inspired pieces of mechanical and thematic design that I've ever seen come out of WotC. And I remember being really disappointed when it was taken away from us again.

To turn around and bring the Sorcerer back now with nothing more than a pool of points similar to Meta Magic - feels really weak. I hate to join the ranks of those complaining, not normally my style - I can usually find some positive. But in this case any positive I might have felt would be overruled by my disappointment that a great system is not being utilised.

The old system made you feel like sorcerer's were constantly facing an internal struggle to control their innate power. I loved the fact that their heritage started to show through the more of that power they allowed to show - it was absolutely awesome. There was not a single mecha... (see all)
Posted By: BuddhaKai (2/24/2014 10:14:39 PM)


I'm always happy to see a new take on the wild mage, and this one sounds a lot better than the one I currently play. By "better", of course, I mean "more random". 8o)

As to the Sorcerer spending points to augment spells: It's worked great in GURPS for decades, as well as in the new edition of HackMaster. I am once again forced to think that someone in the dev team plays HM 5e, simply because so many of the "revolutionary" ideas proposed for DnD 5e have been a part of of my HM campaign for a couple of years now.

GURPS' method is similar to that used in a lot of crpgs (1 and 2e released in 1986, the year before Final Fantasy 1, 3e the year after that, so it's not really surprisingly that games made at the same time would have some features in common), but instead of magic points, you have Fatigue Points, which are based on your Health (Con). You can use them for all kinds of things like extra effort in combat, pushing through the wall o... (see all)
Posted By: kitsunegami (2/24/2014 9:09:49 PM)


Regarding Hebitsuikaza's heritage comments: I think that fey and infernal are now squarely the realm of warlocks. The delineation is: Sorcery is innate magic from draconic heritage or wild magic. Warlock: magic from a pact with an extra planar being, such as fey, infernal, far realm, etc.
Posted By: Reaper_Steve (2/24/2014 7:15:01 PM)


Ninjaplease's comments from play testing give me hope.
Posted By: Reaper_Steve (2/24/2014 7:13:58 PM)


I think this is a fine version of the sorcerer for the following reasons:

1) Sorcery points allow "on the fly" spell customization. Need a fireball that's twice as big? Sorcery points. Need to make your Invisibility spell a Swift spell? Sorcery points.

2) The heritages are far more present in this edition than in previous ones. I totally dig the fact that a sorcerer with dragon blood can draw on that power and physcially manifest it.

3) Wild Mages are awesome and they fit perfectly into the self-taught, ad hoc nature of sorcerers.
Posted By: Mr.Tromboneman (2/24/2014 6:53:27 PM)


The problem with saying a wizard's benefit is the versatility in spell choice, is that it's sort of meaningless for spells of 6th level and higher. When you only cast one spell of that level anyhow, versatility doesn't really count for that much.
Posted By: Paladin-s_Pride (2/24/2014 6:03:06 PM)


Excellent observation.
Posted By: Zaruthustran (2/24/2014 6:18:05 PM)


But a wizard can learn multiple 6th-level spells and choose which one to prepare each day. Maybe the sorcerer can only learn one 6th-level spell ever.
Posted By: G_X (2/24/2014 7:06:50 PM)


Also, a wizard can prepare multiple 6th-level spells he wants, even though he can only cast one of them.
Posted By: G_X (2/24/2014 7:07:30 PM)


I agree, this design concept for the Sorcerer kind of trumps the Wizard class. Sure the wizard can have many more spells in their book then a sorcerer can memorize, but that doesn't mean anything if say they have the wrong spell memorized. The only way to even this out would be to not allow the sorcerer access to the most powerful wizard spells say like Wish or Time Stop and similar spells and limit the sorcerer on utility spells like Knock, mage hand and buffing magic.
Posted By: Darkwon (2/25/2014 11:01:15 AM)


Truth. I believe we will see that the Sorcerer draws from a similar but not same spell list the Wizard does.

Also to note is that the Wizard can gain 1/2 their level rounded up in spell slots back currently the rules say you regain up to a 6th level spell slot. Maybe that will change after the feedback?
Posted By: NinjaPlease (2/25/2014 3:45:23 PM)


If I could make the class, I would focus a whole lot more on the Sorcery points. In fact, the way I would do it, you wouldn't use the Wizard spell list at all. See, it always bothered me that a Sorcerer does exactly what a Wizard does innately. I don't think it should be so exact. I think it should be more of a 'rough' approximation.

So here's my idea for the mechanics of a sorcerer: don't give them standard spells. Instead, make the sorcery points the only way they cast their own spells. Basically, instead of casting pre-made spells, they pay sorcery points to do effects that mimic spells. This means you would basically create your own spells on the fly.

Let's give an example. Let's say a level 1 Sorcery has 15 sorcery points total. He can only spend up to 5 sorcery points on a single spell. So, he wants to cast a fireball-like spell. So he has to buy effects. In this case he buys:
2d6 Fire Damage (2 points, 1 Point/ d6 up to a level dependent limit)
R... (see all)
Posted By: Claymore65 (2/24/2014 5:58:21 PM)


The idea is good but is complicated in combat.
To simply things all spells should have the sorcery point cost listed.
Then each sorcerer type should have a list of abilities to do with 1 to 3 points. For example 1 point for a 50 foot vertical leap, or a 10 second invisibility cloak. They should also have damage and defence options.
1 point = 10 x level damage to a single target up to 20 foot away
1 point = 10 x level damage absorbed total over 5 rounds.
The multiplier can change for balance but the idea is simple, spend a point to damage or defend. Very simple and fast at the table.
The source of power would change the visuals, a dragon source may have scales for defence and a fire blast for dam. The damage should be raw arcane power not a particular type unless the source warrants it.
As the character levels they get more options for these but can still cast mage spells if desired.
There needs to be some low powered options that cost zero points... (see all)
Posted By: Rartemass (2/24/2014 7:55:01 PM)


I really like the concept of the sorcerer as an innate magic user. I think most of the players in my group would definitely like to play this style of spellcaster, as opposed to the more traditional wizard. There was a 'wild' sorcerer in our 4e party, and she added a lot of fun and unpredictability to our game sessions!
Posted By: PrestoTheElf (2/24/2014 5:42:28 PM)


Oh no!
And just when I thought spellcasters do too much damage, they give us this...
I mean, doesn't anyone notice that a 3rd level Druid can cast Moonbeam and cause more damage than a 15th level fighter, round after round, to multiple opponents, with auto-hit for at least half damage?

This calls for immediate downscaling.
Posted By: Ashtoret (2/24/2014 4:53:21 PM)


The article tells us nothing that we didn't already know from the Extra Life stream three months ago. My complaints are the same:

1. This Sorcerer is much more complex than the Wizard (the Wizard has to manage spell slots; the Sorcerer has to manage the same amount of spell slots plus sorcery points)
2. How will sorcery points work if you have an alternate casting mechanic that uses spell points instead of slots? Sorcerers just have two types of points (which are sort of interchangeable one way but not the other way)? Sounds pretty confusing.
Posted By: G_X (2/24/2014 4:49:40 PM)


I loathed the Wild Mage and wild magic in 2-edition and nothing I've ever seen since has improved the concept. If you want wands of wonder and wild mages by the tonne, that's your game. They won't be in mine.
Posted By: Maerlius (2/24/2014 4:41:46 PM)


The best part about running a campaign is you can set your own rules. The wild mage isn't for everybody, random encounters aren't for everybody, rolling percentile dice isn't for everybody.

Then there are people like me...I love the concept of miscasting magic as you tap into forces better left to those that spent their whole life studying it.
Posted By: NinjaPlease (2/25/2014 3:51:27 PM)


I strongly dislike this approach. We were told that Vancian magic would only be the default. But when alternatives are being comingled with story, it becomes a mess. Most of all, if mechanical approaches to magic are to be tied to class, the scholar class should be the last one that would ever lose (forget) a spell once cast. That sounds more like an expendable boon from a good or otherworldly power.
Posted By: Goken100 (2/24/2014 4:32:40 PM)


1. I think the idea of having all classes use the same spellcasting progression is to make it easy to implement alternate casting systems. The "sorcery points" feature sits on top of the base spellcasting progression, which means you can replace that progression with anything else (spell points, AEDU, whatever), and have all the classes still work no matter what casting system they use. Of course, we have yet to see how that works.

3. "Fire and forget" is well-explained and makes sense for scholars in DnD lore (a spell is a piece of information, and when it's used, it disappears -- same reason scrolls can only be used once).

2. Wizards don't even "fire and forget" in this edition.
Posted By: G_X (2/24/2014 5:31:05 PM)


I like the idea of spell points to customize magic--basically Metamagic without feats required (which never really felt worthwhile, even though the effects seemed like so many things back in the 3.5 days). The thing is spell points feel like a neat option for magic, a fun rules option not a class.

You can't have sorcerers be like freeform wizards and then run them off the same spell list. If they are trial and error mages, their spells are not going to weirdly emulate wizard spells. That's kind of the whole point. I like the idea that their abilities come down to simple effects they can combine to make effects like 4e powers: pushes, bursts, blasts, shifts, bolts of different energy. A sorcerer player should be saying "I wonder if I combine this and this, what will happen", roll on a mishap table and go.
Posted By: Grimcleaver (2/24/2014 4:11:44 PM)


Based on some of the comments here, I feel like I'm in the minority when I say that I'm intrigued by the idea of the Wild Mage getting folded into the Sorcerer (of course, a lot depends on how it actually gets implemented). Seems like it could be a good fit and make for an interesting character.

I was never in love with heritages, so the idea of being able to have something other than a heritage tied to my Sorcerer sounds pretty exciting to me.
Posted By: BadMike (2/24/2014 2:22:53 PM)


I am with those who say that this doesn't seem promising. If there are three heritages, they should be Dragon, Fey and Infernal/Abyssal. I could see Elemental being another one with great potential and possibility. But "Wild" is not and using a percentile die suggests wreaking havok on your own party. But each of the four I listed heavily suggests a different variety of spells one would have access to. And then you just need an interesting way for them to be able to access and to put limitations on their powers. Hell, I would say instead of having a daily recharge on their powers, instead they recharge almost all their powers every encounter. That alone would set them apart from the Wizard.
Posted By: Hebitsuikaza (2/24/2014 1:06:34 PM)


Just so long as the Sorcerer class is BALANCED with the others. The early playtest sorcerer was a better fighter than the fighter and a better wizard than the wizard. If you keep one thing from 4e, please let it be the obsessive work to keep the various classes balanced within their roles.
Posted By: JoeyLast (2/24/2014 12:42:12 PM)


I hope we see a Storm Sorcerer soon after launch, perhaps in a "Complete Arcane" type product.
Posted By: GilbertMDH (2/24/2014 10:38:11 AM)


I'm saying this from experience and without giving anything away. The Sorcerer is very unique from the Mage. Sorcery Points are a great mechanic and can almost guarantee your casting spells 'At-Will' when managed correctly.

In our playtest group I've played only spell casting classes and I feel they have created a unique class that has earned it's place in the Core. I can't wait for the final release. This is a FUN class to play - two thumbs up!
Posted By: NinjaPlease (2/24/2014 10:18:36 AM)


Mike, I dig what you’re saying. It sounds different enough to me, as does the mechanical identifier that separates Sorcerers from Mages. Although I’ve never DMed or played a Sorcerer — cause I think the draconic heritage is a little twinkish — I can appreciate the market for this class.

Would love to see a more relaxed set of weapon and armor restrictions though, even if it doesn’t make this class the warrior sorcerer that was initially envisioned. For those of us still wanting that archetype without desiring multi classing, a more heavily armored Sorcerer would be welcome, as long as it’s balanced.
Posted By: VividAntivirus (2/24/2014 9:32:16 AM)


The sorcerer was a 3E band-aid. The need for it has been eliminated with the improvements to 5E. I say drop it all together. If you really must keep it, rename the Wizard class Mage and have the two subclasses be wizardry and sorcery. Sorcery should distinct from wizardry, or to tied to a mechanic at all and just be a term used by those when confronted with unknown magics.
Posted By: Reaper_Steve (2/24/2014 9:07:04 AM)


Edit: 'or NOT tied to a mechanic'
Posted By: Reaper_Steve (2/24/2014 9:08:06 AM)


And by 'distinct from wizard,' I think the term sorcery (if used as a mechanic) should invoke the 'swords and sorcery' genre, in which the hero cries "What sorcery is this?" when confronted by dark cults using forbidden lore.
Posted By: Reaper_Steve (2/24/2014 9:10:28 AM)


I think they tried that (folding all Arcane classes into "Mage"), but it really limited their design space. I'm okay with the Sorcerer being a unique class as long as they fully embrace their magical origins. From the article, looks like they are. (Same with the Warlock, as mentioned in previous articles)
Posted By: Ramzour (2/24/2014 11:22:19 AM)


He looks like Rufio from 'Hook'.
Posted By: NinjaPlease (2/24/2014 1:41:36 PM)


Sounds like this could have been a sub-class or tradition. Paladins already have Channeling and limited spell list, so not seeing anything new here.
I would rather see the Core 4 classes only rather than the same mechanics re-skinned, but maybe there is something we are missing. Wait and see at this point.
Posted By: strider13x (2/24/2014 8:52:22 AM)


And please DON'T use that picture in the book! Or ever again for that matter...
Posted By: strider13x (2/24/2014 8:54:06 AM)


Agreed. I remember back in 3e we always used to make fun of that Sorcerer's ridiculous "belt armor", or whatever it is.
Posted By: Ramzour (2/24/2014 11:10:01 AM)


Because there was nowhere to comment on the last article.

Bring Back Dragonlance please!!!

Or give the required permissions/rights to Weiss/Hickman for new novels and support for the new edition!
Posted By: LostLegolas (2/24/2014 8:38:25 AM)


I really like the sorcerer we saw back in 2012... this news is pretty disappointing. This seems like exactly the sort of thing the public play test should have been used for. The fact that they shied away from testing out lots of controversial, divisive ideas suggest the play test was mostly marketing...
Posted By: Osgood (2/24/2014 7:55:55 AM)


"we preserved the concept of a warrior-mage within the fighter class"

This would be a good topic for next week. I know lots of people like the hexblade/spellsword type classes.
Posted By: WCU_Scout (2/24/2014 7:48:53 AM)


Everyone's missing the important question: Is the sorcerer going to be an option for my character generation session on Friday?
Posted By: yellerSumner (2/24/2014 6:14:16 AM)


There are so many ways to create spell casters while still using spellcasting core mechanics. I like the single roll for success and failure against set dc method. Like every possible class build or combination the core is what allows all the real possibilities. A sorcerer unlike a wizard is much like this in terms of its magic.
A sorcerer utilizes a bloodline as to where their innate magic derrives. Weak, strong, specialized races, pacts, or simply spell giftes birth that ties them ever closer to magic blood of a sorcerer is the bread n butter. A caster physical stats determine how many, how powerful, and how often they weild their gifts and to what extent. A caster differs from another in that their combination of blood and stats will vary in a broad range. The core of casting remains strong. I combined several 3.5 unearthed arcana options with existing core to create a feel very unique. Wizards on the flip have their spellbook for versatility. Some casters draw on lingering spe... (see all)
Posted By: Valkrim (2/24/2014 6:06:24 AM)


Here's my issue-

Sorcery points make a distinguish between the wizard and sorcerer. However, just like the warlock, they can cast their spells again and again; and their amount of allowed to cast spells is smaller. Honestly, besides sorcery points, what makes the sorcerer any different than the warlock?

To me, the sorcerer sounds like an in-between point of a warlock and wizard. Sorcerers are exactly like the warlock, but their spell options are expanded with a wizard-like spell table and sorcery points. The class seems to lack flavor of its own, even though there are mechanical differences.

I agree with other opinions in the comments that this class doesn't feel unique enough. I feel that it's more like a filler, to take up space, of an iconic class.
Posted By: tsf (2/24/2014 5:38:09 AM)


Disappointed. This is just backpedalling to the old style sorcerer when it could have been so much more distinct. I don't think the sorcerer should have daily spell limits. I would have liked to have seen the sorcerer have a pool of magic points that replenish each round in combat with spells that have effects that scale with number of points used. Do away with spells per day for the sorcerer, although it sounds like it's too late for that.
Posted By: Chimpy20 (2/24/2014 4:54:28 AM)


They can't do away with putting a limit on spell slots or the class would be horribly out of balance with the scale of the game.
Posted By: NinjaPlease (2/24/2014 10:22:14 AM)


I am not horribly against spell slots, but I do like the idea of Magic Points. In fact in 3e I always used the Variant: Spell Point system and I will create a similar mechanic for DnD next if Wizards doesn't do it themselves. However, regenerating magic points during combat should NEVER be allowed. Regeneration of Magic Points or Mana or Spell Points should only take place during an extended rest in my opinion for game balance purposes. I do feel that a wizard or sorcerer should be able to cast whatever spell they have memorized, whenever they want as long as they have sufficient Mana to do so. This is a popular mechanic in just about all Video Games and other tabletop games and even in novels where magic is involved.
Posted By: Darkwon (2/25/2014 11:11:09 AM)


This Sorcerer sucks, the 3e Sorcerer sucked. They both sound lame, like they don't bring anything new to the table that Wizard can't already do but better. The previous Sorcerer build in the play test, with the changing of physical features to more represent where the Sorcerer's powers came from, was amazingly astounding. They didn't feel like a Wizard at all, and they had enough mechanics and rules to set them far apart from a Wizard's play style or background. If the previous Sorcerer was so well liked, use that as your new class. This new Sorcerer isn't a new class at all, it's just a new spell casting mechanic. Make this new Sorcerer a Wizard option and bring back the older play test Sorcerer.
Posted By: BuddhaKai (2/24/2014 4:53:20 AM)


How can you accurately evaluate what "sucks" without seeing the actual, published version of the Sorcerer?
Posted By: Ramzour (2/24/2014 6:46:45 AM)


The sorcerer in 3rd edition and in 4th was far superior to the Wizard in potential damage output and will most likely stay that way. If you want to play a caster that can wreak havoc with devastating magic it seems logical that Sorcerer is the way to go.
Posted By: LostLegolas (2/24/2014 8:41:14 AM)


"A quick glance at the sorcerer's advancement table might seem to undercut our intention to make the class more distinct from the wizard. The sorcerer and wizard both cast an identical number of spells per day at each level. However, lurking on the sorcerer's class table is a column that summarizes the class's unique mechanic: sorcery points." This indicated that the Wizard and Sorcerer will level at the same rate relating spells and abilities. Given a Sorcerer may have other abilities that a Wizard does not have, the focus on Spell points tells that the classes' spell casting abilities will be the same, but the Sorcerer gets a new mechanic, something more suited to a Wizard option, instead of building a whole new class for.

"It's true that wizards and sorcerers cast the same number of spells as a baseline. However, by spending sorcery points, a sorcerer can easily surpass the wizard's limits. The wizard's advantage remains flexibility. Even as a party's sor... (see all)
Posted By: BuddhaKai (2/24/2014 9:59:34 PM)


It's because those Sorcerer didn't feel any different from the Wizard. They didn't play any different, and their flavor was only that although the Sorcerer had a smaller spell list to choose from and could cast more spells per day. The two classes where almost exactly the same. At least the previous play test Sorcerer had something unique that made it feel far from just the same class. This new Sorcerer is just a wizard that uses a new spell casting mechanic. It doesn't have anything to do with any extra damage the Sorcerer can do. And anyone can see what the new class is going to be, that's part of the reason why it's being mentioned in this article, we are being presented with what the new Sorcerer would be if the design goes this route. You can "evaluate what "sucks" without seeing the actual, published version of the Sorcerer" ahead of time, because releasing an article about it this close to launch shows that this is how the Sorcerer will probably be. R... (see all)
Posted By: BuddhaKai (2/24/2014 9:44:45 PM)


Have to say I'm disappointed. While the Dragon blooded sorcerer from the early pack did feel more like a fighter. The Willpower mechanic was one of the most inspired pieces of mechanical and thematic design that I've ever seen come out of WotC. And I remember being really disappointed when it was taken away from us again.

To turn around and bring the Sorcerer back now with nothing more than a pool of points similar to Meta Magic - feels really weak. I hate to join the ranks of those complaining, not normally my style - I can usually find some positive. But in this case any positive I might have felt would be overruled by my disappointment that a great system is not being utilised.

The old system made you feel like sorcerer's were constantly facing an internal struggle to control their innate power. I loved the fact that their heritage started to show through the more of that power they allowed to show - it was absolutely awesome. There was not a single mechanic in... (see all)
Posted By: barefootwanderer (2/24/2014 3:52:01 AM)


I remember they tried to have the Sorcerer, Wizard, Warlock and Psion all under one class. The feedback was so negative that they went back to having them as separate classes.
Posted By: KoboldAvenger (2/24/2014 3:05:53 AM)


I love the Wild Mage flavor, and I think it fits the sorcerer concept well (if for no other reason than the studious book mage seems awkward as an exploding wild mage). However being able to plan your moves is always more optimized than being unable to predict what you're going to do.

I really am glad to hear they are going to fold the gish into the fighter class. I think it's easier to put some spells on the fighter chassis than toughening up the wizard to be able to stand toe to toe to his enemies.
Posted By: MacEochaid (2/24/2014 2:43:42 AM)


Really? This is how they took the feedback?

The problems with the 5E sorcerer introduced earlier were the strange way in which the Sorcery Points resulted in physical changes to the character (much the same as the Wartlock, and similar builds) outside a Players control. Also the poor implementation of what was really desired, an alternate Casting method.

Instead of actually resolving those issues, they defaulted to a, yet again, boring implementation of a previous editions version instead of putting in the time and effort to make the class both viable on their own and Interesting. At Best, this should be a Mage Sub-Class, as should be the Wild-Mage.

Also, I've got to say this focus on Draconic Heritage as being Physical in manifestation is weak-sauce. The true essence of a Draconic Heritage would be best expressed through a sense of primal strength, extended life-span, affinity for the elements, a lust for the accumulation of knowledge, power and w... (see all)
Posted By: LupusRegalis (2/24/2014 1:56:11 AM)


Remember: their playtest feedback encompasses more than the public playtest feedback. They have stated several times that they have many levels of playtesting going on.
Posted By: Ramzour (2/24/2014 6:44:04 AM)


Yeah. Look, Ramzour I'm not trying to be so negative all the time. There's a lot about 5E that I like. Liked, anyways. But it seems to me that everything from the August packet onwards has been a step back towards "Because Tradition" instead of using the awesome examples or ideas presented earlier. I'm frustrated because as of right now, 5E is going to be another edition I'm going to pass on.
Posted By: LupusRegalis (2/24/2014 10:29:27 AM)


I do not know if the spelling "Wartlock" in the second paragraph was intentional humor or just a typo, but my imagination grabbed it and ran.

So,what is a Wartlock? It's a minor, persistent and contagious curse that nevertheless has a useful function. This affliction imposes a number of warts on the fingers of anyone who contracts it. Someone with this can magically transfer a wart to any object that can be opened/closed, effectively locking it.

When anyone else attempts to physically get past the lock, whether picking it or breaking it, she/he also gains the curse. Over the course of a week, the number of warts on the victim's fingers multiplies, imposing Disadvantage on Dexterity checks that require using those digits.

The curse can be removed through the usual magical means.
Posted By: Komomachi (2/25/2014 10:22:06 AM)


I only played an Infernal Pact warlock, but I thought this had something to do with Verenestra–the Fey Pact patron of the infamous 081712_Classes.pdf and, I just found by searching the site, also of such 4E warlocks. Lupus Regalis has been around the block and was either making a pun about the effects of said pact on one's appearance, or referring to that thread. Creatively gross curse, I'm sure you're a great roleplayer.
Posted By: RadperT (2/25/2014 8:53:31 PM)


Thank you, Radper T. Sometimes, I like to think I'm a good role-player, and sometimes I just get dice thrown at me.

A member of our group noticedone time that a d20 he'd thrown was a natural 20. He yelled, "Crit!" and threw two more dice at me for the extra damage.

We're just that kind of a crew.
Posted By: Komomachi (2/25/2014 11:17:37 PM)


I'm at an irregular Fourth Ed. game so I had a chance to look at a PH1 (long story) and I see it doesn't say anything about Defenestra (that's a pun), so I thought I'd confess before I got called on BSing.

The only thing I put in the search box was Wartlock and it came up with the Wart-lock thread, which I looked at & assumed was from before 081712, which is funny coming from a guy who jumped somebody else's ass for thinking Mike Mearls was talking about a spell point system in this column. It's just Radpert, my real name starts with a T but that's an artifact from me trying to edit my first attempt at a username (long ago), which would have been Trog had someone else not taken it, and as far as I can tell, isn't using.
Posted By: RadperT (2/27/2014 6:20:46 PM)


I was disturbed by this article.

It makes the sorcerer seems thematically weak,
A sorcerer a snazzier magic missle or mage armor seems like a weak reason, if possibly optimized, to pick a sorc over a wizard. The main advantages of playing a sorc was story. The heritages were cool. Mechanically the class has not been the greatest. Int>cha, the skill list was poor vs wizard or other high cha classes, etc. The idea of embracing the heritages as Paizo did is good. "Sorcery points" just sounds lame and doesn't evocatively call a story.

The Gish does not belong on a fighter chassis.
I am not sure how the fighter class is twisted into a warrior made. You could multiclass fighters into eldritch knight, dragon disciple and such but only a purposeful class like the duskblades, swordmages, or Magus, really made effective level 1-3 gishes.

Finally, "Wild Mage" is not a heritage and any class that might randomly damage the party ... (see all)
Posted By: Boomer (2/24/2014 1:34:29 AM)


Until we see the actual game rules there's no sense in making a judgement about it. However, I do hope that it feels sufficiently different from the wizard to not feel like a gimmick.
Posted By: Aavarius (2/24/2014 1:26:58 AM)


Why not merge the wizard and sorcerer into a single mage class, with the ability to learn as many spells as they want, but have a limited number of spells prepared each day?

Originally done by the magister in Arcana Unearthed, then more recently done by the Arcanist hybrid class in Pathfinder.
Posted By: Dragonhelm (2/24/2014 1:00:07 AM)


That was the idea with the "mage" class. Wizard, sorcerer and warlock were going to be different options. But there was a lot of negative reaction to it so they split them up.
Posted By: WCU_Scout (2/24/2014 7:50:15 AM)


I have to say, while 3e's sorcerer was too simple, with virtually no class features whatsoever, this one seems a little too busy. I'm cool with the heritage and wild magic stuff, but the metamagic "sorcery points" mechanic seems better suited to the more studious wizard.
Posted By: pukunui (2/24/2014 12:54:34 AM)


Apparently, the 5ed Sorcerer is a jock: "Much like an athlete, a sorcerer improves her innate talents through repetition, challenge, and exercise."
Posted By: Alter_Boy (2/24/2014 12:50:21 AM)


Let's hope we (eventually) see the cosmic sorcerer and storm sorcerer backgrounds from 4E's Arcane Power at some point. I really love the ideas behind them!
Posted By: Clansmansix (2/24/2014 12:48:35 AM)


So the wizard gets spell slots the way the sorcerer once had, and so the sorcerer got augmentation points like the 4e psion? Both this version and the wild mage can exist as mage variations. Unless the sorcerer's spells are all at-will, this class is just as redudant as the original. Why not just include this as a variant-spellcasting module?
Posted By: Fallen_Star_02 (2/24/2014 12:32:32 AM)


There are so many other unique classes that we are awaiting word on. The warlord. The gish. The warlock. The artificer.
Posted By: Fallen_Star_02 (2/24/2014 12:37:53 AM)


This is wild speculation on my part, but I think the varient-spell casting modules will be class independent. They are using the same spell progression tables across all casters and half-casters for multiclassing purposes. My guess is that if you want to switch out for points or whatnot that is something that would take the place of your (standardized) spell progression table. That way its compatible with any caster class (or combination therein).
Posted By: WCU_Scout (2/24/2014 7:56:53 AM)


What about the mage class currently being used, is mage out and wizard and sorcerer back in? Explanation please Mr. Mearls
Posted By: Moskauski (2/24/2014 12:27:37 AM)


Yes. He brought this up in tweets.
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (2/24/2014 11:54:24 AM)


Sounds like it, but who knows? We don't have much to go on.
Posted By: FitzTheRuke (2/24/2014 12:21:14 AM)


Wild Mage, huh?
Posted By: FitzTheRuke (2/24/2014 12:19:28 AM)


It's strange to see them going back to the original sorcerer, when they already gave their original spontaneous casting to all the casters. But, sure, more spells, less strategic flexibility, that was part of what made the sorcerer different from the wizard. But, the wizard already has the tactical flexibility of spontaneous casting. The sorcerer was criticized for being too much like the wizard - this sorcerer has even less to differentiate it.
Posted By: Tony_Vargas (2/24/2014 12:15:25 AM)


And the Fighter gets: more plusses
Posted By: thecasualoblivion (2/24/2014 12:04:12 AM)



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