A wannabe full sorceress
A player of the group for which I am DMing is playing a cleric 4/sorceress 6 character: she started as a cleric, and once reached level 5 she decided to multiclass into Sorcerer1. From a plot point of view, this was not a problem at all since her backstory had a perfect hook for this step.
The problem is that she now feel a little bit frustrated, since she really loves this class and moreover she cannot exploit all the features that a full sorcerer could have at level 10: she's got few sorcery points, only 2 metamagic options instead of three, and we decided that the metamagic cannot be applied to cleric spells (due to plot and background story reasons).
Since the player (and actually, all the table) is fond of the character and does not want to take a new character, I decided to allow her to transform her cleric levels into sorcerer levels, which is actually not permitted by the rules, to the best of my knowledge, but I apply Rule 0 here.
I want my players to be happy to play their character and I allow mostly of the optional rules (multiclassing, feats, etc), but at the same time I do not want them to think "ok, let's try this, if it does not work I'll ask the DM to backtrack".
Changes at a cost.
I decided hence to allow this migration at a cost: her character must perform a ritual with some high cleric of her religion, or with a divine emissary of her god, or something similar, in which she asks for such change.
During this ritual, she must pass 3 trials, which consists mainly in saving throws (STs):
- (a) COS 15: on a success the max HPs are reduced by 5, on a failure by 10.
- (b) WIS 15: on a success nothing happens, on a failure -1 STR
- (c) CHA 15: on a success +1 CHA, on a failure nothing changes
At the end of the ritual she will be allowed to migrate their cleric levels into the sorcerer levels, but the feat that she took when reached the 4th cleric level will remain the same.
Down below I enlist the reasons behind this choices and their pros and cons, in my opinion.
Reducing the HPs
This is the major drawback of this change: from a history point of view, the god is a little bit upset at losing one of their devotes, and then they want to punish her and warn the other believers. From a mechanical point of view:
- pros: making know my players to consider all the consequences of their choices and actions.
- cons: the sorcerer has already low HPs, lowering the maximum could be very very dangerous. It is true that the party has a barbarian and a fighter and she won't be on the frontline, but in case of failing the ST having lost 10 points of max HPs could make the difference.
Reducing the Strength score
Again, this is implemented as punishment from the god.
- pros: even the ST is unsuccessful, this ability score is not very important for sorcerers in general. The STR score would become 9, hence providing a -1 on STR ST, ability checks and on weapon melee attacks, which are not really the main focus of a sorcerer. I maybe consider also to increase this malus to -2.
- cons: the STR ST will have a malus of -1, but spells that require this kind of ST are not so many.
Augmenting the Charisma score
I implemented this since her character did not started as a sorcerer, and she did not plan from the beginning this multiclassing, so the CHA score is a little bit low.
- pro: if she fails the ST, nothing happens, so no drawbacks other than the possibly previous ones.
- cons: I fear that this could sound too much as a reward, since the CHA score will increase from 15 to 16, increasing the bonus from +2 to +3. But on the other hand, for a 10th level sorcerer CHA 15 is quite suboptimal.
Other options I considered
I was thinking about different consequences, such as
- -1 STR and -1 DEX: this sound too harsh, mainly because a malus on DEX score will impact the already low AC.
- disadvantage on some ST: once thought of this, I decided that it was too severe.
- disadvantage on some ability checks: again, maybe too severe.
- I thought just to retcon and say something like ""Your divinity does not answer anymore to your prayers, you do not have access to your divine power, but now you can concentrate on your inner, arcane and wild power!" but it does not feel fair to the other players.
Moreover, I do not exclude some help from the rest of the party (e.g., she can be blessed just before the ritual).
Is this implementation a valid one?
In summary, I want the best for my player(s), and I would like them to enjoy our session, both from a history perspective and from a game experience point of view. For this I am in favor of adapting some rules, but when players make choices that impact their whole history arc and they want to revert them, some consequences should be put in place.
I ask to the collective wisdom of RPG.SE if the mechanism I thought of for managing this stepback from multiclassing is a valid one: is too severe? Is it too much in favor of the player? Should I just retcon?
1 She decided to play a sorcerer after a one shot adventure where she played such class and she enjoyed it a lot.