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I was wondering why a Wild Magic Sorcerer's Bend Luck ability is always 2 sorcery points and a reaction to increase or reduce another creature's attack roll, ability check or saving throw by 1d4.

I think it's pretty wild (pun intended) that is does not scale with levels considering there's another spellcaster class, Bards, that have a very similar ability with Bardic Inspiration.

Bardic Inspiration affects the same types of rolls (attack rolls, ability checks and saving throws), does not use a reaction (uses a bonus action instead) and players can hold onto their bardic inspiration for a moment of their choosing. Furthermore, Bardic Inspirations are their own unique resource (equal to Charisma modifier, minimum of 1) and best of all they scale with levels (starting as d6's and ending as d12's at level 15). After reaching 5th level, Font of Inspiration allows Bards to regain all their Bardic Inspirations after a short rest.

In comparison, Bend Luck is pretty pitiful.

  1. It costs 2 sorcery points (equivalent of a level 1 spell slot and also the resource required for using metamagic, basically the best part of being a Sorcerer).
  2. It is always a flat 1d4. The chance of a 1d4 being impactful diminishes as you level up & enemies get stronger.
  3. It uses your reaction, which can be super valuable for casting Shield, Counterspell, Featherfall etc.

The only real benefit I can see is that it can be used offensively, whereas Bardic Inspiration cannot.

My questions:

  1. Am I missing something? Have I accurately portrayed the usefulness of Bend Luck?
  2. If I'm not missing anything, is it reasonable to have Bend Luck scale with levels? (At 9th level, it becomes a 1d6, 12th level 1d8, 17th level 1d10, for example?)
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    \$\begingroup\$ You gain Bend Luck at 6th level. Wouldn't it make more sense to start at the specified 1d4 then scale from there? \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Mar 5 at 6:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is a good point, adjusted the scaling. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yvihs
    Mar 5 at 7:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ About #2, flat 1d4. Is the 1d4 actually less useful as you level up? Isn't the point of the bounded accuracy of 5e that small bonuses can always be useful? This is from someone with most of my gameplay experience from 3.5. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5 at 16:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd like to see an answer, which explains 5e bounded accuracy, and how that alone makes 1d4 stay relevant through all the levels... (CBA to to dig up the references, so I won't write an unsupported answer myself.) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6 at 6:46
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What you are missing: Bend Luck is applied on demand.

Bardic Inspiration is applied, one per turn, using your bonus action, before any dice are rolled. That means you need to decide beforehand who you think might be needing that little bump, during your own turn.

Bend Luck is applied after someone rolls a die, when you dislike the number shown. That means it takes far less thinking ahead and is far more likely to be applicable.

Especially if you take in that Inspiration is likely noticeable by a clever enemy. If they have a potent stun-spell, they might see the Bard inspiring someone and pick another target. Bend Luck still works. Likewise, the Bard might inspire the Fighter, since they seem to be in the most danger, totally missing the Assassin sneaking up on their Wizard buddy. Bend Luck might still protect the Wizard, even if the Sorcerer wasn't aware of the Assassin on their own turn.

This already gives Bend Luck and advantage over Bardic Inspiration, which will only get worse if the effect becomes more potent. A d10 on demand bonus to a saving throw means the odds of a party member failing a critical check becomes far less.

As a result, it makes Bend Luck an incredibly reliable support feature. And that then steps on the toes of the Wild Magic Sorcerer's own flavor. "Reliable" and "Wild Magic" do not belong in the same sentence.

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What you are missing: Sorcerers are not Bards

Bardic Inspiration is one of the core feature of bards - all bards have it regardless of College. It is powerful, pretty unique and cannot be substituted for something else.

Bend Luck is something some sorceress might have and can use their core feature on if they like. Or they can use those 2 sorcery points for something else. It gives an effect similar to the Cleric’s Guidance cantrip at a slightly higher cost; locking up 1 metamagic choice vs 1 cantrip slot but having a per use cost but being able to affect all rolls, not just ability checks. Guidance is a solid choice for a cleric and Bend Luck is an solid choice for a sorcerer.

And there’s the problem with your proposal. You take an optional OK choice for the Sorcerer and making it as good as the Bard’s stand out feature. This is not overpowered per see but it treads on the toes of another class and makes the Bard look less worthwhile as a result.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't agree that I make it as good as the Bardic Inspiration. Even with my proposal, Bardic Inspiration draws from its own resource, it scales harder (d12 at level 15) and basically every Bard College has something that makes Bardic Inspiration even more badass, something I didn't mention in the initial question. My proposed Bend Luck change doesn't even come close to making it as good as Bardic Inspiration. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yvihs
    Mar 5 at 5:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Bend Luck doesn't lock up a metamagic choice, it's free. It just uses up metamagic uses. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Mar 5 at 7:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Yvihs Notably the Lore Bard gets Cutting Words which allows them to apply BI to enemy rolls, something Bend Luck already has over the regular BI feature \$\endgroup\$
    – Medix2
    Mar 5 at 12:04
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Bend Luck is something you use after you see the result of a roll, but before the results are determined.

This means when something misses or hits by 1 (well, 0, as meets it beats it), you can expend it and guarantee you flip the chance. When it misses or hits by 2/1, you have a 75% chance of flipping result. At 3/2 there is a 50% chance.

You could easily witness 40 such rolls per short rest, between all of your allies and enemies. On average, you'll see 2 things you can flip certainly, 2 things you can flip with 75% probability, 2 things you can flip with 50% probability and 2 things you can flip with 25% probability.

This happens whenever the chance of hitting is less than 80% and more than 20%, which usually happens even at level 20 in 5e. So no, it doesn't need to scale.

Bardic inspiration, on the other hand, is pre-loaded on a PC. It doesn't work on enemy rolls. Per short rest, you get to boost (cha bonus) PCs. If we use the "75% chance of flipping" as the point where you spend it, at a 1d8 that means hitting/missing by "2", or 10% chance per roll. If someone does 3 rolls per turn, over 3 rounds there is a 62% chance they get to use it.

At level 20, it is 5 uses at 1d12 for 20% chance per roll. At 4 rolls per turn, the target has a 94% chance to use it over 3 rounds, each with a 100%-75% chance of flipping the result.

So a level 20 bard using 5 uses of inspiration over a short rest can deliver almost 5 "flips" of results (from failure to success). A level 5 bard using 3 uses of inspiration over a short rest can deliver just under 2 "flips".

A level 6 wild magic sorcerer using 6 sorcery points can deliver 3 flips over a long rest only using sorcery points.

If the sorcerer and allies are averaging 4 rolls/turn each (4 player party), and enemies are making a total of 10 rolls/turn (saves, attacks, etc), that is 26 rolls/turn. Over 3 rounds that is 76, of which 7.6 or so can be "flipped" with a 100% or 75% success chance.

So over the day, the sorcerer can burn her 20 sorcery points on flipping 10 rolls, and can expend spell slots to get even more uses.

They are quite comparable.

Also, bonus actions are more expensive than reactions in my experience. A good 5e build can do something active and useful with bonus actions every round, while doing so with reactions requires putting yourself into peril usually.

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