A player building a 1st level Sorcerer character feels that produce flame is a better thematic fit for their character than fire bolt. Are there any serious balance issues with allowing them to take produce flame, which is normally only available to Druids (and certain subclasses of Bard or Warlock) as a cantrip?

In general, produce flame seems like a combination of a slightly nerfed fire bolt with a seriously nerfed light, and the flavor doesn't seem wildly off for a sorcerer, so I'm wondering if there are any strong reasons to reject the request.

up vote 14 down vote accepted

This is Fine

Mechanically, Fire Bolt is far superior to Produce Flame with better range and better damage. For utility, Light far surpasses Produce Flame as a source of visible light at double the radius of effect.

The only thing that Produce Flame can do that the other two cannot is the name of the cantrip itself: it can produce a small amount of fire that persists for the duration. This fire, unlike that of Fire Bolt, cannot light anything on fire however, since in Fifth Edition spells only do what they say they do. The main benefit to this cantrip, then, is that you get a both a source of light and a source of damage from one cantrip, great for druids who only have 2 cantrips at level 1.

Thematically, this is a druid spell, but it doesn't stretch the imagination too far to say that a sorcerer (and especially one with a fire dragon bloodline or some similar origin) could realistically replicate this.

  • 1
    Well, keep in mind that sorcerers are supposed to be balanced via their lack of spells known and the resulting lack of utility. So letting a sorcerer take a spell with two effects is generally far better for them than taking two spells with one effect each. That said, we're talking pretty weak effects in this case, so I'd still allow it. – MartianInvader Nov 17 at 1:01
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    @MartianInvader Sorcerers know more cantrips than any other class without feats, so they typically have more cantrip flexibility than other classes. This just extends that. – Viishnahn Nov 17 at 1:11
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    Doesn't produce flame specifically not have the "can ignite flammable objects " quote that Fire Bolt and others have? If that's the case it can't set things on fire – Jihelu Nov 17 at 1:33
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    @Jihelu Good point, I didn't catch that. – Viishnahn Nov 17 at 2:29

Seems Legit

You're basically trading the increased damage and range of fire bolt for some additional utility in having a light source with produce flame.

That seems more than reasonable, but I would probably rule that they can't use the hand that is 'holding' produce flame to be used for anything else.

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