Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, November 06, 2019

If you play a MMORPG, you probably have seen guides on the internet telling you which class in the game is "best", and how to spec it for maximum efficiency. There is often some theorycrafting involved to calculate the maximum damage per second such a character can achieve. So unsurprisingly some people new to Dungeons & Dragons ask questions like "what is the best class", and are surprised that they can't get an answer. Characters in D&D have a lot more facets than characters in a MMORPG, and combat is more varied; you can't even properly calculate average damage per turn of a build, because that would very much depend on how many enemies there are, and what the tactical situation is. The upside of this is that you can play a lot of different character classes with a lot of different builds, and they all will shine in one situation or another.

I am currently a player in only one Dungeons & Dragons campaign, Tomb of Annihilation. As the name suggests, character death can easily happen in this campaign, as unlike other campaigns there is no chance for resurrection. So my tabaxi paladin, with an interesting dual-wielding build based on high dexterity, heroically charged a huge dinosaur, and was eaten by him. As the DM had told us at the start of the campaign to create a backup character, I had actually planned a tragic-comic story for this eventuality: My paladin was always asking people whether they had seen his sister. And as soon that he died, the sister turned up as my backup character, a tabaxi sorceress.

5th edition D&D has three classes that are purely arcane spellcasters: Wizards, warlocks, and sorcerers. Wizards have the largest selection of spells, warlocks have the fewest spells but can deal lots of damage every turn with their main cantrip, Eldritch Blast. The Sorcerer is somewhere in the middle between the other two, having a medium amount of spells, and an interesting ability to modify spells with metamagic. My sorceress has the divine soul sub-class, which allows her to use some cleric magic. And as metamagic she has one ability that enables her to cast touch spells at range (or double the range of a ranged spell) and another ability that allows her to cast a spell which normally would be limited to one target onto two targets. As a consequence I chose mostly spells that can normally be only cast on a single target, and didn't take more classical spells like fireball. Now I can for example cast Cure Wounds at a distance, or on two characters at once.

The result is an interesting one. As the twinned spell ability is powered by sorcery points, and I can give up spell slots to create sorcery points, I can now basically decide to cast fewer spells per day, but with twice the oomph. That didn't always work out in my first session with the character, but I am getting the hang of it. And now I reached level 7, which gives me access to the Polymorph spell, and that one gets really nasty when twinned. I can turn two party members into Giant Apes, which gives them a ton of extra hitpoints, and quite strong attacks. Or I can turn two enemies into sheep for some time.

One of the design flaws of D&D is sometimes described as "linear fighters, quadratic wizards". The problem is that the power of a melee fighter goes up with levels, as he gains stronger attacks. The power of a spellcaster goes up in two ways: He gets access to more powerful spells, *and* he can cast more spells per day. The build of my sorceress is specifically made to use that to a maximum. While at low levels the number of spells per day you can cast is limiting you, at higher levels you reach a point where you have more spells than there will be combat rounds in a day. Thus the ability to double a spell's effect by giving up spell slots get increasingly more powerful. I really made a quadratic sorceress, and I am quite happy with the result.


I disagree on the optimal build, as even you said Eldritch blast cantrip for warlocks, and theoretically they could use any other, but EB is objectively better in like 99percent of the cases.

And about the quadratic wizard: when I played one last, the DM and the rest of the group asked me to tone it down, as he outperformed the rest by quite a bit.
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