D&D Next: A Revised Sorcerer


One of the early public playtest packets included the sorcerer class. On its face, it is an arcane class that uses a spell-point system rather than Vancian casting – nothing to get excited about. The packet presented only one sorcerous bloodline for use, though, and that revealed a great deal about where they might be going with these rules. The sorcerer might not be anything special, but the draconic sorcerer is more dynamic and rockstar than any other class WotC has yet released. It accomplishes this by having the class gradually spend one set of powers to build up another set of powers. As the character exhausts Willpower to cast spells (a daily resource), the character gains minor benefits to melee damage and durability that last for the rest of the day. My players were definitely excited about this implementation of a gish (fighter/arcane caster) concept, so I’ve taken it upon myself to write up an alternate model until WotC releases something new.
As with the revised warlock that I posted some months ago (and need to revise again, to bring it in line with the style of the current packet), this sorcerer is designed according to the style of other classes in the packet. It is a pretty weird class, though, with a little more attribute-management than current classes. (The Aurikesh players who have been interested in this class have been the kind of people who are comfortable with complexity, and I designed it with my guess as to their tastes in mind.)

The Sorcerer

Creating a Sorcerer: When you create a character whose first class is sorcerer, you gain these benefits.

  • Ability Adjustment: +1 to your Constitution or Charisma score.
  • Starting Hit Points: 8 + Constitution modifier.
  • Armor and Shield Proficiencies: Light armor (but see below; many types of sorcerers gain additional armor training)
  • Weapon Proficiencies: Simple weapons (but see below; many types of sorcerers gain additional weapon training)

THE SORCERER

Level Attack Bonus Spellcasting Bonus Power Spells Known Maximum Spell Level Class Features
1 +1 +1 2 2 1 Cantrips, Sorcery, Sorcerous Blood, First Transformation Power
2 +1 +1 3 3 1
3 +1 +2 5 4 2
4 +1 +2 7 5 2 Second Transformation Power
5 +2 +2 12 6 3 Deadly Strike (roll twice)
6 +2 +2 17 7 3
7 +2 +2 26 8 4
8 +2 +3 35 9 4 Third Transformation Power

You can make a sorcerer quickly by following these suggestions.
Background: Artisan
Specialty: Reaper (draconic sorcery) or Defender (royal sorcery)
Equipment (draconic sorcery): Chain mail, greatsword, dagger, adventurer’s kit, healer’s kit, and 4d6 gp
Equipment (royal sorcery): Studded leather, morningstar, dagger, adventurer’s kit, light crossbow, 10 bolts, healer’s kit, and 2d6 gp

Class Features

A sorcerer gains the following class features.
Hit Dice: 1d8 per sorcerer level
Hit Points: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per sorcerer level gained

Cantrips

You know two cantrips, chosen from the sorcerer’s spell list. Your sorcerous bloodline may carry additions to your spell list. Cantrips do not cost Power to cast.

Sorcery

Through an accident of birth or a refinement of the soul, the spark of magic burns in your blood and bones. When you express this power in the world, the mask of your nature slips away to reveal the majesty of your sorcerous bloodline. Such efforts are draining, however, and you must rest and recover to restore your magical power.
Benefit: You can cast sorcerer spells each day based on your Power, as listed in the table above. The table indicates the amount of Power you hold following an extended rest, the number of sorcerer spells you know, and the maximum level of those spells. You must spend Power to cast a sorcerer spell, and if you cannot meet a spell’s Power cost, you cannot cast the spell. You cannot cast sorcerer spells while wearing armor with which you are not proficient. You use your Charisma bonus to make magical attacks and to determine the saving throw DCs of your spells.
Spell Level – Power Cost
1 – 1
2 – 2
3 – 5
4 – 9
Further, whenever you cast a spell, that power flowing through you leaves behind Transformation, echoes of your power that you can turn to further use. You gain Transformation equal to the Power cost of the spell you cast; other effects may also grant or reduce Transformation. Transformation returns to zero after any short rest.

Sorcerous Blood

Through whatever means (typically birth, but other means are possible), your bloodline carries mystical might of a particular type.
Draconic Sorcery
Whether through an ancient commingling of blood between your ancestors and the mighty dragons of legend, an awakening of the latent power within every kagandi, or through coming into contact with the mystically-charged blood of a dragon, you have the gift of draconic sorcery. When you choose this heritage, choose a dragon type; this choice affects your Transformation powers. (Same chart as before)
Armor and Shield Proficiencies: You gain proficiency in medium and heavy armor, and with all shields.
Weapon Proficiencies: You gain proficiency with all martial weapons.
Transformation Powers: At first level, you can select either Strength or Scales as your first Transformation power.
Strength: As a swift action, spend one point of Transformation to deal an additional +1d6 damage with your next melee attack, or two points to deal +2d6 damage. By selecting this power, whenever you have any amount of Transformation, you become more physically imposing and gain additional muscle definition (though this has only story effects until you spend Transformation).
Scales: As a reaction, spend one point of Transformation to reduce damage from any attack by 1d4, or damage from your heritage damage type by 2d4. By selecting this power, whenever you have any amount of Transformation, you become lightly scaled and your skin tone shifts to resemble that of your dragon type.
At fourth level, you can select any first-level Transformation power you do not already have, or you may choose one of the following Transformation powers.
Dragonfear: As an action, spend three points of Transformation to force all enemies within 30 ft to make a Charisma saving throw vs. your spellcasting DC. If they fail, they gain the frightened condition for 1d4 rounds. By selecting this power, whenever you have any amount of Transformation, your eyes change, becoming a solid color matching your draconic heritage.
Breath Weapon: As an action, spend three points of Transformation to make a breath weapon attack against all creatures in a 15-foot cone, dealing 3d8 damage of your heritage damage type. Targets may make a Dexterity saving throw vs. your spellcasting DC for half damage. By selecting this power, whenever you have any amount of Transformation, you exude a scent reminiscent of your draconic heritage – sulfur, ozone, snow, and so on.
Jaws of the Dragon: As a swift action, spend three points of Transformation to make a melee attack dealing 2d8 damage plus your Strength modifier. By selecting this power, whenever you have any amount of Transformation, your head and neck gain a draconic appearance. including a clear elongation of your jaws and strengthening of your neck.
At eighth level, you can select any first- or fourth-level Transformation power you do not already have, or you may choose one of the following Transformation powers.
Lesser Flight: In place of your movement for a round, spend five points of Transformation to fly a distance equal to twice your movement speed. You must land at the end of this movement. By selecting this power, whenever you have at least five points of Transformation, draconic wings sprout from your back. They cannot support flight except through expenditure of Transformation.
Draconic Fortitude: As a reaction, spend five points of Transformation to gain advantage on any saving throw. If that saving throw is against magic, you may roll it as a Constitution saving throw rather than its normal ability score. By selecting this power, whenever you have at least five points of Transformation, you gain muscle and bulk; in Small or Medium creatures, this doubles their weight.
Elder Scales: As a reaction, spend five points of Transformation to reduce damage from any one attack by 2d6, or damage from your heritage damage type by 4d6. By selecting this power, whenever you have at least five points of Transformation, you become heavily scaled, and your skin tone shifts to resemble that of your dragon type.
Royal Sorcery
You bear some of the royal blood of Sestomera, whether through the Immortal Emperor Kovichir directly or through his human and kagandi heirs. Alternately, you or one of your ancestors may have found a way to steal an enemy’s royal bloodline at the moment of that enemy’s death. You bear a natural gift for regal bearing and leadership – making you the immediate enemy of those who hold power without being of the Blood.
Armor and Shield Proficiencies: You gain proficiency in medium armor, and with all shields.
Weapon Proficiencies: You gain proficiency with all martial weapons.
Transformation Powers: At first level, you gain either Justice or Mercy as your first Transformation power.
Justice: As a reaction, spend one point of Transformation whenever an enemy you have affected with the Royal Presence cantrip attacks one of your allies (even if that attack also includes you) to do one of two things. If that enemy is within your melee range, you may make a melee attack against that enemy. If that enemy is not within your melee range but is within 30 feet of you, you may force that enemy to make a Charisma saving throw against your spellcasting DC; if the enemy fails, it takes 1d8 points of slashing damage.
Mercy: As a reaction, spend one point of Transformation whenever an enemy you have affected with the Royal Presence cantrip attacks one of your allies (even if that attack also includes you) to do one of two things. If that ally is within your natural reach, you may increase the ally’s AC or saving throw result by 1d6. If that ally is not within your natural reach but is within 30 feet of you, you may reduce the damage dealt to that ally by 1d10.
At fourth level, you can select any first-level Transformation power you do not already have, or you may choose one of the following Transformation powers.
Cry Havoc: As a swift action, spend three points of Transformation to grant all of your allies within 30 feet an additional +1d6 damage with any weapon attack they make against an enemy that you currently threaten. This effect lasts until the beginning of your next turn. By selecting this power, whenever you have any amount of Transformation, your voice resounds with power.
Fount of Honor: As an action, spend three points of Transformation to grant one creature within 30 feet a mantle of protection for one minute. That creature gains +1 AC, and attacks made against that creature cause the attacker to suffer 1d6 psychic damage. By selecting this power, whenever you have any amount of Transformation, a faint circlet of gold or silver appears on your brow.
Royal Edict: As an action, spend three points of Transformation to cast command, using your spellcasting DC as normal. By selecting this power, whenever you have any amount of Transformation, intelligent creatures can sense your power and presence within line of sight.
At eighth level, you can select any first-level or fourth-level Transformation power you do not already have, or you may choose one of the following Transformation powers.
Sentence of Death: As an action, spend five points of Transformation to force all enemies you have affected with the Royal Presence cantrip to roll a Charisma saving throw vs. your spellcasting DC. Any creature that fails this saving throw suffers 4d8 psychic damage; creatures that succeed take half damage. By selecting this power, whenever you have at least five points of Transformation, a cloak of luminous power appears around your shoulders.
Execution: As an action, spend five points of Transformation to make a melee attack with advantage. The target must currently be under the effects of your Royal Presence cantrip. If your attack hits, roll three additional damage dice, discarding the lowest die result of those three. By selecting this power, whenever you have at least five points of Transformation, any weapon you wield becomes pitch-black in color.
Guardian of My People: As an action, spend five points of Transformation to gain a +2 bonus to AC and substitute your Charisma bonus for any other saving throw for one minute. By selecting this power, whenever you have at least five points of Transformation, any armor or shield you wield gleams with an aura of majesty.

Sorcerer Spell List

I don’t have a complete spell list at this point, but let’s assume that it’s got a lot in common with the wizard list. There are all kinds of interesting design discussions around constructing the spell list, but that’s work for another day.
Royal Presence
Cantrip
You point to an enemy and awe that enemy with the expression of your royal power.
Casting Time: 1 swift action; this swift action does not stop you from casting spells with your action, but you may not cast Royal Presence again
Range: 30 feet
Duration: 10 minutes
Effect: You may either have this spell succeed automatically, in which case it deals no damage, or you may force the opponent to make a Charisma saving throw. If the opponent fails this saving throw, you push it five feet away from you.

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