D&D: Unearthed Arcana – Sorcerers
Sorcerers have both the touch AND the power thanks to this week’s Unearthed Arcana.
That’s right, it’s time to cast fireball after fireball after fireball after fireball, and then, just when they think you can’t possibly have another 3rd level spell slot, start using your higher level spell slots and sorcery points to cast EVEN MORE FIREBALLS–or whatever your spell of choice is–because sorcerers have got four new options with this week’s Unearthed Arcana: The Favored Soul, Phoenix Sorcery, Sea Sorcery, and Stone Sorcery.
Each path opens up powerful new options for your sorcerer, reflecting the power inherent in the blood. Let’s take a look!
Only a truly favored soul could be so grossly incandescent.
Sometimes the spark of magic that fuels a sorcerer comes from a divine source that glimmers within the soul. Having such a favored soul, your innate magic might come from a distant but powerful familial connection to a divine being.
A classic returns! Actually it re-returns. You may recall that Unearthed Arcana put together a version of the Favored Soul a while back in their article about modifying classes. It’s been through a few iterations since then, it looks like, and the overall outcome is pretty solid. For those of you who don’t know, the favored soul is basically the divine version of a sorcerer–in previous editions they were basically a more sorcerer-y cleric.
The same still holds true. Picking Favored Soul gets you access to the full range of cleric spells and sorcerer spells. You still have the same number of spells known and spell slots, so you’ll have to be very choosy about which spells you take–but you do have access to two of the more powerful spell lists as well as metamagic.
As well the Favored Soul comes with a little extra resiliency and prowess–you get an extra hit point per level, and a bonus 2d4 on either saves or attacks once per rest right out of the gate. Then at 6th level you can double your proficiency bonus on applicable Charisma checks, then you get immunity to disease and poison at 14th, and cap it off with the ability to regain half your hit points as a bonus action, once you’re down to less than half. Most of the archetype features are passive–but they’re still good, and the biggest thing you get from this is access to cleric spells anyway. Everything else is just situational gravy.
Oh great there’s a whole order of ’em.
Your power draws from the immortal flame that fuels the legendary phoenix. That power is a mixed blessing. The fire within you seethes, demanding to be unleashed.
Phoenix Sorcery is, as you might expect, all about the fire and the flames. Hilariously, they have no special protection from fire. It is as likely to burn them as it is to make them reborn–there’s a little bit of the firebug in these sorcerers it seems, as they’ve included a table with Quirks like “you absentmindedly ignite small fires that quickly sputter out,” and “you cackle like a fiend when you unleash your fire spell.” Okay maybe that last one isn’t fair–because who doesn’t cackle like a fiend when unleashing their fire spells. Or any other spells.
I may have a problem.
But the Phoenix Sorcerer sure doesn’t. It’s primary class feature is the Mantle of Flame. You get this right at 1st level, and it lets you wreathe yourself in a fiery aura that sheds light, acts as a damage shield, and most importantly, lets you add your Charisma modifier to any fire damage roll you make during your turn. Which, you’re always going to be doing. You don’t even need Alec Baldwin to come into the room and tell you to always be casting (fire spells) because you are already doing exactly that.
The rest of the class plays up the phoenix part of the archetype. At 6th level, you can bring yourself back from 0 hit points once a day, exploding in a burst of fire that hits everyone within 10 feet of you, doing extra damage if your Mantle of Flame is up. At 14th level you regain hit points every time you cast a spell that lets you roll fire damage, and at 18th level your Mantle of Flame gets a serious upgrade giving you:
- Resistance to all damage
- And your death rebirth explosion thing does more damage.
Pretty solid all the way around.
The power of water is the strength of flexibility, resilience, and a relentless nature. Those whose souls are touched by the power of elemental water command a similar power.
The Sea Sorcerer is all about being connected with the sea–which has its own kind of myth to it. Sure, it’s technically elemental water–but this archetype is littered with themes of the wild, untamed sea.
Starting at 1st level, you gain the ability to upgrade your spells. Whenever you hit a target with a cantrip, you curse them, making your next spell that deals cold, lightning, or forced movement to the target have extra effects:
- Bonus speed reduction for cold damage
- Bonus lightning damage if you’re dealing lightning damage
- Bonus movement if you’re using forced movement.
The curse sticks around if you hit them with a cantrip, or fades if it’s a normal spell. I think this creates an interesting economy of action–you’ll be incentivized to alternate between casting cantrips and more powerful spells, which is kind of nice. Especially since you don’t have to actually deal lightning or cold to curse someone. I think it makes for a more dynamic feel when playing the class.
The rest of the class is much more defensive. At 6th level, you can use your reaction to take reduced damage from an attack, and then immediately move up to 30 ft. without provoking attacks of opportunity. At 14th level, you can move through enemy spaces, and can flow around the battlefield, and at 18th level, you gain resistance to weapon damage, and become immune to critical hits.
Pretty spicy, all things considered. I’m not sure why they are specifically about cold and lightning damage–I mean, don’t get me wrong, lightning spells are my absolute personal favorite, but I wonder if it doesn’t feel a bit close to the Storm Sorcerer. Even so, it’s still an intriguing archetype.
Your magic springs from a mystical link between your soul and the magic of elemental earth. Your link to earth magic grants you extraordinary resilience, and stone sorcerers have a natural affinity for combat.
I really like this archetype–it’s all about using the magic of elemental earth, but the way that power is translated is through melee combat, of all things. So less like Toph and more like one of the Metalcrafters out of the Codex Alera. To begin with, at 1st level, you are proficient with shields and all weapons. You also gain access a number of non-Sorcerer spells (most are Paladin spells, I believe), including Searing Smite, Branding Smite, and Elemental Weapon. These can make your melee attacks pretty solid–which is good because you’ll be making them in spades.
To account for this, you get the equivalent of an always on Mage Armor, though it’s based off of your Con modifier, so you’ll be a little more resilient than first glance–as well as an extra hit point per level. At 6th level, you can command that protection a little more and give your allies a warding aegis that reduces damage, but more importantly lets you use your reaction to teleport to an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the attacer, and then make an attack that does extra force damage that scales with your level. I really like this feature especially–it feels like a great way to stay mobile during a fight, but it also means that you can help direct the flow of battle a little more readily.
At 14th level, you can add extra force damage to your spells, just, straight up, and at 18th level you can pick up to three allies to protect with your aegis.
All told, pretty powerful stuff. I like that we’re getting to see some gish options native to the caster archetypes–Wizards have the bladesinger, and now Sorcerers get this one. I’m excited to see what comes next.
As always, be sure to check back for more Unearthed Arcana, and don’t forget to fill out the Rogue and Ranger survey from a few weeks ago.
~Now if I could only stop pronouncing it “saucier.”