4
\$\begingroup\$

This is an iteration on the Wild Magic Sorcerous Origin I’ve asked about previously. The goals are, in order of descending importance:

  1. Not break anything, and not leave anyone confused. That means unambiguous rules descriptions, formatting and verbiage consistent with official rules, and appropriate amounts of description on each feature to make them understood.

  2. Remove the need for the DM to handle Wild Magic Surge. The DM has enough to worry about and the effectiveness of the entire Sorcerous Origin varies substantially based on whether or not they remember to do so.

  3. Enhance the sense that wild magic is beyond the sorcerer’s control, but nonetheless is something that can be harnessed and if you’re willing to “ride it out,” you can find great power there. The desired feel should be something like a surfer on a huge wave, or a rodeo on a powerful steed—you’re not in control per se, but your skill is definitely relevant to whether or not you can hang on and put those forces to use.

  4. Reduce the swinginess of the Wild Magic Surge table. That starts with removing the damn fireball entry, of course, but what I really want is for the different results on the table to have a more consistent risk. A 2% chance of a TPK combined with a 2% chance of an overpowering boon doesn’t actually balance.

  5. To improve the Wild Magic origin to be in-line with other quality Sorcerous Origins (Draconic, Divine Soul, Shadow).

  6. Incorporate some really effective mechanics from the D&D 3.5e Tome of Battle crusader, which I just happen to really like and think works really effectively for modeling a “random” character.

Relative to the previous iteration, I have made the following changes:

  • The “state” of Wild Magic Surge has been renamed Wild Magic Flow, to keep it apart from the Wild Magic Surge table.

  • The description of how a wild magic sorcerer casts spells has been rewritten, hopefully making it clearer.

  • The deck no longer includes cantrips (which had no point being in the deck, which caused confusion).

  • Instead, you learn three free 1st-level spells (chaos bolt, color spray, and one other of your choice from any class) at 1st level (allowing you to actually have 5 spells at 1st level, which otherwise wasn’t possible), and the 6th-, 14th-, and 18th-level features allow you to “convert” castings of chaos bolt or color spray from an appropriate spell slot to one of the “prismatic” spells.

  • New Wild Magic Surge table. Only 20 effects (so far?), because this is really not my thing, but they’re more consistent, and more appropriate for Wild Magic Surge being used as a drawback—they’re all negative effects. Some worse than others, and some may circumstantially be irrelevant in a given moment, but more consistent. Most effects either cost you your next turn, or give you a drawback that lasts for a minute but can be mitigated or powered through. A few do cost you resources, however (e.g. sorcery points, a spell slot, hp).

    I’ll probably have to force myself to actually fill it out to at least 50 effects, if not 100, since in my research I found a lot of people who found 50 disappointing, and use 100, 300, or in one case (hopefully an extreme outlier) 10,000. But for now it’s just 20, to ensure I’ve got a sound grasp of appropriate risk here.

  • Surge of Power now includes Metasurge, and the slot-enhancing option is easier to use. There is also a level-enhancing option for cantrips. Hopefully Surge of Power is now worth the hassle of the Wild Magic Flow.

  • Due to the heavy presence of prismatic spells, the 6th-level feature that used to be Metasurge is now about prismatic spells. Kind of weird, thematically, but the prismatic spells are the most “random” in the system.

  • Overdrawn got some buffs.

  • Cataclysm got replaced by Perfect Surge, which buffs Surge of Power and removes some of the drawbacks from Overdrawn.

  • In order to actually fill in levels appropriately, a new spell, prismatic ray, has been added. It’s basically a single-target prismatic spray. I’ve put it at 4th level, which seems consistent for a 10d6 single-target blast (the damage is roughly equivalent to blight, 1 damage less on average, though of course there is the 12.5% chance of rolling an 8 and doubling things, which might be a problem). I nerfed the indigo beam a fair bit (a single successful save gets you out of it, but you still need to fail three times for permanent petrification), so I could see doing the same to other colors. Or maybe just make it a 5th-level spell, though I have reservations about that.

It’s a pretty significant rewrite, so I am looking for feedback all over. But the biggest new things are definitely the Wild Magic Surge table, and the new prismatic ray spell.

Sorcerous Origin

At 1st level, a sorcerer gains the Sorcerous Origin feature. The following wild magic option is available to a sorcerer, instead of the wild magic origin offered in the Player’s Handbook.

Wild Magic

None can tell where your magic comes from; it is fickle, inconstant, and unique. Some might associate it with the forces of chaos, whether Limbo or demons or the fey, or those places in the multiverse where reality is frayed and all magic takes on some of the volatility that yours exhibits everywhere. But none of these is a perfect match; there is no perfect match to be found anywhere else—your magic is yours.

Wild Magic Flow

Starting when you choose this origin at 1st level, you learn chaos bolt, color spray, and a 1st-level spell from any class. These spells count as sorcerer spells for you, but don’t count against the number of sorcerer spells you know.

Further, you can enter a Wild Magic Flow, a state in which your innate power roils within you and magic can spill out of you almost effortlessly. On the other hand, you have difficulties casting many sorcerer spells if you’re going against the Flow. Whenever you cast a 1st-level or higher sorcerer spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you must cast it in one of the following ways:

  • Carefully. The spell doesn’t take effect until the turn after it would otherwise.
  • Recklessly. You roll on the Wild Magic Surge table below as you complete the spell.
  • With the flow. The spell must follow the whims of a Wild Magic Flow; see below.

You may cast carefully or recklessly whether you are in a Wild Magic Flow or not; casting with the flow of course requires that you be in one. Cantrips, non-sorcerer spells, and spells with a casting time other than 1 action are just cast normally, ignoring this ability entirely.

To represent the flow of wild magic within you, you must first establish a deck of sorcerer spells. The deck’s size is 3 + your proficiency bonus. Each entry in the deck must be a sorcerer spell you know, and the deck cannot include duplicates. You can change which spells you know are in the deck at the end of any short rest.

You can start a Wild Magic Flow with just a thought; it doesn’t take an action and as long as you are conscious, you can do so (unless you are already in one, or have recently been Overdrawn; see below). When you do, you shuffle the deck and draw a number of spells equal to your proficiency bonus. Each round thereafter, you draw another spell from the deck. If, at the start of your turn, the deck is empty, then the Wild Magic Flow ends, and all spells are returned to the deck.

Drawn spells go into your hand, and you can play spells for various effects. Once played, the spell leaves your hand and cannot be played again during that Wild Magic Flow.

The most basic effect you can play a spell for is to cast that spell “with the flow.” You neither extend its casting time nor roll on the Wild Magic Surge table with this casting. The spell still uses a spell slot, as normal.

At the end of a Wild Magic Flow, roll a d20 + the number of spells you cast with the flow, against a DC equal to the size of your deck. On a failure, roll on the Wild Magic Surge table below. Either way, after the flow ends all spells return to your deck.

Wild Magic Surge
d20 Effect d20 Effect
1 For the next minute, you lose access to all of your sorcerer cantrips, and gain a new one: chaos spark. Chaos spark is identical to chaos bolt except that it has a range of 60 feet, it cannot leap to new targets, and the damage works differently. To determine the damage, roll two d8s, and then choose one of the d8s to be the amount of damage and the other to be the damage type, following the table used by chaos bolt. 11 You gain teleportitis for one minute. While afflicted, at the start of each turn, roll a d8 to determine a direction, then a d20 to determine how many feet you teleport in that direction. If that location is occupied, you teleport to the farthest unoccupied space between you and that location. Remove disease ends this effect.
2 For the next minute, you cannot spend sorcery points. 12 You cast confusion centered on yourself.
3 You lose 2 sorcery points. 13 Roll 1d6 on this table and use that result.
4 You lose one of the lowest-level sorcerer spell slots you have remaining. 14 You are frightened by the nearest creature until the end of your next turn.
5 For the next minute, you cannot cast any spell with “chaos” or “prismatic” in the spell’s name. 15 You are surrounded by faint, ethereal music for the next minute.
6 You gain a level of exhaustion. 16 You cast grease centered on yourself.
7 You turn into a sheep until the end of your next turn, as if from polymorph. 17 Illusory butterflies and flower petals flutter in the air within 10 feet of you for the next minute.
8 You turn into a potted plant until the start of your next turn. While a plant, you are incapacitated and have vulnerability to all damage. If you drop to 0 hit points, your pot breaks, and your form reverts. 18 You cast compelled duel on the nearest foe that did not attack you or force you to make a saving throw last round. The spell lasts 1 round and doesn’t require concentration, and cannot end early.
9 You and all creatures within 30 feet of you gain vulnerability to piercing damage for the next minute. 19 You can’t speak for the next minute. Whenever you try, pink bubbles float out of your mouth.
10 You cast chaos bolt on yourself, as if cast from the highest-level spell slot you have (it does not consume any spell slot). If it leaps to a new target, you still choose which creature it leaps to. 20 You time-travel to the start of your next turn. You appear in the same space you previously occupied, or the nearest unoccupied space if it is occupied.

Surge of Power

At 1st level, when you complete the casting of a spell during a Wild Magic Flow, you may play a number of additional spells from your hand up to your proficiency bonus. These spells are not cast, and spell slots are not consumed for them. Instead, for each spell played, you gain one of the following for the spell you are casting:

  • Surge Self. Add 1 to your level.
  • Surge Slot. Add 1 to the slot level (max 9th).
  • Metasurge. Subtract 1 sorcery point from Metamagic costs.

Any number of these abilities can be used in any combination so long as you have played enough extra spells, and they stack with themselves.

This is causing some confusion, so it will need revision and/or examples, but for the sake of clarity among reviewers: these only apply to the spell’s effect. So when the effect description says “your level,” Surge Self means you use “your level + 1” (or +whatever for however many times you use it); it’s meant for cantrips. Surge Slot means that instead of “slot level” in a At Higher Level section, you would use “slot level + 1” (or +whatever).

There is an open question about how Twinned Spell works with Surge Slot. I have to review the relevant rules and make a decision there.

Also, to be clear, since spells played for Surge of Power are not cast, they are not cast with the flow, and since they’ve been played, you cannot cast them with the flow. As a result, they will count against you when determining whether there is a surge at the end of the flow.

Finally, Surge of Power can be used on any spell cast—carefully, recklessly, or with the flow, or cantrips, spells with casting times other than 1 action, or even non-sorcerer spells, which are just cast normally. Any of those can have Surge of Power applied to it.

Colors of Magic

At 6th level, when you cast chaos bolt or color spray with the flow from a spell slot of 4th level or higher (including bonuses from Surge of Power), you may convert it into prismatic ray, instead, even if you do not know it or even if you cannot know it because you do not know any 4th-level spells. This is special; usually, Surge of Power cannot allow a slot to support a higher-level spell because you must complete the casting before using Surge of Power.

Finally, whenever you cast a “prismatic” sorcerer spell from a higher level spell slot, you can roll another d8 for each slot level above the minimum and choose which roll to use for the spell’s color. This does not add any additional rolls to the extra rolls on an 8.

Overdrawn

Beginning at 14th level, when you finish a Wild Magic Flow, you may choose to become Overdrawn. If you do, you draw your entire deck for a new, special Wild Magic Flow that ends at the end of your turn. While Overdrawn, you ignore any exhaustion you have, ignore the verbal and somatic components on sorcerer spells, and your body itself counts as an arcane focus for sorcerer spells. Finally, while Overdrawn, Surge of Power can increase the effective spell slot beyond 9th. At the end of your Overdrawn turn, you gain a level of exhaustion, and you cannot begin another Wild Magic Flow for 1 minute.

Additionally, when you cast chaos bolt or color spray with the flow from a spell slot of 7th or higher level (including bonuses from Surge of Power), you may convert it into prismatic spray instead, even if you do not or cannot know that spell.

Perfect Flow

Once you reach 18th level, your Surge of Power can increase the effective spell slot of your spells beyond 9th even while not Overdrawn, and you no longer gain a level of exhaustion after being Overdrawn.

Additionally, when you cast chaos bolt or color spray with the flow from a spell slot of 9th or higher level (including bonuses from Surge of Power), you may convert it into prismatic wall instead, even if you do not know that spell.

New Spell

This new 4th-level evocation, prismatic ray, is available to sorcerers and wizards. It is not a ritual.

Spell Description

Prismatic Ray

4th-level evocation

  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: 60 feet
  • Components: V, S
  • Duration: Instantaneous

A beam of light, rapidly shifting between colors, projects out from your hand. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. The effect of a hit depends what color the beam was at the moment it struck; roll a d8 to determine what that was:

  1. Red. The target takes 10d6 fire damage.
  2. Orange. The target takes 10d6 acid damage.
  3. Yellow. The target takes 10d6 lightning damage.
  4. Green. The target takes 10d6 poison damage.
  5. Blue. The target takes 10d6 cold damage.
  6. Indigo. The target is restrained. At the end of each of its turns, the target must make a Constitution saving throw. If it succeeds, it is no longer restrained and the spell ends. If it fails three Constitution saves, it permanently turns to stone and is subject to the petrified condition.
  7. Violet. The target is blinded. At the start of your next turn, the target must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a success, the blindness ends. On a failure, the creature is transported to another plane of existence of the DM’s choosing and is no longer blinded. (Typically, a creature that is on a plane that isn’t its home plane is banished home, while other creatures are usually cast into the Astral or Ethereal planes).
  8. Special. The target is struck at the moment of transition between two colors. Roll twice more, rerolling any 8.
\$\endgroup\$
13
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the last paragraph for WMF, is it your intention that the DC be very low? You indicate the DC being the size of your deck, which at early levels would be 5. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17 at 14:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical Yes, the intent is that the DC is low, because it’s meant to be a relatively low risk. The Surge table is purely negative, so it’s something to avoid. Also, there are limits on how much bonus you can actually apply to it. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 17 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical Do you think there should be any revisions or meta clarifications on this point here? \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 17 at 16:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I provided my answer based upon what was written and it's plausible that I've misinterpreted things. As I stated, I'm not overly familiar with 3.5's ToB and I think that your significant familiarity with it is showing through here. I am curious, though, if you could provide some discussion on your personal experience with WMS at the table so as to get a better understanding of the issue you're perceiving. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17 at 19:48
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical My experience with WMS at the table is that the DM forgets it exists and never asks for WMS rolls. Tides of Chaos is therefore of extremely little use, and the origin seemed pointless. Looking at the WMS table, though, I don’t really know that I’d want to be rolling on it often—as noted in various places, the table is really poorly designed. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 17 at 19:56
4
\$\begingroup\$

Unfortunately, I'm not sure you've achieved your stated goals with this revised Wild Magic Sorcerer (WMS).

  1. Unambiguous Rules Goal - As I wrote this I had a lot of back and forth reviewing the language to confirm my understanding from first read was correct (and it often wasn't), so unfortunately I felt confused.
  2. Reduce DM Workload Goal - I don't know if you've really reduced the need for the DM to handle the Wild Magic Surge, because now they need to adjudicate the method by which the Wild Magic Flow (WMF) is handled.
  3. Enhance that Wild Magic is Beyond Sorcerer's Control - I'm not sure this goal was achieved. For the most part, it felt like it was just punishing the player for picking this origin.
  4. Reduce Swinginess of the Wild Magic Surge Table Goal - I guess this is achieved, because now the table is all bad or neutral.
  5. Improve WMS Origin to be in-line with Others - Unfortunately, I don't think this is an improvement over the original PHB.
  6. Incorporate 3.5's Tome of Battle Elements - I cannot comment on whether this was effectively incorporated, but there's a lot of elements to this design which make me not want to play it. Much of that negative feeling stems from overt negatives combined with difficult to parse rules that leave me looking at this revision similar to Way of the Four Elements Monks and Beastmaster Rangers.

Wild Magic Flow

I'm going to break this into two sections because I think you've effectively got two features pushed together here and in doing so, it's making this a bit confusing for me to understand.

Wild Magic Casting

For the sake of rules clarity, I'm recommending that the first 3 paragraphs and the methods of casting (i.e. Carefully, Recklessly, and With the Flow) be broken off into a new sub-section called Wild Magic Casting.

Regarding the casting methods, I would advise that you provide additional clarity on the 'Carefully' option. As written, it is unclear what would occur if my spell's effect occurred on the following turn but the target was now out of range or dead or any number of other things which could invalidate the spell. If the spell is invalidated, do I lose the slot? Could I pick a new target? Additionally, when you state the spell not taking effect until the next turn, it's unclear when on the next turn does it happen. Is it at the start of my turn? End of my turn? Does it require me to expend an Action for the spell to finish?

Regarding the spells which are learned automatically, I would advise that you indicate whether these spells can be replaced as the sorcerer gains levels, as written this is unclear. As a player, I expect shortly after 3rd level, I'd probably be looking to replace Color Spray given its generally ineffectiveness to scale with level.

If you do elect to permit changing the spells, then I'd recommend using language from the Divine Magic sorcerer:

When your Spellcasting feature lets you learn or replace a sorcerer cantrip or a sorcerer spell of 1st level or higher, you can choose the new spell from the cleric spell list or the sorcerer spell list. You must otherwise obey all the restrictions for selecting the spell, and it becomes a sorcerer spell for you.

Something for you to consider, though, is whether these additional spells unbalance the WMS. I'd argue that probably not, having 2 extra spells which don't really scale particularly well plus a floating spell is not likely to make the subclass overpowered, especially since you'll still be subject to the same requirements of concentration.

Wild Magic Flow

After you group off the casting discussion, then you can discuss Wild Magic Flow starting with your fourth paragraph.

My biggest issue with this feature is that it is a lot of negative for not much positive.

  • First, we've added a lot of additional complexity to the sorcerer by needing to pick spells that will be in their WMF deck after every rest. This isn't necessary an arduous task, but I think one of the appeals of sorcerers in general is the reduction of bookkeeping compared to wizards.
  • Second, it seems that we need to keep track of spells that we've cast as a side number because we're going to need to use that information when it comes time to see if a Wild Magic Surge occurs.
  • Third, we've created a new task for both the DM and the player to determine a fair way to draw their spells to create their hand. Spell cards are not standard things at most tables, so now the players will need to create their own cards but doing this fairly adds a lot of additional paperwork to the table on top of everything else.
  • Fourth, given most combats last a maximum of 3 rounds, increasing your character level (not just your WMS level) increases the likelihood of a Wild Magic Surge occurring which as you've stated is "all negative effects".
  • Fifth, given that the Wild Magic Surge table is all negative, most players are going to be trying to avoid it and thereby have to keeping spending slots so that they end up rapidly depleting their spell slots, especially at lower levels.
  • Sixth, the general likelihood of a Wild Magic Surge needs to be considered. Starting at 1st level, the deck size would be a maximum of 5; on my turn I will draw 2 cards and each round afterwards I will add another card to my hand and after 3 turns I will have a turn with an empty deck and my WMF will end; then I will roll a d20+spells cast versus a DC of 5; assuming I was very cautious about avoiding surges and cast a WMF spell every time I still have a 10% chance of triggering a surge (because I'm only going to have 2 slots at 1st level thus we fail the check on a roll of 1 or 2). Progressing to 9th level, will have us drawing 4 spells and again leaving 3 in the deck, 3 turns will pass before an empty deck occurs thereby ending the WMF; then again we'll roll a d20+spells cast but now the DC is 7; assuming we're very cautious and cast a WMF spell every time we'll end up with a 15% chance of triggering a surge (assumes we are able to use a slot for every spell and thus we fail the check on a roll of 1, 2, or 3). Progressing once more to 17th level will have us drawing 6 spells and again leaving 3 in the deck, 3 turns will pass before an empty deck occurs thereby ending the WMF; then again we'll roll a d20+spells cast but now the DC is 9; assuming we're very cautious and cast a WMF spell every time we'll end up with a 25% chance of triggering a surge (fail the check on a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5). So as we level in general (not just as a WMS) our risks of using magic consistently keep getting worse.

Additionally, we also have a lack of clarity regarding reasonable niche cases:

  • Similar to the 'Carefully' casting option, we aren't clear upon what happens if there are still spells to be drawn, but we don't want to (or can't) cast any additional spells.
  • The size of the deck is keyed to your proficiency bonus, which is tied to your character level, not WMS level. You need to indicate what occurs if the deck can't be fully stocked.

Surge of Power

If I'm reading it correctly, the intent is that this feature can only be used during a WMF.

  • Surge Self - You may wish to clarify that the intent is to add 1 to your character level (at least that's what I think you're going for). Also, I am trying to figure out a situation where adding 1 to your level would have any meaningful impact on the spell with the exception of a cantrip being cast when you're on a level right before a tier change (i.e. 4th, 10th, or 16th level). Beyond that, I can't think of anything.
  • Surge Slot - To keep yourself aligned with the game's defined terms, you may want to rename this to 'Surge Spell Slot' and revise the description to state 'spell slot'. As written, this effect can be extremely potent (equal to a nearly free Twin spell) to a 'meh' effect by adding an extra d6. I would note that the 'meh' effect is more or less equivalent to the Spell Bombardment feature given to the standard WMS, but at 18th level it was already a pretty lackluster feature.
  • Metasurge - In a lot of ways, this turns the Empowered Spell metamagic into a must have and further makes the 'meh' option of the Surge Slot option even less impressive.

Colors of Magic

I suspect with this feature you are struggling because the feature comes at 6th level and you wanted to add a 4th level spell slot focused feature. I would say that this may not be as much of a concern as you think because I really think there's support to consider making the spell a 3rd level spell.

With that in mind, I'd consider rewriting it as follows:

At 6th level, you learn the prismatic ray spell, but it doesn't count against the number of sorcerer spells you know. Additionally, when you cast any "prismatic" spell during Wild Magic Flow, you can roll an additional d8 for each slot above the minimum and choose which roll to use for the spell's color.

Overdrawn

As stated previously, a majority of combats will not last beyond 3 rounds or so. Thus, when you indicate that the character ends a Wild Magic Flow this feature lets them start a new one, I have to inquire on how often is it likely to occur that this something the character would even want to do.

The purpose of this feature appears to be to allow the WMS to fire off a major nuke via being able to elevate a spell's level beyond the 9th level threshold. I don't think the way this is written really achieves that goal because it's behind multiple barriers. First, you have a situation where the character needs to finish a WMF. Secondly elevating a heavy damage spell beyond 9th level is pretty difficult barring very high level spells being used (which are usually massive AoEs) and then dumping the rest of your hand into it to boost the damage which typically isn't going to be worth the effort since you just finished a WMF so there's probably not a lot of minions needing mop up.

I think you may be better served considering the manner by which the Evocation Wizard's Overchannel feature is designed to get the effect you're seeking. I couldn't find another example of a class feature that risks Exhaustion except for Berserker Barbarian's Frenzy feature, but I often find that feature's penalties are a major disincentive to players wanting to play Berserkers.

I suspect the reason for this is because it's not hard for Exhaustion to get lethal extremely quickly. The first level's kind of a freebie provided you're not going to be making a bunch of ability checks, but after that everything is a pretty serious detriment. I wouldn't be surprised if this is why the designers elected to allow Evokers to Overchannel once for free and then started to have them incur steep penalties via damage, which would dissuade them from excessive use but still kept it as an emergency option.

As described previously in Colors of Magic, I would simply propose giving the WMS the prismatic spray spell for free.

Perfect Flow

As stated above, I don't advise relying on an Exhaustion penalty to begin with.

As described previously in Colors of Magic, I would simply propose giving the WMS the prismatic wall spell for free. I was pretty annoyed when I learned that sorcerers didn't get it on their spell list.

Prismatic Ray

As I stated above, I think you can reasonable change this spell from 4th level down to 3rd, but you will need to remove the attack roll element and instead give the target a save in line with what we see from the Prismatic Spray spell. Per the DMG, a 3rd level spell which hits a single target should deal 5d10 damage (27.5) but allows for a 25% increase if no damage is dealt on a save (34.37).

The damage components of your spell deal on average 35. This is above average, but should be balanced by the caster does not have a lot of control on this spell. Fire and cold are commonly resisted elements, poison is commonly resisted or negated, the non-damaging effects if resisted result in no effect.

Overall, I think an argument could be made for lowering this spell's slot.


Per your comments, you'd indicated an underlying concern wherein the DM doesn't remember to trigger Wild Magic Surges or Tides of Chaos thereby creating issues. To address those concerns, I wanted to direct you to a few other posts regarding my experience playing as a WMS:

A lot of my experience with playing a WMS was prefaced by me reading this guide by Cognomen's Cassowary because I was interested in the concept, but wasn't sure how it would function at the table. I recommend reading the whole thing, but there are a few key takeaways to consider to improve a fun experience at the table:

  • If your DM isn't onboard with WMS then don't play one, your features are dependent on the DM allowing them.
  • Unlike most sorcerers, you want to be near the enemy more often than not.
  • The vast majority of the surge table is either positive or neutral. The remainder is either subjective on your situation or bad, but if you play in a careful manner you can turn what's bad for you into something worse for your enemies. To sum, you want to be rolling on the table as often as possible.

With that in mind, my personal experience involved me taking the burden of remembering about Wild Magic off my DM and putting it on myself. The simplest thing I did to facilitate this was taking a piece of paper and folding it in half and writing "Tides of Chaos Active" on one side and "Wild Magic Active" on the other side and flipped it back and forth at the table so my DM could know with a glance which state I was in. Additionally, when it comes to other d20 rolls, I simply make that roll as part of my turn and let the DM know if it came up as a "1" which would trigger a surge; this gives the DM the option to veto a surge if it would mess up a dramatic moment.

Second, I made it a point for my 1st level to be a Fighter so that I could have access to heavy armor proficiency. This isn't strictly necessary, my understanding is that a lot of other players get by with regular use of the shield spell which is a way they trigger surges.

Third, I make it a point to roll with the punches. Sometimes things go absolutely awesome like when attempting to persuade hundreds of kobolds that my warforged was actually possessed by the soul of a white dragon and as a demonstration of my power was to cast Enlarge on myself but tripped a surge which caused me to increase my size category again. Other times, we're trapped in a 30'x30' room and suddenly I can't cast because bubbles are coming out of my mouth and in these situations I ask the DM if I can use my Action to scream as much as possible to see if I can use the bubbles to create cover and we ad hoc something right there; what's nice about this is that we don't even need to be consistent with whatever ruling happens there, it's wild magic it won't always work the way you want this is just how it's working right now.

Fourth, Tides of Chaos is the manner by which you are controlling the risk of wild magic. In combat situations, I'm trying to give myself a reason to roll as often as possible so that I can do so with advantage and prime myself for a surge in an advantageous situation. In non-combat situations, I'm trying to make sure Tides of Chaos is charged so that I minimize the risk of a butterfly swarm when using Alter Self to disguise myself.

In general, if your DM wants to run a very serious game then Wild Magic is probably not going to work. But not every game needs to be serious and sometimes a malfunctioning warforged is by far the best way to convince a bunch of kobolds to abandon their posts because their bluff is really good and they can grow to the size of a giant. But then they accidentally grow to the size of a house and elect to insist that they're possessed by the soul of Caltrax the ancient white dragon and the need for bluff checks goes out the window because who else could have that kind of power.

\$\endgroup\$
9
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is going to be several comments, unfortunately, and they’ll have to be terse just because of the length limits. Upfront, though, I want to say thank you for the review, and that terse responses were forced on me by the format. The wording on casting carefully is taken from the slow spell, with the notable (and intentional) exception that it doesn’t say that you need to use an action on the next turn to complete. All decisions about a spell cast are made when the spell is complete, so you don’t really “have” a target until the end anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 17 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Color spray is a freebie, so knowing it doesn’t hurt you even if it is no longer useful; the prismatic spells are the upgrades. You have a fantastic point about multiclassing and how that affects deck size without improving spells known; I’ll need to consider that. Surge Self is for cantrips, yes; I don’t believe it does have any value for anything else. Surge Slot is meant to be the primary use for Surge of Power. As for the prismatic upgrades, part of the advantage here is meant to be the option to treat chaos bolt as a wild card, where you draw one thing but it could be any of four. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 17 at 21:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Overdrawn is primarily meant for big boss fights, yes. Drawing your entire deck at once implies a lot of freedom to dump a ton of spells into Surge of Power to ramp up a powerful effect. You’re going to be out of it afterwards anyway, so the risk of WMS isn’t as significant. Ultimately, a lot of my reaction here is that it sounds like the sorcerer is lacking in solid single-target options, which is distressing. I will absolutely look at Overchannel, though. As for prismatic ray, good to know about the analysis. I don’t understand, though, why I “need” to remove the spell attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 17 at 21:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan please recheck the Slow spell, I'm not sure if you're seeing something I'm not but it indicates the need for an Action on the subsequent turn to complete the spell and further goes on to indicate that if the caster cannot use said Action the spell is wasted. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 18 at 14:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kryan for prismatic ray, I recommend removing the attack roll because there aren't a lot of non-damaging effects which are dealt via an attack roll (as opposed to a failed save). Additionally, if you crit and deal one of the damaging options, you have the potential to suddenly and seriously unbalance the spell. Both of these are issues because it's very easy in 5e to improve your odds at succeeding on an attack roll, but impeding an enemy's ability to make their save is generally a lot more difficult. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 18 at 14:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .