Unearthed Arcana: Sorcerer Analysis

After a small break, this week the D&D team is back with four new Sorcerous Origins.

Favored Soul

Favored Soul was presented in one of the first Unearthed Arcana articles. It was also a variant in a 3rd Edition book called Complete Divine. A Favored Soul Sorcerer gets their powers from divine beings. For example, an ancestor of yours may be an angel or you might be chosen by the gods themselves.

  • Divine Magic. You can pick spells from the Cleric spell list, in addition to the Sorcerer one. Pretty simple but also pretty useful.
  • Supernatural Resilience. You gain an extra hit point whenever you gain a level in Sorcerer. One hit point may not look like much but for a caster class it can make a difference. It’s like the Draconic Resilience but without the armor class option.
  • Favored by the Gods. You get to add 2d4 to a failed Saving Throw or an attack roll that missed. It’s like a boosted Bless but you can use it once every long or short rest. However, you can use it after you learn if you fail your roll, which is helpful.
  • Blessed Countenance. Your appearance becomes more otherworldly, in one of four ways. Mechanically, this doubles your proficiency to Charisma checks, if it would normally be applied.
  • Divine Purity. You become immune to disease, poison damage, and the poisoned condition. Immunity, in general, is a powerful ability and gaining three immunities is a great advantage. Maybe this feat is too powerful but it’s gained at 14th level so it may not be that bad. It’s playtest material after all.
  • Unearthly Recovery. When your hit points are below half, you can use your bonus action to regain half your maximum hit points. You can use this feature once per long rest. I have two comments about this feature. The first one is that it’s a pretty good because it helps you survive much longer. The second one is that the limitation set in order to use this feature looks weird to me. When a feature gives you half your maximum hit points back, you will most probably use it when you are below half your hit points.

In general, the Favored Soul is an interesting Sorcerous Origin. It fits the theme quite nicely, since if you are favored by the divine you are probably granted protection by them and also the means to channel their power, which this Sorcerous Origin does. The role of the healer can be very easily filled with it. One last comment is that it could easily have been included in “Unearthed Arcana: The Faithful“.

Phoenix Sorcery

Sorcerers of this Origin gain their powers from a Phoenix.

  • Phoenix Soul Quirks. Phoenix Sorcerers gain a fire based quirk because of their association with fire. Most of them I found pretty funny and it’d be quite fun to roleplay them. Another Sorcerer that got quirks based on their Origin is the Shadow Sorcerer from “Unearthed Arcana: Light, Dark, Underdark!“.
  • Ignite. You can light on fire flammable objects you touch. That’s mostly here to add flavor along with the quirks.
  • Mantle of Flame. This is the basic feature of the Origin because it’s used by other two later features. It can be used once per long rest. Basically, as a bonus action you get three benefits for one minute.
    • You light the area in a 30-foot radius with bright light and an additional 30 feet with dim light. It’s okay. It lights the area but, since it’s a once per long rest feature, it’s not the most important thing that it does.
    • Any creature within 5 feet from you that hits you with a melee attack takes fire damage equal to your Charisma modifier. At lower levels it can be helpful but also you don’t want to get hit, since the sorcerer doesn’t have that many hit points. The damage doesn’t scale, which makes it less useful at higher levels. The reason behind it not scaling could be the fact that this feature is used by other features.
    • When you roll for fire damage, you add your Charisma modifier to the roll. It’s a nice bonus to damage. Take note that you have to roll for damage in order to add the bonus, but it’s not mentioned if the source has to be a spell. This means that items that deal fire damage, by rolling for it, also get the bonus.
  • Phoenix Spark. If you are reduced to 0 hit points, you can spend your reaction to be reduced to 1 hit point. In addition, all creatures 10 feet from you take fire damage equal to half your Sorcerer level plus your Charisma modifier. If your Mantle of Fire is on, this feature deals damage equal to your Sorcerer level plus double your Charisma modifier, which is actually double the damage. You can use this once per long rest. That’s helpful feature, in my opinion. It keeps you alive and possibly neutralizes threats around you.
  • Nourishing Fire. When you spend a spell slot to cast a spell which deals fire damage(as a roll), you also regain hit points equal to the spell slot’s level plus your Charisma modifier. Another good feature which also fits the flavor quite nicely.
  • Form of the Phoenix. This features gives a huge upgrade to Mantle of Fire. While Mantle of Fire is on you gain three more benefits.
    • You have a flying speed of 40 feet and you can also hover. Talk about mobility.
    • You have resistance to all damage. Seriously, it says all damage. No restrictions.
    • Your Phoenix Spark deals an extra 20 fire damage; with your Mantle of Fire already activated, that means you deal a lot of damage. A 20th level Phoenix Sorcerer with 20 Charisma deals 50 fire damage with their Phoenix Spark. Not bad.

Phoenix Sorcery is definitely an interesting Origin. I’d say it is very good but it has two problems. The first one is that it can’t do very well against opponents with fire resistance or immunity. The second one is that its biggest weapon works for 1 minute and then it can’t be used until the party takes a long rest.

Sea Sorcery

Sea Sorcerers draw their power from their sea and their heritage is tied with powerful sea creatures.

  • Soul of the Sea. You can breathe underwater and you gain swimming speed equal to your walking speed. You’re not necessarily going to use this feature but it’s here for when you need it and also fits the theme very well.
  • Curse of the Sea. This is quite complicated. The concept of this feature is that you can bestow a curse on an enemy and whenever you hit them again under certain circumstances, the curse manifests with three possible ways. In more detail:
    •  When you attack a creature with a cantrip and they are hit or they fail the saving throw associated with the cantrip they are now cursed. The Curse of the Sea lasts until the end of your next turn or until you curse someone else.
    • Once per turn, when you cast a spell targeting the cursed creature, if the spell deals cold or lightning damage or it forces the creature to move, the curse activates. The effect depends on what the spell did(lightning damage, cold damage, forced movement).
      • Cold Damage. If the spell dealt cold damage, the target’s speed is reduced by 15 feet.
      • Lightning Damage. If the spell dealt lightning damage, the target takes extra lightning damage equal to your Charisma modifier.
      • Forced Movement. If the target was moved, the distance it is moved is increased by 15 feet.
    • Again, this feature is quite complicated. However, I believe it’s quite good and offers a lot of useful options. It may end up getting exploited really easily.
  • Watery Defense. You gain resistance to fire damage. Already, this gives a good defense boost to the Sorcerer. Additionally, when you get hit by an attack and take bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage by it, you can use the reaction to reduce that damage by an amount equal to your Sorcerer level plus your Charisma score. Also, you can move up to 30 feet without provoking any opportunity attacks. You can use this feature once per long or short rest. The fire resistance is good, but I believe the second part of the feature is at least as good as the first one. The free movement is lifesaving, especially for a caster.
  • Shifting Form. You can turn your whole body into liquid. When you move on  your turn, this allows you to take half damage from opportunity attacks and move through  any enemy’s space. You can also move through any space that is 3 inches in diameter but you can’t end your turn in a space where you wouldn’t normally fit. This feature, in combination with Watery Defense, provides good defense and mobility options, especially if teleportation is not an option.
  • Water Soul. You are altered by the power of the sea and gain the following benefits:
    • You don’t need to drink, eat, or sleep. Depending on the type of campaign, this can be very helpful. However, at 18th level this wouldn’t be a problem.
    • Critical hits against you become normal hits. This can reduce the damage taken by a significant amount.
    • You gain resistance to  to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.

Sea Sorcery provides a fair amount of mobility, defense and offense. However, Curse of the Sea is more complicated than most, if not all, mechanics I’ve seen in 5th Edition and may need a bit of simplifying, or better wording.

Stone Sorcery

Stone Sorcerers are connected to the Plane of Earth or to a dao lord. They have extraordinary resilience and an affinity for combat.

  • Bonus Proficiencies. You gain proficiency with shields,  simple weapons, and martial weapons. Nothing unexpected here.
  • Metal Magic. You get 9 more spells you can pick from. They focus on weapon attacks, which fits the theme quite nicely. The spell list itself is filled with very nice goodies.
  • Stone’s Durability. This is like the Draconic Resilience feature but it uses Constitution instead of Dexterity. Also, it needs to be activated, using an action.
  • Stone Aegis. You can grant an ally, that is within 60 feet of you, some damage reduction from attacks that deal bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage. The reduction is equal to 2 plus your Sorcerer level divided by 4. Moreover, if that ally is hit by an enemy that you can see within 60 feet of you, you can teleport through the earth and make a melee attack. This attack deals an extra 1d10 force damage that scales up to 3d10 at 17th level. This looks like a tanking ability, which I believe you can do with this Origin.
  • Stone’s Edge. Your spells get boosted. When you cast a damaging spell, one of the creatures damaged by it takes extra damage equal to half your sorcerer level. It’s not bad, it’s a consistent damage boost.
  • Earth Master’s Aegis. Your Stone Aegis gets upgraded and you can grant it to up to three allies. It feels to me that this option should be gained earlier. Also, even if this feature gives you more control over the battlefield, you have to choose where to teleport wisely.

Personally, I really like this Origin. I enjoy the idea of arcane fighters and the Stone Sorcerer looks very badass in my eyes.

This week’s Sorcerous Origins look very good to me. We’ve got a good healer, a good tank, two good damage dealers, and all of them have good defensive options. Of course, they will need some tweaking here and there but that’s why it’s playtest material.

You can read the full article here and download the PDF here. And don’t forget, the survey about the Ranger and the Rogue can be found here. Taking the survey is one of the best things you can do in order to make future content as awesome as possible.

6 thoughts on “Unearthed Arcana: Sorcerer Analysis

  1. I like your summary. Overall yes very intriguing class options.

    Favored Soul: I don’t care for Supernatural Resilience. I don’t picture my divine creatures being particularly tanky. I’d prefer more flavor, healing or smite based maybe.

    Phoenix: Typical but quality stuff here. I like your assessment.

    Sea: Love this actually (I was a sailor for a time). Curse is a bit tricky to understand at first read through but it makes sense. I’d consider making it last longer than a turn but forcing you to burn an action to use a cantrip to keep it on might be self-limiting. Love all the movement in this.

    Stone: Solid (pun intended) Origin here. The AC from Durability is god in that it really can be always on. I picture it at lots of small stones/earth rolling up to cover the body.

    Aegis is also very cool. Again I picture this as covering the person with a small layer of rocks. The teleport attack is cool though I could almost picture a ranged attack, making a spike of earth shoot out of the ground.

    Overall very playable and fun sounding Origins. I’m curious why no Air Sorcerer? Just one away from an elemental theme here Wizards. Easy enough to create based on what’s presented here though.

    Thanks for your assessment! Great read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m glad you liked it.
      All the Origins look good and I could easily play any of them. As for the Air Sorcerer, one could say they didn’t include one because a Storm Sorcerer exists, but it’d be interesting to see one. I guess an Air Sorcerer would have to do a lot with forced movement.
      Also, I believe the quality of the Unearthed Arcana content has increased lately. This probably has to do with how they use the feedback from the surveys.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed Survey feedback is important.

        Air Sorcerer just seemed like an obvious gap since 3 of the 4 were elemental. I’d focus on movement and or deflection. Like a Wind Wall ability centered on the Sorcerer and gaseous form.

        Liked by 1 person

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