Legends & Lore - Sorcerers and Warlocks

Legends & Lore
Sorcerers and Warlocks
by Mike Mearls

The call of arcane power draws to it fledgling wizards, of course, but there are other means of acquiring and mastering the magic that flows through the D&D world. Come explore the initial concepts for D&D Next sorcerers and warlocks.

Talk about this article here.

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Players: We want non-vancian wizards!
Mearls: Okay, here's two nonvancian classes, just ooozing with pre-baked flavor!
Players: Dammit, Mearls.
Ewww...harvesting the organs of sorcerers? Experimenting on them? Only evil-aligned beings would do such horrible things!
Mearls is sure good at talking isn't he?

Sorry not impressed.

We still want the option for a non-vancian Wizard...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Ewww...harvesting the organs of sorcerers? Experimenting on them? Only evil-aligned beings would do such horrible things!



Yeah, that would be why it said evil wizards do that...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Ewww...harvesting the organs of sorcerers? Experimenting on them? Only evil-aligned beings would do such horrible things!



Sounds like someone converted Repo: The Genetic Opera to D&D.

An undead spectre occasionally returning to remind the fandom of its grim existence.

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
I understand the need for classes with flavor, especially as a means for drawing in new players. I still hope the swappable caster mechanics make it in.

Also, well, this was some terrible fluff. Basically sorcerers and warlocks are the red headed stepchildren of the world. What happened to pacts with ancient fey and what not? Sorcerers having bloodlines that made them heirs to great legacies?

Instead we have these options basically set as default antagonists, or at best, more cliched anti-heroes. I realize fluff is easily altered, but this made both sorcerers and warlocks way less interesting to me.
Ewww...harvesting the organs of sorcerers? Experimenting on them? Only evil-aligned beings PCs would do such horrible things!



Fixed. Tongue Out
I understand the need for classes with flavor, especially as a means for drawing in new players. I still hope the swappable caster mechanics make it in.

Also, well, this was some terrible fluff. Basically sorcerers and warlocks are the red headed stepchildren of the world. What happened to pacts with ancient fey and what not? Sorcerers having bloodlines that made them heirs to great legacies?

Instead we have these options basically set as default antagonists, or at best, more cliched anti-heroes. I realize fluff is easily altered, but this made both sorcerers and warlocks way less interesting to me.

It feels to me like they played lip service at best to the 3.X and 4E material for these classes to shoehorn them into new places and playstyles.  Honestly, I feel like MM blatantly mischaracterizes 3.X Sorcerer fluff to fit his new ideas.

So... A Sorcerer is a briliant young man who never went to college yet is very successful in life due to his own natural abilities.  The Warlock is the guy who earned an associates degree and went on to land a pretty sweet middle managment job. The Wizard is the guy who went to University AND Graduate School but focused on some topic that has zero relevance to the buisiness world. So instead of admitting he watsed 8 years of his life, the Wizard writes a blog about how "feral and chaotic" the Sorcerer is and how the Warlock "accepted deals with the Devil" to get to where he is. All the while, the Wizard is living in his mom's basement pulling down an unemployment check.

That is how I interpreted the clearly biased article.
So... A Sorcerer is a briliant young man who never went to college yet is very successful in life due to his own natural abilities.  The Warlock is the guy who earned an associates degree and went on to land a pretty sweet middle managment job. The Wizard is the guy who went to University AND Graduate School but focused on some topic that has zero relevance to the buisiness world. So instead of admitting he watsed 8 years of his life, the Wizard writes a blog about how "feral and chaotic" the Sorcerer is and how the Warlock "accepted deals with the Devil" to get to where he is. All the while, the Wizard is living in his mom's basement pulling down an unemployment check.

That is how I interpreted the clearly biased article.




HAND OF KARSUS!

 

 

I'm going to be polite and simply call that article a pile.  I'll let the individual reader decide what I think it's a pile of.  Hint: it smells very bad and attracts flies in cow pastures.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Hint: it smells very bad and attracts flies in cow pastures.

sweaty farmers?

I understand the need for classes with flavor, especially as a means for drawing in new players. I still hope the swappable caster mechanics make it in.

Also, well, this was some terrible fluff. Basically sorcerers and warlocks are the red headed stepchildren of the world. What happened to pacts with ancient fey and what not? Sorcerers having bloodlines that made them heirs to great legacies?

Instead we have these options basically set as default antagonists, or at best, more cliched anti-heroes. I realize fluff is easily altered, but this made both sorcerers and warlocks way less interesting to me.

It feels to me like they played lip service at best to the 3.X and 4E material for these classes to shoehorn them into new places and playstyles.  Honestly, I feel like MM blatantly mischaracterizes 3.X Sorcerer fluff to fit his new ideas.




  The "dragon blooded" theme was somewhat prevelant in a lot of 3E Sorcerer material.  The Dragon Discipile was one of the very first prestige classes, was accessible only to Sorcerers (and Bards), and its entire point was to allow your spontaneous caster to eventually turn into a Half-Dragon. 

  I'm a little more concerned about the "unique" flavor of the Warlock.  All the fluff leading up to when they finally make the pact involves them pouring over dusty tomes in pursuit of arcane lore and forgotten knowledge, discerning magical runes, and unravelling the mysteries of the cosmos, and then finally using all that accumulated knowledge to access the power with whom they make a pact.

  Just sounds like your stereotypical evil wizard to me.

 
I like the potential for the two classes.  The Class fluff written by Mr. Mearls is fascinating.  The challenge for D&D Next designers is how best to build mechanics into the classes.

Both class descriptions describe some risk - how will a PC encounter that risk, and beat it?  What are the consequences for not beating that risk, or succumbing to it?  With greater power (higher levels, or the use of more powerful magics) make the warlock more indebted to his god or patron?  Can a PC scorcerer really be corrupted by the use of magic and turned into something alien?

If risk is incoporated into the base class builds, the classes could be fun to play.  Of course, the trade-off for the risk might be access to more powerful magic.
I understand the need for classes with flavor, especially as a means for drawing in new players. I still hope the swappable caster mechanics make it in.

Also, well, this was some terrible fluff. Basically sorcerers and warlocks are the red headed stepchildren of the world. What happened to pacts with ancient fey and what not? Sorcerers having bloodlines that made them heirs to great legacies?

Instead we have these options basically set as default antagonists, or at best, more cliched anti-heroes. I realize fluff is easily altered, but this made both sorcerers and warlocks way less interesting to me.

It feels to me like they played lip service at best to the 3.X and 4E material for these classes to shoehorn them into new places and playstyles.  Honestly, I feel like MM blatantly mischaracterizes 3.X Sorcerer fluff to fit his new ideas.



  The "dragon blooded" theme was somewhat prevelant in a lot of 3E Sorcerer material.  The Dragon Discipile was one of the very first prestige classes, was accessible only to Sorcerers (and Bards), and its entire point was to allow your spontaneous caster to eventually turn into a Half-Dragon. 

  I'm a little more concerned about the "unique" flavor of the Warlock.  All the fluff leading up to when they finally make the pact involves them pouring over dusty tomes in pursuit of arcane lore and forgotten knowledge, discerning magical runes, and unravelling the mysteries of the cosmos, and then finally using all that accumulated knowledge to access the power with whom they make a pact.

  Just sounds like your stereotypical evil wizard to me.

I am familiar with the Dragon Disciple.  Both the 3.0 and 3.5 PHB leave the blooded origin of the Sorcerer ambiguous.  Which was better, since it makes little to no sense for blood origin powers to manifest in an arcane manner.  They were simply alternate arcane spellcasters, with only the handful that took specific Feats or Prestige Classes being anything other than normal members of their race.  Had they been Monks, they would have taken a different Prestige Class in the Draconomicon.  The Dragon blood had nothing to do with their class.

Using one's will wouldn't manifest in any nature other than the user's will.  By forcing the point AND making them arcane, you have flavor that makes no sense with the mechanics.

I'm no fan of the Warlock flavor either, but it isn't nearly as borderline self-contradictory to me.
So... A Sorcerer is a briliant young man who never went to college yet is very successful in life due to his own natural abilities.  The Warlock is the guy who earned an associates degree and went on to land a pretty sweet middle managment job. The Wizard is the guy who went to University AND Graduate School but focused on some topic that has zero relevance to the buisiness world. So instead of admitting he watsed 8 years of his life, the Wizard writes a blog about how "feral and chaotic" the Sorcerer is and how the Warlock "accepted deals with the Devil" to get to where he is. All the while, the Wizard is living in his mom's basement pulling down an unemployment check.

That is how I interpreted the clearly biased article.



Personal attacks will not be tolerated...

Sorry I can't keep a straight face...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
This article brings up a good topic though: How do you differentiate three different arcane classes that in previous editions all pretty much stood back and shot magic at enemies.

The easy answer is, one learns his magic, another is born with it and the third makes a deal for it.

But how do you take that fluff and turn it into usable mechanics with which to base an entire class in a system that is forcing each class to feel and play differently?

Fundamentally, I the problem is that all three classes are really designed - at least in past editions - to do, roughly, the same thing. They blast enemies away. None of them are designed to tank or heal. That is the problem. Everyone can grasp the difference between a Fighter and a Rogue because they do different things. The Sorcerer, Warlock and Wizard are all the same basic concept with a different fluff-justification for their existence.

The reliance on Fluff to differentiate is what people get angry at. It's a ham fisted way of shoehorning in 2 classes that probably shouldn't be normal classes. Then, WotC layers on the difference in casting to help justify two of the classes' existence and people get even more frustrated.

There is a fundamental difference between saying the Wizard learns magic through books and the Sorcerer who has another soul in his body. One is a typical Fantasy trope that's built into almost every fantasy world. The other is completely new and doesn't feel traditional or generic at all. It feels world-specific.
This article brings up a good topic though: How do you differentiate three different arcane classes that in previous editions all pretty much stood back and shot magic at enemies.

The easy answer is, one learns his magic, another is born with it and the third makes a deal for it.

But how do you take that fluff and turn it into usable mechanics with which to base an entire class in a system that is forcing each class to feel and play differently?

Fundamentally, I the problem is that all three classes are really designed - at least in past editions - to do, roughly, the same thing. They blast enemies away. None of them are designed to tank or heal. That is the problem. Everyone can grasp the difference between a Fighter and a Rogue because they do different things. The Sorcerer, Warlock and Wizard are all the same basic concept with a different fluff-justification for their existence.

The reliance on Fluff to differentiate is what people get angry at. It's a ham fisted way of shoehorning in 2 classes that probably shouldn't be normal classes. Then, WotC layers on the difference in casting to help justify two of the classes' existence and people get even more frustrated.

There is a fundamental difference between saying the Wizard learns magic through books and the Sorcerer who has another soul in his body. One is a typical Fantasy trope that's built into almost every fantasy world. The other is completely new and doesn't feel traditional or generic at all. It feels world-specific.



Well you could do like 4E: The Wizard was the controller they manipulated enemies and forced groups of them to be where they wanted and threw status effects on them. The Sorcerer was basically your blaster area damage caster. The Warlock punished enemies that try to attack them or allies.

That's how they can be differentiated...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I like the potential for the two classes.  The Class fluff written by Mr. Mearls is fascinating.  The challenge for D&D Next designers is how best to build mechanics into the classes.

Both class descriptions describe some risk - how will a PC encounter that risk, and beat it?  What are the consequences for not beating that risk, or succumbing to it?  With greater power (higher levels, or the use of more powerful magics) make the warlock more indebted to his god or patron?  Can a PC scorcerer really be corrupted by the use of magic and turned into something alien?



This should be pure fluff and roleplay.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
has anybody tried playing a sorcerer or warlick with the sage background and magic user specialty ?
if so does it feal wizard like ?

and how could we make it more wizard like ?

A warlock with a pact to a creature that is known for gathering arcane knowlage.
a scorcerer with a arcane  heretidge linked to the blue skined 3 fingerd race that was rumored to have brought magic to the prime matirial plane .
has anybody tried playing a sorcerer or warlick with the sage background and magic user specialty ?
if so does it feal wizard like ?

and how could we make it more wizard like ?



Throw in the ability to swap spells on a rest and get rid of the negative side effects of spells, then swap spell lists and you got it...

Of course by then my DM would tell me it ain't going to be played at his table...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
  Knowledge is a binding theme for all of them.

  Wizard gains knowledge of magic through study and research alongside other mortals.

  Warlocks get their knowledge from something greater that is intrinsically magical. 

  Sorcerers also get their knowledge from something greater, but it is an instincitve knowledge passed on through direct blood relation.


I like the potential for the two classes.  The Class fluff written by Mr. Mearls is fascinating.  The challenge for D&D Next designers is how best to build mechanics into the classes.

Both class descriptions describe some risk - how will a PC encounter that risk, and beat it?  What are the consequences for not beating that risk, or succumbing to it?  With greater power (higher levels, or the use of more powerful magics) make the warlock more indebted to his god or patron?  Can a PC scorcerer really be corrupted by the use of magic and turned into something alien?



This should be pure fluff and roleplay.



It is easier to ignore than it is to add in fluff that is potentially detrimental to a player's play experience.

It is easier for a DM to hand wave the whole warts and dark master issue than it is for the the DM to come in and say "you grow warts and have a powerful devil who controls access to your Warlock powers."

4E was the system of minimal fluff. Regardless of what people think about the system, it was a failure. It ceded the crown of Roleplaying to Pathfinder in several months, ofttimes several months in a row. That just didn't happen in other editions. The 2 major mechanical changes that 4E ushered into existence were AEUD powers and minimal fluff. The former is still a good system (just not for every class) while the latter has to be rectified by baking more flavor into the world.

Having said that, one could argue that WotC is allowing the pendulum to swing too far away from minimal fluff, and is now heading into the realm of "too much and too specific."

Personally, I think the benchmark of any good class is that it has multiple avenues for a character to start down the path of advancing in the class. A Fighter could be anything from a Knight to a Thug to a Swashbuckler. A Rogue can be a thief, a Charlatan or an assassin. A Cleric's whole background depends on his choice of a God. A Wizard can be trained at a school, by a random master or self taught after finding a tome. A Sorcerer is in DDN is pigeon holed into having another soul in his body. There's no choice there. That's bad fluff design, IMO.
  Knowledge is a binding theme for all of them.

  Wizard gains knowledge of magic through study and research alongside other mortals.

  Warlocks get their knowledge from something greater that is intrinsically magical. 

  Sorcerers also get their knowledge from something greater, but it is an instincitve knowledge passed on through direct blood relation.





But how do you take that and showcase how they are, in very simple terms, different mechanically?

A Fighter wears heavy armor, a Rogue sneak attacks and has skills, a Warlord heals. You instantly know what each does.

The Difference between a Sorcerer and Wizard and a Warlock is neither iconic nor is it easily explained. The reason for the latter is that, fundamentally, the three classes are trying to fill the same niche.
A Sorcerer is in DDN is pigeon holed into having another soul in his body. There's no choice there. That's bad fluff design, IMO.



Agreed. Good fluff, for D&D at least, should give more choices. Is the twin-souled sorcerer interesting as an option? Yes. But as soon as I see it as a default, I cringe. I want the bloodlines to mean all sorts of things that PCs and DMs can decide.

Same with warlock. I want the warlock who is called to stare at the stars, the tiefling who is seduced by the fiends of Bael Turath, the eladrin who commune with fey so ancient their once divinely beautiful bodies are now just breath on the wind.
I understand the need for classes with flavor, especially as a means for drawing in new players. I still hope the swappable caster mechanics make it in.

Also, well, this was some terrible fluff. Basically sorcerers and warlocks are the red headed stepchildren of the world. What happened to pacts with ancient fey and what not? Sorcerers having bloodlines that made them heirs to great legacies?

Instead we have these options basically set as default antagonists, or at best, more cliched anti-heroes. I realize fluff is easily altered, but this made both sorcerers and warlocks way less interesting to me.

It feels to me like they played lip service at best to the 3.X and 4E material for these classes to shoehorn them into new places and playstyles.  Honestly, I feel like MM blatantly mischaracterizes 3.X Sorcerer fluff to fit his new ideas.



  The "dragon blooded" theme was somewhat prevelant in a lot of 3E Sorcerer material.  The Dragon Discipile was one of the very first prestige classes, was accessible only to Sorcerers (and Bards), and its entire point was to allow your spontaneous caster to eventually turn into a Half-Dragon. 

  I'm a little more concerned about the "unique" flavor of the Warlock.  All the fluff leading up to when they finally make the pact involves them pouring over dusty tomes in pursuit of arcane lore and forgotten knowledge, discerning magical runes, and unravelling the mysteries of the cosmos, and then finally using all that accumulated knowledge to access the power with whom they make a pact.

  Just sounds like your stereotypical evil wizard to me.

I am familiar with the Dragon Disciple.  Both the 3.0 and 3.5 PHB leave the blooded origin of the Sorcerer ambiguous.  Which was better, since it makes little to no sense for blood origin powers to manifest in an arcane manner.  They were simply alternate arcane spellcasters, with only the handful that took specific Feats or Prestige Classes being anything other than normal members of their race.  Had they been Monks, they would have taken a different Prestige Class in the Draconomicon.  The Dragon blood had nothing to do with their class.

Using one's will wouldn't manifest in any nature other than the user's will.  By forcing the point AND making them arcane, you have flavor that makes no sense with the mechanics.

I'm no fan of the Warlock flavor either, but it isn't nearly as borderline self-contradictory to me.



  Yeah, in the PHB it said the source of a Sorcerer's powers could be something else, but never really elaborated on what that "something else" could have been. In other books, however, whenever the matter of a Sorcerer's powers came up, it inevitably involved blood relation to some supernatural creature, most usually a dragon- which in D&D are inherently magical and very much inclined to innate spellcasting. They ended up not being very ambiguous about it at all.
A Sorcerer is in DDN is pigeon holed into having another soul in his body. There's no choice there. That's bad fluff design, IMO.



Agreed. Good fluff, for D&D at least, should give more choices. Is the twin-souled sorcerer interesting as an option? Yes. But as soon as I see it as a default, I cringe. I want the bloodlines to mean all sorts of things that PCs and DMs can decide.

Same with warlock. I want the warlock who is called to stare at the stars, the tiefling who is seduced by the fiends of Bael Turath, the eladrin who commune with fey so ancient their once divinely beautiful bodies are now just breath on the wind.



I totally agree. I've always liked the idea that the Sorcerer had a powerful magical ancestor but that that ancestor was kept vague and allowed each Sorcerer to describe who and what it was.

The same holds true with the Warlock. A Warlock who has a Devil for a master would behave fairly differently than one who had a Demon master or one who was beholden to the seelie court.


I understand the need for classes with flavor, especially as a means for drawing in new players. I still hope the swappable caster mechanics make it in.

Also, well, this was some terrible fluff. Basically sorcerers and warlocks are the red headed stepchildren of the world. What happened to pacts with ancient fey and what not? Sorcerers having bloodlines that made them heirs to great legacies?

Instead we have these options basically set as default antagonists, or at best, more cliched anti-heroes. I realize fluff is easily altered, but this made both sorcerers and warlocks way less interesting to me.

It feels to me like they played lip service at best to the 3.X and 4E material for these classes to shoehorn them into new places and playstyles.  Honestly, I feel like MM blatantly mischaracterizes 3.X Sorcerer fluff to fit his new ideas.



  The "dragon blooded" theme was somewhat prevelant in a lot of 3E Sorcerer material.  The Dragon Discipile was one of the very first prestige classes, was accessible only to Sorcerers (and Bards), and its entire point was to allow your spontaneous caster to eventually turn into a Half-Dragon. 

  I'm a little more concerned about the "unique" flavor of the Warlock.  All the fluff leading up to when they finally make the pact involves them pouring over dusty tomes in pursuit of arcane lore and forgotten knowledge, discerning magical runes, and unravelling the mysteries of the cosmos, and then finally using all that accumulated knowledge to access the power with whom they make a pact.

  Just sounds like your stereotypical evil wizard to me.

I am familiar with the Dragon Disciple.  Both the 3.0 and 3.5 PHB leave the blooded origin of the Sorcerer ambiguous.  Which was better, since it makes little to no sense for blood origin powers to manifest in an arcane manner.  They were simply alternate arcane spellcasters, with only the handful that took specific Feats or Prestige Classes being anything other than normal members of their race.  Had they been Monks, they would have taken a different Prestige Class in the Draconomicon.  The Dragon blood had nothing to do with their class.

Using one's will wouldn't manifest in any nature other than the user's will.  By forcing the point AND making them arcane, you have flavor that makes no sense with the mechanics.

I'm no fan of the Warlock flavor either, but it isn't nearly as borderline self-contradictory to me.



  Yeah, in the PHB it said the source of a Sorcerer's powers could be something else, but never really elaborated on what that "something else" could have been. In other books, however, whenever the matter of a Sorcerer's powers came up, it inevitably involved blood relation to some supernatural creature, most usually a dragon- which in D&D are inherently magical and very much inclined to innate spellcasting. They ended up not being very ambiguous about it at all.

Outside of the PHB, sure.  DMs could take that or leave that as they wished.  Now it is baked into not only the class, but the "core" section of the PHB.  It isn't even a module, or mere fluff.  It is now take it or leave the game.
  Knowledge is a binding theme for all of them.

  Wizard gains knowledge of magic through study and research alongside other mortals.

  Warlocks get their knowledge from something greater that is intrinsically magical. 

  Sorcerers also get their knowledge from something greater, but it is an instincitve knowledge passed on through direct blood relation.





But how do you take that and showcase how they are, in very simple terms, different mechanically?

A Fighter wears heavy armor, a Rogue sneak attacks and has skills, a Warlord heals. You instantly know what each does.

The Difference between a Sorcerer and Wizard and a Warlock is neither iconic nor is it easily explained. The reason for the latter is that, fundamentally, the three classes are trying to fill the same niche.



  I agree.  They are all fundamentally variations of a common theme.

   That's why I'm of the opinion that they really should be rolled into one class, and that each one should be a "build" akin to Fighter fighting styles, Rogue schemes, and Cleric domains. Different enough to have a couple of unique mechanics, but not enough to base an entire class around them.
  Knowledge is a binding theme for all of them.

  Wizard gains knowledge of magic through study and research alongside other mortals.

  Warlocks get their knowledge from something greater that is intrinsically magical. 

  Sorcerers also get their knowledge from something greater, but it is an instincitve knowledge passed on through direct blood relation.





But how do you take that and showcase how they are, in very simple terms, different mechanically?

A Fighter wears heavy armor, a Rogue sneak attacks and has skills, a Warlord heals. You instantly know what each does.

The Difference between a Sorcerer and Wizard and a Warlock is neither iconic nor is it easily explained. The reason for the latter is that, fundamentally, the three classes are trying to fill the same niche.



  I agree.  They are all fundamentally variations of a common theme.

   That's why I'm of the opinion that they really should be rolled into one class, and that each one should be a "build" akin to Fighter fighting styles, Rogue schemes, and Cleric domains. Different enough to have a couple of unique mechanics, but not enough to base an entire class around them.



Totally agree with you there. It would really breathe some life into the Wizard and showcase all the different ways on can master the Arcane (well except for being a Bard).

At the very least, Warlock and Sorcerer could be rolled into one. The new Sorlock would have a variety of potential backgrounds (be it dark deals with fel beings or ancestral mating). I could see the Sorlock looking like the Cleric in that the choice dictates much of how your class looks and feels.

Differentiating the class by fluff, I think, is stupid.

The Wizard, Sorcerer, and Warlock were all the same damn class with different casting mechanics--that was the entire purpose of them.  Wizards were pure Vancian, Sorcerers spontaneous, and Warlocks totally at will.  That was the entire point.

The Warlock fluff is really more about Binders than Warlocks.  And the Sorcerer fluff is ridiculous--it's just taking the Pathfinder bloodline ball and running with it to a silly conclusion.

In 3rd edition (where these classes started):

I don't want to have weird ancestry when I play a Sorcerer--I just want to be a Wizard that doesn't choose my spells ahead of time.  I don't want to make dark pacts with cosmic beings when I play a Warlock--I just want to have all my wizard spells at-will.
I understand the need for classes with flavor, especially as a means for drawing in new players. I still hope the swappable caster mechanics make it in.

Also, well, this was some terrible fluff. Basically sorcerers and warlocks are the red headed stepchildren of the world. What happened to pacts with ancient fey and what not? Sorcerers having bloodlines that made them heirs to great legacies?

Instead we have these options basically set as default antagonists, or at best, more cliched anti-heroes. I realize fluff is easily altered, but this made both sorcerers and warlocks way less interesting to me.

It feels to me like they played lip service at best to the 3.X and 4E material for these classes to shoehorn them into new places and playstyles.  Honestly, I feel like MM blatantly mischaracterizes 3.X Sorcerer fluff to fit his new ideas.



  The "dragon blooded" theme was somewhat prevelant in a lot of 3E Sorcerer material.  The Dragon Discipile was one of the very first prestige classes, was accessible only to Sorcerers (and Bards), and its entire point was to allow your spontaneous caster to eventually turn into a Half-Dragon. 

  I'm a little more concerned about the "unique" flavor of the Warlock.  All the fluff leading up to when they finally make the pact involves them pouring over dusty tomes in pursuit of arcane lore and forgotten knowledge, discerning magical runes, and unravelling the mysteries of the cosmos, and then finally using all that accumulated knowledge to access the power with whom they make a pact.

  Just sounds like your stereotypical evil wizard to me.

I am familiar with the Dragon Disciple.  Both the 3.0 and 3.5 PHB leave the blooded origin of the Sorcerer ambiguous.  Which was better, since it makes little to no sense for blood origin powers to manifest in an arcane manner.  They were simply alternate arcane spellcasters, with only the handful that took specific Feats or Prestige Classes being anything other than normal members of their race.  Had they been Monks, they would have taken a different Prestige Class in the Draconomicon.  The Dragon blood had nothing to do with their class.

Using one's will wouldn't manifest in any nature other than the user's will.  By forcing the point AND making them arcane, you have flavor that makes no sense with the mechanics.

I'm no fan of the Warlock flavor either, but it isn't nearly as borderline self-contradictory to me.



  Yeah, in the PHB it said the source of a Sorcerer's powers could be something else, but never really elaborated on what that "something else" could have been. In other books, however, whenever the matter of a Sorcerer's powers came up, it inevitably involved blood relation to some supernatural creature, most usually a dragon- which in D&D are inherently magical and very much inclined to innate spellcasting. They ended up not being very ambiguous about it at all.

Outside of the PHB, sure.  DMs could take that or leave that as they wished.  Now it is baked into not only the class, but the "core" section of the PHB.  It isn't even a module, or mere fluff.  It is now take it or leave the game.



  You know very well that it didn't work like that in practice. If you try to make something ambiguous in the PHB, then clearly define it and stereotype it whenever you reference and provide options for it in every other book, it will not remain ambiguous.

    If you wanted to make a Sorcerer whose magic came from being implanted with a magical crystal at a young age and wanted that represented mechanically, you were screwed in terms of any official fluff/mechanic support.  However, if you wanted to make a dragonblooded Sorcerer, you had more options than any other sorcerer concept by a wide margin.
  
  This is similar to how the Paladin class ended up becoming boundto the whims of gods like a Cleric- even though the PHB explictly stated that they got their powers simply by following their alignment restrictions and code- not by serving any deity.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />The Warlock fluff is really more about Binders than Warlocks.  And the Sorcerer fluff is ridiculous--it's just taking the Pathfinder bloodline ball and running with it to a silly conclusion.



There was a Dragon article released far before Pathfinder that listed off all the different magical ancestors a Sorcerer could have. Each ancestor gave the Sorcerer a list of themed spells. The idea of variant (i.e. non-Draconic)  ancestors predated Pathfinder by a wide margin.
Im dissatisfied with all three arcane classes.

• The Wizard is a problem because I dislike the 24-hour vancian cycle.
 
• The Sorcerer is a problem because the name sorcery means using external demons to achieve magical effects. The class flavor makes the source of magic - not innate but the opposite of innate - an external parasite feeding on a “host”. Yuck, and yuck.
 
• The Warlock is a brown-noser with (“unflagging devotion” ). Yuck. With warts. LOL!



These are fail to be my go-tos for nonvancian mechanics.  They fail to be a solution to the problems that vancian mechanics create.

Innate magic please. Psion, for example. 3e has a solid Psion tradition. Rename the Sorcerer “Psion”. Or “Witch”, or “Mage”. Make the magic innate mindforce. Innate magic. Unbeholden to external sources of magic.

The innate magic doesnt make the Psion/Mage/Witch “feral”, but rather a brilliant prodigy who - unlike the Wizard - doesnt need to study to get good grades.


I also appreciate less the self-aggrandizing flavor of how ... the vancian Wizard fans “hate” the non-vancian fans, and call them, a “feral thing” that is “dangerous”, “meddlers, thieves, and renegades”. It is kinda offensive if I think about it. Talk about the “red-headed step child”. I sure didnt feel the love, in any case.
They are all fundamentally variations of a common theme.

   That's why I'm of the opinion that they really should be rolled into one class, and that each one should be a "build" akin to Fighter fighting styles, Rogue schemes, and Cleric domains. Different enough to have a couple of unique mechanics, but not enough to base an entire class around them.



Im open to exploring the Wizard class this way. We have the spell levels. The rest is the mechanics for accessing them.
I like the potential for the two classes.  The Class fluff written by Mr. Mearls is fascinating.  The challenge for D&D Next designers is how best to build mechanics into the classes.

Both class descriptions describe some risk - how will a PC encounter that risk, and beat it?  What are the consequences for not beating that risk, or succumbing to it?  With greater power (higher levels, or the use of more powerful magics) make the warlock more indebted to his god or patron?  Can a PC scorcerer really be corrupted by the use of magic and turned into something alien?



This should be pure fluff and roleplay.



Which parts of this article weren't fluff, exactly?

I didn't see any.
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..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />The Warlock fluff is really more about Binders than Warlocks.  And the Sorcerer fluff is ridiculous--it's just taking the Pathfinder bloodline ball and running with it to a silly conclusion.



There was a Dragon article released far before Pathfinder that listed off all the different magical ancestors a Sorcerer could have. Each ancestor gave the Sorcerer a list of themed spells. The idea of variant (i.e. non-Draconic)  ancestors predated Pathfinder by a wide margin.

They gave themed spells, not pretty much all of your non-spell mechanics.  That is a huge jump, to me.

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />The Warlock fluff is really more about Binders than Warlocks.  And the Sorcerer fluff is ridiculous--it's just taking the Pathfinder bloodline ball and running with it to a silly conclusion.



There was a Dragon article released far before Pathfinder that listed off all the different magical ancestors a Sorcerer could have. Each ancestor gave the Sorcerer a list of themed spells. The idea of variant (i.e. non-Draconic)  ancestors predated Pathfinder by a wide margin.

They gave themed spells, not pretty much all of your non-spell mechanics.  That is a huge jump, to me.



They also had the Heritage feats in 3.5, of which the Draconic chain was only one (There were also fey, feindish, and I think a couple other sorcerer bloodline feat chains)

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Im dissatisfied with all three arcane classes.

• The Wizard is a problem because I dislike the 24-hour vancian cycle.
 
• The Sorcerer is a problem because the name sorcery means using external demons to achieve magical effects. The class flavor makes the source of magic - not innate but the opposite of innate - an external parasite feeding on a “host”. Yuck, and yuck.
 
• The Warlock is a brown-noser with (“unflagging devotion” ). Yuck. With warts. LOL!



These are fail to be my go-tos for nonvancian mechanics.  They fail to be a solution to the problems that vancian mechanics create.

Innate magic please. Psion, for example. 3e has a solid Psion tradition. Rename the Sorcerer “Psion”. Or “Witch”, or “Mage”. Make the magic innate mindforce. Innate magic. Unbeholden to external sources of magic.

The innate magic doesnt make the Psion/Mage/Witch “feral”, but rather a brilliant prodigy who - unlike the Wizard - doesnt need to study to get good grades.


I also appreciate less the self-aggrandizing flavor of how ... the vancian Wizard fans “hate” the non-vancian fans, and call them, a “feral thing” that is “dangerous”, “meddlers, thieves, and renegades”. It is kinda offensive if I think about it. Talk about the “red-headed step child”. I sure didnt feel the love, in any case.



You do understand that the real world definition of a witch is a person that makes deals with demons for power right? (note I'm not talking about the cobbled together Wiccan witch, I'm talking about the medieval burn at the stake witch)
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1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Im dissatisfied with all three arcane classes.

• The Wizard is a problem because I dislike the 24-hour vancian cycle.
 
• The Sorcerer is a problem because the name sorcery means using external demons to achieve magical effects. The class flavor makes the source of magic - not innate but the opposite of innate - an external parasite feeding on a “host”. Yuck, and yuck.
 
• The Warlock is a brown-noser with (“unflagging devotion” ). Yuck. With warts. LOL!



These are fail to be my go-tos for nonvancian mechanics.  They fail to be a solution to the problems that vancian mechanics create.

Innate magic please. Psion, for example. 3e has a solid Psion tradition. Rename the Sorcerer “Psion”. Or “Witch”, or “Mage”. Make the magic innate mindforce. Innate magic. Unbeholden to external sources of magic.

The innate magic doesnt make the Psion/Mage/Witch “feral”, but rather a brilliant prodigy who - unlike the Wizard - doesnt need to study to get good grades.


I also appreciate less the self-aggrandizing flavor of how ... the vancian Wizard fans “hate” the non-vancian fans, and call them, a “feral thing” that is “dangerous”, “meddlers, thieves, and renegades”. It is kinda offensive if I think about it. Talk about the “red-headed step child”. I sure didnt feel the love, in any case.



You do understand that the real world definition of a witch is a person that makes deals with demons for power right? (note I'm not talking about the cobbled together Wiccan witch, I'm talking about the medieval burn at the stake witch)


The word witch can include demonic sorcery, but it can also include other sources of magic, including innate seid or fae magic. Witch has a wider semantic field.
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