Opinion: Wizard and Sorcerer shouldn't share spell lists

In my humble opinion, the Wizard and Sorcerer classes are essentially different builds of the same class as they are currently being designed (and as they were designed in 3.X).  Classes that use the same spells are variations of the same class.  If that is going to be the case, why make a separate class at all?  A good test of whether a class is unique enough do differntiate itself from the others is to ask a newbie.  Will a newbie see any differences between a Wizard and a Sorcerer today?  No, they both cast Magic Missile and Fireball spells.  The way they cast it may be different, but the thing that should distinguish them - their magic - is exactly the same. 

The 3.5 book Tome of Magic did an excellent job of creating unique magic using classes.  4E did an excellent job of creating unique powers for magic using classes.  No reason why D&DN couldn't learn from this.       
The sorcerer also takes on characteristics of their bloodline that the wizard does not have. Many of these powers lasting until a long rest. A sorcerer also has access to abilities that a wizard does not have, like dragon scales.

Combined spell lists make sense insofar as they take up less space. A ball of fire is a ball of fire, there is no real need to create two versions of "fire explodes in a 20 foot radius".
 
Can my ball of fire can be wings or claws of a Draconic flame that swipe the enemy in a 20 foot radius and can his can be a breath weapon which he spits and explodes and hers can be an ephemeral phoenix beast  that comes down and does a spirol dance in the area of 20 foot radious and his can be a piece of a star brought to earth.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
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Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
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"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

 
Can my ball of fire can be wings or claws of a Draconic flame that swipe the enemy in a 20 foot radius and can his can be a breath weapon which he spits and explodes and hers can be an ephemeral phoenix beast  that comes down and does a spirol dance in the area of 20 foot radious and his can be a piece of a star brought to earth.



I'm all about reflavoring. So, in this case, yes. My thing with reflavoring is that it can't alter the base mechanics too much. I'd have no problem if my sorcerer summons a flaming phantom of his ancestor to scorch a 20 foot radius, and I'd have no issue with my wizard summoning a horde of flaming bats that swarm an area. I don't care of the magic missile from the sorcerer looks like a tiny wyrm rocketing toward it's target, while the wizard's looks like an actual arrow, while a third from a necromancer is a screaming skull.
Yeah reflavoring should be encouraged and explained well to spark imaginations and allow players agency in the description of their abilities.

The advice on reflavoring is a strong point in the 4e line.

You could do it before but it wasn't layed out so clearly for the players. It was tucked neatly away in the DMG and not given much emphasis.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Call the current sorcerer the "bloodline wizard". This allows them to create a truly unique sorcerer class.
I'd love separate spell lists myself. Espically to differentiate the difference in the class as it operates within the party. The Wizard is supposed to be this supportive, utility guy with magic solutions (so far, that's what I've inferred with the D&DN wizard) where I think the Sorcerer should be played out to be far mor "Gish" in it's application to magic and combat. A specialized spell list already exists with the Sorcerer in 4E, so I don't see why the Devs can't look to those names and basic prinipals and apply the same element to the D&DN Sorcerer.
personally i am fine with it. to me the wizard is the "i could learn everything" caster. and then that total wizard list is used to determine knowable spells for other arcane casters... the sorcerer currently and the lock only access a portion of the wizards potential list
I think some shared mechanics help people ease into the game. That said, they should definitely have some advice on swapping the magic systems between classes.
I think that all arcane casters should draw from the same spell list, because that lets me develop an idea of what "arcane magic" means in my campaign universe.

I don't think that it makes the classes seem the same. I didn't think 3e wizards and sorcs were the same even, because they worked very differently in play. The next versions are even more different. To me, saying they are the same class because they draw from the same spell list is like saying fighters and rogues are the same class because they both fight with weapons.
I think that all arcane casters should draw from the same spell list, because that lets me develop an idea of what "arcane magic" means in my campaign universe.

I don't think that it makes the classes seem the same. I didn't think 3e wizards and sorcs were the same even, because they worked very differently in play. The next versions are even more different. To me, saying they are the same class because they draw from the same spell list is like saying fighters and rogues are the same class because they both fight with weapons.




and if it is absolutely necessary, the different arcane casters spells are the same mechanically and "different flavour". take fireball. the sorcerer innately knows how to conjure up a giant ball of flame due to his heritage. a wizard has mastered an incantation to cojure a ball of flame also. although these two spells act the same mechanically, it doesnt mean that what the wizard casts is going to actually be the same ball of fire the sorcerer casts, nor will it be done in the same way
Your sorceror eats a spider to do climb walls your wizard does too... hell in earlier editions some spells are going to almost always be better so you will both have the same spells not just the same ones possible.

It looks to me like I have to follow you areound and hunt through your bags to see  if you have a spell book to tell you arent clones. 




how do you know the sorcerer casts that way? i envision the sorcerer innately knowing magic. he waves his hand, says the name of the spell and its done. the wizard omn the other hand must perform a mini ritual (incantation) to perform a magical effect. Says some magical words to draw energy, shapes it with hand movements, and uses material components as a channel
The wizard learns spells the same way a chemist learns to create substances or a physicist learns to solve multivariable equations. They use a combination of arcane tunes, reagents, and gestures that when perfomed a certain way create a certain effect. The sorcerer draws power from the elements, their blood, and raw arcane energy itself. No equations involved here. As such the spells should be radically different in both how they function and what they are. Currently we have neither a unique mechanic nor a unique spell list.

There is also a much larger problem with shared spell lists. Classes lose focus. What is the wizard's job? The sorcerer's? The warlocks's? The answer is "meh, we don't really know. Spellcaster?". With unique spell lists each class can really help shape itself into something more. In 4e the wizard was all about creating zones of control and locking enemies down. The sorcerer was all about blasting groups of enemies for lots of damage. The warlock was about disabling and damaging a single target with some minor AoE control. Each class played very differently because their spell lists were very different. Right now unless the person told you up front they were a warlock, a sorcerer, or a wizard you would have no clue just by watching them play the game. The classes aren't unique. They don't serve a unique purpose. This was my biggest issue in 3e and it seems to be making a strong return in 5e.
Right now the spell list between the two are far too similar. Even more annoying, Sorcerers look like they predominently get combat spells (and even then Wizards still have more!).

Now I don't mind some overlap, but with what we have it's just silly.

Right now the spell list between the two are far too similar. Even more annoying, Sorcerers look like they predominently get combat spells (and even then Wizards still have more!).

Now I don't mind some overlap, but with what we have it's just silly.


I think the issue is that the current version of the sorc we have is pretty narrowly focussed. I hope that further development will broaden the class.
The wizard learns spells the same way a chemist learns to create substances or a physicist learns to solve multivariable equations. They use a combination of arcane tunes, reagents, and gestures that when perfomed a certain way create a certain effect. The sorcerer draws power from the elements, their blood, and raw arcane energy itself. No equations involved here. As such the spells should be radically different in both how they function and what they are.


I think of it differently. A wizard casts spells the way a physicist or engineer calculates the trajectory of a ball. A sorcerer casts spells they way a baseball player figures out the trajectory of a ball. Very different approaches to get to the same basic result.
I think that would be a good way to differentiate the two classes. Wizards can't cast "shoot ball" in combat. The wizard can only perform the ritual version of "shoot ball". Now the wizard will be somewhat weak in combat but they would remain the kings of out of combat utility. They would also feel very different from the sorcerer in play. The sorcerer becomes the combat Mage while the wizard is the utility Mage.
I agree with most sentiments about the wizard/sorcerer spell lists. I don't mind a small bit of overlap. Even in 4e a few classes had effectively the same spells with different names and perhaps a different damage type (same target defense, damage die, range, etc). It strikes me as difficult to make completely different powers for many different classes, that's understandable. Beyond that, I'd like to see some school specialization as part of the wizard by default with features similar to what the Mage in 4e had. That might help the wizard stand out a bit more in addition to varying spell lists.
I'd love separate spell lists myself. Espically to differentiate the difference in the class as it operates within the party. The Wizard is supposed to be this supportive, utility guy with magic solutions (so far, that's what I've inferred with the D&DN wizard) where I think the Sorcerer should be played out to be far mor "Gish" in it's application to magic and combat. A specialized spell list already exists with the Sorcerer in 4E, so I don't see why the Devs can't look to those names and basic prinipals and apply the same element to the D&DN Sorcerer.

I'm with you on this.  If the Sorcerer is really going to be bloodline based, he shouldn't be sharing any spells with a studied magic user.  For that matter, neither of them should share spells with a magic user who gets his powers from the Infernal Depths.  Different magic using classes need different spells, period.  The 3.x Sorcerer would best be described as an alternative spell use module Wizard.
Instead of regurgiating the last 40 years of "spell schools", "spells", and "spell levels" wipe the slate clean and start new. 

It is afterall supposed to be a new edition. Yes?

Have new "schools" where each has it's own spell list, rituals, implements, etc. Do not have "spell levels", just have spells, and have the spells scalable, to cut down on the number needed. Want your spell to have a greater effect, put it in a higher vancian slot, use more mana points, etc.


   The casters will share a lot of spells, and more as the years pass and we get suppliments.  So a combined list is a good idea that saves space and other things.  Now we will likely want to label certain spells as wizard/sorcerer/cleric only, but putting all the spells in one place is just common sense.
   The casters will share a lot of spells, and more as the years pass and we get suppliments.  So a combined list is a good idea that saves space and other things.  Now we will likely want to label certain spells as wizard/sorcerer/cleric only, but putting all the spells in one place is just common sense.

As it stands, DDN Sorcerers and Warlocks by flavor aren't arcane casters.  Sorcerers don't cast so much as use their strength of will, and Warlocks get their power from Pact based sources.  Why should they share mechanics when they share no flavor?

   The casters will share a lot of spells, and more as the years pass and we get suppliments.  So a combined list is a good idea that saves space and other things.  Now we will likely want to label certain spells as wizard/sorcerer/cleric only, but putting all the spells in one place is just common sense.

As it stands, DDN Sorcerers and Warlocks by flavor aren't arcane casters.  Sorcerers don't cast so much as use their strength of will, and Warlocks get their power from Pact based sources.  Why should they share mechanics when they share no flavor?



Because they all tap into arcane magic.
Someone who studies a single martial arts method does not automatically have access to all the techniques from other martial arts even though they are still learning martial techniques. Someone who trains in kendo knows different techniques from karate, jujitsu, judo, tae kwon do, etc. Why should spells be any different. If you learn/gain your power from a different method your spells should serve to enhance that flavor. Having shared spell lists only serves to dilute the flavor of the individual classes.
Someone who studies a single martial arts method does not automatically have access to all the techniques from other martial arts even though they are still learning martial techniques. Someone who trains in kendo knows different techniques from karate, jujitsu, judo, tae kwon do, etc. Why should spells be any different. If you learn/gain your power from a different method your spells should serve to enhance that flavor. Having shared spell lists only serves to dilute the flavor of the individual classes.

So only one can ever learn punch and only one can learn to kick? Because kendo can parry a fencer can't? Sorry, there is a LOT of overlap with different names slapped on the same power.

What would make MUCH more sense is that everyone takes the bulk of their power from the same pool, and then they have a smaller pool for the unique powers each school has. That would give the differnt flavor you are looking for without having the bloat of printing up a FULL power list for each class. 

Instead of regurgiating the last 40 years of "spell schools", "spells", and "spell levels" wipe the slate clean and start new. 





The issue with this kind of thinking is that it is the reason that we are in this situation in the first place. In reality 4e should be about half way through it's run. They already tried a reboot of the system with essentials and that didn't help. I think it might have hurt them a little by trying to change things up to attract fresh blood. 

If D&D is to return to it's former glory it needs to return to being D&D. It needs to accomdate play styles that 4e can't, it has to make the people who left the game want to play it again, or entice the old hold outs to give it a try. The thing about D&D is it's formulas and history and the feeling it engenders in it's players. More of us want a game that embraces the original ideas and ideals that made D&D, D&D, not some slick tactical miniatures game with the D&D logo plastered on it.

If D&DN doesn't remind me of the game I started playing when I was in the military then they will get exactly as much of my money as the did fron 4e, which is absolutel nothing. There are hundreds of thousands of us who will continue to not spend a dime on anything from from WotC as long as D&D continues down the path it's on.
   The casters will share a lot of spells, and more as the years pass and we get suppliments.  So a combined list is a good idea that saves space and other things.  Now we will likely want to label certain spells as wizard/sorcerer/cleric only, but putting all the spells in one place is just common sense.

As it stands, DDN Sorcerers and Warlocks by flavor aren't arcane casters.  Sorcerers don't cast so much as use their strength of will, and Warlocks get their power from Pact based sources.  Why should they share mechanics when they share no flavor?



Because they all tap into arcane magic.

How?  Sorcerers are tapping into the power of their blood, not arcane sources.  Warlocks tap into whatever power source their Pacted entity teaches them.  That could be divine, arcane, infernal, you name it.  There is nothing inherently arcane about their flavor, and in some cases their flavor is not at all arcane.
   The casters will share a lot of spells, and more as the years pass and we get suppliments.  So a combined list is a good idea that saves space and other things.  Now we will likely want to label certain spells as wizard/sorcerer/cleric only, but putting all the spells in one place is just common sense.

As it stands, DDN Sorcerers and Warlocks by flavor aren't arcane casters.  Sorcerers don't cast so much as use their strength of will, and Warlocks get their power from Pact based sources.  Why should they share mechanics when they share no flavor?



Because they all tap into arcane magic.

How?  Sorcerers are tapping into the power of their blood, not arcane sources.  Warlocks tap into whatever power source their Pacted entity teaches them.  That could be divine, arcane, infernal, you name it.  There is nothing inherently arcane about their flavor, and in some cases their flavor is not at all arcane.

The lore of past editions disagree with you, and it seemes we are chained to the past like keeping all the old spels and thier names. Look at Tlantl post above and that's why we can't change it from arcane...

   The casters will share a lot of spells, and more as the years pass and we get suppliments.  So a combined list is a good idea that saves space and other things.  Now we will likely want to label certain spells as wizard/sorcerer/cleric only, but putting all the spells in one place is just common sense.

As it stands, DDN Sorcerers and Warlocks by flavor aren't arcane casters.  Sorcerers don't cast so much as use their strength of will, and Warlocks get their power from Pact based sources.  Why should they share mechanics when they share no flavor?



Because they all tap into arcane magic.

How?  Sorcerers are tapping into the power of their blood, not arcane sources.  Warlocks tap into whatever power source their Pacted entity teaches them.  That could be divine, arcane, infernal, you name it.  There is nothing inherently arcane about their flavor, and in some cases their flavor is not at all arcane.

The lore of past editions disagree with you, and it seemes we are chained to the past like keeping all the old spels and thier names. Look at Tlantl post above and that's why we can't change it from arcane...

In 3.X Warlocks were arcane in name only and shared nothing with Wizards or Sorcerers.  Sorcerers were clearly alternate arcane casters.  In 4E Sorcerers and Warlocks were arcane in name only and shared nothing with Wizards.
Go ahead and keep the word "arcane", but separate the spells of the three classes.  There is plenty of prior edition precedent for it, and quite frankly I feel it is lazy and bad game design not to separate them.
So, given that those of us who aren't edition warring (seriously, it's STILL EDITION WARRING if you complain about an edition by negatively comparing it to your favorite without explaining how it can be postively changed) agree that there were issues with 4th AND 3.X (and previous editions) in terms of similarity between classes, let's move on.

How can Next DEAL with these similarities?

Personally, in the case of caster classes, I propose that we implement totally modular casting systems.

A Vancian, Spell Point and AEDU system, totally independent from class.

Each class can have baked in elements (spellbooks for Wizards, bloodlines for Sorcerers, pacts for Warlocks) which would have their own feat and option support.

But each class would have an "insert power source here" gap into which Vancian, Spell Point, AEDU (and potentially other) systems are inserted.

These power systems would be totally free from baked in elements, but would have their own feat and option support, this means that NO MORE feats and options need be written than for a Vancian only Wizard, Spell Point only Sorcerer and AEDU only Warlock, but totally opens up the options for everyone.

This allows individual DMs and Players to tailor the classes to suit them WITHOUT ADDITIONAL DESIGN demands on Wizards.

Surely, this answers the needs of both "sides" in this debate and offers an opportunity for everyone to get what they want...

Without Wizards having to do any additional writing.
Instead of regurgiating the last 40 years of "spell schools", "spells", and "spell levels" wipe the slate clean and start new. 

It is afterall supposed to be a new edition. Yes?

Have new "schools" where each has it's own spell list, rituals, implements, etc. Do not have "spell levels", just have spells, and have the spells scalable, to cut down on the number needed. Want your spell to have a greater effect, put it in a higher vancian slot, use more mana points, etc.



I like this.
So, given that those of us who aren't edition warring (seriously, it's STILL EDITION WARRING if you complain about an edition by negatively comparing it to your favorite without explaining how it can be postively changed) agree that there were issues with 4th AND 3.X (and previous editions) in terms of similarity between classes, let's move on.

How can Next DEAL with these similarities?

Personally, in the case of caster classes, I propose that we implement totally modular casting systems.

A Vancian, Spell Point and AEDU system, totally independent from class.

Each class can have baked in elements (spellbooks for Wizards, bloodlines for Sorcerers, pacts for Warlocks) which would have their own feat and option support.

But each class would have an "insert power source here" gap into which Vancian, Spell Point, AEDU (and potentially other) systems are inserted.

These power systems would be totally free from baked in elements, but would have their own feat and option support, this means that NO MORE feats and options need be written than for a Vancian only Wizard, Spell Point only Sorcerer and AEDU only Warlock, but totally opens up the options for everyone.

This allows individual DMs and Players to tailor the classes to suit them WITHOUT ADDITIONAL DESIGN demands on Wizards.

Surely, this answers the needs of both "sides" in this debate and offers an opportunity for everyone to get what they want...

Without Wizards having to do any additional writing.

And I like this even more.  Maybe combine the two ideas?  Let players and DMs customize from a modular system.  And then do the same thing for the other classes.  In fact, get rid of classes altogether and use this modular system for combat, spells and skills.
In 3.X Warlocks were arcane in name only and shared nothing with Wizards or Sorcerers.  Sorcerers were clearly alternate arcane casters.  In 4E Sorcerers and Warlocks were arcane in name only and shared nothing with Wizards.
Go ahead and keep the word "arcane", but separate the spells of the three classes.  There is plenty of prior edition precedent for it, and quite frankly I feel it is lazy and bad game design not to separate them.

You missed the point of my post. Even if it was in name only, they were arcane and we can't throw anything out because that's upset those that want all the old editions traditional things.

IMO, I'd make one general list for the arcane classes and then give a smaller limited list of class unique spells for each class. It cuts down on the bloat and the issue of trying to make three different whole list without overlap. I don't think we can get truely different list for every caster class.

I vote for unique spell lists.  If they both need fireball are they really different enough?

I need to look again at the 4e sorc, but if all of those were unique... they have a lot of stuff they can pull from.

They should be mechanically different- its a huge aspect of what makes them different classes.

If not its just a variant wizard (like it was in 3e)

Honestly I realy like the 3 options presented for classes- vancian wizard, spell per day sorc, encounter warlock-

but I'd like to see more options, and ways to adjust them.

Can the warlock be made into a vancian class by adjusting his invocations into "spell" power level? and losing some dice off his main blast?  If so you've got tons to work with and people can really customize how they want.

I think we need the ability to customize classes- not from a min max perspective (as i hate that) but from a "this is how i see my character" perspective.

Already the DM has the ability to change a lot about the game- players need that power too for their own characters.

DnD isn't suposed to be a game that has to answer questions with "no you can't"  the process shouldn't be overly complex either. (add a die here, lose a die here- etc should be enough)

My goal is to see a system that presents 4-6 major casting classes and ways of customizing them so they can fluidly move between eachother- while keeping unique spells/invocations etc

Then hopefully we can start seeing other classes modeled off of them.  I personally don't get Vancian for magic, but it works fantastically in my mind for a gadget-engineer.  You get 1 blast with your item and then you have to repair it?  Perfect imo.  A few gadgets that work at-will and i think it's good.  Maybe trade out the spellbook for something similar...

Anyway you get the idea. I hope they do end up letting us see the nuts and bolts so we can make things like that happen.  I hate that if I want a setting that supports steampunk I feel like I have to play a non-dnd game. =/
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In 3.X Warlocks were arcane in name only and shared nothing with Wizards or Sorcerers.  Sorcerers were clearly alternate arcane casters.  In 4E Sorcerers and Warlocks were arcane in name only and shared nothing with Wizards.
Go ahead and keep the word "arcane", but separate the spells of the three classes.  There is plenty of prior edition precedent for it, and quite frankly I feel it is lazy and bad game design not to separate them.

You missed the point of my post. Even if it was in name only, they were arcane and we can't throw anything out because that's upset those that want all the old editions traditional things.

IMO, I'd make one general list for the arcane classes and then give a smaller limited list of class unique spells for each class. It cuts down on the bloat and the issue of trying to make three different whole list without overlap.

I and I think others would argue that "bloat" of three different lists is what is needed.  It was in 4E, and 2/3rds of it was in 3.X.  We don't have any other editions with both Sorcerers and Warlocks for comparison.  Homogenizing them goes against precedent.
There need not be "bloat".

You can just tag spells in the spell lists with individual classes.

The default would be that all classes can access all spells, but you can "turn on" the "limited spells by class" module and then cut away all the ones not tagged to a specific class.

Then everyone gets what they want, again without any extra effort from Wizards.




If we want Wizards to pick up on these ideas we need to make sure that they are practical!

Just like my modular caster system.

No need for bloat, just a hard wall between baked in class mechanics and casting system.              
I and I think others would argue that "bloat" of three different lists is what is needed.  It was in 4E, and 2/3rds of it was in 3.X.  We don't have any other editions with both Sorcerers and Warlocks for comparison.  Homogenizing them goes against precedent.

So every caster need it's own list? Well you have a list for every arcane class then a list for every divine class, then you have a list psionic class, then you have a list for every primal class... (who knows what we'll end up with) So lets say we end up with 15 spell casting classes and none of those have overlap? I don't see any way to avoid bloat if every caster gets it's own 100% unique list.

Sorry, I don't see why we can't have common elements shared between classes, if for no other reason than to get rid of overlap. 


Personally, in the case of caster classes, I propose that we implement totally modular casting systems.


Can't please everyone... I wouldn't like that at all. For one I think it would be too complicated, for another I like having flavor and mechanics tied together, I think it makes for a better game.

Personally, in the case of caster classes, I propose that we implement totally modular casting systems.


Can't please everyone... I wouldn't like that at all. For one I think it would be too complicated, for another I like having flavor and mechanics tied together, I think it makes for a better game.

Yep, can't please everone because I wouldn't like it at all is it's not a totally modular casting systems. I also am not a fan of mixing flavor and mechanics. I think they should be as FAR apart as possible. I'd rather have a complicated game over one that we aren't all going to like.

Could you two please explain how integrated flavour with casting systems is an advantage?

I'd like to understand so that I can modify my suggestion as much as possible to include everyone's preferences.

Because it'd be unfortunate to simply assume we can't find a way to agree without at least talking about what is causing the issue and attempting to find common ground.   
In my campaign worlds, arcane magic has always been a primal force that may be tapped through various methods.  Wizards do so through study and shape magical energies through spells.  Sorcerers can feel magic in their blood and shape the raw energy through their emotions and will.  Warlocks are granted power through a patron entity.  Bards use music to shape magical energy.  And so on.  Because different methods are used to tap into magic, the effects would vary by the method used.  This makes each of the classes different and worthy of their own class.  If they all cast spells from the same list, then they are all wizards, or mages, or magic users or whatever other generic term you want to give someone who casts those spells.  

Ultimately, if you have a wizard and a sorcerer in the same party casting the same spells, it doesn't matter if one is vancian and the other uses spell points; they are casting the same spells and so one of them is redundant.