by Delos

My Mage Variant to Create a Sorcerer in D&D Next

To start this off, I’d like to explain why I’m doing the Sorcerer as a Mage variant instead of a full-blown class. First off, it’s less work (only slightly, in this case) to do some replacements than to write a whole class; second, I like how Archetypes in Pathfinder work, and find it a perfectly acceptable way to create new flavors of classes; and lastly, this is pretty much how WotC has claimed that they will do the Sorcerer and Warlock classes.

EDIT: On 9/30/2013, Mike Mearls posted a Legends and Lore article saying that they are diverting from that line of thinking a bit. We’ll have to see in the long run how that goes.

I’m also going to preface this by saying that I’m taking a LOT of my ideas from the temporarily released D&D Next Sorcerer as well as some Pathfinder stuff. There’s nothing all that original going on here; I’m just taking what I know and presenting it in its most likely form. There are a few things that I came up with to reconcile differences and make it a little bit interesting, though.

Ladies and germs, I present to you my Sorcerer variant!

Sorcerer Variant for Mage Class

The Sorcerer Archetype

Level Feature Changes Willpower Max Spell Level
1 Sorcery (replaces Wizardry), Sorcerous Origin 1 1
2 Origin Base Form (replaces Arcane Tradition) 2 1
3 3 2
4 3 2
5 4 3
6 Origin Ability (replaces Tradition Benefit) 5 3
7 5 4
8 6 4
9 7 5
10 7 5
11 8 6
12 Improved Origin Form (replaces Tradition Benefit) 9 6
13 9 7
14 10 7
15 11 8
16 Origin Ability (replaces Tradition Benefit) 11 8
17 12 9
18 Superior Origin Form (replaces Spell Mastery) 13 9
19 13 9
20 Origin Ability (replaces Tradition Benefit) 14 9

The Willpower and Max Spell Level columns replace the Spells per Day columns of the Mage table.


You can cast sorcerer spells each day based on your willpower. The Sorcerer Archetype table notes how many willpower points you have and maximum level of spells that you can know and cast.

Spells Known

At 1st level, you know 2 1st-level spells and 2 cantrips chosen from the mage spell list. As you gain levels in this class, you learn additional spells of your choice from the Mage spell list. The number of spells you know (other than cantrips) equals to your Mage level + 1. When you learn a new spell, it cannot be of a higher level than your maximum spell level, and it cannot be a cantrip.

Casting a Spell

You must spend willpower points to cast a sorcerer spell (other than cantrips). The amount of willpower spent is equal to the spell’s level. When increasing the level of a spell to gain additional benefit from it, you cannot increase it beyond your maximum spell level, and it costs as much willpower as the spell’s new level.
NOTE: It is not playtested whether simply using the spell’s level is balanced or not. I used the simplest amount to calculate, since I have no idea (without plenty of testing) how much it should be. The fact that they included a table in the D&D Next packet, despite the cost being equal to the level, implies that the numbers deviate somewhere along the line.
You regain expended willpower points equal to ¼ of your sorcerer level (round up) at the end of a short rest.
You regain all of your expended willpower points at the end of a long rest.

Magic Ability

Intelligence is your magic ability for your mage spells.
Saving Throw DC: The DC to resist one of your spells equals 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus.
Note: I don’t think that sorcerers need a magic focus – they ARE the focus.
Note: No ritual casting. Do you agree?

Sorcerous Origin

At 1st level, you choose a sorcerous origin from which your powers derive. Origins shape how you grow as a sorcerer and what form you take when you no longer have the willpower to hold back the power source within you.
With a sorcerous origin, you gain an Origin Ability and possibly a couple other small features, such as new armor proficiencies, etc.
There will be some sample origins in my next few posts.

Origin Base Form

At 2nd level, sorcerers gain an Origin Form. When a sorcerer has half or fewer of their willpower points remaining, their Origin Form is triggered and goes away at the start of a short rest. NOTE: The Origin Form is similar to what the original Next class did with the Draconic Heritage’s claws and scales.

Origin Ability

At 6th level, your origin provides you with a steadier stream of power, manifesting in a new ability. You gain additional abilities at 16th and 20th levels.

Improved Origin Form

At 12th level, you can tap into the power source and improves on your origin form.

Superior Origin Form

At 18th level, your origin form becomes even more powerful.

Additional Notes on the Design

Originally, I had the amount of willpower to be completely equivalent to the Spells per Day that the Mage gets. But then, when I was writing up the sorcerer’s version to Arcane Recovery, I noticed that it had a restriction making it so that you couldn’t recover spell slots of 6th level or higher. I couldn’t think of how to replicate this with willpower without making it so that there would have to be a separate pool of willpower that was gained from the recover. That solution was completely inelegant and ugly, and I already didn’t like how a 20th-level sorcerer could cast 7 9th-level spells in one day and still have 8 willpower left over, so I went back to the drawing board.
I severely dropped the amount of willpower to equal ⅔ level + 1 and made it so that the sorcerer regains some willpower after a short rest (¼ level, rounded up). This still doesn’t technically stop a 20th-level sorcerer from casting a bunch of 9th-level spells throughout the day, but they can’t all be done in one sitting. Also, if the sorcerer used another spell of 2nd level or higher before the next short rest, then he wouldn’t be able to recover enough to use a 9th-level spell. It’s not perfect, but I find it limiting enough (without testing it, that is).
Another benefit of this is that I can simplify the trigger for the Origin Forms, which now go away at the start of a short or long rest. In the original Next sorcerer, each level of their equivalent to Origin Forms, they have to give a specific amount of willpower used before the form triggered. With mine, it can simply be triggered whenever the sorcerer goes below half of their willpower (which is fairly easy at all levels), making it beneficial to use a good chunk of it up (to a point), since the Origin Form provides benefits.
Overall, the sorcerer has less “burst” than normal mages, but makes up for it in longevity and consistency, like the fighter. This is made even more pronounced by the inclusion of the Origin Abilities, which can provide at-will actions that can be taken or bonus modifiers.


As stated in the design above, I’ll provide some origins in my next post. At this point, I’m thinking that I’ll do Draconic and Fey origins.
Don’t forget to provide some feedback in the comments. I’m looking forward to what you guys think.

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