In my current Ravenloft 5E campaign I've got party consisting of a Barbarian, a Fighter, a Cleric and a Sorcerer. During the course of the adventure I handed out magic weapons to the Fighter and the Barbarian. The items were:
- a khopesh of the flame blade type doing 1d6 base and 2d6 fire damage
- a +2 battle axe dealing out 2d8+2 one-handed and 2d10+2 two handed (versatile).
The Sorcerer stated that he feels his Fire Sorcerer is underpowered because the Firebolt cantrip is dealing lower damage on average than the melee characters do with their weapons. A specific complaint of his is that the magic weapons I handed out do 2d instead of 1d. (If they were 1d damage weapons it would even the DPR comparison more in his favor).
I looked at the DM Guide and found many weapons doing 2d, though not all magic weapons having a + damage added. Also, even though Firebolt scales up with level, he says the Fighter and the Barbarian have 2 attacks.
*It is his view that magic should always be stronger than mundane things even if the level of magic is as low as a cantrip*. I believe this is the root of the problem: he thinks magic should always be strongest and is dissatisfied.
I stated all the houserules before the campaign and even gave reasons. (e.g. hiding / invisibility being highly useless vs the undead in my campaign, and for particular reasons I deny "Utility spells" like fly in Ravenloft, because Werewolves which are toasted from above with no means to retaliate are hardly a danger.)
He was well aware of these restrictions and is not a new player. I think he loved the 3rd Edition power builds, while I am coming more from an old school perspective AD&D 2nd edition: balance is no concern for me as long as everyone has fun, and 5th Edition does help with this due to bounded accuracy.
I first thought houseruling to give him more cantrip damage but then I reconsidered. I suggested he should convert all his spell slots into spell points which are 54 at his 7th level (I gave him an item which upped this pool of spell Points (sp) by ×2 to add 16sp to his converted slots (38sp) instead of 8sp).
With this I told him he could e.g. cast fireball 10 times between long rests. I should add that in this game I use mainly long rests which totally heals up characters and returns slots.
My question is: how do I convince the player that his character is IMHO totally balanced?
He is not in melee normally, and can out-DPR every other member of the group easily by simply using his higher level spells instead of casting cantrips.
To me it seems as if he fears running out of spells if he does not use cantrips preferably whenever possible, but he should know my style in this campaign already.
The balance issue:
I respect and try to fulfill players' desires for balance, although personally I don't mind if things are not 100% balanced, and my DM style is adjusted for that, e.g. It might happen that the squishy rear rank comes under attack but generally the meat shield is the preferred target of the mobs.
To further clarify my question:
How do I convince this Player that he use his spells right away and not to be that concerned about resources, instead of fizzling around with cantrips, even wasting sp to twin firebolts only putting the big stuff to the table when nothing else helps and afterwards complaining that the melees shine in one-on-one compared to him because they got some decent Equipment. The items I gave to the Sorcerer in the course of the campaign:
- an Ioun Stone which ups his proficiency bonus by one (so that he hits with spell attacks more often)
- a ring doubling his Bonus spell Points from Level
- a dagger which is a 1d4+1 and 2d4+1 vs humanoids.
It isn't like I gave him nothing. He got more health than the cleric and if he uses shield as a reaction he has got the highest armor class in the group. Being draconic bloodline helps on these things.
I want to make clear all these facts in a diplomatic way. Even without accurate DPR calculations, an experienced DM or Player can see that his char is far from underpowered as compared to the other Party members. I don't want to rub his nose with all of those facts.